Saturday, January 31, 2009

kickin' again

Well today was my first day back to taekwondo after a rather long hiatus.

While pregnant, I was able to keep working out up until about 8 months.  Of course, as my belly grew, I had to modify more and more, but I was there, and I always enjoyed it.  After 8 months, things got busy and neither me or Kyle went to class for about a month - and then of course Abby came...

So, now, here I am 7 weeks postpartum, and I am dying to work out.  I am so eager to start trying to get my body back.  I'm not one of the lucky ones who is back to their pre-pregnancy a week after the baby is born.  Oh no, I'm giving myself a year.  By New Years 2010, I want to be at my ideal.  I mean, it would be nice to not be wearing maternity jeans this summer, y'know?  I know it will be a lot of work - but it'll be worth it.   And taekwondo is a Great tool to help me along.  

Here's an observation about myself: I can get up and go down to our gym and work out for 30 mins or an hour or whatever - but I hate it (even though I also really do want to be there, make sense?).  But, if I have somebody pushing me to work out - I can do so much more.  It's like working out for my own benefit isn't good enough - I need to be meeting somebody else's standards.  This is why taekwondo is so good.  If one of my instructors asks me to do something, or is watching me, or is in the same room - I push myself so much more than if I were working alone.  Even if my instructors aren't around - there are always lower ranks, or kids that are watching.  I guess I just need an audience to push myself to my max.  

Anyway.  We've decided that Saturdays are a good day to make the trek up to the school for their morning class.  I mean, with Abby we're up anyway, so why not go train?  It was so great to be back in uniform.  I've lost so much strength, flexibility, etc...and it feels a little strange to be working out not-pregnant, but it still felt really good.  And it was good to visit with the friends we've made up here too.  Our instructors are amazing people - the kind of people that make your life better just by knowing them.  

So hopefully with going once or twice a week (in addition to my normal gym visits) - I'll start to get back into shape.  Keep me accountable!

Here's a pic that Kyle snapped after class - as you can tell by my sweaty face.  :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

friday night brownies

Friday night is the one time during the week that no work should be done.  It's a close second with Sunday afternoon - but with Sunday being so close to Monday...Friday wins.  Kyle and I usually spend Friday nights either watching stand up comedy or renting a movie.  It's also the night we are most likely to make brownies.  We have a weakness for brownies.  

So I made dinner tonight and put a little more effort into it that usual. Abby had gone to bed an hour earlier than usual.  We had some chicken with this cracker crumb stuff I concocted and mashed potatoes (with the skins still on of course) and some other things.  After we finished dinner we started our little routine - "whatdoyawannado?"  followed by, "I dunno, rent a movie?" followed by, "ok, wanna make brownies?"  and ending with "sure"

Then I remembered that I wasn't sure if we had enough vegetable oil to make the brownies.  So I told Kyle I would go measure out the oil and that if we had enough - we could make them. I go to the kitchen and while I'm getting out the oil and stuff I'm also cleaning up the dishes from dinner.  I guess in my multi tasking I failed to notice that Kyle had the bag of brownie batter (in its powdered form) in his hands.  As I'm measuring the oil - and discovering we only have half of what we need - I hear a *Poof* sound...

I look up to see Kyle holding Very still, eyebrows raised, eyes big and staring at me - his hands clutching a nearly ripped-in-half plastic bag of brownie powder that is poised to spill at the slightest movement.  The image of Kyle's face still makes me chuckle as I'm typing this.  Kyle was almost cradling the powder to his chest in an effort to save the mix from falling on the floor until he could transfer it into a bowl.  

Now, before the humor of his appearance really caught up to me - my first reaction upon hearing him rip open the bag was admonishment.  "Kyle! What are you doing? I said to WAIT until I'd measured the oil and THEN we would see if we could make them - we don't have enough oil - so NOW what are we going to do, huh?"  (the whole time I'm saying this - he's being statue still - brownie powder on his nose, lol)  It didn't take long for us both to just start laughing.  We laughed and laughed. 

Well, lets not let these brownies go to waste.  I look at Kyle and ask "can you use olive oil in brownies?"  It was a rhetorical question.  We didn't know - so, why not?  I used my olive oil to make up for the remainder of the oil needed in the recipe.  

Ok - so we have transfered the bulk of the powder into a bowl, but as I'm pouring the oils together (and kind of mesmerized by the swirling of the slightly different colors) I notice in my peripheral vision that Kyle is sweeping the spilled brownie powder on the counter INTO the bowl with his hand.  This may seem innocent enough - but you see, I hadn't finished cleaning the counters from dinner - and there was still some salt, pepper, and garlic that had spilled... right where Kyle was sweeping up the brownie powder. "What are you DOING!?" I asked Kyle.  He froze and looked up at me with those same big eyes that looks simultaneously apprehensive and confused.  With Kyle frozen like a statue - hand in mid sweep - I start admonishing him again for sweeping the leftover spices into our dessert...but I didn't get far.  About one sentence in and I am just flooded with a wave of the giggles.  

