Sunday, August 16, 2015

These are a few of my favorite, this isn't the Sound of Music post. Sorry Dustin!

    Hello world! I hope you all had a great summer! We sure did - a lot better than last summer!
Newborns are cute and all, but toddlers are a whole lot more portable.

    We were able to visit my Grama Heinemann and Uncle Mark and Aunt Marian (my mom's brother and sister in law) as well as my Michigan family: my Grama Berry, Uncle Doug and Aunt Cindy, Uncle Dale and Aunt Peggy, and their kids, my cousins Katie (and her husband Cal) and Tom. We even stopped over in Atlanta to see my cousin Beth and her new baby, Emma! It was a busy, wonderful summer.
Reading with Aunt Mare

Uncle Mark, Aunt Mare, and "dog-father" Augie

The new grandmothers! (My Aunt Peggy and baby Emma on the right)

So, Facebook tells me that a whole lot of you are having babies! Now that I'm a parenting expert (ha ha!), I thought I'd throw out my own list of "must haves" for a newborn, keeping in mind that there is NO list that will work perfectly for your baby. It's basically pointless to read them. Wow, I'm really selling this, aren't I??

Without further new-baby "must have" list:
  1. Some kind of swaddler. Because the Pavlik harness made everything difficult for Claire's first 6 weeks of life, we own every swaddler under the sun in hopes that one of them would work. None of them did. But you better believe that as soon as we could take that damn harness off, that baby got swaddled! Russell's favorite is the Miracle Blanket and mine is the Halo SleepSac, but a good ole muslin wrap works fine too! And don't be shy – swaddle that baby TIGHT because otherwise she will Houdini her way out after you've spent 45 minutes nursing, tiptoed to her crib, laid her down super slowly, eased out of the room, laid down in your own bed and opened “Candy Crush”. That's when she'll break free.
  1. AngelCare Monitor. Okay, don't judge me. The baby industry preys on the scared, which is easy since all new parents are, at least a little, terrified. When I was a baby, I think “baby proofing” meant those brittle plastic plug protectors and the number for poison control on your . Now, there's an entire industry for keeping your precious baby safe. It's overwhelming. So, I allowed myself one “crazy, terrified, first time mom” item for Claire and this is it: the AngelCare Monitor. Basically, it's a sensor that sits under her crib mattress and registers every time she breathes. If she stops, it sounds an alarm. I know it's crazy, but it gives me enough peace of mind to sleep at night. I'll be keeping it under her mattress until she leaves for college.
  1. White noise machine. When I first heard about babies and white noise, I was skeptical. I mean, I get that the womb is loud, but when she was brand new, I could wake her up by exhaling, so how can this kid sleep through waves crashing at 150 decibels? Let me tell you – you're gonna want to set that machine on the loudest setting imaginable. I recommend something along the lines of “Air Raid over Tel Aviv”. I can almost see her get tired when I turn the machine on. Also, our old house floors are incredibly squeaky, but with the sound machine, I wait for a big “crash” of the “waves” and then dart out of her room. It takes 5 or 6 big waves to get me out and the door shut, and I feel like a ninja, or one of those ghosts from Super Mario Brothers that only moves when you're not looking at it.
  1. (Avert your eyes, dad and former students) Breast pads. I was really lucky to be given some handmade cloth breast pads and I  used them almost every single day in the months after Claire's birth. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck in public with no protection when your boobs decide to show off their new skills and soak through your shirt. When Claire was a few weeks old, I stupidly went to lunch and a show with my mom, not realizing that being away from your newborn for 6 hours is no bueno for your boobs. If it wasn't for those breast pads, the whole audience would have had to evacuate the theatre because of flooding.

5. This little miracle:

So many things wrong with this picture: her hair's been washed and curled. She's not still wearing maternity clothing. That baby isn't crying, yet she's sitting there like a dumbass. GO WATCH TV. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT.

Our Fisher Price Rock 'n Play was handed down to us by my friend Aundrea who got it from her friend Melissa. I've now handed it down to Aundrea's sister, Kat. Did you follow all that? The point is: this bad boy is awesome. Claire napped in this thing WAY better than anywhere else plus it folds up and isn't huge. My only complaint is that the version we all used doesn't rock itself, but I see that the new one does. High five, Fisher Price!

