Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

You brought me Gemma.

As a matter of fact, it was the morning of the very first day of 2009, when I felt just a little more hungover than I should have been.

A light bulb (okay, a blaring alarm and one of those fire drill lights) went off and that is when the possibility of , the reality of,  her, first began for me.

New Years Eve last year I was at some opening for a night club in D.C., in a short dress sipping on Midori Sours. Tonight I am at home with Gemma,  in basketball shorts playing peek-a-boo and watching Gilmore Girls. As much as I would like to be able to say there is no contest to which form of celebration I prefer, I must admit...I had a lot of fun last year.

But Gemma wins.

This was supposed to have been the year that I graduated from college and struck out on my own. Instead, I moved back home with her. For her.

I came home and anticipated her arrival. I hugged the belly that held my future and mourned the memories that held my past. I made plans and prepared and practiced....

And then she came and everything was flipped upside down. But in a good way. In a great way. In a challenging way. In a really hard, I can't believe my life is here right now, thank God this is really worth it, kind of way.

Finally the dust has settled, and while I am anticipating that I should never become to comfortable with motherhood (because obviously that is when everything changes again), I am feeling more confident in my ability to be her mother every single day.

I am making new plans for the both of us now.

Although it wasn't what I had expected or something that I could have conceived to be possible in my wildest dreams it has all been totally worth it.

2009 was the first full year I got to spend with my baby and that is what I will always remember it for.

Excuse me, I have a diaper to change. :)

The Other Santa









Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy 4 Months Gemma!






Happy four months (and two days!) Gemma! December has been such a busy month for you and I and we had very little use for a nap schedule! Most of your napping was done either in a car as we shuffled from place to place or in your stroller while we shopped. At night, you have began sleeping with me from the beginning of the night. I am not sure how we got into this habit but I think it started somewhere around December 5th when you stayed overnight with Naunie Donna and Pap. I think you just don't want to let me out of your sight again. You have been sleeping for longer stretches at night and I barely notice when you wake in the middle of the night for a snack! Sometimes, you sleep as late as 11 a.m. You still go to bed incredibly late-12ish most nights.

You had really started to like your swing and then I accidentally threw the seat in the dryer and melted one of the clips. Until I order a new seat you are currently swing-less! Now that you are getting bigger we will be able to use your Bumbo more and you also got and Excersaucer for Christmas which you really seem to like. You also will hang out on your activity map now and you have really learned to scoot yourself around some. You are this close to rolling over but you haven't exactly gotten the hang of it yet. You have rolled over from your tummy to back though.

You have gained a little over a pound and a half this month, as of last Monday you weighed 12lbs and 5oz and you are just over 24" long. I was so sad to have to switch to formula but seeing how big and healthy and happy you are getting now makes me feel much more comfortable with my decision.

I am trying to keep your wardrobe up with this current weight gain. I have finally packed up those last few Newborn sized onesies I had been able to squeeze you into. I have also had to pack up some of your 0-3 month sleepers which is crazy to me! Most of your sleepers are 3-6 months now and you are wearing both 0-3 month outfits and 3-6 month outfits and most of your onesies are 0-3 months. You have also graduated diaper sizes and are now in a size 2! Your bottom half seems much smaller than your top half so I am curious to see if you have to start wearing two different sizes.

Your hair is still...interesting. It is growing in some places and falling out in others. Oh well, mama still thinks that you are beautiful.

I think I can finally say you will be my brown eyed girl with almost certainty. You still have a blue ring around them and some interesting colored specks, but you have brown eyes. This makes me happy.

Your personality continues to emerge more and more. You have a strange little baby laugh that is both adorable and creepy. You are especially ticklish and sometimes just cuddling will set you off! Your face lights up when you see certain people like Aunt Kate or Granddaddy. I swear that smile is so bright it makes me melt. You also have your moods where you don't love people as much and I understand. You have this huge, sad pout that I actually think is pretty cute too.

As I watch this you are kicking me and laughing and we are watching Gilmore Girls and I am really confused about a lot in life but I know that things with you are alright...better than alright, they are great. And because of this I know I will be fine...we will be fine.

I love you ...forever and always.

-Mommy

ETA: We are officially on first tooth watch 09-10! I forgot to mention you have become an excellent chewer/chomper/biter this month and you have also started this weird little vibrating hum that I think makes your gums feel better.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bows!

Okay, so I know I have a LOT to catch up with here, including but not limited too Gemma at 4 months, Christmas, and receiving my LSAT score (eek!) but I wanted to share a little bit of time sensitive information :)

As you all know I have been bow hunting for a while and today I got a recommendation for this site.

They are having a sale and there are a lot of bows for only 99 cents! Definitely, check it out.

I ordered this pretty bow for only $3.99!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scatterbrained

Every so often I feel like I have so many things I want to do, so many ideas, that I don't know where to start.

I basically end up spinning my wheels and not getting anything accomplished at all.

I am definitely feeling that way right now.

I want to try recipes and crafts and learn to sew. I want to clean the house top to bottom and organize my pictures and delete all of those pointless emails once and for all. I want to find a job and a husband and make a new life for myself. I want to do everything.

Instead...I just...sit.

Any suggestions on picking a place to start?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Storms and Sniffles

Gemma and I are officially snowed in. This is what my car looked like as of 4 o'clock yesterday...and it snowed for another FIVE HOURS after this.



I am not sure if you can tell from this picture, but the Jeep is parked sort of sideways on a hill. Altogether I think we got right around 2 feet. That is a whole lotta snow. Here are a couple of pictures taken close to my house (I couldn't go far!)









I wanted to get a few pictures of Gemma in the snow but it was still falling and I was kind of scared! Maybe I will try today. I want to document Gem's first snowstorm. Well, it snowed on the day I took my LSAT but since mommy wasn't there it doesn't count =)

Another source of my hesitation is that Gemma is battling her first bout of the sniffles. Nothing major (or at least I don't think) but I still feel bad. I think we have the same thing and to be honest it is more irritating than debilitating. Hopefully we will be able to get out to make it to her doctor's appointment tomorrow.

I am going a little stir crazy in the house...I have been a Facebook-ing Fool and haven't had the motivation to do much else.

