Sunday, December 30, 2012

The New Year

2012 was a great year. We learned lots, laughed a lot and were productive in many things.

As I look back and think of where life started this year and where it ended, I am blown away at how blessed this family is and how lucky I am. This is what exciting things happened to us this year:

We started it out by celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary in Jamaica. 
Celebrated our sons 1st birthday party with a dinosaur themed party and were surrounded by many friends and family.
We ended up finding out we were pregnant again 2 weeks after our sons birthday!
We finally got settled in our home by getting the things we wanted to make it complete (office furniture, a leather ottoman)
We hung everything left that needed to be hung and can say we are officially moved in and happy with the home we built last year.
We found out we were having a girl!
We made several trips out to the lake house and spent lots of fun times with family and friends.
We travelled to Chicago and Santa Fe!
We had our baby girl!
And we finished up the year with time with family.

This year was also a year of a few hard things. We had a really bad couple months this summer. Our son got really sick, our lab had to have two sets of stitches within a month from two separate injuries, our german shepherd had to get on joint medicine because of a bad hip, we had an infestation of ants in the house and had a couple of house things that cost way more than we wanted it to! We found out some good friends were getting divorced, we had our daughter who is still dealing with a heart murmur and then to round off the year, we found out another set of friends were divorcing.

I have learned many things though through it all. I learned that no matter what happens, God is always in charge and will get us through. I learned that sometimes you have to sit back and laugh, Just laugh at everything that is going on because you can't control it. We couldn't make it all go away fast enough and sometimes we felt that we had to just duck our head and bear through it. Laughing helped. We learned that we can in fact raise two kids, and do it successfully at that. We may only be 8 weeks in, but we have a pretty good handle on it thus far. I learned that I am an awesome mom, I love staying home with my kids, I love having two kids and I am in love with pinterest, cooking, blogging and being a homemaker. I learned several things like just because the detergent bottle is almost empty does not mean that its ever empty enough to just pour directly in the washing machine and forgo the little cup that comes with it. Result: detergent all over my wall that I still am trying to clean up. I've learned that multitasking is not only necessary these days but it can be an art form! I have learned how to live doing everything with almost one hand. I breastfeed using one hand while I play with my son with the other. I cook with one hand and carry a baby in the other while feeding a toddler in a highchair in between stirs and hey, I learned to blog with a squirming baby on me.

My husband and I also learned how deep our love for each other is. Believe me, having two kids this close together is not a little reward for your marriage that says, "good job on your marriage so far! Heres a treat!" Its more like, "ha, you think you guys got this and can handle this, watch this....BAM!" And you get a curve ball that smacks you in the back of the head before you know whats coming. Meaning, life didn't get easier. It is certainly filled with more joy, more love and compassion and more laughter and smiles in this house, but with it came hardships, sleep deprivation and work...ALOT of work. :)  We have learned that we got this even though we learn new things daily. As my husband likes to say, we went from zone defense to man to man. And he is so right (as he is almost all the time. Just don't tell him I said that). We have learned that at the end of the day, even if its just 5 minutes of silence, we need it for us and we take it. Now because we have amazing children we usually get more than that, but I make my point in saying that our love for each other has grown deeper and we have bonded in ways I never thought possible. We have also watched two of our very close friends go through a divorce. Thats been hard on us because we looked up to them. We wanted our love and marriage to be like theirs. Happy with two kids and both following their dreams. Little did we know, that whats on the surface is not always whats behind closed doors and we had NO idea how bad it was. It scares us, it saddens us and it makes us want to hold on to each other a little tighter and do everything we can to make sure dreams come true for us as individuals without sacrificing our unity, our friendship and our marriage. We are brokenhearted about our friends, but it makes us more thankful for one another.

As 2013 approaches, I hope to learn more, to love more and continue to blog and manage my household in a way thats efficient and leads to a happy and healthy home and family. We have a few trips coming up this coming year that I am super excited about! We are going to Las Vegas for Philip's 40th birthday! We are going to Oklahoma to see Matchbox 20 and going to San Antonio for a conference in which Philip will be learning and me and my kiddos will be playing. Next year I want to continue to create recipes for my cookbook, I want to learn how to sew so I can actually bring my pins from pinterest to life! I want to continue to raise my kids to love one another, to play with each other, to respect their daddy and to cherish the time they have with their mommy. Our son will be starting a mothers day out program this year which is exciting and sad for me all wrapped up in one and our daughter will continue to grow this year, learn how to roll over and probably learn how to walk! Wow! 

So heres to another year full of fun, laughter, joy, happiness and life lessons. I look forward to alone time with my husband as our children grow and I look forward to all the milestones they will accomplish this year! Here's to baking, cooking and making mistakes in my kitchen and here's to hoping Philip will buy me a sewing machine knowing full well that I will do my best to learn how to use it and create many things and know the possibility that I may only use it a few times. :) 

Happy new year every one! Don't drink and drive, be safe and cheers to new beginnings!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A toddler and a newborn

It may have been some time since I was last on here but believe me, I have been busy. I keep up with a very active 22 month old and a 6 week old. Life has changed so much just in the last couple months and it continues to change every week. We have not established a schedule yet for our daughter, but then again she is only 6 weeks. For those reading this blog, you know how I am a stickler for a schedule, so in the next month or so, I intend on making sure we find one that fits us three. (I don't include my husband in that statement because he isn't here during the day alot and he adapts to whatever works for all of us) But let me just let everyone know what I have learned in the last 6 weeks.

Sleep when your baby sleeps in impossible with a toddler. I always loved it when people would say sleep when the baby sleeps because it is true and it was for my first kid. But when you have a toddler, sleeping when the baby sleeps is near impossible. He takes one nap a day. So if she isn't napping during that time, well then forget it. Luckily for me, I work hard to make sure they do. My solution: because I have a great toddler who sleeps and will stay in his room and play because of our training with him and my schedule, he is so easy. So, once she is ready to eat around nap time, I send him to his room for a nap. He plays a little while I feed her and get her to settle. Most of the time by the time he is finally resting, so is she. Thats when I close my eyes. So far, that works for me.

Take advantage of the time she is sleeping. I go about my day as I did before her, when she does sleep. I spend quality time with my toddler, I clean or I do something for me. She isn't being held constantly like my first kid, but I no longer have just one responsibility. She sleeps through the TV, my toddler screaming and everything. Once he goes down for a nap, I hold her and let her sleep on me, but for the most part, when she was sleeping a lot in the beginning, I used that time to be with my toddler so he knew he was still important. As a result, he doesnt't feel less important or pushed aside. He feels the same and loves on his sister in the mean time. I am quite proud how I have balanced these two kids.

Housework gets neglected, but who cares. I have to say that my housework right now is slacking, but in exchange I am getting some wonderful quality time with my kids who are growing and growing to love each other and know they are both important to me. Do the housework when you can. If you have energy, do something different once a day while they nap. Or if you are up early, do a chore here and there. But the most important thing is this: you will not remember a clean house, you will remember the time you spent with your kids.

Wake up early. Now for those of you who know me, you know this is foreign words coming out of my mouth. I hate the morning. I hate feeling like I am up before everyone else...until about 3 weeks ago. I realized that its QUIET! Quiet? Yeah, thats what I never hear these days. Thats what I find myself longing for these days. When my daughter gets up around 6:30 or 7:00 am, I feed her and then put her down. There is no point in me going back to bed really, because the boy will be up at any time, so I find myself doing other blogging. Or having breakfast first! Say what?! Yeah, eating first. The other day I went and sat outside and just took in the fresh air and the silence. Embrace the early mornings, get ahead of your day, do a chore or two while everyone else is asleep and you will find that you will feel better and more accomplished!

Enjoy the time you get with your husband. It may not be much, but embrace it when you have it and take whatever quality time you can get even if it is only 5 minutes. I remeber the days when it was just us two. We went on dates all the time, could stay out late and have no issues and sleep in. Then we had one kid. He went down at 7, so we still had time together. These days, once our first goes down, #2 is still awake and ready to go. The time my husband and I have has slowly dwindled. Now once I get her on a schedule and as she grows, we will have a little more consistent routine where both kids will be going down together, thus giving my husband and I more time together, but until then, embrace it. Remeber that he is important too and he needs to know you need him and you want to take care of him just as much as the kids. I don't want my husband to think he is second best. And he isn't. He knows that, but he has to remind me that 5 minutes of quality time is worth the world to him because we will always be ok. Together, we make a great pair and balancing us as partners and parents, is one reason we are perfect for each other.

