Saturday, August 31, 2013

invader

Last night I think I discovered the origin of the whole "attachment parenting" idea.  You know, baby-wearing and co-sleeping.  Want to know my theory about how it came about?

It was a spider.

Yep.  I discovered this last night when we had our own uninvited guest.  I was walking through the living room and almost stepped on a ginormous spider.  I'm not kidding you when I say that for a moment I thought there was a tarantula in our house.  It was huge.  I nearly stepped on it, then shrieked, "Is that a SPIDER?! Oh my GAAAAAHHHD!!!!"  No, I never use the Lord's name in vain - that's how freaked out I was.  Sam, being the practical, non-arachnophobic man that he is, said, "Don't say that," and calmly went to get a tissue to kill the beast.  As he walked away, the spider sprinted across the room, right past the activity mat that Ellery loves laying on, and under the couch.  I screamed more, and Sam calmly lifted the couch and caught the giant demon.

This was when I discovered I may have a slight case of arachnophobia.  I was panicked.  I know he killed the spider, but I couldn't help feeling like there were spiders crawling all over me.  I refused to walk into the living room again, convinced that there were spiders covering the floor.

Our friends think the spider was a "giant house spider", often found in the PNW.  A quick google search will tell you that this spider held the Guinness book of records for it's speed.  Does that freak you out at all?  That's how you know I'm not lying when I say this spider sprinted across the room.  Fastest moving spider I've ever seen, which makes sense since it's legs were five inches long.

So okay, we finally calmed the baby down enough to go to sleep, and I finally exhausted myself enough to be able to go to sleep (after a thorough search of our bed to ensure that none of his friends were there lurking), and a few hours later, baby wakes up to eat.  I'm so terrified of stepping on the floor in the dark, that I bring baby back to bed with me to nurse her there, and leave her in bed with us.  There was no way I was going to get out of bed in the dark again.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that it appeared the spider came out of her room, which meant I was not going in her room, let alone leaving her alone in there.  That's why I think the idea of co-sleeping came from a spider - it was a mom who was too terrified of encountering a huge spider in the dark, so she had baby sleep in bed with her.

I have no idea when I'll feel okay with putting Ellery on her activity mat on the floor again.  Today I put it on our king-sized bed so she could still lay on it and play.  But I'm pretty sure that's where the baby-wearing idea came from, too - someone who didn't want their baby on the floor ever, so they carried the baby everywhere.  Thanks a lot, stupid spiders.

Today I purchased some peppermint essential oil, after learning that spiders hate peppermint, and it's a safe, nontoxic way to keep them away.  But how much peppermint oil will it take to drench our entire house in it?

I hate spiders.  And I may or may not have told Sam that I want to move out of this house because of that spider.  And no, I do not think that is irrational.  You would've done the same.

P.S. Sorry for no photos to accompany this post.  But trust me, you would not want to see a picture of this spider, or you'd be shivering all night, convinced you had a spider on you.  You're welcome.

Friday, August 30, 2013

on not sleeping. ever.

Here's the thing.  My child is a night owl.

And I am not.

Anyone who has ever lived with me or worked a morning shift at Starbucks with me can verify that I am the ultimate morning person.  It's 4:15 and we have to start making coffee?  Great!  What a beautiful morning!  Aren't we so lucky that we get to be awake to watch the beautiful sunrise?!  (To all my former customers and coworkers, particularly Carmel, I'm sorry.  I know I must have been ridiculously annoying.)

