August 31, 2011

My Mom is a Blonde

Yesterday I came home and got straight down to business. I had bottles and nipples to wash, a dishwasher FULL of dishes to put away, the world's three largest sweet potatoes to roast so I could start making baby food, a load of laundry to get done, and floors to sweep!

Normally after work, I try to play with Evie until it's time for her to go down for her late evening nap (6p-7p). I save the householdy stuff to do during her nap, so I am not losing time that I could be spending with her.

Yesterday though, I had so much to do. I figured I would plop her down in her bouncer and chat with her while I moved around the house.

I rushed in, let the dogs out, gave Evie some quick kisses, stuck her in her bouncer and walked to the kitchen to run the water to wash her bottles for the day.

When I came back I found this:




She was all like, "Hey mom, I'm in here backwards! I think your blonde highlights are working too well! Perhaps you could turn me around now?"

Oops. Oh well, at least she was pretty stinkin' cute sitting there!

Linking up For:




Growing Up Gardner


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August 30, 2011

Homemade Baby Food


Yes. I will be making Evie's baby food at home instead of buying it from the store. We are doing this for several reasons:

1) I like to cook. I know pureeing veggies and fruits and meats isn't exactly gourmet, but let's remember the time that my husband's birthday dish from a very fancy restuarant was served with a "puree of edamame". I made sure to let him know that was basically baby food.

2) I like to know what Evie is eating. This was one of the main reasons I really wanted to breast feed. Since that didn't work out, I'm even more excited to make her baby food.

3) It't waaaaaay less expensive. I think the cost comparison is something like $350 for homemade to $1200 for store bought.

4) I can introduce her to spices like curry, cinnamon, cumin and garlic she might not encounter via Gerber.

5) Honestly, I think it sounds like fun!

I have three cookbooks full of baby food recipes. I have my strainer and my food processor.  I have the fresh baby oh so easy baby food storage trays and I'm looking for some more on craigslist or ebay. I am going to buy some 2 ounce reuseable containers for sending her food to day care and for taking it along.

I'm really excited!

Does anyone else out there have any other "must have" items for making/storing/travelling with homemade baby food! Or recipes that your little one loved?


What's the Happs?

It was a long long weekend y'all!

So long that I don't actually remember what we did Friday night... hrrrmmm... Mommy brain?

I do know that we had a girls night out ya'll on Saturday! We ventured to downtown Memphis for the Miss Gay Heart of America Pageant. It's a drag pageant. O --- M --- G! It was an experience for sure. Some of the stuff I was like, what are y'all doing? Some though, was amazing and took some true talent! One of the ladies (when in drag they are referred to in the female) seriously did ballet EN POINTE for her talent. Pretty amazing all in all. I didn't get any good pictures, though!

Sunday morning we all dragged our selves out of bed after oh, five hours of sleep or so for baby Leo's Baptism! It was so sweet! I'm so glad to be his Godmother! The reception after was wonderful, and the food was amazing because as usual, Libba's cooking never disappoints! :) I'll post pictures of Leo's Baptism later -- my MIL has them now! I can't wait to see them!

Here are some cuties I shot on Friday night and Sunday after the Baptism!




I love the one on the bottom! Seriously! It melts my heart! She has such a happy smile!

August 28, 2011

Practical Advice For Moms to Be

Ok I get it. All of us moms are pregnant for the first time once, and oh my goodness gracious -- the advice. So annoying, right?

Some of my least favorite advice...

Just suck on a lemon drop, it'll make that nausea go right away. Have you tried ginger, or ginger ale?

They are easier to take care of on the inside than on the out!

Sleep while you can!

Just sleep while the baby sleeps...

And about a million others. However, I did get some really good advice along the way, things I use that really help us out!

1) As soon as you are comfortable, start buying baby crap. We waited until I was 24 weeks and the baby was considered viable. Every time you visit Target, wal-mart, Kroger or Babies R Us, pick up something. Grab a package of pacifiers, a thing of diapers, some wipes, a thing of sippy cups or bibs etc. We did this, focusing mainly on the diapers. We bought diapers exactly twice when I was on maternity leave. That was hugely helpful. We still haven't even been through one thing of Dreft. We've probably got enough to last us until she is over a year old, and I am not joking.

