Sunday, May 31, 2009

I laughed so hard I cried ...

... anyone who's read up on Mommy blogs may find TAMN's humor too true!! For rillz.

http://seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com

Friday, May 29, 2009

All I want to know is ...

... is this normal? And when will it end?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because milk isnt the only food I make

Jack's kinda a big eater. We are officially on a 4-hour schedule (hooray!) eating 4 times a day (and sleeping 11.5 hours at night I'm happy to add!!!). But besides 4 "servings" of milk he also eats two bowls of cereal and 5 jars of baby food each day. That's 14 bowls of cereal and 35 jars of baby food a week. That's almost $20 a week extra in groceries, or over $80 a month!! So I'm trying to get better at making our own babyfood. Not that it's hard work, but it does take a lot of time. And as a working mom I have to evaluate just how much my time is worth. On the other hand, it's somewhat difficult to justify spending $.45 on a 3.5 ounce jar of squash, when I could spend only $.40 a pound for the real thing. Not to mention that squash is my favorite to make!

My first two experiments were squash and sweet potatoes, both went well. I then tried peas. They turned out okay but are on the chunky side, and Jack's just not used to too much chunk yet. Then I tried carrots. I thought these turned out pretty good but he started gagging when I tried to feed them to him today. He's so dramatic. I ended up mixing half of my carrots with half of the store carrots and that seemed to work okay. By the way, how long does it take to steam some carrots!? Much longer than I originally thought. So long, in fact, that I forgot about them. Until I noticed a burning smell. I can now add the cost of one permanently damaged pot to my babyfood budget.

I haven't yet braved the fruit. Although I did get smart enough to buy natural applesauce in bulk and freeze it in an ice cube tray since the jar goes bad after 10 days. And I found some recipes for teething biscuits I want to try soon. So far we're on a strict milk, cereal and stage 2 fruits and veggies only diet (and only the ones that consist of food and water, not that other crazy stuff!). It was hard enough starting Jack on solids, but I don't know what I'm going to do when he can start snacking on his own Cheerios. Then he really won't need me around anymore. :(

Friday, May 22, 2009

An Off Week

So last week was just off. It was probably a combination of coming off a week at the grandparents, followed by a weekend with houseguests, in addition to a change in our schedule, on top of Jack becoming more and more interested in everything but nursing and so on and so on. Seriously, if you were ever in the same room as Jack and I when I'm trying to feed him (and you wouldn't be because if he even hears someone else breathing in the same room we might as well forget eating altogether, but theoretically, if you were) you would probably notice his little legs running a marathon, his free hand conducting an orchestra, his other hand tickling my ribs, and his eyes trying to follow a speck of dust around the room - all while he's supposedly taking nourishment. It doesn't work that way kid. Sigh, it's going to be a long next-5-months-or-so-until-we-wean. :( Well anyway, feeding issues aside, can we say "Someone's being uber-clingy this week!" I'm sure it had a little to do with the abundance of audience he's experienced recently, and then poor Jack woke up Monday morning to only me, and a very busy me at that (Jon was in Colorado on business). I had a lot of catching up to do with both work and house stuff, but Jack had other plans, which inluded being in my arms or within touching distance every waking moment of the day. By Day 3 I thought I was going to lose my mind. Do you know how hard it is to get anything done when your entire right side is weighed down by 23 pounds of a weepy, whiny mess? And blanket time? If I even stepped out of eyesight (i.e. stood directly behind him which is too far for him to turn those adorable, chubby little cheeks) the Jackster went into major meltdown mode. Check out what happened when I stepped out into the kitchen to grab my glass of water:
Okay so I know you're probably thinking I'm some heartless mom who just lets her kid sit on the floor and cry all day, but cut me some slack. All week. Of that. And no husband to receive the hand off when he comes home from work. Actually, I just realized that morning how cute Jack's little face is when he's crying and I wanted to make sure it was captured on video so we can show it to his future wife one day and all laugh together. And even more importantly, I want to make sure I maintain a good blogging balance between my-beautiful-son-is-so-wonderful-and-sleeps-through-the-night-I-love-being-a-mommy!!! and someone-please-take-this-child-off-my-hands-I'm-going-to-beat-my-head-against-the-wall. Because, let's be honest, I've experienced both ... and everything in between. But it did get better. My husband did eventually come home and gave me a whole afternoon off, which I accidentally cut an hour short because I mis-calculated naptime. Blast! But it was still good because I ended up getting a great deal on not one, but two swimsuits! Which I desperately needed since the one I wore last year kinda resembles a tent. And now I feel so much better!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daddy's Biggest Fan

