Thursday, March 28, 2013

Week 31: Party Animal

Week 31: 03/17/13 - 03/23/13

Spring Break this year looked a bit different than it did nine years ago when I was sippin' cocktails in Panama City Beach, Florida with 7 other sorority sisters.

A bit quieter, I'd say.

Yet still one of the best weeks I've had.

I got to play stay-at-home mama.
And did lots of shopping.
And our besties from RI came in to visit.
And you got to stay up late every night.

It was so wonderful to see Auntie Lynne and Uncle Paul.
Things felt so...normal.

Of course Auntie packed an entire carry-on with gifts for you.
That's what aunties are for. 

And just when I think these sweet gifts for you can't be topped.
Auntie brings you a backpack full of handmade goodies.
Like a baby afghan made by one of her co-workers.
A baby afghan?

We *all* had so much fun.
Just like old times.
Lounging in our sweats.
Chatting for hours and hours.
Spending way to much money on dinners out.

We couldn't get enough of them.
And they sure couldn't get enough of you. 

We even *kinda* forgot we were parents for a day and indulged in 2:00 happy hour at the Mexican restaurant up the street.
Yes, you participated.
(Well, by virtue of attendance.)
And yes, we got the you-are-horrible-parents eye as others walked by and glared while we sipped our drinks and you happily chewed on your baby cracker.
I don't understand the judgement.
Our sang-a-ritas were only the size of a salad bowl.

Just reliving the good ol' days, I guess.

Thanks for skipping multiple naps.
Multiple days in a row.

You party animal, you.

After all.
It was spring break.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 30: Little Person with Big Changes

Week 30: 03/10/13 - 03/16/13

Sweet Beans.
You're such a little person now.
Stop growing up, please.
Or a least just slow down a little. 

This week was a big one.
Full of changes.
All of them make me smile from ear to ear.

Like how you love the wind.
I mean, love.
When we go outside and the wind blows in your face,
you laugh hysterically.
It's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

And you've started reaching out for us when you want to be held. 
Stops my beating heart. 
Simply turns it to a puddle of goo.

You *finally* sprouted your second tooth.
This one seemed to give you more trouble than the last.
You were a bit fussy.
Right up until that thing popped through.
Then, you were a happy camper.
So was mama.

And a few funny discoveries.

You've learned how to fake cough.
And you think you're quite clever.
These "coughing" sessions always end in giggles.
For both you and Mom.

And I think you may have found a thumb replacement.
However, I doubt it's permanent.
But you sure do love this replacement.
Your toes!
You would suck on those things until they shriveled to prunes if I let you.
You are simply amazed by them.

Although you refuse to do much moving outside of it, 
you do love to move around in your crib
We find you in the most hilarious positions.
Your favorite is getting your leg stuck in the crib slats. 
Mama needs to get on the ball and get you some crib bumpers.

And Auntie Laura from Rhode Island came for a visit. 
You sure love visitors. 
But you especially loved Laura. 
You both played for hours.
And she found the real key to your heart.

It was so great to have her here.
We chatted for three days straight.
And she even gave me some tips on how to work on your motor skills because she's a PT who works with little tots.

She said you're just a little perfectionist who is afraid of failure.
Who in the world did you learn that from?
Sorry, Chunkin.

For example, you have a hard time putting out your arms to support you.
And you get nervous to try new things.
But after working with Laura just a bit, you now automatically put your arms out to support you and even cross over to reach out to pick up toys. 

We also went to the park.
Where you got to play with your buddy Henry.
And you rode on a swing for the first time. 
You laughed and laughed.
And my heart melted.

Nothing new there.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

7 Months

7 Months Old: 03/19/13

Everyone warned me.

Told me to soak in every moment because once you blink, it's over.

Part of me rejoices with every new phase that your sweet little age brings.
The other part of me panics and pleads with time, begging it to hang on for just a few more minutes.

Seven months, Chunkin.

You are now closer to your one year birthday than the first day you came into the world.
That is pure insanity, I tell you.

And everyone was right.
It has gone so fast.
Too fast.

I'd say this month went the quickest.
Probably because we had so much fun.
You are just so much fun.

Milestones. Well. How do I put this? You're not much of a mover. Many of your little friends move all over the place while you sit there perfectly content batting your eyes and gently playing with one toy. You are tolerating your tummy much more than the early days...but not for long. You seem to be nervous to put your hands and arms out in front of you to support you. Lucky for us, Auntie/Dr. Laura came in for a visit and gave us some tips for how we could work with you. She said it looks like you're a perfectionist who gets nervous to try something new for fear of failure. Who in the world did you get that from? ;) But you're already making progress and using your arms for support on your tummy and while you cross over to reach for toys. Yay! 