Baby let on that she was a night owl while still in the womb.  Around ten or eleven every night, she'd start her own little party.  And I'd be like, hey baby, I'm pregnant, remember?  And I'm thoroughly exhausted, so if you could just realize it's bedtime that would be great.  Also, baby didn't like waking up early at all.  I had gestational diabetes, so my diabetes counselor wanted me to make sure that baby kicked at least ten times an hour because there was a higher risk of fetal demise.  (I know, doesn't that sound like fun?  Worrying that my baby's heart was no longer beating every hour?  This is why my patience with people who complain about their normal, healthy pregnancies is low.)  Every morning, I'd be pleading with God and baby for any movement to let me know she was okay.  And finally around ten in the morning, she'd give a half-hearted little jab, as if to say, Dude mom, I'm fine, but it's, like, so early and it's really tiring growing and developing and stuff, so you need to chill while I sleep, aight?  (Sorry for the vernacular, but I grew up in California and I sort of think that's how Ellery talks in her head.  Because she's a California girl at heart, of course.)

From age 2 weeks until about five weeks, Ellery's bedtime was around midnight.  She was a great sleeper, but her timing was just a little off.  She'd sleep from about midnight until ten in the morning, and only wake up twice to nurse.  I realized I could make this schedule work, because that way it gave Sam more time with the baby at night when he was home.  So I'd drink my coffee around 5pm to gear up for staying up past my bedtime, and it worked for us.  Ever since then, we've slowly been working on an earlier bedtime, and lately she's been sleeping from about nine to eight.

The problem is, my body is still set to the later schedule.  So when baby goes to sleep around nine, or even earlier, it's a problem.  Because I'm wide awake.  Sam and the baby will both go to bed and I'll be physically exhausted but unable to sleep.  I've tried going without caffeine and that hasn't helped.  And now Ellery has decided that hey, mornings are pretty cool, so let's wake up at five or six am!  Not only that, but when I wake up to nurse her, it takes a good hour for me to fall asleep again.  Not cool.

The thing is, she had been doing great sleeping...until we went to California.  Let that be a lesson to those of you with babies.  Don't travel.  Ever.

I'm sure she'll work it out and get back on track, but until then, the only thing that helps when I'm suffering from this ridiculous insomnia is to sit with the cats in the kitchen, eating goodie bars.  (The cats love middle-of-the-night hangouts.  It's the only time they really get my undivided attention anymore.  Sorry Morty.  Sorry Willow.)





**Disclaimer: This post is intended for entertainment value only.  It is not a request for anyone's advice on sleep training.  I had no idea what a controversial subject sleep training was (Cry it out? Babywise?  Co-sleeping?) and have no desire to start any debates here on the blog.  Lest you think I am not humble enough to accept advice and teaching, please understand I have requested advice from those I actually want it from.  Thanks in advance for not telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing to help my baby sleep. :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

month 3

^^This photo was taken by our friend Navid during our recent trip to Petaluma.  She looks so sweet!^^

Likes:
"Itsy-bitsy Spider", "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes", and "If You're Happy and You Know it"
Her activity mat - keeps her happy forever
Bouncing on the bed (see video below)

Dislikes:
Walks in the stroller (apparently she's not cool with me exercising)
Being awake for too long
Being put down for a nap (so tired, but so angry when she realizes it's naptime!)

video

Cannot believe this kid is three months old.  She surprises me every day with new tricks, and they come out of nowhere.  For the longest time she just screamed when I put her on her belly, then all of a sudden she propped herself up on her elbows.  She's also rolled over a bunch, but not super consistently.  She usually does it when she's not feeling tummy time.  And she laughed for the first time a week ago!  We were in Petaluma, and I was trying to stop her crying and just started bouncing her on the bed.  She started giggling so I shouted for Sam to come see and he was able to record some of it.  She's only done it once more since then, but every time my little heart melts.  There's nothing quite like hearing your first baby's first cry and first laugh!  I just keep thinking she's still just a tiny newborn, but each milestone she reaches tells me she's growing up.  Bittersweet?  Yes.  But oh how I love this little human. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

here's how my weekend is starting off!

Ellery and I often go visit Sam at work.  It makes his day and calms him down and so it's something we do.  Sometimes it stresses me out just a bit because inevitably whenever we finally get around to going, she's about fifteen minutes away from needing to be fed or needing a nap.  Weird how I haven't figured out how to plan better to just take her right after she's eaten and slept, but apparently I'm a glutton for a crying baby.  Someday I'll learn how to be a mom.  But anyway, usually on the way to his office, she's crying, and I'm saying, "Ellery, daddy will be so happy to see you.  Sometimes we have to do things we don't like for other people that we love, and that's called sacrifice."  I take every opportunity to teach her things, people.  She answers me by screaming more.