One of the reasons Jon started doing P90X was so he could work-out at home and see a little more of Jack and I each day. Jack LOVES to watch his Daddy work out. If I need to start working on dinner Jack is more than happy to just sit and watch his dad do push-ups. It's a win-win-win situation, Jon gets to hang out with his son, Jack is entertained and mom gets some free time.
The other day Jon was doing some front-to-back jumping jacks, so Jack joined in too. What you can't see is Jon a few feet in front of Jack. Out of respect for my husband I chose not to capture him working up a sweat on video. :)
My favorite part of this video is the squeal/pirouette he does at the very last second.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Travelin' Man


Now that Jack has officially reached “big boy” status, it was time to get him a new car seat. So with coupons in hand we went off to Babies ‘R Us and test drove a few rides. Since he’s not yet a year we had to buy a convertible seat that could be rear facing for now and switch to forward facing in the future. I also wanted something that could recline since Jack sleeps in the car a lot (apparently this feature isn’t common in booster seats), matched our car’s interior, and wasn’t too big and overpowering. I also wanted something that was safe, would last us through another kid or two, and wouldn’t cost a fortune. It’s amazing we managed to find one that met our needs!
Jack seems much happier in his new seat, with room to stretch and a spacey area to share with toys. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s no longer easier to just lift a sleeping baby in his seat out of the car and snap onto the stroller. Then again, Jack weighs a lot less when he’s not attached to a baby carrier anyway. And even though we found one with a recline feature, it just doesn’t recline enough. It nearly broke my heart to watch Jack sleep like this on our way to Pennsylvania earlier this month,
but every time I’d gently push his head up it would fall right back down again a few seconds later. Since he continued to sleep like that I guess it wasn’t as bothersome as I thought. I will say it definitely makes me a more cautious driver when I can see my sleeping son’s head rolling back and forth with every turn I make!

We had a fantastic drive to PA with the new seat! It only took us 7 hours to get home, which we considered a great time before we had Jack! One thing that helped was this handy car-adaptor I found at Kid to Kid for my pump. I always have the hardest time feeding Jack on long trips. He’s so easily distracted and usually cranky from the drive that it’s hard to get him to focus on eating. When we drove to Philly in April I had a tough time getting Jack to nurse even the littlest bit. I was afraid he was going to get dehydrated. So this time, instead of pulling over ever 3-4 hours to feed a baby, we figured I’d pump and give Jack a bottle while on the road, and just stop for potty/diaper breaks. It worked perfectly! I’m not sure why he has no problems concentrating on drinking from a bottle but if it works I’ll take it!

We also deal with 45-minute naps on trips. This is a given since we can’t expect him to sleep through a cycle with his chin all the way down at his stomach. But it also means he gets less sleep and more crankiness. We broke down and bought a portable DVD player a few weeks ago. Jack doesn’t watch movies for very long but it was worth every minute of peace we could get out of it. And when Jack did start to protest and no amount of soothing from Fievel or Mommy could appease him, Jon just cranked up the radio to drown out the noise. So far we’ve seen the best results from jazz music, Celtic Dreamland and, our personal favorite, African Dreamland. By the end of the trip Mommy and Daddy were singing along!

We also had a very successful trip home, but that’s probably because it took place between the hours of 9:30pm and 4:15am. Even though Jack slept for most of the trip, I’d much rather be home and in bed during those hours. So next time, I think we’ll just stick with the daytime routine.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Over the ocean and through the city ...

... to Marmie's house we go. And Poppa's. But it seems that most kids refer to the collective grandparents as the maternal title. So anyway, Jon went scuba diving in the Cayman Islands with his dad and Jack and I went to hang out at my parents for the week. It was a nice change from the same old, same old. And even though Jack still has to eat and take naps, and I still have to work, it make life interesting to do it all somewhere else. Actually, he did so good taking naps and sleeping all night in Uncle Jared's room that the trip was so much more pleasant than I imagined it would be!

It doesn't matter how long we're in town, there just never seems to be enough time to do and see everything we'd like to. But we did try to fit in as much as we could. So while Jon was out swimming with the sting rays ...


