Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review


Wow! It seems like just yesterday that I wrote my 2010 In Review post!!! Last year I wondered what emotion would dominate 2011…there were certainly many…excitement, confusion, frustration…EXHAUSTION, lol!!! The one dominant emotion though? I’d have to say…Awe.

I was in awe of how crazy intense labour was…it awed me that I was able to deliver Elena…seeing Elena for the 1st time was completely awe-inspiring…

I was in awe with just how little sleep I got those first few weeks…& in awe of how much I was actually able to accomplish on so little sleep…

And I have been in absolute awe of this extraordinary little girl who picked me to be her Mama…watching her grow & learn & discover her world is beyond anything I imagined when dreaming of being a Mom.

It is as this New Year approaches that I realize, for the first time, I am not looking toward the New Year wondering what it will hold…for the first time I can remember, I just am in the here & now…I know 2012 will have it’s trials & triumphs, changes & challenges…for the first time I am content to sit back, let them come & enjoy the ride…

I wish you all wealth, health & happiness in 2012 & I pray for nothing but success for those trying to conceive <3

I’ll leave you with some photos of our Christmas…

 Christmas Eve

 At the Candle Light Service...Elena LOVED running around...don't worry, this was before the service started :)

 Christmas Morning...Santa has arrived!

 Elena & I about to open her Stocking...

Elena playing with the Ball Popper Santa brought her...oh the squeals of delight!!!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Traditions


Well, here we are…Christmas Eve! Christmas has always been my favourite time of year…I love winter & the smell of snow (yes, snow smells) & the crunch under my feet…but as I mentioned last year, it had always been bittersweet. Not this year though, this year is all sweet & I am beyond excited to start my own Christmas traditions with Elena! Some traditions we’ll start this year but some will have to wait until Elena is older & can understand.

When I was a kid, I could not wait for Christmas morning! When I learned that some families exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve, I was so jealous! I remember one year, my Dad had to work Christmas Day (he was a street car driver in Toronto) so my parents decided we would open presents on Christmas Eve morning. I was so excited!! Except then I was super excited Christmas Eve Eve!!! So in honour of that excitement & anticipation, on Christmas Eve Elena will be allowed to open 2 presents…one will always be a new pair of pajamas…so she looks cute in Christmas morning photos…& the other will be a Christmas story book…oh sure, as the years go by, these gifts won’t be a surprise…she’ll of course figure it out but it’ll be a fun...

Tonight we are going to my Mom’s church for their Candle Light service…I’m not sure if this will become a tradition since I’m not religious at all but the service is beautiful, I know Elena will love the music & my Mom will enjoy showing us off. I feel a little hypocritical going since I don’t buy into the whole religion deal but I can really appreciate the beauty of it…

As for the Santa Question…I love the innocence & magic of Santa Clause…I love the idea of believing in the generosity of a jolly man who fulfills a Christmas wish…however, I never liked the idea that some kids get a ton of gifts from Santa (not judging here, this is just my opinion) or that they get everything they ask for. Aside from the fact that I just can’t afford to do this, I don’t want Elena to have that sense of entitlement…Elena will receive 1 gift from Santa Clause Christmas morning plus her stocking will be stuffed with fun little goodies…I think that allows her to experience the magic yet keeps her expectations grounded.

Once Elena is old enough to understand, before Christmas she & I will go thru her toys & she will pack up the ones she no longer plays with & ones she’s grown out of & we will donate them to the local mission. Also when she’s old enough to understand, we will be involved in the Adopt-a-Family program. I will teach Elena that even though we don’t have a lot, there are others that have even less. Christmas has never been about the commercialism for me & I want to make sure that Elena learns more about giving than receiving…

I’m sure over the years we’ll develop other traditions & refine these but I think it’s a good start. I’m just so very excited for Elena’s 1st…I know she won’t remember it & I’m sure she’s going to be pretty over whelmed but she only has one 1st Christmas.

So Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy Hanukkah…Happy Kwanza…Happy Winter Solstice…or whatever you celebrate, enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

She Did It!!!


Did you see that!! Elena's walking for reals!!!! She totally blew me away tonight when she did it! We've been trying to make her for a while then tonight she just up & walked to me & we haven't been able to stop her!! I am so proud & excited!! And somehow she seems smaller, littler I mean...does that make sense? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

9 Months...Wow!!!

It’s just amazing how time is flying!! I can’t believe Elena is 9 months old & it’s almost her 1st Christmas!
And she’s walking!!! Well she’ll take 2 or 3 steps from the table to the couch or from the couch to the exersaucer or from the couch to me so I’m not sure if 2 or 3 steps counts as actually walking yet but she’s so close. The most she’s done in one go was 4 steps where she took 2 steps, stopped, balanced herself, took 2 more steps then fell to her knees & crawled the rest of the way. She stands like a pro now too & will stand & play.
She’s babbling like crazy now…it’s funny that her 2 most repeated sounds are “da da” & “ba ba”…it’s obvious they have no meaning since she has neither a Dada nor a Baba (bottle) lol! She’ll also “say” “ya ya ya” & “gee gee gee”…but nothing seems to actually mean anything though she’s very animated in telling her stories so when she does talk, we’ll have to watch out! She also does this alien voice that is hilarious! I’m going to try to post a video to show you, we’ll see if I figure out how (I apologize for the loud Agent Oso at the beginning )…

Elena had her 9 month well baby check up today…she’s 22 lbs 5 oz & 2’ 5” tall putting her in the 95th percentile…She’s the biggest baby the Dr has right now. Everything looks fine & he’s pleased with her development.
I mentioned that Elena has her 4 front teeth (2 top, 2 bottom)…I was able to get a photo…it’s a little blurry but shows her teeth well…

And that’s about it for us lately…I am really looking forward to Christmas & have been thinking a lot about what traditions I want to start with Elena…but I’ll get into all that in a separate post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

100 Days...

One year ago today marked 100 days until my due date...now this year, today marks 100 days until I return to work...I'm in denial & don't want to talk about it...

