Monday, October 21, 2013

Something I Never Thought I Would Say.

For years and years, Nick and I have talked about what our family would look like. It always had me at home with the kid(s).  Always.  We both were convinced that was our ideal.  But, things happen, and I went back to work.

Here is the biggest shock of my life.  I love being a working Mom.  Love it.  But, I also know that there are many reasons why I can say that.  First of all, I love where I work.  I haven't been able to say that in a long time.  The school that I work for is amazing and I have great coworkers.  I look forward to going to work everyday.  I feel appreciated and enjoy what I am doing while I am there.  Plus, working with students is very rewarding (even though I am not in a teaching position).  I am so very thankful that I sent them my resume on a whim; I feel like it was meant to be.

Secondly, I was able to stay home with Penelope for her first 15 months.  She was like a 5th limb to me!  I know that if I had to go back to work when she was still tiny, it would not have been nearly as easy. I feel like we really got to know each other in that first year and she truly trusts that I will do whatever is best for her.  I think this really helped when our routine changed.  And now, she loves spending her weekends with Momma!

Third, and probably most importantly, the childcare that we have is the best we could hope for.  Nick's Mom watches her twice a week, and one of my oldest friends watches her in her home daycare for the other 3 days.  Penny loves both of the people watching her, and they love her.  She gets to play with her cousin a few days and week, and with several of her friends, too.  While she still cries a little when I leave, and the first few weeks were really hard, I love leaving and seeing her cuddling with my Mother-in-law or friend.  She knows that she is safe with them, and we didn't even have to think twice about sending her there.  That kind of stress was totally taken away from me.

Overall, the last few months have been an interesting adjustment.  We don't spend too much time together on weekdays, but I try to make up for it on weekends.  We are still figuring out how to time things in the morning before work and at night.  Mornings feel pretty hectic with showering, lunch making, and making sure I have my stuff and Penny has everything she needs for the day.  I look like a bag lady when we walk out the door, and many times I am eating breakfast and doing my makeup in the parking lot at work.  But, we will get the hang of it soon.  And in the meantime, we are all happier.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Going Back to Work

So, we have reached a point where it's time for me to think about going back to work.  This is such a heavy decision for me and in a lot of ways it is going to completely change our lives.

Penelope will be almost 16 months when I go back.  Up until that point, the longest that I have been away from her while she has been awake is maybe 3 hours.  I am so anxious about this change for both of us.  Luckily, I have a really great friend who runs a home daycare, and I know Penny will be in good hands with her.  I am sure that the transition will go smoother than I am imagining in my head, at least for her.  I fear that I am going to be a mess.  Starting a new job, and being without my girl for the first time in her life is going to throw me for a loop.

But, me bringing in some extra money will make a big difference to our family.  We will be able to use that money for extras, since that just really isn't in the budget with one income.  We can look into buying a house and getting Nick's business off the ground.  We will be able to go out and do things with Penny this winter that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do.  We can travel a little and go see my family who are all far away.  We won't have to stress about every dollar we spend.  And, selfishly, I can get some new clothes!

I am also still breastfeeding, and I am not really sure how to tackle that part.  She currently nurses a lot in the morning, before naps, before bed, and any other time she might ask for it.  We are going to be limited to nursing in the morning and after work now.  I know we will adjust, and that it's only going to decrease the older she gets, so I am alright with that.

All in all, I am excited to get back to work (assuming that I do get hired). I think the social and brain stimulation will be good for me.  I know that it will make me a happier wife.  Now, here is hoping that I can find a position with the right kind of schedule and pay!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nap Training at 14.5 Months

I am either a glutton for punishment or I really just wanted to cherish Penny's baby nap stage.  She has literally been taking naps on me everyday for her whole life.  There were some brief periods when she was little where I could get her to sleep in the rock n play or pack n play, or even on my bed occasionally (before she could stand up and run off the edge).  Now, she is just too old to be held for every nap.  Not only that, but now that she's a pretty demanding toddler, I find that I really need the break to get a few things done!

So, since we had already sleep trained at night, I knew that she could sleep in her crib successfully.  Plus, I have been applying for jobs for the fall, and I don't want her to be going off to daycare for the first time not knowing how to nap.  So, starting as soon as our house guests were gone and we were back in our normal routine, I gave it a try.

It has been a week now and I consider it a success.  She now takes two short naps a day (about 45 minutes or 1 sleep cycle) and does have to cry a little to get herself to sleep.  We do the same thing that we do at night.  I take her into her room, turn on her ocean wonder projector, nurse, and sometimes read a book if she asks for it.  Then, I kiss her and tell her it's time to lay down and take a nap now.  She doesn't like this, and does cry, but only for about 5 or so minutes and then she is asleep all on her own.  She has been teething pretty hard, so we did have a day or two where she just would not go to sleep, so I went and got her and we played and tried again the next day.

I am relieved that she is sleeping in her crib now.  I am also feeling some sadness as her napping on me was really one of the last of the baby type things that she still does.  Once she weans, I know that she will really be my big girl and much less my little baby.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Did You Miss Me?

