Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My boys! :-)

Noah's second Christmas came and went...a bit faster I feel than last year.  Quite possibly due to the fact that we stayed home this year and did not drive to the west side to visit my family for the holiday.  We made this choice obviously because my C-section was scheduled so close and I don't know how comfortable I'd be doing a three hour drive on Christmas day only to be in the car again the next day followed with a large dose of stress getting the house prepared.  I'm happy to report that as of tonight (only about 36 hours from my C-section) the house has been cleaned top to bottom, laundry is in the dryer, two freezer meals were made, groceries have been bought, Christmas decorations are down, a baby swing is in the corner, and I feel as ready as I can be.  Nerves are starting to set in...not really regarding the actual C-section but really just to hear that our baby is healthy.  Those are the words I look forward to the most on Wednesday morning when I will be lying on the operating table...also if it's a boy or a girl!

Sleep deprivation is obviously NOT something I look forward to especially since Noah is on a great sleep/nap schedule that I too have adjusted to.  Nick and I were just discussing today how we're going to juggle both kids next week and are both a bit nervous how more difficult this will be with Noah in the picture.  I think it will just be getting through those first 2-4 weeks that will be crucial for us to find a new routine...and this quite honestly may be my last post for that amount of time!  Finding time for myself will be even more rare and taking advantage of any amount of sleep will take a priority I'm sure.

Trying to get a cute shot with my son...good luck!
But back to the reason for this post...Christmas highlights!  Noah (at almost 20 months) was far from interested in opening any of his multitude of presents unfortunately.  It didn't matter how much excitement and attention we gave to the wrapped gifts, he was more interested in playing with his old toys.  Perhaps next year will be a little more eventful and Nick and I will open less of Noah's gifts :-) Here are some pictures to highlight our Christmas 2011.


Nick and I usually open gifts between us on Christmas Eve morning since Christmas Day is filled with visits from his parents and usually visiting mine.  Here is an attempt at getting Noah to open a gift...


 
The best Christmas picture we could get this year...keeping still and smiling are not things we can do at the same time yet!  His little outfit was too precious along with that crazy hair from nap time :-)  I love this guy!!!


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Christmas day gifts included lots of Elmo memorabilia! He thought the slippers were a little strange :-)



 
Nick decided to pose for the camera...since Noah was MIA after opening that uneventful gift :-) Yes, he's looking a little scary here and overenthusiastic


Wooden blocks from his great-grandmother were a hit!


 Long story short, it was a quiet Christmas but perhaps that is just what we needed considering the next few weeks and months will be far from that welcoming a newborn. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

10 More Days with my "Baby"

Only 10 more days for Noah and Mommy to have "just us" time...so we're making the most of it! As of late, I have to admit that my extra dose of being tired at 8 and a half months pregnant (and thanks for those occasional 5:30 a.m. wake up calls, Noah) this last month doesn't help that we've been watching Sesame Street episodes and Baby Einstein videos a bit above average...However, with the weather being cold, rainy, or snowy our options at home for entertainment have become a bit more limited.

Here are a few things we have been up to!

video
In this video, Noah recognizes different vehicles like "ambulance", "taxi", and "boat". I'm sorry...but I'm impressed! We love wooden puzzles lately :-)  His vocabulary is just beginning to expand on a daily basis which is so exciting to see.



The first snow came a few weeks ago...and I bundled up the little man for some time outdoors. Getting him dressed for the occasion took about 15 minutes...and actual time outside before I couldn't handle watching him slip on ice and snow any longer...10 minutes. But was still able to get a few adorable pics of his first outdoor snow adventure with snowpants!




Cookie making with his pal, Ray, was also a fun activity that Noah surprisingly enough was able to sit through.  I am thinking the lure of delicious frosting had something to do with that.  It really showed me that I need to start including him more in the kitchen helping me stir and measure/pour ingredients.  Pancakes may be our next project in the kitchen. 

Cookie making materials are out and we're ready to go!

Look at the concentration :-)


Delicately putting sprinkles on his cookie...followed by a well deserved licking of the fingers :-)

Enjoying the fruits of our labor!

Crafts have also been on the agenda this month. Wish I could say we do a craft every day...but let's be real. Noah is still definitely at the age where following multi-step directions or sitting contently at the table for long periods of time coloring are not on his radar.  We made these garden stepping stones as a Christmas gift for the grandparents (sorry if I ruined the surprise, Mom!)...wish I had more pictures to document that Noah did in fact help place the decorative stones on it, however, I attempted this project alone after breakfast one morning with him.  Since the project did not involve food...the attention span was a little more limited and rocks almost made it in the mouth! I picked up these kits @ JoAnn's and thought they turned out okay.  In hindsight I wouldn't have made the mix so runny...and placing Noah's hand flat was a task that took some coaxing and patience for both Noah and myself. However, it's a memory that I think the grandparents will appreciate.