... Jack and I went on a short shopping spree for some bigger baby clothes, had lunch at The Fence, went to a few graduation parties, got ready for the upcoming yard sale, met Poppa's co-workers, and partied with Marmie's students. In fact, Jack loves meeting new people. He can act a little quiet and shy at first, but once he realizes he's the center of attention he really turns the charm on. He thought it was hilarious to be caught in the middle of 15 5- and 6- year olds crazy just to touch his hand, a few daring individuals went for the face but for the most part it was just a bunch of ooing and awwing and pointing and laughing.

Speaking of going for the face ... Jack got to meet up with a few of his buddies from back home. Here's a picture of Jack and his girl Edie meeting up for the first time since Christmas.

She was playing hard-to-get. Unfortunately, Jack wasn't having it and scratched her right in the eye. But later on we caught them snuggling in the church nursery.



Jack also got a chance to chill out with Trenton. These two are still learning to get along at this point. Jack tried to scratch Trenton's face too but Trenton was too quick for him. All my friends in Virginia have little girls so Jack could use a little more practice hanging with the dudes.

One of the best parts about being home is having someone else to share the Jack-duties. There's always a grandparent, G.G., aunt, uncle or cousin willing to entertain, hold, feed, and occasionally change, the baby ... although not everyone does thing exactly the way I do ... (see picture below of Jack after Poppa fed him).
The best part was that the fun didn't end after we left Pennsylvania. Jack and I took Uncle Jared along as our "Manny" to pick Jon up from the Philly airport, and then met up with the rest of the family at our house for my graduation weekend.

Aside from the academic events, we also made time for the beach and celebrating Uncle Jared, Marmie, and Poppa's birthdays as well as Mother's Day at Dockside, my latest favorite restaurant. Actually the last time we went there was when my parents came down to see newborn Jack, then 5 days old.


He definitely doesn't sit this still now. This time, we all had to take turns keeping Jack entertained so we could each have a chance to eat. Isn't it fun watching them grow!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance


This past weekend was my commencement ceremony. As many of your know, I finished my graduate coursework last summer, turned in my final project a few weeks after Jack was born, and received my official Masters of Education before Christmas. But this particular weekend was all the "pomp and circumstance" associated with earning a degree. And much to my husband's annoyance, I chose to participate in the festivities. :) Hey, a girl's gotta celebrate!
One of the best things about my Masters degree was that it was FREE! What an incredible blessing! Here's how it all happened:

I had started looking at Regent when I was a Sophomore studying Communication. I decided to apply to the Journalism program there and was accepted the end of my Junior year. And then I got engaged to a Coast Guardsman. :)
I was pretty excited when we found out that our first tour was going to be in Hampton Roads, but after some discussion both Jon and I felt it would probably be better for me to put school on hold for now and focus on getting a job. So I did. I spent 4 months searching and interviewing for various positions - 8 of which were at Regent. There were a couple of promising leads, a few hopeful second interviews, and zero congratulatory phone calls. Jon was underway in the Mediterranean for 4 months and I was determined to be working by the time he got home. Finally, someone took pity on me and offerd me a temporary, 20-hour a week position giving tours and assisting with events. I started the week before Jon got home.
Working at the college just made me want to be a student even more, but since I wasn't receiving benefits as a part-time employee I kept pressing forward. Three months later I moved to a full-time job, I started classes the next summer, was offered a new and better job at the same time, and then worked there for 9 months before one of my professors hunted me down and made me "the offer I couldn't refuse." And so here I am, 3 years, 4 jobs, and 1 degree later, wondering if I can make time to take another class or two. :)

When I graduated from my undergraduate institute the small ceremony was held in the gym in December, so this was my chance for a "real" graduation. I think our campus is gorgeous, and I love how we hold our commencement outdoors. Apparently it's never rained for a Regent commencement, how could it when Pat Robertson is your president? So if you live in the area and are planning a wedding, I'd shoot for the first Saturday in May!
That said, the events were long and hot. Jack and I had spent the week before at my parents house in Pennsylvania while Jon was in the Cayman Islands (rough, huh?). The night before my commissioning we picked Jon up at the Philly airport at 9:30pm and drove home to Virginia. We pulled in at 4:15am, crawled right into bed, and Jack was up at 6:50. Argh. So considering the lack of sleep, heat, and routine changes, Jack was a real trooper!

