Friday, January 30, 2009

it's 7:25 in the evening and my eyelids, they are a-droopin'

Such is the unending glamour of my life.

My baby decided this week that 7:00pm would be her new bedtime (as opposed to 8:00pm), and to make up for it, she would enact an afternoon nap embargo.

I appreciate her ability to make independent decisions and stick to her guns, but I do wish I'd been consulted in the process. Being that, you know - she can't actually feed or bathe or dress herself, or put herself to bed. What she CAN do is sit in the middle of the living room floor and cry because she's so gall-dern-stinking tired that there's nothing else to be done but weep.

The plus side is that most nights, she tacks together 12+ hours of sleep (usually with one mama-milk-date in the middle, which I'm trying to weasel my way out of) - so at least she's not all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:00am or some such nonsense.

The earlier bedtime also cuts into my fiery nightlife... okay, that's not true at all. It has had no impact on my nightlife because I have none. I pretty much don't leave the house after 3:00pm. Really - it makes me want to go to bed at 8:15 because my survival instinct kicks in and my body starts warning me that if I don't sleep soon I might not get to sleep at all - because the baby, it wakes up!! So now I'm that mama that's tucked under her flannel comforter by 9:30pm AT THE LATEST every night.

You may turn green with envy.

On the other hand, it's not such a bad thing to be getting the extra rest these days, because - oh yeah - I'm growing a new person!! We're totally blessed and thrilled to be expecting Bebe #2's arrival in mid-August (puts me at almost 12 weeks preggers right now). There's a lot to get done to prep for becoming a 4-person-family in the next 6 months, but for now...
I must truck my lazy behind upstairs to soothe the cranky baby (who just went to bed 25 minutes ago and is now awake and crying for unknown reasons).

Have a lovely evening.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

nothing's easy

Mark and I have, over our almost-10-year-journey as a couple, developed a few key catchphrases - usually words of profound and life-changing wisdom that can apply to virtually any situation.

Things like:

Sometimes... it's not about you. (most of the time, in fact)

No one will like you any less. (a good way to try to get your wife to try something new that she's afraid will make her look like a profound idiot).

It's not supposed to be easy.

This last phrase is the one that has seemed to surface in my mind the most in the last year or so... and not because my life has been monumentally difficult. We have suffered no major losses - we have a lovely, warm home - Mark has a great job that provides more than we need - we have a gorgeous, healthy baby daughter who is quickly growing up out of babyhood and into toddlerhood... the blessings in our lives are abundant and obvious.

But day to day, I find myself in small situations that just never seem to be easy. Naptime is always a bit of a struggle. Laundry regenerates itself daily. Sickness knocks the house down for a few days. Basements flood. Oh - and the one that is positively driving me batty right now - our house is a hotbed of static electricity. Seriously - EVERYTHING in this ever-lovin' house will zap you to kingdom come if you're wearing wooly socks (or wooly anything, for that matter).

Even though things aren't easy in my everyday life... things are GOOD. There are simple pleasures and deep joys to be found lurking under the not-easy roadblocks in my day. Today, I strive to remember that life as a stay-at-home mama may not be easy... but it is good. And in the end, I will choose goodness every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

from under the fog

Thursday brought an unexpected visitor to our house.

A very nasty visitor.

A vicious, 36-hour stomach flu bug.


I fell victim first - and I'll spare you the details, but let's just say things were vicious enough to make me drop 4 pounds in one day. (Don't worry, I'm eating again and it'll all be back in no time).

Mark left for Traverse City (for work) yesterday morning, and fell victim yesterday afternoon (quite the unfortunate timing).

So far (knocking VERY HARD on every wood surface I can find) BabyNut is just fine. She's happy and growing and being her regular silly and strong-willed self. Love it.

So we have emerged from under the fog of flu - and it's much nicer on this side of things. I feel rested and back to normal, and am hoping for a relaxing and fun Saturday with my girl (and praying for quick healing for hubby as he's away and working).