2) Sign up for EVERYTHING. Seriously. Go to Gerber, Enfamil, Similac, Pampers, Huggies, Carters, Diapers.com and Amazon Mom and sign up for everything. Set up a separate email if you have to cause you are about to get BLOWN. UP. But it is worth it. They send you free stuff and coupons GALORE. It is so helpful because a lot of that stuff is expensive!

3) Don't go crazy buying toys or clothes until after your baby shower(s). You will get a ton of stuff. Until you are done with your baby shower(s) focus mainly on the essentials!

4) Double all of your meals that you can the month and a half before the baby is due. Freeze the un-eaten portion.

5) Get cleaning supplies just for the nursery. Stash them in the closet or somewhere handy. Why? Because babies pee and poop, like, a lot. Trust me, you'll be glad you've got those lysol wipes at the ready when that adorable little bundle has a the blow out to end all blow outs. Get some oust or some other air freshener and a thing of lysol to spray in the diaper pail. It just keeps things sanitary.

6) Don't buy a diaper Genie. I repeat. Don't. Buy. A. Diaper. Genie. My friend Libba passed this piece of invaluable advice on to me. They don't work. You end up with poo everywhere. (Supposedly). We went with the cheapest diaper pail out there. The Safety First Diaper Pail. It is amazing. It takes regular garbage bags, it completely contains the smell, and it has a place for an air freshener thing which I have heard you can stick the scented trees in there (we've never felt the need to deodorize so I don't know).

7) Don't have too many expectations. You don't know where this crazy ride is going to take you, but I promise, your experience will be unique and joyful!

This is seriously the best advice I got in the nine months I spent growing little Evie and I am so glad I listened to (most) of it.

August 26, 2011

Y3W: An Ordinary Life

{Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.}

I don't know who said this, but what is a fairytale really?

Growing up (and even now) I was a sucker for a happy ending. Some of my favorite movies are the likes of The Little Mermaid, Ever After and Beauty and the Beast.



I get it. I need to cultivate a more adult taste in films, but that's a post for another day.

What about after the Prince rescues his Princess from the inevitable terrible danger and they are married, after the music swells and the credits roll? What happens then?

In my life the Prince and Princess go on a fabulous honeymoon, and return home to laundry, lots and lots of laundry, and dishes and a house to try and keep clean (which is impossible because they somehow ended up with four dogs and two cats) and toilets and showers to scrub, floors to sweep and mop. Sigh.

And one day they have a baby girl. That girl is beautiful, but things didn't go the way the Princess (now the queen, I guess?) planned and she gets sad. But the Princess and her Prince love each other and so, like the dragon he slayed to save her, they battle until the sad is defeated.

Now they are happy again. Their days revolve around changing diapers, bibs and onesies, washing and making bottles, finding lost pacifiers and laughing like loons at all of the things their little princess does.

Maybe it sounds boring, and not quite like the glamorous Happily Ever After that I imagined for Ariel and Prince Eric as a child.

We do not go to balls in tuxedos and ball gowns. We spend most of our time at home in t-shirts and work out shorts with slobbery hands patting our faces.

We are living happily ever after, even if it's happily covered in spit-up and drool.

Who says an ordinary life can't be a fairytale? Mine sure is.



August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Evie Eats Everything

Toys! Yummy!



Mmmmm! Plastic!



Whatever... These orange things are delish!




Linking Up:

Growing Up Gardner


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August 23, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

I have without a doubt (in my mind) the most beautiful, perfect, sweet and adorable baby to ever grace this earth.

She is a living doll.

She is also quite chunky. Quite quite chunky.



And if one more person says to me, "Oh don't worry, she'll grow out of that and slim down!" I might actually let some sarcastic comment slip out instead of the gritted teeth smile I normally give, because I'm sorry, is there something to worry about?

Did you, (random passerby, person I've just met or cashier at the grocery) just imply that there is something less than perfect about my rosy cheeked adorable baby? If you did you might want to step back because I am about to go Mama Bear on the next person who implies my daughter is less than perfection.

On the flip side, my heart melts for the people who don't comment, other than to say I LOVE a chunky baby, or I love her little rolls, because I do too.

Her little sausage toes make a fantastic morning snack.

And, Evie, she's perfect.

Anyone else out there run into this sort of nonsense?

August 22, 2011

Dear Bird

Dear Evie,

You my darling bird are five months old today. How have five months gone so quickly by? It seems like fleeting moments of time since your Daddy and I brought our screaming, crying red faced baby home from the hospital. It feels like years since it took me at least five minutes to get out of bed when you woke in the middle of the night, and it feels like decades since you were sticking feet in my kindneys and punching my bladder with your tiny fists, and I was wishing you out!