In saying that, he needs to know I find him attractive still and I want him to find me attractive. So even if I have had a long day and the kids cried all day, as soon as he calls to say he is on his way home, I go freshen up. I put the baby in the swing, I turn on Mickey for the boy and I put makeup on, or I do my hair or I put on those tight yoga pants that he likes so much. The point is, keep your spark going and your fire burning by remembering that there is always time to flirt, to look good and to date your husband. Find a babysitter once a month and go out. I am still just as in to my husband as I was 5 years ago, because I find ways to show him I love him and keep us spontanious. When the kids are both sleeping in the early evening, I spend time with my husband, even if its just to say how was your day.

Sleep is not nearly as important as you think even if you feel you really need it. Enjoy the late nights with your baby. They go by way too fast, they really are precious, quiet moments and in light of recent horrible events in our nation, you can never hold your kid too much, even if it means you are losing sleep.

And lastly, life goes on. Life is hard at times. We have bad days. But it is never as bad as it seems. A new day is around the corner, they grow fast and soon you will miss the days when they wanted to play with you. I know that one day my boy will grow up and playing with mom will no longer be cool. So I will take the tantrum with the playtime, because someday I know I will wish he would play with me even if a tantrum will ensue. Our baby girl will grow way too fast too and someday I will wish she would lay on me and cry because that will be the day she no longer wants to hug me or kiss me because thats not cool either. We have stressful days, but nothing is bigger than God. He will give me strength when I am weak, energy when I am tired and encouragement when I am down. I don't always feel like I have a handle on these kids and this house. And sometimes I feel like this was a FAIL day. But I know that I am good at a lot and I have a mighty God and a wonderful husband who will remind me of that. And at the end of the day, there is no where else I'd rather be. I dreamt of being a stay at home mom since I was little. I have wanted to be a mom longer than any other job I can think of. This is for me, this is my life and even when I feel tired and run down, this is my passion.

One last note before I get my day husband has been incredible people! he helps out, he rocks her to sleep, he puts our boy to bed and bathes him. He helps with dinner and he brings me flowers randomly to say I love you and great job with these kids. Part of why its easy for me to talk about making our marriage work in the midst of being parents is because he makes it worth it. I won't gush too much, but people...I got lucky!

Until next time, which will probably be after the holidays, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years and for everyone with two or more small kids in my same situation, hang in there, have fun and I am glad that there are people out there like you who go through this with me so I know I am not alone. Its nice to have "coworkers".

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birth Story #2

Alright everyone, as promised, here is how our sweet little girl came into this world. I had previously stated that I was going to do this naturally since I didn't like how the first birth went with an epidural and petocin. This was one of the hardest things I ever did, but I did it and it was so worth it.

I ended up having contractions on Wednesday which seemed to stay consistent through Thursday, so my husband and I went in to the hospital on thursday just to be sent away. Apparently, even though they were consistent, they were not intense enough. We ended up leaving our son with his grandparents that night and we came home and had a relatively relaxing night with the exception of contractions off and on. Friday I hardly had any contractions, so we ended up getting our son and coming home. Saturday night I started feeling some contractions, so we called his parents who came to our house to watch our son since he was already in bed and off we went to the hospital again. Ended up that the contractions may have been intense, but not consistent. We were sent home again. We ended up going to his parents house since they live closer to the hospital and staying there with contractions off and on. Sunday morning, we went and had breakfast and basically just did a lot of walking and hanging out near the hospital since I was still having contractions. We finally decided that it was time to just go home since nothing was progressing. Sunday night around 1:30, the contractions were waking me up, so I told my husband we better at least head to his parents house and wait this out there because they were getting pretty intense. Our son was already staying the night with grandma and grandpa, so we called our doula and she suggested since they weren't bad enough that I could still talk, that getting rest was more important than taking another trip to the hospital. That night, I had intense contractions all night. My husband, however, being an attorney, had court Monday morning. He got up and went to court and I told him I would call him once they got really bad and we needed to go to the hospital. I laid in bed for a couple hours until I almost couldn't take it anymore. I called our doula and told her that I was ready to walk and do some exercises in relaxing because this was getting to be too much. She suggested I take a bath which acutally helped a lot. My husband got home and just before the doula was supposed to be at the house, I couldn't take it anymore and had to go straight to the hospital. I told our doula, I didn't want to walk, I wanted to go. She met us at the hospital, which by then, I was in pain and was able to skip triage altogether. I was so thankful for that especially since I had been there twice and turned down twice.

They admitted me and as soon as we got in the room, they checked me and said I was dilated to a 6! We ended up checking in around 10am. I didn't take any petocin, I didn't take any other medication. And it HURT! I wanted to call it quits and get an epidural several times, but our doula was able to bring me back and have me focus on my husband and get back on track. It was nice to be able to sit up and walk around and move more. I did alot of moving and it seemed to feel better to stand at times. By around 12pm, I was about done. We called the nurse in there to check me again and I was an 8. I told everyone I had to go to the bathroom becuase it felt like I had to pee really bad. The nurse said ok, but don't push. Don't push? I wasn't planning on it. She said that my cervix wasn't ready yet. I said, I don't want to push, I just want to pee. I got in the bathroom and thats when everything went blurry.

I remember I couldn't go to the bathroom and I was having contractions so bad that all I could do was let my husband hold me up as I hung on to him. I remember telling him I was going to get an epidural. I told him this was too hard and I was sorry but I could no longer do it. About then, I wanted to push. I told the nurse I was going to push and she came running in saying "no, no! You need to get back in bed!" Between our doula and my husband holding me up, I was just about to give way and push right there. Then my husband said he didn't know what came over me but I just said "fine!" in respose to the get back in bed comment and walked right over and got in bed. I didn't make it quite all the way in the bed though. The bottom half of the bed breaks off and at the time it was lowered, so I was laying on that and leaning on the top part of the bed when the nurse checked me and said "You're at a 10!" I went from an 8-10 in like 15 minutes and at this point it was too late for an epidural. I pushed a few times and my water broke, which was the feeling of I needed to pee. I pushed a couple more times and out she came at 12:53pm. For those of you who want more graphic details, you can ask me later about the pushing experience, but let me just say, I let my body guide me, I let it be in control and as a result, I didn't need any help or anything medically done. Once it was over, it was over. Thats why it was amazing!

I haven't had to go through any recovery. My body is still a little sore at times and I am tired, but thats mainly because I am up with a newborn at night. But my body hasn't had to heal itself, therefore all the energy my body has is going to my kids. That's what I wanted and thats what is most important. I feel so much better after this birth than I did my first. Our little girl and I came together and let nature take its course and it was wonderful. I'm not saying that drugs are bad and that I would never get an epidural again. But for me, going naturally was amazing and I hope that I can find the strength and courage to do it again with however many more kids we decide to have. I also have to say that none of this would have been possible if it weren't for an amazing husband who surrendered to the fact that I wanted to do this, who watched me be in pain and let me deal with it instead of wanting to solve the problem and give me meds to make me feel better and who held my hand, held me up and helped me focus in ways I never thought possible. He was the reason I was able to get through this and he was my inspiration. Our doula was also a God send. She helped me relax and helped with pressure points and made a hard experience a lot easier. She helped draw me in when I was about to quit and helped my husband and I get refocused on each other to get through the harder contractions.

All in all, this was an amazing experience and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Stay tuned for more posts about managing a household, 2 kids under the age of 2 and how we are surviving thus far.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tired, baby, happy

I know it has been awhile since I have posted, but things got a little crazy around here. First off, our little girl was born on November 5, 6 lbs 14 oz and 20 in long. I had contractions for days before she was born, so we were on pins and needles waiting for her for almost a week. Her birth story will be the next post. I did have her all naturally and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done...but the most rewarding. More details to come later.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I stayed in today with our little one while my husband and our son went to the family thanksgiving. I wanted to let everyone know that we are still here and we are doing well. She is sleeping well at night for the most part, but she wakes up at least twice at night and with a toddler, I don't get a lot of rest during the day. Today was a nice break for me and I got to have some girl time.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a great holiday and blogging will start back up now that things are coming together a little around here. Until next time...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ready for fall

I know it has been a few weeks since I last wrote. We have been busy. First off, my husband and I went to Santa Fe kid free! It was amazing and our last get away alone before this little girl comes. Being in the mountains with the cooler weather made me ready for fall.

This fall is exciting for us this year with the little one arriving. It just makes it more enjoyable. I cannot wait to cuddle up with a newborn next to a fire. Among all the awesome freezer crockpot meals I will be making, will be some yummy fall soups. Once I start putting them together I will share the recipes. I did make an apple pie two days ago and it is delicious! I am still eating on it. Recipe is as follows:

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups shortening
8-10 tablespoons cold water
1 egg
sugar and cinnamon for the top

Mix the flour, salt, and shortening together using a pastry blender or a fork, until the shortening is about pea sized. Then add cold water a couple tablespoons at a time just until the crust is getting moist and can stay together. Then roll it into two balls. On a floured surface, roll the crust out into a circle that will fit the pie dish you are using. Place one in the dish, fill with the apple filling and then put the top on. Pinch the edges together, trim any excess dough off and cut slits in the top to vent. I then brushed it with an egg wash and sprinkled cinnamon and suger on top.