And of course, must haves for the new mother:
  1. Febreeze, to spray on yourself before you leave the house because you can smell the poop, you just can't seem to find it...
  2. Giant sunglasses to hide the bags under your eyes
  3. A spare change of clothes. No, not for the baby, for you when you inevitably get puked or pooped on.
  4. Gum, because let's be honest, you can't remember if you brushed your teeth.

    Wish I was kidding about any of these. 

    Well, hang in there new moms (and dads)! The good and bad news is this: in a couple of months, the problems you are going through now will have disappeared and been replaced by totally new problems! Yay parenting! 

    This week in baby-dom:
    How old is Claire?: 16 months! The most upsetting part of this is shopping for clothing. I'm really not ready for her to be a "toddler", but Target is trying to force feed me baby booty shorts and t-shirts with glitter My Little Ponies on them. I'm all "WHERE ARE THE 2T ONESIES??"

    How Claire is eating:Well, she'll eat most anything but her favorites are cheese cubes, cottage cheese, anything bread, carrots, and peas. Her least favorites are meatballs, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

    How Claire is sleeping: Like a dream! She goes down around 6:30 and sleeps through the night until 6:30ish the next morning. She's super scheduled, so if she misses a nap, it throws off the nighttime routine a bit, but overall she's a great sleeper.

    How much weight I've lost: Sooooo....what had happened was 2 days after Claire's birthday, she came down with a killer stomach bug, which she shared with both of us. I got really dehydrated, passed out, fell out of a chair, and ended up with an inner ear thing / concussion / "good shaking", depending on which medical professional you talk to. Whatever it was, it made me dizzy for, oh, 5 MONTHS. After physical therapy, an MRI, and some medication, it's nearly gone, but it did knock me out of any real exercise for the entire summer. So, I actually gained 5 pounds BACK. AWESOME. Now that I'm back to school, it's slowly coming off again, but if you see me eating a cookie, smack it out of my fat little hand, mmmkay?

    Milestones this week:  Claire FINALLY took her first steps this past week! First at Lisa's house on Thursday, then at my mom and dad's house on Saturday, and finally in front of me the same day and Russell on Sunday. It doesn't count until your mom sees it, but I'm glad she's finally walking as the pediatrician was throwing around words like "physical therapy".  She's also talking up a storm, favorite words being daddy, car, dog, sassy, and "whoa...."  Notice what is missing from that list, the little rat! Ignores me entirely, unless she wants something. Then it's all "MAAAAAMAAAAAAAAA!!!" 
    Sassy indeed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A year in the life

Well, we did it! We kept a baby alive for ONE ENTIRE YEAR.

I'm surprised too.

So, in planning Claire's 1st birthday party, I turned to Pinterest and searched for "birthday 1 year old". And do you know, articles popped up like "The Ultimate List of Gifts for Your 1 Year Old!!!!!!!!
and  "What every one year old little girl is dying to get for her first birthday!!!!"

First of all, my 1 year old doesn't even understand the concept of "getting" unless it's "get that puff in my mouth". So, I guess add puffs to the top of her "ULTIMATE BEST EVER BIRTHDAY LIST".

Also add cat hair because she LOVES that stuff.  Actually, that shouldn't go on the list because we are stocked up.  So, scratch the cat hair, but leave in things like empty boxes and my phone. Also strangers dirty car keys (whattup, dude in the grocery store! Thanks SO MUCH for handing my infant your filthy keys. You know what babies like. You should write Pinterest articles!) 

Sidenote: do you know how many presents were on that "ULTIMATE EXTREME TO THE MAXXXX BEST BIRTHDAY GIFTS FOR A 1 YEAR OLD EVER IN THE HISTORY OF BIRTHDAYS!!!!!!"  list?     26. Twenty flipping six. Um, for Christmas, we got Claire 1 toy and a stuffed reindeer. The toy was a xylophone in a stand that you drop balls through to hit the keys. She chews on the wooden balls, ignores the rest of it.  For Easter, we got her a headband with bunny ears on it from the Target Dollar Spot. Her birthday party is in a few days and I have no idea what I'll get her. Good thing she doesn't care and has no idea what's happening! :)

Baby stats:
How old is Claire?:   1.  As in, 1 YEAR OLD.  52 weeks.  I have no words for this except how?? and when? And where did that teensy baby go???

