Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mobile Blogging

I just found that Blogger now has a mobile app for my phone. Oh this is going to be very dangerous because I don't even have to be at the computer, and I don't have to worry about transferring pics from my phone. You all however, will have to worry about my notoriously bad spelling and the darn autocorrect on my phone.

To celebrate (and test out the app) I present a photo I like to call A Girl and Her Grandma (really early in the morning).

Lily Loves Exersaucers!

Our friends have an exersaucer, but there daughter is too little for it. So, we've been putting Lily in it when we go over to their house. Up until this weekend she was always like, "uh! What is THIS?!?!" And not in a good way. Well, this weekend, I think she's finally ready. Her feet can touch the floor and she's interested in playing with things in front of her. Here is her reaction. And yes, the high pitched giggles in the back ground are me! I think we'll be heading to the consignment stores this weekend to get her one of her very own.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daddy's First Father's Day

Father's Day started bright and early in our house. For me at least. Turtle slept in until about 6:30, and I took her into her nursery to feed her and let Jay sleep for a while. After she was done, I decided to go ahead and start setting up for the day instead of going back to bed like I usually do on weekend mornings.

I put Turtle on her playmat in the craftroom and she "talked" and batted at the toys while I cleaned off my out of control craft table and started setting it up. Hallmark was selling this Superman wrapping paper for Father's Day and it had become the inspiration for the entire day.

While we were setting up I snapped some pictures of Lily in her Superman onesie with Daddy's gifts.


Well, 2 of his 3 gifts since I'd given him one before we headed out for Maker Faire. He was packing his man-bag diaper bag and I decided he needed the manly paci holder I had gotten him, so I broke down and gave it to him a day early.  I had wrapped two of the gifts in the same gift boxes, though, so there I was feeling of the boxes and shaking them trying to figure out which one had the paci holder in it. He really like it and also liked the book I got him to read to Turtle called Daddy Hugs.

I was planning to make breakfast about 9am since I didn't want to wake him up too early, even if it was to bring him breakfast. But he ended up getting up before then. So, we snuggled on the couch for a while and I asked him if he wanted to open presents first or have breakfast first. He of course chose the presents. I sat Turtle up in her Bumbo so she could watch. (I know she's on a raised surface which she's not supposed to be but we have a puppy we don't trust around her and Daddy was right there.)


The light in our living room is minimal. This is great for Jay since he'd live in a cave if he could. Not so much for Mommy and her photography endeavors. This one is blurry because I was trying to shoot without the flash.


This one is harsh and cold because I finally gave up and turned the flash on. I figured I'd rather have bad quality pictures of this experience then no pictures at all. Jay loved his cards especially once he saw how much Turtle like the one she "got" him. I had also had her "sign" her card. I put a sharpie in her hand and let her make some marks on the card. Of course the first thing she did was put the cap end in her mouth, but oh well. When she goes off to college he'll have that card with her 3 month-old scribbles in it.

After the presents were opened (a daddy picture frame for his office and a wireless mouse in the shape of a Chevy Camero), I started breakfast. I had gotten some awesome thick cut bacon and eggs. I'm not a big fan of either, so I rarely cook them, but that is pretty much what Jay always gets when we go out to eat. He snuggled Turtle and watched TV while I cooked then we all snuggled on the couch for the rest of the morning.

My friend Lauren and I had gotten together to plan part of the day since this was her husband's first Father's Day too. We knew that as much as our guys liked hanging out with us, they also desperately needed some guy time once in a while. So, we had bought them tickets to see the new X-Men movie together. So, about midday, they headed out to that and Lauren came over to our house to start setting up for the cook out. Thankfully, my mom also came over to help wrangle the girls.

I kept with the Superman theme for the table.


The center piece was super easy and used mostly things I already had on hand.


In fact the only thing I bought specifically for the centerpiece was the Superman Dad stickers which were actually gift decorations from Hallmark. To add a little extra pop, I decided to make some napkin rings. I had some blue paper scraps left over from making a friend's invitations (like a YEAR ago) that were exactly the color blue I needed. See, this is why I always save any big scraps of paper I have because you never know when you can use them later. I cut out some of the logos from the wrapping paper and taped them down to the blue paper and then just taped them around a napkin. I think it added just the right amount of pizazz.


Once the guys got back from the movie we lit up the grill. I was planning on doing the cooking but realized that I have no idea how to cook steaks on the grill and decided if we were going to end up with anything but burnt steaks it'd be better to leave that up to Jay.



Mmmmm... While he was grilling, mom was hanging out on the deck with Turtle. I was able to snap a few pictures in the gorgeous overcast lighting.



Look at that button nose!! And my new favorite picture...


We all had such a great time hanging out!


And I think the boys had a great First Father's Day. I sure hope they felt celebrated, loved and appreciated. I know that every day should be Mothers Day/Fathers Day but that is just not practical. So, I think it's absolutely appropriate to have one day of the year were we really go all out to show our partners how much we appreciate everything they do for us!

I hope everyone else's Father's Day was as wonderful as ours!

Wordless Wednesdays - My New Favorite Picture of Turtle


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy 4 Month Birthday, Turtle!

Turtle is 4 months old today, and I can.not believe it! I feel like last time I closed my eyes I was 9 months pregnant. Maybe that's because the last time I got a really good night's sleep was about 6 months ago. Hehe.