Pie filling:
6 cups thinly, sliced apples; peeled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix the apples with the lemon juice. In a seperate bowl, mix all other ingredients until well combined. Then add the apples and toss to coat. Pour in dish and top with crust. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. I put foil on the edge of my crust for the 40 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need to uncover after 40 minutes and continue baking until golden brown.

Thats it! I would have taken a picture, but I dove into it pretty soon after it was out of the oven.

The fall wreath is out on my door, the pumpkin decorations are out in my house and the fall cooking has begun! It may still be in the 80's and 90's most days, but in this house, its fall.

I hope everyone has a great week and a wonderful fall this year. I intend on eating lots of yummy soups, sitting by a fire, drinking hot chocolate, enjoying 2 of the most amazing and beautiful kids around, and spending lots of curled up movie time with my husband. Until next time...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

9 weeks to go...

Well, we will be at 31 weeks tomorrow. I can't believe this has flown by. It seems that with this baby, the time has gone by so fast because I have been so preoccupied with a little tot. With my first, I was counting down the days and couldn't wait. I analyzed every move, every milestone and it seemed that 9 months lasted over a year! But with #2, I have to think about what week we are at. I have to admit its been a lot easier though. Not worrying and being frantic about every little thing has been nice.

We got the twin mattress for our son and transitioned him onto a bigger bed last night. He did so well. I have to admit and brag a little, that he has taken all the changes like a champ. I have read that toddlers have a hard time with change. I have had some experience with this, but for the most part everything that we do, he has adapted to so well. I do my best to take changes with ease so that he will see that its no big deal. When things happen that we did not plan on, my husband and I try to take it in stride and act like its no big deal so our little guy doesn't worry too. Believe me, at times, that is hard for us. So when we gave him the big bed, we didn't even acknowledge it was a big deal. We just did the same routine and put him to bed like normal and he hasn't complained a bit. I could not be more proud of him.

My advice to moms with toddlers is this: go with the flow with a happy attitude even if it's hard. Our kids watch us and every time I am stressed or upset, my toddler can see that and he gets hard to deal with. This makes me more agitated and it leads to a cycle that neither him or I needed. Instead, I have tried to let my frustrations go, let our kid know why we are doing something different or what the plan is and do my best to distract him to make the situation easier. I will say this may not always work all the time, but I have had some great success most of the time.

Anyway, we have 9 weeks to go and if she comes like her brother, she will be here in 7 weeks instead. That makes me so happy. I can't wait to have another baby to hold and cuddle with. Her nursery is complete now that she has the mattress and our household is getting ready for her. I am getting the freezer crockpot meals list together, the freezer is getting cleaned out daily, Christmas presents are being made, and mentally I am getting prepared to have this baby naturally. I do believe she will be here a couple weeks early too because I am starting to get very uncomfortable. By the time I started feeling uncomfortable with our son, he was ready too because a week later, there he was. I understand that with your second, you feel things sooner and more intensely, so this feeling is going to last a little while. Truthfully though, I'm ok with it because it means we are just that much more closer to becoming a family of four!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baby and Toddler

Well, we successfully went to Chicago and got home safely. Our kiddo was amazing. He adapted so well and did so good. He stayed up late with us and was such a trooper. We had one melt down the entire trip and it was understandable. But overall, a great trip. Our favorite pic was this one.

We would go to this park on the river across from our hotel and he would just watch the boats go by! We had such a relaxing, fun trip.

And since we have been back, the nursery has had a total transformation. It looks amazing. We got the painter in and they did a great job. Then the bedding came in the next day. All thats left is something to hang over the dresser and getting the mattress in there. We need to get the twin mattress for our son to sleep on and then we can move his current bed into the nursery. Here is are some of the pictures. I absolutely love it! Which is good because the nesting bug has hit hard.

I got silk flowers and took off the stem and the center part and then used the hole they already had to fit over the screw and then screwed the knobs on. I think it adds a little girly touch to a dresser that she can use for a long time. Thank you Pinterest for the idea!

The drapes are on the back of the chair. We need to hang them. I love the crib wall. her colors are yellow, turquoise, pink, light green and touches of red. The fabric is below and will better show how all these colors tie in.

The theme is love birds and chevron.

The canvas I made for her.
Here is the fabric. Its got so many colors in it and I love that its not all pink.
I have never been big into pink. I do have a pink purse and pink tennis shoes, but it wasn't until I was in my 20's did I really start to embrace the color some. Either way, I have never been super girly, so I tried to have a room that you would know there was a girl that was going to be living there, but it wasn't full of what my husband calls: frosting. Frosting is ruffles, pink, pink, pink and flair. Anyway, thats the nursery that I am so proud of.
In other baby news, I met with our doula yesterday and everytime I talk to her I am amazed at how awesome she is. We worked on relaxation and within 5 min my mind was quiet and I was at peace. I had a massage 3 days ago for an hour and a half and I didn't stop thinking once. So her work is awesome. The goal is to practice these techniques. I hope to have an all natural childbirth although, we will be in a hospital and if it turns out I can't bear it, all medical options are available. I know this sounds crazy, but I am excited about having this baby. Not having a baby (which I am of course ecstatic about) but actually going through the process of having this baby. I can't wait to be in labor again and work with my body to have a smooth, drug free labor. I understand complications can arise, and I am on board with having drugs if needed, but hopefully everything will work out and I won't need them. My poor husband thinks I have jumped off the deep end. He believes in the ability for medicine to help someone and you should use it if it'll make you comfortable. I get that. I love him for wanting me comfortable, but he is also trying to support me doing this naturally too. I think he is of two minds and isn't sure where he falls yet. I love that he's my partner and will be going through this with me. He is always so good in intense situations. It seems as if he has everything together and appears calm. Especially with my first delivery, he was amazing, so no matter what I choose for this birth, I know he will do his best to comfort me, support me, and stay calm through it all. The main reason I want to do this naturally is so I can move around. I liked standing up last time. It helped so much. I didn't know that after you get an epidural, you are down for the count. So ladies remember that!
As for my toddler, he seems to be changing daily. His eating habits are getting so weird. He has become very picky and what he used to love, he now doesn't want. Feeding him has become somewhat of a challenge. I am still trying to get fruits and vegetables in his diet so I have had to get very creative. For one, I started making smoothies and then holding the cup and letting him play and then come get a drink every minute or so. He thinks its "mommy's drink", and he's getting a treat. What he doesn't know is that it is his drink and he is getting spinach and banana's which he won't touch whether its on his plate or anyone else's. I also have been sneaking pears and apples into his grilled cheeses. Hey, people pair fruit and cheese all the time right? Why not do it in a grilled cheese. He loves it and eats every bite. I also puree broccoli and peas and mix it with mayonnaise and use it as a spread. I do not add fruit if I use that. I also put spinach leaves on the grilled cheese too. It may not sound appetizing to you, but he sure loves it and I am getting my son nutrition even if he is eating the same thing every day.
On another note, he is getting to be so big. He still sleeps on his mattress on the floor without getting up. He goes to bed when we tell him, and when I say I am leaving and kiss him goodnight, he lays down and is quiet. He rarely cries anymore when I leave the room. Philip and I are very good about letting him know what we are doing and why and I think that helps. After we read him a book, we tell him he can read it on his own as long as he wants but it's time for mommy or daddy (whoever is in there) to leave. We also tell him we will be there for him if he needs anything that night. Sometimes he keeps reading and lays down later, sometimes he lays down right away. Either way he hardly ever cries when we get up to leave. In the mornings he stays right there on that bed until we get him. He usually wakes up between 7:15-7:45 and we don't get him until around 8. He never complains, and he doesn't get off the bed. He will grab a paci that rolled off or a book he wants, but he gets right back on and he stays. I can't believe that we have such an easy going kid who is becoming so independent.
My world is going to change when I have both a baby and my toddler, but I am so excited. I can't wait to have a baby that will sleep in my arms again. And then when she's asleep, I am going to love talking to my toddler who understands me and can commnunicate with me. I get the best of both worlds. I get that I will get the trying times as well, but thats what prayer, God, and patience is for. I will survive, and at night and on weekends, I have this awesome partner that will help. Lets just say that right now, life is good and I am so thankful. Until next time...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our birth story

We are planning to leave tomorrow to go to Chicago and will be there until the weekend. I figure with a big trip coming and all the things that will need to get done once we get back, I better blog now while I have the time. So as promised, here is our delightful birth story.

