Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things My Husband Should Know-Take 2

Dear Husband,

If I tell you we need a new steamer, you should just hop along over to the vacuum store and bring one home.  Unless that is,  you want to do the cleaning...

The washer is not magic. It doesn't remove items from your pockets or set-in poop stains from onesies. Lets pretreat the laundry...or I could go shopping for replacements.

I am not your mother.  I do not cook like your mother. Chicken-it's what's for dinner.

I work a full time job too.  Then I come home to another one.

At that full time job, I'm on the clock all day-I won't be on yours.

It wouldn't hurt you to put your dirty clothes IN the laundry basket. Next to, under or 'in the general vicinity' doesn't count.  I'll just fold them back up and put them in your drawer.

Open your ears-or I will pierce them in your sleep. Speaking of sleep-shave that beard or I'm going to carve tribal symbols into it with the dog clippers while you're snoozing.

I do complain about you to my mom-but rest assured, she still likes you. Remember-she had to deal with me for 18 years...

I love how you manage to stay calm for me when the baby gets hurt and I'm jumping around the house-although I know you're freaking out  too-on the inside.

I love sneaking glimpses of you staring at Kin in awe of her.

I think it's darn cute to see you riding that bike trailer all over town with that big goofy grin on your face.

You cook better than me.  Thank you.

I appreciate that you come home to non-existent thoughts of dinner and just start making something in the kitchen instead of complaining.

We love you very much.


Your Girls

Friday, August 17, 2012

C-Section Mama (could be a trigger)

A birth plan.  Everywhere you read says to have one.  Our birthing class instructor said to forget it-as she went on describing how our birthing process would be would be if you were with such and such practice and had so and so doctor and went naturally, as well as with an induction and then also a c-section.  I, of course, stopped listening after she described my doctor and a natural birth.  I was 35+ weeks along and had been told for months that my baby's head was down and we were ready to go.  My doctor was amazing with natural births.  He supported my decision to try to go naturally, kept you calm, didn't let you tear, and even had you pull the baby out yourself.  I was so excited!  Clearly this woman sensed my stubborn personality because she very bluntly made the comment to me (in front of everyone in class) "Oh honey. You have control issues, don't you?  You're going to have to let that go."  I should have known then that I was in for it.

A little over a week later, as I was resting my feet after work, I felt a tornado in my gut. It hurt. I couldn't get comfortable. My ribs were crunched.  I couldn't breathe.  There were elbows flying everywhere down there!  After a few hours it stopped.  Whew!

We walked in to our sonogram appointment two days later. I was anticipating any crazy news I might hear.  'She's a BOY' or 'She's REALLY BIG'.  So when the tech nonchalantly mentioned that she was breech, I was obviously caught off guard. No. No. No.  Not my baby. I was numb. "The doctor told me she was in position," is all I said to her.  She slowly moved the wand below my belly button and, as she scrolled towards my ribs, pointed out all of her parts. "There's her head, and the spine, butt, and there are her feet." You've GOT to be kidding me. 'SHE WAS IN POSITION!' was all my head was screaming.  I wasn't sure what the purpose of this ultrasound was so late in the game anyway. Now I know.  He must have had a doubt.

I headed to my weekly appointment alone that afternoon, and to my surprise, my regular doctor was on vacation.  'Convenient,' I thought.  I was introduced to a new doctor.  So new that it was her first day.  "This is Dr. ***.  She may deliver your baby in a few weeks." 'WHAT?'  I didn't know this lady from a turnpike toll collector, and now she could possibly be delivering my BREECH daughter? No thank you.  "When she entered the room, she didn't even get the door closed before I was out with it, "She's breech.  We need to fix her."  Her reply, "Oh.  That's not good."  Lady, you are not making a good case for yourself.  My doctor wouldn't have missed a beat as he calmly told me, "We have time and we have options.  Relax.  Anything could happen."  And I would have relaxed-more so than I was then anyway. Instead,  I told her that I knew my doctor would attempt a version. (Emphasizing the 'my' so that she knew she wasn't my doctor.) She seemed disinterested in my plea.

Now I'm not going to say I went into the appointment with a clear head.  All of you mothers out there know how raging your hormones get when you are pregnant, and then throw all that news on top of it...I lost it.  Right there-right in front of that lady.  I told the nurse I didn't want to see that doctor again.  I mentioned skipping my next appointment if my regular doctor wasn't back in time-and I think I also told them I'd be making sure my husband took me to a neighboring hospital if she were on call when I was to deliver.  (Yeah-that was my crazy pregnant lady moment.)

The poor lady had no clue what she'd done.  She didn't do anything really.  I just wanted my doctor.  The one who made sure I was taking care of myself and the baby. The one who watched her grow, and the one I expected to be there to make sure she came into the world safely.  At the next appointment I had with him, I made him promise to be there. (Unfortunately for him, he was off duty on my due date-but he was there!)

I left the office sobbing.  The poor desk staff didn't know what to say as I tried to schedule my next appointment.  What do you say to a very pregnant lady who leaves her OBGYN appointment sobbing?  I wouldn't risk it myself.  I got to the car and called Mark. "My plan is ruined.  I CAN'T have a c-section.  And they are trying to let a stranger deliver her!"  I'm sure that Mark heard none of this-as I was sobbing through the entire conversation.  "Are you ok? Is the baby ok?  Are you hurt?" is all he asked.  Yes.  You could say we are ok.  It's just my feelings that were taking a beating. I hung up.

