32 Things I’m Thankful For…

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Today I’m 32!

And in honor of this previous year, I thought I’d share the 32 things I’m thankful for at 32.

(in no particular order, although there is a clear top ranking) 😉

  1. Evan
  2. Finding out I was pregnant
  3. A healthy and “easy” pregnancy
  4. Our family (both sides) for supporting us in SO MANY WAYS
  5. John landing his new job
  6. Finally landing the job  I’ve wanted for years (despite two weeks of baby-induced sleep deprivation surrounding both interviews)
  7. My mom for watching Evan
  8. My mom for teaching me so many things about being a mom – she’s been amazing at giving me real-time, “on the job” training 😉
  9. Learning to appreciate even the smallest of homes during our rough patch in 2013
  10. Our beautiful niece, Lily
  11. Hynobabies, the midwives and my doula
  12. Having health insurance that covered just about everything from E’s birth
  13. Our whole family, waiting overnight in the waiting room during labor
  14. The way Evan’s birth went down (even if it wasn’t my planned birth)
  15. Getting to experience breastfeeding
  16. My best girlfriends for always keeping it real
  17. The trip John and I took to Washington, D.C.
  18. Our anniversary trip back to Sebring
  19. Speaking at my field’s national convention in Las Vegas (while pregnant!)
  20. Being able to work part-time during pregnancy and postpartum
  21. Being able to stay home with E over the summer
  22. Our healthy pets
  23. Fellow mamas, near and far, who buoyed me in times of need
  24. My strong and capable body
  25. So many good books
  26. Old Navy for helping me flatter my aforementioned “strong and capable” (weirdly misshapen postpartum) body
  27. John’s sense of humor
  28. This blog, and those of you who read it – I really enjoy writing here
  29. Our pets. While under-foot and sometimes really on-my-nerves, they are all really good animals and each add something rich and special to life, everyday
  30. Our ever-so-comfy bed
  31. The means and ability to dream big with John and Evan
  32. The perspective and inner growth gained over the last 365 days; I’m a better person today than I was this same day last year, and I hope I can say that on every single birthday for the rest of my life

This past year has been the craziest, most exciting, scary, amazing, weird, wonderful and memorable of my life. 32 isn’t looking too shabby, either. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day

There are a lot of things in life I could have done better, but picking a husband is not one of them.

John is by and far, beyond my wildest expectations, a wonderful father. He is my rock, and everything he does is in the interest of his family. Seriously guys… We have our rough spots like all married couples, but I know I got majorly lucky.

And so, on father’s day this year, I’ll be celebrating John! And my dad, and my father-in-law, and Evan’s cool uncles.  “It takes a village” and I really like who E has in his corner.

To all the dads: may your day be wonderful, and your next year of fatherhood even better.

Motherhood at 7 Months

Early last month, Evan stopped sleeping through the night, classes ended, John and I were bickering frequently, I had mood swings all over the place, and was feeling exhausted while also trying to get back into a running routine. Deep down I was also pretty scared about being home with E all summer, and was facing a lot of resistance from myself in just settling into the role of “stay at home mom” despite that was my choice. Lots of talking, crying and writing later… I am heading into month seven of motherhood in a MUCH better place.

