Archive for November, 2011

  • Still Fighting It

    Date: 2011.11.29 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Mark, Sarah | Response: 25

    People love to warn new parents that if their child gets put in daycare, they will get sick often. But it’s ok, they say, because your child is building an amazing immune system and will rarely get sick once they enter kindergarten while all the other stay-at-home kids are dropping like flies (or so they say).

    So I mentally prepared myself for the onset of sickness the best I could. But just like trying to prepare yourself for new baby sleep deprivation, it’s not much good. I knew Sarah would get sick, but I underestimated the frequency of illnesses and how all three of us would pass them around like a game of hot potato. I also underestimated the variety of sicknesses we would get. Illnesses we hadn’t heard from in years, including the stomach bug, fever and deep chest coughs.

    Currently we’re getting about one to two bugs a month a piece, each lasting anywhere from 3 to 7 days.

    These constant illnesses have made me realize that we really don’t have to go to the doctor and shell out a $50 co-pay each time, but I find it hard to judge when we should take her and when we should stay home.

    Just this morning I texted nurse Cassie about this very thing and she was extremely helpful. Today’s lesson: fever over 102 for 24 hours = doctor. Sarah’s fever has been around 100 for about 14 hours, so we’re staying home for now, but I may ring the doctor when she finally wakes up from this monster nap she’s taking if she is still running fever.

    All these sicknesses also mean that one parent is usually down for the count sick while the other takes care of things. Though many times when we’re both sick, the lesser sick person mans up (or womans up in most cases). This also means Sarah can’t go to school when she’s, say, puking or running fever, so Mark and I take turns staying home with her depending on work schedules, etc.

    Today was my day to stay home with her. She was so miserable this morning that I put her down for a nap early. My daughter, who will usually nap no longer than an hour or so, has been out for two-and-a-half hours. I keep checking on her, she’s fine. She just obviously needs the rest.

    In the mean time I’ve been detoxing and cleaning our house like a mad woman. Her play area has been scrubbed especially hard and all of her blankets, sheets and washable toys are in the washer and dishwasher now.

    I suppose there is no way to keep the bugs completely away, but she is still nursing (which is supposed to help) and I’m trying to keep things germ free as much as possible around here.

    Here’s to hoping that one day soon all three of us will be well again.

  • Thanksgiving

    Date: 2011.11.26 | Category: Baby, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Photography, Sarah | Response: 11

    We had a great Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. We had a big group of family gather and enough food to feed a small army for a week or so. It was delicious. My cheesecake was a hit.

    We also took time at the family gathering to do some family photos, including a Christmas card photo for my mom. The weather was gorgeous, around 75 degrees, and we donned our Christmas colors.

    The babies, however, were being uncooperative about smiling, so Mark helped by performing his infamous Tasmanian devil noises and faces and got the rest of us laughing so hard that we couldn’t get a decent photo.

    I love that J is looking at his mom in that photo like, “Mom, I don’t get it, what’s so funny?”

    And the babies were really more interested in pulling up grass…

    And trying out some yoga moves. (And no, not even a bow can tame my daughter’s hair).

    We did manage to get a few updated family photos of the three of us, though little bit was just so over the photos at that point.

    And my uncle Al got tired of taking photos, so he went and hid amongst the scarecrows.

    I’m so thankful Sarah and J’s first Thanksgiving was full of so much fun, family and love.

  • Thankful for Surviving

    Date: 2011.11.23 | Category: Baby, Health, Holidays, Home, Mark, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 14

    This year I have an abundance to be thankful for: my husband, my home, my job, my dogs, my family, my friends (both IRL and blog), my co-workers and, most especially, my daughter.

