Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thrown a Curve Ball

I've been MIA for a while. I apologize for the lack of adorable pictures, and much needed updates on my little Gabriel. We've been spending all our spare time with Daddy lately. You read that right, time with DADDY!! Long story made short, he experienced some medical issues while at boot camp and was seperated from the Navy. The good news is he is just fine, and HOME! Although he's disappointed about this unexpected turn of events, he is thrilled to be back home with Gabriel and I.

I learned a lot during the time spent apart from my husband. Weeks on end with no calls, emails, or even letters leaves you with plenty of time for reflection.

I realized...
I take my husband for granted most days.
Although I enjoy extra room in the bed, I hate sleeping alone.
Taking care of a baby alone is HARD. I don't know how single parents do it.
Vacations don't feel like vacations without Joey.
Home doesn't feel like home without him.
I want to be a better wife and mother.
I appreciate my husband and rarely tell him so.

I'm so grateful to have my husband returned to me. (Thank you, US NAVY!) It seems as though the dust from all this is finally settling and we're finally feeling stable again. We are just now getting comfortable with the new life we never expected. (It's funny how God tosses out a curve ball when you least expect it.) Joey has a new job and has even received a big promotion since starting. I've taken up a part-time job, and we're (finally!) moving into a home of our very own, after living with family during all of these unexpected changes. As we are packing and moving, I'm making a point to remind myself daily of the time we spent apart. I've already slipped back into taking him for granted, and not appreciating the little things. I also tend to get a little cranky when moving (I know I'm not the only one), and I want to focus on the joy that this move will bring to our little family.

Stay tuned for more from us... (I promise the wait won't be as long this time.)

A letter to my Peanut

My little Peanut,
Today you're 11 months old,
and I have no idea where all the time has gone.
You're no longer my tiny baby,
but are growing into a little person.
You cruise all around the room,
and love to push your walker around.
I hate that you won't let me hold your hands to help you walk,
but I love that you are already so independent.
You love to say kitty cat ("key ka")
and starting saying dog ("gog") the other day.
Our new morning ritual makes my heart so happy!
You carefully select a book and bring it over to me with such a big smile.
With bright eyes and an open mouthed grin,
you carefully examine each page before turning it for me.
I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you're already so fond of reading.
I can tell that you understand more and more of what Mama and Daddy are saying to you.
You usually respond by shaking your head no,
or saying your most common phrase,
We have no idea what that's supposed to mean,
but we love to listen to you talk to us!
You LOVE music.
We hope that you'll have a great talent in music.
You seem to already.
You sing in the car all the time.
As a song plays, I'll hear you singing softly.
Music has always made your face light up,
and I hope you continue to foster a love for it.
You have your own piano and xylophone,
and routinely play the pots and pans as drums.
I wonder whether you'll be in a band like your Grandad?
I'm excited to watch you grow into a little boy.
I look forward to many memories to come.
Yet, I can't seem to wrap my mind around how someone so small
 is growing so large, so fast.
I would freeze time if I could, but only for a while.
I need time to focus on all the little things-
your brilliant blue eyes, the sound of your contagious laugh,
how excited you are when the "key ka" walks in the room,
the smell of your sweet baby breath,
and how adorable you look when you cuddle with your blankie in bed. 
 Mostly I need to remember how incredible it feels when you flash
your "squinty-eyed, wrinkled-nosed smile."
Don't grow too fast, my Peanut.
With love,
your Mama

Saturday, August 13, 2011

With the next one, gawk if you want to

I haven't linked up to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop in a while. This week's topic, Nursing in Public, has been a popular one! If you would like to share your experiences nursing in public (NIP), link up! Be sure to visit the other links listed below; there are some great posts this week!