How Claire is eating: Oh, the eating. Claire LOVES to eat. Big shock. We're a bit behind on the whole "solid foods" thing, but who cares? It's not like she's going to go to kindergarten eating pureed bananas. Also, until this last tooth popped in, solids have made me nervous. Everyone who has had kids is like "give her a slab of beef jerky!" and I'm all "SHE HAS 2 TEETH!"

Prunes were a bad choice
How Claire is sleeping: Pretty well. Daylight savings time meant we got to bump her bedtime from 5:30 pm to more like 6:30 pm, which actually makes a huge difference. Now we can make it home from work and actually DO something as a family instead of just get ready for bed. She still sleeps through the night, although there have been a lot of 5:30 wake up calls lately.
Up and ready for action

How much weight I've lost: Guys. GUYS. I have good news and bad news. The good news is I am back to my pre-baby weight!! The bad news is, everything seems to have shifted around and most of my old clothes still don't fit. WHAT THE HECK. This is so confusing to me because I feel like if my waist got bigger, yet I still weigh the same amount, something had to have shrunk, right? But I can't figure out what that is. Maybe my earlobes? My pinky fingers? Ooh, or maybe pregnancy made me taller? Is that a thing? Either way, I'm still "dieting" (I put that in quotation marks because my version of "dieting" is not eating the entire pizza - just half. BOOM, DIETED.)

This is actually me now. Jk, it's Beyonce.

How Russell's doing:  I always feel obliged to update you with some kind of major Russell news, but....there's just not much going on. He ordered new grill plates! That's something, right? Ummm.....OOH, he switched to a new brand of razor blade! He'd been using the same razor since high school! So, that happened. Otherwise, pretty much the same.

Still a daddy's girl!
"I like big butts and I cannot lie"
Milestones this month: Claire can stand with help and take some tentative steps, again with help.  She is still babbling and "singing" all the time and can say "mama" and "dada", indescriminately. She can give kisses, although she's stingy with 'em.  Her favorite toys are her books, especially "Brown Bear, Brown Bear". She loves to "play" the piano with either of us. She loves being sung to, particularly "Dancing Bear", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and "Baby Got Back." Jk, just checking to see if you were still reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Again, my apologies for being so awful about updating. I may as well start each blog entry with that same apology, because I just don't see it getting any better :)

So, Claire is 8 months old and I was thinking the other day about the difference 8 months has made. In the first couple months, we were so clueless. Completely dependent on baby books, friends who have babies, and google. One time, I literally googled "What to do with a newborn all day".

Now, I'm not saying we're pros or anything, but it really is amazing that after just a few months, you kinda figure out what to do with this tiny human. Even though I just said to Russell, "Um, are we supposed to brush her teeth??", overall, I feel like we're doing pretty well. ( Sidenote: are we supposed to brush those 2 tiny teeth? )

It also doesn't hurt that Claire is a pretty easy baby. She eats anything you give her and loves the bottle (more than the boob, little tear). She goes to sleep around 5:45 each night and sleeps all the way until 6:30 the next morning. She'll sit (or rather, roll around the living room) and occupy herself for quite awhile. She's really happy most of the time.

I was also thinking about all the ways having a baby changes your marriage. Like today, Russell and I are standing in the living room in front of Claire, who is in her exersaucer. Some craptastic baby song is playing in the background and we are BOTH dancing for her. Like.....DANCING. And Russell says, "So, this is a thing we do now." Yup. This is a thing we do now. Lemme tell you - when you're holding hands under the bar with the cute guy who works in the next classroom, you don't picture someday dancing to "Where to Hide My Shushy-Byes" in your living room. :)

Baby stats:
How old is Claire?: 35 weeks

How Claire is eating: She eats all the things. She might make a face at the first couple bites, but by the time the cup is empty, she's yelling for more. So far we've had rice cereal, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, applesauce, and bananas.

How Claire is sleeping: Like a BOSS. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

How much weight I've lost:'s the thing. First I went back to work. Then, Halloween happened. Then, Thanksgiving happened. Now, Christmas is happening. So I'm still stuck at 43/48 pounds lost. I started plotting my weight on a piece of graph paper in our bathroom. I drew a line from what I weigh now to my goal. The little dots that represent my weight are currently not going in the same direction as that line. I blame math.
This was mid-sneeze :)

How Russell's doing: Russell is doing great! First of all, if you haven't seen him, he's a very skinny fella now. For Christmas, he's asking Santa for pants that fit. We both ran (well, he ran. I "ran") a 5K on Thanksgiving and he achieved a personal best.

