Friday, July 30, 2010

Independence

The TransAtlantic Blonde has started a new segment on Feminist Moms, and it really made me think about how I define myself. I am quite feminist, although you probably won't find me at a rally or anything. I do have very firm beliefs about women and equality, though.

This probably comes as a bit of a shock from a woman who got married right out of school (thus moving from the parents house to the sorority house to living with my husband), had a baby relatively quickly, and is now a stay at home mom. None of that sounds very "go women!", I realize this. The thing is, though, that it was all my choice. Nobody had any say in how I've wanted to live my life, and they know better than to think that they would (especially my husband!). That's just how I want to live my life. I think that's the basis of my "feministic" thoughts. Every woman deserves a choice and should live according to how SHE wants to live.

In saying all of that, I am extremely independent. Although I may depend primarily on my husband for finances, I'm still involved in every single decision that impacts our family. Sometimes, I'm even the primary decision holder. I have a fabulous husband who respects me and what I'm doing for our family and does not see me as someone who cooks the dinner, cleans the house, and cares for the child. Good thing, too, because I am no Suzy Homemmaker. In any way. Our marriage is absolutely a partnership.

 I was raised to always take care of myself and have done just that, even though I know that I have a husband   can depend on (and do). For example, it was extremely important to me to get an education. Although I may not "use" my degree (if you're one who defines using it as merely having a job, which I do not), I wanted that piece of paper for my own personal satisfaction. In fact, most everything I do is for my own personal achievement. It is in this regards that I consider myself a part of the feminist movement.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Continuing with the word theme...

Jeffrey said "mama" yesterday! LOVE!

He's been saying it for a few weeks, but it didn't mean anything and was usually just mamammamama. BUT, as I was changing his diaper yesterday, in the morning, he looked me square in the face and said "ma ma." It was perfect. He had this huge grin on his face and was so proud of himself. I melted right there. There was a few repeat performances later in the day, but they were never on cue. Of course.

Then, the morning, instead of the usual cries/whimpers that I hear when he lets us know that he's awake and ready to get to playin', I heard a clear and distinct "mama." That should definitely make getting up in the morning a bit easier!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Well, maybe one word. :)


No No No from imavera on Vimeo.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Let's Communicate

We knew that we wanted to do some sign language with Jeffrey ever since we saw how successful it was with helping my niece to talk. She's now 3.5 years old and doesn't STOP talking. Most people have no clue that she's only three since she's so advanced in her talking. Granted, she was one of those babies that focused on verbal skills more than motor skills, so she's opposite of Jeffrey in that sense. However, it was still awesome to be able to communicate with her and understand her wants/needs before she could verbalize them. There really is nothing cooler than that.

So, we've decided that it's time to really get started. We got a video from Netflix and have been learning some of the signs. We've chosen a few to start out with, and we'll gradually increase how many we are using on a daily basis. That way we don't get overwhelmed, and it helps US actually learn the signs. Since Jeffrey is already clapping and waving, we figure it won't be horribly long before he starts attempting some signs of his own!

The words we're starting out with:

  • Hi/Bye (which he knows already)
  • change (as in his diaper, clothes, etc)
  • milk
  • dog/Coco
  • no (one of this favorite since he shakes his head 'no' every time he hears the word)
  • bath
  • water
  • sleep
  • ball
  • eat
  • more
  • hot
I'm so excited to start being able to "talk" to my little man!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lions, Tigers, and Bears!

I guess Wicked is still in my mind ;)

Jony and I have been meaning to take the little squirt to the zoo for awhile now, especially since he had such a good time at the zoo in Chicago. That being almost two months ago, we thought for sure that he would enjoy it even more now. We were right. We finally had the push we needed last night to get out there by being invited by my sister and her in-laws. We were only there about an hour, but he had a great time surrounded by five little girls (four being under the age of four). There is a lot of estrogen in that family, haha! Jeffrey got tons of attention by being the only little boy. He had a blast in the aquarium- his favorite fish being the piranha. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that, but oh well. He rode the carousel for the first time ever and really enjoyed it. He was thoroughly confused why the beaver next to him kept moving up and down, but he had a big ol' grin on his face. He just needs to work on getting the wave a little faster; he kept doing it after we'd already passed Jony. Too cute. We even let him 'walk' around a little while holding our hands to explore where he wanted to go.