 
Recently Noah has also become a little more "cuddly" after nap time and before bedtime.  His pacifier and blanket are with him at all times and he seems to call out "mama" a lot more frequently if I am not in the room.  Some may call this intuition that he knows another baby will be entering the picture soon...but I'm not sure I buy that. We do talk about the baby a lot and when I point to my stomach and ask "Noah, what is in here?" he answers, "baby"...even occasionally giving my tummy a kiss. However, I don't think he quite understands how different his world is about to become in a few short days. 

Without getting too emotional, I am also trying to wrap my head around how different my world will be in a few short days.  I was just mentioning to Nick how fast this time has gone with Noah as our only child...he won't be my little "baby" anymore but instead will be my oldest child.  Last year at this time he was crawling...now he runs, talks, and laughs. Next year he'll be holding conversations and getting ready for preschool.  It is very cliche, but time does move by way too quickly so keeping up with this blog to record all the cuddles, projects, ups and downs, activities, and memories I have with my children is so important to me. 

Finally, another thing Noah and I will be enjoying and savoring over the next 10 days ...nap time!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Home Stretch (pardon the pun)

I'm 35 weeks today...and officially in the home stretch until the December 28th C-section. I have been really, really bad at posting pics of what I look like along the way. With Noah, I think I took a picture of the baby bump every 4 weeks...with this one, well, let's just say I have taken pics here and there but not with any organization or purpose. Curse of the second born I guess. Here are a few to demonstrate that yes, I am in fact with child, in case my waddling, heartburn, and protruding belly doesn't give it away...

16 weeks
22 weeks


28 weeks

This entire pregnancy has been really fine for the most part. I'm definitely not one of those women that absolutely LOVE every single part of pregnancy...but I don't think I am in that minority that absolutely HATES each moment either. I'm kind of in the middle. First trimester was much better than with Noah (I was able to eat) and overall I have had pretty good energy throughout the second trimester and early third. But now, with four weeks left, I feel a dramatic shift has taken place and the mentality of "oh, my bump is so cute or I love feeling those kicks" has turned into what I like to refer to as nature's way of preparing you for birth. I am now officially in the "get this kid out of me" stage of pregnancy and dreaming about all of the things I am looking forward to as a non-pregnant mother of a toddler.  Here is my list:

1) If you know me, you knew this would be first...a glass of wine. Yes, indulging in a glass of wine on a quiet evening (what quiet evening you ask? when is this happening??) with no guilt as I watch Bravo or Lifetime is definitely something I look forward to with great anticipation....Pinot Grigio, chilled to perfection to be exact.

2) Putting those maternity clothes away. Yes, they are fantastically cute when you begin to show but get less and less cute when you view them on a daily basis and your wardrobe shrinks to only about 11% of what actually fits you. Wearing the same jeans every day with the stretch band over your middle...not cool after a while.

3) Peeing like a "normal" person. I haven't checked averages on Google, but I know enough about pregnancy to know that peeing constantly comes with the territory and that I am daily (and nightly) above the quota of visits to the bathroom...

4) Walking...not waddling.  I'm really not even that big (the baby is small and I have gained a little less than I did with Noah) but the waddling has started. Taking easy, long strides are no longer my way of getting around. Instead, it's a balance of shifting the weight in the front from side to side in a slow moving, huffing and puffing motion (especially if stairs are involved or long walks in a parking lot). Add a toddler to the mix and it truly is a miracle some days how I manage to get anywhere in a timely fashion...

5) Sleeping in more than two positions. You can easily take for granted all the things your body can do once you can't do them...and sleeping on my stomach is one of them. I am a "stomach sleeper" usually by nature...cuddling with a pillow wrapped around my arms. Resorting to just my side or even worse, on my back, can be pure torture some nights keeping me up...especially when baby decides it would be fun to kick me in the ribs or bladder.