Well, why stop now? Olive oil, garlic - these brownies are going to be GREAT.  Kyle is laughing too now, and it was one of those moments that right when we caught our breath - one of us would make a noise and we'd start all over again.  

This is getting too long - but it suffices to say that it was good to laugh like that.  I was just filled with laughter and love for my momentarily not-all-that-helpful-but-well-intentioned husband.  And I just wanted to take a moment (or several) to document that snapshot in my life.  Someday maybe I'll come back and read this and remember and it will make me smile again.

And yes, surprise surprise, the brownies tasted funny.  :)

sleep schedules

I'm optimistic.  

I've been reading several books about baby sleeping habits (Thanks to my friend Hannah for recommending one, and thanks to my friend Kathy for sending them to me!)  The book I like the best so far is called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child"  - the one Hannah suggested.  I like it because the author takes a very scientific approach to sleeping.  He explains the chemistry and the biology of sleep habits in babies - he sites research, and this style appeals to me.  

Now, I KNOW that every baby is different and that some approaches and theories just don't work for certain babies, but I swear, Abby is following this book like clockwork.  I mean, she's really been a pretty easy baby for the most part, so we probably shouldn't be too surprised.  I try to maintain a skeptics eye and an open mind, but I'm secretly excited that she seems to be taking to the sleep/wake schedule so well. 

Last night, we put her down to bed around 7:30.  She woke up at midnight to eat.  Normally, she'll wake up again at 3 to eat, but not last night.  Last night I woke up (automatically) at 3am and found her laying in her pack-n-play - awake.  She had wiggled out of her swaddle, out from under the blanket, almost wiggled out of her sleep gown, and had just about wiggled herself into the corner of the bassinet.  She looked a little annoyed at her current position, but wasn't fussing about it.  She just had that look on her face that said "Hmm, now how did I manage this?"

So, I bundled her back up and she was asleep again.  She didn't eat!  She didn't wake again until almost 6am.  This means she went almost 6 hours without food, and while she was awake for a while, I never would have known it had I not been awake anyway.  I'm hopeful that this is the beginning of longer sleep trends.  

Abby gets up at 7am.  She naps at 9, 1, and 4 (ideally, sometimes we have to modify).  Today, at around 8:50am, she starts yawning (right on cue) - I put her down and she slept for three and half hours!  Now, when I put her down, I usually expect an hour.  So,  in that hour I try to be as productive as possible.  Today - by the time she woke up, I had the house cleaned, laundry done, dishes were washed, e'mails were organized, bathroom was cleaned, trash taken out etc... I even started looking for cookie recipes.  

Oh, and because a few people have asked - no, she is not sleeping in her crib at night yet.  She's still in the pack-n-play in our room.  But, she does nap in her crib during the day.  She's not picky.  

Anyway, it was nice to have such a productive day - and it was nice that Abby slept so well.  She went down for her other naps too and is going on 4 hours of straight sleep now.  I'm pleased.  I look forward to reading more of the book and helping Abs develop good sleep habits if I can.  One review of the book I read said, "It was like all I needed was for somebody to explain to be that babies shouldn't be awake for more than 2 hours at a time"  That's true for us too.  It's made a big difference to have regular nap time.  I hope it continues to develop like its "supposed" to.

and yes, I am aware that by posting this I'm jinxing everything.- Abby will probably never sleep again...  :)  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mary Poppins, round 1

All too soon I'll be heading back to work. Sigh.  

I love my job, and I am so lucky to work so close to home - and to have such a short work day.  I really can't complain about any of it...except that I'd rather stay home.  :)  

But, that's just not possible - so Kyle and I have begun the search for the perfect nanny.  We're looking at going the nanny route instead of a daycare for several reasons.  Finances being number one.  Plus, I like the idea of Abby having one constant person taking care of her in our home rather than her being one of many in somebody else's home.  We're researching daycares too - just so we know all our options - but I think we'll end up with a nanny.  

So, I put out an ad.  I thought that we might get a few responses back over the next month and that, if we were lucky, one of them would be a good fit.  Well, I was surprised to get almost 50 responses back in the first day of the posting.  Can you say overwhelming?  I quickly decided I was going to need a system for sorting through all these potential care takers.  

Most people sent normal e'mails - they introduced themselves, some stated why they would like the job, several sent resume's and references.  Some, however, were less than stellar.  My favorite was the person (who didn't even sign their name) who wrote, and I quote, "I can watch her, I watched my cousin once."

Seriously?  I think not.  Delete. 