    This past weekend Sarah had her first stomach bug, and with Mark laid out with the same virus, my skills as a mother and wife were put to the test. I spent the day attending to the two of them, but to Mark’s credit he insisted that he could take care of himself and that I needed to focus on Sarah. It was a long day full of barf. And about the time I finally thought we were through the nastiest of it, Sarah crawled over to me, looked up and said, “ma ma” in the saddest little tone. I scooped her up, put her in my lap and then she barfed all over me. My legs, my feet, my shirt, the couch, her legs, her shirt.

    And then I learned what being a mom is truly about. Because instead of freaking out and tossing her to the side, I held her closer and told her everything was going to be ok until she was finished and I was thoroughly soaked. She also got a bath first (though I did make sure our house wasn’t covered in puke by taking off all offending clothes from both of us immediately).

    But that was the last bout of it, and then she began the recovery process. The next day I had to go to work to finish up two of my three deadlines and Mark spent his first whole day home alone with her by himself. I was a little worried because she can be such a handful, but Mark stepped up to the plate and was an amazing super dad.

    Now my deadlines have been met and I feel like I can finally relax and enjoy my Thanksgiving.

    I am so thankful for Mark. I am so thankful for Sarah. And I am so thankful that despite being barfed on, I didn’t get the stomach bug and was able to finish all my work deadlines.

    I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Beautiful Baby Evelyn

    Date: 2011.11.19 | Category: Baby, Friends, Life, Photography, Work | Response: 15

    Life has been so busy lately that I completely forgot to post about photographing my friend Angela’s newborn, Evelyn.

    Evelyn came a month early and weighed in just over five pounds, but she was healthy and hungry and quickly started gaining weight.

    I was amazed by how tiny she is. Tiny and perfect.

    She almost made me want to get pregnant again. Almost.

    And it was even sweeter watching her big sister Amelia hold on to her and kiss her hands and feet with such love.

    What is it about baby feet that are just so delicious?

    Congratulations Angela! You have a beautiful, amazing little family.

  • A Frenzied Pace

    Date: 2011.11.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 12

    Life has been sort of really overwhelming lately.

    At work I’ve been working on three big projects, all of which have deadlines before Thanksgiving.

    After leaving that at work, I come home to a daughter who is continually pulling up and falling over and hitting her head. She’s also developed something we call the “dying bird scream” that she makes loudly at the animals. And, to boot, she had some giant red mark on the back of her neck last night that I momentarily panicked over. But she’s glorious and wonderful and so busy. So busy, in fact, that I’ve taken to just sort putting her in Mark’s over-sized chair sometimes while I stand guard so she can bounce around without hurting herself… only to have her figure out how to scale the side of it and attempt to fling herself onto the floor.


    And then after she goes to bed I usually work a bit more… Only last night my laptop screen went out and I went into hysterics because HOW WOULD WE PAY FOR CHRISTMAS IF MY LAPTOP WAS BROKEN?!

    Deep breath.

    Mark has been super amazing during all this despite having weird sore throat problems and has been diligently cooking dinner every single night. Bless him. He also somehow magically fixed my laptop screen without any tools other than his own not-crazy aura.

    The only things that seem to help me relax lately are:

    1. Watching amazing amounts of TV while I work in the evenings or while Sarah is sleeping (Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family and Cupcake Wars FTW!)

    2. Reading like it’s going out of style. I’ve started back on my 100 literary classics list. I’ve read Emma (which Clueless was based off of, except in Clueless you at least liked the lead character which is more than I can say for Emma) and Heidi (which I’m almost done with and makes me want to run off to the Swiss mountains and live on the top of a hill with the goats).

    Oh how I’m ever looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the food, family and time off it brings with it.  (Though just the thought of Christmas season starting is intimidating.) Here’s to hoping things calm down very soon and I can launch myself into preparing for my baby’s very first Christmas.

  • 7 Months

    Date: 2011.11.11 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Photography, Sarah | Response: 14

    My baby is 7 months old today.


    A seven month old little little person.

    At seven months she is actively pulling up on anything and everything that comes across her path.  She is constantly standing up and looking around, even daring to hold on by one hand and, at times, completely letting go to stand on her own for about five seconds before falling on her bottom.