I took Elena to meet Santa...


As you can see, she was none too impressed...

It was really funny actually...when we got there Elena was mesmirized by the lights & decorations & was laughing at the other children meeting Santa & seemed very excited for her turn...she loved his bells & the bells the Elf shook to get her attention, she loved Santa's beard, his faux fur cuffs & his gloved hands...she was all smiles & I was so surprised & thought we might actually get a smiling photo...until I stepped away! Oh well, I think it's pretty darn cute :)

I have new worry & stress about Elena choking...she won't eat anything bigger than a small pea & that she swallows whole without chewing. Anything bigger she pushes out with her tongue & spits it out, literally spits it! I've tried Farley cookies (which she loves to crumble up but won't eat), I've tried chopped instead of mashed bananas, I even caved & bought some organic baby food...no dice. She does, however, have no problem picking up paper or lint from the floor & trying to eat that!! Oy!

We had our awesome photographer over again to take some photos for our Christmas cards...here's the 3 shots we used...



It was also our 1st snow that day...I'm happy to have a photo of Elena's 1st experience...she was none too impressed, lol!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free?


My Grandmother, Elena’s Great-Grandmother, whom she’ll call GiGi lives with us. She was born in 1918 on a small farm in New Brunswick & when I say, “on a farm” I mean she was born in the farm house. She grew up on said farm with few luxuries, she had to be frugal & couldn’t be wasteful. She married & had 6 children…money was always tight & she had to make it stretch between a family of 8.

To this day, she will cut mold off cheese & eat the rest of the brick, she’ll make a sandwich with stale bread (including the ends) before she’d even think of throwing it away. She keeps napkins that, “weren’t used much” for a second go. She has bought at least 3 new winter coats since moving in with me but she refuses to get rid of the old ones…because you never know. She has practically every dress she’s ever worn to various family weddings, events, etc & she always resists when one of her daughters insist she get a new outfit saying, “I can just wear what I wore to so & so’s wedding/birthday/retirement.

I believe that her upbringing & adulthood molded her into this frugal, prudent women & having lived thru periods of hand-to-mouth has made her reluctant, nay loath to take anything for granted…even though she’s financially comfortable now she still wouldn’t think of being even the slightest bit wasteful…because you never know.

With everything Elena & I went thru when she was born, her losing so much weight & my milk taking almost a week to come in, I believe it’s made me a little bit of a breast milk hoarder. I have obsessively pumped at least once a day…at first I pumped to encourage my milk to come in, then I pumped to build up my production & then to build a stash & aside from a bag or 2, I haven’t used any…if I was going to be away for a feeding, I’d pump a fresh bottle rather than dip into my stash.

Now that Elena is almost nine months old, a bunch of the bags will expire being older than 6 months. I’m having trouble dealing with having to throw them out…it’s silly, I know! Aside from the bags, it has cost me nothing to collect this milk, yet the thought of throwing any out makes me feel so wasteful.

So I have officially stopped pumping…it was a difficult decision…thoughts of, “what if I run out?!?!” & the more irrational thoughts of, “Elena’s going to STARVE if I stop pumping!!!!” I know it is the right thing though…I have to go back to work soon & I never planned to pump then so it’s better to stop now than spend my 1st day back at work engorged & uncomfortable. Soon enough I’ll have to wean Elena from her 2 afternoon feeds. Once I’m back to work, I’ll still nurse her in the morning & at night until I dry up & switch her to cow’s milk. It was just a little scary getting here.

We’ll cover the emotions over weaning in another post ;)

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Rain


It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper update post…I have so many blog post ideas whirling around in my head & some half written but nothing has really formed into anything post-able…in the mean time Elena is growing & learning & changing…



Mobility

Elena has been crawling for over a month now…once she was purposefully crawling, I completely baby-proofed our entire living room & made it her space. I didn’t want to spend all our time saying, “No, don’t touch”…I mean, she’s a baby, she’s curious…she’s going to be in a lot of places where I’ll have to do the “No, don’t touch” thing so I wanted her to have a space that was hers…but there are 3 spots that are off limits: 1 electrical plug, the cable box & a corner that has my file & scrapbooking boxes…so in a room entirely dedicated to her, FULL of toys, where she can play freely, what is she obsessively focused on? Yep, you guessed it: the plug, cable box & file boxes!!!



Elena seems to believe she can stand now too…only one problem, she hasn’t quite figured out balance & gravity yet. She pulls herself up on things then just lets go…She’s also taking tentative steps…it’s very exciting. I blame her GiGi (her Great Gramma)…when she started belly crawling in August, GiGi said, “She’ll be walking by Christmas!!” My reply was,
“Oh Gramma, she’ll only be 9 months at Christmas, there’s no way Elena will be walking by then!” Apparently Elena has other ideas!! We'll see...