I also made the decision to delete any e'mail that was written in broken english or very poor grammar.  I am sure these are all lovely and qualified people - but with so many overachievers, I had to cut down the numbers somehow.  One daughter wrote to me asking me to hire her mom, who speaks no English.  She assured me, however, that she would always be available by phone to translate when needed.  Sigh.  

I ended up with a list of 25 potentials.  I made a 10 question survey and sent it out to all of them.  I'm now in the process of organizing those and then we will pick a handful to interview in person.  

One of the things I asked was for them to tell me something interesting about themselves.  Some people responded to that question by telling me how much they love children and how uniquely caring and responsible they are (blah blah blah).  Some people told me something random like "I play violin" or "my parents own a palace"  But, then some people decided to tell me, more or less, their life story which ended in why they really needed this job.  

I feel bad - many of these people are out of work.  Some have been laid off from big companies, some were nannies for other families who could no longer afford to keep them.  Several of them are almost begging me for this job - and I have to chose one.  Meaning, I have to let down several dozen.  

In the end, of course, it will come down to how we mesh with these people face to face, how their references check out, and their other qualifications - but I do feel for them.  

Wish us luck on our search for the perfect somebody to watch our Abby. 

PS: any of you friends or family who have decided that a move to Boston sounds perfect right about now- we're encouraging you, and we will feed you.  :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Abby's tongue

A day or so ago, Abby discovered her tongue.  Enjoy!

video

Sunday, January 25, 2009

deal with it

After church today, Kyle and I made the decision that we would attempt to resume what had become a Sunday tradition before Abby came - our sunday afternoon burritos.  

We just happened to fall into that habit after moving here.  We found a place we liked and every week - or almost every week - we would go and get our chicken or steak burritos.  So good.  In the summer, we would walk there or walk back (a little over 2 miles from our apartment) and enjoyed the time conversing on our way.  It's been nice.  Anyway, today was our first sunday back at the burrito place.  

Well, on the way over, I heard Abby making noises that left no question that she had successfully filled her diaper.  I told Kyle that I would change her at the restaurant while he ordered.  So, we get there, I take Abs out of her car seat and into the small bathroom - which luckily had a changing table.  

I put her down and then I notice - she has completely blown out of her diaper.  She was wearing a one piece footie snapsuit thing, the inside & outside of which is now half saturated with her latest mess. "Ok," I think "let's do this"  

I unsnap the lower half of her outfit and commence to cleaning her.  This is when I discover I have 3 wipes left in the pack I carry in my purse. 3.  Well, this was more than a 3-wipe job.  She needed everything cleaned from her toes to midway up her back.  With the help of some paper towels, I manage to get her skin cleaned with a new diaper on and one wipe left.  But, now what?  I can't put her outfit back on her - it's fithy.  I can't take it off of her - she'd be naked and it's freezing outside.  

I almost always carry an extra onsie with me - but not today.  We almost always carry a blanket with us - but not today.  I just looked at the mess for a good 30 seconds thinking "now what?"  I heard the voice of Tim Gunn say "make it work, Laura"  

I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed a bunch of paper towels and set to cleaning out the inside of her snapsuit the best I could.  I then lined the inside with more paper towels and then used our burpcloth on top of those.  I put one leg back into the clean side and left her other leg dangling out while I snapped up the dirty side - now filled with paper towels and a burp cloth.  The result was the freakish appearance that Abby had 3 legs.  I Really wish I'd taken a picture.  

So, probably 15 mins after I entered, I leave the bathroom to find Kyle waiting on us with a look on his face that asked, "everything ok?"  I explained to him why Abby now looked like a 3 legged mutant- baby and we put her back in her carseat, covered her,  gave her the paci and rocked her to sleep.  

Then we had burritos.  

The scariest part of this whole ordeal is how it didn't really phase me.  A year ago, the idea of cleaning up a massive amount of poo with only 2 wipes and the dilemma of no clean outfit to change her into may have made me lose my appetite for burritos.  Nope, not today.  It's just "one of those things" that you deal with.  

oh, motherhood.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

6 weeks ago

Was it really only 6 weeks ago that we were without Abigail?

6 weeks ago - the crib was empty, the clothes had never been worn, the diaper pail was unused.  6 weeks ago, there wasn't a box of kleenex and a burp cloth next to every chair in the house.  There were no bottles by the sink and no milk in the freezer.  6 weeks ago, the pacifier was still in it's package and the desitin was unopened - as were the packages of diapers.  

6 weeks ago - I slept through the night.  I didn't have to have a plan.  6 weeks ago, terms like"epidural," "jaundice," and "engorgement" were just words in a book.  6 weeks ago, my husband I watched TV together every night and slept in on the weekends. 

6 weeks ago, I had never held a baby that was only seconds old.  

6 weeks ago - I had never heard my little girl's cry.  I  had never seen her eyes.  I didn't know how much she would look like her father.  I didn't know how tiny her fingers would really be.  I had no idea how peaceful she would look when she was sleeping.  I didn't know how good she would feel in my arms.  6 weeks ago, I didn't know that her breath would smell warm & sweet or that her yawns would make me laugh. 