I am so ashamed of myself for the annoyed glances I gave, and the "CAN YOU BELIEVE HER?" comments I made about nursing mothers before becoming one myself. The comment I most often made was, "I don't care that she's feeding her child, but can't she cover up?" Oh to be so naive!
Unfortunately, I continued to feel the same way when I had Gabriel. I was nervous about offending others, and couldn't shake the fear of accidentally exposing myself. Plus, no one in my family (with the exception of my SIL) had breastfed, so I just felt all-around uncomfortable about nursing in front of others right from the start.
Despite my nervousness, we nursed in front of some visitors after returning home from the hospital, and in the homes of family members. I used a cover, and hated it!  I wasn't good at situating him and getting him latched on while under the cover. So to avoid flashing, I would go to another room, get situated, and then come back. That was a pain in the rear.
As soon as he learned how to flail his tiny arms around, it just became impossible to cover up. Since I was still so self-conscious about exposing myself, I decided to just give bottles of expressed milk while we were on the go. I'm so mad at myself for that decision. I'd like to go back in time and slap the old me for being so foolishly insecure. I wish that instead of leaving the room to nurse in private, that I'd stayed put and felt confident in my ability to feed my baby in the most natural way possible.
Now I'm an exclusive pumper (you can read about why here.) and it's too late for my new take on nursing in public. I have big plans for my next baby though. I'll be holding my head high and nursing in public without fear of what others think. I want to make it clear that I have no plans of running around topless, but I'm not going to be concerned about the possibility of a slip here or there. Who cares if someone sees me feeding my child? It won't be featured in an adult film somewhere. It is simply the natural, God-given ability to nourish my child.
The last few times I've seen other mommas NIP, I made it a point to shoot them a smile. You should have seen the smiles these women gave back. They felt encouraged, supported, excited... not ashamed like many people make nursing moms feel. I also had the opportunity to defend a woman that was quite a bit exposed at the mall after someone made my old, "Can't she cover up?!" comment. It was strange how quickly the subject was dropped when I responded, "I think it's wonderful that she doesn't feel like it's necessary to hide. Afterall, she's just feeding her baby."
Have you shot a smile at a momma nursing in public, or had an opportunity to defend one? I'd love to hear your story!

I'll leave you with a cartoon a friend of mine posted on facebook. It gave me a good laugh, and I hope it does for you as well!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

This post is my contribution to The Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with LeviSlacker Mom, and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. Feel free to link up, and please visit the other blogs listed below to share some BFing love!!

Life With Levi

I had to laugh when I saw the topic for this week, Body Changes.
One of my closest friends breastfed her two kids, and really is one of only a few people I know that has breastfed. She by default then, became my go to person for all BFing related questions. We had a conversation somewhat recently about our bodies after pregnancy and BFing.  It started with me asking about whether her "ladies" went back to their normal size after she was through BFing, and ended when her husband so very lovingly threw in his two cents- "Swing low, sweet chariot!" We all had a good laugh about it, and continued on with our evening. Since then, I've gone back and forth with whether I really find that funny. Most days- yes, it's hilarious! It's a fun way to appreciate a piece of my new identity, battle scars if you will. In all seriousness though, it's a small price to pay for the well being of my precious little boy. There are other days however, that I'm pretty peeved about the ladies swinging low....and I'm sure if it's bad now, it's really going to be bad when I stop breastfeeding, and worse after future nurslings. Yikes! As depressing as "swing low, sweet chariots" can be, there are a few things that make me feel better as I stand completely bare in front of the mirror, and try to lift the ladies back up where they used to stand during their former glory. First, is that my problem isn't anything my good friend Vicky doesn't have a secret solution to. One trip to her place and I'll be a hot, confident Momma! Second, and most importantly, my husband has a such an appreciation for them it's difficult to not feel proud!
So maybe, just maybe, "swing low sweet chariot" can be funny all the time??

Friday, July 1, 2011

I hear you, loud and clear!

Little Gabriel has been growing like a weed! In addition to eating "big people food", he's also jabbering like crazy (Dadadadada! Mamamama! Rarararara! I'm not sure where the last one came from!), and has started army crawling (though he doesn't get too far)!
So of course, I am feeling like my little tiny baby isn't little at all anymore. In an effort to feel a connection to what used to be, I thought a few days ago that it would be a good idea to try nursing again. (Keep in mind, it's been around two months since I gave up trying to get him to nurse, and about 3.5 months since his refusal first began and I became an exclusive pumper.)
Well... let's just say he got his point across! My darling little angel first turned his head away, and when I continued to offer he looked up at me, leaned in real close, and bit me!
OUCH! He has teeth! So I'm really done this time. Done. Done. DONE!
I have a new found respect for my pump now. At least it doesn't bite.
I hear you, Gabriel, loud and clear. I promise to only offer mommy milk in a bottle from now on.
This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. This week's topic is pumping. Take a peek at some of the other posts below, and share some BFing love!!