Starting to understanding cause and effect these days. Like if you throw something, it falls on the floor. So you do it over and over...until mommy catches on and puts a stop to it. And if you bang something, it makes noise.

You started your stranger-danger phase last month. Doc said it's actually a healthy emotional milestone, it's just that you reached it early. She said most babes experience this around 9 months. Luckily, you've already pretty much outgrown this phase. Now, you go straight to Grams and Gramps without crying first AND you were even passed around for an hour while Mom got her teeth cleaned at the dentist. Go, Chunkin!

Firsts.  You are reaching and grabbing anything and everything in front of you. You even used your pincher grasp for the first time. You picked up a puff with your finger and thumb, carefully examined it, then put it in your mouth. You go, girl.

You started drinking from an open cup. It started because GiGi and Pops like to have their morning coffee with you. But, you were starting to get frustrated because you didn't have your own coffee cup too. So, GiGi gave you Dad's old cup - it's literally a mini coffee cup. You hold onto the little handle and drink water straight from your cup - with help from GiGi of course.

Big Moments. We've *finally* sprouted tooth # 2! It took about two weeks for this little guy to bust through. This one definitely gave you more trouble than the last one, but still not too bad. You were overly needy and a bit fussy for a few days, and I kept thinking that it would cut through. And it finally did this morning!

GiGi has had a blast taking you out for quick errands and to lunch with friends. And you have become quite good at napping in public with Mom and Dad and are even able to make it out past your bedtime. We just don't like to make a habit of it. ;)
Clothes.  You can still wear a few 3-6 month things, but you fit perfectly in 6 month clothing. We're in between seasons right now, and Kansas weather is making picking-out-outfits incredibly difficult. All your spring clothes are 9 months, but some days we need sweaters and pants because it's been so cold. Ready.for.spring.

Eating. You're still eating two 4.5 ounce bottles and two 1 oz. cubes of solids mixed with prune juice at GiGi's every day. When we upped your solids to two cubes, you started having major bowel troubles. So, we slowed things down a bit. *Plus mom's trying to keep up her supply (which is slowly starting to dwindle). Bottom line - You LOVE food and are such a good eater. You start kicking your legs and squealing while I get it ready. Your palette was introduced to some new foods including: butternut squash, pears, green beans, peaches, and puffs

Sleep. One word: Champion. You still sleep 12-13 hours a night completely uninterrupted. And two really good naps around 9:00 and 1:30 every day. You did have a few days where you didn't nap well at all, thanks to your pesky little tooth. But of course you got right back on track. 

P.S. Can't hold it in anymore. Pet peeve is when people say how "lucky" we are to have such a good sleeper on our hands and to be prepared for next baby because he or she will likely never sleep. Yes, you are an angel sleeper...but with a strict schedule, consistency, and lot of torturous-at-times work. Didn't just come naturally. The end. 

Loves. Everyone who cares for you, but particularly Pops and your Dad. I can't even nurse you when Dad is in the room. You continue to adore Samson and laugh hysterically when Sam and Sienna play. You love anything that crinkles, including your crinkly "Kitty Tails" book, and you are especially loving on your feet these days. Oh, and drinking from a cup and eating while adults eat. 

Dislikes. When other babies are rough with you. You have several boyfriends. And to prove their manliness, they tend to pull you down, poke your eye, or hit you. You do not think this is fun. Therefore you do not like boys yet. And I'm ok with that. 

Personality. The perfect way to describe you is a delicate flower. You are so soft, gentle, quiet, and shy. When you are in a room full of people you don't know, you just observe quietly until you are comfortable. Then, you are all giggles. Overall, you're just plain sweet. Even the way you talk is so soft and delicate. I seriously think I might eat you. 

Favorite Playthings. All books, Samson, anything squishy or cloth, Sophie (still going strong), teethers, and mirrors. 

Happy Seven Months.
Please slow down. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Six Month Pics *Swoon*

Oh my heavens.

I'm aware that I'm quite partial.
Totally biased.

But I think Lyla Beans' six month photos turned out nothing short of perfect.

And the best part?
This was only Part I of the photo shoot.
We still get to take family pics.
In *hopefully* spring-ish weather.

Oh my.
Life doesn't get much better.

My dear friend, The Ali Moore, did a phenomenal job.
Per usual.