Lets start with my husband. He is such a planner and organizer. He likes to have things ready and at least two or three different plans and routes in case we run into problems. He always prepares for at least 1-3 problems in every major event so that when these issues arise, its nothing he can't expect, handle and effectively deal with. I married up girls! So his idea was to have a phone tree. Once we knew we were heading to the hospital, he would have one or two people he called who would call three people and call more people and so on. This way everyone we wanted to know would know with us not having to do much. I say us, I meant, him. :) As of 37 weeks, he still had not made that list.

Continuing with my husband's part of this amazing story...we still had not sold our house in Georgetown, TX. We moved from Georgetown to Dallas when I was 7 months pregnant and had put our house on the market there. We had showings, but no buyers. Finally, someone took the bite when I was around 35-36 weeks pregnant. All of our stuff was still there because our house was staged. All we took when we moved was the essentials. So to complicate things, I am now 38 weeks pregnant and our house sold and there is still no phone tree. I told my husband early that week around 38 weeks, that he better start making that list because I felt different. I felt like my body was tired and done carrying this kid because we were running out of room and fast. He did make that phone tree and two days later he had to go move us out of our house in Georgetown and into a storage shed in Dallas. This was his weekend...

He didn't want me leaving Dallas County in case I did go into labor. We didn't really want to be 3 hours away and not be anywhere near our new doctor and hospital. And really what use would I have been? I couldn't lift anything, I could barely bend over and I would have just been in the way. (my husband and I have a very different idea on how to move, so with me out of the way, it was easier on him) On thursday night, he left. He spent pretty much all night Thurday packing and all day and into the night Friday packing our entire two story, 4 bedroom, 2800 sq ft home all by himself. Bless his heart! (I told you girls, I married well) Then his parents left me and went to help him on Saturday. We had relatives on stand by for me. They packed the rest up and the movers came that afternoon to load. They finished loading late Saturday and so the movers decided not to come until first thing Sunday morning. Philip and his parents got home very late Saturday night and exhausted. Sunday morning, he got up, we went to storage, met the movers and spent all day playing tetris in a storage shed that ended up being barely the right size. To top that off, it was on the second floor. We still had cars loaded with stuff, so all that had to get unloaded somewhere too. He was so exhausted Sunday and was finally done. Which leads me to that night...

My husband had not really rested or slept in 3 nights now and he was running on E. We decided to take a break, watch a movie and go to bed early. We finished dinner and I went upstairs to start the movie while he talked to his parents a bit. I started feeling contractions. I thought it was false labor since I was only 38 weeks along and they say that your first is often late. So I ignored them and kept on watching TV. They persisted so I started timing them. They went from every 5 min to every 2 min. Philip finally came upstairs and said, "are you crying?" I said, "no, why?" Apparently I looked as if I was crying. He claims to this day I was, but I don't think so. He asked what was wrong and I said I am just having false labor, no big deal. He told me to time them and I said I had and told him about the progression. He went and got his mom who came in and asked as well. She used to work for a dr. They both started timing me and staring at me. I was like, hey its not happening now, I'm fine. After a few minutes he said he would feel better if I called the dr. It was 9:30p at this point. So I called and they said if you keep having these contractions after a full hour, come in. At this point it had been going on for 30 minutes. At 10, we got in the car. Everyone was excited but I still thought this was false labor. We get to the hospital, they admitted me into triage around 10:15pm. And then the big contractions started.

I was actually telling my husband to find the nurse because I wanted an epidural right then. I didn't know you had to wait until you were officially admitted into labor and delivery to get the epidural and standard proceedure was to be in triage for at least 2 hours. 2 hours?! With sharp pain? And all I can do is lay there. Oh no, no...not a good thing for a woman who is used to moving around when she doesn't feel good and hurts. The nurse asked me to remember what I learned in my birthing class. Birthing class? Hahaha, oh wait...I didn't take one. ;) I figured I would play it by ear. I am a very naive woman. I did not play it by ear. I was only dialated to a 2 I think. It might have been a 4. I don't remember, I just know that I must have been a huge pain because after only on hour or so, she admitted me.

We were admitted around 11pm. I got a lovely epidural around 1am and things seemed great for the first few hours. My husband laid down on a roll away bed and got some sleep...finally. It was great, I didn't feel a thing. Except I was HUNGRY! I mean, bite my arm off starving. My husband (the planner he is) told me to eat on the way and I said we will be in and out, its not labor, but it was and I didn't get any food. I should have listened. I was stuck at 4 (dialated to a 4) for a long time. Then around 5-6am, I started feeling contractions. The epidural appeared to be wearing off. Not good for a women who doesn't like pain and this pain was 5x what it was a few hours before in triage. So the nurse called the anethesiologist who gave me another dose. 30 minutes later, I was feeling contractions. We did this over and over and over. By 7:30am everything was a blur. I had been dosed with so much epidural, the nurse said I could have had a C-section with that amount and not felt anything and I was still feeling everything. My husband quit sleeping long before this because I was in so much pain. I was also still dialated to a 4. They gave me pitocin (which speeds things up) and everything just went crazy from there. The dr checked me and said that I was good and I should start dialating one centemeter per hour, so he would be back at lunch. Lunch?! Remember I was still starving. I told the nurse if I had to wait until lunch, I would for sure faint once I started pushing.

On a side note, the dr I chose whom I loved and was so comfortable with, was skiing that weekend. So I had another Dr whom I did not know and did not want. Two actually. One throughout the night and one at shift change at 7am. I was not very serene with the dr who told me I couldn't eat. Plus, we had hit Valentines day. Thats right, this was all the night before Valentines day and the morning of. Apparently there are a lot of women who schedule to be induced on this night so they can have Valentine babies. I saw the first dr a few times who was just checking in with us. The second dr I saw twice. Once to say hi and once to catch the baby. It was not a very personal experience with my dr.

Anyway, the epidural wasn't working. So the nurse decided to have the supervisor of the anethesiologists (all 6 of them that came in to up my dose) come in and do it again. They found that it was in too low. Given my size, they were just off and so they had to do it again. The rest happened so quickly. They didn't kick Philip out for this epidural because it all needed to happen quickly and he didn't have time to leave. They usually kick the husbands out because of the size of the needle. More husbands faint from that than the delivery. Philip was holding my head and telling me to breathe. The nurse was putting pressure on my stomach to calm the contractions and the dude is giving me an epidural all when I tell the nurse, "Something bounced!" Yep, I felt something. The other nurse who had come in for shift change blew me off and said nothing bounced honey. I said, "No, it did!". The nurse (the one I had all night) told everyone to stop and for me to lay down and sure enough, there was a head. I had gone from 4-10 centimeters in like 45 minutes. And I felt it all! The epidural was done at this point and was starting to kick in, the nurse ran after the dr who came in and said to push. I pushed twice and our baby was born at 8:31am Valentines day morning. I was totally numb and happy at this point.

Thats me at 38 weeks and right after our son was born. I was due February 26 and he came February 14.

The last part of my story ends with me almost fainting off a toilet. They had transferred me to a room and when we got there, I had to go to the bathroom. The nurse and my mom helped me to the toilet and when I got on I started seeing spots, then black. I said mom, I see black and then I remember going limp. My mom caught me (she is just as small as me) and the stupid nurse, instead of helping, ran to the door to call for help. My mom was mad and I remember hearing her say, if you don't get back here I am going to drop her and she will hit her head on the shower. The nurse came back to help, I came around but needless to say we asked for another nurse. Thats what happens when you get up and move around after having a full dose of an epidural.

So there you have it. This was our first borns birth story.

Monday, August 20, 2012

thinking ahead

Call me crazy, but I am in super organizing, declutter, plan ahead mode. Ever since August hit, the due date seems all of the sudden super close! I entered into my third trimester today and I am kind of excited and kind of getting nervous all over again just the same.

I have one kid, remember, but the thought of this one coming freaks me out just the same. It was about 6 weeks out with my son that I started thinking, "How is he supposed to come out?" Maybe this is just me, but I knew his approximate weight, I know my weight (FYI: I am pretty petite) and I know how big things are down there. Put it all together and things don't add up. Then the big day comes and what is truly a miracle is a miracle because your body just seems to adapt. Ah-mazing to say the least.

Anyway, I am still getting a little nervous again regardless of my experience. I am also a little anxious about nesting. I am in major nesting mode, hence the organizing and decluttering. I have given so much stuff to Goodwill this year, its ridiculous. Also keep in mind that my husband and I went from a 2800 sq. ft 4 bedroom house with just us two to a 2100 sq. ft 3 bedroom house with a little one. All that stuff that we had plenty of room for in 4 rooms has now got to fit in two...the office and our bedroom. The extra two rooms are now in use. So far I have redone our laundry room, our pantry, our bathroom, our closet and our sons room. He is asleep right now, otherwise, I would get pictures of it.