Why I'm Moooing

This post is my contribution to The Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with LeviThe Slacker Mom, and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. This week'ss topic is pumping. Feel free to link up, and please visit the other blogs listed below to share some BFing love!!

Life With Levi

From the beginning, I didn't find breastfeeding all that difficult. We did have some latching issues in the hospital, but with the help of a nipple shield we got off to a great start! My milk came in (phew!), his latch caught on (finally!), and I reached my first initial goal (3 months). Success!
While pregnant, I had decided that love it or hate it, I would at least nurse for 3 months. So when that milestone rolled around, I set my next goal- 1 year. Things were going so well that I knew I'd make it to a year easy. Then it hit- the nursing strike. No matter what I tried, my darling little 4 month old screamed bloody murder at the sight of my breast. Everything I read said to be patient and keep trying...but not to be pushy. So I'd offer, he'd scream, and I would give him a bottle. My breast pump became my best friend, and I felt like a failure. I reminded myself daily that he was still getting my milk, and that was all that mattered; my broken heart felt otherwise. I missed the emotional aspect of nursing, and felt like i should be mooing as I pumped away my day.
During the month and a half I tried to work through the strike, we had just a handful of nursing sessions, each in the bathtub. I know the warm water relaxed both of us and calmed the mountain of stress I was carrying on my back. I could tell he found comfort in nursing, and that made our situation much harder on me. I considered our tub sessions a step in the right direction, but it wasn't long before they became screaming sessions instead. I finally decided that a month and a half of being rejected was all I had in me, and threw in the towel.
I realized though that since I'd already been pumping that whole time, there really was nothing keeping me from continuing. After doing a little research online, I was quickly empowered by the number of moms committed to exclusively pumping. (which is how i was introduced to Life with Levi's, Jen!)
Gabriel is 7 months old now, and I'm as determined as ever to make it to one year! Now that I have a good routine, and have become creative with when and where I pump, it's really not that big of a deal. I enjoy knowing I'm doing the best i can for my son. Sure I still feel a little like mooing.
That feels better.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Swim Lessons

 I read that in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 years of age. That's such a frightening thought! So when we attended swim lessons with my nieces and nephew today, I was so excited when the instructor offered to teach Gabriel as well. At the beginning of the session she showed me how to teach him to hold his breath. He did it the first time she put his head under the water! We practiced while the other kids had their lessons.

Scout has gone from being terrified to put her face in the water, to being a little fish! Prior to our visit, she mastered the swim-float-swim technique, and her skills were put to the test while fully clothed. Her instructor simulated her falling into the pool by turning her over in the water. She had to pull her jacket off of her face, float to catch her breath, and then swim to safety. She passed with flying colors! So today, she had her first snorkel lesson!

A pro already!
 Jack and Davie are still working on swim-float-swim, and are doing great! I was so impressed!

After all three kids had their lesson Gabriel got to take his turn. She would place him in the water on his tummy face down, and then help him to roll over and float on his back. It was amazing how well he did! With just one lesson he was doing a pretty decent job of floating without help.

I'd never given much thought to it before (seeing that we don't have a pool), but I am such a fan of teaching young children how to swim to safety (or an infant how to float until they can be rescued) after talking with the swim instructor! The pool is a place of fun for most, but the reality is, it can be deadly. The simple solution, and one that I'm learning many Florida residents are very passionate about, is teaching young children pool safety and survival techniques.

If you live near Clermont, Fl and are interested in lessons for your infant or child, please contact Kathleen Pickard at (352)24-FLOAT or visit the Swim Safely Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gabriel's First Flight