Over the next few weeks we tried it all.  I was obsessed with delivering her naturally.  This baby HAD to turn.  We did acupuncture.  Twice.  I put ice on my belly;  she seemed to like it and head butted it instead of turning around.  We played music near my butt.  Mark talked to her from below my belly button. I spent most of my time at home hanging upside down off of the couch.  Each ultrasound that followed showed the same thing. Breech.  Breech.  Breech.  "She's a stubborn one,"  each tech would comment.  (Wonder where she gets that...?)

I was mad, resentful, and exhausted.  We made a plan.  The doctor refused to check my cervix so as not to jumpstart labor.  He would let me go up to my due date to allow time for her to turn.  If I didn't start labor before, we'd have a c-section scheduled for my due date-the morning of we would attempt a version. If it was successful, he'd induce and deliver naturally right then.  If not, we would have to do a c-section.  Cool. If she wouldn't turn on her own, we would turn her. (Clearly, the c-section part of the plan escaped me.)  He warned that if labor started, it could be hard to turn her, but the overall rate of success with the version is about 50%.  That sounded like a glass half-full to me!

Two days before she was due, I had a sonogram.  Girlfriend was suddenly measuring big and I was low on fluid.  At my appointment following, the doctor sent me back for a non-stress test.  I passed with flying colors and with no contractions.  We were going to try to wait and follow the plan.

The next night, we had friends over to celebrate our last night as 'a couple', and the beginning of our life as 'a few'.  I was having aching back pains-but chalked it up to my last minute shopping spree-and the 30 extra lbs I was carrying.  The next morning, I was still aching, but assumed it was all nerves making my stomach upset. Plus, I was STARVING.  No breakfast for a non-pregnant Amanda is bad, so no breakfast for a pregnant Amanda is exponentially worse.  I took in the gorgeous fall colors and scenery as Mark drove to the hospital.  After all, I wanted to remember every second of today.  It was our baby's birthday.  The best day of our lives!

Once checked in and hooked up, we found out that my contractions were 4 and then 3 minutes apart.  Crap.  Labor.  A quick ultrasound verified her right-side-up position, and then there was the version attempt.  I say attempt because it was a fail.  Glass half empty.  I watched my doctor's hands guide my baby's small body around.  Her head passed a 90 degree turn...almost 180!!!...Then flip.  She wouldn't stay.  My uterus was contracting down on her. "Ok.  We are going in for the c-section," he said.  I absolutely lost it.  I was sobbing.  NOOOOO.  This was not supposed to happen. THIS WAS NOT A PART OF MY PLAN.  I was coming here to have my natural birth.  Now you are going to bring me into an operating room, strap my arms down, paralyze me from the chest down, put a curtain beneath my chest, (what are you doing down there?) and rip my baby from my womb?  I don't think so.  Clearly, my choices were limited at that point.  The baby was coming that day. No more waiting it out.  It was get her out safely or risk hurting us both.  I had to put my selfish plan and controlling nature aside and follow directions.  It wasn't just about me anymore.  I think that's when I first became a momma. It wasn't when they made that initial cut and her little foot popped out, it was when I put her over myself.  Isn't that what being a parent is all about?

The c-section itself wasn't terrible.  Ok. I hated it. It's not for everyone.  However, I suggest you prepare yourself for a c-section just in case.  1 in 3 births occur this way for various reasons.  I wasn't too prepared for what was happening.  I knew they would numb me...but I didn't associate this with the idea that my very-active-that-day baby would seemingly cease movement.  (I just couldn't feel it.)  I freaked out (imagine that!) and they quickly got her vitals up on the screen by my head.  They did a good job of distracting me through the surgery-to the point where I was making wise-cracks.  "Hey-am I covered down there?  She's not coming out that area anymore!"  and chiming in with "Where are we going for lunch?" as the staff discussed their afternoon plans.

I got the spinal at 11:11 on 11/11/11.  And then she was here.  7 lbs, 7 oz and 19 inches long at 11:32 am. It all went very quickly.  Mark was wide eyed and open mouthed and didn't answer when I asked if she was ok.  (Hey! Is she here?  Is she ok?  Is she a girl?  Is she over 9 lbs?) She didn't cry.  She gurgled. And then I knew.  We did it.

I wish I could say that they placed her into my arms and she hasn't left my sight since, but that would be a lie. C-section babies need a little extra care.  The birth canal does amazing things for a baby that a c-section doesn't.  The nurses did their thing and finally brought her over to me.  I was strapped down, so all I could do was kiss her.  I wanted to hold her, to count her digits, to figure out whose ears she had, to comfort her after that terrifying entry into the world, and to let her know her mommy was here and loved her.  Instead, I settled for a nuzzle.  I rubbed my nose on hers and told her, 'Happy Birthday baby. I'm your Mommy. I love you.'

Then they took her.  She and Mark were taken to the 'nursery' for a bath while I was stitched up.  It seemed like forever.  Worse yet was the recovery room.  I was wheeled there and basically left alone. It was a daze.  I was alone.  No baby. No  husband. No more belly.  (and no breakfast)  What the heck just happened?  There was a socially inept volunteer stationed at the foot of my bed.  He kept his back to me and would try to make random conversation. "So you had a baby?  That's cool.  My wife had one too."  I refused pain meds-knowing they'd keep me longer to monitor my condition if I took them.  I HAD to get to that room.

So now I am one.  A c-section mama.  1 in 3 births.  Branded for life (or until my hospital agrees to do a v-back).