    She is even more enamored with the cats and dogs now that she can crawl over to them. She loves to “pet” them and giggles and giggles when she touches them.

    She also loves to gurgle, making sounds in the back of her throat. This week she’s also started twisting her tongue around and sticking it out, making very silly faces.


    She loves to eat. As soon as we pull her bib out she starts to get excited and raise her arms up and down. Her favorites are still sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and pears, though she has added avocados to her “dislike” list.

    This month has also marked the “meltdown” phase. If we take something from her that she wants, she immediately melts down with full on tears, screaming and quivering lip. We’re also having to use the word “no” now. Not very often, but kid needs to know what things will hurt her if she shoves them in her mouth.


    She floored us this past month by excitedly saying “da da” over and over, especially when daddy is in the room. And this past week she’s started saying “ma ma,” though not with any regularity. She’s also fond of the “ba” sound, maybe for Bonnie? When we repeat these sounds back to her, she beams with happiness.


    I’m constantly amazed by what a little person she is becoming. Her determined, happy, silly personality really shines through and Mark and I are so happy and proud to be her parents.

  • Busy Baby Basics

    Date: 2011.11.10 | Category: Baby, Home, Sarah, Style | Response: 18

    You guys, Sarah is mobile, and I mean get across the room and shove a dog toy in her mouth in five seconds flat mobile. Not to mention busy and extremely determined. If she wants something, she’s going to get it despite any efforts we make to prevent it.

    Yesterday, we had our first “incident report” from her school because she pulled up on the swing, it swung and she fell and hit her head. She’s fine, but she hasn’t stopped pulling up on the swing. And to top it all off, she is now starting to pull up, let go, stand on her own for a few seconds, topple, and get up and do it all over again.

    So today I present you with a list of my favorite things for busy babies.

    1. Classic Rubber Ducky Bath Toy
    Sarah won’t sit still in the bath tub. She would scream if we tried to hold her down long enough to scrub her, so we dug up one of my mom’s ingenious purchases, rubber duckies. She now spends her bath time attempting to capture all three of them and hold them under water or chew on them, thus distracting her long enough for a complete scrub down. ($3.85)

    2. Summer Infant Secure Surround Play Safe Play Yard
    This thing is amazing. I can fold it to any size and shape allowing me to rope Sarah into a safe space. I put a bunch of toys in the enclosed space and she can go wherever she wants, pull up on the sides and generally entertain herself without injury while I do things like cook or laundry. And it’s big enough that she doesn’t cry because she’s enclosed. Win! ($54.50)

    3. Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby Activity Zone
    This was another genius gift from my mom. Before Sarah was super mobile, she thought it was so amazing that this thing let her stand up! Now that she’s mobile, she sort of fights us when we try to put her in it, but once she’s in, she plays with all the things in it and bounces around. This thing is perfect when we’re trying to eat and want to make sure she’s in one place. ($39.50)

    4. Fischer Price Laugh and Learn Learning Puppy
    This was a gift from my friend Jill. She said her daughter loved it. We handed it to Sarah, pushed his singing feet and hands a few times and figured she wouldn’t really know what to do with it. Boy were we wrong. She will tackle that dog now to make him sing, accurately pushing his nose and tummy and laughing when he sings and makes noises. And there are so many songs this guy sings that it actually takes me at least 30 minutes before I put it up and hand her a quiet toy. ($20.89)

    5. Learning Curve First Keys Teether
    I don’t know what it is about these cheap keys, but they are Sarah’s absolute favorite toy ever. She chews on them shakes them, carries them around while she crawls and beats them on things. I got these at our local grocery store for $2 and I think I may go back and buy them out of their stock. ($3.61)

    6. Kidkusion Hearth Kushion, Brown
    The one problem with our enclosed play area is a brick fireplace hearth. We put this stuff on the edging. Sarah has already tested it twice by falling and her head bouncing off of this stuff like it’s a cushion. Crisis averted! ($20.99)

    *Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

  • Sweet Bonnie Blue

    Date: 2011.11.08 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Home, Life, Pets, Sarah | Response: 19

    When we adopted Bonnie two years ago, she had a few character flaws.