You are getting bigger each day. You grow stronger and learn a new skill as soon as your father and I get used to the last "new" one you learned. You are almost crawling; you're so close you can taste it. Keep trying baby, you'll get there (and get that toy I keep dangling in front of you!). Your Daddy and I are so proud of you; we look at you at night in smug satisfaction of the perfection we created.

You are so loved little one. At this point, you can not begin to comprehend what it means to be so loved by so many, and not just family but friends and usually people we've just met who have fallen in love with you. Your smile could suck anyone in; in fact, you've just about charmed your Daddy out of his credit card already. Just between me and you, sweetie, the man is head over heels in love with his baby girl; he doesn't stand a chance.

Last night you had a little of a rough night. Daddy was trying to be sweet and went to sleep on the nursery floor so that if you fussed he could get to you fast and Mommy could get some sleep.* But one time you started fussing loudly enough that it woke momma before he could get to you. I rushed to your nursery and we tried to console you. Finally we deduced that you must have been hungry (duh) and we made you about 8 ounces of milk (which you sucked down super fast), you rested your little check on my chest and snoozed. I was so tired. I wanted to go to bed so badly, but the feel of your skin on my skin is like the best drug out there. I don't know how to explain it. But this morning only minutes after you turned five months old, we got to snuggle like I'd planned for 9 and a half months.

You see Evie, mommy was sick for awhile, and didn't get to do the things I planned on doing with you. My heart hurt and it kept me from really enjoying all of the little things that were so special in the beginning. So thank you for last night's snuggles baby, they might have come five months after I planned, but as you know, they were right on time.

Your smile is brighter than the sunshine and the stars baby girl. Your Daddy and I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Momma & Daddy

*This is proof positive that I married a wonderful man. I pray already that you too will find someone as kind and considerate as your father is.

August 19, 2011

Y3W: Cleaning This Gun

Last night on the way home, my husband informed me that he listens to Rodney Atkins' "Still Cleaning this Gun" about "five times a day."

Poor Evie her boyfriends don't stand a chance, because it won't be just Daddy sitting there. It'll be Daddy and Uncle Stephen and Uncle JJ (they've got it all planned out) and probably Grampa, Grampie and Uncle William too.

This little girl has no idea about the insanity that is the family she was born into!


Come on in boy, sit on down, and tell me about yourself. So you like my daughter do you now? Yeah we think she's something else. She's her daddy's girl, her momma's world. She deserves respect that’s what she'll get, now ain't it son? Y’all go out and have some fun. I'll see you when you get back, probably be up all night still cleanin' this gun.






August 18, 2011

Splish Splash

Last night we put Evie in the big bath tub for the first time. We thought she would really enjoy it. However, she looked at us like we were crazy and became immediately enamored with her bath buddies. She would NOT look at the camera for love or money.



Of course, Chris and I had to have a water fight with her toys... because basically two five year olds are raising this baby.



August 16, 2011

How to Bottle Feed Chicken Noodle Soup

Evie's got bronchitis. That is even less fun than NO fun. Zero fun, sir!

Chris was gone Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights on his annual guys outing to the lake. This was the last one before his good friend Nick gets married so they were all partyin' it up like it was 1999. I mean except for the million text messages I got asking for pictures of Evie. Ok, maybe not a million but, at least six.

Some of our pictures for Daddy (excuse the quality these are taken with the iPhone reverse camera):








Saturday Evie started coughing so bad she was throwing up. Once I just let her throw up in my hand because I knew I didn't have time to get to the sink and well, what're you gonna do when your kid is sick? She did it two more times on Sunday morning while we were waiting on Chris to get home. So, I decided to take her to the doctor because I have had bronchitis (the kind that lingers around forever) for two weeks now. We went to the doctor and sure enough bronchitis it was. I'm hoping this was a fluke and that this does not mean that Evie will be taking after her mommy! The doctor put her on a z-pack (did you know those things came in liquid form?) they won't put her on penicillan until she is 2 because I am so allergic to it and sent us on our merry way.

Here she is completely fascinated by the "other" baby in the mirror. Also, don't you think she looks like a little ginger haired baby here?