To say I was traumatized may be a little strong, but the way my hormones were raging, it's how I felt.  And unfortunately, that's my memory of the whole process.  I cried-a lot.  I actually cried to the point where Mark asked me to talk to the doctor about postpartum depression. I did.  I cried as I told the nurse.  I'm glad I did though, because as I came out with it, the whole emotional mess that I was came out too.  It felt good to tell someone on the outside.  Someone who didn't see Kinley every day and think that I was being stupid for not just being grateful that she was here.  '"I love my baby," I said, "and I would never ever ever want to hurt her.  I am happy with her.  I just feel cheated. I feel like they ripped my baby out and gave her to me. I didn't get to have her.  Then they stole her away and left me alone.  I'm so mad."  Then came the joyous words, "Oh honey, that's completely normal.  It's very normal to mourn a c-section.  It wasn't what  you'd planned.  You only need to be worried if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or her or if it persists past the six week period." Ahh!  I'm normal. She gave me some phone numbers in case and sent me on my way.  I never called those numbers, but I did reach out to other c-section mommas.  I asked questions and expressed emotions.  I cried a little when I needed to, and then eventually, I cried less and less.  The crying soon stopped.

And that's why it's taken so long for me to write this.  40 weeks to the day.  The exact amount of time I grew Kinley in the safety of my womb-sharing the secret of her life between just the two of us.

But when I look at this wonderful ball of 9 month old, I am coming to realize that it doesn't matter how she got here.  The point is: she's here.  In all reality, those first couple of hours apart haven't weakened our bond. (not that I would know of anyway.)  She still knows I'm her Momma and that I love her.  On a plus note, that time after her birth was a way of letting Mark in on our little secret.  He was finally able to experience some of what I had for 9+ months-and for that I am grateful.  I'm sure it's a memory for him that I'll never come close to understanding.

Recently, Kinley has learned how to nuzzle.  She leans right in and rubs her nose back and forth across mine-sometimes like a crazy person, and sometimes very gently.  She's letting me know she is here and she's my daughter.  I'm her mommy and she loves me.  Now, she can comfort me.

Our First Nuzzle

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things My Husband Should Know-Take 1

Dear Husband,

Yes, it's nice to be home with the baby all day, but it is exhausting.  I cannot sit and enjoy a cup of coffee as I browse Pinterest all day as you may think I do. That is why I try to do it when you are home.

Don't ask me how the day was.  You can tell by the extent of my disarray.  Am I showered? Then we had at least a mediocre nap.  Is there make-up on my face?  Probably a little longer of a nap.  Is my hair done, or is it tied up on top of my head in a wet knot?  Am I wearing sweats or jeans? And if it's sweats-are they the same ones as yesterday?  The higher up on the disheveled-o-meter, the quicker you should back out of the house and return with a bag of Oreos.

Bathing the baby is not helping me out or giving me a break when you keep calling me in the room to see how cute she is splashing (although she is VERY cute).  Leaving a trail of her clothes and a soggy diaper on the bed doesn't fare well in your favor either.

DO NOT QUESTION MY DAILY COFFEE INTAKE. Cookies, too, for that matter.

When I leave the baby alone with you, it's not a reason to take her to your parent's house.  You can do it.  You better do it.

On your way out the door, it's not wise to suggest that I weed the garden 'when you get a chance today'.  I'll change the locks.

It irks me that I'm on my hands and knees all day entertaining the baby, but when you come home and I'm hoping you'll take over for a bit, instead you give her a kiss, pat her on the head, and stick her in the pack-and-play.  I want to punch you.

I adore how Kin freaks out when she hears the dogs go crazy when you come home.

Kinley roams the house with me all day yelling 'Dada?' into each room we enter.

She also recognizes your picture now.

When you call and I put you on speaker phone, she practically licks the phone trying to kiss you.

I love that you love to show her off and brag about her all the time.

I appreciate your supporting my shopping initiatives when it comes to Kinley. Thanks. ;P

We love you very much.


Your Girls

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pinterest Week 3 and 4 and maybe 5...

A Pillowcase shirt for Mommy

I made this the same way as the dress for Kin-only bigger.

Another Dog Gate

A Onesie and T-shirt

This was my first attempt at stitching this way.  I'd like to say it wasn't a fail, so if you are looking for a product that has the appearance that your three year old made it, then this was a success. Don't worry-I'll keep at this technique.

Chalkboard Wine Glasses

Ok. So I cheated.  I made these for a friend's bachlorette party, but I procrastinated a bit. I ended up using pre-made chalkboard paint.  I bought keychain rings and little monogramed charms with everyone's initial on them.  They were a pain to hook around the stem-and I lost a couple of nails in the process-but they came out cute!  I attached tulle in her color-and a white 'veil' for her glass. Her mom's had blue and white.

Ruffle Butt Onesie

Not my finest work, but the ruffle butt was the important part, and I DID IT!  This was made for a friend whose baby was born on the day of Olympic opening ceremonies.

Smorgastarta Cake 

for Mark's birthday.  Homemade bread-YES, I did this from scratch!  Layers of cucumber and shrimp and avocado and crab, iced with a cream cheese/sour cream mixture, fresh parsley,  topped with the insides and Old Bay.


I really need to put more care and attention into my sewing projects.  They came out ok-from a distance.