Just be on the lookout - it comes out of nowhere and will knock down anyone in its path.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

up to my eyeballs

Sounds dramatic, right?
Really, the only thing I'm up to my eyeballs in right now is laundry. Heaping, growing, mounding, regenerating piles of laundry of every sort. Colors, darks, whites, washed, unwashed, folded, unfolded, towels, baby clothes... It's encroaching on my space and creeping across the floor.
Good thing I'm not prone to over-dramatizing.
In real news...

Today I enjoyed simple company of a good friend and her little guy, and the sweet companionship of my little lady. Sparkly smiles, bubbly belly laughs, and sweetly kissable cheeks made the insurmountable peaks of laundry less intimidating. Or at least, less important.

My sweet, kissable baby scratched my actual eyeball today - so I look like some kind of scary sea-monster with one all-seeing, bulging red eye and one normal, mascara-ed blue eye.

I am typing this post on my new, shiny green laptop... it's speedy and light and refurbished (meaning cheaper and recycled!) and I love it. My old computer was... well, old. 5 years, I think - which is pretty much Social Security age in computer-years.

Tomorrow we'll head to the grocery store... we were supposed to do that Tuesday. Sometimes things slip down the list. Whatever. No one here is starving. Yet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

sleeping update

Since y'all are so curious about my daughter's new sleep habits - here's the scoop.

In the past 7 months or so, I've read probably a half dozen different baby-sleep books. I tried different things, sometimes combining techniques, sometimes throwing them out altogether because I knew it wouldn't work with my parenting style and personality (or my kid's personality).

A few months back, I read The SleepEasy Solution - and I liked it, but didn't really put it into practice fully. At that point, I had found that I could nurse Hazel to sleep for naps and bedtime, and nurse her back to sleep pretty quickly when she woke up - and fighting a sleep-training battle just didn't appeal. I was finally getting decent sleep (albeit interrupted sleep) and I was relatively happy.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago - an exhausted mama sees no end in sight to the nursing "solution" - and Hazel stopped letting herself be nursed to sleep at naptime (nights still worked fine). But a non-napping baby is NOT good company. And since she's usually my only company during the day, something had to give.

So last week (officially, January 14th) we committed ourselves to following the steps laid out in SleepEasy for two solid weeks - and we were gonna do it for real. No wimping out, no adjustments. And aside from one night when we were traveling home from visiting family and threw off the schedule completely - she's been doing GREAT. I'm putting her to bed awake, and she fusses for a little, then is typically asleep in less than five minutes. She has a nap schedule (which she pretty much never had before) and a nice, regular bedtime routine.

The one really funny thing - she now starts to cry when you read her GoodNight Moon because that's usually the last book before we put her to bed. She knows what's coming...

At any rate - we're happy to have a baby that's sleeping well, sleeping on her own - and last night was the second time in the past three nights that she slept 11 straight hours without getting me out of bed. What a blessing!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


At least - so far.

Hazel is now 11 months old. Some of you know that we've struggled with sleep (both nighttime and naptime) for most of her fabulous little life - whether it was sleeping on her back or her belly, or sleeping in her own bed, or screaming when she was laid down, or whatever... it's been a battle. The kid does not sleep easily.

Given that it's been roughly 7 months since she slept decently at night, I decided about a week ago that we needed to implement some kind of plan or program to try to get our little Nut sleeping through the night, and going to bed at bedtime and naptime without me nursing her to sleep. (She was nursing to sleep every time she went to bed, skipping one nap almost every day, and waking up 2-4 times a night to nurse.)

Last night (the third night of Operation Sleepy Nut) - she fell asleep after crying for about 3 minutes (HUGE improvement) and stayed asleep for 11 straight hours. (Not totally true - she woke up around 10:30, gave 2 little squawks and went straight back to sleep - I didn't even get out of bed). She is currently napping, after fussing for only a couple of minutes (another HUGE improvement) and will likely take a nice afternoon nap as well.

I cannot explain what a difference this has made the past few days. She is nowhere near as cranky - I have time during the day when the house is quiet and "empty" and - most important - I am no longer dreading the naptime/nighttime battle of screaming and tears.