Today we especially needed to visit Sam at work because this morning I may have been a little grumpy with him.  I was up with the baby a few times last night and pretty sleepy and the husband leaves before 7am for work every day.  And I'm sleeping with baby girl on my chest this morning before Sam goes to work, and he touches my arm and wakes me up and I try to ignore it and stay asleep and he starts talking to me!  You know, saying he loves me and he hopes I have a good day and stuff a good husband does before he leaves for work, and I'm like, "WHY ARE YOU WAKING ME UP!?!!"  And he says, "Don't be mean," and lowers his head and backs away like a sweet puppy and I go back to sleep.  Then I wake up and I'm like, okay, so maybe I was a little tired when I said that and a touch grumpy and I should probably take him a coffee and we should go visit him to make up for it.

So we hit Starbucks first and I am ecstatic to get my own coffee too, because remember how I was up a lot with the baby?  When we get to Sam's office I leave my coffee in the car and we go see him and baby girl is just marvelous and even smiles at her dad, even though she's tired and hungry and wet and I just think what a patient little girl she's being.  Then we barely make it home before she's just really pissed off and I set my own untouched coffee on the hood of the car while I get her out of her car seat.

Here's my coffee now.


And here's what was left in the cup.


So I grumbled a lot and shook my fist at the sky, because obviously coffee is the most important part of my day.  And then I fed the baby and what do you know?  She refused to take a nap.  So I make coffee myself while she plays and go to get the creamer out of the fridge.  Aaaaand we're out of creamer.  I'm not kidding you, the sound that escaped my mouth when I was standing there at the open fridge sounded identical to this.

If you're too lazy to click on the link, it's a video of Chewbacca growling.


^^ That's me angrily drinking my made-at-home black coffee. ^^

And speaking of the above picture, I got my hair cut with lots of layers that works really well when my hair is curly.  I realized last night that when it's straight, I look like I have a mullet.  Awesome.

Needless to say, if these are my biggest complaints about my day, life is pretty darn grand.  Right?  (And it helps that I have my treat receipt to go get a $2 drink from Starbucks this afternoon.)

So happy Friday, everyone!  May your weekend be filled with lots of coffee, babies that take good naps, and husbands that don't wake you up from your precious time sleeping.  (Ok, nevermind, your husband can wake you up because in reality it's awfully thoughtful of him.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

my favorite thing

Some people are lucky enough to have their dream job.

And some people don't realize what their dream job is until they have it.


There was a time when I didn't want to have kids.  I didn't even want to get married.  I'd heard a really great message about being single when I was in college, (listen to it here) about how when you don't have your own family to take care of, you are more available to be used by God to minister to others.  And I loved that idea.  And I still completely support it and think it's a noble, amazing way to live.



And then I met Sam, and then we got married, and even when we were married we didn't want kids. Then something really tragic happened and we realized how important family was, and then we wanted kids.  And we talked about when we wanted to have kids, and before we could decide, I was pregnant.  I'm convinced God did all this, sort of against my will, because He knew what I wanted and needed better than I did.  That's usually the case, right?

It turns out, I love being a mom.  I finally feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  I'm not saying I'm good at it - in fact, I've never felt more inadequate or unprepared for a job.  I've never had to rely on God more for strength, to hourly beg him for wisdom and energy.  It's the hardest job I've ever done, the most physically taxing.  But I've never loved anything more.


There are times I don't get to eat until noon, because the baby is hungry and wet and requires attention.  Sometimes she still wakes up every hour or two at night and leaves me exhausted.  But then she smiles at me when I walk in the room and I melt and I realize I'm willing to do anything for her, even go without food and sleep.