The Big Fall

So they say it's bound to happen, but I swore it wouldn't happen to me. Kinley fell off of our bed. It's about 2.5 feet and she missed the frame and somehow escaped injury. She didn't have a mark on her.  She sleeps really well in her bed-usually-but she's had a wicked cold and had been up every couple of hours to nurse. The sleep she has been getting has been broken and restless.  She's flailing and tossing and moaning and wheezing and coughing and sneezing.  It's been miserable.  So she fell asleep nursing in the middle of Mark and I and woke up around 3:15.  My groggy and exhausted self went to roll her over to the other side and she jerked her body over. I remember desperately reaching for her and I was practically on my feet by the time she hit. I have the chills just thinking about it.  Kinley barely reacted (which is scary in itself) and cried more when I got loud then she actually did from the fall. Her whimpering lasted all of 30 seconds an then it was playtime for her. (I broke the rule of 'no talking to or playing with the baby in the middle of the night-and definitely no lights on,)  Mark stayed very calm because he knew I wouldn't. (Later, he told me he was on the verge of freaking out.  Well played, Sir.)  We broke out the Google searches. 'My baby fell off the bed!' 'baby falls' 'baby head injuries' 'signs of injury/concussion in an infant'.  I called my mom.  (Bet she loved that middle of the night blast.) We checked her over vigorously. Were her pupils dilated, was there any swelling? bleeding? bruising? rug burn? a torn cuticle?  She was fanny fluffing, so Mark suggested that I change her diaper to make sure there was no bleeding from an injured organ.  We found nothing. She was fine. We were lucky.  We were VERY lucky. I guess they make baby bones soft for people like us.  But, clearly, I haven't slept well since.

Mark and I set up new routines for middle of the night wake-ups and sick babies and talked about how even more careful we have to be with the wiggle worm.  As if I weren't anal enough...bring on the Crazy New Mom title.

Since then, I've had plenty of people share their 'dropped baby' stories with us-including a tumble Mark took himself-so I figured it was important to share mine. More importantly, I'd like to share some of the information we found helpful in assessing the situation.  Prevention-wise, we've all heard it.  Don't leave a baby unattended on a raised surface-not even for a second.  Next-put that baby behind bars.  You'll sleep better and so will she.  Google gets enough middle-of-the night hits-you don't need to be adding to them!

When to Call 911

Oh! That Dr. Sears

The Mayo Clinic

Some of this information seems a little traumatic just reading it, but it's good to know ahead of time-for worst case scenarios.  I hope you never need it.

And so we survived our first fall in one piece and handled it as a family-continually turning into moms and dads.

On a positive note, one good thing that came from this experience was that since we were all wide-eyed and bushy tailed at 4 am, we were able to catch some more Olympic coverage.  Go team USA!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is it the Moon?

As I sit here chugging down my second cup of coffee today, I'm left wondering if there is any amount of caffeinated beverage that can get me through this blessed little day. It's hard to remember why I'm so grumpy when her little bright-eyed face-complete with toothy grin-is staring back at me at 6:30 am, but, oh wait, yes, I've remembered.

To sum it up, Kinley has been a gremlin since Monday.  I'm not sure why, and at this point, I'm not sure it matters.  I just want my little Spinkle back. We had a very busy weekend visiting a new baby in the hospital, going to the fair, Daddy being gone studying a lot and PASSING his final Series 7 test! (whoop!), visiting with Grandma and Grandpa, and Daddy's birthday party.

On Monday, the little sprout had a fever.  Honestly, should could have picked up something anywhere.  The hospital is primed with germs and sickness. She could have gotten some sort of goat flu at the fair, and our house was packed with people-all of whom wanted to kiss all over that adorable little face-and, really, who could blame them? Did I mention that she was swapping spit (pacifiers) with one of her little Ethans? "This makes sense," I thought.  "We'll get through this little snafu and we'll be on our way."  FAIL.

The fever passed by late Monday night, but her horns have not yet fallen off.

She's tired, but won't sleep, playful, but won't play, hungry, but won't eat.  She wants to nurse. A lot and all the time.  After a two hour marathon last night, I was on the verge of tears. My back hurt, my boobs hurt, and I was drained in every way possible.

In my little head, I have 'Look Who's Talking' moments, during which I imagine the little darling's thought processes.

"Why not give Mommy one more magical night of seeing me every hour on the hour?  She'll be going back to work soon, and I think she'll appreciate my efforts at more time with me!" And so last night was the worst yet.

This is the tough part about babies.  Obviously, she cannot tell me what's wrong, and I don't expect her to.  (Although it would.be.AWESOME.)

Therefore, I've compiled a REAL list of what the malfunction could be:
1.  A growth spurt. She's coming up on 9 months so it makes sense.
2.  She loves me.  She can't get enough of me.  Isn't separation anxiety supposed to rear it's ugly head about
     now anyway? (I should stop here and just go with it.  Nothing wrong with tooting your horn every once  
     in a while.)
3.  Teething.  Good lord-stop the teething!
4.  A cold or bug.  She's had a sort-of dry cough and slightly runny nose.  But could that be the teeth? Her  
     fever is gone anyway...
5.  Gas.  Isn't this always the go-to?
6.  The moon.  I've always been a skeptic when it comes to blaming behavior on the phases of a sky high
     glowing object, but as I log years as a Kindergarten teacher under my belt, my cynicism towards people
     with this rationale has slowly been diminishing. So as I woke up for the zillionth time last night and    
     noticed that that blaring light that was coming through my drawn curtains was not from the rising sun
     (no people-it was 2:45 in the morning), but from the alarmingly full moon dangling above my house, I
     convinced myself that I am raising a wolf. (It would explaining the barking, growling, and biting, too.)

As much as I'd like to believe it's rationale number 2, it has become clear that the moon has taken over my happy,  sleeping through the night doll-baby.  So speaking of tooting horns, I think for now I'll just shine hers up.  She might as well look cute while tearing up our world!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pinterest Projects Week 2

So I'm a little late on posting this...

4.  Another dog gate

Mark made a big and a small one. I chose a complimentary sheet to make the small one.  Somehow our stinker dog has figured out how to push the pvc out so he can escape, but he can't get back in. Putter, the big moose, just lays down in front of it.  It works fine for both of them on the stairs in between the slats though!

5.  A korker!

Soooo easy to do and now I can adorn her little head with even more of my kooky creations!  Don't worry though, I won't leave her little tooshie out!