Milestones this month: Claire sits up without any assistance, even in the bathtub (although we don't leave her there, of course). She babbles and screams ALL the time, although no words yet. Her favorite toys are her little blue piano, a squeaky elephant she chews on, and a rattle my Aunt Susan gave her. She was baptized at our church, Powell Presbyterian, and she didn't scream at all when she got sprinkled. Success!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Workin' 9 to 5

...or more like 8 to 4. Or if we're being honest, 8:06 to 4. Punctuality, before 9 am, is not my thing.

So, first of all, I realize that it's been nearly 2 months since I updated. So sorry.  It's Russell's fault - he made me go back to work. Well, him plus the threat of having to live under the bridge if I refused to go back.

I'm actually incredibly lucky to have had 6 months of maternity leave. I took all of my sick days and then a few months of unpaid leave, but it was worth it to be home with this all day:

There was a lot of this:

And a lot of this:

Plenty of this:

This face is the one that will get her a pony someday

which was usually followed by this:


We hung out with our favorite people:

                     And our favorite guy: 

 Some days were really hard, but most were full of this:

I'm glad to be back to work: I don't think I'm cut out for being a stay-at-home mom forever. But I sure do miss that baby all day! 

Baby stats:

How old is Claire?: 29 weeks. Next Monday, 30 weeks. How does that happen so fast???

How Claire is eating: Well, we introduced solid foods starting with rice cereal, then sweet potatoes, then peas. She was a big fan of rice cereal and sweet potatoes. Peas, not as much, but she won't turn them down!

How Claire is sleeping: Claire is sleeping so well, I'm afraid to type these words because I don't want to jinx it. She goes to sleep most nights with very little crying around 6:30 pm and sleeps straight through til 6:30 AM. It's amazing.

How much weight I've lost: 43 pounds, out of the 48 I gained during pregnancy. I am soooooo stuck with 5 pounds to go. Going back to work isn't helping, nor is daylight savings time. It sucks to work all day, come home, play with the baby for a couple hours, put her to bed, and then head out, in the dark, to the gym. Blah. Maybe if I whine about it more, the pounds will melt off?? Sigh.

How Russell's doing: PRAISE JESUS, BAND SEASON IS OVER. This is a blessing for all of us. Besides having the sinus infection from hell, Russell's doing fine!

Milestones this week: How about milestones this month, since I never update :) Claire can sit up on her own now, although she'll fall over eventually, so we can't wander far. She loves to hold her own bottle and blow raspberries. I think she recognizes the words "daddy", "mama", and "Bijou", who is the love of her life. She doesn't care much for the swing anymore and barely fits in her "shaky seat". She can sit in her high chair for solid foods. Basically, we're applying for colleges next week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grevious offenses in children's programming

Before I had a baby, I swore up and down that my future children would not watch a ton of TV. I was downright judgemental about it. Couldn't believe there's actually an entire channel dedicated to BABIES. I mean, really, who puts their infant in front of the TV? Is staying at home really that hard that you have to rely on an animated rabbit to get through the day?

Um, YES. YES IT IS THAT HARD AND HE HAS A NAME. Harry. Harry the bunny. Don't talk trash on him, he's the reason I get to shower every day.
I love you, Harry the Bunny.

Suffice it to say, Claire watches a little TV every day. I know. Go ahead and scratch my name off the “Mother of the Year” ballot. I'll live. But don't think I'm not suffering here – yes, I'm getting a shower, but I'm also being subjected to TV that is geared to someone who poops their pants. Here are a few “highlights” of the BabyFirst channel -

First up we have Larry, the toucan. He teachers vocabulary. Get it? VocabuLARRY? Yeah. That part's not that bad. It's Larry's personality that's enough to push you over the edge. This entire show consists of unseen children introducing Larry to a new word and then Larry bouncing all over the screen, screaming the word like your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. 
Off-screen children: “Look, Larry! A Shirt! Look at the shirt!”
Children: “Look, Larry: many shirts!”

Fortunately, this show's only about 3 minutes long. Unfortunately, they run it over and over again, all day long.