    For one, she was scared of almost all strangers, especially men. This meant when people came over, we had to put her in the backyard, or let her approach them slowly. She growled a lot, especially at Mark’s dad.

    She also used to roll over and pee all over herself if you approached her.

    But after a lot of research on building doggy confidence, forced socialization with other dogs and people, and some bladder control pills, Bonnie is the picture of sweetness.

    There is no way she would have let this happen two years ago.

    And now I think she actually enjoys it.

    Bonnie is actually better with Sarah than our therapy dog Leela. Who would have ever guessed?

    Look at how much love she manages to put in one look for Mark in that last photo… or maybe it’s just an appeal to get that kid off her back. Either way, she was a good girl.

  • Happy Friday

    Date: 2011.11.04 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Family, Life, Pets, Sarah | Response: 11

    Turn up the volume and enjoy this little piece of joy in my life.

  • Rough Night With Child

    Date: 2011.11.03 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah | Response: 18

    I really really love having a child, but there are some moments where I wonder, “Will I ever have the energy to do this AGAIN?”

    Last night was rough. Sarah woke up around 2 a.m., Mark went in and got her back to sleep.

    Then she woke up again at 4 a.m. I knew Mark was having trouble sleeping, so I got up and went in. That was my first mistake. When she sees me, she thinks it’s time to eat. I changed her diaper and attempted to lay her back down.

    And while her new found skill of pulling up is great and all, for some reason she thinks any time we lay her down she has to find a way to pull herself up to a stand… even if she’s past the point of exhaustion.

    So I laid her down, she immediately grabbed the crib bars, pulled up and proceeded to shake them violently while screaming at the top of her lungs. I made several attempts to get her to lay back down, including attempts to actually physically hold her down so she couldn’t pull herself up. That resulted in more screaming. I even got desperate enough to actually try a pacifier again, which resulted in more anger.

    Frustrated, I made my second mistake. I pulled her out of bed and fed her. See, we’ve been attempting to completely take out the early morning feeding to get her to sleep through the night. This has only been successful four times. But I knew feeding her usually gets her back to sleep. And it did.

    Until I laid her back down and then she was up quicker than a fox and back on those bars screaming her head off.

    More rocking. The whole time I was starting to get a better and better appreciation of that book, Go the F**k to Sleep. And then, at last, she was asleep again… until the d$%^ dogs took off down the laminate hallway clacking their loud toenails and woke her up again.

    More rocking. And then finally, at 5:30 a.m., SLEEP!

    Until 6:00 a.m. Then more crying and shaking of the crib bars.

    At the end of my rope, I got up and brought her into bed with us. Mark rolled over long enough to mumble that I was starting a bad habit by putting her in our bed. At which point I glowered at him and told him that I was at the end of my rope and she was either sleeping with us or HE was getting up with her.

    He rolled over and went back to sleep.

    Sarah drifted off to sleep… only to be awoken five minutes later by the grizzly bear snores of the husband… who I kicked and told he needed to figure out a way to control that loud snoring or I SWORE I WAS GOING TO SHOVE A PILLOW DOWN HIS THROAT.

    He grunted and covered his head with the blankets. Sarah went to sleep again. And I went to sleep, only dream about mythological creatures attempting to kill and mutilate one another.

    And then we woke up an hour later, well past time to get up for work. I rushed to get ready. My gas light came on on the way to work and at least three people pulled out in front of me. When I finally walked in 15 minutes late, my boss took one look at me and said, “Rough night with child?”

    I think he felt too sorry for me to give me a hard time for being late.