6.  A ruffle shirt for Kin

Unfortunately, Mommy isn't very good at measuring for her projects yet and this shirt fits her JUST RIGHT right now.  At the rate this little lumpkin is growing, she's going to be cruising into the next size sooner than later!  The ruffles on this shirt make it VERY heavy and the weather here has been outrageous.  Therefore, there is a good chance little Kin won't get to wear this gem.  Don't worry though, I will find some cute little girl to bedazzle with my creations!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pinterest Projects Week 1

Week 1

1.  Baby Sandals

They look cute, but she tries to eat them. I think they'd be better for a baby that hasn't found their toes yet!

 2.  Dog Gate

After I put it up, I decided to test it out while I took a walk. That little rat dog got through somehow!  It hasn't happened since and it looks MUCH better than two baby gates that collapse on each other.  Much cheaper too!

3.  Patriotic Wreath

This bugger even held up in that 'tornado-like, hurricane-like' storm we apparently had Friday that I slept through.  Fabric glue is no joke. Just ask my carpet..but don't tell my husband!

4.  And more tutus!

Black with bows and candy corn with layered length colors!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let the Pinned Projects Begin!

Last July (it was actually last spring, but it took me until July to join) my sister kept raving to me about this site called Pinterest.  Mostly to stop hearing the question, "Did you check out Pinterest yet?" I finally gave in and joined.  Since then, I've fallen in love with this new way to waste the day and I've been contently pinning away.  (Sorry Alysia! You were right!)

Now, I'm not going to say that I haven't tried anything that I've pinned, but I don't think I have done enough to warrant using any more precious time pinning what is essentially a wish list of cute/useful things.  Therefore, I've decided that I'm going to use this blog to keep myself honest.  I've set a goal of three Pinned crafts per week.  I'll post them on here along with other projects I've done throughout the year.  Hopefully I'll find that I've done more than I think!

As a bonus to you, if you see that I've successfully (or mostly successfully) completed a project, you can be pretty sure you can do it too. This is especially true for anything involving the kitchen-which is my nemesis.

Also, when Mark asks me what I've done all day, I can kindly refer him to this post-and then give him one of the common responses in our house these days:  'Your daughter is alive and well, isn't she?' or 'I was raising your child.'

This 'project' should be fun considering our house need to be clean for showings and I've already covered the place in fabric, paint, tulle, cement, yarn, and thread.

And, Kristyn, I think I'll save the dairy dishes for November...

Ready? Go!

Week 1

Baby 'sandals'

Next up: Dog gate.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off to the Beach

So recently, we were invited to a friend's house to hang out by the pool and to swim.  Looking back at our (my) preparation for this big event, (Kinley's first real time in a pool!) I am realizing how much life really has changed.  Last summer-although whale-like in shape-my big heading-to-the-beach concerns were:

1.  Did I have enough water?
2.  Was my bag packed? (Sunscreen, book, towel, bug spray, crackers.)
3.  Were my legs shaved?
4.  I hope no creeper is hanging out at the beach today.
5.  Were all my parts tucked in or covered appropriately for the beach-viewing audience?

The general prep time was about 10 minutes.

This year, it appears that the scenario will go more like this:

 1.  Do I have the sippy cup?
 2.  Do I have the cooler filled with extra water?
 3.  Do I have the beach tent?  Where are all the pieces to that thing? How in the world am I going to
      get this assembled alone with her?
 4.  How many towels are in that bag?
 5.  Make sure her blankie comes with us!
 6.  How many toys did I pack?
 7.  Grab the teether.  And the pacifier. Maybe two...
 8.  How many diapers did I pack?  Do I have the swim diapers?  Don't forget the wipes.
 9.  Do I have her hat?  Did I grab an extra-you know-just in case?
10. What will I do if I can't get a close parking spot and I notice some childless, twenty-something  
      woman parked in my much needed beachside space?  Would it be rude of me to glare at her and
      stare her down until she leaves? Is that appropriate behavior for a mother?
11.  Did I coat every little inch of that with SPF 70?  What if I missed a spot?!

The vision of my once of my bikini-clad, barefoot self cruising out onto the sand with little bag in hand has morphed into an overly-covered-infant-toting bag lady with a five-o'clock shadow stumbling towards the water.

And I'm ok with that.

Besides, with all of that time spent on my 'new concerns', it is fortunate for me that Mark has decided that, this year,  I should worry less about tucking in my new parts.  ;P

Goodbye lazy beach days!  Hello family beach trips!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turning Into Dads

As much fun as it's been to watch myself 'turn into a mom', there's one thing that's been way more fun.  Watching Mark turn into a dad.

I knew that he was incredibly eager for me to release her into the world, but I wasn't exactly expecting the possessive side of him to take over from minute one of her life!

As the doctors were below the curtain doing their thing and bringing our baby into the world, the only view that my anxious, practically-shackled-to-the-table-self (more on that later) had was of the blue curtain at my chest and the face of the very confused man standing above me (Mark).

He wasn't saying much and I wasn't feeling much.  (That spinal block is a scary, magical thing.)  Curious as I was, I was talking a mile a minute.  (For those of you who know me-this is the usual. Why would childbirth change this?)   "What are they doing down there?", "Why can't I feel her?",  "Did they cut yet?",  "What is that tugging?", "Dear god!  What is that pain in my shoulder?",  "Hey!  Am I covered down there?  She's not coming out down below."  "Is she ok?",  "Is she a girl?",  "Is she nine pounds?"  Much to my avail, I don't recall receiving one response.  What I do remember are the first words that came out of his mouth when she entered the world.  "She's me!"  accompanied by a look of sheer amazement.  And it was at that moment that he was gone.  Smitten. Enamored.  Captivated. Charmed.  One might call it wrapped.  I like to call it 'In Love'.  He was no longer Mark Johnson-husband to Amanda, son of Robin and Randy, brother to Jason and uncle to Ocean.  He was Kinley's daddy.