Gabriel and I set out on an exciting voyage yesterday- his very first flight! To start our trip we first had to drive about 4 hours to Dallas. (There were no direct flights out of Tulsa to Orlando. Plus it cost much less to drive to and fly out of Dallas.) Gabriel napped and played in the car and was really a delight. We arrived at DFW about an hour and a half before our flight and found out that our flight was delayed. After checking our bag and carseat (with help from Mimi and Gramps- thanks!), and making our way through security, we had over 2 hours to kill. I found a quiet spot and layed a blanket down for Gabriel to play on. He smiled, played and people watched and smiled some more. Prior to boarding, he took a bottle and fell asleep. Perfect! We boarded the plane and made our way to the last row. This awful set up was only balanced out by the fact that the only 2 empty seats were right next to us!! The captain came on, and Gabriel woke up to flirt with the flight attendant and the lady seated across from us. I was feeling confident that we were going to make it through the flight just fine. Gabriel had napped, I had come prepared with snacks, bottles, and new toys to entertain him with. So off we went! I had planned to give Gabriel a bottle during take off to help with his ears, but he had other plans. Instead of drinking some of the bottle I had, he returned the bottle he had drank earlier- soaking himself and me!
So I changed his outfit (remember, I'm prepared!) and realized I had forgotten a lessen that I had learned the hard way once already- always have a change of clothes for me too. The plane had just taken off for a 2.5 hour flight and my shirt was soaking wet and smelled bad, real bad.
I was a little rattled, but told myself that it could be worse. Then it got worse. We hit some turbulence (not too much, but more than I have ever experienced) and once again Gabriel projectile vomited all over me. Then my pants were soaked too.
Gabriel smiled at me though and continued to play with his fun new toys. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful, and my sweet baby feel asleep right before we landed. We were the last (and the stinkiest) passengers off the plane.
I then took off my mom hat and put on my Super Mom cape (which is what I'm now calling the sling I carry Gabriel in). I wish I had taken a picture, but since I had no free hands and no actual super powers, that was truly impossible.
Gabriel strapped to my front side, I pulled my carry on behind me, with the diaper bag strapped to it. We made our way down to baggage claim where I picked up the suitcase I had checked and his carseat. Like a balancing act you'd see at the circus, I held his carseat handle and the handle to my suitcase in one hand, my carry on in the other, and made my way outside. I know I was a sight because one lady said as I passed by, "Oh excuse me. Wow, she has a lot of stuff. AND a baby?! Somebody help that lady!" I found it funny that she thought it was wise for someone else to help me and not to just do it herself, but it didn't matter anyway. Super Mom had things under control! I was smelly, exhausted, and loaded down like a pack mule, but on the other side of those sliding glass doors was victory- our chariot to our home for the next 3 weeks!

Now that I've had hot shower, a good night's sleep, and a fun day of play with my nieces and nephew, I know I'd do it all over again. Except next time, with a change of clothes in hand.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Father's Day

Gabriel and I really missed Daddy today. It breaks my heart that he missed his first Father's Day. I hope that because today was Sunday that he was in fact allowed some down time to relax. (They are supposed to be able to attend church, write letters home, etc.) I wonder if his RDC yelled, "HAPPY Blank-ety-blank FATHER'S DAY!" to all the wonderful fathers in boot camp? It's the thought that counts, right?

To celebrate Joey today, Gabriel and I made Daddy a special letter.

Gabriel was pretty upset about all the goo on his hands and feet, but calmed down after he had a chance to inspect the strange substance for himself.

A quick trip to the tub washed away all his concerns (and the paint too!).

 We still haven't received a letter from Daddy or our packet from the Navy, so we won't be able to send this letter just yet. I've been writing since he left though, so I'm hoping to get his address soon. I know our letters will mean a great deal to him (especially this one!), as well as all the pictures I'll be enclosing.

How did you spend your Father's Day?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Gabriel is one lucky baby! He has a terrific Daddy that loves him more than he'll ever know (or at least until he has his own children someday).

If Gabriel could talk, he'd be sure to let Daddy know this Father's Day that he thinks he's...

Funny Brave Kind-hearted Goofy Intelligent Strong Handsome Loving Couragous Caring Giving Playful Sincere Inspiring
Humble Honest Wise Hard working Talented Trustworthy
but most importantly, LOVED

Gabriel and I will celebrate Father's Day without Daddy this year because he is away training for the Navy. Words can't describe how proud we are of him, or the respect we have for his decision to serve us, and our country. Thank you Daddy for all you do for us! We pray for you each day, and hope you can feel our love all the way in Great Lakes, IL.

Photos taken by Christy Thayer

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rise and Shine!

I've never been a morning person. I'm writing this at 3am, so my love of being up late may have something to do with that! I love a quiet house, the tv and computer to myself, and a late night snack. So mornings are not my friend...until recently.

Our morning routine starts around 6-7, when Gabriel wakes up. He sleeps in bed with me, which means I wake up to smiles instead of cries from the other room. I love that his stirring wakes me up, and I'm then able to watch him wake up, roll over, look up at me and smile his gigantic smile. He almost always pats my cheek as he's grinning from ear to ear. I know this is his way of saying, "Good morning, Momma."