I might just have to get up and do it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gemma Meets Santa



And is so not impressed.

(Please excuse the black shoes! My daddy bought them for her and insisted that she wear them, even though they don't match. Oh, and while you are at it, excuse the beer sign in the back. We were in a reputable establishment, I promise!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Try Everything...Twice

One of my life's mottoes has always been to try everything twice. Well, not everything you know. You definitely don't want to try robbing a bank twice or smoking crack twice or voting republican twice (j/k!..sort of). Generally though, this serves me well as a motto, forcing me to get outside of my comfort zone and push my limits. There are many experiences that I have had and doors that have been opened to me because I have always pushed myself to just try IT, if nothing else for the life experience.

As for trying everything TWICE, I think it is important to give everything a second chance. People naturally are drawn to what is familiar so if something is brand new it can be sort of...jarring. Also, sometimes you just have a bad first encounter with a new person/thing/place/activity, etc. Imagine if you hated your best friend before you met her and then never "tried" with her again. That would completely SUCK. So in order to give myself the best possible shot of liking something (or at least getting something out of it), I have always tried my best to try everything two times (at least!).

Since Gemma was born my perspective on things has been shifting in both monumental and imperceptible ways. My "try everything, twice" motto has not been spared. Trying new things seems so scary, so risky, so... not worth it. The trouble with trying new things is sometimes you fall flat on your face and I don't want to fall with her in my arms.

That being said, I hope to raise Gemma to have and adventurous spirit. I want her to be open to life and what is has to offer. I want her to live fully and completely and have fun with it.

I think the best way to instill anything within a child is to lead by example. That being said, I think I need to put my brave face on, hold on to her a little tighter, and, once again, push myself to try everything...twice.

*This post is part of my participation in The Writer's Workshop at Mama's Losin' It.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

randomtuesday
  • Last night I watched part of the documentary "What Would Jesus Buy", on the Sundance Channel. The documentary is basically about a comedic performance group that is touring the country encouraging Americans to stop shopping or at least stop shopping so much around Christmas. Their "act" is set up around the premise that they are a The Church of Stop Shopping and the message is expressed sidewalk preacher style. Here is the trailer if you want to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WZ4LXQrHSw. One of the quotes from the movies is that we are not consumers but we are being consumed and I totally agree with that. I also agree with the movies assertion that the focus of Christmas has become the presents and it shouldn't be. It speaks to how many people, especially parents, feel the need to buy to show their love and I will admit I am somewhat prone to that myself. Off and on catch myself saying that I will change my consumption habits but I haven't. I really hope that I do soon because I don't want Gemma to be as materialistic as the society she is being raised in.
  • I also watched the new show,"The Sing Off" last night. It is hosted by Nick Lachey if that gives you any clue to its depth. The show is a competition (of course!) between different A Capella groups. My favorites were Nota and the Beelzebubs. The show come on again tonight at 8:00 on NBC, so if you are in the mood for something fun and light CHECK IT OUT :)
  • I cut Gemma's finger a little when I was trimming her nails. She was fussy for like an hour afterwards. It is just a small nick but I still feel terrible!
  • Lately I have been bow OBSESSED. I have been sorting through the sellers on Etsy and Ebay trying to find the cutest bows I can for the best price. I have also been thinking about making my own but I am not sure which approach is more cost effective.
  • I am sick and tired of being broke. Times like a thousand. It is starting to depress me and I really need a job.
  • I also need Clinton and Stacey. I can't find ANYTHING to fit my body anymore. And I think I have gained 5-10 pounds of the weight I lost after Gemma was born back. Blah. The sorority tee and too tight jeans look isn't working for me.
  • Sometimes, I wonder how similar my future will be to an episode of the Gilmore Girls...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taylor Swift's New Hair

Looks really good, doesn't it?



Usually, I think she is a little creepy looking (no offense Taylor, if you are reading) but I think this is super flattering.

Whatta Weekend

Gemma and I had another busy yet not very productive weekend. In my old life I would have thought this was a "waste" of a weekend, but actually it was quite nice.

I don't even remember what we did Friday night, so I am assuming it was not very exciting!

Saturday was enjoyable (and slightly more memmorable!).

 My sister Kate and I took Gemma and Aunt Abby (my 2 year old half sister) shopping. It was my dad's 46th birthday so Kate wanted to buy him shoes. It was great to have sister bonding time but it possibly was not the best idea to bring a 2 year old and an infant to the mall only 2 weeks before Christmas! 

Here is Aunt Abby playing at the mall's Kid's Korner:



And Gemma taking a spin in Aunt Abby's stroller:




 Since I didn't have money for a birthday present (boo), so I baked my dad a birthday cake. He actually requested the same cake that was made for my uncle's birthday, just a week earlier, Paula Deen's "Grandma Hier's Carrot Cake". This cake is SOOOO good, and I am not even a huge fan of Carrot Cake. I tweaked Paula's recipe though, adding half of a can of pineapple and about a third of a bag of coconut (who ever said baking is a science?), and using significantly less sugar in the frosting. There is definitely a little work involved but the results are well worth it. Promise.

Sunday was are usual PJs and grocery shopping day. There is something about Sunday's that repel my body from real clothes. Usually, I will just clean Gem's up and throw clean PJs onto her...I wouldn't want for her to feel overdressed! ;) 

I am really glad we got to have this weekend of leisure because as the holiday's draw nearer our schedule gets more and more packed (who am I kidding, I MUCH prefer to be busy!)

So tell me, how was your weekend?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reindeer Cookies!

Kelly's Korner's popular, "Show Us Your Life" blog hop is featuring Christmas cookies and treats today, and as Gemma and I are returning from a cookie exchange (part of the playgroup that I have told you about)I thought I would post about the cookies that I brought. They seemed to go over well.





I made these cute little reindeer cookies. (I will admit, his brothers were a lot cuter, this is one of the cookies from the pile I had left at home!)


I just used a pre-packaged peanut butter dough, the kind that comes in the bag, and prepared it by the instructions on the package. Then I rolled it into a log that I wrapped in plastic wrap and let chill for an hour. (After doing this, I realized that I could have used the pre-made peanut butter cookie dough that already comes in a log, but really, this was easy enough.)