The best part of it all? We got ourselves a zoo membership, so we can go as much as we want at no additional costs! We're also invited to all the special little zoo activities that only members can go to (like Zoo Boo at Halloween!) I'm pretty excited about having an additional activity to take Jeffrey to whenever the mood strikes me. I even get a free guest! Jeffrey, being under the age of 2, is already free. We've got lots of fun adventures at the zoo coming up in the next year! As long as it stops raining so dang much.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I: Illness

This is a part of my ABCs of (my) Parenting series

My baby boy is a grump. He's easily upset and very prone to throwing a tantrum if things don't go as he sees that it needs to. Why? My baby is teething. While not necessarily an illness, we have been plagued by the Phoenix teething cold. We got rid of it after tooth #1 fully cam through and then- boom!- it came back to live with the upcoming arrival of tooth #2. The poor guy is miserable. We've got the elevated bed, humidifier, and our nose sucker on hand to help fight the fight (as well as our teething tablets and Tylenol), but it just doesn't seem to do enough. It can be so frustrating trying to keep him calm and happy now, but it's hard to get mad at the situation when you know that he just feels like crap.

We've been lucky that Jeffrey is a healthy little guy. Besides teething and the ickiness that he feels post-vaccinations, we've only had two cases of sickness. The first was when he was a week old and had the clogged tear duct. Then, he had a cold in January. We've gotten off pretty easy, which we are hoping is because both Jony and I don't get sick very often. I assume breastfeeding and not being in daycare has played into it as well.

It's a tough time to be a mommy of a sick baby- mostly because there is so little that you can do, and you just want them to feel better! The worst night was when Jeffrey wanted to sleep so badly, but he just couldn't breathe enough. He was so pitiful, and it hurt my heart. The only good thing is that he loves/needs to snuggle. At this point, I accept that any way I can get it.

I hope that we continue to be as lucky with avoiding illnesses and really really hope that we don't have 18 more teething colds to get through.

Monday, July 19, 2010

8 Months!

My little baby is slowly transitioning into being a toddler each and every day. There are moments where I look at him and just think, "you look so old!" It's been so much fun around here this last month. He's so funny and will do anything to get a laugh. It's almost creepy how much he is like his father; I see Jony in everything that Jeffrey does. He's starting to interact a whole lot more and showing affection, which I love! It's going to be hard for 8 months to top 7 (a, I bet if something sounding a bit like 'ma-ma' came out, it totally would)!

8 Month Stats:

  • he is now 17lbs! He's obviously started growing after being pretty stagnant for so long. By our inaccurate measurements, he's about 30 inches. 
  • his clothes are all over the place- he can wear some 3-6, mostly 6 month, and is now in some 6-9/9 month clothes. 
  • Naps are still doing really well. Nighttime still has room for improvement. He still goes down easy, but he wakes up quite a bit. Thankfully, they're easy wakes- just eats and passes back out. I'd still love to not have to do that, but oh well.I'm typically getting about 4 hour stretches. The major issue is that he doesn't go to bed until 1am sometimes. We're working on that.
  • Food is going amazingly. He's eating any and everything that we give to him. Of course, some still doesn't make it all the way into the stomach, but he tries. Some new foods he's been eating: yogurt, sausage, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, broccoli, pasta noodles, corn, squash, and parsnips. Probably more, but I can't think of anything else.
  • has one tooth and one about to pop through the gums! Bottom right one and the left one is a-coming.
  • standing unassisted for up to 30 seconds or so!
  • sits on his knees or squats in the middle of the floor to play
  • loves climbing through and under things (if you can't see him, he's under the table)
  • love to have conversations! We call it the "bah" game; he makes a sound and we mimic it. He gives you the most hilarious look if you don't do it right, too. This is pretty much constant.
  • wants to walk everywhere holding our hands. He's been able to do this for forever it seems like, but now he expects to do it
  • can flip light-switches on and off
  • is able to put the rings back on his ring stacker AND does them in the correct order about half the time
  • is able to put the circle piece back in his puzzle
  • playing with Coco, our dog, is his favorite pastime. Coco will bring him a toy, and he'll hold it and laugh while she tugs on it. I've probably fainted from the adorableness a million times.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm free!!!