Teething

I’m afraid to even type this for fear of jinxing it but teething hasn’t been nearly as bad as I heard it could be…Elena has 3 teeth with her 4th breaking thru now. The saving grace for us has been Camilia…really seems to take the edge off…she'll get a “super dose” when a tooth is 1st breaking thru (when pain & discomfort is at it’s worst)…the “super dose” is 3 doses 15 minutes apart…plus I give her 1 dose just be before bed. Thankfully, we’ve only had to use Advil or Tylenol very sparingly.



Sickness

We have been plagued by sickness lately…nothing too serious, it just seems like one thing after another…I got a cold a few weeks back. The worst of that cold was trying not to cough & wake Elena in the night…oh & the lack of sleep.



Then last week…I got shingles!!! I’ve had them before & for any of you who don’t know, shingles are a strain of the chicken pox virus & aside from the itchiness, they hurt like HELL!! I got my outbreak along my rib cage & it felt like I’d broken a rib. Since I’m still breastfeeding I was doubly concerned with Elena either catching it or chicken pox or the medication crossing into my milk. Thankfully, Elena didn’t catch anything & it turned out the meds do cross into the milk but in a lower dose than would be prescribed so I took them.



Just when all that starts clearing up…Elena gets the sniffles. At first I thought it was from her top teeth coming in until I got the sniffles too…it’s a cold & it started Saturday night. I was so worried about the time change but it didn’t make any difference since we were up every hour that night…poor Elena couldn’t breath. During the day she does alright since she’s upright & her nose drains…so Sunday night, I propped her up on our nursing pillow & this made all the difference. She’s slept relatively well these last few nights. Also we’ve used Coryzalia made by the same company as Camilia…she gets 1 dose before bed & it helps.

           

Sleeping

Well…sleep has been our most challenging aspect…Nights were hit & miss for a long time but Elena napped really well during the day (2 or more hours twice a day!!). I read so many (too many) books, articles etc…so much conflicting info…I really overloaded myself, over thought the whole situation & was feeling like an epic failure that I couldn’t get Elena to sleep with any consistency at night…then one Saturday a few weeks ago we spent the day at my brothers & Elena barely had any naps, ½ hour in the morning & maybe ½ hour in the afternoon. My brother said, “maybe she’ll just konk out tonight!” I smiled & nodded but in my head was thinking, “Nope, that’s not how it works. The books said so.” Well guess what? Yep, she slept like a log!! So I tested it the next day…and day after that…limited Elena to no more than a 1 hour nap twice a day…well lo & behold she started sleeping straight thru…until she got the sniffles but that’s just a blip. Are you kidding me? I felt like such a dummy!! I mean now it makes perfect sense but I feel like a real idiot for not figuring out on my own that Elena wasn’t sleeping well at night because she was sleeping so much during the day!



Eating

Elena is doing really well in this department & her weighing in at 22 lbs proves it! I’m still making most of her food. I still puree all her veggies but for fruits I’ve been buying the Motts unsweetened apple sauces…she’ll eat just about anything mixed in applesauce!! Elena’s funny about trying new foods…my system is to introduce something new & offer it daily for 4 days to allow for reactions. Elena always resists & does not take it well. After the 4 days, I give her a break then re-introduce it a week or so later & she always just takes it without complaint from then on…so weird!



I’m going to be honest with y’all now…I am terrified of the next eating step of finger foods & Elena feeding herself. I am petrified she is going to choke & I am not confident in my first aid skills & worry I’ll panic. If it were up to me, Elena would eat pureed foods until she was 12! I know I have to get over this for Elena’s sake but I am gripped with fear at the thought of her choking. I am constantly thinking & worrying about having to start more textured foods…my stomach is in knots just typing about it. She does get some texture now with her green beans & peas & I mash her banana instead of puree it & the apple sauce isn’t smooth…but that’s about as much texture I can bring myself to offer her. Can’t we just wait until she has ALL her teeth? And is old enough for me to explain how important it is for her not to choke?!?!?



Okay, now that I’ve worked myself up into another panic attack about Elena choking, maybe it’s time to wrap up this epic update post. If anyone has any advice about any of the above, please share…

Monday, October 31, 2011

BOO!!!




Elena's 1st Halloween...A Pictorial


We went to a Vampire Party on Saturday...having been a vampire genre fan since Anne Rice & since Elena's name came from Vampire Diaries, I couldn't pass up this t-shirt, it says "My Daddy's a Vampire"


Guess What??? Pumpkin Butt!!!

This is the best photo I could get of today's costume...




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Me Time...Take Two


Okay…here I am week 2 of Me Time. Thank you so much for your support & very excellent advice on my last post. It really took me by surprise how hard it was. I mean, I’d been out without Elena many times before…but last week was the first time she went out without me…I was home & she was out & the house was so quiet. & I didn’t know what to do with myself. This week I made sure I had a plan…I actually have a whole list of things to do…I haven’t done any it…
Instead, let's just enjoy some silliness...
Elena's Muffin Top

Her Bubble Beard

And just being silly trying on hats

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Didn't Expect This

UGH!!! Okay, so for the last couple weeks, my Mom & I have been planning for Elena to go with her to her church Wednesday mornings so that I can have some Me Time & Elena can start getting use to being away from me. We had decided that today would be the 1st day since I have a Dr appointment. I have been looking forward to this since we came up with the idea...the Me Time, not the Dr appointment.

Now, here I am, all alone in my house...I don't like it. I've been crying since they left. Chances are, they'll be home before I even leave for my appointment but I just feel empty. How the hell am I going to go back to work?