We make our way downstairs, and I put Gabriel in his exersaucer. He plays, and I watch. I love how active he is the morning. He mashes buttons, spins noisemakers, chews on the toys that hang out far enough, and smiles and smiles and smiles! Recently, he's been cracking me up looking at himself in the mirror. He catches a glimpse, leans in real close, and then cheeses so big!

After some good playing, we head into the kitchen for some breakfast. Gabriel watches me whip up something yummy from his highchair. Lately, he's been having oatmeal and a fruit. He always starts out using his spoon.

But quickly chooses the quicker route...

(Notice those bananas are still hanging out on his tray. He wasn't a fan. Bananas are one of the very few things I don't like. I know I said Mmmmm in the same way I have with every other food he's tried, but maybe he picked up my icky banana vibe?)

This face might be a pretty good indicator that I need to Mmmmm with a little more enthusiasm.
I was laughing at his face instead of making sure the camera was focused...darn it!

After a good wipe down, Gabriel is usually ready for a nap. I join in on the fun most days. I can't seem to turn down a nap. Plus, it's the perfect way to round out our morning. I never would have imagined loving mornings like I do now. Just another way this little man has improved my life!

Are you a morning person? What's your morning routine?

Friday, June 3, 2011

"I simply remember my favorite things..."

"...and then I don't feeeeeeeeel sooo baaaad."
Maria in The Sound of Music was really on to something! I admit, I'm feeling a little down about my husband, Joey, leaving for basic training with the Navy in less than two weeks. However, tonight is the last night that he is working the night shift at his job and I want to be in high spirits during the time we have together. So I've compiled a list of some of my favorite things (in no particular order), and now I don't feel so bad...really!

-Long hugs
-Peanut butter
-Capturing the perfect picture
-IllumiNations fireworks show at Epcot, and slowly taking the long way out of the park afterwards
-Gabriel gently patting my cheek in the morning and sweetly smiling as if to say, "Good morning, Momma."
-Falling snow
-Singing when no one can hear
-Warm hot chocolate
-A long, hot bath
-My husband's smile
-Friday nights with friends
-Baby breath
-Afternoon naps
-Baking with my nieces
-The smell of hot, wet cement (This is the smell of summer to me. I picture kids running through the sprinkler and lemonade stands!)
-Lemonade stands :)
-My kitty purring in my lap
-Long walks
-Late night talks
-Breakfast for dinner
-Trees in Autumn
-Ice cream cones (ice cream with crust, as my friend's daughter calls it!)
-Holding hands with my husband
-Simply orange juice
-Rocking Gabriel to sleep
-The smell of lavendar

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gabriel's Adventures in Baby Led Weaning

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had decided on baby led weaning as our method of introducing solid foods to Gabriel. Now that we've been at it for a while, I couldn't be more thrilled with that decision! Gabriel loves feeding himself, and I love that I can take pictures instead of manning the spoon! Here's some pictures of our recent adventures with solid foods!

He made a face at first, but loved his broccoli.

He couldn't get enough mango! Call it coincedence if you choose, but he made Mmmmm noises the whole time!

Oatmeal was yummy and super messy! He used a spoon at first, but as you can tell it didn't last long.

Using a mesh feeder helps him hold real slippery fruit like cantaloupe.

Apples, sweet potato, and avocado make a boy awfully messy.

And messy boys get hosed off in the sink!

Here you can see the two new chompers he's been using to eat all these yummies!

Counting down...

I told myself I wouldn't do this.

This will only make it worse.

I made a big mistake by looking at the calendar today.

It's fifteen days until Joey leaves.


I feel a little sick.

Joey and I have been apart for a week here or there at different times during our (almost) six years of marriage. A job training here, trip to visit family there. No big deal. This is nine weeks. Nine long weeks that I'll be without my husband, my partner, my best friend, and right hand. Nine weeks that I won't be able to see Gabriel's face light up when Daddy walks in the room. This is going to be much harder than I thought.

Joey will read this and tell me that it'll be worse for him. He has a point. While Gabriel and I are playing the day away, Daddy will be getting yelled at for just about everything. The Navy will be good for Joey though, and good for us. I keep telling myself that... and it does make me feel better.

The bad part though, is that nine weeks is just the beginning of our time apart. Gabriel and I will travel to see Joey graduate from boot camp and spend the weekend with him, but after that it'll be another 26 weeks that we will live apart. We can (and will!) come visit during that time, but at the moment I can't talk myself into that being enough.