6) Not worrying about every little thing I consume as much.  Pregnancy really does mean a long list of "don'ts" that if you let it, can make a lady very bitter. Don't eat sushi. Don't consume alcohol or caffeine. Don't go in a hot tub. Don't eat lunch meat. Don't swim with sharks. Yes, some of the items on the "don't" list have fallen on deaf ears for me. For example, I have definitely had much more caffeine this pregnancy than I did with Noah...which I have heard is normal. With your first, you tend to be super, super careful and take all of the advice you hear with full attention. However, I do have tinges of guilt occasionally when I order a Diet Coke at McDonald's because quite frankly, I need a pick me up! Now...I don't drink it all...just enough to satisfy me....and I am not drinking caffeine every single day...but coffee will be once again part of my daily morning routine after baby arrives, and probably more by necessity than by choice :-)

7) Getting back in shape.  Nothing is more humbling to me than when I bring the groceries in and have to take a breather from lifting all those bags. Now granted, I'm also taking a 30 pound toddler in and out of his car seat as well and chasing him around, but let's face it...my physical activity really results around me lifting things instead of cardiovascular activities like walking/running. I'm excited to get my pre-baby body back...although am also very realistic that things will most likely not look exactly the same. I'm thirty...I will have had two children. That's a reality people that no amount of gym time or diet restriction can change which is fine with me. I think my first goal that would make me happy is not "huffing and puffing" when bringing in groceries...  :-)

It's a long list, I know..and I don't want to come off as complaining by any means. I know that I am very fortunate and blessed to even be able to conceive and carry a child...and I truly don't take that for granted. I am so excited to meet him or her and get into a new routine as a mother of two with all the cuddles, cries, and diaper changing that goes with it. I just know that my body is now telling me it's almost time...and I am not fighting it but instead looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

18 months...wow!

Today I have reached what some mothers have referred to as a pivotal age where their "baby" moves from infant to toddler. One friend of mine always claimed that once her children turned 18 months, things started getting easier...and at this point I can agree.

First of all, I literally can not believe that my little peanut is no longer the helpless infant he was only a short year and half ago. Here he was less than a week old (note the hospital bracelet still on his tiny wrist):


Here is my darling boy today @ 18 months!

Loves doing puzzles...
...and running!
I am continually amazed at how quickly he is changing...examples include that as of a week ago, Noah is now able to go down our stairs all by himself so we have taken down the "baby gates" for now. He has added to his animal repertoire by imitating not only a cow, bee, and lion...but now a sheep. He can identify tons of animals in his own way and is starting to read books and play independently for longer periods of time (Hallelujah!). He knows where his hamper is to place dirty clothes in, he understands where his head, hands, tummy, and nose are located, and is beginning to love his routine of watching Sesame Street after his nap. He can ask for his drink, snacks, pacifier, or ask for help without throwing himself on the floor. He is no longer too rough with peers by grabbing hair or clothes but instead "pets" babies and friends with "gentle hands" and a smile on his face.  And, best of all, after 9 months of drill-and-skill training, Noah gladly says "mama" when he sees me now!

My small, tiny baby is a baby no longer...he is a toddler and there is not much I can do to stop it. Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones, but I quite literally got teary-eyed watching a video Nick took of Noah the other night at McDonald's for his daddy date. Noah was eating a cheeseburger on his wrapper and picking it up with two hands and setting it down gently when he was done taking a bite...his sippy cup sitting nicely on his tray as well.While some reading this may think, get a grip, Michelle...To me in that particular video my Noah looked like a little person and I saw the years moving faster and faster. While there are times I am exhausted being with him all day and get tired of carrying him, dressing him, bathing him, changing diapers, preparing his meals, cleaning his messes...I know all too soon there will come a day when he won't need me as much...or at all. So for now it's my job to enjoy this time where he is moving from a dependent baby to an independent, smart, lovable, kind child I am trying to raise. :-)

Ok...where is that Kleenex again?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Requesting an Open Bar @ Storytime

**Disclaimer...if YOUR particular 18 month old (or better yet, a child who is younger) does enjoy story time, sits still for 20 minutes at a time listening intently to stories read aloud in a whole group by an unfamiliar adult, and is an overall calm, quiet child...then God's blessings to you...and please, please don't let me know about it! :-) Thanks!

Okay...no one call the police or report me. I have not indulged in any "above the age of 21" beverages...yet!  The title simply summarizes my feeling after leaving the local Barnes & Noble for Noah's very first experience with a collective, organized "story time".  Let's just get it out of the way because I'm sure those of you that know my son (and his never ending energy and infant ADHD) are saying in your heads, right at this exact moment..."Michelle, you should have known better..."