After the dough chills for an hour you slice it and pinch in the sides just a little. Add the pretzels for ears, chocolate chips for eyes, a red M&M for the nose (the recipe suggested red hots, but I thought this would taste better) and then bake around 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or according to your cookie dough package directions.


This was really a fun, simple, recipe and I got plenty of compliments on them. My only suggestions would be to put them on your cookie sheets assembly line style and to have the next batch ready when the previous one has finished baking as placing the eyes, ears, and nose is actually somewhat time consuming.


Enjoy!




Thursday, December 10, 2009

The True Meaning of Christmas

Has nothing to do with presents.

I know this.

You know this.

Honestly though, can't the presents be kind of fun?

Granted, Gemma is not to the age yet where she is demanding Zhu Zhu Pets, or a Wii, or whatever other "must-have" toy that the big kids are clamoring for, so there is very little pressure on me. I am sure the lack of pressure makes the situation much more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

I am TOTALLY broke this year (I guess that is what unemployment does!) but fortunately I have been able to manage, through a few serendipitous events that somehow ended up with me having money in my hands, to put together what I think will be a pretty nice "Baby's First Christmas" for the Gemma Bean.

With some inspiration from Katie at My Story Is Not Over, I decided to share with you some of the presents (and deals!) I have gotten this year.

So Gemma's "big" present this year is an Excersaucer. I went back and forth on an Exersaucer vs. a Jumperoo vs. a walker. I knocked the walker out of the running early on (I have heard they are dangerous, my sister even said they were illegal in Canada!) and was down to the Exersaucer vs. the Jumperoo.

Eventually I went with:



An Excersaucer that was originally $69.99, on sale at Babies R Us for $59.98, but I paid only $45 dollars for it on clearance at Baby Depot!

I was still concerned that she would miss out on the fun jumpiness of the Jumperoo so I also got her this from Baby Depot:


This "Jenny Jump Up" was only $20 and it just hooks up to the door frame. I feel like I got the best of both worlds and I only paid $65 for both which is even better!

(I just want to insert that yes, I realize that I was/am totally over thinking this considering Gemma is too little to be interested in more than the paper, if that, but it is her first Christmas and I am entitled to a little craziness!)

I also got her around four or five other toys, one of my favorites being this:




Taggies ring stacker. Each of the animals does something (rattles, squeaks, laughs) and the bottom ring plays music. I think Gemma is going to LOVE this, she was trying to grab at it while I was wrapping it up. I got a great price for this too, I only paid $15 for it at Tuesday Morning. When I looked it up online to find the picture the price ranged anywhere from $25-$40 so again, I am really happy with my deal.

I tried not to go overboard with the toys and tried to get things that served different developmental purposes because I realize the function of the toy is what important and slight variations (elephant stuffy vs. giraffe stuffy) will be lost on her at this point.

I also got her clothes. While a lot of her toys were "close out" items, I tried to avoid getting clothes on clearance. It seems as if clothes go on clearance once they are out of season and what kind of sense would that make, if she can only wear them for a very short time?

I also am afraid to buy clearance clothes ahead of time (as in for next year during the appropriate season) because since Gemma is small-ish I think it might be difficult to predict her sizes for future seasons. I don't want to completely waste money if the seasons won't match up.

Is there a trick to buying clearance baby clothes that I don't know?

Among my favorite clothing purchases for Gemma were DARK WASH SKINNY JEANS (totally my style, be still my heart :)) and this really cute red vest that I can't seem to find a picture of online. It is really cute though. The clothes were buy two get one free so I got six really cute pieces for around $50 (okay, so this wasn't a GREAT deal but it wasn't too bad either).

I also got a few more odds and ends including a stocking and random fillers (bath mits, socks, teethers, etc.), a snow suit, and some books.

Does this seem about right for Baby's First Christmas? Is is too much or too little? Is there anything I forgot?

Oh, the joys of Christmas!

P.S. Look for a post dedicated to Gemma soon, I realize I have been yammering a lot about myself lately but we all know who the true star of this blog is! This whole mommy thing is becoming an old hat but I don't want to let myself take these moments for granted, She is really evolving and changing everyday in little minuscule ways and I don't want to forget what she was like "before," ya know?



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Body

Does anyone remember that song? By Keith Sweat. I used to LOVE it. I guess it really doesn't matter if you remember the song or not because it is entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

;)

Up to this point I have refrained from writing much about my "post-baby bod" and how I feel about it and that can mostly be attributed to the fact that I haven't really taken the time to really think about it.

Until recently that is. My dad surprised me by giving me some cash to buy myself clothes with. It was such a nice gesture as I really haven't bought much for myself here recently (single motherhood tends to have that effect.) Unfortunately, as I have gone from store to store shopping I have realized NOTHING fits. Literally, nothing. Even when I size up. Multiple sizes.

It is strange because as I have mentioned before I lost all of the baby weight and then some. So why doesn't a size 12 fit when I wore a 6 before (but my size 6 pre-pregnancy jeans fit fine?!?!). I am completely and totally stumped as to what is going on here.

Granted I have creeped up another 5 pounds (I guess that is what I diet of Pepsi, Pringles, and frozen French fries will do to you) but still, what is going on here?

I guess my issues are not really size as much as shape. I used to be so much...tighter I guess. Not just in my stomach but in my arms and thighs as well. Now I feel so, jello-y and blah. Like I said, I was a size 6 before so I wan't tiny (I know that isn't huge either, I was very medium) but I was so much sleeker. Although I didn't even realize it then.

I used to be really great at dressing for my body and now I have no clue. Is it even possible to hide the loose tummy skin or do you just have to embrace it?

And I know your body takes a while to return to "normal" but how long is a while? A year? 6 months? Have I reached my new normal already?

I really need some idea of what to expect here.

In case you haven't noticed, I am freaking out just a little.

And don't even get me started on the stretch marks.

How will I ever find a husband now ;)

Aghh....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

101 Days With Baby

So, my little blog here has come full circle.

Today, Gemma has been in this world for 101 days.

Time is a funny thing. As we all know retrospectively it flies, but nights spent pacing with a colicky baby crawl.

In the past 101 days I have become a mother and Gemma has become her own person

I can't believe how far we have come or how amazing it feels to have her in my arms as I type this.