6 weeks ago - I didn't know that my life was incomplete.  I didn't know anything.  

A lot has changed since then.  Most things have been an easy transition.  Some things have not been so easy.   Looking back on those pre-baby days - I can't remember what I did with myself.  How did I fill my days without diapers, nursing, and comforting a baby?  I don't know.  But, of course, I wouldn't change it for the world.  A lot of people told me that - that parenthood brings lots of changes and sacrifices, but they're sacrifices you don't mind making.  That's what Love is. 

The first time I visited a Catholic church was with Kyle.  The priest, Father Brandon, was the first real-life priest I'd ever met.  He was small and Vietnamese - more affectionately known as "fava bwandon".  He gave his homily, and touted again and again that "Love is Sacrifice."  Now, I had heard this message before, but for some reason, it struck me in a new way that day.  I had just started dating Kyle and I was scared.  I didn't know how dating a "blind guy" would be.  I mean, he would never pick me up for a date, or compliment me on my new shade of eyeshadow.  Petty, petty things, I know - but things that crossed my mind.  As I sat listening to Father Brandon, this message began to sink in.  These things were small sacrifices, and if I loved Kyle, these things wouldn't really matter. When he ended his homily by saying, "Love is sacrifice, but the sacrifice- you don't mind making"   That's all I needed to hear.  Since that day, I have thought about that line often.  Well, having a baby brings the point home even more so.  

Having a child forces you to sacrifice some things, but you don't mind.  You don't care if you don't get to sleep in on the weekends or if you smell like spit up and milk all day.  You don't really mind if you stay in your PJs for 2 or 3 days, or if you didn't have time to eat lunch- or shower.  It doesn't matter if you're sore and tired.  You don't mind if you have 4 different bodily fluids on your shirt at the same time.  You don't mind because you're in love.  

I'm in love.  Much more than I was 6 weeks ago. 





Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration

What a day.   

I love these kinds of events.  The kind that unite people and electrify the masses.  I loved watching the coverage of the inauguration when they would show pictures of hundreds of thousands of people on the mall in DC.  The sheer numbers are awe inspiring, but what I really love is how complete strangers are united.  They cheer and hug and sing together.  

I love seeing pictures of people in large numbers stopped in the street in times square watching Obama make his speech.  People all over the country - the world- gathered to watch together. 

I teared up watching Obama walk onto the platform, seeing the crowd shots of old people and children crying for joy.  I teared up listening to the speech.  It's all just very - brace for the cliche - historic.  

I wanted Abby to "watch" the speech.  Just so I can tell her one day that she did.  I'm so happy that this has happened in her life.  That she will never know differently.  Here's a scary thought for you - out little baby Abby could be 8 years old when Obama leaves the White House.  Crazy.  
We had some fun with the festivities today.  I made my Democratic BLUE-berry Obama Inaugural muffins this morning, and Abby and I had a fun time with the camera and her best presidential outfit (Thanks Granny).

I'd write more- but laundry calls and baby cries.  :)  But, oh, before I go - Abby finally did crash out last night and slept great.  So far today she's right back on track for a more normal wake-sleep pattern.  Maybe she was just excited about the Inauguration.  Who knows. 

Obama muffins


Ms. President


with the whole world in her hands




Monday, January 19, 2009

awake

Somebody replaced by baby last night with a replacement robot-baby.

Abby and I got up around 7:30 this morning.  She was a little fussy this morning.  I'm pretty sure she was having some tummy pains.  She just looked and sounded as if she was hurting.  It's so sad to watch her like that.  She cried and cried.  At around 10, she settled down, and 4 diapers later (yes, 4 diapers in one changing) she seemed to feel much better.  

We were meeting a friend for lunch, so I tried to get her to take a nap before we went.  No go.  I got her to be quiet in my arms for a while, but her eyes were as wide as saucers the whole time.  Well, we got ready and went to lunch.  Kyle and I got groceries afterwards and ran another errand before coming home.  Usually, the car puts her to sleep instantly.  Not today.  Nope, today she either sat quietly wide-eyed in her car seat or she was screaming at us.  

She wasn't dirty, she wasn't hungry, she did Not want her pacifier...she was just upset. 

We got home and Kyle and I tried to get her to nap again.  No luck.  We tried swaddles, pacifiers, laying her alone, cuddling with her.  I tried nursing her to sleep, rocking, singing, changing her.  Nothing worked.  She either was awake or crying.  

I put her in her pack-n-play while we made dinner.  She was drowsy looking, so I thought this would be it.  Dark room, all tucked in...  Nope.  While we made dinner we listened to her soundtrack of whiney-cry.  Just a whimper.  One of those "c'mooooon, I don't wannnna go to bed guys"  She picked up the crying a little (of course) and we let her go about 5 mins.  As soon as one of walked in the room, she stopped.  She was just laying there - wide eyed and still.  As soon as we walked out - the whimpering started again.