Turtle is growing by leaps and bounds and developing at an astonishing rate. Well, astonishing rate to me, I'm sure she's right on schedule and I refuse to be on of those moms who insists that her child is a genius that does everything ahead of schedule. It is just unbelievably amazing to watch how quickly she develops. In 4 short months, she's gone from sleeping 20 something hours of the day, barely able to hold up her head, and unaware her hands were attached to sitting up with very little assistance from us, having lengthy "conversations", and controlling her arms and hands enough to grasp things and put them in her mouth.

I am constantly amazed at the language ability that she has already. She will often times have "conversations" with me where we'll hold eye contact and we take turns... she "talks" and then I talk. It's amazing. Most of her babbling sounds like long "A" sounds and short "a" sounds. And sometimes it even sounds like she's singing. She also "says" hi a lot. I know it's just a random sound but she says it all the time. Maybe it's just random or maybe it's just because I say that to her all the time. Who knows. She's been saying it since about 6 weeks. The first time she did it Jay and I both looked at each other in shock like, "OMG! Did our 6 week old just start talking?!?!" Then we came to our senses. ;-)

Turtle loves to sit up. If you lay her back against your propped up legs or in her swing, she will strain trying to sit up. She is even able to balance there for a while but someone needs to be close by because eventually she gets bored of it, pushes her legs out and launches backwards. Usually while squealing. She likes to sit in her Bumbo for a while sometimes and we've even started taking it to restaurants so she can sit on the booth bench or in an extra chair while we eat. It's really nice since she doesn't like being in my Bekaboo wrap any more (she likes to look around instead of being pressed into my chest) and is still a little too small for a high chair. We took her to Cook Out with us the other day and she sat right beside me on the bench in her Bumbo and the three of us just talked the whole time. It was so lovely and was like seeing a glimpse into our future as a family of three.

Turtle has also started blowing "raspberries". She did it for the first time at mom's house when I was picking her up after work. I was in the middle of a sentence when I realized what she was doing. I stopped right then and started squealing. She wasn't so sure about that. Then I rushed her home so her daddy could hear her since he's been trying to teach her how to do that for a while now. :-)

She's also becoming even more observant, if that's even possible. We put her in the baby seat of a shopping cart at Walmart the other day and let her hang out there while we shopped. She had such a wonderful time! She especially liked the soda and chip isle because of all the bright colors of the packaging. I'm sure she would have loved the cereal isle too but we didn't need anything down there. I absolutely love showing her new things. It's amazing how your perspective changes when you have a tiny new human in your life. Everything becomes an adventure, and everything becomes new and exciting when seen through her tiny eyes.

This weekend was wonderfully exhausting and it will probably take me all week to recover. But you only live once, right? Turtle did wonderfully on the drive to Raleigh (about 2 1/2 hours). It was by far the longest car ride she's taken, and I was so proud of her. For the ride up there we put the girls in one car (me, my mom, and our friend Lauren) with Turtle while the boys drove the other car with baby Zoe. It was so much fun to have some girl time to just chit-chat and it made the drive just fly by. Turtle also did great at the Maker Faire. I put her on my back and she fell asleep. The only thing was it was warm in the facility where the fair was held and she heated me up! My back was soaked when I took her off, but I'm very proud of myself for tackling the back carry which was something I was very intimidated by. I still can't do it by myself but Jay helps me and between the two of us she gets wrapped up pretty quickly.

The Faire itself was pretty cool. There were two booths there with MakerBots (in essence 3d printers) and just seeing those in person was worth the drive up there. There was also a booth that had a laser etcher and it was awesome!! I wanted one of those too. Hopefully, they will have it in a larger venue next year. My brother says this year's venue was about 3-4 times the size of last year and it was still packed out, just like last year. I'm hoping to convince more of my homeschool friends to come with us next year. We realized that you really have to talk to the folks in the booths though because we missed a lot of stuff that my brother told us about because we saw the booth but didn't stop to ask the person what the story was. We will definitely remember that next year.

There was a flea market going on at the fairgrounds too but it was just too hot to have the girls out there for too long. So, we took a picture and split with our friends.

They had family in Raleigh they wanted to see and we had a friend we wanted to have dinner with. We went by the mall and got to see our friend Frankie. It was his first time meeting Turtle and he was very impressed. We stressed that not all babies are like her (easy going, laid back, not usually fussy, etc.) so not to be getting any ideas! ;-)

Then we pointed out wagon back towards home. We were glad to get home at a reasonable hours since Sunday was Father's Day and would be a big day too. I have a lot of photos though, so I'm going to make that a separate post.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh How Your Life Can Change

BFP Anniversary!

This past weekend was wonderfully exhausting, and I'll be posting about it as soon as I have a chance to get the pictures off the camera. But today is a very special day for me. It's our BFP Anniversary! (BFP is an acronym from thebump.com message boards and stands for Big Fat Positive [pregnancy test].) :-) On this day last year (which happened to be Father's Day) we found out that Turtle would be coming into our lives. It's absolutely amazing to me how much your life can change in just one short year! I'm working on a video to commemorate the anniversary and hope to get it finished this evening after work, but in case I don't, I wanted to post the story of the day we found out we were going to have a baby. The main thing I remember about that evening was being scared out of my mind! I'd been yearning for a baby for years but at the moment I saw that second pink line the only thing I could think was, "What have I done?!?!" Come to find out, what I had done was start the most amazing journey of my life. It's been scary, it's been tough, but it's been the most rewarding thing I've ever experienced. I love my Turtle more than life it's self and can't wait to watch her grow into the women she is destined to be.