I swear, when I think about the things that I want to always do during the day, blogging is one of them.  But then, when I sit down to do something it is the one thing that always gets pushed!  I have so many things to share from the last couple of months, and will be making some big changes soon (I hope!).  I look forward to sharing all of that.

In the meantime, two of my sisters left yesterday after a 3 week long visit.  It was great to have them around and Penny just LOVED them.  She hadn't seen them since October and November and this time she could say their names and call out for them when she wanted them.  This also means that now that they are gone, she is still calling out for them and breaking my heart!  But, we had a great visit and they really got to see her change a lot in the last 3 weeks.  She went from taking steps to exclusively walking while they were here, and she also learned lots of new words (one of them being "no")!  

I will be posting more specific things this week.  I hope to really stick with it this time! :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Penelope is a Year Old!!

*disclaimer* I began writing this on her birthday...but my computer died.  So thanks to my Daddy-o, I am up and running on my new chromebook and ready to blog away!

Was this already a year ago?  Where in the world did the time go?  Penny's birthday was on the 7th, and I can hardly believe it.  What I can believe is how much she has changed, how much more my love for her grows each day, and how perfect I think she is!

So, at one year, Ms. Penny is becoming smarter everyday.  Some of her new words are "fishy" when she wants a goldfish cracker, "that" when she sees something she likes, "cheese" when I pull out my phone (camera) or she really wants to eat some cheese, "nawnaw" which is Penny speak for Minnie Mouse, and now she is full fledged saying "Momma" when she sees me or a picture of me.

She loves puppies and babies and will shriek the word "baby" over and over again if she gets excited about her doll, or a baby that we see at the store or on TV.  She had a meltdown where she cried big, fat tears over a magazine page that had a picture of a baby on it.  She was chewing it so I took it away and she was just SO sad.  She "woofs" at every puppy that she sees!

She is much more affectionate towards Momma and Daddy now, and will (most of the time) give us hugs and kisses on command.  If she doesn't want to, she furrows her brow and shakes her head "no".  She gets super excited when she hears Daddy's keys opening the door and gives him a great big smile when he walks in the door.

Sleep has been AMAZING since we crib trained.  I have woken up overnight to nurse maybe once, and she sleeps in her crib all night from about 7-5.  We are both sleeping so much better, but Daddy says that he misses her in our bed (but it wasn't affecting his sleep!!).

And, now for the stats.  Penny was born at 7lbs 6oz and 22 inches long.  At her 1 year appointment she was 23lbs 4oz and 32 inches.  She is so very tall.  She is wearing 18m and 24m clothes, and some 2T even! And, she's wearing at least a size 4.5 shoe, but most of the ones I have on her are a size 5.  She has 6 teeth, 3 on the top and the bottom.

For her 1 year picture, I put her in the dress I wore in my one year photos. She looked adorable in it, but it was hard for her to crawl around in!  On her birthday, we took her to the zoo for the first time.  She really loved it, and brought home a giraffe souvenir, as you can see in the picture.  Since several of my friends had babies around the same time as me, we went to a lot of birthday parties in the last couple months.  The picture of her and I is from a friend's son's party, and the crown was because she was the almost birthday girl!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Year Later and Everything Has Changed

As I was looking through pictures in order to make a slideshow for Penelope's birthday, I stumbled across this beauty...

41 weeks pregnant!
This picture was taken on April 29, 2012. I am on the phone, probably with my midwife or the hospital.  We were going for non-stress tests every few days.  Looking back at this picture reminds me so much of what I was going through during those last few weeks of pregnancy.  Penelope was due on April 23rd.  That day came, and then was long gone, before we knew it.  Nick and I had NO idea how much our life was really going to change.  And, it did in so many wonderful ways.

As soon as we saw our sweet little girl, we were new people.  We were no longer just Marjorie and Nick; we were now Momma and Daddy, too.  We began focusing all of our attention on the tiny human we were raising.  And now, we can hardly remember what it was like before she was in our life.  We both feel like we have known her forever.  It's amazing how we had 8 years with just Nick and I, and only one as a family of three, but it feels like a lifetime.

Over the last year, we have fallen in love with our baby every single day.  She is honestly the light in our days.  We feel complete with her and look forward to seeing her smile each morning when she wakes up.  We used to focus on ourselves, or each other, completely.  Now, we are always thinking of Penelope's needs above our own.  She is our everything, and I can't believe that we have only had a year together.