The laundry room, I simply cleaned up, bought some baskets and a couple shelves and threw out a bunch of not needed things.

In the pantry, I got more baskets and categorized items. In our bathroom cabinets, I cleaned out everything, threw everything away that was expired or not going to be used and re-organized in there. Then in our closets, I cleaned out extra hangers (my husband has his court clothes dry cleaned so we end up with thousands of hangers!) and gave away a bunch of pairs of shoes and clothes. We are also having a builder come in and re-do our closets to give us an extra rod each and make things more efficient in there.

Today, we had the nursery painted. They are coming back to do the design tomorrow. Pictures will come soon. I also ordered the baby bedding but part of it is back ordered until Sept 30. I am not due until November, but for some reason this is terrible news to me. LOL! I keep thinking what if it doesn't come in on time? But realistically, the baby will be in our room in a side sling bed for the first few weeks anyway and its not like the bumper is a huge deal to a 6 week old, but hormones are telling me this is a big deal. :)

We did hire a doula this time too. She is amazing and so sweet. I meet with her next week to start wrapping my mind around this birth. I am going to TRY to have her all natural! No meds. Let me just state that I had an epidural with my first and I am not a fan of pain, so I am not promising anything, but I do want to try. I am so small that when I had the epidural with my first, they put it in too high and I felt everything anyway pretty much until 10 minutes before he was born. They had to give me a second one, which did kick in right in time for me to push twice and he was out. I was so drugged for so long after that since it was basically like getting an epidural and then being sent to a private room. I was dizzy and even fainted. Birth story to come in the next blog! It is kind of comical.

So for all the people out there who do not know me, let me introduce you to my crazy. Some may think, "hey, thats practical!" and some may say "she is flat out nuts!", either way, you are probably right. I have started Christmas shopping. Yes, you read that right. I am doing good too. I am making a bunch of gifts simply because pinterest has taken over my normal self and because I have no where to go when my kid is in bed at night and my husband works late. I already have a lot of gifts bought. Next step, after I make and buy everything, is to wrap them and have them ready to go by October! Hey! Does anyone want to shop with a one month old and a 21 month old? Not me. And frankly, I don't want that burden when my body is trying to heal and I am trying to get on a schedule thats best for my babies. Remember my previous blog? Schedule, schedule, schedule and work around my kids moods. I don't want to NEED to Christmas shop and then can't because of a kid configuring problem.

I also plan on making a bunch of freezer crock pot meals and stocking up at least 2 months worth so that I don't have to worry about dinner with 2 kids under the age of 2. Unfortunately, right now we are on a "mission to clean out the freezer". I say unfortunately because I am getting pretty creative on meals for us that include something from the freezer that isn't fine dining, but it feeds us. :) So in theory, I hope to have two months worth of meals prepared starting in October, have all Christmas presents made, bought and wrapped by October and have the nursery complete by middle of October!

I have a lot to do, but I am excited about all of it. Tales from what its like working with a doula who is going to mentally prepare me for an all natural childbirth to come. Progress on all my planning ahead will certainly continue to be a topic. Pictures of the nursery and the big boy room to come and a birth story for everyone's pleasure will be next. So stay tuned...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kids and Marriage

I don't know if I was the only one to be shocked how things change once you have kids. All I know is that I had this impression that being married was awesome (which it is), we got along great, so throw some kids in the mix and its the same with extra little people running around. WRONG! Let me start by giving some insight into my marriage.

I have a wonderful marriage. I am married to an amazing man that supports my dreams, that would do anything and wants to do anything for me, and is just as passionate about us as I am. Obviously, when we first got married, we had some arguments on money, how to save/spend and whose stuff goes and whose stays. I am sure you all had these arguments. Once we figured out where we stood, we combined our methods and things worked out. Now, 3 1/2 years later, all that seems to be working out. We are on the same page and agree on almost everything. We were living near Austin the first 2 years of our marriage and we had a blast. We would go see movies anytime we wanted, go on dates every Friday night...yes, my amazing husband, got dressed up with me and we went out every Friday night...we spent extra money on things we wanted to, and we had no real worries.

Then fast foward a year or so, we moved to Dallas. We were 7 months pregnant at the time and our world was about to change! This little bundle of joy, born on Valentine's day 2011, came into our lives and all of the sudden things were different. Most for great reasons, some not so great. For one, the stay at home gig kind of kicked in and I felt like he got to get away from the screaming baby and I was stuck with the screaming baby (he didn't really scream that often). He came home and still needed to decompress before getting into "daddy duties" and I was ready for a break. Add all those miscommunication, misunderstandings up and then throw in the fact that we were living with his parents. We didn't exactly want to fight because we were opposed to that in front of our son and his parents, but we weren't jiving like before. Feelings got pushed down, hurt got swirled around, and my new mommy emotions were off the chart crazy. So lets just the record...most, not all, but most of the problems came from me being nutty. Then we move out and we get into our brand new built home. Its beautiful, we have our own room where we can actually fit things, we have our own bed back and we got our life back. One problem, we had been living in a very different life that we no longer knew how to jive as well anymore. Don't get me wrong, we still laughed, we still were madly in love with each other, we just didn't know how to show it or tell each other how we were feeling as easily as before simply because WE, were no longer the priority; our son was. We no longer took the time to express our concerns because we had no time. When were we going to? In the middle of the night when we had 2 hours before his next feeding? Once he got home from working a new job where he was getting his own practice on its feet, he was ready to just sit still for a minute. He didn't want to hear how I felt abandoned all day or whatever was going through my crazy head then. Then once we had dinner and chilled for an hour or so, it was time to get the baby down. Then we had 2 hours to ourselves before bed and another feeding and I really didn't want to ruin that by arguing and neither did he, so naturally, feelings got shoved down.

Fast forward another year, here we are. We have successfully gotten back on track. It didn't take this long, no, it only took a couple weeks (LONG weeks ;) ), but things are amazing again. This is what changes though: what was once your priority (your husband) is now your baby (especially at such a young age), what was once a "free" life is now consumed by a baby's schedule, and you are left with almost a disconnect with your husband because you don't really have time to stay connected as much. We would still go out, but those converstaions were filled with the baby and work. Who were we now that we were parents? What changed within us? Did we know? We should have and then we should have talked about it...which we eventually did. Everything changes. As stated before, most is amazing and great, but you change and your husband changes. Though both of those are good in and of themselves, if you are not communicating how you have changed to the other, than how are we supposed to know? We were going about life as if we were our "single" selves, but needed to talk about how our "parent" selves had taken over and we were different people.

This is what I have learned so far:

That my husband really is and needs to be the priority. Our kids are important and they NEED us, but we are not giving them the best life they can have (which is what every parent wants) if we are not taking care of our marriage. My kids come second. Yes there are moments when our kids need us immediately, or are hungry and need to be fed, are hurt or need attention, and my kids get all this as it comes up. But my husband gets the rest of my time and is more important in the end. If we work out, our kids emotional and mental ways of looking at marriage and being parents one day will be healthy.

We need date nights. My kid can survive one night without me. I did not think this was possible the first 6 months, but they can. And when we are out, we try not to talk about work or the kids. Thats for dinner times at home.

We need vacation alone. My kids can survive a week with grandma after about 6 months and be just fine. I was not so sure of that the first trip we went away. Our son was 11 months old and we left for 10 days. I was a nervous wreck until I saw the beaches of Jamaica and looked at the person standing next to me whom I missed, my best friend, my husband.

My husband needs attention too. I may not be able to give it to him as soon as he walks in the door if our kid is still awake, but as soon as he goes to bed, my husband gets my attention.

We eat dinner as many times as possible a week together, with no electronics on. This gives us time to reconnect.

We need to still do things that we think our fun. You are never too old to go to a concert. I say that, and then the last rock concert we went to, we decided we needed ear plugs at the next one. You are never too old to stand in line for a popular movie that just came out. And the kids can stay with Grandma or a babysitter can come over and everything will be ok. Like I said, my husband is my priority.

I embraced being a stay at home mom. I took pride in it and started remembering that this is what I wanted. I remembered that this is a blessing not a curse and I looked at the positive sides of it. This does not mean that my son and I don't have bad days, but it does mean, that during those bad days, I remember that I would rather be here than at work. I took pride in my home and taking care of my family. Now, my husband leaving his socks everywhere is not that big of a deal, because I enjoy taking care of him and picking up my house. Before, I was going crazy because I figured he thought I was his maid. I am a huge fan of I Love Lucy and the 50's. I know we don't live a TV show life, especially from the 1950's, but I want to and I remember that Lucy Ricardo and Laura Petrie didn't complain. They were loving, caring, giving wives and I strive to be that too.