The nurses kept asking me, "What do you feed that baby?!?" I just keep responding with "Miracle Grow!" I also get asked all the time if my husband is a real big guy (I'm only 4'11"-ish). I mean, no not exactly, he is only 5'8" (ish). On the short side of normal. I don't know how we got this gigantor baby, but I sure do love her!

Evie had a little bit of a rough night after that. She didn't want to nap after the excitement of the doctor's office and Daddy coming home. All she wanted was to be held or be in her jumper. So it was a long afternoon because she just kept getting fussier and fussier. But all in all she was wonderful and very smiley and happy in between fussy bouts!

Now is a good time to note that I LOVE Evie's pediatrician's office. They have a clinic open 7 days a week and early morning hours AND evening hours. I can't tell you how happy I was to be able to take Evie to an actual Pediatrics East office on Sunday instead of the LeBonhuer walk in clinic on Winchester! Her doctor (and mine growing up) is Dr. William Fesmire (we call him Dr. Bill or Dr. Fes). He is so awesome! From the time Evie was released from NICU until now he has just been amazing. He is caring but also very practical! I'm so pleased that he is able to care for my baby! Anyway if you are in the Memphis area, that's my plug for Ped's East.

All in all it was a good weekend. It gave me a lot of confidence to be able to be alone with Evie for that long. I didn't even have a hint of anxiety!

August 12, 2011

Tribal Council

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. 
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.  ~Jane Howard

We spent most of  last Sunday down in Holly Springs with our "tribe". Chris went down to help Stephen put in a new toilet because one of theirs broke (let me tell you -- there are some fancy toilets out there with some INTERESTING features as we learned on Sunday). I followed about an hour later so I could let Evie finish her nap and eat her 1 pm bottle so she would be in a good mood. Libba and I hung out with the babies while the men did the "MAN WORK". Evie and Leo had a great time laughing at each other; we even caught them holding hands at one point. Don't get me wrong, clearly these two are meant to be together but c'mon Leo -- that is a little forward! After Gus woke up, Evie and Leo snoozed for a bit and Gus, Libba and I played blocks together. I promise you I could never get sick of playing simple games with this kid! He is so cute!

Afterwards, we all went to the Taylor's house for dinner. Philip was there, which is always a good time because he could make a brick wall laugh and kids LOVE him! Sarah made an amazing Sunday Supper of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, fried okra, tomato and cucumber salad, squash casserole, cornbread, butter beans and black forest pie. We all gathered around the table, Stephen said grace and we dug in. We had the best time, and it wasn't just the food but the comforting familiarity of it all. I love being around these people, our chosen family. A tradition of eating a Sunday supper of quintessential Southern cooking, laid out on a table built by one of our own, surrounded by some amazing folks: it is the reason I love where I live and where I am from.

The most special thing about Sunday night was that Libba and Stephen asked Chris and I to be Leo's God Parents!!! Of course, we said yes and are thrilled to play this important role in his life! I was so happy to be able to say that I kissed my sweet Godson goodbye on Sunday night!


In my role as Tribal Photographer (not really, I just made that up...) I took some pictures. Enjoy.

Family Around the Table


Gussy!


Philip doing something silly



Evie in Gus' old booster seat



FOOD!



Pie


Our God Son Robert Leo!




August 11, 2011

Gender Confusion.

This morning...

Random Lady: Oh, just look at those cheeks! So cute!

Me: Thanks we certainly think so.

Random Lady: HE is so adorable.

Me: (wan smile): Thanks...

Really lady? The pink dress, pink bib and pink pacifier were not enough to tip you off?

August 10, 2011

I hope you don't mind

Recently, Melissa at Dear Baby posted on why she blogs. She has a huge following that easily numbers in the thousands. Her post was partially about sponsorships and what she and her family gain from it. However, her main point was that the sponsorships don't matter, that her blog is more about remembering the journey she and her husband are on as they raise their two babies. I think she also handles the sponsorship aspect with a grace so many other bloggers lack.

Now I certainly don't have any sponsors, so this makes no money for me. I don't have a following (actually, not true, I have nine official followers -- woo hoo-- and at least a few other family members who I know check in regularly). I don't know that I even would want a larger following. I don't know how I would juggle the nasty comments that are sometimes hurled in the virtual faces of women like Melissa. I'd probably cry and then get out my thesaurus and write an excellently worded reply dripping with disdain and sarcasm; after all the pen is mightier than the sword, right?