Pictures during their special time.
Daddy's first time holding her.

And since 11:32 on 11.11.11, that's the way it has been.  To be honest, I think she managed to curl that teeny finger around him in the months preceding this date, but I have no real proof.  Nonetheless, with her here, I've been able to watch my husband turn into her father.  Her playmate.  Her caretaker.  Her advocate.  Her best friend.  Her protector. Her biggest fan.

It's funny to me to see the man who would fill his evenings with tinkering with his irons or bow, and his weekends on the course or sitting quietly up in a tree, scrap that time just to be home to watch his daughter wake up because, "She has the best smile when she wakes up."

I get more joy watching him watch her than anything else.  (OK-I'm pretty happy playing with her myself too!)  In the beginning, he wanted to take her anywhere and everywhere.  He was so proud that he wanted any excuse for the world to see his baby.  "Do you need anything from the grocery store?  I can take Kinley."  "Oh, you've had your stomach sliced open within this past week?  Let's walk over and have dinner at Miltonia." (haha.  It's ok. It was good for me to get moving.)  Now, it's little things like turning her seat around in the stroller so that he can watch her, or immediately sending pictures we've taken to Walgreens one-hour photo.  It's amazing how easy it's been to get him to take a walk with me (Is that all I had to do?  Have a baby?  Well that was easy...) Forget it if I tell him she has a fever-he's out of work to grab her faster than he can shut down his computer.

And then there's the not-so-little-things like Daddy scheduling her doctor's appointments for 2 pm so that he can get her from daycare and see her midday (and Mommy has to be at work  :'( ); and insisting I go get her at 2 am because she's decided she's a belly sleeper, and the risk of suffocation outweighs that of the possibility of sleep (for either of us apparently) while she's in her room laying like that.  (I'm not gonna lie-I prefer her with us, too.  I just wish her position of choice did not include her head nuzzled near Daddy and her feet all up in my ribs and face.)

I love seeing the triumphant look on his face when he gets her to sleep or to stop fussing.  Even more than that, I love seeing how much fun they have at bath time, and the smug look on his face when she says 'Dada' (especially when I've been pleading for her to say Mama again)  I love seeing how happy he is when she sees him coming and has a whole-body-shrieking-freak out, and how excited he is when I seemingly-succomb to his letsdressourdaughterincamo infatuation.  ("Do you think if I take her into the woods now, she'll eventually just like hunting?" haha)

It cracks me up when he asks what we're doing and I tell him we're watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and he responds with 'Ahoy!' I guess the months of watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in preparation (Yes, I saw you!) have paid off.

I don't know what happened in that first two hours of her life when I was in recovery and Kinley and her daddy had their special alone time, but I like to call it magic.  I never doubted that he would  love her or be proud of her,  but I never really expected what actually happened.  He's jumping to change every diaper (even though he'd never done it before) and putting his ear on her chest to listen to her little heartbeat, watching her sleep for hours, setting the tv to The Disney Channel for the morning, and dancing with her across the kitchen tile to sappy songs.  Forget the countless hours watching the Golf Channel and perusing Archery Talk boards, this is what Kinley's daddy can be found doing these days.

Sometimes it breaks my heart to see his face when she reaches for me when she's really upset/hungry/needs a teether.  I try to remind him that she still loves him, but for some situations, it'd be helpful if he were also lactating.  Sometimes a baby just needs her mommy.  I ask him to give me that...because soon enough she's going to be daddy's girl.  It's inevitable.  Little ladies need their daddies, and our daddy deserves that.

A Father's Day nap.

Giving Daddy her card.

Matching hairstyles for Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Deals I Love

Here are a few-hopefully helpful-sites that tend to frequent my history folder. 
(No, I am not getting paid for advertising these sites.  I just love them.)

This little diddy can be a little annoying to use-or to remember to use, but it's little perks for doing basically nothing can add up!  I've 'earned' over $100 in Amazon credit in the past year just for using the search bar.  (And you all know how much I love Amazon!) There are tons of different prizes and giftcards to look into.  You can go to the website and use it as a search engine, or you can download the swagbucks toolbar and search from there.  The search engine isn't the greatest, but if you don't get the results you're looking for, you can just retype into your google bar. 

2.  Mysurvey

Mysurvey is just that-a survey site.  If you have a little time between diaper changes and laundry, you can earn points that transfer into prizes (I make mine Amazon again. ;P) Some of the surveys can be a little tedious, but worthwhile for basically giving your opinion. I haven't had it happen in a while, but every four months or so, they'd send a survey in the mail with $30 cash to do it.  Unfortunately, there is sometimes a waiting list in membership. I guess it's gotten popular.

3. Totsy

If you're like me, you get a little tired of seeing other tots strolling around in the exact same gymboree outfit your little one is wearing.  That's where totsy (and zulilly) comes in.  You can get unique and adorable outfits for really sweet prices.  Bonus:  there's stuff for mom and dad on there too!

4.  Zulilly  (see above)

5.  Amazon

Clearly, I love Amazon!  They not only have competitive prices, but also offer free Amazon Prime (two day shipping!) through Amazon mom for up to a year.  Amazon mom isn't just for moms either.  Aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. can use it.  Diaper prices are awesome too-and if you sign up for Subscribe and Save, you get an additional percentage off. Diapers waiting at my doorstep when I get home? OK!