Respect him and he will cherish me. Just respect his opinion about the kids, the house even if you know your system works. I struggle with this. I try to remember that he is an equal parent and partner and his opinions need to matter because he is a priority and he needs to feel and be respected.

Recently I started reading a couple books to help things continue to grow. My marriage is great, but I am reading these books because I want to tend to my marriage and make sure that it continues to be great. So here are my suggestions on books that are excellent and doing a lot for me right now.

1. Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst. This book talks about how to be a Godly wife and make the most of your marriage. It describes what men need to feel secure and respected and how we can give them that. Its been amazing so far. There is another book that is for him called Capture Her Heart by the same author. I am loving this book so much that I asked my husband to read this one and his response was, "Sure!" That surprised me, but he said that the little things that I am doing for him as a result of my book has made an impact on him, so he is willing to read this book for me.

2. Babyproofing Your Marriage by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill and Julia Stone. I am only part way through this book but it gives great insight to being a parent and how life changes. It relates to me a lot, though I feel like I am blessed that my husband and I have such great understanding for each other and communication skills that we worked through a lot of this before it got too bad. Some of their situations are already bitter and resentful, but they give great advice.

3. My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn. I have not read this book yet, but its next in line. If you haven't read Proverbs 31, go read it. I strive to live up to the woman described in the Bible. I try to read it every day and I am constantly praying that God give me this kind of spirit and generosity for my family. I can't wait to start this book.

4. Men are Like Waffles Women are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. I have not read this book either, but its on my list. This book explains the difference between men and women. How we think, act and react to things. I don't know about you, but men are strange and they think we're strange. We could all benefit more to understand where are husbands are coming from before we react in a negative way. Truth is, most of the time, both husbands and wives have the best of intentions that are taken the wrong way because of how we are so different. I want to know my husband more. I want to know how he operates so I can assist in his actions and reactions instead of scolding them.

I have learned so much about me as a person since our son was born. I am strong, independent, efficient, smart, wise, a good mom and a good wife. I still have lots to learn though. I want a 50 year wedding anniversary. Thats our goal. I am constantly reminding myslef of Proverbs 31, remembering that my husband's opinions matter and remembering that he has needs too that I need to make sure I prioritize. In turn, all the things that I worried about and needed from him, fall into place. He cherishes me and wants to give me time to myself to be pampered or shop, he calls me and asks me if he can bring me anything on his way home from work (like chocolate cake), he offers to let me sleep in on weekends, he buys me cute, fun random things just because he is thinking about me. We do not have the perfect marriage and I am not a perfect mom. I work hard at being a wife and a mom (no one said it would always be easy), I learned what was important and how to prioritize, and as a result I am blessed beyond belief with a very healthy, happy marriage and a growing family that is excelling. I hope that anyone and everyone who reads this, can strive to have the same.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Happy Boy

We have a very happy boy. He is always smiling, and he is only unhappy when he is hungry and we are not feeding him fast enough. Or, he is tired and we are in a situation where his bed isn't readily available. The rest of the time, he is adaptable to almost all events we go to; he tags along like a pro when we run errands; he is patient; and he is agreeable. How do we keep him so easy going? Well it started at the beginning.

I put him on a schedule at about 6 weeks, and I was very strict about making sure he was always comfortable. It wasn't always easy for mommy and daddy, and it sure was inconvenient to us sometimes. It made him comfortable and happy, and during those first few months that was super important. I did, however, try to take him out as much as possible. I got him used to grocery shopping and running errands, so that it would become a familiar thing for him. Then once he knew his schedule and things ran pretty smoothly around here, we could adapt small changes here and there, and he would just go with the flow. I worked first and foremost with his schedule, and in turn, he worked with ours. If we could keep him happy and let him nap or get the rest he needed before we went out and about, then he worked with us. We took him to movies, on our dinner dates, and so forth. With those events, we usually timed his nap well. We would cater to him all morning, give him lunch, then go to a movie and he would sleep through the whole thing. I would put him in my Moby and he was snug and happy. (Moby is a wrap to hold your baby to you.

Then around 6 months, his schedule changed again. He started sleeping in his own bed. (Prior to this he was in a sling rocker thing next to our bed.  And remember, we were still living with my husband's parents.) He took two naps a day and was on a pretty regular feeding schedule. He was no longer breast feeding because we had issues with latching. More on our birth story and breast feeding in a different post. So, he was eating solids and drinking formula from a bottle before every nap and bedtime. At around a year, he went down to one nap a day. So here we are nap, bedtime around 7-7:30, no more bottles...and here are my personal rules to keeping a happy boy while I still enjoy getting out and about.

1. I only take him out after he naps and/or eats. His naps vary. Sometimes, he's not tired until the afternoon. Sometimes, he's tired by 10a. So its a toss up as to when he naps. Now, if we are doing something fun that morning, then he is interested enough to stay awake until the afternoon. If he is awake and things are going great that morning, we go grocery shopping. If we are having a bad morning where he is just cranky, then we don't go until either after he eats lunch or after he naps. Keep in mind we play it all by ear, but I read his moods and in turn, he works with me.

2. I always have a snack in the baby bag. Even if he has just eaten lunch, I have a "treat" for him, if he gets fussy. This is probably not the best idea for many reasons. For one, some parents would say I am teaching him to eat while he shops. One might say, I am teaching him, if he gets fussy, he gets a reward. This works for me. So let me say this...if he is antsy, but still being sweet and smiling here and there, then I give him the cookie or whatever. If he is flat out being demanding, disagreeable and so forth, then he gets a "no sir", I talk to him about his behavior and we move on. If it doesn't improve, we leave. Which leads me to #3.

3. If he's being a brat, we leave. There is nothing that is more important than me and my child communicating well and being on the same page. If we are not on the same page, these errands can wait. We will go to the car and talk. If he screams at me there, we go home. If he calms down and listens, we try again.

4. I always treat my 17 month old (almost 18 month old) like he can understand me. I do not pretend anymore that this sweet little dumpling does not understand the things I am saying when he is upset. If he can understand me when he is happy, then he can understand me when he is not. We talk about why we are at the grocery store, why we need food, why we need to know math to get the best deals, etc. I also let him know I understand him. If he's upset, I let him know I get it. I tell him I know he's upset and I try to engage him as to why. "Are you hungry?" "Would you rather be playing?" Then I let him know, that I will give him a snack when we get home (remember, if he is being disagreeable, he doesn't get that "treat" in my bag) or we will play blocks (his favorite) when we get home. Or if its a lost cause, I say "Ok, I get it. Lets go home and we'll do this later." Next time we go, he is a champ because I listened to my toddler and how he felt, even if he can't talk yet. It may be that he really only understands my tone of voice and body language. But, by talking to him as if he understands all the words, we're communicating.

5. Apps. Oh the fun of an iPhone. I swear, my kid knows my phone better than me. Fisher Price has some great apps. They are free, and they don't go dormant. If he hasn't touched it in a minute or two, then the app will talk to him to try to reengage him. Brilliant! He loves them and there are like 7-8 different ones ranging from songs, to counting to animal sounds. He only gets to play with the iPhone when we are out. At home and in the car, it's mommy's phone and he has to ask permission to use it. My phone does NOT belong to him and I try to teach him that daily.

6. Lastly, we have "off" days. If the week or weekend was hectic, then we always have an "off" day. At least once or twice a week, we stay home. We don't go anywhere. I let him nap when he wants to, twice even sometimes. I let him eat or snack when he wants to and we play whatever he wants to. I try to reward him for his awesome behavior while he was being dragged around all weekend doing mommy and daddy stuff, by letting him just have a day to make all the decisions (in moderation) and feel important. Then the next day, we go out again, sometimes to run errands and sometimes to go do something fun. We do swim a lot, go to the library, go eat with daddy at work, etc.

The main point to this blog, is that I had to make some mistakes and struggle to figure out how to have a life, get things done and have a happy kid all at once. I don't always succeed, hence #3, we leave. I will say this, I have only walked out of a store once. I believe this is is because the other rules work well and my son and I communicate well. I try to read my kiddo too. I don't make him do things because I want to, I ask my child to help me find the colors at the grocery store and look for animals on packages while I get my things done. Now, when it comes to him going to bed on time, yes, he does what I say, because it's what's best for him. Parents, I think, have to find a fine line between making their kid do something because they know whats best and working with their kid to adapt to running errands and doing things that don't have to be done at that minute, but can be done.