To be honest, I'd been trying to back out of letting her go since last night. My Mom, being the wise women she is, gently insisted she take Elena & reassuringly told me Elena would be just fine...which I know she will be but I can't help but wonder how she is...what is she thinking? Is she wondering where I am? Is she feeling lost without me like I am without her? Rationally I know it's better for her to have some time away from me as much as it benefits me to be away from her...but UGH!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

7 ~ 37

Elena turned 7 months this week…and I turn 37…I always believed that I would marry at 25, have 2 or 3 kids by 30 & would be deeply immersed in raising children by the time I turned 37…that obviously didn’t work out…but I’ll take what I got thank you very much! I mean, the guy I was dating at 25 who I expected to marry & have those 2 or 3 children with, I can’t even fathom what a mistake that would have been. Someday maybe I’ll write about what a nightmare that relationship turned out to be but for now, take my word for it, I am colossally better off…hindsight & all.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how glad I am NOT to be in a relationship right now. Surprises the hell out of me! I never thought I’d feel this way. Oh sure, I miss the emotional support & extra pair of hands (& paycheck) a partner would provide but on the other hand, I am glad I don’t have to think about having sex, I’m grateful I can give Elena my undivided attention & not have to be concerned about a partner’s needs.
Then there’s the exciting milestones Elena has hit lately…her first tooth popped thru, bottom right, & the one next to it has just broke thru too. She’s figured out how to sit up from laying down …she tentatively crawls before sprawling on her belly…she pulls herself up on EVERYTHING…no matter how sturdy the object is. She then likes to let go & turn to look for me, to make sure I’m watching I guess, which inevitably results in her falling…she has also figured out that she can “walk” along whatever she’s pulled herself up on. Fun for her, nerve-wracking for me! Do I miss having a partner to share these amazing moments with? Honestly, not really. My Mom & Gramma both live with me…& there are always friends & other family just a text or phone call away to share a moment with.
The things I do miss about not having a partner, like the extra pair of hands or extra paycheck, aren’t really great reasons to be in a relationship…down the road, as Elena gets older, I’m sure my heart will open up again to the idea of dating & being in a relationship…for now, I’m quite content putting all my energy into raising Elena & giving her my undivided attention...but if one more person says, “well now is when you’ll meet Mr. Right since you least expect it…blah, blah, blah” I might punch them!
And now for some brag photos...these are from Elena's Half Year photo shoot...I couldn't help but make the 1st one my new header!!




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eating Adventures Part Deux

We’re actually doing pretty well in this department now…Elena no longer pinches my boob during feedings…that’s a relief! I’m glad it was a short lived phase!! I used a technique I read about to keep a teething baby from biting the nipple: expressing displeasure without scaring her, stopping the feed each time she pinched & expressing an obvious frown. After a feed or two of doing this, she stopped the pinching & hasn’t done it since…gives me hope she’ll learn not to bite me too.
As for solids, we’ve moved on from cereal to veggies now…I am proud to say that I have stuck to my decision to give Elena homemade baby food…I’m sure I’ve mentioned before but in case you forgot, let me remind you that I am LAZY!!! As much as I want to make Elena’s baby food, I thought I’d give up if it was too hard. I am happy to say it is pretty easy & am sticking with it. The worst part is the peeling, chopping & steaming but that isn’t so bad & I can often con my Mom into doing that part. I love my Magic Bullet too! It purees perfectly & is so easy to clean.
Elena has tried sweet potatoes, carrots, squash & peas so far. She, of course, loves sweet potatoes. I’m surprised to learn that I don’t mind them either. I’d never had them before feeding them to Elena. What I don’t understand is that Elena blatantly disliked carrots yet has taken a liking to peas…one strange kid, in my opinion, lol!! I mean, who likes peas & not carrots? I hate peas!!! They smell disgusting & my stomach turns every time I get a taste when I’m checking temperature while feeding Elena. Seriously! How can you like peas & not carrots?!?!?! I’m going to introduce carrots again & try to convince her that they are awesome!
Now that Elena has a few veggies under her belt, I’ve started giving her two different ones at a meal. It’s funny to see the look on her face when we switch from one vegetable to another…she’s a little miffed at first. She also does this fake little gag/cough that is hilarious…
I think we’re just about ready to jump into the world of fruits. I held off thus far because I was afraid she’d refuse vegetables if she tasted the sweetness of fruits first. Apparently that’s a myth…I swear there is so much conflicting information out there about how & what to feed your child, it’s very confusing & frustrating. It’s very important to me for Elena to be a healthy eater. I was a very fussy & picky eater…I want to try to curb that behavior in Elena. I won’t be so strict never to allow junk food…remember, I am lazy! What kind of mother would I be to deprive my daughter the pleasure that is ice cream sundaes or peanut butter cheese cake or chocolate fudge brownies…

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's New


So Much!!!! I can’t believe how much Elena has changed in the last few weeks, let alone the last 6 months. She had her well baby check up & needles last Wednesday…she weighs a whopping 19 ½ lbs & 2’3” tall! The Dr is pleased that her growth is so consistent. He said the words every nervous-first-time-worry-wart-mom needs to hear: “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it…she’s perfect.” She took her needles like a champ…it breaks my heart though because when she’s stuck with the first needle, she cries a bit but takes it in stride but when the Dr sticks her the second time, she looks at me with this look like, “AGAIN?!?!?!?! MOMMY!!!! Why are you letting this happen to me?!?!?!??!” She calms down again pretty quickly which makes me feel better.