They say newborns shouldn't stay awake for more than 2 hours at a time.  I'm sure this depends somewhat on the baby, but I'm also sure than 12 hours is too long for her to be awake.  

Poor baby.

(here's to hopin')

Sunday, January 18, 2009

snow

I woke up a little before 5am this morning and noticed that it was snowing outside.  It looked like it had been snowing for a while from the looks of the roads.  When we got up at 8, it was snowing even harder.  Abby and I hung out this morning while Kyle slept in (is it sleeping in if you went to bed at 4am?), and the whole time the snow kept falling.  

I remembered that Kyle and I had a lunch appointment with the Cheesecake factory.  Almost a year ago, I signed up to be a mystery guest for them.  So, every so often, we sign up for a time and we go eat.  We take note of things and fill out a survey when we get home.  They used to reimburse you up to a certain amount - now they just send you gift cards...but whatever.  It's been a nice way for us to make sure we get out every now and then.  However, if you sign up for a visit and then don't go - they drop you. 

So, as Kyle and I read the winter storm warnings and watched the snow piling up - we questioned whether we should venture out or not.  Of course, we did.  If you know me - no snow is going to keep me from cheesecake.  

So, we went and drove slow in the gooves of cars before us.  It was fine.  We ate.  It was yummy. 

On the way home from lunch, we stopped by BC so Kyle could drop off a book.  I snapped a few shots from the car.  It doesn't give the snow justice - it's really very pretty.  It's the first snow we've had that's Really covered everything enough to make it pretty- and not just sludgy. Boston is very pretty in the snow.  I'm hoping that one of the next few days will by sunny and maybe Abby and I can venture out and get some nice outdoor snow pictures.  

On another subject - can I just note that Abby loves bathtime?  I'm happy that she seems so at ease with it, at least for now.  As long as she's warm, she'll almost fall asleep in her little sling bath chair.  After her bath, what little hair she has sticks straight up - it's pretty funny, I should get a picture.  Anyway.  That was a little random, I know.  

enjoy the snow pics.

crazy college kids playing football in the snow.  It looked like a LOT of fun.  

The golden eagle

road home

Friday, January 16, 2009

Smiles

Abigail still isn't really smiling socially, but she's starting to figure out that she has a mouth.  We made a little video for your entertainment....or maybe just for my entertainment.  Either way...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ho hum day

Kyle started back to school today and had work afterwards.  This means it was our first real day without him around.  

I started the day pretty well.  I got up and made it down to the gym, which was good.  I was proud of myself for going - cause I did not want to go.  At all.  Afterwards,  I had time to clean the kitchen and living room before Abby & Kyle were awake.  Kyle had to leave for work pretty quickly and after she ate, Abby and I cuddled up for a nap.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling I'm getting sick.  My throat was sore all morning, and then it subsided and gave way to a killer headache (which is still with me) and some slight achey feelings all over.  No fun.  I've been in a kinda grumpy mood all day - poor Kyle.  It's just because I don't feel well.  I think he knows that.  :)

The rest of the day was pretty chill.  Abby slept or stayed silently awake for the most part.  She's a good baby.  Kyle is home now, we had a good dinner and now he's napping with the little one, which gives me a break and gives them some nice time together.  

So, no real point to any of this, just wanted to take a moment to write.  I'm going to go try and rest for a bit.  

All tuckered out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

stress.

Starting in November of 2008, I had to start repaying my student loans.  A necessary evil.  

During my grace period - the 6 months before repayment - Kyle and I made sure we knew how much everything would be.  With the addition of a new baby, we wanted to make sure 0ur budget was do-able.  

When we added up my total loans, they were less than we expected.  We couldn't figure out why, but after calling around with no answers, we decided to just go with it.  Well, surprise surprise, today we found out why.  

Here's the short version:  A big chunk of my loans went to a company with which I have had no contact.  They, apparently, had been mailing me things, but because these things were addressed with my maiden name, they were being sent back as undeliverable.  This means that we never received any communication from this loan company.  Ever. Not. one. word. 

This upsets me because we actually tried to find these "missing" loans.  We're responsible people, and now we have a rather unexpected new expense - honestly through, I feel, no fault of our own.  This new loan, by the way, is almost a hundred dollars MORE than my other TWO loan payments combined.  More than pocket change.  

Of course, this comes after adding the expenses of a new baby, and after I have decided to take a month of unpaid leave, and after all our Christmas expenses.  It's just...stressful.  

Kyle and I made a new budget tonight.  It's tight.  Really tight.  But, we can do it.  I think.  I know a budget seems to be a silly thing to ask prayers for - but, I'd actually appreciate it.  I need the discipline.