As of Thursday, I am officially rid of the part time job. Yay! It was really starting to interfere with Jeffrey and my schedule as he gets older and wants to get out and do stuff, as well as just getting really annoying. I was a Circuit Trainer at a local Curves, and they shut down. I hadn't planned on working past the summer anyways, so that worked out pretty well for me. I'm so thrilled with all my newfound freedom.


  • freedom to do whatever I want/whenever I want during the week without the constraints of having to be back to make it to work on time
  • freedom to not have to pump (unless I'm going somewhere fun!)! This is a big one.
  • freedom from having my mom and MIL over all the time to babysit so that we feel bad to utilize them to go on dates.
  • freedom from hearing outdated and unsolicited advice from old ladies who are completely opposite of how I'm raising my child. This would definitely be the one that takes the cake!
I'm really getting 'busy' with my new gig at my church's nursery and will be working the majority of Sundays, so I'm not officially out of the working force. It's kind of the best of both worlds. Sort of. The paycheck is not something to smack in someone's face, haha.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Look, ma- no hands!

My "tiny little baby" can now stand unassisted. He's been attempting for a few weeks and had a few successes, but it would only be for a second or two. I don't really count that. Now, however, he can stand on his own for a fair amount of time before his knees give out on him. He does alright when you place him in a stand, but he's much better if he does it on his own after he's pulled himself up. It's insane to see him just standing there like a big boy. Every day, you can see a little more improvement on his balance. It scares me because I know that walking is just around the corner now. Eek!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wicked

Jony and I went to see the fabulous show last night and really enjoyed it. It was so great to get out- just the two of us. It was obvious how relaxed we both were. We just sat back and enjoyed the silence and the freedom from responsibility. I got all fancied up for the first time in forever- even wore high heels! It took me a bit to feel comfortable in them, as it's been well over a year (maybe even two) since I've worn any. It was also pretty great to wear a normal bra, although it was pointless and didn't fit me at all by the time we got home. Haha! All of that combined with it just being an amazing show equaled a fantastic night! Jeffrey did great with his grandparents, so we're excited to go out again, just the two of us, for our anniversary in a few weeks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Mother...

My mother has formed me into the mother that I have become. There is no way that I would be the same mom to Jeffrey if I didn't have her as my guide. It wasn't until I held Jeffrey in my arms that I truly understood all that she did for me, and I'm still learning as he gets older. As I continue to make choices for my little boy for what would be the best for us and our family, I find myself looking back to my childhood to help me decide. Some of our biggest decisions have stemmed from my (as well as Jony's) mother.

My mother is the reason that I am a SAHM.
My mom didn't stay at home. Well, she did until I was three, but I don't remember that. I was a pretty sickly kid (poster child for ear infections), and she wanted some time off of work. From whenever I could remember, my mom was a working mom. The thing is, though, that she wasn't just a normal working mom. She was one of the highest ranked women in her department at an oil company. That meant that she worked all.the.time. I distinctly remember multiple times where I wouldn't see my mom for over a week. She'd leave at around 4am and wouldn't get back until around midnight sometimes. I hated it. She missed a lot of stuff, and I know that she hated it, too. I don't hold a grudge about it- she worked so hard to provide us a great life; that was something she did because of HER mother. And she did. I had everything that I needed and most of what I wanted (couldn't make me spoiled!). I always wished that I had a relationship with her back then, though, and it is because of that I am staying at home. Jony's mother was a SAHM, and he loved everything about it. The decision was an easy one for us.