Elena is learning so much so quickly…she is mobile now that she figured out how to belly crawl…it made all the difference once I bought play mats to put down on top of our carpeting. I was putting her down on a quilt, which was fine for a while (& necessary due to her spitting up) but she couldn’t get any traction. I bought those interlocking foam mats & the first time I put her down on them, away she went!

She can’t get into a sitting position on her own yet but if I sit her down, she is able to balance herself & keep from toppling over most of the time. From her sitting position, she can get herself onto all fours & she rocks back & forth like she’s thinking about crawling but if I don’t save her soon enough, she’ll usually face-plant!

She’s good for about 15-20 minutes of independent play before she’s craving my attention whether it be on the floor or in her exersaucer. She seems to understand when I’m eating or pumping as she will play well on her own while I’m doing either of these but if I grab the laptop or iTouch to check emails or blogs, she fusses & squawks for my attention. I don’t mind too much though…I can’t imagine a better way to spend the day than playing with Elena & watching her discover the world. Elena is fascinated with the most mundane things but watching her eyes sparkle as she explores everything has me captivated!

She likes to watch TV & loves the Disney Junior channel…which she comes by honestly since I’m a TV-aholic (& so’s Grandma)…it’s always just on in the back ground but she has her shows that she’ll pay attention to like Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Imagination Movers & she likes some of the “commercials” between shows too…it’s the songs that grab her attention. She stops everything when Manny & the Tools sing their work song or for the Hot Dog Song on Mickey…her favourite show is Bear in the Big Blue House. It’s the only show that can hold her attention for the entire episode and she just loves Luna & the Goodbye Song…

We had to give up the cloth diapers. All of a sudden Elena was getting these really bad bum rashes…I’d switch her to disposables, it’d clear up then within a day or two of being back in the cloth ones, the rash would reappear. The service said they hadn’t changed anything so it’s a mystery why, after 5 months, she was getting these rashes. Since she was fine in the disposables, I had to switch…I was disappointed but couldn’t continue with those horrible rashes.

And that’s life with us now-a-days…better get this posted before Elena learns something else new, lol!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wacky Dream

I had the wackiest dream the other night that I just had to post about!! It went like this:
I ran into Little One(of The Clock Finally Started Ticking) at a coffee shop & she invited Elena & I to come along with her & Scarlett to a gathering of other single moms…I said sure & we went to the penthouse apartment of Abby (of True Confessions of a Single Mama) as she & Calliope were hosting this gathering. The others that were in attendance were: Lorelei (of Perpetual Ambition) with her “daughter” Rose, SurlyMama (of It’sDefinitely Possible) with her “daughter”& Mama Time Bomb (of Baby TimeBomb) with her “daughter”, Magdalena.
Now this is strange already for a number of reasons…although I have met Little One IRL & seen photos of Abby & SurlyMama, I have NO IDEA what Lorelei or Mama Time Bomb look like, yet in my dream I have manifested faces for them…also strange is that my subconscious has “decided” that Lorelei would be having a girl & name her Rose, SurlyMama would have a daughter though my over active subconscious didn’t name her…Mama Time Bomb isn’t pregnant yet, but my mind “decided” she’d have a daughter & name her Magdalena…& it get’s weirder!!
So we’re all visiting & Abby is serving these delicious appetizers when I decide I need to change Elena’s diaper…I go into a spare room & start changing her on the floor. Little One comes in with this guy…I’m surprised since I thought this would be a SMC gathering…Little One proceeds to introduce this guy & give me a dating-profile-esque run down about him…I then go into the kitchen & there’s another guy who Abby introduces to me in the same style followed by SurlyMama introducing yet another guy…
I’m feeling pretty suspicious at this point & feeling like I’m being set up so I turn to Lorelei & ask her what’s going on. She responds, “Oh Tara, we all thought you really needed to meet someone nice & settle down so pick one of these great guys & be happy!”
At which point I woke up!! So wacky!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Best 6 Months of My Life

It’s easy to say that now!! Weeks 1 thru 4 ½ weren’t exactly fun…thankfully, due to the sleep deprivation, I don’t really remember details of those weeks except that I was exhausted & wondering when this motherhood gig would get fun! It’s fun now…for the most part, anyway!
Elena turned 6 months old yesterday & I take a page from Lara's book & decided to celebrate Elena's Half Birthday. We had family & friends over for a BBQ...& even though it rained most the day, we just moved the party inside & still had a great time. Since I was so busy with things yesterday, I haven't had a chance to compose an update on all the wonderful things Elena can do...so I thought, since many requested photos, I take that easy route...Enjoy!

Here she is yesterday...LOVES that toy, the post anyway...if I stack the rings on it, she dumps them off...even if she's playing with something else, when she notices I've stacked them, she will reach over, dump them off then go back to what she was doing!!


Please, Mommy??!!!


We had some professional photos taken...this is the same photographer we used for Elena's 3 week old photos...she is awesome!