I have a little plaque that my mom gave me before I moved away.  Its small and simply says "the Lord will provide"  We've often said this was our family motto - since so many times we didn't know how we would make things work.  I look to it often, actually.  I believe that its true.  And, it almost always brings me comfort.  I try to remember to look at it when things like this happen.

So, anyway, I'd appreciate it if you kept us in your thoughts as we, once again, try to work things out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

holding her head

Ok, as stated in the last post - here is the video we took of Abby today.  

At one month old - she doesn't have a long list of activities to show off, but head holding is top of her list.  I hope the video works, and I hope you enjoy it!


Today Abby is one month old!



She had a pediatrician appointment this morning. Kyle and I weren't sure exactly what time so at 9:35, Kyle calls and is told that our appointment is at 10. Less than half an hour to get up and out of bed and get everyone ready to go??...oh, and Abby hadn't eaten in 3 hours & was not going to last until we got back. Oy. Well, I'm proud to say that we fit in half a nursing, Kyle got a shower, I got dressed, and we were at the doc's office at 10:05. Go us!

Abby weighed in today at 8lbs 12 oz! She also grew an inch and a half in length. We got some more silver nitrate put on her belly button to clear up the little bit of oozing that she still had going on. The doctor said everything looks great and is pleased with her weight gain.



At one month old, Abby is learning to hold up her head. This is still a skill in progress, but she gets better at it everyday. She is still in love with lights - anything bright will capture her attention. She is starting to make more eye contact and maintain it with us more and more. She is a content child. She cries when she needs something - but even the most horrendous screams stop immediately once you figure out what it is that she wants. She sleeps well - waking only to be fed and going back down after. She makes a million facial expressions that keep me and Kyle endlessly entertained.



Kyle and I took a video of Abby to share - but I'm having technical difficulties uploading it. Check back later, maybe I'll figure it out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Harold

Abby has lots of nicknames.  Probably too many to count.  We joke that the child will never know her real name because of this. 

Some of her nicknames are of the generic variety: sunshine, baby, princess, sweetie.  We probably use these the least.

Some of her nicknames are slightly more interesting: eaglet, starshine, Gina (as in "dang, Gina" you ate all that?), our little Flopcicle (thanks, Ouma)

Some of her nicknames are actually derived from her actual name: Abster, Abdigator, Abicus, our little Abigailien, Abbykat. 

But, I have a favorite.  She is my little Harold. 

 Yes. Harold.  

This comes from a literary character.  From a book that I thought everyone knew.  However, after an extensive poll of everyone I know - only 2 other people had actually read this book.  It's called "Harold and the Purple Crayon"  It's a great book.  And if you don't know it - you should read it.  It's a kids book.

Anyway, one day, Abby made this face.  It is my favorite face she makes.  She raises her eyebrows up as high as they can go - but keeps her eyes closed.  While she does that, her lips pout out like duck lips.  I looove this face.  It cracks me up.  So, the first time she did it - the way her eyes (or rather, eyelids) looked reminded me instantly of this children's book.  Abby looked just like Harold - the little bald headed baby with tall eyebrows. 

From then on, she was my little Harold.  It caught on with Kyle too - and we actually had to make ourselves stop using it so much.  So, now we just use it when she makes the Harold face.  I know that most people won't see the resemblance  - and that's ok...it is a bit of a stretch.  Nevertheless, it has stuck with us.  

Here are some pictures of Harold.


And here is mine.

weekend update.

Yesterday, Kyle and I took Abby out shopping.  We drove out to the burbs where all the big box stores live and spent all day walking around and getting things here and there.  We got Kyle new clothes and picked up some cute outfits for the Abster as well.  We picked up some economy sized boxes of diapers and wipes and even visited the wal-mart while we were out there.  Visiting wal-mart is always crazy out there because despite the massive crowds that the store always has - they only have 4 or 5 checkout counters open (including the express lane).  Anyway, it always takes longer than we want - but where else can I get cute baby clothes for 75 cents?

This trip was the first time we used our full stroller.  We actually only used it in one store - but it came in handy anyway.  It was also the first time we brought a bottle to feed Abby.  We gave her her first bottle the night before.  Well, Kyle did.  She drank it waaay to fast and didn't keep much of it down (live & learn) but we were glad to know that she doesn't appear to have Any problems taking one.  She's not picky about her food, that's for sure.  

While we were in walmart, this man walked by our cart.  He was maybe in his 30s or 40s and cognitively delayed.  He was there with a woman who looked like she might be a caretaker of sorts.  Anyway, he was talking with her when he walked by our cart and stopped to say "Ooh, look, a baby!  Such a pretty baby"  Then he looks at Kyle and says "Wow, that's your baby.  No denying that!  That is His baby for sure" and he just kept walking.  Kyle was just beaming.  