I'm sure you want to know the story.

This was a huge surprise. We certainly had not set out to get preggo, but without going into too much graphic detail, I'll just say that we knew we were playing with fire. So, I guess it was a surprise but not a shock.

I knew I was a day or two late, but that didn't concern me too much as it happens from time to time. I would say I "knew", but I've "known" many other times and was wrong. This just seemed a little different. I wasn't sick, but had some other signs and over the weekend was having a very hard time keeping my eyes open! So, on Sunday evening, I took the first home pregnancy test. I knew you were supposed to take them in the morning, but I had bought a two pack and just couldn't wait. Now, I've taken hundreds of these over my lifetime (see comment above about running "late" being rather normal for me) so I figured I'd take one that evening and when it come up negative I'd take the other in the morning just to be sure. I'm so use to them coming up negative, that I almost didn't believe it when I saw that very distinct (not faint at all) second pink line!

Now I hadn't told Jay that I was taking the test, because I knew he'd give me a hard time about getting my hopes up because he's been around for the aftermath of some of the other times I've "known" and was wrong...and devastated. So, I come out of the bathroom upstairs literally yelling his name! When I come down the stairs I realized that he was in the bathroom and tried my hardest to reassure him that I was ok.
When he came out I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs in a state of shock, shaking, and hyperventilating. Yes, you'd think I'd be the calm one, but it was my wonderful, loving, amazing husband who I'd expected to be falling apart. We sat on the couch for a little while, soaking in the experience (and trying to catch my breath and stop shaking!). We decided we should have it confirmed right away and I promised to call the OB/GYN the next morning to make an appointment.

We made a couple of phone calls in which we swore said people to secrecy and then tried to go to sleep, which was impossible.

Oh how your life can change in just one short year!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Going With the Flow

Man! My Google Reader has been hopping lately! I think it's because I've stumbled upon some really awesome parent blogs that seems to have consistently useful/thoughtful/just plain funny content. Today's topic was sparked by a blog post on Aiming Low a hilarious blog written by multiple contributing writers from all different stages in the parenting journey. I really enjoy that humor that the bloggers bring to the sometimes mundane tasks, including some awesome Daddy Bloggers.

Yesterday, a great post came up titled The Thin Line Between Advice and Assvice for a Pregnant Woman. I knew this was going to be good! Advice from others is a double edged sword to a pregnant woman. On one hand you want to hear everything you can and get everyone's advice before you have a baby (and afterwards). I found myself scouring the Internet for real life product reviews on baby gear and incessantly picking the brains of my veteran mom friends. But by the end of the pregnancy, I swore I was going to throat punch the next random person in Target who told me to "sleep now while you can"! Almost four short months later, what do I find myself saying to random people in Target? "Sleep while you can, honey!" Hehe!

Earlier this week I was texting with a friend the day before her scheduled induction. I asked her how her husband was doing and she said he was pretty nervous about the blood and stuff during the birth. I told her not to worry because if my blood squeamish husband could hack it, then just about anyone could. She said a friend of theirs, whose wife had recently given birth, had told him it was really bad! My reaction was this. "OMG! They aren't supposed to tell each other the truth! They are supposed to lie and say it's really not that bad like us women do. Otherwise no one would do this crap!" She laughed, but as a 5 time mom, she wholeheartedly agreed.

The author of the article I read yesterday put it this way:

"My sister was there with me in the delivery room, twice. She’s seen some of the aforementioned nasty bits and she still decided to procreate. The way I see it, the kid gloves are off. But I still stop myself from sharing when reliving certain parts of my final months of pregnancy and the first few months of motherhood. Maybe it’s instinctual, something passed down for hundreds of years – a survival of the species kind of thing. Protect the mother to a certain extent or she may never have another child."

The author goes on to ask the reader what advice you would give to expectant moms and what would you hold back. For me it has more to do with presentation than anything else. The absolute most valuable piece of knowledge I gained during my pregnancy, delivery, and (short!) motherhood experience has been that every baby is different, every mother is different, and every day is different! So, I try to present any advice I give in a "this is how it happened for us"/"this is what worked for us" kind of way. I like to share my experience so that if someone else has a similar one, they know that they are not alone, but I don't want to say that my way is the only way.

For instance, I didn't have that movie moment when the baby was delivered where I cried, my husband cried, we looked at each other and marveled at what we had created and I fell instantly in love with this little slimy-gooey-wiggly thing. I was still in a descent amount of discomfort (a term us moms use to shield the innocent) when Turtle was placed on my chest. I remember thinking, "Hi. Glad to meet you. Now could you give me just a minute!" It wasn't until they got me stitched up and some pain killer in my system that I felt like I was really in a place to meet my daughter. Thankfully, I knew that this was normal for some people.
So, when I see the inevitable couple staring at the seemingly infinite bottle choices at Babies R Us, scan gun in hand, and bewildered look on their face, I try to offer what I've learned. (Yes, I'm that annoying person who offers unsolicited advice in baby stores.) I tell them what worked for us but then stress that they won't know for sure until their little one is born so not to stress over it too much. Register for a couple bottles of different brands and stop there. It's not necessary (or practical) to be an expert on everything before you've even met you little one.