Couldn't be happier.
I'm not kidding when I say I've probably looked at these images over 100 times.

I was really hoping Ly would cheese it up for the camera.
You know, show off that toothy grin.
(And by toothy, I mean one tooth with another making its way through).

But what we got was even better.
She showcased her sweet, bashful personality.
With eyes that say, "Who? Lil' Ol' Me?"
And it melted my heart.


These pics.
Treasures, I tell you.

*Reason number 747 why I love my friend.
This last pic was a last-minute, "Hey, hey, you get in the picture...I promise your face won't be in it." (Good thing too. No makeup and hadn't-been-washed-the-whole-weekend hair.)

And look at the result.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Week 29: The Good Life

Week 29: 03/03/13 - 03/09/13

If you were to freeze-frame snapshots of this past weekend at the Greens, you would probably see me doing the following:

Babysitting two tots on a Friday night.
Putting in some serious couch time with pups, a pretty cute baby, and one-hunk-of-a-man. 
Doing approximately 8 loads of laundry.
Grocery shopping before dawn Sunday morning.
Grading some papers.
Napping on the couch with a Chunkin.
Getting embarrassingly excited about Lyla's first time sitting in a restaurant high chair. 

I'm sure you're so incredibly jealous that you no longer want to be my friend.
And I'm sure you will strive to live as thrilling of a life as me.

I mean seriously though. 
I've always lived for the weekends. 
But now, I mean I live for the weekends. 
Except when we have more than 3 things on the calendar.
I've decided 3 is my limit. 

Anything more than that takes away from snuggles. 
And relaxation.
And the ability for my brain to stop for more than 6 seconds.
And for my OCD tendencies to prepare for the following week.

Life with Chunkin has totally allowed me to stop and truly live for lazy, boring weekends.
And appreciate the small things in life. 
I mean.
I'm pretty much living as the Europeans do. 

This is the good life, I tell ya.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Working Mom Update

Right before I went back to work - 12 weeks old

The last time I really shared my thoughts on being a working mom was at the two month mark.
As in, two months back to work.

It's been four months.

Since I left the blissful world of waking up every single morning with a smile on my face.
Spending precious quality time snuggling my baby.
Focusing on nothing but my family.

Four months.
Since joy came to a screeching halt.
As I lost the battle with reality.

I've said it many times.

My first two months back were dizzying.

Many mornings were spent pleading with God.
"Please Lord, give me the strength today."

I wish I could tell the old me,
things will get better.
You can do this.

It's hard to articulate those raw feelings from when I first went back to work.
They were so foreign to me.
I had no clue how to handle them.

I've always envisioned myself as this rock-star professional who perfectly balances her home life.
You know those women.
The ones who I am absolutely positive have some kind of super power.
The ones who seemingly have it all.
Do it all.

That's not me.

Before I had a baby,
I didn't get the big deal.
I couldn't even fathom the idea of staying home with my kids.
And I never understood how women cried when they left their babies to go to work.
I mean, you get to see your kids in the evenings.

Those thoughts came back and sucker-punched me right in the gut.

After having Lyla, I had ridiculous brainstorm sessions about home businesses I could start so I could stay home.
"I'll take up sewing and sell lots of homemade goodies on Etsy."
"I'll be Gabe's pr/marketing manager and help him start a brewing business."
Or the best yet...
"I'll open an in-home daycare!"

I was clearly coming down from some breastfeeding hormonal high or something.
And was certifiably crazy, I'm sure.

I'm still not sure what the hardest part was...
The fact that I went from seeing my baby 12 hours a day to 2 hours.
Trying to figure out how to work 8 hours at school and another 3-4 at home.
Balancing the laundry, dishes, cleaning, diapers, grocery shopping, get the point.
Or coming to terms with the fact that my life was working and nursing. Period.

It didn't make me feel any better that I had friends all around me who were either staying home full time or working part time.
Or that I had other friends who went back to work and actually enjoyed the balance. And didn't have a hard time at all.
That stung the worst.

But over time, things got better.
The hormones started balancing out.
I started changing my attitude.
And I finally came to terms with my situation.

Fast forward four months later.

I still have really hard days.
But I feel myself again.
I'm just a little more forgetful.
*Ahem* A lot more forgetful.
I'm in a routine and have a supportive husband who makes happiness possible.
I savor every single second with my Chunkin.
I'm very protective of family time on the weekends.
I find joy in the smallest of things.
I'm thankful for my job.
And even more thankful for a fabulous team.
And co-workers who are guaranteed to make me smile. Daily.