All I can say is wow :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ahhh!

I am taking my LSAT tomorrow!

And I do not have my Gemma tonight.

Needless to say, I am a little (insanely) nervous.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wondering What You Should Have For Lunch?

Follow THIS  link, enter your zip code, and let Lady Luck decide.

You gotta love the random things you find on the internet :)

 I found this while looking for ideas for making lunches at home. Do you have any suggestions?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gemma the Jet-Setter

You may (or may not) have noticed that Gemma and I haven't been around for a few days and that is because we have been Bih-Zee! (That's busy to those of you who don't understand my dramatic phonetic spelling ;) )

Thanksgiving was at our house this year. It was a typical, laid-back, family affair. I ate. It was good.

Black Friday (Gemma's 3 month birthday), I went shopping a little, but only in my town and I waited until we woke up naturally. We weren't after any electronics deals or big kid toy sales so it was fine. I don't think we bought anything at all.

Saturday was especially exciting. Gemma had her first overnight trip. Gemma and I met up with one of my sorority sisters and we went down to Richmond to see a bunch of our other sisters. It was so much fun. We basically ordered take out and talked but it was so good to see "my people" if that makes sense  They ADORED Gemma and oohed and aahed and hugged and kissed and it was great. I think at first it was a little awkward to be in mommy mode around people who knew me way before but all of that melted away really quickly. They really made me feel comfortable and I am so glad that I went. I really need to make more road trips like that in the future. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because I left my memory stick at home, but  really, that was the only dark spot in such a back trip.

Actually, I take that back. On Sunday we stayed for lunch and left around 3:30 p.m. We didn't get back to Northern Virginia until 9:00 p.m. A two hour drive took us FIVE AND A HALF HOURS! We did stop for a quick bite but mostly it took so long because the traffic was horrific. I should have known, being that is was Thanksgiving weekend but unfortunately we hadn't really realized what we were getting into. The traffic itself wasn't what bothered me, I didn't really mind being stuck in the car with a good friend I hadn't seen in too long. What I did mind is that EVERY time Gemma would fall asleep or even start too we would hit another bad patch of traffic and it would wake her up and she was screaming like crazy. It was that awful frantic baby scream that eats at your soul. After we got to my sorority sister's place in NOVA we still had another hour drive home. All I can say is I was awfully glad to see my bed!

Today was not much of a day of rest. In fact we had to drive an hour and a half to see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist who offered a little insight to some of Gemma's crazy fussiness (which had gotten better and then worse) and also reassured me about her low weight gain (she is still under 11 pounds and just over the 10th percentile!). Basically he put her on probiotics, assured me that she will get better, and told me not to stress the number on the scale as long as she has "meat", which she does. There were two very sick babies in the waiting room (feeding tubes, multiple surgeries, NICU stays, etc.) and my heart went out to there parents. I felt so blessed to be one of the "lucky ones" whose child has a small problem with what will likely be an easy fix.

Tomorrow, I think I might declare it a PJ day and cuddle on the couch and catch up with my DVR... (and maybe study for my LSAT, only 5 days!)

That is if I can keep Gemma the Jet-Setter at home :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy 3 Months Gemma!!!





I am going to start my stating the obvious... I didn't try too hard for a picture this time. I snapped 3 quick pictures almost identical to this and then you pooped straight through everything so I ran to give you a bath ... Thanks boo :)

Your sleep this month started off okay but I think you are in a "transitional" phase. Your naps are getting longer and you are letting staying asleep longer if I put you down while napping. We are headed someplace good I think but we are not quite there. You had gotten into a consistent bedtime for a couple weeks but for the past week it has been out the window! You still sleep half the night your bed and the other have of the night in "our" bed. We probably should work on that before you really get rolling around... I would hate for you to end up in the middle of the floor or something  :)

You have actually started to like the swing! Sometimes you will stay in there for almost an hour while I get stuff done. You are also enjoying your play mat and other toys much more now.

You got weighed this past Tuesday and you only weighed 10 pounds and 15 ounces. Apparently that isn't quite as much weight gain as you should have so I am giving you more formula in hopes of chunking you up to a weight the docs are more comfy with.

Since you haven't gained a lot of weight since last month you are still wearing 0-3 months mostly, size 1 diapers a couple newborn onesies still fit.

You are losing your spike and that makes me a little sad.  You are actually losing a lot of hair so I guess I should just be happy with what you have got left!

Your eyes are ever so slightly more brown but for right now they are such a funky color, all I get is red eye or black in pictures though.

One of the greatest things about this month has been watching the relationship between you and Granddaddy (my daddy) grow. It makes me so happy to know you are becoming buddies.

You are also such a SMILEY baby even though your tummy hurts you a lot. I am so pround of you. I love you...forever and always.

-Mommy

P.S. Your aunt has been calling you Bam Bam or Jammers... I am scared that those might be the nicknames that stick!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I am Thankful FOUR


I decided I would participate in an "All About MEme Monday" and today's topic was the oh-so-seasonal, What are you thankful FOUR, the twist being that you list four things that you are thankful for...get it?

Good :)



Anyway, I am going to skip the obligatory friends and family... of course they are what I am most thankful for but I am sure you have some idea of why. I also want to preface my list by saying by no means is it conclusive, nor are they even the things I am most thankful for...just some of the things. (is that the possible future lawyer coming out???)

I am thankful for My Education: It may not be ivy league, and my major may not have been all that practical (Mass Communications and Sociology...was I planning on ever finding a job?) but it is a miracle it happened at all. I am a first generation college student and I almost didn't choose to go. And then I couldn't afford to go. But then, somehow the fates aligned and everything worked out. I spent 5 years learning and loving and growing. Even though my choice of degree wasn't exactly the most wise I am sure I will be able to provide for Gemma and I one day because I have that. Not everyone is so lucky, especially not everyone with my socio-economic back ground.

I am thankful for Clean Sheets: Okay, I admit this one is kind of random, but I am thankful for clean sheets because although it is a simple luxury, it is indeed a luxury. There are millions of people around the world who aren't blessed enough to be able to enjoy the most basic pleasure of having a clean, comfy place to rest each night.