I guess the best advice I have to give to new parents is this:

Be willing to go with the flow... in your pregnancy, in your birthing experience, and in your parenting. Every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, baby is different, every parent is different, and every day is different.

What was the best and worst advice you got when you were pregnant? What is your best advice to new parents?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Safety in Judgement

Offbeat Mama has been one of my favorites blogs for a while, as was Offbeat Bride when I was into wedding planning. This morning when I opened my Google Reader, I came across this wonderfully written, enlightening, and freeing post.

A judgemental attitude is something I have struggled with for a while. My dad took judging pro. If judging was an Olympic sport, he'd have won a gold medal. We judged everything from how long it took someone to pull out into traffic, (COME ON! I could have pulled a tractor trailer through that hole!) to people's behavior at family gatherings. (The ride home from family get togethers was always entertaining!) I also grew up steeped in the Christian religion and even though the Bible states in many places that one is not to judge, the doctrine, and community, send very mixed messages. I've never met a group of people (one the whole)more seemingly eager to eat their own! You are taught that you have Ultimate Truth on your side and anyone who does it differently then you (and your church) is wrong with a capital W. It's hard to grow up amerced in this sea of judgement and not have it rub off on you.

If ever there was an open season to judge a topic, it seems that topic would be parenting. I try to look at the positive side of things and assume it stems from an evolutionary need to protect the children of our community, but that doesn't make it any less of a pain in the... well, you know. I also think it gives us a sense of security, of control. The author of this article puts it much more eloquently then I ever could.

"I judged until my insides were pretzelled.  I clamoured for safety in my judgements. I judged because I thought it made my world safer and more easy to understand. I judged because then I could know the right answer.  I judged because then I could say “If only they ______, their baby would be okay.” I judged as though my judgements would save me, and would save my baby."

As the old saying goes, "We are all perfect parents... until we have kids." This was me for sure! I read birthstories throughout most of my pregnancy, dissecting them for the "wrong" decisions that derailed the women's "natural" childbirth plans. I figured if I found their mistakes, I could prevent them from happening to me. I judged formula feeding mothers for the "mistakes" they made which caused them not to be able to breastfeed. Judging gave me a sense of control over my situation. Those women were lazy or uneducated or did something to screw up their supply (like pumping too early or not drinking enough water). I wasn't going to make any of these mistakes, therefore I was safe.

And then my beautiful Turtle came along. And her birth was anything but what I had planned. And our breastfeeding experience was anything but what I had planned. And the illusion of safety that I had created was revealed to be just that... an illusion. And I began to see other women (and men) in a completely different light. Maybe, like me, they were just trying to do the best they could... the best they knew how. Maybe I needed to extend the grace I so desperately hoped others would extend to me and my situation.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not! Do, I still find myself judging others? Every day! But I'm trying very hard to create an internal dialogue of grace when I find myself judging another's actions. Except for ridiculous driving! I'll still judge you for that! And people like my brother who don't like ice cream! I mean, dude! It's ICE CREAM!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Resting Up... (Week 16)

No weekly picture this week. Sorry! We were so busy that I didn't even think about it until it was too late. Oh well. She'll forgive me, I hope.

So, this weekend was just as busy as I expected it to be. Friday night we went to dinner with my brother for his birthday. Our friends Dave and Lauren met up with us too, as well as my mom. We all had so much fun! A little too much fun for Turtle, though. Hehe.

She's such a good baby. She'll pretty much sleep anywhere and is pleasant about 90% of the time. The only time she gets cranky is when she's sleepy and that's only until someone snuggles her so she can go to sleep. We are really so very lucky. I know that a compliant child isn't always the most emotionally healthy child, so that's not my goal, but I do hope that she stays pleasant as she learns how to have her own opinions and ideas.

Saturday, our friends Dave and Lauren came over to the house. Dave stayed and helped Jay install our home alarm system and Lauren and I loaded up the girls and headed out to the fabric store for fabric to make woven wraps out of. We were lucky enough to find some that we both liked which made it especially easy! Then we had lunch and came home to hang out with the boys. We've been hanging out at their house the last few weeks and it was nice to be at our house for a change. Although as homes away from homes go, theirs is awesome! Since they have a baby about the same age, they have similar gear so we don't have to load up half our house to hang out at theirs. And I never have to worry about running out of diapers or wipes which is AWESOME! Plus they have La-Z-Boy reclining couches, ftw!

Sunday, I got up excited to try out my new woven wrap. I haven't taken the time to hem it yet, but I'm hoping to get that done little bits at a time this week so that I can use it at Maker Faire this Saturday. After a few failed attempts, I was able to get Turtle on my back in what is technically called a Reinforce Rucksack carry. The problem is, she's not a big fan of hanging out on my back while I wrap her. She likes its once she's secure, but until then she protests and wiggles which is hard when I'm trying to get her tied without being able to see. It's ok, though, Jay helps me wrap her and he's watched the YouTube videos enough to know what it's supposed to look like. I'm hoping to practice more this week so we're at least simi-pros by Saturday. She sure looks cute all wrapped up in it!

Turtle's saying, "Hey Mama! You got Angry Birds on that thing?"