I sing to her all day, and pretend like I'm on Broadway.  She's a fantastic audience.  When I read to her, I do voices and pretend I'm acting onstage.  It's even better than if I were actually on Broadway, because this little lamb hangs on my every word, carefully studies the expressions on my face, and beams when I sing to her.  I'm a fabulous pretty good decent barely capable homemaker, but there's a certain satisfaction I feel when I've managed to keep the child alive and entertained and make dinner and finish laundry by the time Sam gets home.  It's not that I think I'm a perfect mom, it's just that I super love what I get to do.  And I can't believe I'm lucky enough to do it.


I'm realizing more and more how even though I'm not living the single life I thought I wanted, God is using this little family of mine to shape me.  I'm becoming more reliant on Him daily.  Each middle-of-the-night feeding and every load of dishes forces me to be a little less self-centered and humbles me in the best way.


I wouldn't get the chance to do my favorite thing if it weren't for this guy, being a rock star dad and working super hard for us.  Thanks for letting me stay home with our sweetie, husband.  (Yes, he is normally the one to give the baby a bath.  It's their special bonding time, as you can see below.)


I honestly never knew it was possible to get so much joy and satisfaction just from being a mom and wife.  I'm really loving my simple little life.  I know it isn't for everyone, and plenty of women thrive working outside the home, in addition to being moms.  I hope this post doesn't sound as though I think being a stay-at-home mom is superior to being a working mom.  In fact, I'm in awe of those mamas who can be awesome moms and help out their family by working outside the home, too.  Personally, I just feel like I finally understand why I always felt so unemployable, why I never really found my niche.  It's because I was supposed to be doing this.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

napping conspiracy

Sam and Ellery are involved in a conspiracy against me.

Somehow he has convinced her to take the best naps when he's home.  They're playing some kind of trick on me, one in which Ellery refuses to take good naps for me, but will sleep for hours when Sam's home.

It's not funny anymore.  Quit it, you two.

Seriously, it's getting ridiculous.  When I'm home with her, she'll sleep for maybe 30 minute stretches, an hour if I'm really lucky.  When Sam's home, she'll sleep for three hours, wake up to eat, then sleep another three hours.  What in the world?!  And it doesn't matter what day it is.  If Sam's home for the weekend, she sleeps forever.  He only worked half a day today since he's working Saturday, and she's been sleeping for several hours now.  Really?

I think Ellery just wants to make me look like a fool to her dad.  He doesn't believe me when I say it's sometimes exhausting taking care of her all day.  I'm sure he thinks it seems pretty easy, since whenever he's home she's sleeping and I've got plenty of time to do things.  She's making me out to be a liar when I tell him that I've hardly got any time to clean the house and cook dinner.

And I put her to sleep the same way every time, in the same bed.  So it has nothing to do with the logistical side of nap-taking; the only variable is the fact that Sam is home.

She doesn't care that when dad is home, mom wants a break.  She thinks it's funny to give both of us a break when dad is home, and then be wide awake whenever it's me all by myself.

Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with the kid.  I'm not complaining that I get to be home with her all day, even when she refuses to let me sit down or put her down at all.  I think the truth is that I'm just super fun and she doesn't want to be sleeping when she can be hanging out with me.  That's what I've decided.

Also, I've been married three years now.  Here's me and my honey on our honeymoon.  These two kids had no idea they'd have a 10 week-old baby by the time they'd been married three years!



Saturday, August 3, 2013

friends and tv characters

I'm feeling rather nostalgic tonight.  I have no idea what brought it on, and I really try not to be this way, but I often find myself in these little pockets of yearning, where I miss old times.  I wish I could be more of an in-the-moment person, but I usually miss the past or excitedly anticipate the future.  Why can't I simply enjoy the present more, and be fully grateful for my current life?  And why do I never realize how wonderful a part of my life is until it's over?  It isn't that I feel dissatisfied in my current situation; I truly love my life right now.  It's more that I miss the people who have filtered in and out of my day-to-day activities.