Friday, September 2, 2011

99 Posts & 1 Non-Post


This is my 100th post…I have noticed the number getting closer & have been trying to come up with a special way to commemorate it. I thought about listing 100 things that make me happy or grateful & although gratifying for me, seemed colossally boring for you. I thought about doing a giveaway but realized I don’t have anything worth giving away & though am quite talented in the craft department, just don’t have the time to take something like that on…how about 100 pictures of Elena? Cute but seriously, not as much fun for everyone else as for me...with Elena’s Half Birthday looming, I thought about tying that post to my 100th but that would be lame…

Now here we are & I have thought of nothing special for my 100th post…so I am going to just post this non-post, clean the slate, take the pressure off & move on…

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Need 3 Hands to Breastfeed & Other Eating Adventures

Elena has started grabbing & pinching my boob while breastfeeding…I have bruises from the pinching. Everyone warns you about the sore nipples but no one ever mentioned this grabbing & pinching! I have tried giving her a toy to hold onto…she just tosses that & grabs for my boob. I’ve tried urging her to grab my t-shirt…no dice. I miss the days she would just knead at it! It’s quite challenging to support her with one hand, support my boob with the other & bat her hand away from grabbing & pinching!
I started Elena on Rice Cereal a few weeks ago…I was naïve to think that babies just know how to eat off a spoon…I mean, every other baby I’d ever fed just did it! Of course, I wasn’t there for their first, second, tenth try either…Elena would open her mouth wide for the spoon but just as I would put it in, she’d look down at it resulting in spoonfuls ending up in her nose, cheek, forehead…I felt like such a dummy!
She’s got the hang of it now & I figured out she prefers it warm rather than cool & am working on getting the consistency of the cereal just right. I have to admit, the stuff tastes really good! I don’t mind testing the temperature with my tongue & am just a little disappointed when she eats it all without leaving me a spoonful!!
Cereal all over her face & loving it!

Getting a nose full


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Not Fair

I'd been composing a post all week...just the usual update on life & happenings, etc...but since Friday, all I can think about is Shannon & Finn. I am stunned by Finn's MRI results. My heart hurts for Shannon & that she has to go through this. Please click over & offer her words of support. I wish there was more we could do but hope at the very least we can offer her strength.

Growing up, I would often lament (read whine), "But it's not fair!!" And without fail, my father would always respond, "No one ever said life was fair, kiddo." Now, as my heart screams, "NOT FAIR!!!" in my head I hear that Coldplay song, "Nobody said it was easy...No one ever said it would be this hard."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lazy Hazy Crazy Summer Days

Gosh…what a beautiful summer we’ve been having lately! The weather has been just perfect…not too hot or humid…the days just seem to fly by…I apologize for the long posts lately…when I get a chance to write, I really let it all out, lol!!
Elena has been doing pretty good…we have our challenging moments but thankfully there’s a lot more fulfilling moments…I am so grateful for how often I laugh these days, really laugh…I can’t remember any time in my life that I’ve laughed more often than these last few weeks…the other day Elena did something funny, I laughed then she laugh which made me laugh harder which made her laugh harder…it was hilarious!
Switching to 3 hour feeds was easier than I thought it would be…but I wouldn’t say it was completely easy either…I do feel like we have a semblance of a schedule & routine now though. It’s amazing what a difference that one extra hour between feedings makes…we have time to do things & I am confident going out more…Elena is eating better & sleeping really well. She wakes & nurses about 9am, nurses again about noon & naps, nurses around 3pm & naps, nurses about 6pm…we’ve been taking nice long walks in the evening at about 7pm & by the time we get home, I give Elena her bath & that takes us to her 9pm feeding when she settles for the night. Fantastic…for a week…then this last week Elena woke up in the middle of the night 3 nights in a row. I’m not really complaining since she nursed & went right back to sleep…but since then, she’s not going to bed after her 9pm feeding anymore. She falls asleep but wakes up after 40 minutes & stays up until midnight but then goes down for the night…I guess the 12 hour sleeps were too good to last but I’m guessing that since she’s getting more consistent day time naps, she only needs the 9 hours at night…and 9 hours is pretty sweet so I’ll take it. The challenging part is the 20-40 minutes before she’s due to eat…she can get very cranky & fussy…not every time but often enough…I can usually distract her but I often just give in & feed her 10-15 minutes early.
The one thing that soothes Elena 90% of the time is if I sing to her…I’m not being humble or self deprecating when I say I can’t sing…I truly have no musical talent & am completely tone deaf! So am completely flattered that she loves my singing so much…my other singing issue is that I don’t remember most of the lyrics to kids songs so end up doing medleys of a bunch of songs, lol! Anyway, one of the songs she likes the most is “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”…easy for me since I know all the words ;) & I think Elena loves all my goofy animal noises (our Old MacDonald has monkeys & elephants on his farm!)…because of Elena’s love of this particular song, I remembered having a toy when I was a kid that I think many of us had, The See’n’Say where you pull the string & it makes the noise of the animal the arrow was pointing at…well lo & behold Fi.sher Pri.ce has made an updated version that I finally tracked down! Elena loves it!

I didn’t end up starting Elena on cereal just yet even though the Dr gave us the green light…I was so excited for her to start that I went out & bought bowls & spoons & Rice Cereal that I can add breast milk to…then I just didn’t feel confident that she was quite ready…I can’t really explain why, it was really more of a gut feeling but I’m just not sure she’s quite ready…she’s showing great interest in watching us eat & other signs she’s almost ready but the one thing that was catching me up was this tongue reflex thing…I don’t quite understand what I should be looking for. If anyone can describe this for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.
Now I will leave you with a few photos since I haven’t posted any in a while…
A Laughing Moment
The day we put her crib together...doesn't she look tiny in it?!?

Playing in her Exersaucer

Out for our evening walk


Monday, July 4, 2011

Everything I’ve Been Meaning to Mention

Elena is 4 months old today! Can you believe it? I can’t! She had her 4 month check up today…she’s 16 lbs 5 oz & 26 inches long…tall? She is doing fantastically. The Doctor noted that she is a big girl but doesn’t have any concerns & was pleased with how bright & interactive she was.