Sunday we went to lunch with my mom and then did a little shopping. We had bought these Old Navy Groupons the other day and were chomping at the bit to spend them. Jay insisted that I buy stuff for me instead of Turtle which was significantly more difficult then I expected, but I eventually found some shorts that will be very helpful this summer. I did buy Turtle one thing. Old Navy comes out with their Flag Shirts every summer. They have the logo, an American flag, and the year on them. Jay and I got matching ones last summer and wore them to the 4th of July fireworks display (because we're just super cool like that!). ;-) I really wanted to do the same this year, but get one for Turtle too. We decided to get different colors so that we wouldn't be too matchy, matchy. Plus the only color they had in all our sizes was red and that's not my best color. So, I got a navy tank top, Jay got a gray t-shirt, and Turtle got a red onesie. I'm hoping to get a family picture before we had off to see fireworks in our matching shirts. In fact I'm hoping this will become a summer family tradition.

Sunday afternoon I started putting together a slide show to celebrate the one year anniversary of our positive pregnancy test. I don't know why this seems like such a big event to me, it's not a big deal to other people, but I just find it amazing how much one's life can change in a year. This time last year, Turtle was growing like a weed but we didn't even know it. Plus I've been wanting to do something with all the weekly bump pictures I took all throughout my pregnancy. I got a huge chunk of it done, and now it's mostly just a matter of tweaking. I've got to pair down some of the weekly pictures so I can fit in more of the nursery coming together and such. I'm really excited about it though and think it's really going to be something cool for Turtle to have. I want her to know how excited we were while we waited for her to get here!

So, that was our weekend. I hope you all had great weekends too! The name of the game around our house this coming week is going to be prepare and rest. I have a few things I want to do in order to get ready for Maker Faire and Father's Day and the rest of the time is going to be spent resting up for the fun and festivities! Have a great week all!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lots of Fun Stuff to Come

We have so much fun stuff to come in the next week and change! I was thinking the other day that one of my favorite feelings from my childhood is always feeling included in what my parents did. I never felt like I cramped their style or held them back from living their life. I always got the feeling that their lives were more full with me in it. I remember going to concerts and on hiking trips. We went camping and to festivals. We even got to go to the races a couple of times which was their favorite activity pre-child (although this was expensive and one of the things they had to give up once we came along). I want Turtle to grow up feeling like this. I don't ever want her to feel like she got in the way of my life, instead I want her to feel like I was excited to include her in my life. So, here's what she'll be included in over the next week and change.

Friday: Tonight we are going to dinner for my brother's birthday! Birthdays are a big deal to me. I think it's because I came from a big family and also from having a low self esteem. Birthdays are the only time where I feel validated in asking for exactly what I want and expecting people to be willing to go out of their way to give it to me. So I feel the same way about other people. I'm not a big drinker but if that's what you want to do for your birthday then it's the one night of the year that I will gladly hold your hair back while you throw up. (All the other nights I'll tell you to hold your own hair back because you did this to yourself. ;-) ) So, the birthday person always gets to pick what we do and where we go and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or wants! Uncle Lukey wants to go to Red Lobster tonight so that's where we are going. I'm so glad that Turtle gets to celebrate with us this year. 

Saturday: Tomorrow our friend Dave is coming over to the house to help Jay with the home security system he's putting in. So, his wife Lauren and I are going to the fabric store and buying some light muslin to make woven wraps for ourselves. Woven wraps are similar to the bekaboo wrap I already have but they aren't stretchy. Because they aren't stretchy you can do back wraps with them which is what I'm really excited about! Turtle is getting more and more interested in the outside world. She loves to look around and takes in everything around her. Because of this, she's not as content to just stay snuggled in my bekaboo against my chest. Some popular carriers like the famous Bjorn have the option of turning the babies around to face outward but I've read some negative things about this option that seem to make sense. First the way the baby dangles by their crotch (like sitting on a bicycle) isn't supposed to be good for them. Second it puts your center of gravity in an odd place and puts a strain on the parents back. Third, if they get overwhelmed they don't have any where to go when they are dangling out there like that. (This should not be interpreted as a judgement of anyone who uses these carriers. This is just what I've read and the reasons why we are going a different route. I do not think using one of these carriers makes anyone a bad parent in any way!)

So, the alternative is to put them on your back in a non-stretchy, woven wrap. This allows them to put their weight on their tush and legs, like sitting in a swing instead of riding a bike, and it allows them to snuggle into your back if they get overwhelmed. I'm really excited to make one and try it out. I've been watching YouTube videos on how to wrap them. It's going to be a challenge at first, but so are a lot of things that are worth wild. I'll be practicing with Jay as my spotter or over the bed until I am very confident but the nice thing is that even toddlers can be carried in a woven wrap so this will be very useful for a long time. Here you can see one of the bloggers I follow The Maiden Metallurgist carrying her new son on her back.

How beautiful is she?!? And how comfortable does her son look! Her posts have really inspired me to try this with Turtle. I'm a little intimidated because I'll have to balance Turtle between my shoulder blades while I wrap her but I feel it's doable once I get the hang of it. I try to keep in mind that women in other countries have been doing this for millinia before the invention of strollers, so it must be doable. I'll keep you all updated!

Sunday: Sunday will be spent resting because next weekend will be a C.R.A.Z.Y!

Next Saturday: Next Saturday we are heading to Raleigh for Maker Faire NC. Woohoo!

