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.