I am thankful for Knowing my Grandparents: I was luck enough to have all four of my grandparents for 18 years, they were all able to be at my high school graduation. My paternal grandfather and both maternal grandparents are sill living as well as a great grandmother and a great grandfather. Gemma has great great grandparents! The wisdom and love these people have brought to my life is invaluable, and I am very, very thankful to be so lucky.



Gemma and her Great Great Grandmother

I am thankful for Being Taught the Difference between Right and Wrong: I have made my mistakes for sure, but I did the right thing when it mattered most.

So here are just a few of the many things I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I wish you and your family all the best this week as you prepare for, enjoy, and recover from Thursday's festivities :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Confession #2

I have a tendency to develop...addictions.

Really strange addictions. I will become obsessed with something for a short time (usually about a month) and before you know it I am completely OVER it.

I would give you examples but confessing my past loves would probably only serve in embarrassing me.

Who needs that?

Currently, I am addicted to frozen French fries and the show 18 Kids and Counting. (And apparently I am addicted to using links in my blog posts.)

I have been going through about 2 bags of frozen French fries a week. I cover them in garlic salt and then eat them with ketchup mixed with hot sauce. It is one of those things you know is, oh so wrong, but seriously want it to be all right... It is kind of strange to me that I am so "into" them because I always used to think they were gross.

Go figure.

I also used to always think that the Duggar's (the family on 18 Kids and Counting) were gross too. Well not gross but creepy, misogynists, who needed to open their minds and close their legs. Now, I wish they would adopt me. I am in that strange, early 20's phase of finding/defining my faith, and I have no idea where I stand with God or where God stands with me or what I believe or what I don't believe and I find their faith so...refreshing. So welcoming. So easy. It seems so perfect in a way that makes me think even if there is no God maybe it would be worth it to believe just to be as happy as they are.They are all so attractive and well mannered and they seem so darn happy.

I am pretty sure Jill Duggar won't end up back at the Duggar home with a baby when she is 23 and single.

The show makes me feel like life really can be easy.

As easy as frozen French Fries :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pout

I didn't get the job.

I think Gemma is bummed too.





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Determination

Often, when Gemma gets fussy, someone will say to her "It's just so rough being a baby isn't it," in a tone that totally means, "You are living the life kid, cheer up!".

Earlier today, on the drive home from my mom's (where I have been going to study for my LSAT) I started thinking and I actually think that at times it must insanely hard to be a baby. They get gas trapped in their bellies. they cut teeth, they poop in their own pants. Even harder, they have a very short time to learn a ton of skills (crawling, walking, etc.) and I can imagine how hard that is. Like your hardest class ever times 3.

Last night, for example, my dad placed this little blue toy of Gem's in the tray of her swing yesterday. She spent THIRTY MINUTES manipulating this thing to get it to her mouth. THIRTY MINUTES. After about 15 minutes of trying to do something and not being successful at it I want to scream but Gemma just kept plugging along. She would fuss a little here and there but eventually the toy made it to her mouth!

I think she may have surprised herself a little, too . :)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Celebrations and Generations

In our post-Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving break Gemma and I have still been finding reasons to celebrate.

My cousin Zack turned 20 years old and then became ENGAGED less than a week later.

Insane right?

It is interesting (and strange) to notice the generation shift as my brother and sister and cousins and I are becoming people who are old enough to get engaged and have babies and be real "grown ups".

I have spent a lot of time wondering lately about what my parents and grandparents thought and felt when they were in the stage of their lives that we (I) are (am) in now and how it must feel to be in the stages that they are in now, and how I will feel when I make it to the stages that they are in (Lord willing) and where they will be when that happens.

It is strange because all people say, "When I graduate...When I get married...When I grow up..." but never fully "get" that it will eventually happen. That they will come to that point in life and even pass it.

You only get it when you look around one day and realize that it has HAPPENED.

Gemma and I also went to a surprise 60th birthday party for my grandmother this weekend. Again, I am still trying to wrap my head around 60 years. How my perception of 60 is so much older than my perception of my grandmother. I can only imagine how she feels.

How I will feel.

When I am 60...

Target


Thursday, November 12, 2009

11 Thoughts on 11 Thoughts for 11 Days at 11 Weeks

When Gemma was 11 days old I wrote an "11 Thoughts for 11 Days" post and now at 11 weeks I thought I would take a look back and comment on some of the thongs I wrote then.

Love Ya Gemma Bean and Happy 77 Days Old!
  1. Even though I realize that Gemma's smiles are pretty much just reflexes, they still make me swoon.
    • The smiles are real now but equally swoon-worthy J
  1. I have always heard that people forget the pain of childbirth soon after...I still haven't, and I am pretty sure I won't be having any kids for as long as I can remember!
    • The pain hasn’t been forgotten, but I am sure that I will be crazy enough to do it again.
  1. I worry when she sleeps too little and I worry when she sleeps too much. I worry when she eats too little and I worry when she eats too much. I have a feeling that this worry is pretty permanent.
    • Ha, the worry is still there. I am more comfortable in my role as mommy though, which has helped a lot.
  1. The way I feel about this baby is indescribable. I love her so intensely, yet she kind of feels like a complete stranger who has hi-jacked my life. I feel a little guilty for typing that.
    • She doesn’t feel like a stranger anymore. I am definitely still getting to know her better but she is familiar to me now.
  1. I though that sleepers for babies were practical. 19 billion snaps is far from practical. The alternative sleep gowns are always from 0-6 months which means she is swimming in them...what is a girl to do about nightwear?
    • This is no longer an issue, partially because I have become better at snaps, but mostly because she doesn’t need to be changed 20 times a night anymore.
  1. Breastfeeding is HARD.
It really has gotten a million times easier and way less time consuming than it was back then. I actually like how convenient it is now, even though I never thought I would get to this place with it.
  1. Throughout my life I have always complained about how hard it is to switch sleep routines, yet now it switches everyday and as long as I got sleep I am happy.
    • Gemma’s night time sleep is great. She doesn’t sleep through the night but pretty close.  In general I feel well rested.
  1. I have lost 28 pounds so far...maybe only a pound or two shy of what I gained throughout the entire pregnancy. I now secretly smile at myself when I pass by mirrors as long as I don't focus on my eyebrows (which desperately needed to be done weeks ago) or think about how my stomache looks (like bread dough that has been mauled by a wild cat).
    • I have gotten my eyebrows done since then ;)! My weight loss has leveled out and I am (considering) starting to watch what I eat and exercise more.
  1. 11 Days later I am just feeling like I am emerging from a post baby daze. I feel like I have been walking around in a fog since she was born
    • 11 weeks later the fog has certainly lifted. I still feel lingering hormonal stuff but nothing at all like it was then.
  1. Yesterday, I thought it would have been cute to do a "10 Thoughts for 10 Days" post but never got around to it. There is so much I wish I could say here everyday and I just don't have the time. Hopefully I can get back at it soon, I don't want to forget these early days. As hard as they are now I know I will miss them later.
    • I am happy with the frequency that I am able to check in. Now I just need to work on making enough time to write everything I want to say in the way I want to say it.
  1. I have been completely obsessed with taking pictures of her even though she is pretty much just always sleeping.
    • I am still obsessed with taking pictures of her. I feel like almost daily there is a new little version of her and I want to remember each one because I love them so much :) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Babies and Phone Inteviews Don't Really Go Together