I know we could relapse, and I don't want to jinx anything - but so far, she's done great and Mark and I are so encouraged by the progress... keep it up, little one!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

mama blessings

My daughter is asleep for the second time today. Two Whole Naps.

The sun is shining in my front window - and if I close my eyes, I can pretend it's not nine degrees outside and just bask in warm toasty sunlight.

I got to catch up with a dear friend today - she has a precious baby boy, Noah, who is just over a month old - it was so good to chat with her and hear about her life (for an hour!!). The joy in her voice is so evident - it was a wonderful reminder of how delightful mamahood really can be when you sit back and soak in it.

I had another fun phone conversation with a friend - unfortunately, she was having a rough day with her little guy (nothing a few brownies shouldn't be able to fix...) but it was also so reassuring that when one friend has a rough day, another has a good one - and you can buoy each other up while still totally being able to empathize. Just the other day things were flip-flopped. I like that we can call, chat for a few minute, laugh, and that I feel better when I hang up the phone. Thanks, Kim.

I had a great lunch out (with Hazel) with my friend Shannon - sharing mommy moments and work woes and laughing together. It was great to get out of the house, into the icy frozen tundra wasteland of mid-Michigan and eat a good meal with a great friend.

My husband is playing tennis with a friend right now - so he's about as happy of a clam as he could possibly be... and that makes me happy too.

I detoxed all my diapers yesterday (they were starting to having a lingering funkadelic smell even though I knew they were clean) - and now they are sparkly and fresh and begging to be used.

I got to shower and have some quiet Bible time this morning BEFORE Hazel woke up - that is virtually unprecedented... and it made my day. Starting off the day listening to the Lord, quietly soaking Him up... I could tell that it filled my cup that much more - so that all these other wonderful, unexpected blessings that have been brightening my day... they are making my cup overflow.

It's a good day to be me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

don't ask me

Hazel likes to help me with the laundry. And by help, I mean that she likes to pull dirty laundry out of the basket, pull fresh-from-the-dryer laundry out of the basket, and (best of all) uproot piles of clean, folded laundry and (you got it) pull them out of the basket.

This morning she was helping me fold her diapers (by pulling cloth wipes out of the basket) - and she's helped me like this for weeks (months?) now, so it's not a new pasttime. However, today she decided that everything she pulled out of the basket needed to be placed on top of her head. I don't know why (she wasn't exactly forthcoming with her reasoning). We don't usually play with laundry that way.

The best I can figure, she was playing "Where's Hazel?" by trying to cover herself up... but it was so stinking cute. I love watching her figure out her own games and silly things to do, and wondering to myself "Where on earth did she get that idea??"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

what did you do this morning?

I spent 2 hours trying to get my baby to take a nap.

No one tells you about these parts of parenting. When you're pregnant, people can't stop saying silly things like "Your life will never be the same." No kidding. Even someone who has NO IDEA what they're in for with parenthood knows that life after a baby must look at least a wee bit different.

But no one tells you that you'll spend hours trying to get your very sleepy baby to actually sleep - no one tells you how often very sleepy babies refuse to sleep for unknowable reasons. No one tells you that there will be days when your Big Agenda (which consists of going to Two! Whole! Stores!) may be put on hold or even nixed because of a devilish little thing called naptime.

Really, it's probably good that no one tells you that. I'd never have wanted to hear that while I was pregnant, plus I most likely would have thought "That won't be me!" No, it's better to hold onto the sweet ignorance.

But the biggest bummer about not knowing is how alone you feel when it happens. You feel like a joke of a parent, completely unfit and incompetent... until you realize that it's happened to everyone. Every parent has those days, and every parent has felt alone and incapable of completing the "simple" tasks put before them.

I guess I wouldn't have wanted to know the true, harsh reality before my sweet little Hazelnut was born... but it's a shame that it takes that much longer to realize you aren't alone.

Plans for the afternoon: Let baby sleep as long as possible... then try to go to the Two! Whole! Stores! that were on my morning agenda.