Let's lay out the facts of the setting, shall we?
  • First, story time is a quiet time usually to listen to picture books being read by a fun adult.  Well, that right there..."quiet"...really...why would I assume this would fit with us?
  • Second, there are small chairs and benches arranged for the young children to sit and listen. Another key word that I should have known would be trouble..."sit".
  • Third, people brought their dogs (yes, that's right!...and no they were not for the visually impaired).  Two older women had their dogs with them on a leash...so really, do you think my kid cares about the book with the mouse and cupcake? Didn't think so...
We arrived about 10 minutes prior, so Noah could have some time to walk around the stage where story time takes place.  Barnes & Noble's children's area is delightful with colorful, organized book displays, a toy train area, and stuffed animals. What a fun place!  As more and more children arrived, I then tried to corral my son to the nearest chair or location out of the way...bribing him of course with his favorite snack of raisins.  That lasted about 3 minutes until he spotted the dogs and pet them with a smile on his face. Ok, fine...we're good...now where is the lady at who reads the book? I wondered as more and more parents began to fill the area, sitting their calm children down with a ziploc bag full of goldfish, pretzels, or cookies. Most of the kids I could see were above the age of 2, so that made me feel a little better considering Noah then moved back to the stage to walk up and down.

The lady arrived with a smile on her face and noticing Noah right away, eating his raisins in fistfuls.  After going around the room introducing ourselves (thank goodness Noah went first) she began to read the first book.  Obviously sitting still and watching her read from a far distance had no interest to him, so I picked him up and stood more in the back talking to him about what she was reading.  He would stare for perhaps 10 seconds, and then want down (with a large side of whining I might add)...this went on for around 3 minutes before I made the executive mommy decision that story time would have to be something we build up stamina for, like church, and 3 minutes is what we'll consider our starting point. 

After changing him (or course he had a messy diaper there too!) and him crying as I tried to hold his hand while walking to the car, I felt as if I had run a race.  Perhaps it was a combination of me being pregnant @ 29 weeks, Noah's whining, carrying his 30 pound frame around the bookstore when he got into things he wasn't supposed to, or the cold, rainy weather we've been having...but I was whooped! And that was a 20 minute excursion...wow.

While Noah enjoys books and loves being read to if allowed to sit on your lap...story time is something completely different and I look forward to the time I can bring my Starbucks and listen right along with him as the lady reads the book with a mouse and cupcake...

but for now, our personal best for story time will remain @ 3 minutes...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

Not sure how many copyright laws I am breaking...but today's post is just fun! I have always loved Anne Taintor's hilarious mix of humor with vintage photographs.  I peeked at her website today (http://annetaintor.com/) for some humorous takes on the role of wives and stay-at-home-moms and quite literally spent about 8 minutes laughing so hard I cried.  Really...tears flowing, hard belly laugh, couldn't breathe type of laughing.  Perhaps it is the hormones or the fact that I was just in dire need of a good chuckle.

Enjoy all you wonderful mothers out there! Hopefully if you are having a rough day at home (or in public) with your children...you can think of these humorous quips to make you smile!

WOW! I get to give birth AND change diapers!

the day was in dire need of a Ctrl+Alt+Delete

ta-daa! now let's have a cocktail...

the secret ingredient is resentment


why, I'd be delighted to put my needs last again

Monday, October 17, 2011

A "Praise the Lord" post :-)

This is a "praise the Lord" post that I really should be doing much more often :-) As some may know, at my last dr's appt for baby #2, the doctor was a bit concerned with the growth of the baby. Baby was in the 10th percentile of growth at 20 and 24 weeks...babies below 10th often have complications with their birth or development. So long story short...I have been trying very hard NOT to worry about how today's appt would go, but four weeks is a long time to find out if everything is going the way it's supposed to.

Today was my 28 week appt with ultrasound to check the baby's growth. He or she is now considered to be in the 21st percentile. When I heard that news I literally breathed a deep sigh of relief, so happy to hear that the baby continues to put on weight and develop normally. My doctor was also very pleased with progress but is requesting another ultrasound @ 32 weeks to monitor growth as a precaution.

Funny conversation with the ultrasound tech as she was reporting the growth measurements. She asked if I was eating more calories. I said no, not really believing that the more a mother eats the more the baby grows or weighs. Well apparently that does work ...so today I have learned four important facts...

1. God is good and is truly taking care of me and my unborn child. I just need to continue to trust that he is working everything for our good.

2. My baby is officially 2 pounds, 10 ounces (still so tiny when I compare that to my 30 pound toddler!)

3. My scheduled C-section is tentatively planned for December 31st...may have a New Year's Eve baby! Break out the confetti and champagne!

4. I shouldn't say no to any cheesecake in the future...the baby needs those calories, right???

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Patience is a virtue...can I borrow yours, please?

The dictionary defines patience as "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like".  The Bible tells us that "patience" is one of the fruits of spirit along with love, joy, kindness, self control, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness...(Gal. 5:22,23). 

