Archive for June, 2011

  • First Swim

    Date: 2011.06.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Mark, Sarah | Response: 10

    One of the best parts of having a baby is watching her experience things for the first time. Yesterday we took Sarah over to her Aunt Stephanie’s for her first swim. Turns out putting sunscreen on babies under 6 months old is a big no no, so we improvised. We went over in the evening and set up the umbrella so it shaded part of the pool and then we eased Sarah in. And she absolutely loved it. I never knew an 11-week-old would immediately start kicking in the water like an old pro, but I guess she remembers that from being in the womb.

    Look how cute I am. And my hands? They are delicious.
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    Daddy held her for her first dip in the pool.
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    And then mom took over for a while.
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    Swimming it tough work. Good thing she didn’t mind crashing pool side.
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    On a side note: I’ve found that almost all swimming gear is made for 6 months + for babies including floatation devices, swimmer diapers, hats and swimsuits. We got lucky with the swimsuit because she got it at her shower. Thank goodness we had one thing that fit and held that over sized swim diaper in place.

  • A Word from Our Mascot

    Date: 2011.06.24 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Family, Leela Fish, Love, Pets, Sarah | Response: 25

    Hey Mom, It’s me, Leela.
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    You seem to have forgotten that you named your blog after me, not that little squealing, drooling monkey you’re doting over all the time these days.

    It’s ok. I can forgive you as long as you leave me to my chair.

    Wha?!

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    How could you mom?

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    Do you SEE what she’s doing over there?

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    Hey kid, I’ve got my eye on you.

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    And your feet ARE sort of tasty.

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    I guess you can stay baby, but mom, don’t forget about me.

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  • Talented Friends

    Date: 2011.06.22 | Category: Friends, OMG YAY!, Photography, Sarah | Response: 13

    Friendships mean a lot to me, and somehow I’ve been blessed with some amazing and talented friends. For instance, Susan is officially an MD and will now willingly come over after a 12 hour shift in the ER to look at spots on Sarah and tell me that she is just fine.

    Kelly has a knack for taking amazing photographs. She and her husband recently launched their photography business, Powell Photography. She came over and took some amazing photographs of my sweet girl that I have already ordered and am preparing to wallpaper my office with.

    I mean, look how beautiful?

    Sarah 11.

    Sarah 5.

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    Poor Kelly doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into. We’ve already convinced her to come photograph Sarah’s baptism next weekend.

    And then there is Cassie who has an amazing talent for drawing. After I was wowed by her drawings of her own children, she surprised me by drawing a photo of my own daughter, framing it and mailing it to me all out of the kindness of her heart. How talented is she? I swear this girl needs to open up her own Etsy shop.
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    Thank you amazing ladies!

  • Happy Father’s Day!

    Date: 2011.06.19 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Love, Mark, Sarah | Response: 19

    I have been blessed to know so many great fathers and father figures in my life.

    My own dad has always been a source of fun and discipline. When I was a little girl, he always surprised us with Southern Maid donuts or trips to the duck pond with a loaf of bread in tow. We made trips with the dogs out to the country and let them chase cows, all during the early morning while my mom got to catch a few hours of extra sleep. As I grew up, he was always there cheering for me and supporting me. My dad has always been an important part of my life and I’m so thankful for him.
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    Halloween with dad.

    I always knew that I wanted to marry someone who would not only be good to me, but be a good father as well. Mark is both in every way.

    This year he celebrates his very first Father’s Day.

    Mark was a champ during my pregnancy. And while he had a few missteps, he was always game to help rub the knots out of my back and rub my feet with lotion when I could no longer bend down to reach them. He anxiously placed his hands on my belly every time I felt her moving so he could share in the experience. He even went to most of my doctor appointments with me.

    On induction night and delivery day he never left my side. When Sarah finally came out he was full of wonder and absolutely amazed by her. He had the flip camera in hand so that we would never forget that day. He has since proudly shown that video to any willing captive who comes over to visit.

    Now 10 weeks later, he’s been officially inducted in the daddy club. Pooped on, peed on, spit up on and not in the least bit deterred. And while he struggled with her crying fits at first, he now takes it in stride.

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    Bottle success!

    There are some moments I’ve witnessed that have melted my heart. One morning I woke up and he was in the living room with her. He had dressed her in her Beatles onesie, he had on his Beatles shirt and they were both rocking out to the fab four. In the evenings he takes her out on the back porch while he runs the sprinkler and together they throw ball for the dogs.