  • I’ve started to be able to recognize my (hormonal) mood swings better and have tried to be very open with John when I’m feeling a “low mood.” It has helped me feel understood and cared for, but it’s taken me being willing to be more vulnerable than I ever wanted to be to make that happen. It’s been worth it for all of us.
  • My confidence as a mama is growing every single day. Being home with him has helped me see how much I actually do for him, and how much he responds to my efforts. He’s going through separation anxiety right now and while that can be frustrating and sad at times, I try my best to never let him see that – I know he’s going through this period because he has a healthy attachment to me, and that makes me feel so good.
  • Focusing on having fun with him is so much easier now as he’s getting older. We read books, we play games, we (I) sing songs, and I try to do as my mom does and “make everything fun.” Mostly, he practices crawling and I cheer him on, catch him, etc. But I sneak everything else in there for some diversity. He is one determined baby!
  • Looking to E as my report card for how I’m doing as a mama and turning off the other noise has been a game changer. I was trying to find feedback and encouragement for a “job well done” all around me, and falling short. After his 6-month checkup it kind of clicked: big picture, I am rocking this mama thing. I mean, I’m making mistakes and am just doing the next right thing all the time, and I never really know if anything I do is “right” or “wrong” (those two words really don’t seem to exist in parenting)…but I’m rocking it. John and I have a healthy, happy, thriving, vibrant little person in our home who is meeting and exceeding milestones. That doesn’t just happen. We didn’t just get lucky. We have done that.
  • I made a summer bucket list with the best of intentions, and I’m so glad to have done it. However, I greatly underestimated how much effort a sleep schedule is and I recognize we’ll likely not get to a lot of things on that list this summer, and we’ve already done plenty I didn’t expect. As such, I’m updating it as we go, so by that end of summer it’s an accurate representation of our summer highlights. It’s a living list instead of a to-do list.
  • John and I are working on our marriage one chapter at a time, every night. We’ve been having quick and light dinners on the patio after E is in bed, chatting about our days, and reading one chapter from this book every night. His dad gave it to us for Christmas in 2012 and after a recent argument, I remembered it, and we started working through it. We’re going on a month of doing this and it has been such a bright spot during this transition period. We both recognize our marriage is the seat of the happy home we both crave and I’m thankful every day to have picked a man who is willing to do the work.

— By next month I imagine we’ll have a crawling baby and life will be so vastly different than it is right now. That “time is flying” cliche is so true in parenthood, and it’s a good reminder for me to enjoy every stage. Even when sleep deprived. 🙂

Evan at 7 Months

  • sleeps on his belly w/ his butt in the air
  • turns his mobile on, and “plays” in his crib for about 30 mins before waking us up in the morning
  • is getting on a pretty good sleep schedule…rough 3 weeks in May but we’re all working on it
  • is putting himself to sleep about 80% of the time now
  • world class scooter, but gets so frustrated because he is…
  • thisclose to crawling
  • pulls himself up on me when sitting on the floor using my clothes or my Chew Beads
  • recognizes the words “baba,” “mama,” “daddy” and “grandma”
  • babbles constantly
  • says what we’re pretty sure is “dada” but we’re not sure if he actually means daddy or not
  • still makes crazy dinosaur noises (mostly at home when he can really let loose)
  • is generally pretty friendly with new people, but reserves smiles for those who really work for them
  • initiates hide and seek w/ daddy
  • loves bathtime (soaks John’s shirt and pants every night w/ splashing)
  • really enjoys eating; bananas, and other fruit mixed with plain Greek yogurt (blueberry/pear/purple carrot from Plum is a current favorite)
  • is not a fan of egg yolk (can’t blame him, but going to keep trying when he’s a little older)
  • is getting better at using his Nuby transition bottle; mostly wants an actual bottle only right before he goes to sleep
  • drinks okay (with much assistance) out of actual cups! Considering a baby cup for at home after this article and others like it – makes a lot of sense
  • spends most time rocking a diaper because he loves to make a mess while eating (and I let him – you’re only 7 months once, right?)
  • is the happiest person I know…seriously

We are so proud of our little man, and I feel lucky every day that I get to be his mama. 🙂

Motherhood at Six Months

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There were moments in the early months when thought the people who talk about how much “fun” parenting is must seriously be crazy.

At times, parenthood feels like living in a world where your own thoughts, wants, or needs are controlled by a tiny pause button, namely, your baby. And at times, this does not feel good. For me, it’s been one of the hardest adjustments. However, the “fun” thing?

I get it now.

Evan’s smiles make my day. His giggles are infectious and define pure joy more than anything I’ve ever experienced.

He is curious and skeptical and careful with who gets smiles, yet he is friendly and enjoys meeting new people.

I’m partial, but he is seriously the funniest baby I’ve ever met. He makes me laugh like his daddy does, so we know where he got it…

At six months, I love:

  • reclining in the chair in the nursery with a light blanket, a cup of coffee, iBooks, and Evan dozing in my arms
  • wearing him on our adventures (mostly Target at this point, but looking to change that this summer )
  • his light-up-the-room smile whenever he sees me (it’s mutual)
  • our best days, when there is no agenda (and mommy gets to eat breakfast)
  • Eau de Evan

That last one, there? Seriously…there is no better smell on earth than your baby. I will remember this until the day I die and it is one of those things I just cannot do justice to by description. It’s powerful and biological and raw and pure; it is such a magical part of the connection we have, and  I just never expected it would mean so much to me.