Why am I writing about "patience" today, you may ask? Well...thinking the title of my blog (stay at home mom) and the title of this post can pretty much explain this.  Patience is something I have found to really be a challenge for me not only recently, but ever since becoming a mother...and especially after Noah turned one or so. 

All too often, girls and women pre-children dream about motherhood as a blissful journey of peace, true happiness, and contentment...and while all these things can be true (at opportune times like nap time...) I'm finding out really, really quick all the things that people with children tell you...but you really don't listen and understand until you have your own!  And I'm not even talking about the condescending (we know the type, ladies) moms who have raised "perfect" children because of how they went about rearing their children as opposed to your methods. I'm thinking now of all the times I have heard "veteran" mothers say things like "I don't miss the baby stage...", "motherhood is the toughest job there is", "kids can drive you crazy" or "I am so done having children!"  Pre-Noah, I couldn't understand comments like that...how could you not want your child to stay a baby or when do you feel you have enough children?  Well, ladies and gentleman, I am understanding those comments all too well lately and I'm only 18 months in with ONE child.  I can only imagine that patience will be required exponentially as more children arrive and the older my children get...

With Noah approaching 18 months, patience is being taken to an entirely new level with time outs, tantrums, and more repetition than I have ever had to endure! I thought it was annoying and repetitive when I had to remind my 3rd graders...in April...the importance of writing their names on their paper. That is nothing compared to the repetition required to change the behavior of a toddler.  There are times I would rather train a squirrel how to knit than have to show and tell Noah ONE MORE TIME not to throw his sippy cup on the floor...or how to eat (not dump food) on his plate...or grab that girls hair...or run out into the road...or throw his Lego blocks across the room for no reason...or color with his crayons and not eat them...and...and...and...

Deep sigh and breathe...

Yeah, you get the point.  Patience is a virtue that every good parent needs to invest, practice, and work on no matter who you are.  And the funny thing is I have always considered myself to have excellent patience, being an elementary teacher and special education teacher. That is part of your job qualification in fact in order to help your students learn.  When introducing a lesson or skill, as a teacher you never assume your students will get it the first time...or even the second or third.  They need practice, guidance, and encouragement to become independent and I pretty much had it down as a teacher...and then my job changed from teacher to mother and "patience" is having an entirely new meaning.

Just today alone, I have most likely said the word "no" over 40 times, taken deep breaths around 15 times, and have given Noah around 10 timeouts...and that was all before noon.  Second guessing myself in the moment I wonder all the time if what I am doing is right or making any difference at all.  But now that Noah is down for his nap, I have indulged in 2 chocolate chip-peanut butter cookies, and am reflecting on the word "patience" I am thinking of the positive changes I see in Noah's behavior from only a few short months ago and counting in my head all the positive communication I have given my little man...15 hugs, 12 kisses, sang 3 songs, and given 20 words of praise all before noon.

Yes, motherhood is a tough job and is requiring tons of patience...but here is a comment I have heard from multiple mothers even after a tough day that I can completely agree with 100%...

"and I wouldn't trade it for anything..."    

Monday, October 10, 2011

Diary of a 30 year old...

Perhaps it's the fact that I have always felt a little out of my "element" as a teen and young 20something...but turning 30 last Saturday was really no big deal! :-) I'm proud to say there were no tears, no regrettable tattoos, and no time on the couch sulking at old photos of my "young" self with a bottle of wine asking pathetic questions like where did the time go or when did my life end? (Well, if I could have had a bottle of wine on my birthday...I probably would have...but you get the point!)

My sister Jessica's birthday is the day before mine...so it's always been as if we're "twins" celebrating our big days. As kids we had the two-for-one family parties where Mom would bake one cake and presents were given at the same time. As teens and adults, we often tried to get together and celebrate together when possible perhaps because it always felt so natural for us.

With my sister in Chicago and myself living near Flint...celebrating our birthdays together has been a little more difficult. But as a surprise to me, my husband came home last Thursday presenting me with a card and a polite order to pack my bags and head to the west side (my parents home) to have a girls weekend away...no husband, no toddler...just time to rest, relax, pamper, eat, and enjoy time with my mom and sister.

Honestly, my first reaction to this "surprise" from my husband was...shall we say...a surprise? I guess it felt a little weird that I wouldn't be ringing in the number 30 with my best friend amidst a romantic dinner...or see my child at all that day. But once I got over that...I made the drive out with no extra sounds like baby whining and listening to the music as loud as I liked :-)

Friday (Jessica's bday) was spent sleeping in and then shopping with her. Being almost 7 months pregnant...I didn't try on or buy anything...but instead watched my trendy, "city-girl" sister whip out that credit card faster than you could say "sale" treating herself to many classy and chic items. It was so much fun to just hang out, laugh, and discuss our family, our jobs, and our lives even for just those few hours. :-) We ended the evening stopping by our youngest brother's football game...and then out to eat with our parents.