    Last week he proudly announced that he had set up a Sarah YouTube channel so we could share the videos with our family.

    Mark is one proud and amazing father.

    This Father’s Day I am so thankful for my own daddy-o and Sarah’s awesome dad Mark.

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  • Painful Week

    Date: 2011.06.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Me, Sarah, Whoops | Response: 20

    This has been a rough week. There was an incident Monday where my distraction resulted in my daughter falling and hitting her head in the grocery store in front of everyone, their mama and their kids. Not only was I horrified at myself and beyond upset and worried about my daughter, but I was supremely embarrassed and worried that Child Protective Services would be called on us. Fortunately the fall was a short one (less than a foot and she went feet first) and Sarah was ok. We called the pediatrician as soon as I got home. Turns out that as long as she never lost consciousness or started vomiting she was pretty much ok. After all, she assured me, babies are extremely flexible and resilient.

    I still couldn’t stop beating myself up about it though, telling Mark over and over about what a terrible mother I was. He was amazing though. He managed to calm my hysterical self down while holding Sarah, making her laugh and talking to the nurse on the phone.

    I wasn’t going to share this because I was so horrified with myself. But after talking to my mom, my pediatrician and a couple of my mommy friends, it turns out every mom has a story about that time their baby hit their head and they freaked out. Moms who have fallen while carrying their kids, kids who fell off of something, kids who flipped their walkers. And all said the same thing, “I brought her into this world, and I thought for sure I was about to be the one who took her out.” They told me about the guilt and their thoughts, the same things I went through. And it made me feel better and more aware. I am so thankful she’s ok and it could have been much worse.

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    To make matters worse, Sarah had to get her first round of shots Wednesday. Talk about breaking my heart. She was smiling and putting on  a show for the doctor and then they put shots in her poor little thighs. Of course she screamed her head off and was a groggy, grumpy girl the rest of the day.

    We did find out  that she’s tall (no big surprise there). 23.5 inches, 90th percentile. She weighed in at 11lbs, 9oz and was 75th percentile for weight and head circumference.*

    We also discussed “the fall.”

    I have to admit I was scared my pediatrician was going to lecture me about being an awful parent and tell me about horrible consequences, etc. But she was amazing. She handed me the tissue box while I told her what happened, then told me about her own daughter hitting her head when she was 18 months old. She looked Sarah over, pronounced her as “perfect from head to toe” and said she wasn’t worried about that short little fall at all.

    Thank God.

    *****
    * We celebrated Sarah’s growth by dancing to this song when we got home.

    You’re welcome.

  • 2 Months

    Date: 2011.06.12 | Category: Baby, Photography, Sarah | Response: 15

    Sarah turned two months old today. TWO MONTHS.

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    What have we learned?

    We know how to act like complete idiots to get her to flash that amazing, dimpled smile.

    We’ve learned that routine means that Sarah sleeps through the night.

    We’ve learned the difference between squeals of anger and squeals of delight.

    We’ve mastered the bottle.

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    We’ve gotten comfortable with the baby monitor. It’s ok to walk away from the baby while she sleeps.

    We’ve learned how to effectively take her out in public and get things accomplished.

    I’ve learned how to tie the moby wrap like a champ.

    We’ve learned that Sarah likes to be upright and engaged with the adults.

    We’ve also learned that she knows how to smile for the camera.

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    We’ve learned that she changes a little more each day and even more from month to month.

  • Working It Out

    Date: 2011.06.11 | Category: Baby, Food, Health, Me, Sarah | Response: 8

    I did a post natal workout dvd review for Lynn over at Lynn’s Weigh. She’s an exceptional woman and a fantastic weight loss motivator (plus, she’s Cassie’s mom! :) . Go check it out!

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    Doing the workout dvd several times, reviewing it and reading her blog have all helped me start getting back into shape and made me reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going with my health.

    Since college, exercise has been a regular part of my life. I’m not exactly blessed in the metabolism department, so I have to stay on my healthy eating and workouts. I’ve fought with my weight my entire life. Up and down, up and down. I was actually dieting when I got pregnant. And while I was beyond thrilled that I was pregnant, I was terrified about the weight gain associated with pregnancy. In my mind I imagined the scale soaring upwards of 50 pounds and never being able to get the weight back off.