My mother is the reason that I had a natural birth.
I am the youngest of four with an age gap of 21 years between me and my brother. The difference is typical birthing experiences is dramatic. My mom was emotionally scarred from her first two births. Although they were both pretty quick (my birth story was an exact parallel of my mother's first birth), she was put under as soon as she got to the hospital. So, she doesn't have any memories of them. She just woke up and they handed her a baby that was apparently hers. When it came time for my sister and my deliveries almost 10 years later (there are 8 years between us due to secondary infertility), she demanded that it would be different. She was one of the first women to have the dad in the birthing room and she refused any medication.  She adores her memories of birthing us, and she passed that ideal onto me. Although an epidural is no where even close to being put to sleep, I wanted a similar experience that she had with me.


My mother is the reason that I am breastfeeding.
Being a mom in the "formula era" was not easy for someone who was breastfeeding. It was common with my older sister and my brother, but, by the time I was born, it was looked down upon. She still did it with no regrets and was my biggest supporter when I said that I wanted to breastfeed. I can see the pride in her eyes whenever she talks about her breastfeeding experience, and it was an inspiration to me.


My mother is the reason that I am currently a mother.
I always wanted to be a mom. Never a doubt about that. However, one of the reasons that we started so early (in comparison to the societal norm nowadays) is because we have older parents. I never got to know my grandparents as three had already passed away before I was born and my last grandmother passed away in high school. I didn't want that for Jeffrey, and I knew that my mom would be an amazing grandmother. So, we planned to start soon, and we did. No regrets, as I would have missed seeing my little man's eyes light up when he sees his mee-maw.

I only hope (although it makes me nervous) that I can be as great an influence on my children as my mother was to me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

H: Happiness

This is a part of my ABCs of (my) Parenting series.

Honestly, what else could the "H" stand for? Through all of the hard times, the exhausting nights, and the lack of me time, there is the fact that I have never been happier in my entire life. The struggles we have are minuscule and will only exist for a short time in the grand scheme of things- he won't be waking up 2-3x a night when he's 16. And even if he is, he won't need me to help get back to sleep. The happiness, though? That's forever. Nobody else can make me smile like the little guy can. Or have me look like a fool just to see that cheesy grin.

No matter what kind of a day we've had or what struggles we've been going through, I can look in those big, beautiful blue (yup, still blue!) eyes and see all the happiness that I could ever want.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Adventures in Teething

Now that we have spotted a tiny little tooth starting to "ease" it's way into my little man's smile, it's become apparent that life may have some tough times ahead. He's usually fine as long as he's distracted, but the poor guy had a major meltdown on the way from the baseball game the other night. You could just tell that it was bothering him- his hurt cry, gnawing on his hand/pacifier where the tooth is coming through, etc. I felt awful for him and cursed his tooth (as well as those that will follow in his footsteps). We use Hyland's teething tablets at night, and they work great. We used them last night for the first time in a good while, and he slept great (he did wake up twice, but that's not unusual). What about during the day, though? I don't want to just pump him with teething tablets constantly, even if they are "all natural." He's nursing a lot more (which I attribute to a growth spurt and comfort for teething since some are just pop on/pop off kinda feeds) and is extra clingy. I've considered a teething necklace, but I'm overwhelmed by the options. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carnival of Nursing in Public

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/


All this week,  nursingfreedom.org has been posting articles about supporting breastfeeding mothers- specifically, supporting breastfeeding mothers NIP. It's a great thing, and I support anything that exposes people to the idea and encourages it to be a normal thing. Nobody should ever be chastised for feeding their baby, no matter where they are. I have been incredibly lucky to not have any comments or negativity put towards me while I nursed Jeffrey out of the house. I'm not naive enough to think that people have thought stuff, and I've definitely been given the side eye a few times. I don't let it bother me, though, because, in my mind, I'm just helping out the next nursing mom. The more people are exposed to it, the more normal it will become. I would say that 90% of the time people don't even realize what I'm doing. I've gotten numerous comments about him being asleep!

I love being able to nurse Jeffrey whenever and wherever I am- it is, after all, supposed to be one of the perks of breastfeeding!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Toothless Wonder

He no longer exists :(

Today, the topic of a New Mom's group that I attend was about teething. We haven't been having any issues with it, so I figured it was still a ways off. For fun, though, I poked around in the little guy's mouth. Low and behold, there is a TOOTH coming out on the bottom. I've looked countless times before and not even so much felt anything, and yet there it was. It's pretty sharp and is practically all the way through the gums. Insanity.