Our baby will be a year old in a week.  And, I seriously cannot believe it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

So Much Clutter

Today, I spent a lot of time in my living room trying to get rid of some of our clutter. There is stuff everywhere! I am trying to get better about just getting rid of things if I can't find a place for it. It's hard though! My plan is to go room by room and FINALLY get a handle on it all. Penny is going to be walking soon and I don't want to have to chase her out of every room that's not decluttered!
And, since this is a short random post, here is a random picture of my sweet girl.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Penelope's 11 Month Update

Ms. Penny is 11 months old. I can hardly believe how fast this year has just FLOWN by! This time next month, I will have a one year old. Honestly, I try not to think ahead to that these days because it makes me pretty weepy!
So, Penny has changed so much this month! She now has 4 teeth, as her top two came in just before Easter. Her hair is getting a little bit longer, but still no where near being able to put it in a ponytail or even a bow. I also think she had a growth spurt because suddenly her shoes are no longer fitting and her pants are a little too short.
We have had a big milestone this month, as she started sleeping in her crib! I still seem to be waking up at the times she used to wake to eat, so I hope my sleep gets back on track soon. Last night, she did her longest stretch of sleep in her crib yet (obviously to celebrate being 11 months old). She went to bed at 7:15 and didn't really get up again until 5:15! Then, she came to bed to nurse.
For food, she is still nursing and eating mostly purees. But, we have giver her some different food this month, too. She LOVES broccolli, so whenever we have that for dinner she will have some, too. She has had shredded cheese this month, and also goldfish crackers. She would literally snack all day long if I let her!
She learned the sign for "milk" this month, and is pretty good about using it to tell me she wants to nurse. But, sometimes I also think she uses it to mean "hold me" even though she certainly knows the difference. Now, when I ask her if she wants milk she will sign for it. And then when she has latched on, she will stick her hand in my face while signing and I will say "Yes, Penny. Milk". It's pretty amazing what she can understand!
Since the weather is somewhat warming up, we have taken her to the park a couple of times. She loves the swing. She giggles when I push her, and holds on and pumps her legs like a big girl. I can't wait to take her more this summer.
All in all, she is still the sweetest little baby. She smiles at everyone she meets and waves like crazy. At the breastfeeding group we go to, she waves like she's in a parade to everyone when we get there. She even waved "bye bye" to one of the babies who had to leave while she was nursing. She didn't miss a beat, just stuck her arm out and waved while continuing to nurse. It was very funny! She loves the reaction she can get from smiling and waving at someone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Penny's Love/Hate Relationship with Her Swing

I was given a very nice swing by a friend of my Mom's before Penny was born. I had a hard time figuring out where to put it, because it has a pretty big footprint. My Mom suggested putting it in the kitchen so that while I am cooking and cleaning she has a safe place to be. So, that's where it went.

Now, I had visions of my tiny newborn being lulled off to dreamland by the slow rocking of our swing. This was so not the case for us. She didn't ever want to sleep in it, and usually when I put her in it she would freak. But, it still came in handy for many reasons. The seat itself is detachable. This became the place she would hang out in the bathroom while I was in the shower. When she got a little older, the built in toy bar kept her entertained. It's now where she sits while we eat dinner since it is right next to our table. I feed her purees while she's in her swing. I still bring the seat into the bathroom when I shower. And now, at nearly 11 months, it seems she likes to nap in it! I turn on the radio, start doing dishes and running the dishwasher and she's slumped over and out like a light!

The swing was not the newborn lifesaver for me that it was for others, but now, I am very thankful for the naps while I clean! Did you have gear that you didn't expect to use for so long?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crib Training at 10.5 Months

As you may have read in my last post, Penny has been sleeping in our bed almost exclusively for the last few months. We knew that we should get her into her crib sooner than later, as she is getting bigger and taking up more and more space in our bed. We wanted to start the transition at 9 months, but teething and a month of colds kept us holding off. So, this week, we finally lowered the crib and figured out our strange heating system to keep her room warm enough and gave it a shot!

Now, a little backstory on our previous bedtime "routine". Penny would hang with us until she seemed very tired, then we would go to bed and nurse until she fell asleep. Sometimes it would take 15 minutes, sometimes an hour. Then, as soon as I got out of bed, she would wake up and we would start all over. Usually she would get to sleep around 9:30-10. Now, after only 4 days (!!) we have a much more predictable bedtime.

The first night, I nursed her well and layed her into her crib (for the first time) around 7:30. I turned on her ocean wonders projector/music player so that I didn't just leave her in the dark alone. She cried hard for 10 minutes, then fussed for another 30 or so minutes until she fell asleep. She woke up and went back to sleep several times before ending up in our bed around 11.

Night two was much easier. Again, I nursed her, layed her down turned on her noise/light machine, and left the room. She fussed the whole time the machine was on, but literally as soon as it was off, she fell asleep. I nursed her again for comfort at 9:30, then rubbed her belly at 10:30 to get her back to sleep. She was in our bed around 1.

Day three was harder because we had a friend over. She didn't go down as easily, and I had to go in after 10 minutes to nurse her again. She was in our bed at 10:30.

Night four (last night) was the best so far. I did the nurse, lay down, machine routine at 7:30. I noticed that she was almost showing me she was ready for bed for the first time in her life. She stopped nursing and started to make the same fussing noise that she does while laying in her crib. She was asleep in 15 minutes. It was also the first time I was EVER able to leave during bedtime. I went out with a friend without having to worry about her needing to be nursed back down again! She slept, without waking up, until 1!

Overall, I am SO glad that we bit the bullet to sleep/crib train! I know that every family is different, and so is every baby. She gets more worked up when we go in to check on her, so we chose to use the extinction method (which is something I NEVER thought I would do). Did you sleep train? When did you baby first sleep in their crib?