    At first I stayed on the scale, constantly worried about how quickly my numbers were going up. But my first trimester I was sick a lot and most foods were completely unappealing. Living on a diet of saltines and ginger ale doesn’t exactly boost weight gain and I actually ended up losing 12 pounds in my first trimester.

    However, by my second trimester I was feeling great again and other than a complete aversion to meat and maple syrup, I was eating well and gaining at a normal pace without really having to try. I kept me regular morning walks up with the dogs, shortening them just a bit to fit with my energy level.

    Things my third trimester changed though. I finally had a baby belly (a late bloomer at 8 months pregnant :) and my hips and lower back hurt. I still tried to walk at least twice a week with my belly support on and husband at my side, but my diet became whatever the heck I wanted, because at that point it was my only comfort. And in addition to the baby getting really big, I started to put on the pounds.

    In the end I gained 39 pounds over the course of my pregnancy (I can’t believe I just said that on the Internet!) But I have to admit, those last 12 weeks were some of the most liberating of my life. For the first time I wasn’t feeling guilty about food every single day. I knew I would snap right back to the healthy eating after I had her, so I just enjoyed it.

    Eight weeks post partum, I’ve lost 25 of those pounds due to having the baby (all 8 pounds of her), losing a lot of those retained baby fluids, breastfeeding and getting my diet and exercise back in shape.

    Weight loss was not my motivator to start exercising again though. The baby blues and the fact that my baby would go to sleep when I strolled her were what got me back out of the house and walking regularly. And after a week of strolling Sarah to sleep, it started to feel really good to be up and moving again. And then I got to review a postpartum dvd for  Lynn’s blog, which reminded me how good it felt to do some toning and light strength training again.

    My appetite is ferocious with the exercise and breastfeeding, but we’ve been really working on eating healthy and focusing on buying organic meat and dairy, especially since what I eat goes directly to my daughter.

    So with 14 pounds to go, I’m feeling up to the challenge. And hopefully once I get those off, I’ll keep on going. I only wish it wasn’t triple digit temps already. That means I have to get moving at 7:30 a.m. if I want to exercise when it’s still in the upper 70’s!

  • Too Fast

    Date: 2011.06.09 | Category: Baby, Home, Life, Sarah | Response: 5

    Why is my maternity leave going by so fast? How is it already Thursday? How is my baby almost two months old?

    I don’t like it. Not one bit. Things need to slow down.

    Even though my work load has slowed, I’ve still managed to make my days fly by going to lunch with my mom, sister and Jacob and getting Sarah out and about.

    Oh and I discovered the Carter’s outlet. Oh dear Lord. It has the most adorable, affordable children’s clothes ever. And since most of the 3-6 month clothes my friend Jill gave me are for winter, my conscience is not at all burdened by stocking up on new clothes for Sarah. And yes, my long tall girl has been in a size 3-month since she turned six weeks old. All of her newborn clothes are now packed away. I spent a solid morning going through all of them, lovingly folding them and putting them in a storage bin in case we or my sister have another girl one day. It was bittersweet.

    I have some more posts coming soon and some photos that are better than iPhone quality. In the mean time, here are a few to hold you over.

    Snoozing in her Carter’s giraffe jammies.
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    Modeling her outfit lovingly made by Kelly while lounging in the baby swing, aka “magic happy baby seat.”
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    Moby Wrap FTW!
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  • That Time I Looked Like a Member of the Canadian Swim Team

    Date: 2011.06.03 | Category: Birthday, Life, Nostalgia, OMG YAY!, Travel, Weirdness | Response: 13

    Today is Becki’s birthday. Becki is one of my best friends and we have done some extensive traveling together. So in honor of her birthday, I thought I would share another one of our adventures together.

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    In 2008 I had to go to Toronto for work. Mark couldn’t go with me because of  his work, so Becki, who is always game for any trip or adventure, happily volunteered to go with me.

    Toronto itself was extremely clean and organized. Neighborhoods were organized by sign color and with the help of a map, we were able to navigate the city fairly well. While I spent most of my days at the conference, Becki took bike tours of the city and brought back some bon bons she discovered while she was out.

    Because Toronto is so multi-cultural, the types of restaurants were infinite. It was in Toronto’s Chinatown that I tried (and loved) Dim Sum. We ate at a Greek restaurant, a fancy breakfast place, out of a street cart near the university, in the cool distillery district.