It has to be though.

I'll have to put on my big girl panties.

I know there's a pair around here somewhere.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

So far, Gabriel has had ZERO interest in baby food. He'll let you put in a bite of baby mush and that's about it. He has however, been eye-balling and reaching for everything that we eat for quite some time now. Our pediatrician told us at his four month appointment that we could start trying solids and mentioned that he is a big fan of just letting baby try a taste of what's on your plate. We weren't opposed to that at all, but I guess at the time I didn't think too much about it. We tried rice cereal and oatmeal on and off with no success. I wasn't in a hurry to get him to eat solid foods yet; it's more about exploring at this age anyway. So after laying off for about a month or more, we tried sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, apples, and bananas all several times- still nothing. He started to become more agitated while watching the big people eat though, so slowly I started giving him a taste. He tore up the sweet potato I was eating at Outback Steakhouse, went to town on a lemon wedge that we gave him as a joke, and snatched Mimi's piece of raisin bread right out of her hand and shoved it in his mouth!! (By the way, seeing whole re-hydrated raisins later in his diaper was really quite disturbing!) So I started wondering why I couldn't just give him normal table food? After a little research online, I found quite a bit of information on Baby Led Weaning, which is just a fancy name for giving your little one regular food in manageable pieces that they eat all on their own. This obviously means lots of messes to clean up, but also means that baby is learning to chew before swallowing (which baby food doesn't teach); they're exploring different textures, and developing fine motor skills. So it's been decided. Gabriel will be a BLW baby. Although we've played around at this already without really knowing it, today was the first time Gabriel sat in his seat and was served up regular food that was all his own. He thoroughly enjoyed nom nom noming on his green beans!

Green bean cigarette?

For more info on baby led weaning and the most adorable pics of babes chowing down, visit

Did any of you choose to skip over baby food? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What type of mom are you?

My mom loves to tell people that when she would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always gave the same answer- a mommy. Never a doctor, an astronaut, a singer, or a vet...always a mommy. It's true; I've wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. During my growing up years that included staying at home like my mom did. Still, if you had told me a few years ago that today I would be a breastfeeding, bed sharing, stay-at-home mom, I would have laughed at you.

Life in the "real world" put a fear in me that financially we could never make it on one income. Joey was convinced it was necessary for us to both work, and at the time I didn't really have an argument because I couldn't see a way around it either. So I worked on climbing the corporate ladder.

While working I came across many types of moms- single moms, married moms with supportive husbands and with jerk off husbands, those who worked full-time, part-time, and some that just needed to get out of the house and have a little adult conversation. I wondered what type of mom I would be. Lots of moms stand out in my mind when I think back about all the lovely ladies that worked for me over the years. I didn't realize it at the time, but each of them were teaching things that I needed to know before being a mom myself. Without giving any names, I'll tell you about a few that I have much more respect for now that I get it.

First, is the single mom. I respected her at the time to be sure. I saw the struggle it was for her to both provide for her son, and to be there for him as much as possible. She worked two jobs to support them. Full-time 8-5, and part-time for me a few nights a week and on weekends. As was the norm for being the boss, I was the bad guy. The retail world doesn't stop for baseball games or all the countless birthday parties that kids get invited to. She wanted to do it all, but I needed her to work. She slowly became more and more depressed that she saw so little of her son, and her performance dropped off a cliff. I felt for her, but my boss was chewing and that had to stop. We had a talk and she decided that she couldn't make the job work anymore. I was relieved that I didn't have to continue to nag on her performance, or worse take "next steps". I ran into this mom on Mother's Day. I was strolling through the mall, enjoying my day with Gabriel and Joey. She was working. My heart broke for her. I wished her a happy Mother's Day, gave her a hug, and whispered, "I'm so sorry." in her ear. Without saying a word, her face told me, "You do what you have to do." I know I will for Gabriel.