Needless to say.
Things are a lot easier than they were in the beginning.
However, that buzzing dull ache in my heart is still there.

I still wish I had more time.
I still wish I could rock Lyla without thinking of at least 200 other things I need to get done.
I still wish I could really focus on my family.
And my family only.

There are many women who are able to juggle it all.
And although I am very capable of juggling it all,
I'm trying to figure out if I want to.

One of the moms of a student in my class came in and talked to me last week.
I idolize her mommy ways.
She's cool, but still mom.
She's strict, but still nurturing.
She's hilarious, but stays on top of her kids' academics.
And she was a top-performing professional at one point.
Until she had a baby.
Like so many moms, she realized that she wanted nothing more than to focus on her family.
So after a good-go of trying to make it work,
she quit her job.
Because she realized that 18 years goes by incredibly fast.
And you have one shot to do the whole parenthood thing.
And she fully recognizes that many/most other women do make it work.
But she simply couldn't.

Then, I read this blog post this morning.
And it was such a good reminder.
That I truly cannot have it all.
And I am not the only one who struggles daily with the whole "How do I balance it all" thing.

And bless my sweet husband's heart.
He says it everyday,
"Ang. You have to be able to let something go. Although you think you can, it's impossible to be perfect at everything."

And he's so right.

I am not, nor ever will I be perfect.
And I must learn to let things go.

So that's where I'm at now.

Re prioritizing.
Learning to say no.
Trying to figure out how to be passionate about my job...without being the best.
Being ok with imperfect.
Being ok with not having time to come up with the best-lesson-any-teacher-has-ever-come-up-with.
Trying leaving work before 5:00.
Leaving work at work. (Um. This one is pretty impossible).
And not feeling guilty about one darn thing.

Because I'm a MOM.
And my family comes first.

It's quite amazing how a baby...someone whom you've never even met...can take every single priority you've ever had in life, and throw it out the window.

And I have to chuckle.
Because just a year ago, we were talking about how we couldn't even imagine our lives with a baby.
I want to have 100 babies.

Priorities, people.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Week 28: Happy Heart

Week 28: 02/24/13 - 03/02/13

Most days I am a frazzled mess. 

Running around like an absolute lunatic. 
Hobbling to my car with my suit-case-size teacher bag, my pump, my giant straight-from-the-hospital jug full of ice water, a packed lunch, my recess coat, and a laptop. 

And even though I double and triple check to make sure I've got it all together,
I usually forget at least one thing. 

This week is a perfect example.

Tuesday: forgot to put on deodorant.
Wednesday: locked my keys in my car
Thursday: left my pump at school 

Forgetting things just starts to become part of my daily routine.
It's a miracle straight from the Lord that I make it out the door with my pants on. 

And then.
Every once in awhile,
I receive a special gift. 
One that brings me to tears. 
And to my knees.
Out of pure thankfulness. 

I get the rare gift of time.
Time spent with my sweet babe.

Last week, I started off the week with not one, but TWO unexpected snow days.
Best surprise ever. 

My lunch was packed on Sunday night.
Clothes laid out.
And I was already feeling grateful for the two previous snow days spent with you.
And then I got the call. 
Another snow day.
And then yet another the day after that. 
Four snow days in a row. 

And you know what? 
I didn't get stir crazy even for a second. 
I savored every single second with a certain chubby-cheeked little lady. 

And this past week was jam-packed with so many fun things. 

Now when I sing to you, you start singing back.
And you finally outgrew your little mohawk. (As sad as I was, your sweet combover has totally grown on us).
You have started laughing and kicking when you wake up from your naps. One day, Dad and I were downstairs watching a movie while you napped. We kept hearing this banging. We thought someone was working on something outside. Until we finally realized it was you...happily banging your legs in your crib. You thought it was hilarious.
You had your six month checkup. You weigh 15 lbs and 4 ounces and are 26.2 inches long. 
After your shots, you and Dad came to visit me at parent-teacher conferences. It's so cute how you get shy around strangers, but you were quite comfortable with my teammate, Miss Sarah. But the doctor said your stranger-danger phase is actually very healthy. It means you are emotionally aware of those who care for and love you. Melt my little ol' heart. 
The doc was also quite impressed with your ability to sit so well. Thank goodness. Because you still refuse to roll. Luckily doc said not to worry about this one bit. 
Oh. And we cuddled. A lot. You even fell asleep in my arms a few times. Heaven, I tell ya.  

It was a good little week.

One that I will always look back on and smile.