I am not saying that I have it all figured out. Please understand that we are learning from each other daily. What interests him today may not tomorrow. I am always having to find new ways to adapt to him so that he can adapt to me and my lifestyle. I am able to go have lunch with friends and go to the mall, all with a happy, agreeable baby. Then, we go do something fun for him, like the park. Lastly, as rule #6 says, we then have an off day. All this combined makes for a great kid who is so wonderful. I hope that baby #2 will be just as easy going because we try to tune into her. Until next time...

This was our little one at 7 months. Our pumpkin.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Loving it

So as promised, I told you that I would start talking about being a stay at home mom more. Not that dealing with sick dogs and babies doesn't qualify, but its time to move on to other things. Incidentally, we all caught the cold this week from our son. And he has an ear infection. But we are all healing and dealing with it. I have to admit that staying home and taking care of him is so rewarding. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Anyway, when we first moved here and I had just quit my job, we were living with his parents while we built our house. So being a stay at home mom really didn't sink in until we moved out and were finally on our own. Our son was 6 months old then and I had to figure out how to take care of this baby and a house and all that comes with that pretty quickly. After the unpacking, I started thinking how can I make this fun? I certainly didn't want to get swallowed up by daily chores and daily baby needs that I lost myself or my sense of identity. I mean, if I surrendered to every mess, every piece of item left out of place, every little re-organizing task and projects around the house, I would be consumed by this house. I would definitely be lost and feeling like I want to be at work and then feeling guilt by that for not wanting to be home with my kid. I am sure many of you moms out there struggle with this concept. Some woman working feel bad they aren't at home or can't be at home and women at home feel like "I wish I was still working at a job I was really good at" and then feeling guilty that we are not just over joyed to be here with the little ones. I know some women have a much better grasp on this than me, but for me, I didn't want to feel guilty. So I decided to treat this stay at home job as a job. At least the house chores part of it. So this how I have managed to love what I do and not feel like I should be anywhere else.

Laundry gets done and put away (every week I try to do all sheets and bedding as well)



Clean bathrooms

Deep clean kitchen
During the summer, our dogs shed a lot, so I vaccuum again

Daily chores:
Load and/or unload the dishwasher with the dishes from the night before
Make beds
Keep kitchen and living room picked up
Pick up around office, bedrooms, just the house in general

Thats it. Every two weeks, I do extra's that I see is needed. I mop every couple weeks. My HUGE pet peeve is sticky (yes I know I have kids and I can't help the sticky) but the reason I only need to mop every couple weeks, is because I am constantly on my hands and knees cleaning up dropped food, spills, splatters and any sticky spot I see daily. I clean our white stone fire place every couple weeks because my little 17 month old loves to walk on it and so it gets dirty...and its white! Why didn't I think more about that when I was choosing colors?

As for errands, those are done on an as needed, hows the kid today basis. If we are having an off day, then the grocery store can wait. I NEVER subject my kid to errands if he is not happy. I only do errands after breakfast or lunch, when he is well fed, well rested and happy. Believe me, if you take this approach, you will never be THAT mom who is in the store with a screaming baby. We try to do errands a couple days a week. More on my baby rules and how I manage to have a happy baby nearly 24/7 in the next blog.

I do have my house rules for me.
1. I stop working when my husband gets home, or if he gets home early, I stop working after dinner. I usually start dinner while my son eats his dinner and we eat after he goes to bed or while he plays in the living room. So, we rinse our dishes from dinner and the pots and pans and leave them. I know for some people, this is unthinkable, but I can deal with dishes in my sink over night mainly because I feel like quality time with my family is more important than the dishes when I know I can get to them first thing the next morning. And it HAS to be first thing or it does drive me crazy.

2. No chores after our son goes to bed. I do pick up toys in our living room but thats just so we don't trip as we are walking through at night.

3. No chores on weekends, with the exception of dishes since I do love to cook. Here's the thing: laundry piles up, dust collects, dog's shed, clothes aren't put away, my husband is notorious for leaving socks and shoes everywhere, and this, plus many other things, can and WILL get dealt with on Monday. The weekend, I am off. Just like with my old job (I worked 4-10's, meaning I would work 7a-6p Mon-Thurs when I did work) I quit when its quitting time and I start the next morning when its go time.

4. I clean and do each chore usually when my son goes down for his nap. He helps me with laundry and making the beds sometimes, but everything else, when he sleeps, I clean. When he is awake, he has my full attention. Which is why, when he eats, the kitchen gets picked up and dinners and lunches get made.

By doing this and making a schedule for me, I have been able to not feel like I work a job that is ongoing 24/7. I mean, I already have a little boy who needs me from about 7:30a-7:30p and right there, thats a 12 hour day. It may not always be difficult since he is so happy and such an amazing kid, but we do have off days, where he's not happy with just doing this or that, so I have to get creative and find new things for him to do. When we have days like that, 12 hours seems like 100 hours and I am ready for bed at 8. :) So by allowing my house chores and duties to stop at 7p and on weekends, I can relax knowing that my house is always well taken care of, just in due time. In the meantime, I spend time with my son out and about doing fun things and spend quality time with my husband after our little pumpkin is tucked away at night. Everyone in the house is taken care of, has time for them and I have time for me once the chores are done and he's taking an extra long nap.

On weekends, it gives me a chance to let daddy and son bond while I got get a pedicure or a massage or, hey just go in the other room and watch food network or blog without a cute little kid trying to type with me or change my channel to Mickey Mouse. And the best part, is I never feel guilty that I should be cleaning or doing something productive because I know I already planned to get everything done...starting Monday.

I close this entry by saying that I love where I am today. I love everything about staying home and I love my house (my messy on weekends, but really clean during the week house). I am not a perfectionist and I am no Martha Stewart, but I am a mom who wants and needs a clean house in moderation. I am a full time, fully committed mom when my son is awake and as a result, our son is happy, adapts well to things and is overall very well adjusted. I take pride in this because I feel like I try really hard to give him attention and independence at our own pace and he doesn't just get independence because I'm doing a chore, its because I let him go off and explore and discover and play by himself while I watch from a far. I hope that for any moms out there who feel overwhelmed, can learn to take each chore and each day, one chore and day at a time. Learn to relax, really take time for yourself because you have enough going on and you are already stretched way too thin. So regroup and enjoy the long naps by reading a book for you and enjoy weekends by actually taking them off and doing something fun.

**Quick side note: I will be having another baby in November. And these two kids may not nap at the same time. So for now, take everything I wrote into consideration that I have one kid...who still naps. As I learn how to adjust with kid #2, I will update my methods and schedule!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I am aware of the fact that it has been awhile since I have written. At least longer than I wanted it to go. Its funny how my last blog entry talked about all the daily stresses in our life and yet here I am again with more. Its crazy, but it seems that life just keeps piling it on. My son finally got rid of his virus that was causing spots just to catch a cold this weekend.

A note on how he caught that...we went to the lake this weekend and stayed at my husbands parents lake house where we invited some friends. Some new and some old. We had a great time, but one of my husbands long time friends brought his wife and 2 kids, ages 4 and 1. I guess once they got out there they started sneezing and coughing and getting sick. I totally understand that parents can't control when their children get sick, but they can control how they let them interact with other kids. My kid was playing with them and I had him wash his hands alot but on Sunday, he was playing with the 4 year old while his mom was feeding the 1 year old and the kid started coughing in my kids face. I asked politely if he could cover his mouth when he coughed, but he continued to cough without doing so. Mom knew what was going on, because she was only a few feet away, but she didn't say anything. My son had a runny nose yesterday and woke up with a fever today. But seriously, if my kid were getting sick, I would tell the other mom, I would try to keep my kid from making contact with the other kids and I would disinfect everything because I would feel bad if my kid passed it along. But I digress...

Then our stupid lab got hurt again! She already had stitches for a gash she got outside that were removed a month ago. Then Sunday night, she was outside, playing fetch and came in with another gash. We have no idea how that happened! We were watching the whole time and yet again, she got another tear. We took her to the vet yesterday and she had to get stitches again. And this time the tear is on her hind leg, so the poor thing has to wear a cone. Its really sad but kind of funny to watch her try to maneuver around our house. She bumps everything and she was already a clumsy dog to start.

But, aside from all the hard things in life, we still get blessings and they are everywhere. I am now 25 weeks along in this pregnancy and loving every minute. She is so active and kicks all the time. My husband was able to take off today when he found out our son was sick and stayed home to be with him all day. What a sweet and doting husband! It also gave me time today to go and find things for our little girls room. I found a beautiful bird that has the perfect colors to match her room theme and I finialized the bedding today online and will be ordering it soon too. I also decided on doing chevron on one wall of yellow and blue, while the rest of the room will be yellow. I will have accents of pink throughout the room. After all she is a girl! I promise pictures once things start going up. And once we finalize our sons room, I will post pics as well.