Second, the breastfeeding mom. I'll say first that breastfeeding never really interested me. My mom didn't BF me, and no one I knew had breastfed either. It seemed unnecessary, and I wondered why anyone would bother when formula seemed to produce healthy children too. This mom was pregnant with her second son when I took over the store she worked in. She soon after left on maternity leave, and returned to work afterwards carrying a big black tote bag. Everyday she toted that heavy thing into work, and quite a bit of time went by before I even realized what it was for- pumping. How it went unnoticed that she went to the bathroom during her lunch break everyday, and didn't come out until her lunch was over is...well, sad. When I did notice, I thought ewwww! I was repulsed that she spent her entire lunch break eating and pumping in the bathroom. I wondered why anyone would subject themselves to such torture. Ugh...eating in the bathroom? No way! Any musings on what it would be like to breastfeed flew right out of my head. Nothing to think about. I wasn't doing it. Luckily I was an avid reader while pregnant. I learned the benefits to bfing and decided to give it a try. I knew I'd only bf during my maternity leave though. There was no way I was hanging out in the bathroom on my lunch break! As it turned out, I didn't return to work. Looking back I keep kicking myself for allowing her to pump in the bathroom. She never complained, and it didn't occur to me to figure out a better place for her. The parking lot was too far considering we only had 30min lunch breaks, and the stock room wouldn't have provided any privacy. The only other option was my office. Really my office wasn't just mine though. It was used by her and our PT managers too, so I don't know if that was a great option. It had a lock on the door, but I wonder if she would have just worried the whole time that someone would need in the file cabinet while she was in there. I could have figured something out for her, but I didn't know any better. Poor thing pumped in the bathroom for months on end. I cringe at the thought, but if the bathroom was my only option, I'd do the same thing for Gabriel.

Lastly, I'll tell you about the mom that just had to get out of the house. I'll tell you about one of them, but there were actually MANY of this type of mom! This mom was a stay-at-home mom of two little ones. She started working PT to have an opportunity for adult conversation. As it turned out, working really suited her. It gave her the boost of confidence she needed after spending most of her days playing peek-a-boo while wearing spit-up. She quickly became interested in working towards a promotion, which meant more hours. After she received that one, she was determined to get promoted again. That promotion was a FT position. This was the mom I had a hard time understanding. She was able to stay at home like I wanted to, but chose to work instead. I understand now that being a stay-at-home mom is a thankless job. No one comes by to compliment you on your successes on a regular basis. There are no performance reviews to praise your strengths and help you to build on your opportunities. There are no interviews for you to brag about all you've accomplished. No promotions. No pay raises....and worse, no pay at all! Having all of those things gave this mom the oompf she needed. Her relationship with her husband started to spark and she was overall a happy and confident woman. I see how I lack the confidence I once had while I was working. I'd like to get it back in another way, but I respect her decision to work for the happiness of her and her family. Whatever the reason, I'll never judge a working mom again.

Now that I'm a mom, I realize that as long as you love your child unconditionally and provide all their needs, there are no right and wrong ways to be a mom. What works for some, would never work for others. So whatever type of mom you are, be her with confidence!

What type of mom are you? Is that what you expected?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Growing, Going, and Girls

Each day with Gabriel now brings something fun and new. He has really been a good little boy lately. He's content to sit and play with a toy, and LOVES to play in his exersaucer! He's noticing and grabbing at everything, and laughs every day. I can't believe how much he is growing and changing.
His favorite place to play- besides Mommy and Daddy's laps of course!

Last week we decided to try giving him some rice cereal. He opened wide like a little birdie, and smiled the entire time! I think he really liked it.

 Since gobbling up his first serving though, he hasn't really been interested. I guess we'll just try again after a little more time goes by.

Cereal or not, this boy has been making good use of all the food going into his fat belly. He shot out of his 0-3 month clothing (at 4 months), and doesn't really have any growing room left in the new 3-6 month sleepers I bought him. I swear he grew 3 inches overnight! It's a good thing too, because he's only been growing wide for some time now. I kept telling him that if he didn't start growing long ways that he was going to be a square!

Gabriel and I have been on the go quite a bit lately. He loves to be out and about, so I try to take him visiting or just on a stroll at least every other day or so. It's so refreshing to get out of the house, and he really does enjoy it. He has started staying awake on our car rides more often, and gets very excited when I turn on the tunes. He sings along most of the time now (even though he never seems to get the words right!) and it's all I can do to keep my eyes on the road instead of watching him in his backseat mirror. He just melts my heart.

Last weekend, we got together with all the other couples from our childbirth class for a little reunion. It was so fun hearing everyone's birth stories and getting to see all the babies! We ended our little party by lining up all the babies for pictures. Here's a picture of the group in order of birth.