Last night, Karen  & Sarah came over and we hung out and played some wii games together.  We've actually managed to get together everyday since Wednesday and hang out - which has been fun.  It started snowing last night.  Everything looks pretty today.  

We slept in this morning.  It was nice.  Its not like me to sleep in - but I was tired, maybe from the shopping and the late night wii games, I dunno, but I didn't get out of bed until after noon - which is very rare for me.  It felt good though!  

Oh, speaking of feeling good - I started working out again this week.  I'm technically supposed to wait until 6 weeks post partum I think, but I feel fine and I can't stand not working out any longer.  I'm so eager to start trying to trim myself back down.  I know it will take time.  It took me 9 months to gain the weight, so it'll take some time to lose it.  I'm not one of the lucky ones who fit in their pre pregnancy clothes when they left the hospital.  No sir.  But, nevertheless, I'm optimistic that I'll one day be down to a more comfortable size.  Wish me luck - and keep me accountable.  

So, I'm going to return to by super lazy sunday now.  May your day be as restful.  

(Kyle giving Abby her first bottle)

Friday, January 9, 2009

attitude


"Yo, s'up my peeps?"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

sleep

I've mentioned several times what a good sleeper Abby seems to be.  Of course, it's not like I have a lot to compare it to - so maybe my expectations were just really off.  Either way, I've been pretty pleased with our set up.  



The Abster eats every 2-3 hours.  Sometimes 4.  We've gone as long as 5 - but that's rare.  So, at night, that is no different.  I usually feed her at midnight, 3am, and 6am.  Which really means that I'm just getting up once during the night.  Sometimes I get up at 6 for the day and sometimes I sleep in.  During school & work, Kyle and I rarely go to bed before midnight.  Kyle - rarely before 2am.  I get up around 6 anyway - so it doesn't feel like a lot has changed.  The best part is that after she's done nursing, she is pretty good about going right back to sleep in her crib...well, her pack-n-play.  I still haven't found the courage to let her sleep in her own room yet.  I'll get there.

We love watching her sleep - she looks so peaceful.  She'll make little puppy noises and funny facial expressions.  They're great.  We wonder what she dreams about.  


Well, for all the good nights we've had, last night was the first off one.  After our 3am feeding, which ended at about 4am - Abby was just not feeling well I guess.  Maybe it was gas, maybe she was too full, maybe she was cold.  I don't know.  All I know is that every time I climbed back in bed, she started crying.  I got up and out of bed maybe 20 times - each time hoping that she was asleep for good.  Eventually, it was time for her to eat again.  At that point, I decided to just keep her in the bed with us instead of putting her back in her bed.  

Of course, this worked like a charm.  She was cuddled with me, warm, in our bed, full, and happy.  I was tired from staying up more than usual with her - so we slept in.  She stayed in the bed with me for just over 5 hours (with one feeding in the middle)  I will admit- I loved having her sleeping with me.  Loved it.  I'm also worried about starting a habit that I shouldn't.  I want her to sleep in her own bed and to be happy with that.  I don't want her to be dependent on sleeping with me.  No matter how much I secretly want to tuck her in by my side.  


I told myself that I wouldn't "let" her sleep with us until after 6am.  Ha.  We'll see how that works out.  I'm lucky that I'm not working right now and have the luxury of sleeping in or staying up late.  But, I'm all too aware that I'll need her to be as close to a constant schedule as possible when I do go back - and that that will be sooner than I think.  

Anyway, hopefully she'll be less fussy tonight.  I think she'll be fine.  She's a good baby. ;-)

expectations

Being pregnant and having a baby is a strange experience.  I don't think it ever felt normal to be pregnant.  It wasn't always a bad thing by any means - parts I really enjoyed, but the overall experience is just strange.  Part of what you do during those 9 months is imagine.  You imagine everything from what the next month will bring to labor to  your baby.  What will they look like?  How will they act?  Boy or girl? You fill your spare time - and sometimes your work time - with these kinds of daydreams.  

So, then what happens?  

I'm one of the first of my group of friends to have a baby, which means that several of my close friends have lots of questions about what things are like.  I know motherhood is different for everybody, but here are some thoughts from my experiences this last month.

Bonding happens.  There is something that clicks when you have your own child.  A desire to protect them and to keep them happy.  But there is also bonding that takes time.  I spent the first few weeks with Abby feeling more like I was taking care of a doll than a child.  Sometimes its hard when you are spending all your time feeding, rocking, changing and you don't get much of a reward in return.  She is too young to smile, or to see me from a distance, or to maintain eye contact.  This was hard on me.  I found it difficult to connect with her.  To bond.   Kyle was great with her, he was instantly smitten with her - and there were times I was jealous of his inability to feed her.  I wanted to be more than just a food source - but that's what I felt like.  I felt like he was bonding with her, and everyone we loved got to hold and play with her - but that I got her when she was crying and hungry.  Part of that is hormones, I know.  They do funny things to you.  