6. MamaCheaps

I use this through Facebook because this awesome lady constantly posts awesome deals that show up on my newsfeed. If it were up to me to remember to look every so often, I would fail.  I've purchased tons of awesome things and also received many free things from using her references.

7.  SampleStuff

Like mamacheaps, everyday freebies posts a lot of good deals.  Unlike mamacheaps, most of hers are freebies, so they tend to be repetitive and not as frequent as mamacheaps.  However, who can pass up a freebie?  I also use this through Facebook.

8.  Groupon

Unless you have been under a rock, you know what groupon is.  I don't buy too often, but a few times a year they have great Old Navy groupons. It's worth checking them out every so often.

9.  Diapers

Diapers.com  runs some good sales and you can get a good deal on your first purchase from them.  The real reason I like diapers.com is that you can mail them in your coupons to use for your purchase. I wish Amazon would learn from this.

10. Pampers

If you use pampers and haven't noticed the little stickers on your bag with a bagillion numbers on them, you're missing out!  Pampers Gifts to Grow program allows you to register your codes online.  These codes translate into points, and points cash out for-you guessed it-prizes!  You can 'purchase' toys, gift cards, coupons, etc.  Do it!  (Or send me your codes... ;P)

11.  Ebates

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check ebates.com for your website before purchasing anything online. It's free money-allbeit not generally a lot-but if you shop online like we do, it adds up.  If you enter ebates.com into the swagbucks search engine, you sometimes get a double whammy of $$.


Target sends out their own store coupons every so often.  (I have a Target card from way back and I hear that frequent use helps get you the coupons.)  Target will accept both a manufactures coupon and a store coupon for any item. This adds up!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lessons Learned 3

21.  Shut them down. The visitors that is... You are in no condition to entertain and shouldn't feel obligated.    But when you do let them come (which you will), have them all come at the same time.  Don't let them wait for someone else to leave.  You'll never have time to nurse and your boobs will pay.  And if you're not nursing-you'll never get that nap.

22.  Get maternity and newborn pictures done.  You will never regret having them, but you'll probably regret not having them...and no one has to see them if you don't want them to.

23. Jeans? Hah!  Just leave them in the closet for a little while longer.

24.  Prepare for a c-section-just in case.  I was NOT having one...but apparently she was.

25.  On that note-you are no longer in charge.

26.  You will cry when they get their ears pierced, their first hair cut, start solids, get a bug bite, bump their head, reach for someone else, etc... There's nothing I can tell you that will prevent this.  Instead, keep a journal to your child.  Let them know what they did to you.  ;P

27.  Be mindful that, although you've gotten used to eating like a vulture, other people haven't.  Awareness when you eat out with friends should begin before the meal-not after your full rack of ribs and side of fries is gone and your friends have barely grazed their sandwiches.

28.  Before that little being makes their appearance, make food and freeze it.  Or, if you're like my friends the Croce's/Sockriters, invite a certain doting grandmother over to fill your house with wonderful aromas.

29.  If you are nursing, be prepared to limit your diet after the baby is born.  There is a good chance you will have to eliminate certain foods for a while-but it's a much better option than what you will deal with if you don't.

30. It's ok if her first word is Dada.  At least it's not some other four letter word. (I'm still working on 'OREO'.

Must Have Items

When we took our first trip to NJ, I was sifting through Kinley's things and managed to get a reasonable sized bag together for her.  This got me thinking-if I'm leaving for the weekend and don't feel most of this stuff is necessary, then why do I have it? Well, duh! It was either cute, looked cool, was given to me, or someone said I 'had to have it.' And so, I've decided to compile an ongoing list of items I find to be key in raising a baby-and also keeping one content. (Please note, I'd be a hypocrite if I said not to buy those cute and cool things because my house is busting at the seams with them and I have no intention on stopping any time soon.)

1. Button up t-shirts with scratch mittens.

Forget the cute little mitten sets-unless you want to start a fashion statement and dress your child with mismatching paw covers.  You will lose them.  Well probably just one.  We lost our first one in the hospital. They scooped up my sheets and took the mitten along with them.  Of course when I realized this, I begged for the nurses to call up housekeeping to look for the 'tiny white mitten with yellow and green animals and patterns all over it'.  No dice.  Apparently that's not a priority of a maternity ward nurse. Go figure.  So my dreams of being that "together mommy" who had baby sock radar and placed each one of those tiny socks into the little lingerie bag each night in ended abruptly.  When she was two days old to be exact.

Another bonus of those shirts is that, since they don't snap at the crotch, they don't rub on the freshly cut umbilical cord.  That's not to say it won't fall off the day after she gets home from the hospital and you won't text and call everyone you know asking if you made your child susceptible to diseases or gave them an ugly belly button by allowing that thing to come off so fast...but that's a story for another post.  Also, Mark likes them a ton because, like many new dads, he has a fear of the baby's head and loves any product that does not require putting that dangerous thing through a tight hole and then shoving their arms through it while screaming.  (Did I mention that at seven months old, he will still pull her clothes DOWN her body, rather than over her head.  I keep trying to remind him that he's ruining her clothes and giving me good reason to shop, but the pros clearly outweigh our credit card statement.)  And speaking of clothes that do not go over a baby's head...

2.  Sleep Sacks

Zip up sleep sacks and Halo sleep sacks.  These, also, do not need to go over your baby's head.  If I leave the baby with Mark all day, there is no doubt in my mind that she would never wear anything else. (Unless it was camo.  All the better if it's a camo sleep sack.)  One time he tried to put her in her carseat wearing one.  (Don't do this.)  These sacks are easy and cute and serve as a blanket as well-thus decreasing the risk for SIDS.

3.  Tight Socks

Now I don't mean 'cutyourcurculationoff' tight socks.  However, a firm band is key.  Those thick comfy looking socks will end up in the pile of 'I'm missing my friend' socks.  Don't bother.