I finally got a job interview!

Well a phone interview at least, for a medical receptionist position.

 I was so nervous and to be quite honest I am not sure how I did. It was definitely one of those interviews that you walk away from (or click away from in this case) really feeling like it could go either way. The interviewer was totally sweet and it was a short, straightforward kind of thing. Unfortunately I am still suffering from the mush-brain I mentioned yesterday. Not to mention Gemma was in my arms in a slightly fussy mood that was threatening to get worse so I was pretty distracted.

 I am going to be optimistic though, hope I make it to the face-to-face interview, and if I do I will knock that one out of the park :)

I really, really need this break but at the same time am trying not to get my hopes up too high.

I hate waiting.

Gemma is doing okay. She has had an okay day fussiness wise. I am actually a little surprised because the past week has been TOUGH. As her doc said, I am earning those future Mother's Day presents. I hope all of that stuff they say about high needs babies being super intelligent is true because if it is I have the next Madame Curie hicupping here in my lap!

It is so frustrating because when Gigi is feeling good and her real personality comes out she is such a sweet natured baby. She has a huge gorgeous smile and coos at everything and I really think she would be like that most of the time if she were feeling better.

She is such a handful that my father actually got her a Halloween costume that he felt was more fitting of her personality than a mouse.




Monday, November 9, 2009

Stuck In My Head

So, I realize it has been a while since I have done a legit post and mainly it is because I feel so...Stuck In My Head, lately.

You know that feeling where you have 90-bajillion thoughts tumbling around but when you try to articulate them they just sort of come out in a large string of mush.

That is where I am at. It isn't really a bad place, just frustrating. Especially for someone like me who likes to get stuff out.

Keeping it all in isn't my strong suit. (BTW, what the heck does strong suit really mean?)

Maybe letting things simmer a little will bring some clarity. Or giving it some time.

I know it will come.

Friday, November 6, 2009

WTH?

The first one is kind of lame but just keep looking...

http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Current Life In Two Lists

Last night before bed I made these lists and thought they did a pretty good job of summing up life for me right now. I crossed out the things I have gotten done (well, at least mostly done)  as of 1:30 p.m. today.

Short Term Goals
  • Take care of insurance paperwork.
  • Call about Gemma's Insurance.
  • Pick up Gem's new meds. (Doc prescribed a new medicine that should help with colicky-ness. I sent my mom to pic it up but I have to wait until 4 when the truck comes in.)
  • Clean Bathroom.
  • Tweeze eyebrows.
  • Fold Laundry. (Gemma's is done...I still have a basket of mine though).
  • Call school lady. (This woman works for a non-profit who said she would help me out with the law school app. process. She said she would get back to me about a week ago. I am trying to figure out how long I should wait before calling her back. I don't want to seem rude, but enough already!)
  • Email lawyers. (I actually posted on a message board asking for help with law school selection/apps etc. and 3 women were willing to help by answering my questions! It is such a blessing and I am so grateful.) 
  • Take Gemma's costume pics. (Then I drew an arrow pointing down to the mid-term goal list)
  • Wash clothes.
  • Return library books.
  • Call Granddaddy.
Mid Term Goals (I don't even think this wording makes sense...but I "get" it so it works)
  • Start studying for LSAT ( Maybe I should move this one up!)
  • Choose the schools I will be applying to.
  • Find a "this year" job. -Maybe apply to 3 per day? (I have applied to 2)
  • Work on my personal statement.
  • Get a haircut.
  • Organize baby room. ( Not a nursery, but an empty room with baby gear we don't use day to day. Gemma is still sharing a room with me and there is NO WAY all of it would fit...)
  • Learn Gemma's schedule and from that create a daily schedule for us both. (With an arrow pointing up to short-term goals. I have a good idea but keep getting suggestions to put it on paper so I think maybe it would be worth a try.)
  • Look up Thanksgiving ideas. (It is at our house this year.)
  • Create a cleaning schedule.
  • Get all of the pics of Gemma printed. (I still have 0 hard copy pics of Gemma, I want to catch up and then try to get pics printed monthly.
Well, my little fuss bucket (as my dad so kindly calls her) is waking prematurely from her nap so I better go get her settled....

Hope you are getting things checked off of your to-do list today, too!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts-Negative Nancy Edition

This is my first time participating in Random Tuesday Thoughts at the Un Mom. My advanced apologies for the emo-ness of some (all) of them!

randomtuesday

I am sick and tired of people telling me that Gemma's babyhood will be gone in a flash/blink of an eye/before I know it. The thought depresses me, and it makes me feel old. At 23. And now, I am terrified to blink. I spend time everyday reminding myself that time is all relative thus wasting time thus triggering OMG where is my life going thoughts and perpetuating the cycle. Does that sound a little crazy to you?


Part of me REALLY wants a job but part of me wishes I could just stay home with Gemma. Realistically, I need the money and the experience but I can't imagine the day when I gave to drop her off at the sitter. I feel like we have become a unit over the past couple of months...


This Halloween was the first in my life I didn't dress up. That kind of bums me out.