I asked him about Elena feeding every 1.5-2 hours & he said at this point she is able to go for longer, it’s just up to me to extend the length between feedings…he suggested if I hold her off for 15 minutes for each feeding, Elena will catch on & I can extend things to every 3 or 4 hours…of course she’ll fuss, cry & resist at first but in a day or 2 she’ll never know the difference. It seems a little simple to me & I know it’ll be a challenge holding out when Elena is screeching to be fed but I'll give it a try!
Oh & yes, I said screeching! It’s one of her new things…she has a happy squeal-screech & an angry high-pitched screech. She also giggles and laughs all the time, it’s hilarious! She’ll start laughing at the oddest times & at the weirdest things…I think she’s inherited my odd sense of humour. Elena has also found her feet & toes…typically, she puts them in her mouth every chance she gets. This has helped her in starting to roll over from back to front…she’s done it a few times by accident & can’t quite figure it out when she’s actually trying…& now when she’s on her tummy, she has no interest in trying to roll over since she’s figured out she can scoot forward if she tries hard enough & she’s more interested in trying to do that.
Every post I’ve done lately, there was always something else I’d meant to mention & forgot…so I’ve been trying to keep track & hopefully catch up…
Cloth Diapering
Elena has been in cloth diapers since birth…we’ve had our ups & downs with them but over all I am happy. I went with a diaper service ‘cause you know my lazy ass was going to be washing diapers!! At $23 a week, cost-wise I think it’s comparable to disposables…I get 70 diapers & I’ve never run out. I made a stupid mistake the 1st week…I had purchased Mother-Ease snap covers from them (also a good deal at 3 for $30) but they didn’t quite fit Elena when she was newborn…I also didn’t realize that the covers were a necessity so was frustrated that the diapers were “leaking” every time. Then I realized that was what the covers were for, duh!
Another small issue we had was Elena was getting some mild irritation on her toshy but we put a light layer of Sudocrem with each change & she’s good. If she gets a flare up, we just use disposables for a day & she’s back to good as gold. The only other times when Elena is in disposables is thru the night, since she’s in the diaper for 8-10 hours straight (sometimes 11 or 12), the cloth was too irritating. The disposables wick away the moisture 100% better. We also use disposables when we’re out for the day…bringing home dirty cloth diapers was a pain & kinda gross to me plus the disposables are a lot less bulky…surprisingly, the diaper pail for the cloth diapers is pretty odorless, I was a little worried it would be stinky & since Elena’s changing station is in our bedroom, I didn’t know how that would go…but the pail they provide has a charcoal odor barrier so it’s not bad at all.
Baby Food
Yes, my lazy ass is going to attempt to make Elena’s baby food…I’ve been told it’s not that involved & reading Gille’s posts about it & her great tips & suggestions, I think we can manage. I kept seeing the infomercials about the Baby Bullet & thought long & hard about getting one…then a very smooth salesman at a specialty store convinced me to purchase the full size Magic Bullet saying that it was better value since the Magic Bullet has a full size motor compared to the mini in the Baby Bullet plus you could do more at one time in the Magic Bullet & use it for a lot of other stuff too…& for that day only (note sarcasm here) they would throw in a “Baby Booster” kit that had individual food containers you could date (I’m picturing the ones like with the Baby Bullet) & a no-tip toddler bowl…all for the low low price of $120!! Yeah! I was hooked!! I happily skipped home with my fantastic deal only to find that the food containers were the same ones I could have purchased at the Dollar Store for a buck & the dating system? “Use a white board marker.” Yes, that is actually what the instructions said!! And since I’d been sucked into this purchase at a specialty store, when buyer’s remorse set in, returning it wasn’t an option since they very clearly stated at the checkout “NO REFUNDS, Store Credit Only”…what the hell am I going to do with a store credit at a specialty store that only sells infomercial products?!? Then, to rub salt in the wound, doesn’t Walmart have the Magic Bullet on sale 2 weeks later for $49.95!!!! Oy!!!
The Dr gave us the green light to start Elena on cereal…I’m glad for that as she seems ready…now I just have to buy cereal, spoons, baby bowls, a highchair…
Me Time
I don’t get a lot of me time…just me…away from Elena. My Mom is great & takes her for half an hour here & there when she’s home so I can get stuff done like laundry, dishes, a shower, dinner, etc…I’m asking her a lot more often lately to help Elena get more use to being away from me but to be honest, I don’t really want to be away from her. The days can be very long & I really crave a break sometimes but half an hour feels like enough for me.
The other day, my Mom looked after Elena for a few hours so I could run some errands at the mall. I had a nice afternoon & didn’t cry like I have in the past…it was easier going from store to store looking for what I wanted & sitting in the food court having lunch all while not having to worry about Elena or when she’d need to eat or where I would be able to. So I admit, it was a nice respite but I can’t shake the guilt of enjoying my time away from Elena. Being with Elena all day every day is very fulfilling…she amazes me continually & I love watching her learn & grow. She’s become such an easy going baby after those first couple of weeks of so much crying. I know it’s as good for Elena as it is for me for us to have some time apart. I’m telling you the god-honest truth when I say I don’t crave or desire time away from Elena but I do enjoy the time away & that’s what makes me feel guilty…
Congratulations!!
I’m so happy for the numerous BFPs going around lately!! Congratulations to Andrea, SurlyMama & Lorelei…also a big congrats to Rachel for becoming a licensed Foster Mom…and a welcome to the world to Chase, who couldn’t wait to meet his Mommy! If I missed anyone I’m sorry and congratulations to you as well!
Thank You!
A huge thank you for all your support & advice on my last post! It meant so very much to me & eased my mind...the advice offered by all of you wise women was very much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Feeling Defeated