I will say that even though we have things that happen to us that get in the way of a smooth life, I continue to see how blessed we really are. Our baby is healthy, our son is still in high spirits even though he is sick, I have a husband who wants to be involved at home and be here for me and we have a beautiful home that I am proud to say I decorated and custom designed! I do try to keep it clean on a daily basis but then there are sick days where I can't seem to get anything done because I have this cute kid hanging on me. There is nothing that can't wait when you have something that adorable that wants you. The way I look at it, is someday he will be in college and he won't want a hug when he is sick, so the laundry can wait, the beds can get made tomorrow, the vaccuuming can get done another day.

So to everyone reading this, I promise I will talk more about being a stay at home mom and tips and tricks I have discovered. For now though, I have a cone head dog that needs attention, a sick son who needs loving and a husband who needs some thanking since he did stay home to help today. Until next time...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daily Stress

Its funny how life is full of daily stresses. It seems we have had our fair share of them the last few weeks too. My husband and I have managed to stay on top of it though and get through it together as a team. We like to refer to ourselves as "Team Ray". Team Ray has certainly been challeneged with our lab having to get stitches, our son got diagnosed with erythema multiform, our house got invaded by ants, our german shepherd had a hip issue and then we had a car not start yesterday morning. All in all, we have managed to deal with what's been given us and taken it all with a grain of salt. Sort of...everything except our kid getting this virus. Its really not that big of deal...let me explain...

He woke up one morning with a couple bumps on his knees. They looked like little bug bites or mosquito bites all clustered together. They didn't seem to bother him though. He didn't touch them or notice them. Then as the day wore on, I started noticing those bumps showing up on his ankles and arms, then wrists. So I called the Dr. They said it sounded like an allergic reaction and just to watch him, make sure his breathing was consistant and so forth. Then after lunch, I was on my way home and he started getting fussy in the back seat. It was nap time, so no big deal. Then he started crying more and I thought, he's just tired. But when I got home and went in the backseat to get him, his face had these bumps all over him. I freaked out, called the dr on my way to the dr and they said to stop and get some benadryl, which I did and as soon as he took it, he looked better and he passed out. On to the Dr I went and when I got there they said it sounded like erythema multiform and it was a virus that was not contageous but caused bumps on him. There is also no medication to treat it except the benadryl to make the bumps go away and tylenol if he got a fever as a result. They said it could last up to a week. We were at a week as of yesterday and he only gets a couple bumps here and there and they usually go away on there own. All is good now in the Ray household. So to all the mommy's out there whose kid has been or gets diagnosed with this virus, its worse than it sounds and it will go away...eventually.

Anyway, aside from these stresses alot of fun things are happening in this house too! We are getting ready to start working on the nursery once we get the odds and ends and the bed out! And I have a TON of ideas...all of course, thanks to Pinterest. I absolutely cannot wait to get started. Then we are moving our son to a big boy bed, hopefully this weekend, and then doing some new things in his room. I want to make it a little boys room instead of a baby's room. I am both sad and excited all at once. My little dude is growing up, and I am so proud of him, but I still love his baby room and am a little sad we are transitioning. So first things first, getting the rocking chair and table out of his room.  I think I am going to move two cute little rocking chairs in his room and put them next to some bookshelves which I am going to put on the wall so he can have a reading nook! Pictures will come soon. As for baby #2's room, I think the theme is going to be love birds. So I am going to make some felt birds to make a mobile and frame some birds in shadow boxes to match her color scheme! Lots and lots of pictures to come. Of course there will be some trial and error too I am sure, but I will learn how to sew those felt love birds if its the last thing I do...and it very well might be. I might be able to cook, decorate, organize and be efficient...but sewing is not something I am good at.

I will post pictures as I complete these tasks, but on my end note, I wanted to share a recipe that I discovered and I am so excited about. I cannot eat cream cheese because it makes my stomach hurt for whatever reason, but cheesecake is my absolute most favorite dessert. So I found a recipe that does not use cream cheese but greek yogurt. I modified it some and wish to share.

Greek yogurt Cheesecake

1 16 oz container of greek yogurt (I used organic)
1 package of jell-o cheesecake flavor
3/4 cup of milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
5-6 graham crackers

Crush the graham crackers in a zip lock bag, pour the melted butter in and mix well. Then press them into 12 cupcake liners or a pie dish. Set aside. Then mix the yogurt and cheesecake mix together until incorporated well, then add the milk. Pour into the cupcake liners or the pie dish and let it set up in the fridge for a couple of hours. I topped mine with strawberries, but you could use any fruit you wanted or eat it plain! It was delicious and so simple! I hope everyone who tries it enjoys it.

And on a side note to show how incredibly blessed our family is, the lab's stitches were removed and she is fine, the ants were taken care of and were only here for a few days and have been gone for over a week now, our son is just fine, our german shepherd went to the vet, got some medicine and pills and is walking a lot better now, and the car that wouldn't start just had a battery issue, nothing else. Thank you Lord for taking care of this family even if the stress seems to be too much at times. Until next time...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I am here

We all look for hobbies and things to do to occupy our time and fill some of the spare time we have. For me, I decided that it might be fun to blog. Why not, I mean I have lots of things to say, just ask my family. Some things I say have great wisdom and value behind it, some things I say are quite funny and then there are the things that I say that mean absolutely nothing, but hey, I have always been a talker and a thinker. So I decided to talk and get whats on my mind out here on a blog.

Some background information: I am a west Texas born and raised girl. I grew up there, went to college there and met my wonderful husband of 3 years now there. I graduated with a criminal justice degree and became a probation officer. I did that for 3 1/2 years until I became pregnant with our first child. My husband and I were both working in the panhandle and decided to apply for jobs in Georgetown, TX, near Austin. We both got the jobs and off we went into the unknown together to a new town, a new home and a new life. We loved everything about Georgetown. We built our first house, got pregnant there and really felt like we belonged. Then things changed for us again and we decided to head to the Dallas area where we would, once again, start over in a new life. I was 7 months pregnant when we moved. Yes, you read that right. 7 months! I did not go back to work after the move, since we always knew that I was going to stay home with our kids and he opened his own practice as a defense attorney. We built another home in Frisco, had a baby on Valentines day and started a new life here. So far, I cannot complain and I love my new job.

So lets start out and explain why this blog is called what it is: A Stay at Home Mom's Chronicle. I loved working. I loved that I graduated with a criminal justice degree and I loved being a probation officer (at times). I love the workforce in general and I loved having a caseload and being able to work with the people I did on a daily basis. There were times when it was hard and I didn't want to go to work, but no doubt I loved my job, I loved my coworkers and I did love my bosses. But I always wanted something more. Ever since I was a little girl, I thought about being a mommy more than I did about having a career. This was no ones fault or blame, its just how I felt. My mom did not raise me to be a homemaker nor did she push having a career. She worked all my childhood and I went to daycares and had babysitters, but for me, I wanted to be home with my kids. It was a hard decision to make at first. I mean I had only been in the work force for 3 1/2 years since graduating college. And think about husband and I want more than 2 kids, so by the time they are all in school, and I think about going back to work, I will have been out of the workforce for roughly 14 years! Do you know how many promotions, jobs and other accomplishments everyone else who started working the same age I did will have by then? Seriously? I will be 41! My goodness, ok moving on....thats really sad. But that reason alone was why it was a hard one to make. I made my choice a year and a half ago and I have not regretted it since. Now we have a beautiful 17 month old who is happy and healthy and I get to see his accomplishments every day, all day. I could not ask for a better job. And surprise! I am pregnant with baby #2! This time we are having a girl. Baby #2 is due November 12. So back to the title of this blog. I have learned lots of things about babies, housekeeping, cooking and so forth. And I want to share it.

My agenda for blogging is simply an outlet for me to be creative and get my thoughts off my chest. I spend all day with a little boy talking gibberish and my mind is full of mickey mouse, trucks, books and blocks and sometimes I just need an outlet. My goal through this blog, is also to share any tips and tricks that I find useful around the house and possibly share some recipes that I have come up with or revised to make them kid friendly and so forth. I hope anyone who reads this blog enjoys it and in case no one reads it, then I am just glad that I have put my thoughts out of my head for now so I can go back to thinking Mickey Mouse, trucks, books and blocks. :) I will state my disclaimer. I am no expert on kids, cooking or being a good manager of this house, but what I have learned may help some out there and may not work at all for others. I do not think that what I know is right or best, its simply one way of doing something that can be done many, many ways. Now that I feel that I have set the stage for my upcoming blogs, I will post soon and I hope that many find this entertaning and fun! Peace out until next time...