All of this aside, her post got me thinking. Why do I do this? What does it matter?

There is no simple answer.

I like to write. It is the only creative outlet I have that I am actually good at. I draw excellent stick figures, crafting has never been my thing and I own three scrapbooks only one of which I made; the other two were gifts. College afforded me ample opportunity to write (and write and write). After reading a particularly engaging book, I still find myself composing papers in my head, crafting thesis statements, building arguments and sometimes even doing a little light internet research. (Nerd. On. Right?) This blog provides an outlet for that.

First, this was a blog born of a desire to chronicle our first time being pregnant. You only get to have that first time pregnancy experience once, all of the pain and the wonder of making a child, and every day is something new. I thought I would let it go by the wayside after Evie was born. However, I found I had family members and friends sending me emails and text messages asking when I was going to update. Then I thought, I made my pregnancy public for anyone and everyone to see, so why not our adventures in parenthood.  So I do it for that. A little labor of love for my family now and hopefully something special for Evie to read anytime she begins to doubt herself or just needs a reminder of how loved and special she is. A book of thoughts her mother tried to express in every hug, kiss and smile, but just wanted to put in words so she could one day see. Most importantly though, I want to remember all of this.

I want to remember how horrible I felt battling PPD. I want to remember how hard I had to fight to get out of that and to look back at how I felt and see how far Evie and I have come. I want to remember what it felt like the first time my child smiled at me and I felt joy instead of sadness and confusion, that was the day I finally felt like I could do this whole mom thing. I want to remember the hard times in case I have to deal with it again, so I can recall what it felt like on the day I finally beat it back, the cloud passed, the sun broke through and how that single moment made it all worth it.

I want to remember the love that is so palpable during our nighttime routine, the way it feels to stand with my husband's arms wrapped tight around me, while we watch this beautiful thing we somehow created sleep. I don't want to forget how I think my heart will overflow from happiness and then I see Chris and Evie laughing at each other and instead it simply stretches and makes room for all that joy. I want to remember how Evie's face breaks into a beautiful smile every morning when I wake her up and the way my stomach got butterflies the first (and only) time she sort-of laughed. I want to remember thinking almost every day that they had it wrong in Highschool and in college, that in fact THESE are the very best days of my life, full of life and happiness, love and laughter.

We've come so far. I want to remember our journey.

I hope you don't mind that I put down in words, how wonderful life is while you're in the world.

August 9, 2011

Translation: Love

I call you many things baby girl.

I call you Evie, Evie Bug, Buggie.

I call you chunky butt and angel face.

I call you munchkin wunchkin and my sweetums.

I call you happy baby, pretty girl, sugar bear and smart.

Out of all the things I call you, out of all the things that mean you, the best thing you translate to is Love.

August 4, 2011

Blech!

We are currently, along with the rest of the good ole U.S. of A., experiencing a record breaking heat wave. We are miserable but I can't help thinking about all of the homeless people and animals out there. It breaks my heart. At least we have A/C to get out of the heat, even if our house still gets up to 80 degrees, it is better than the 124 degree heat index outside.

So since I've been greeted by this sight almost daily when I get in my car to go home,

I've been picking Evie up from Daycare, and taking her home, wiping her down with a wipe to cool her off and then just letting her hang out in her diaper until nap time.

On top of the heat, Evie and I are both sick. Which, for me, means I've already progressed to a sinus infection and in the next few days, I'll hit bronchitis. Again. Second time since the beginning of June. For Evie this means that eating, sleeping and everything becomes a challenge because she can't breathe. This morning it was take a few sips of milk, take a breath, take a few sips of milk, take a breath and repeat. Plus, like all of us, I think she doesn't want to eat because it is so hot outside. It also means that I have to use the saline drops on her and the evil nose sucker thing (that's a technical term by the way). She hates the saline drops but I can't get anything out of her nose without them. This is pretty much the only time she really really cries anymore. It hurts my heart so bad to have to hold her down and do something that I know must be uncomfortable for her (otherwise why would she cry so much?) even though I know it is helping her! We have to have lots of snuggles and rocks and kisses afterwards. I now know what my mom meant when she said this hurts me more than it hurts you.

I've also been waiting until the sun goes down to cook. Otherwise I just get overheated in the kitchen.

This is a boring post I know, but really that's what we have been doing lately: coping with the oppressive heat and trying to get back healthy.