My birthday started with the sun and almost 80 degree weather...hard to believe! Sleeping in has a whole new meaning now that I am a mom...and I took advantage of that indeed. Around 10:00, mom, Jess, and I had pedicures and manicures while drinking coffee. Following that...we stopped by local pastry shoppe for some much needed sweet treats. Our day continued with a nap and a Mary Kay facial...only to end the 30th year of my life with dinner at Tosi's with my mom, dad, littlest brother, and sister. It really was a fun weekend that was much needed!


Almond horns from Bit of Swiss...heaven!

Dinner @ Tosi's


The birthday girls!
While turning 30 hasn't made me bitter...it has made me more sentimental. Time is moving fast when you think of it...and it sometimes does feel like only yesterday I was playing Barbies, riding my purple bike, riding horses in the fair, graduating high school, entering college, getting married...pretty soon I will be saying these same things about my little guy, Noah (where's the Kleenex???)...well, not the "playing Barbie's" part I would think.

 It's amazing to me how much change happens, for better or worse, in a short decade. Just ten years ago I was a single gal entering my sophomore year of college at Western Michigan University. Fast forward 10 years...and I am a college graduate with a Master's degree, former teacher, married, mother of one with another on the way. Wow! God has definitely blessed me more than I deserve and that is enough to make me one thankful, happy 30 year old :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mama's Little Helper

Noah has been getting to that stage where his never ending energy can be put to some good use! We're approaching the age of "I-can-do-it-myself" rapidly and while I would like to say it's making things easier in some ways (example, I no longer have to go find Noah's shoes...he gladly gets them himself) in other ways finding ways for Noah to help given his limited communication or understanding how to do most things 100% independently can make for some patience-testing moments (breathe, Michelle...it's just yogurt in his hair...he needs to practice using a spoon).

Here are few things he enjoys doing to "help" out...with a nice dose of clapping and praising to follow! Small jobs Noah can tackle include:

1) LOADING LAUNDRY INTO THE DRYER


opening and shutting the dryer drawer...one of his favorite activities with or without clothes!

paying special attention to his blanket
 2) SWEEPING THE FLOOR


3) CLOSING THE DISHWASHER DOOR (and opening it...again...and again....and again...)


4) PICKING UP HIS BLOCKS AND TOYS BEFORE BEDTIME
5) GETTING HIS SHOES AND PUTTING THEM AWAY
6) PUTTING ANY ITEM "ON THE TABLE" WHEN ASKED...LIKE HIS DIAPER WIPES OR SIPPY CUP

I am especially looking forward to his "help" when the new baby comes...and I'm sure there will be many more "patience-testing" moments to come!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall is finally here!

Easily my second favorite season (close second to summer...I mean, I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy the beach, water, no school, and warm weather). This fall has definitely felt so much different than past autumns most likely due to the fact that I'm staying home with a small toddler who is just amazed at his surroundings every day! Just the other day, we were picking up leaves and exploring them with our eyes and fingers and he loves hearing the crunch of dead leaves as we walk around the local nature trail near the hospital. I think one of the best things about being a parent is that children truly do help you appreciate things again or in a new way...I mean, how often (or when is the last time) have you stopped to pick up a fallen leaf and admire the changing colors and hues? Yeah...that's what I thought.

Noah was around 6 months last year at this time and fall didn't even have the same meaning there for me. We did the "Halloween" thing...but he wasn't at that age yet to appreciate and enjoy the costume, candy, orchards, pumpkins, or the changing scenery in nature. 

Halloween 2010:
Noah @ 6 months...dressed as a little mouse :-)

This year, I am giddy with excitement at taking him to an orchard, sit in a pumpkin patch, and drink cider and donuts. We've already been busy doing a few of these things...along with other adventures due to the fact this weather around here lately has been off the charts warm! Today, for example, we went to the zoo considering the weather was in the 70's. Here are a few things we have been up to as September closed and October opened...looking forward to putting up more "fall" pics soon of all the fun we've been having!

Enjoying a donut with his pal Ray at the local orchard in Commerce

Giant chair @ Long's Orchard

 Hay maze @ the Detroit Zoo...Noah is not really a fan of the scratchy hay as you can see from his expression.
Playing peek-a-boo in the maze

Playground fun @ the zoo!

My cutie-pie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When your doctor says "hmmmm..."