The faire is put on by Make: Magazine and it's sister publication Craft: Magazine. Here's the description from the website.

"Makers, Crafters, Inventors, Evil Geniuses, Scientists and Artists will come together for a day of family-friendly fun and inspiration. From home-made cookies to home-made robots, Maker faire NC promises something for everyone in a showcase of the American creative spirit."

I'm so excited! My brother, Luke, went last year and I was supposed to go, but got too busy helping a friend with her wedding. I have been looking forward to this year's event for a while after hearing all the awesome stories my brother told me from last year. This is another reason I want to have the wrap finished so that I can carry Turtle on my back so she can see. Strollers are just such a pain for festivals and such and if I put her in the wrap I have now she can't really see anything.

Next Sunday: Next Sunday is going to be awesome! I so wish it were this Sunday! Next Sunday is Father's Day and it is going to be EPIC! I don't want to give too much away but I hope Jay walks away feeling very loved and appreciated!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Any fun excursions planned?

Here's your moment of cuteness before I go:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful to have such a wonderful man to celebrate on Father's Day (which is next Sunday for those of you who are unaware!). This will be the first time I've celebrated Father's Day in a very long time. I've always had a difficult relationship with my father, and currently we have a non-existent relationship. I boycotted the holiday for many years when the wounds were just too fresh. But this year I get to celebrate a man who lives up to all the Hallmark cards.

I found his main gift about a month ago and it's been killing me to keep it a secret (which I will continue to do until next Sunday so don't get your hopes up, Jay!). I've been collecting smaller gifts for a couple of weeks and it's so hard not to give any of them to him now. In the next couple of days I'm going to go back to Hallmark and get this awesome Superman wrapping paper they have especially for Father's Day to wrap all his gifts. I already got him a card from me and a card from Turtle. She helped me pick it out by batting at the one we got. I took that as sign of her approval. Then she promptly fell asleep.

This is also our friend Dave's first Father's Day, so his wife and I are planning what we hope will be a wonderful day which will cumulative in a cook out with steaks (which is a real treat in our house!). It's going to be a busy week, but hopefully one Jay will never forget. He's such a wonderful daddy and really deserves this day!

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Monday, June 6, 2011

T is for Turtle

I've had a lot of people ask me why we call Lily Turtle. It came about for two reasons.

1) Turtle was born with an amazing amount of neck strength. Moments after she was born, they plopped her up on my stomach even before they cut the cord and the first thing she did was LIFT UP HER HEAD AND LOOK ME IN THE EYES! I remember thinking... I'm not sure you're supposed to be doing that yet! Well, it wasn't a fluke. She kept lifting up her head to look around every chance she got. In the early weeks she would lose control of it and bonk us in the mouth our neck, but now she's pretty much got it all figured out. As you can see from this picture (which I was taking when she rolled over for the first time), that she looks just like a turtle when she lifts her head up like that.

2) When I was very big and pregnant with her, Jay use to tease me and call me Turtle because I would get on my back on the couch and not be able to get up without his help. So, it seems appropriate that she would be my little turtle.

You know those white stick figure families that people put on the back of their cars, I'd love to find a turtle family to put on the back of ours. Jay rolled his eyes when I suggested it, but then said he'd trade me the "I heart My Shiz-Tu" magnet I have on there now for it. :-) We're still trying to figure out what we are going to do when Lily learns that owls eat turtles (since her nursery is done in owls). I told Jay we'd just explain to her that her nursery owls are vegetarians. :-)

Do your kids have special nick names? Where did they originate from?

Fun, fun, and more fun! (Week 15)

I simply cannot get over how big Turtle is getting!!! Look as those chunky baby thighs! I'm always pointing them out and Jay will say, "Mama, don't make fun of my fat!" I tell her that baby fat is adorable. It's only adult fat that isn't. ;-)

See that big huge smile? She was smiling at her Daddy making faces. I enlisted his help this week for the pictures since she tends to lose her smile when I put the camera in front of my face. It worked like a charm, and I think I'll be enlisting Daddy's help every week.

This was an odd week routine wise. I'm not a big fan of forcing Lily onto a schedule, but we have noticed that she generally has a natural routine that she follows. Well, this week she was all over the place. Sleeping strangely, eating odd amounts and at odd intervals. For instance she went from eating about 7 oz every 5-6 hours last week to 5 oz every 3-4 hours this week. Since, like I said, I'm not a fan of forcing her to follow a schedule we all just tried to follow her lead. Although that meant Mama was really tired a few days when Turtle had wanted to play the Binki Game half the night. (That's the game where Turtle spits out her binki and then fusses until Mama finds it and puts it back in. A few minutes later the whole process is repeated. She learned this game from the puppy who plays the push-the-squeak-toy-under-the-couch-and-watch-Mama-dig-it-out-game.) I have heard that babies will sometimes completely throw off their routines before they accomplish a big milestone like sitting up or crawling. The theory is that their brains and bodies are so occupied with learning the new skill that it throws off their routines. It seems to make sense now that she rolled over for the first time. So, we'll see if she settles back in. She definitely slept better last night then she has in a while. We put her to bed at about 9:30 last night and she didn't start fussing until about 5am. This is progress since usually it's about 3:30 am when she fusses and wants in our bed. This past week she slept the entire night in our bed a couple of times since she just didn't want to completely calm down.