So apparently Gemma has some Milk Protein Sensitivity issues which means NOTHING with even the slightest bit of dairy in it for me for the next 2 months, possibly longer. As someone who could possibly live on cheese this is a total bummer.


Gemma slept 6-7 hour stretches twice last week and hasn't done it since.


As much as I love Gemma I still want myself back. Almost every thought I have is about her. Surely, this won't be what my entire life is like...will it? I know she will always be on my mind but will I always feel so...consumed by her?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Party #1 = Disaster

Okay, okay...Maybe disaster is a slight exaggeration but it was not a great success.

I have told y'all before about the area playgroup that we finally got the chance to check out last week. Today they were hosting a Halloween party and I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet a bunch of the moms at one time.

As they say, that's what I get for thinkin'.

As I trace my steps all the way back to last night I should have seen the warning signs that the day would not go as planned (does it ever?). 

Gems did not want to go to sleep. She was fine in my arms but would start fussing when I would move and especially when I laid her down. She had been going to sleep around midnight pretty consistently, which I thought was late until last night. She didn't finally settle until 1:30 a.m.

She must have worn herself out, because when I woke to my alarm at 7:40 she was STILL asleep (and in her own crib too!) I laid in bed for a while contemplating whether I should sleep longer and enjoy my good fortune (and avoid the cold, it was rainy and icky out!) or head to the Halloween party as originally planned.

Eventually exhaustion won out and I decided to cancel and got out of bed to do so (there is an online RSVP system), but by the time I had checked my email and everything I was feeling a little bit more awake so I changed my mind again and decided to go to the party.

Luckily, it was one of those mornings where getting ready goes really smoothly. Gemma cooed and smiled and was just in a good mood. She didn't fuss at all when I put her in her car seat or anything. I hate to say this but she was so good it was like it wasn't even my baby! 

I stopped to get gas on the way and that is where it started to go slightly downhill. 

Apparently my credit card was expired so I had to lug the car seat into the gas station to pre-pay for the gas. Then, I realized I had pulled up to the pump on the wrong side (how, I have no clue, I have been driving the same Jeep for months) and had to turn around. While I was turning around some woman pulled up to the pump I had paid at (of course!) and got out of her car. I awkwardly stopped and explained to her what happened. She looked at me like I was a complete idiot but moved her car. 

Then, I realized that I didn't have the side dish I had signed up to bring so I lugged the car seat back into the gas station and grabbed a $4 bag of chips (am I being cheap or does that seem pricey?) and decided if nothing else I could just smile and say something about being a new mom and hope that would excuse the chips :)

Finally, I was on my way again. I only got "lost" once, which actually isn't bad for me when I am using MapQuest directions :) 

When I got to the church is when my morning turned from silly bad to awkward bad. I think I prefer silly bad.

For some reason every social skill I have cultivated in the past 23 years completely escaped me at this party. I  reverted to the awkward 12 year old sitting in the corner waiting for someone to come talk to me (Yes, I was that kid. Don't feel bad for me though, it was only for like 6 months!). The only difference was this time I had an adorable baby dressed like a mouse sitting on my lap.

A couple of times women initiated conversations with me. My brain would blank and the completely wrong thing would come out. I think I even mentioned the vaccinations Gemma had earlier this week.

 In a room full of middle class moms.

 Not the best conversation starter. More like a "can you please let me out of this before all hell breaks loose" conversation killer. 

After tackling the uber-uncomfortable situation of,  "Where do I nurse this baby in a room full of people who I desperately want to make a good first impression on?"  (the only other mom nursing at that time was in a chair at the end of the table, all of these tables were full and I didn't want to feed her at the table since everyone was eating and it felt...wrong), with absolutely no grace (I pretty much went to a chair at the far corner of the room, the place where I was probably most noticeable to those trying to enjoy their spinach dip...I felt like I was on stage at a dinner theater), I decided to cut my losses and head home.

And then I got lost.

In West Virginia.

Oooo, what a day!





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy (Belated) 2 Months Gemma!



Yesterday, Gemma turned 2 months old. I kept meaning to post yesterday but time just got ahead of me I guess :)

So Gemma at 2 months...

You already sleep like a teenager (sort of), your usual bedtime is somewhere between 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. Most mornings we are up and at 'em about 8 a.m. (so maybe you are not like a teenager at all!) Usually I rock you to sleep and then place you in your crib (a habit I am now told we will have to wait a couple of months to break!) and you sleep most of the night there. Around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. I bring you into bed with me... You snack just a little and drift back to sleep. Like I said, most mornings you are up at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. but sometimes you will wake for a bit and then sleep until 10 a.m. (Mama likes those mornings!)

You still prefer my arms for naps, although I can sometimes put you in the bassinet while you are sleeping and you will nap for 30-45 minutes more (often, you pop right back up though!) I have gotten better about telling when you are sleepy so you are definitely napping more.

You still don't like the swing. Or the bouncy seat. Or the play mat. There are a lot of things you don't like.

But you DO like mobiles. Especially the one hanging above your crib. You love when someone gets right in your face and talks to you. You enjoy the bath and only fuss when I take you out. My laugh makes you smile.

You are still a tiny little thing. You are 23.49 inches long and weight 10 pound 7.9 ounces. It sounds like an awful lot to me but you are on the small side for your age. You comfortably fit into most 0-3 month clothes but some of your newborn onesies still fit. Your diapers are still size 1.

I am happy to report your hair is still spiking. Also, your eyes are still bluish gray although I am still betting they will turn brown.

You have really outgrown the newborn stage this month. You are so engaged with the world around you compared to last month. I love the fact that when I hold you, you cling to my shoulder like a koala bear. My koala bear :) (Speaking of which, we still haven't found a nickname that has stuck!)

Love you boo!

Here are a few of our "outtakes" from this month's photo shoot:
















Monday, October 26, 2009

Are You Going To Get Your Lip Done Too?

...Because you need it. 

That is what I heard as I laid down to get my eyebrows waxed today.

E-M-B-A-R-A-S-S-I-N-G!

When I walked in I fully intended on only getting my eyebrows done. I was so oblivious to my own poor body hair maintenance that I didn't even realize there was a caterpillar growing on my top lip.