 Now, having said all of that, I want to make sure I'm clear that I love our little girl more than anything, and the second you see her looking at you, or smile - every second of frustration is worth it and you just melt.  But, for me, it has taken a few weeks to get to that point and we're still going.  Everyday brings something new - for which I'm thankful.

This brings me to another, related, observation.  I find that I am ready for Abby to get bigger.  So many people I know "mourn" the rapid growth of the first few months.  Maybe I will too - but not yet.  I find myself eager for her to get a little older.  Mainly for the reasons stated above.  I need to see her smile and hear her laugh.  I need her to look at me and know me.  I look forward to these moments.  

So, how does Abby compare to my expectations?  Well, the transition to parenthood has been much easier than I thought it would be.  I get more sleep than I did during grad school.  She's a good baby.  She wakes at night to be fed and then usually goes right back down.  This might change, of course, but for now - it has made the switch to motherhood pretty easy.  Abby is much more expressive that I imagined.  When she's happy - she's quieter than I imagined.  When she's upset - she's much louder than I thought a baby could be.  She makes us laugh more than I thought she would.  She's brought out a wonderful side of Kyle- much more than I imagined.  

So, this post is long and I've had to start and stop a dozen times. I just wanted to type out some thoughts while they were in my head.  Sorry if the post is disjointed....my mornings are too.  :)


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

macworld

Tonight was the mac world presentation.  Where the Apple dudes show off all their new software and computers.  Because Kyle and I are nerds, we always watch these things.  We like seeing the new products and watching the production.  

We always splurge a bit on these nights - as in we order pizza or something.  Today, however, we decided to each get something we wanted at the store.  The sight of our grocery selection at the store amused me enough to take a picture...

Yes, that would be milk, shrimp, OJ, brownies and diapers.  Mmmm?  

Of course, this year, Abby had to join in on the macworld fun.  She had a blast.  



The onsie is actually about 6 months too big for her - but that's ok, it just means she'll get lots of good use out of it.  (Thanks, D)  I got Kyle the shirt for father's day.  I've wanted to take that picture for a long time. :-)

In other news, Abby took her first T ride today!  She snuggled up in her sling for over 4 hours while Kyle and I ran around the city doing errands (and just meandering about - it was such a pretty, albeit cold, day!).  She's such a trooper.  :)

m

Monday, January 5, 2009

we're back

I have too many things to write about.  Too many things have happened over this Christmas break for me to catch up on.  Too many things to try to fit into a single blog posting - I'd have to have like 20.  

But, I'll try to summarize.  

We had a great trip.  Abby traveled very well and was a silent little sleeper during all her flights.  She got lots of attention and compliments.  

We had a great time seeing family.  The family enjoyed seeing Abby - and some of them noticed that Kyle and I came home too.  ;-)

Christmas was good.  Some of Christmas was weird.  Some of Christmas was hectic, but most of it was good.  Abby was appropriately spoiled and showered in gifts.  

[insert interesting blog about parallels in having a new baby during Christmastime and how meaningful everything is and how much I love Christmas hymns]

For New Years Eve, we visited with our godson and his family.  Had a great time.  And then played with our college friends for a bit.  I missed the ball drop, but didn't really care.  I had a glass of wine and got a kiss from my husband.  

We all ate black eyed peas on New Years at my aunts new apartment.  It's important to have black eyed peas on New Years.  And cornbread.  And family...but not necessarily in that order. 
Kyle and I enjoyed spending time with our friends...we miss them and love them.
  
In 12 days, I went to 4 mass services, 1 church service, a baptism and a wedding.  Lots of church. But it was nice.  

We got drinks from sonic at every opportunity.  We also ate at cracker barrel, which was delightfully southern.  Of course we hit up Chick-fil-A and Stoby's as well as Los Amigos.  So, y'know, it was worth the trip.   I miss southern food. 

Spent time with the family in Pine Bluff.  It was nice to have some low-key time.  Abby got to get some good Grandpa time in - and I'm not sure who enjoyed it more....but they both seemed pretty happy about it. I was happy about it too.  Grandparents are good things - and they're fun to watch too.  

[Insert the deep insightful and heartfelt blog post about the beginning of a new year with a new baby here and all this year has in store for us.]

We checked 3 bags on the flight home.  1 was overweight.  This cost $140.  That. is. crazy.  

Kyle wanted to take the T back to our apartment from the airport- with 3 suitcases, a pack-n-play, backpack, and a car seat full of baby.  Oh, and it was 30 degrees and raining.  Again - crazy.  ....we got a cab. 

It was super to visit Arkansas.  It made me miss home like it always does, and I could have stayed longer and been fine.  But, of course, it's nice to be back in Boston too - where our home is now.  I'm happy to be back and start a routine again.  





  

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