I don’t even know where it started...maybe with how little success I’m having getting Elena into her crib…maybe it’s that I’m feeling exhausted with having to breastfeed every 2 hours (or less) & being concerned I’m just not producing enough to satisfy Elena...maybe it's what I perceive as criticism from family members…I don’t know…I do know that these are “Fun Problems” & I’ll take them over the myriad of other problems I could be having…I’m left feeling so defeated & tired though…
Oh, breastfeeding…I am so very grateful that I am able to…the closeness & bonding time it allows me to share with Elena is priceless…the way she stares up into my eyes as she nurses is so precious…the convenience of not having to mix formula, wash bottles, heat bottles works well for my lazy ass & saving the expense on formula is such a blessing right now with money being so tight…I worry that I’m just not good enough…what I mean is that my milk isn’t good enough…Elena nurses about every 2 hours but usually it’s more like every hour & a half…rationally, I know she’s fine…she’s growing well, man is this kid growing!! She’s getting heavier & more roly-poly & it seems like she grows longer (taller?) everyday!! She’s already grown out of some of her size 6 months clothes!!! A drawback with her nursing so often is that it limits us for going out…though she takes a bottle well from other people, she will not take one from me…so if I go out alone, which most often I do, we have to either A) make sure there’s a place to nurse her while we’re out or B) not stray too far from home as we can only be gone for an hour & a half tops…that’s very limiting & a little isolating…there’s not as many places to nurse while we’re out as I thought there’d be.
Then there’s the crib issue…I was so naïve to think that I’d just be able to put Elena in it & she’d just take to sleeping in it without any problem…for every nap I lay her into the crib & she wakes within minutes & won’t be soothed to stay…the longest she’s made it (asleep) was 20 minutes…She doesn’t cry or get upset or anything & I’ve left her in there awake for 15-20 minutes hoping she’d fall asleep or at least become comfortable being there. I’ve tried a dozen techniques of placing her down…I’ve tried staying in the room, I’ve tried leaving right away…I’ve tried using a heating pad to warm her place before putting her down…I’ve waited until she’s deep asleep before putting her down…I’ve tried laying a t-shirt of mine down hoping the scent would trick her…I’ve tried running a fan for white noise like we have at night…nothing works! I’m at my wits end & ready to give up but know it’ll just get harder...
Then I’m questioning why I’m even putting so much pressure on us both to use the crib! A big part of me feels like I’m only doing it because everyone (my family) seems to think I should…I mean, Elena is sleeping just fine in my bed!! She naps really well in my bed & sleeps 8-10 hours through the night!! Why mess with that? It’s not like I have a partner that shares my bed & we have to worry about our relationship or intimacy or whatever…I know I always said I wouldn’t co-sleep but can’t I change my mind? The night before last (the 1st (& only) night I put Elena in her crib at night) as I watched her sleep through the bars of the crib while I lay in my bed, it made me really sad…really, really sad. When I read about the negatives of co-sleeping, all that’s listed is the detriments to a couple or safety issues…well I don’t need to worry about the couple issues & I have been very diligent in making Elena’s sleep space safe…the benefits, however, seem to be plentiful…so am I just using these as an excuse to take the easy route? I don’t think so…
Everything I’ve done for Elena so far, every decision I’ve made, I’ve done research & asked advice but bottom line, I’ve trusted my gut…when I’ve considered stopping breastfeeding, my gut says, “NO!!!” When I think about keeping Elena in my bed, my gut says, “Yes”. I know that’s not a popular choice but I feel it’s the best choice for us.
I even feel better already having put it all out there! What do you all think?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Soundtrack to My Life

I’ve always felt like the songs on my iPod are the soundtrack to my life…okay, not all the songs. I mean Epic by Faith No More or In One Ear by Cage the Elephant don’t have much meaning other than they’re a good freakin’ songs…but a lot of the songs on my playlist have deep sentimental meaning for me.
Since Elena was born, I’ve been reevaluating my Favourites Playlist. I’ve realized that a lot of songs just aren’t the sentiment my heart is singing now…like Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, Desperado by The Eagles, Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holiday, One by Three Dog Night, Possibility by Lykke Li just to name a few…I still love these songs…they’re just more gloomy for my current state of mind. I’d rather listen to Good Mother by Jann Arden, I’m On My Way by The Proclaimers, On The Radio by Regina Spektor, Ordinary Day by Great Big Sea or ‘S Wonderful by Ella Fitzgerald…these are better examples of songs that reflect the joy in my heart.
One year ago today marked the beginning of this fabulous life I now live. One year ago I wrote this post to my one viable Follie…the next day, one year ago today, sperm was sent to meet egg & my life began to change forever. Elena began this very day last year. There was one song that I listened to repeatedly during that time…the lyrics spoke what my heart felt. The song? More Than Life by Whitley…this verse particularly:
“To touch something real,
Will help your wounds heal,
Like the sun on your face,
The dreams of starry nights.

And we are homeward bound,
And I, I want this more than life…”
I listen to it now & it still makes me cry…I’ll never hear that song without feeling all the hope, fear & excitement of last year. This day last year, I dreamed & prayed that today I would be holding my child in my arms, kissing her beautiful face, reveling in her precious smile & that is exactly what I’m doing today.