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    The CN Tower

    We also took the time to do some touristy things, like go to the top of the CN Tower and sit on the glass floor (yikes!), as well as nearly crash some big spring break party on the roof of the Wayne Gretzky restaurant.

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    Wayne Gretzky Burger

    But I refused to leave Canada without seeing Niagara Falls. So I booked an extra day and a tour bus trip that would pick us up and take us out to the falls.

    The tour bus was very late showing up. We were starting to think we had been burned. But show up he did, and after a few more stops around Toronto hotels to pick up other travelers, we were on our way. The driver told us stories the whole time about Canada, Toronto and the falls.

    The guy driving the bus had obviously made some business arrangements with various other companies, because along the way we stopped at a winery (which really was pretty neat, I tried ice wine for the first time), a place that took you on a helicopter ride over the falls (for an extra $150 a person, no thanks), and a chocolate store that specialized in chocolate covered fruits. At least the extra pit stops involved wine and chocolate.

    At any rate, we finally made it to Niagara and the weather started getting gloomy. The rain started slowly drizzling down and it got a bit chilly. But that didn’t deter us from seeing the falls. We put on our ponchos and made our way to the “Maid of the Mist” boat.

    We took the 30 minute ride up to the American falls and then over to the base of Niagara Falls. They were stunning and I felt like I was in the middle of a hurricane with the thunder, lightning and churning waters.

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    Shortly after coming off the boat the sun started to come out, but it was still chilly and our clothes were soaked. So, we did the only thing we could think of… we went to a souvenir store and bought dry clothes that were all red and screamed, “CANADA!” We did not care, however. We went to the bathroom and promptly changed into our Canada clothes. We were very patriotic… and wet. Thus we dubbed ourselves the Canadian swim team.

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    When we got on the bus we decided to change into our nice, dry, awesome “Maid of the Mist” socks. Upon pulling mine out though, I discovered that I had purchased a size 2-4 for my size 11 foot. Becki and I got so tickled that we literally laughed for 45 minutes about it. I think everyone else on the bus just wrote us off as crazy. Becki volunteered to put the 2-4s on and I took her 5-7s. Somehow we stretched them on and our ride back was much more satisfying.

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    *****
    Happy birthday Becki. Thank you for always being up for the next great adventure!

  • Bottle Boot Camp

    Date: 2011.06.01 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 14

    Memorial Day was the ultimate getaway. Shannon and I packed the babies and all of their crazy amount of stuff into her husband’s truck and headed for Farmerville, America*. There my mom, her friend Janice and my youngest sister, MC, awaited us at the  lake house on Lake D’Arbonne. Plans for the Memorial Day weekend were basically to love on babies and lay in the sun.

    We got that and more, including lots of willing babysitters with a wealth of mommy experience and my youngest sister as our volunteer cook and certified baby soother. It was in these women that Sarah finally met her match.

    My determined mother not only managed to get Sarah to take a pacifier when she was super cranky, but by the end of the weekend had her taking that bottle without so much as a squawk. Though boy did Sarah give them a run for their money. She had no idea she was up against a village of women with infinite patience and determination. By the time we left late Monday, I was able to giver her a bottle in the car on the way home! Praise be to Mimi, aunties and Janice.

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    Mommy experts Mimi and Janice with yawning J Man.

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    Cook and baby soothing extraordinaire, MC.

    I actually got to relax, soak up some sun and read. I also ate a lot of Ben and Jerrys. Heaven? I think so.

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    Little J Man with his mommy, Shannon.

    My nephew, little J man, is easily the most chill baby I’ve ever met. He loved being in the company of so many adoring women. I’m sort of jealous of how relaxed he is, but then Sarah took this weekend to start smiling at everything and I realized that I have the perfect baby for me.

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    Sweet Sarah smiles.

    Also, she loves her sling.

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    *Farmerville is a small and, at times, backwoods area of Louisiana. The Walmart there has the most interesting clothing (even more so than your average Walmart) and the people are very friendly. In fact, one weekend my mom, aunt and a bunch of their girlfriends went to the lake house for Labor Day. They decided to get gussied up and hit the local bar. They walked in and it was like the record stopped. You could hear a pin drop as a handful of greasy men missing a tooth here and there openly gawked at them. Finally one spoke up and said, “Ya’ll ain’t from Farmerville America are ya?” Ever since we can’t say the city without calling it “Farmerville, America.”