Next we have a show called “Tillie and Knock-Knock”. It's basically a lesson in how to get kidnapped. Tillie, who is a duck, hears someone knocking at her door. Without seeing who it is, she makes an educated guess (“Who could be at the door?” Person at door: “Moooooo” Tillie: “It sounds like a cow”).  Then here's where it turns bad. Instead of, say, looking through a peephole, Tillie just goes ahead and flings the door open. Someday, some duck pedophile is gonna catch wind of this idiot and go a-knockin', masquerading as a horse or something, and the show's going to be renamed “Tillie and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”.

And lastly, the “Notekins”. Overall, a good show. It's this group of 8 little people who teach basic music concepts: high, low, fast, slow, you get it. Each episode, they visit someone new: Mr. Banjo, Mrs. Cello, etc. I'm on board with all of that. It's their outfit that bothers me. See if you can figure out why:

Okay, if you're not an anal-retentive musician, this wouldn't bug you. It's their hats. See that “note” on the hat? Yeah, that's not a note. It's like a half note and an eighth note mushed together. Now, I realize that Claire isn't going to remember most of this, but the music teacher in me wants to chat with their music consultant. :)

All drunk toucans, stupid ducks, and incorrect music notation aside, I owe the BabyFirst channel a debt of gratitude. Thank you, BabyFirst, for lulling my child into a zombie-like state for half an hour so that I may shower, get dressed, and maybe even put on a little make up before she starts screaming again.

This week in Babytown

How old is Claire?: 21 weeks tomorrow! I can't believe she's 5 months old. On one hand, it feels like she's been with us forever. On the other hand, it's flying by!
Ugh, that fat roll above her knee is my FAVE

How Claire is eating: Like a champ, as usual. She's starting to take interest in what Russell and I are eating, so even though we're a month away from starting solids, I have a feeling she's going to be a big fan.

How Claire is sleeping: Well this is a whole different blog. Here's the short version: around 4 months, babies do this cool thing called “sleep regression”. It has to do with their sleep patterns changing and REM sleep vs. Non-REM sleep and blah blah blah. What matters is she stopped sleeping through the night at around 15 weeks. Back to “up every 2 hours”. With Russell back at work, this made me near homicidal. So, around 19 weeks, in an act of desperation, we decided to do the unthinkable: we let her “cry it out”. You may have heard it called “Ferberizing”. It gets a really bad rap. Basically, we go through her bedtime routine and then lay her down, drowsy but not asleep, and let her cry until she falls asleep on her own. We go in and check on her periodically. The first night, I tried it on my own because Russell “Go the F to sleep” McCurdy has a heart of coal and doesn't mind hearing an infant cry. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I was feeling uneasy about the whole thing and wanted to try it on my own terms. So, I waited until he was at a Friday night football game, and I gave it a whirl. She cried for 3 minutes. I checked on her: patted her stomach, sang her a song. She calmed down and I left. She cried for 5 more minutes. Checked on her again. Cried for 8 more minutes and.....ASLEEP. WHOA. I deemed this a miracle from Jesus. To my surprise, she has put herself to sleep with very little crying (like, 20 minutes TOPS, interspersed with check-ins) every night since then. AND as an added bonus, she's starting sleeping through the night again. It's pretty much a miracle.

How much weight I've lost: A whopping 41 pounds, baby! I'm 7 pounds from my pre-baby weight and I better hustle because I've got 5 more weeks til I go back to work and none of my work pants fit currently... I doubt the students want to see me in running shorts and a t shirt, which is what I wear nearly every day.
this is why I hate selfies: GIANT HAND.

How Russell's doing: He's doing pretty well. His return to work has been a hard transition for all of us– fall is an especially busy season for marching band directors, so he's struggling to balance us with work. But on the plus side, he and Claire got to share their first UT game!
This is my parents fault.
See? Much happier in orange and white!

Milestones this week: Well, Claire rolled from tummy to back at 4 months exactly. I think she did it solely to avoid tummy time, which she hates. She loves to play with her rattle and her soft blocks, both of which can fit in her mouth (the ultimate goal for any toy). She enjoys being read to, especially "The Very Hungry Caterpillar".  She's weaned completely off the swaddle, which made me a little sad. Her hair keeps getting redder and her eyes are still blue. She's stopped screaming constantly in the car, which is awesome. And she's starting making that high pitched, girl squeal that all little girls make. Right now, it's adorable! Ask me again in a few months!