I'm quite sad about it because I love his little gummy smile, and I'm afraid I'll forget what it looks like. Of course, I know that I have pictures and that it's a good thing in the long run for him to get some teeth, but it's just another one of those milestones that takes you farther away from that sweet little newborn stage.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I read a book

It feels great. It has been SO long since I actually read a real book (as opposed to ones about pregnancy, birth, or babies). It took me a few months, but I did it. I definitely used "going to the bathroom" as an excuse to get away and get through a chapter or two. Whatever works, right? It's worth noting that I have a degree in English- literature being my main focus. So, it's safe to say that reading and books are (used to be?) a big part of my life. I love everything about them, and I used to read non-stop. I felt like a little of my old self came back to me when I closed that book and took in the satisfaction that only comes with completing a great novel. I read "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. A great book that I highly recommend. Being a mom, it gave me a whole new perspective than it would have before Jeffrey was in the picture. It made me constantly question what I would do, given the situation that the mother is placed in. It's a horrible thing to think about, but some people have to. The tag line is "Can a parent love too much? Or is too much never enough?" Makes you think, doesn't it?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Fourth of July! We were a matchy-match family today, all in our Old Navy flag tees (in red, white, and blue- we're super cheesy). I was excited for Jeffrey's first Independence Day. I want it to be an important holiday for him and that he truly understands the reasoning behind it all. Not that it's just a day for fireworks. In order for him to be the productive member of society that I hope him to be- one that respects freedom for all and personal choice- it us up to Jony and I to instill how proud he should be of being an American. When he's older, I plan on having fun activities to reinforce those ideas and teaching him about what makes our country a great place to live.

For his first celebration, we headed to work in the church nursery (my new career, haha!) where he got to play with some other red/white/blue dressed children. A good nap and a baked cherry pie later, we headed off to celebrate with family. Dinner and dessert followed by FIREWORKS, of course! Jeffrey passed out right before we were going to start the fireworks; it was 9pm, after all. Still early for him, but it was a long eventful day. He slept for about 45 minutes (outside, with the fireworks going on right in front of him- he's a rock star) until a firecracker went wonky and woke him up. I'm glad it did because he had a fantastic time! He'd watch them go in the sky and just stare upwards. He loved them. He had this funny little blinking thing that he would do with every boom, but he wasn't afraid at all. He's our Mr. Fearless.

It was a great day and I'm hoping that, after such a long day with not a whole lot of napping, it will be a great night...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cabin Fever

This week, I have been home alone with the little guy ALL week. Except for a few hours on Thursday to go the monthly LLL meeting. The only day that I've thoroughly enjoyed? Thursday. Otherwise, we've both been suffering from a severe case of cabin fever.

I've said this so many times, but I have to get out of the house. Both Jeffrey and I have much better days for it. He's become a pretty good napper, but it's always easier if he's had an adventure beforehand. He's in a much better mood after he's had some opportunities to play with friends/see something new and exciting. He gets ridiculously bored with what we have going on at home. I do rotate his toys so that he has new stuff every week, but that typically will only get me through the end of the day on Monday. Once he's checked them all out again, he's ready to move on. This is definitely a trait that he has inherited from his dear old mother. I thrive on being busy- getting out and doing stuff. I'm not a homebody at all.

I had all these big plans of going to our neighborhood park, going on long walks, and even playing out in the baby pool in the backyard since we had no other activities planned (note: I'm horrible at just going somewhere just for the sake of going. I need to get better at that, I think). What happens? The first dang hurricane of the season. It's been raining all freaking week, and I'm over it. Darn you, Alex.

I've got an action packed Fourth of July weekend (side note: I CANNOT wait to take our family picture on Sunday. It should be adorable), so I'll be feeling a lot better after that. Plus, it's a 3 day for Jony! Yay! Now, I just need to work on building up the calendar for the next few weeks...