4.  Aden + Anais Swaddle blanket

I LOVE these blankets.  They are adorable and HUGE and the muslin material is light enough for summer, but thick enough for winter. The nurses at the hospital were also in love with them, and daycare started recommending them to the other parents after we started.  They are a little expensive, but I saw that Summer's Infant now makes their own version.  I've also recently noticed that they make little security blankets and bibs too.  (I shall add this to my list of things to buy when my husband is in a good mood.)

5. Moby wrap

For all of your baby wearing mommas-or the ones who are forced to go grocery shopping with the baby and a carseat that takes up the entire cart-get one. They aren't too expensive and can be contorted in so many different ways that your baby HAS to like one of the holds.  Kin still likes a version of the newborn hold facing in-which is weird for her age-but I love it!  I love my Moby and it has gotten me through many a day where the child MUST BE HELD or is teething or just wants to snuggle mommy-and mommy just wants to pee.

6.  Bouncer/Jumper

This is regarding a bouncy seat AND a jumperoo.  We didn't register for one because we had so many 'things' we figured it wasn't necessary.  A friend lent us one and I will surely be buying one of our own if we have more kids.  It's great to sit on the floor of the shower when you are able to get your weekly bathing in and when your baby has reflux, you can strap them in and place it right in their crib-which is what we did for a little with that dairy allergy misery.

Now that she's more mobile, that jumperoo is clutch.  The thing keeps her occupied and wears her out! An added bonus is the sheer joy on her face while smacks around every noise-making item on the swing (that's the no so fun part for mom and dad)

7. Sound Machine

We were given a sound machines portable white noise machine. It's cute and pink and portable-and a great distraction for a fussy baby.  Bonus, it soothes mommy right to sleep too!

8. Swing

Ohhh your baby doesn't want to sleep?  Put them in a swing.  Bliss.  We have the Fisher Price My Little Lamb cradle and swing.  That thing can eat up some batteries!  Luckily for you ladies who have not registered yet, this awesome swing now comes with a plug-in option!  Unfortunately for us, our grabby baby still loves her swing, but is able to reach the mobile and that terrible diga-diga-diga-diga noise that comes from the motor burning out from her trying to tear it down has gotten to be unbearable for me.

9. Rechargeable Batteries

Speaking of battery eaters-register for rechargeable batteries and a charger.  They are expensive initially, but totally pay off!

10. Cosleeper

We chose the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper because it can attach to the bed or stand alone and is also a mini version of a pack-and-play in it's portability. I read all sorts of reviews and sooooo many people commented on how great it was after their c-section because they didn't have to hit their incision leaning over a crib rail.  Pissshh!  That was a non-issue for me.  My hips were spread and that baby was coming out the way babies were meant to come out. Those were really big feet I felt in my ribs-not a baby noggin.  WRONG.  This was a wonderful little tool to have and those c-section mommas were right on!

11.  A Boppy 

Get yourself a Boppy or some other sort of support pillow.  Your back will thank you-and so will your puppy who fits perfectly in the middle.

12. Wubbanub Pacifier

Way early in my pregnancy, I found these adorable little pacifiers called Wubbanubs. There was a giraffe and my baby was GOING to use it. Luckily for us, she took it.  I don't know if it's because it was the first one we gave her, or if she just liked it, but we lucked out.  And when Mark saw how cute she looked with a soothie tucked between her lips and the little animal hanging out of her mouth, he promptly ordered 4 more and wrapped them for Christmas.  I love them because-we haven't lost one yet, and she is able to pull it out and find them in her crib and plug herself.  A small problem is that our blind dog sometimes mistakes them for his toys, and when he gets ahold of one, is likely to chew the soothie off.

13. Headbands

Have you ever seen a baby born with a mullet? Well mine was.  We were told she was going to have hair at our 37 week ultrasound.  Hair? Mark and I were both baldies. We had questions like: Will it be red? Will it be curly?  Will it be thick? 'Will it be a mullet?' never crossed my mind.  And so when the party in the back appeared, mommy went on Amazon.com to get something to bring the celebration right back up front.  Disclaimer:  You can dress the child in as much pink as you want with bows on her toes and flowers in her hair in her pink carseat-and someone relatively elderly will still tell you that you have such a handsome little boy!  (because she's wearing pants and girls don't wear pants)

14. Sophie the Giraffe

For some strange reason, this way-too-expensive version of a teether from Paris is mesmerizing for babies.  I am not sure if it's the soft material, the fact that there are tons of little nubs to put in their mouth, the squeak factor, or if the company put some sort of baby nip in it, but every baby I've seen with one LOVES it.

15. Mylicon/Grip Water

Just get some and keep it on hand. Gas is better out than in-for all of us.

16.  A Good Camera

This purchase-although very expensive-was the best thing we could have done.  Although your phone is convenient, you can't get these years back, and if you've tried to print pictures from your phone, they are never quite as good as they look on your screen. We use our Nikon camera daily and have some awesome products from it.  Clearly our subject helps.  ;P (Get some big memory cards too-it'll be hard to delete that sweet face!)

17.  Bumkin Bibs

Stains are my nemisis.  Stains on bibs are the worst.  No matter how fast you get that squash-soaked bib off of her body and soaking with a coating of stain stick on it, there always seems to be some sort of orangey reminder of meals past.  Cue the Bumkin.  This awesome bib is vinyl and adorable and wipes clean.  I just stick it in the sink and-like magic-the food is gone.  For me, this little phenom also serves as preventative medication for future stain fighting headaches-and for that I am thankful.  All hail the Bumkin.

To Be Continued