Monday, January 05, 2009

back in the saddle

I've gotten lazy the past few weeks.

Between Mark being on vacation and spending time at my parents' house - I've had an unprecedented amount of help with diapers and baby-entertaining... I've been able to relax a little, and able to spend some time getting other things done without multi-tasking too much.

But we're back in the saddle, Daddy's back at work, and I'm realizing that it's time to get my sad little rear end into high gear (or at least mid-gear). Meal-planning, laundry, dishes and grocery shopping... naptimes, diapers, organizing... lots to be done.

But there's no sense in rushing the transition, right? So today, Hazel and I will start out slow with an easy dinner, a little laundry, and a date with some good friends of ours. Grocery shopping can wait until tomorrow, I say.

I have a few New Year's Resolutions/Goals/Notions that I'd like to share, but they're still tumbling around in my brain a little bit, so I'm gonna let them percolate and I'll spill them soon.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

itchy and scratchy

Well, it appears that y'all cannot wait to hear about the hives my baby decided to get last week, so I'll indulge you with the whole, fabulous story. It's a doozie. (Warning: this story will probably only be even mildly interesting to other mamas - so don't feel compelled to read any further if you don't really want a dull story about my kid's skin).

Hazel, Mark and I went to my parents' house on Friday (the day after Christmas). My brother and sister-in-law joined us on Saturday and we had a lovely family Christmas celebration together. Mark headed home on Sunday, but Hazel and I had planned to stay until Wednesday (sounds like she and I sat down together and talked about it).

My dad has magical, boring, put-baby-to-sleep arms - so he does a lot of the putting-the-nut-down-for-naptime when we visit, because she hardly cries at all and it gives me a bit of a break. She was snuggled in for a nap on Sunday afternoon when she woke up a bit prematurely - and very sweaty (and unhappy about it). She'd been wearing a cute little fleecey outfit and had a heavier than normal blanket on, so it wasn't weird or anything... but I was trying to cool her off and make her feel better when I noticed a couple of hives on her face (on the side where she had been sleeping). Closer inspection revealed hives on her arms and shoulders... angry, warm, red itchy bumps. Poor baby. I did what any good mama would do... I got on Google and tried to figure out if I should be worried or not! (The answer is no - not unless your baby/child is having trouble breathing as well).

A dose of Tylenol quickly cleared them up, and she went back to being her usual happy self... but for the rest of our time at Nana & Papa's house, they'd flare back up again... usually when she'd been sleeping. We're still not really sure what was causing them - we ruled out food allergies, although there's a chance she's developed some kind of sensitivity to my sister's cat (which would be terribly sad, since he's awfully cute and doesn't like being cooped up away from people). Really - (according to Wise Old Google) most of the time no one knows why kids get hives. It could have just been a virus and hives were the only symptom, and they flared up when she was warm/sleepy. The baby Tylenol kept clearing them up, and she usually didn't seem too bothered by them (except at nighttime when they kept her - and me, by extension - from sleeping very well).

She hasn't had any since Wednesday, and I've been getting great joy out of looking at her beautiful, smooth, hive-free baby skin since then.

Thanks for reading - I'll come up with another doozie of a story about my life soon! :)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Hello 2009!

If anyone is still out there, habitually checking my lonely little blog - hello!!!

The holidays were a whirlwind - snow & ice, family, traveling, cups of hot cocoa, flood in the basement, building gingerbread "structures," hubby on vacation, hives on the baby, presents, sparkly lights, some crowded crazy moments and some quiet, peaceful ones.

I rang in 2009 by putting my baby to sleep and promptly following - I stayed up until a whopping 10:30pm. This mama is one tired cookie these days.

But life is adjusting back to its normal patterns - the Christmas decorations have been put away and the house is in its standard state of mild disarray. Ah, familiarity.

At any rate - I'm hoping to be back to my regularly scheduled programming, leaving wonderful tidbits of deep and delightful thoughts for you to ponder every couple of days.

How were your holidays??