Obviously, after she pointed it out I couldn't not get it done because then I would be the gross lady who doesn't mind a little peach fuzz. I may be a mom but I refuse to be that mom, ya know?

So I dropped the extra 5 bucks (I know I shouldn't complain but it's tough times!) and to be honest with you...

I feel like a new woman.

Thank you tactless, nail shop lady!

In all seriousness, I finally feel like I am in a position to get some momentum going and really get the ball rolling towards my next step in life. Tidy eyebrows (among other things!) are symbolic of that.

 I am learning how to be a mom and accomplish small goals too, like running errands and  getting stuff done around the house (and taking regular showers!). Those seem like small things but they were impossible for me a month or so ago and they have even been tough in the past few weeks.

I am realizing as things continue to get easier I need to really start working towards the larger goals in my life too. I have finally come up with a copy of my resume I am comfortable sending out so I am going to start seriously looking for a job. I am going to make the time to research graduate schools and start taking the steps necessary to apply for next August.

I am going to make a life for myself, and more importantly Gemma, that is just as amazing as it would have been if I had done everything the "right" way.

This little girl deserves everything the world has to offer and more.



And I am going to go out there and get it for her.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Was So Tired I Forgot To Title This Post

Today was a big day for Gemma and I. We finally made it to a playgroup!

I actually found the group before she was born through the website Meetup, I actually spoke with someone to "join" the day before she was born. I recognized how desperately I needed a local support system as well as friends with kids (as none of my other friends is at this point in their life and probably won't be for 5-10 years!) so I sought it out from the beginning. Unfortunately, the reality to adjusting to life with a newborn has made it difficult for me to make it to any of their events.

 Today though, things worked out!

I was super duper sleepy (she didn't go to sleep until 1 a.m. HELP ME!) this morning at 8:00 when I had to get up and I was seriously considering blowing it off but I think I am missing adult interaction even more so than sleep so I sucked it up and (nervously) went. The playgroup today was specifically for new members so I thought it would be the most comfortable to sort of plunge in..

I got a little lost on the way there (it is about a 25 minute drive) but once I found it all is well. I think there was some level of intimidation as the women are all older than me and are all married which made me hope that they weren't sitting there thinking I am some young, silly hoochie or whatever but they seemed really welcoming. Both of the other "new members" were insanely talkative so I kind of took a backseat but it was good just being able to sit around and chit chat with people that I could relate with in some ways at least.

Motherhood is an insanely unifying bond.

Gemma was great. Most of the time she was either nursing or sitting on my lap chewing her hand which is quickly becoming a favorite past time of hers. She even took a little nap on my  lap while we were there. I was really happy that she seemed so happy!

After the playgroup, we headed to the mall to pick up this warm winter hat that I want to get Gemma. They didn't have it in her size (I should get her the 0-3 mos, right? The 3-6 mos seemed so big on her. Then again, winter lasts a while...) but the salesgirl was really nice and gave us a coupon for free shipping so I am going to order it when I get done here!

Since we have been home we have just kind of been lounging around...

It has been a good day so far :)

P.S. Happy 8 weeks Gemma!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Confession #1

It is only within the past week that I realized that babies need help taking naps.

Yes, I am completely serious.

I did know that babies needed lots of sleep. I even knew that sometimes babies needed a little help with going to sleep at night.

But naps! I just didn't get it. I thought that Gemma was just an alert (and very fussy) baby.

Then with a combination of stuff I had observed watching Gemma (like the fact she always passed out when my Great Grandmother rocked her) and stuff I had read, something finally clicked and I thought I would give rocking her to sleep when she got super fussy during the day a shot.

And  wouldn't ya know...it worked! Within a week I am able to get her to take at least 2 or 3 good naps each day. I have even developed  (a very scientific) technique of rock, tap, swaddle, squish, and hold the binky in place.

Now she is MUCH less fussy and I am able to get a little more done during the day.

I would say someone should have told me, but deep down I am pretty sure I should have known.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Miss My Old Name...

101 Days Until Baby that is... I am not sure I am feeling the new name either...Just test driving it I guess.

P.S. I can't believe it has been 53 days with baby!
P.P.S. I have an ellipses addiction that must be stopped.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Seven (Somewhat Connected) Thoughts For Seven Weeks

So maybe she is 7 weeks and 1 day old but whose counting? Anyway, this post isn't (entirely) Gemma-centric, I just wanted to get some random stuff floating in my head down before it is lost forever :)

  1. Where on earth can you find a mini-witch hat? I was on a message board and they were talking about taking a picture of your baby in a hollowed out pumpkin. I think it is a (cheesy) cute idea and thought it would be even cuter if I could find a witch hat for her but I was looking around today and couldn't find one anywhere...
  2. I LOVE my sorority sisters. I opened my mailbox on Tuesday to find that they had sent me a bunch of handmade cards just to let me know they loved me and missed me. It is nice to be reminded that I DO have friends (really amazing special ones at that!)...even if I am so lonely here.
  3. Sometimes even people you don't know can be so kind. An ex-coworker of my dad's sent Gigi a super cute hand knitted sweater. It is really pretty and I will post a picture as soon as I get around to taking one! The mailbox has been kinda nice to me this week.
  4. My dad is away for the weekend so my sister came home from college to stay with me. We have kind of been at odds a little lately (typical sister stuff, nothing too intense) but since last night when she got here it has been so far so good. I like when she is here because I get an extra set of hands to help out... It is nice to not be COMPLETELY on my own.
  5. I am really starting to understand why it takes two people to make a baby! It takes two people to take care of a baby! I always feel like my hands are so full with this little one. I sometimes wish that I could just pass her off to someone else for 5 minutes. I realize if I had a husband I might be able to do this sometimes and when thinking about that really gets me down I just remember that even some people with husbands don't have support. (In which case I am better off in my position.)
  6. I think Gemma might have issues with Mylicon. I tried giving it to her to relieve her gas and the two nights I gave it to her she screamed bloody murder. I didn't give it to her last night and she was somewhat back to normal. I didn't even know Mylicon could bother a baby!
  7. Speaking of screaming bloody murder... Tub bath #2 didn't go nearly as well as the first one did!