Well, I am now 24 weeks and about 21 pounds heavier so yes, I would say I am still in fact very pregnant with baby #2. This baby is moving all the time and I love feeling those flutters, jabs, and rolls. Latest checkup, however, has brought a few concerns to the table...but nothing that I need to immediately worry about.

At my 20 week visit I had a the normal scheduled ultrasound. Baby was "stubborn", according the US tech, and breach making it difficult to see the spine and kidneys very well so another ultrasound was scheduled for my 24 week appointment. Everything else, according to the doctors, looked good despite the fact that my baby was in the 10th percentile for growth at 20 weeks. No real concern then considering my technical due date is four days later (but they can't change it now I guess...).

Fast forward four weeks...I have another appointment and ultrasound. Spine and kidneys look good and sitting in the doctor's chair while he looks at his laptop with info on the baby I'm smiling and making small talk. Then a long bit of silence... "Baby is about a pound 5 ounces" he says without looking at me. I smiled and commented on how tiny that seems. He then proceeds to ask me how big Noah was.

"8 pounds, 6 ounces", I reply.

"Hmmmmm...." he says, still studying the laptop and tapping the screen with a pointer. Long silence.

"Is that ok?" I ask with a bit more concern than before.

"Well, I'm happy to see the baby is still in the 10th percentile for growth. We'll need to schedule another ultrasound for 28 weeks."

"And what if the baby is still at 10th percentile?" I ask again.

"If its still at the 10th percentile, that is fine....anything below that then we will START TO WORRY."

Obviously, I am emphasizing those last three words in this post...he didn't quite shout them at me or tell me to start worrying now. However, when your doctor says the words "hmmm..." and "then we'll start to worry" all in the same appointment about your unknown, unborn child, well, I'm going to start to worry now!

I left feeling a little taken aback and more frustrated that I didn't ask more questions. However, I don't want to worry about something that isn't even there. Of course I did the only natural thing any woman would do as soon as she got home with confusing news about the size of her fetus...I got on Google and did a little more research on "small fetuses" or "fetus' in the 10th percentile". A lot of medical mumbo-jumbo later I felt a little more at peace that perhaps my little peanut (actually my little "papaya"...that's how big it is supposed to be now) will just be that...little! I did see words like "complications", "death", and "difficulties" in some of the articles for babies below the 10th percentile, so yes, I'm a bit concerned as any normal parent would be.

So throwing this out there for some extra prayers that everything will be smooth sailing from here. October 17th (my next appointment) could not get here soon enough so I can have some peace of mind either way. In the mean time, I'll be praying for some extra contentment and trust that God is working everything out for our good. :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is my child "normal"?

Heavy title...I know. But what mom hasn't had this question lurking in their head at one time or another either during pregnancy...or perhaps when their child is well into their 20's! For some the word "normal" can imply boring, average, or uninteresting. For a mother, that word can have implications for their child's dreams, future, and health.

Noah is my first child so I am sure I will be asking this question a lot more with him than with child #2.  I have already shared that I am a worrier by nature...and becoming a mother (while being German, female, and the daughter of Kathy Rimpel) has quite honestly compounded worrying to another level completely. I often "worry" on a weekly basis at least if I am raising Noah right...if I am teaching him skills that he needs at his age...if I'm being patient enough...if he's happy...if we'll end up on Supernanny...if he's developing appropriately.

"Developing appropriately?" Yeah...sounds like a lot of fancy-schmancy buzz words used by parents who only let their child eat hummus, favor attachment parenting, and play with only wooden handcrafted toys bought in Sweden, but take a look at my Google search engine and you'll see some key words being searched like "my child doesn't like to play independently", "what is normal for a 16 month old temper tantrum", and "my child doesn't like tv...is that normal?"  I want to know where Noah stacks up, particularly with behavior.

Perhaps to be even more candid, a lot of this has to do with comparing him to other toddlers his age that I know. When I see Noah around other children his age I would use more ACTION verbs than linking to describe what I see him doing.  For example, he outruns them, outyells them, and is much more impulsive. Noah is not the child who stops, observes, and studies a new toy, rock, or flower...he grabs, rips, or throws them. Noah is not the child who sits, builds, and stacks. He is the one that runs, bounces, and demolishes. So I ask you, any experienced mother, is my child "normal?"

I have already gotten a few nods and smiles from veteran moms either at church or in the grocery store saying things like "well, he's a boy" or "he's fearless" or my favorite "what a personality". Am I supposed to be taking comfort in this? It doesn't really tell me that Noah is acting like other boys his age...it just tells me I have my work cut out for me!