This weekend was so much fun! It really started Friday at lunch when I went to Buy Buy Baby to look for something for Jay's Father's Day gift and ended up buying half their store. I really shouldn't shop on Fridays because that's when I get paid and I feel like I have money. Oops! I picked up a couple of things for Jay and then found a few things for Lily. One was what's called a Wubbanub. It's basically a Soothie (pacifier) sewn to a stuffed animal and sold for 4 times it's worth. But I'd been coveting them online and this was the first time I'd seen them in a store so I had to buy it!

Lily's ehh about the Soothie, Nuk's are her favorite binki's, but she loves the bear! She'll hug it and hold it's arms and it's so freaking cute!

Saturday morning, Jay went to Cars and Coffee with our friend Dave and since Lily hadn't slept well and had me up at 7am, I texted mom to see if she wanted to grab breakfast. She was of course game so I picked her up and we headed to IHOP. It was Lily's first trip and I think every.single.server. came by our table to see her. She's always the hit of the party wherever we go.

We of course had to document the milestone! And don't you love her bib. In case you can't see it says, "T is for turtle". Squeee! It was one of the other things I got her during my epic Buy Buy Baby trip.

Later on Saturday, My Childhood BFF's daughter had her ballet performance and Lily went with us. Well, technically she went with us to the Nutcracker performance in December too, but she says it was pretty dark! ;-)

We got there an hour early to make sure we could get a seat since it's a free performance and ends up being standing room only. I wanted to make sure we got a seat in the back on the isle so that I could slip out if Turtle got cranky. She ate right before the show started so she was very alert at the beginning. I sat her up so she could see and even being that far back she still stared at the stage. About 45 minutes in, she started to get a little wiggly and I could tell she was ready to take a nap. So, I snuck out and put her in the wrap and she slept pretty much the rest of the performance. Here we all are after it was over.

That's me and Lily and April and her daughter (the ballerina!)

And here's all the girls.

That's me and Lily, April and her daughter, Debby (April's mom), my mom, Anna (April's sister) and her two beautiful daughters in front. My mom and dad moved in to my childhood home across the street from Debby  when I was just born and April was about 9 months old. We were best friends for years and years and now here we are, 30 something years later, all grown up with daughters of our own! It's amazing how that works. What a pretty group of women!

After I took Mama home, I headed over to our friends' Dave and Lauren's house to meet Jay and we chilled there for a while.

On Sunday we had our weekly photo session and that's when she rolled over which I've already documented in pictures. But I'll leave you with this one last picture. Oh how I love her feet!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Epic Working Mother WIN!!!

One of my biggest fears as a working mom is missing some of those big firsts. But today I got to witness Lily rolling over (tummy to back) for the first time! And she agreed not to tell me if she has in fact done it at grandma's before now. :-D

I was taking Lily's weekly picture and was taking some of her on her tummy to show everyone why we call her Turtle, when she tucked her hip under and rolled over on her back. I started squealing and clapping. She wasn't sure what I was so excited about. It was such a cool moment!

A few minutes later, I put her back on her tummy to get some more pictures and see if she would roll over again, and yet she did!

 Are you watching, Mama?

No, really, Mama? Are you watching?

Hehe! Here I go!


TA DA!!!

This working mom is soaking in the milestone glory! Woohoo!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Revealing a Dirty Little Secret

Folks, I'm going to to share a dirty little secret with you. One that the baby stores and design websites don't want you to know....

Are you ready...

Having a perfectly designed/decorated nursery is not the be-all-end-all of parenting. It doesn't make you a good parent any more than not having a magazine worthy nursery makes you a bad parent. There... don't you feel better! I spent so much of my pregnancy stressing over her nursery, bedding sets vs. separates vs. making our own. $600 upholstered rocker vs. $90 Ikea Poang. Wall decals and changing tables and cribs and ahhhh! It about drove me bonkers. As my due date arrived, I realized that we were not going to be able to afford the "dream" nursery I had been designing. And I was devastated. To be totally honest, I felt like a failure as a mother and my baby wasn't even here yet. My daughter didn't have any wall decals, in fact her walls were bare other than one painting a friend had done. Her valence was cattywampas and made by her mom. The changing table was discarded by the previous owner of the house with a fresh coat of spray paint which didn't even take evenly. She had no dresser, no glider, no matching rug, no wall shelves for nick nacks and no nick nacks to put on the non-existent shelves. As silly as it sounds, I remember feeling like I was failing my daughter.

Then my beautiful turtle was born. And she didn't even go in her room for the first couple of weeks! We were so sleep deprived that we spent most of the first week in the bed. We used a puppy pad to change her on our bed or on the ottoman in the living room. Since she was eating around the clock we fixed her bottles in the upstairs bathroom and fed her in the bed or downstairs in the living room. While feeding in the living room we realized that our Ikea chair made for a perfect baby chair so we bought another one for the nursery with money my grandparents sent. A few weeks later I realized that I really missed having a foot stool while I fed her, so I found an awesome storage ottoman at Target for hardly anything (and we had a gift card). As time passed I started spending more and more time in her room with her. The simplicity of it felt comforting. As she became more aware I realized that she liked to stare at the valence when I fed her in her room. So, while at the party store looking for supplies for my friend's baby shower, I found some colorful cheap paper lanterns to hang over her changing table and chair. They became her favorite things in the whole wide world and the joy they bring to her far out way any decorative value.