So far, figuring out who I am as a mama seems like a lifelong journey, which I also wasn’t expecting. In the last six months I have had some of the most difficult and wonderful days and weeks of my life. There are many aspects of this new role, this new life, this new identity that feel like un-molded clay, but it also seems some elements are taking shape, and slowly, I am feeling more and more like “myself” with each passing week.

Above all the hormones and mood swings and overwhelming feelings, I know one thing without a doubt: I love this tiny human more than I ever thought possible, and that love grows each and every day, just like he does.

Evan at 6 Months

 

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Finally, I know why new parents say obvious and repetitive things like “time flies” because really, it does.

However, I’m happy to have a six-month old and I don’t have complicated emotions about how fast he’s growing up. This is the beginning of the stage I’ve been waiting and hoping for: we have a responsive, funny, cuddly, babbling baby who is beginning to show us his adorable personality. After five months of caring for a tiny, developing human, we’ve been rewarded with a little person. And he is just great.

This month he…

  • Loves peekaboo; “whereeeee’s Evan?” gets giant smiles every single time
  • Is a big fan of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” mamas made up songs and jazz music
  • Eats oatmeal, coconut oil, bananas, minty peas and sweet potatoes
  • Rolls onto stomach like it’s nothing
  • Sleeps on his side and belly
  • Cries big tears now, which roll down his cheeks when he is really upset
  • Tries to put everything he can touch in his mouth
  • Slaps, scratches, pulls hair, punches and throws; he has no idea what any of this means, but he is pretty excited that his hands can do so much!
  • Notices textures (especially likes scratching on wood and leather)
  • Responds to his name and whistling
  • Sits up great w/ support and is working on longer than a minute without it
  • Smiles at some strangers, not at others
  • Is entering the separation anxiety phase, which I was amazed to learn, is because he just now realized he and I are no longer physically attached

He’s halfway from day one and halfway to 1 year. I’d like to say I’m surprised, or amazed, but honestly John and I have earned every single one of those days with him, just as we plan to earn all the rest of them, too.

Starting Solids

At his 4-month well-visit, E’s pediatrician said we could start introducing solids, if we wanted. We made the rookie mistake of trying some oatmeal on the same weekend he was recovering from his shots, and we ended up with a miserable baby. I tried avocado a few days later and he had a similar reaction. I think his little gut just wasn’t ready yet. We waited another two weeks before we tried anything again, and we noticed E was less satisfied with his bottles, and drinking more and more as the days progressed.

Out of pre-teething desperation, one day I tried a frozen banana in a feeder and he loved it!  We did that for a few days, and then tried some prunes. He wasn’t crazy about prunes, but tolerated them, especially from my mom. A few days later my mother in law fed fed him some sweet potatoes and he scarfed them down! Since then we’ve tried peas with mint, green beans and pears, but sweet potatoes are a clear favorite. We’re also adding the oatmeal back in as a major part of his diet now that we know he’s handling the other foods well, and that seems to be working so far. A little backward from the way most people do it, maybe, but it’s working for E.

Accessories/Must-Haves 

We’re currently using organic packets from Plum, Happy Family and jars of Earth’s Best First Foods. He loves his Nuby 3 Stage Bottle (we use it in stage two) for water, and is freakishly good at holding it for himself. We have two sets of spoon attachments for the packets of food we’re using, but I’m finding he actually eats better when we use these baby spoons. Not sure why I bought those out of the hundreds of options available, but they do the trick. We also realized pretty quickly that a pack of waterproof (non-teething) bibs was a necessity, and these are so great. After he’s done eating I just rinse them under the faucet and so far stains haven’t been an issue. Stains on his clothes before we realized we needed those bibs? Different story.

We have a high chair that was given to us by a family friend but it broke within a week of us using it, so we just ended up getting the same high chair my in-laws have. Simple, slim, and inexpensive. Easy to clean, easy to use. We may end up with something different once we’re in a house with a dining room table, but I have zero complaints about this so far, and I think it would also be great for travel which is a bonus some of the more expensive chairs can’t offer.

And just like that…my baby is eating! My mom’s going to try apples this week, and we’ve got butternut squash on the horizon as well. Once he starts eating larger quantities of food I plan to take time to make and freeze his favorites, but for now, it’s so much fun seeing what he likes!