But, when I worry about how "active" my son is compared to other children I see and notice who can sit for 30 minutes straight playing with their blocks or like watching Sesame Street by this age, I need to stop and think about what a wonderful child God has given me. He keeps me on my toes, for sure...but he has a sweet side others may not see when we're in public. For example, one of his favorite things to do (and one of mine) is listening to me sing. When I ask him "Noah, should we sing a song?" he will stop in mid stride and look at me intently as I pull him into my lap and start singing "I Am Jesus Little Lamb" or " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" clapping after each verse and staring at my face with an amazed smile the whole time. He also is in that "helping" stage wanting to help with small tasks like putting his shoes away, loading a plate in the dishwasher, or today at Kroger, throwing bread, bagels, or chips in the cart and smiling when he's praised for it. Reading books is a habit he enjoys together or alone in the evenings and he also loves everything in nature and can pick out a rock, flower, or leaf a mile away. Lately his obsession outside has been visiting the mums I placed by the front door and "petting" them (not picking off the petals like mommy said) and smelling them. A truly adorable little moment that I will not forget :-)



So in summary, I do have one amazing, awesome child and need to just keep reminding myself of this when I feel overwhelmed with the job of raising a small child to have manners and a friendly disposition. Parenting is a lot more work than I ever thought it would be...but that doesn't mean I don't see how worth it it is :-) I am truly not the same person I was before I had Noah...nor do I want to be. So while I will most likely continue to "worry" to some degree about the normality of my child and his "development" at the same time I hope to be more aware that maybe I am the one who is "normal" for feeling like that and feel a bit more at ease. I welcome any comments/feedback from other moms out there...am I alone? :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mommy Style

Those of you that know me, would probably never say (and I'm really not fishing for compliments, people) that I have great "style".  I'm ok with this...really. And I am sure that even a few very close friends have dialed "What Not To Wear" on occasion to stage an intervention, only hanging up thinking that may hurt my feelings.  (For that select group...please go ahead with the call...I would LOVE to be on that show. Meeting Stacy and Clinton...getting $5,000 for a new wardrobe...shopping in New York...having someone tell me how to properly do my hair and make up. Really, I would love it!). And trust me, you can definitely get some good "before" footage at some key hangouts I frequent like Kroger where I don't think I know anyone.

Style is not a word I would use to describe me. I know everyone is supposed to have one...but I don't really think that's true. I do think there are a lot of people that have a natural sense of personal style (my sister, Jessica, for example) and what looks right, and those that don't. My favorite magazines, for example, are not Vogue, Lucky, or Elle. Right now, I prefer to spend my Barnes & Noble free magazine reading time perusing Parenting or People.  Does that mean that I am automatically locked into the category of dressing like a....mom???

The word "mommy style" may affect some of you in a positive way when you think about famous celebrity mothers like Jessica Alba, Heidi Klum, or Sarah Jessica Parker.  After popping out children, these celebrity mothers are often hailed as having great "style" while they walk their toddlers to the park or Whole Foods.

    

And the word "mommy style" may also have a negative connotation, such as the infamous SNL skit "Mom Jeans"...enjoy for a bit to refresh your memory...



While I'm thinking about the word "style" and now being a mom...I am really striving to remain somewhere closer on the continuum in the way I dress to the celebrity moms I referenced instead of looking like an extra in the "Mom Jean" skit.  And to some degree, I think I have. I own no pleated or tapered leg pants that I can mention and so far have withheld from any "bulletin board" sweaters (you know, the ones that are knitted and sequined with Halloween themes or Christmas trees on them, depenidng on the season). 

As I am approaching the big 3-0...I am thinking about the way I dress a little more than before. Not that I am by any means spending hours in the bathroom (time I don't have) or getting special manicures, pedicures, or hair treatments (money I don't have). I am just thinking about the way I dress as another way to express that I am happy to be a mother while at the same time I am happy to be me. I don't want people to look at me thinking..."oh, that poor woman. Her child must wear her out" or "eeek...she's turning 30, looks more like 45!". Vain? Perhaps. But I'm choosing to look at it as another way to treat my body with respect.  God gave me this body to do His work...so why not, while taking care of it through eating right, excercising, resting, also dress in a way that I look like I'm proud to be myself instead of looking like I'm lazy and taking it for granted.

However, as I know will happen, there will be some days when I feel that I'm in "style" if I shower that day. :-) Other days, I want to put on that cute, turqoise maternity top, wear my skinny jeans with a belly band, and adorable black flats to the mall play area.  I will not only look more presentable to the rest of the world...but also happy, rested, and more energetic to face the day with the child that does wear me out on occasion :-)
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