The nesting instinct is strong, and it's important. Over our evolutionary history those mothers who investing time and energy into creating a safe place for their babies to live were more likely to succeed at getting their genes into the next generation. But like everything else in our consumer driven society, we've taken things to an extreme. Yes having a beautiful nursery is wonderful, and looking at the endless design blogs, shows, and stores is fun, but keep in mind that the most important thing is to provide a clean, safe place for your baby to come home to. Everything else is just gravy. And like every.thing.else. baby related, you won't know what you baby really likes until he or she is here. Looking back, I'm actually glad that we didn't complete our nursery until Lily was here because I feel like I've decorated it around things she likes to look at and seeing the joy on her face when she sees the stuff in her room brings me way more satisfaction than I ever would have gotten from posting our finished nursery online for people to admire.

You know I always have to have a disclaimer anytime I state a strong opinion and this post is no different... This is in no way meant to make anyone feel bad about the way they did things when they were pregnant! If you were lucky enough to have the money (or generous friends and family) to furnish and decorate an award winning nursery then YAY for you! Go forth and have fun!! This is meant more for those of us who don't have the cash (or friends and family with cash), it's meant to put their minds at ease that even if you feel like the nursery is the.most.important.thing.in.the.world and your worth as a mother rides on your ability to create a magazine worthy nursery, know that you are not alone and that things will feel very different after the baby comes. Or at least they did for me.

The two most important things I've learned in the 3 whole months I've been a mother...

1) You never know exactly what you need until the baby gets here regardless of how much research you do.


2) It's amazing how drastically your perspective can change (for the good) when that amazing little human comes into this world.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catch Up (Week 14)

You know those mornings were you get up late and you spend the rest of the day trying to catch up? Well, all of last week felt like that. Since we only determined that the fridge was fixed on Sunday night we didn't have any food in the house and we were too tired to do any major grocery shopping all week. So, each night was spent going, "What do you want for dinner?" "I don't know. You?" "I don't know. You?" For like an hour! And I didn't even get a weekly picture this week. Can you believe it? We had a three day weekend and everything and I didn't get it done. Oh well. She'll forgive me.

I did get a couple of projects done for her nursery this weekend though. I'd seen this idea around the bloggasphear for a while and had been meaning to try it and the three day weekend sounded like the perfect time.

So, Friday after work, on the start of not only the holiday weekend, but the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend, mom and I braved the possibility of race traffic to go to Ikea. Amazingly the place was all but a ghost town. I think people were 1) avoiding that area like the plague because of the race and 2) just getting to their holiday weekend destination so the traffic wasn't that bad yet.

But before I cut a huge swath of the owl fabric I had to special order, I decided to tackle the owl pillow project I'd been wanting to do since... like... December (I'm embarrassed to admit). It's a fairly easy sewing pattern but since I'm so horribly out of practice I was really worried about my ability to do it. Well, my seam ripper got a major workout but I finally got it to a place where I was ok with it. It's not professional by any stretch of the imagination, but Lily LOVES (and I mean LOVES) this thing and that's really the only thing that matters. It made me smile so very much to see her face light up and her little hand start trying to touch it. So... without further delay, here is my slightly cattywampas owl pillow.

So, with the rest of the fabric free for the taking, I cut a large rectangle and hemmed around all four sides. This time I remembered to hem the sides first so that I didn't close up the pouch the curtain rods go through like I did on her valence. Oops. Jay mounted the whole thing to the wall and Ms. Lily is now the proud owner of a book hanging thingy.

I'm going to get some spice racks from Ikea to put her shorter board books in and mount them to the wall behind the chair, but our Ikea was out of them on Friday. :-/ Eventually, I'll spray paint the hangers white/cream to match the rods instead of the silver they are now. But for now, I'm glad to have a place for the books to go instead of just sitting on the parson's table.

Saturday we spent with our friends Dave and Lauren. Lauren's sister was in town so we went out to eat with them and then hung out at their house. We had so much fun and were there so long we had to go get take out for dinner. :-) Their little one is going through the colicky stage that Lily went through so it was nice to be able to give them an extra set of arms to help sooth the baby so they could catch their breath. I know how hard it is when you spend night upon night trying to calm a cranky baby. We also tried to share as many of the tricks we'd learned for calming Lily, keeping in mind that not only is every baby different, but every day is different. What worked for one baby one night, could very well not work the next night for the same baby. They are doing great as parents though and their little one is getting so big already! I can't believe she's over 1 month old already!

Sunday and Monday were pretty low key other than crafting projects. Every weekend I say I'm going to get my house cleaned up and every weekend I choose to do other things. Oh well, my life's motto has always been "A spotless house is a sign of a life not lived!" So, I keep reminding myself that there needs to be balance.

Sunday we did have lunch with my brother, his roommate, and my mom. Lily was styling in her sunglasses!

This weekend coming up is going to be fun! My childhood BFF's daughter's dance recital is Saturday and mom and I are taking Lily. It'll be her first dance performance and I can't wait! I plan to wear her and find an isle seat in the back that way if she starts fussing we can slip out. Knowing her though, she'll do great! I hope everyone is having a great day!

Wordless Wednesdays... What? Is it supposed to do a trick?