Here's a picture of me with my two greatest accomplishments of 2008! Jack just noticed my tassel.
Annnd he goes in for the kill!
He's pretty proud of himself and his quick maneuvering.
Naturally it goes straight to his mouth.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

The other day Jack had some leftover peaches stuck to his cheek. I licked my finger and wiped it off. Mid-process it suddenly dawned on me - what am I doing?? A few days later I heard the familiar gurgly-burping noise that always precedes a spit-up. Rather than deal with the mess, I cupped my hand and shoved it under his chin just in time. I sat there, a pile of warm, old milk puddling in my palm, wondering "What have I become?" A mother. I am officially a mother. Having a baby is awesome, holding him for the first time took my breath away. And bringing him home from the hospital brought on this incredible sense of responsibility. But I didn't feel like a mom. Those feelings came later. The times when I'm trying to maintain a professional phone conversation with barf running down my shirt, the times when I realize that warm spot on my leg is actually baby poop leaking out of Jack's diaper, the times when I get sneezed on right in the face, or the times when Jack grabs my ears to pull me in for a big, wet, sloppy kiss. Those are the times when it strikes me - I'm totally a mom! And I have to admit, I LOVE IT!!


Jack gave me some roses for Mother's Day. Isn't he the sweetest!? ;) Seems like he's setting a high standard for years to come ...
We just finished a short sunset walk on the beach together. With Jack on my back pulling on my hair I had chance to think back over the past year and what it's been like being a mother. Crazy, that's what! But other than the crash course on childcare that I've had over the past 7 months three things that Jack has me working on are loving unconditionally, serving selflessly, and finding pure joy in the simplest things life has to offer. Some days are harder than others, but overall life as a mom just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.
Thankfully I'm not alone, and I have a great example to follow: my own mom. She's my biggest fan and a huge support. I wish we didn't live so far apart and that our mother-daughter moments ocurred more often, but it just makes me more grateful for those days when they do happen.
Mom, I love you, thanks for helping me become the mommy I've always wanted to be!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Random Thought: Big Helper

Now that Jack's sitting up I'm putting him right to work. His new favorite job: helping mommy putting away the groceries.




Okay so maybe he's not really helping at all. But he does love the sound of crinkling bags (you know, the ones that say "Keep out of reach of children.") And for some reason he likes the feel of a nice bag of frozen peas. The raw chicken, on the other hand, should probably stay out of reach of chubby litte fingers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Here comes the sun

Jack is definitely a morning boy. He usually wakes up chatting and giggling to himself while playing with his toes. And when I go in to get him out of bed I love the way he wraps his arms around my neck and buries his nose for approximately 3 seconds. Do 6-month olds know how to hug??

But lately these morning lovins have been ocurring earlier and earlier. Jack used to rise between 7:30-8:00am, a few weeks ago he started getting up closer to 7, then 6:30 and recently he's been known to start chirping as early as 5:30am. I think it may have something to do with the sun. Jack's room faces southeast. During the winter the sun rises more towards the front of the house making Jack's room nice and dark for naps, but during the spring and summer his room gets brighter much earlier. I'm beginning to wonder if Jack is one of those "up with the sun" kind of creatures. Too bad for him, his mother is not. I don't mind getting up early, but not that early. So if he doesn't fall back to sleep after talking to himself for a few minutes, I usually go into his room, give him a cuddle, and tuck him back in. Generally he drifts back off for a few minutes, if not I'll bring him to bed with me, but that practice is becoming less and less effective. Jon put Jack in bed with us on Saturday morning and I spent the next 20 minutes trying to keep tiny hands out of my hair and tiny fingers from clawing out my eyes.

In spite of early mornings, we're really enjoying this sunny season! We're celebrating the warmer weather by taking lots of walks through the neighborhood, relaxing on the front decks, and hanging out on the beach.


Jack's first beach-bum experience wasn't quite what I imagined. I think he thought the sand in his toes was pretty cool, but when he started trying to eat the sand, and then rubbing his sandy hands in his eyes, I realized a baby at the beach may not be as fun as I once thought. When the flies started coming out Jon and I called it a day and headed back to the house. And that was Jack's day at the beach ... all 30 minutes of it. :)


Instead of trying to combat sand, flies, and sunburn, we decided to hang out at home on Sunday afternoon and try out Jack's new pool. We plopped him in the water with a few of his favorite tubby toys and surprisingly got a reaction - Jack started to scream. Five seconds later he realized it was kinda fun, and he spent the next hour chasing plastic fish and chewing on toy cups.



The warm weather has also brought on another phenomenom - shorts. Jack is so stinkin' cute in his shorts. But I have to say, his chunkiness is a lot more obvious in these skimpy outfits. Take advantage of it son! This is the one time of your life where being chubby is cute!
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