I relate the people in my life to characters on a television show.  Have you ever watched a show from beginning to end, the kind where the characters transition in and out?  For example, Friday Night Lights - the characters that are featured in the beginning of the show are completely different from those featured at the end of the show, aside from a few staple characters.  Or in the later episodes of The Office, when Michael and Kelly and Ryan are all gone, and it's so sad.  And when you consider the beginning versus the end, you realize how much all the characters have changed and grown, and it's a good thing, but there are parts you miss about the beginning.  (Have I lost you?  I know, I know, this is so random, right?)

But the truth is, I wish life weren't so much like a TV show.  I wish my friends all stayed fully present in my life, instead of transitioning in and out of focus.  More often than not, it's geography that separates me from the people I love, especially since I haven't stayed in the same city more than two years since 2003.  On one hand, I feel so lucky to have moved so often, because it widened my circle of friends that much more.  I've met and loved so many people over the past ten years, people who have made huge impacts on my life.  But with each move, there were friends I had to say goodbye to, people who I still love but don't get to experience day-to-day living with.

I think it's because of all this that I tend to refuse to let people lose touch with me.  I still keep in touch with lots of people from high school, and still genuinely adore people that I've known since birth.  And even though I don't talk to them every day, or even every month, I still treasure the random text, letter, or phone call that reminds me why these people are so important to me.  I miss scaring Tiffany in our apartment, and going to Cold Stone with Annie, or to the bar by Fresno State with Beth, and walking around the park with Jacquie, and going to the bowling alley with Garrett and Briana, and all my other friends from lifeguarding at the pool.  I miss meeting everyone at Taps in Petaluma, and family dinners at Paul and Lauren's, and singing Christmas songs with Abbey at Gilead.  And now I've added Salem to the mix, and if we ever move away there will be people I'll be so sad to leave because I've just fallen in love with them.

And am I the only one who does this?  Or do most people not move as often?  I think some people are able to accept that people lose touch and people change and friendships change, but I'm not so good at that.  I just want to keep everyone in my life, and I want to keep adding in more friends.  And maybe that's why I blog, to try to feel a bit more connected to people that I no longer see every day.

Anyway, what a weird post, right?  I fully intended on writing about baby fashion tonight (ha), but somehow I started missing a bunch of friends instead, and got feeling all sentimental.  Just know that if we are friends, or have ever been friends, I miss you and wish that I could see you every day.  And I'm glad you have played a role in my life, even if you aren't currently a returning character.

And now I'm wishing my life were actually a TV show, because how cool would that be?!  But who would watch it, because these days all I do is make faces at Ellery and tell Sam how cute she is.  Fun for me, but probably boring to watch.

And on that note, it's time for bed!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

month 2


This post is a few days late, since Ellery was two months on Monday, but better late than never, right?

loves:
music
reading (or, rather, listening to me read)
her play mat
talking (this girl coos at all the little animals on her play mat...pretty sure she's making friends with them)
taking naps on mom and dad (see pictures)



hates:
baby carriers.  this is the worst, because this girl loves to be held, just not in a moby or ergo baby carrier.  i think it's because she likes to be able to look around and see what's going on, and she can't do that when she's facing me.  hoping she warms up to her carrier soon, because my arms are getting tired.
sleeping in her bed during the day.  she prefers to sleep being held.  sleeps great in her bed at night, though.

indifferent to:
going for walks.  she used to love them, now they make her cry half the time.

This baby is so delicious!  She's really starting to show her little personality, and we're loving getting to know her better.  Honestly, I just feel so lucky that she's mine and I get to hold her and cuddle her and kiss her all day.  She's also pretty long, as you can see in the picture of her and Sam - two feet tall now.  Sam has determined she'll be a volleyball player if she maintains her current build, while I'm still voting for water polo, naturally.

Do they even have water polo in Oregon?

Will we even be living in Oregon by the time she's old enough for sports?

Oh the unknown!