Chase, Blaise, Ethan, Naomi, Gabriel, Parker, and Isaiah
We got quite a few laughs watching them react to one another. Gabriel and Naomi (the only girl!) were the two to watch though. They apparently hit it off and had quite the time talking, smiling, and holding hands!

He's such a ladies man!

"Look Momma, a pretty girl!"
Only a good friend would let you snack on their tutu!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gabe's discovery

Look what Gabe found in the tub today-

"What is this?"

"I can touch it!"

"Did you know this was here?"

He's pretty pleased with his accomplishment!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sweet Victory!

I mentioned wanting a new camera in a recent blog, and since then my mind has been consumed with nothing else. I've stayed up hours after Gabriel has gone to bed to research brands, models, and prices. I finally decided on a Canon T1i.
Most were going anywhere from $650-$750 (with a lens). $650 is a lot of money for a stay-at-home mom to pull out of her...well, you know. So I got busy posting my belongings on craigslist. After selling a few big ticket items, I came across a posting that made my heart skip a beat. A lady was selling the brand new T1i she just bought for $500!! Apparently she had bought it to replace a camera she had used for years that had broken, but realized very quickly that the T1i was way over her head. Now, I'd like to live my life believing what others tell me, but I just knew she had to be pulling my leg when she said she'd used it twice before deciding to just have her old camera fixed. I hoped that she was telling the truth and planned to meet her. When she opened the lid to the box, I did a little dance on the inside because every item that came with the camera was still wrapped up in plastic! It was very easy to tell that this camera was in fact BRAND NEW! I happily paid the lady the $500 she was asking (I didn't bother haggling since the camera was worth more than she wanted), and skipped back to my car!

I'm now learning how to use it, and thanks to the internet have a small understanding of how to adjust some of the settings (and what the settings even mean in the first place!) I refuse to use the fully automatic settings on this camera, and plan to learn through trial and error until I can take a class. Today I snapped a few cute pictures of my little peanut. He's still not used to me pointing this big black thing in his face, so he looks about the same in most of the pictures I took. I'll have to enlist Daddy or Mimi to distract and entertain him so that his expression isn't always this one-

This is his "What is that?" face.
 I will certainly be posting plenty of Peanut pictures for your enjoyment from now on, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Mommy, that's for babies!

At 3 months old, my sweet little baby has decided he is a baby no more! With all the world to see and explore, he is no longer content just laying around cooing. No sir! He wants to explore! How do 3 month olds explore you ask? They can't crawl, can't walk, and can't say, "Hey Mom let's go look over there!" So Gabriel fusses. You lay the kid down for one second and he fusses.

The meltdown is beginning!

It's really quite comical. It's as if he's trying to tell me that he's tired of having to look at the ceiling. Our good friends told us about enjoying "happy baby" while it lasted. They explained that both of their kids reached a stage where they could see something across the room they wanted but because they couldn't crawl yet they had no way to get to it. Add to that the inability to say what it is that they want and you get a fussy baby. I'm wondering if our "happy baby" time had already elapsed.
Some days he requires my FULL attention every minute! He requires that I sit with him in my lap playing with something or watching tv (I know it's awful, but the kid loves tv screens! Funny sidebar- Joey and I took him to the mall to walk around and as we were strolling through Sears a sales lady stopped us to talk to him. She said, "Well hello there! Hi! Hi? You're not looking at me!" He had his head turned away from her and was staring at the wall of tvs in the electronics department! LOL I had to apologize and explain that he also ignores me if there's a tv in the room!) On grumpy days, he also insists I carry him around the house, or venture out in the stroller. I'm actually quite happy that he's taken an interest in riding in the stroller because I could stand to lose a few. Tuesday's stroll began with a failed attempt at a picture with a smile. He was way more interested in hitting the road than having his picture taken.

"Really? Again with the camera! Can we go already?!"
He's also decided he's way too big to be carted around in his carseat. How's a growing boy supposed to explore sitting in that darn carseat! Once again, I think that ceiling is pretty boring. Wednesday lunches with Grandma, GiGi, and Aunt Staci are going to be much more enjoyable now that I've discovered that the kid loves his stroller.

I have no idea why playing in the stroller is better than his carseat, but whatever!
It's hard to believe that in just 3 short months, my tiny baby boy has grown so much. Cuddling used to be his favorite way to spend the day, but he's discovered now that there's a whole new world out there. I just know I'm going to spin around and he'll be headed off to college.