Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in review


That's the word that keeps coming to mind when I try to summarize this year in just one short post. Wow.

I can honestly say this has been both the best and worst year of my life. It was so full of extremes! It has been the most painful, joyous, humbling and exciting year for me. Here are some of the highlights from each month:
  • January: Do I even need to write this one? Obviously January was the best month of this year! Grace Elaine came into our lives via c-section January 14th at 9:25 PM weighing 8 lbs 5 oz. You can read her birth story here. While we expected an easy and quick labor, we ended up with a c-section and 2 days in the NICU. It was such a scary, painful, and exciting few days. Luckily, we got to come home 5 days later and start our lives as a family of 3! 
The day we came home from the hospital! I hate seeing the blood on her hand from where her IV was.

  • February: Another dramatic month in our house. On February 20th, I went to the ER due to severe abdominal pain. I was admitted with appendicitis and had my appendix removed the next morning. After never having surgery before in my life, I had 2 abdominal surgeries within 5 weeks. Also, Mike and I went on our first date without Grace this month and it was harder for mommy than it was for baby! We have since tried to make this a regular occurrence but it doesn't always happen.
  • March: Thankfully life started to calm down in March. Grace and I were finally able to get into a routine. She rolled over for the first time this month!
  • April: I officially became a stay at home mom in early April! I was hesitant to quit my job, but it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. We made our very first road trip to visit my family in Wichita for Easter. Grace screamed for an hour and a half on the way back. It was a long time before we were brave enough to do that trip again!
  • May: We moved Grace into her crib and we made our very first trip to the zoo! She started giving kisses this month.

  • June: Grace got her first 2 teeth and also had pink eye. It was a hard month with very little sleep for everyone. She completed her very first Summer Reading Program list at the library (this is a big deal as a child of a librarian!!) Aunt Ashley came to visit this month and Grace had a great time with her! Mike and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary.
  • July: Grace officially turned 6 months old. She took to solid food like a pro. After months of sleep deprivation,, we finally started to let her cry it out and it worked for us. Read about it here.
  •  August: I got the worst sunburn! It was my own fault but I spent a week in pain because I forgot to put sunscreen on. Grace popped 2 more teeth this month.
  • September: Grace figured out how to army crawl and pull up on things, meaning she started getting into everything! She got dedicated on September 11th
  •  October: This month was hard. It's hard to sum it up in such a short amount of space, but I lost a friend and fellow mom and had my 3rd abdominal surgery of the year. During a standard lathroscopic gallbladder removal, I suffered a heart attack and then spent 2 days in the ICU. I was diagnosed with Takotsubo syndrome (also known as Broken Heart Syndrome) and spent the next 2 weeks on bed rest. Read more about my surgery and subsequent issues here if you're interested. We had to stop breastfeeding due to my health issues and Grace went on a hunger strike for a week before she finally decided to take her bottles. On the brighter side, we made our first trip to the pumpkin patch and Grace celebrated her first Halloween and looked adorable in her costumes (she had 2, an otter and Tigger!) 
  • November: Grace finally learned to really crawl and she added clapping to her list of tricks. We celebrated her first Thanksgiving! 
  • December: Grace said her first word, dada, and she visited Santa for the first time! We celebrated her first Christmas and she had a great time opening all of her gifts. Santa certainly spoiled her!

Like I said, it was a year of extremes. After never having been in the hospital before, we spent a grand total of 8 nights in the hospital (6 for me and 2 for Grace.) I had 3 surgeries and countless days of recovery. I had to rely on other people's help far more than I ever would have imagined. I couldn't even lift Grace for 2 weeks in October. There were so many wonderful people who came into our lives this year that helped in so many ways expecting nothing in return and I'm very glad to call them friends.

It was a difficult year, but nothing could overshadow the joy that Grace has brought into our lives. She is the most amazing, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful baby in the world. Every day is so much fun with her and I love watching her grow. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but it is so much better than I even imagined. She has made everything I've gone through this year worth it. I love seeing how she changes every day and she has made this the best year of my life. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings. I'm ready for a calm, healthy year!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Blog Hop!

So for the New Year we thought it would be fun to do a major blog hop with lots of hosts! Hopefully everyone can get some new followers, and we can find some new awesome blogs to follow ourselves!
This super awesome blog hop is hosted by the amazing blogs below:

Army Wife Style
Chasing Fireflies

So the rules are:
* Visit each host, and any of the people linked up that you find interesting. The more you follow, the more followers you get in return, leave a comment telling them you found them from the New Years New Followers Fest!
* Link to your favorite blog post of 2011. Do not just link directly to your blog. We want to see your favorite post!
* Write a post about this blog hop on steroids and include the button in your post. Spread the word!

New Year Follow Fest

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sick Baby

I have all sorts of things to post about Christmas. I really do. But you will have to wait. Grace has been sick for over a week now and it's pretty much impossible to get anything done with a clingy and fussy baby. The doctor said the virus is just taking forever to work it's way through her system. Her ears are fine and she's not dehydrated. However (TMI warning!) she's had diarrhea for 6 days now and she's not taking full bottles. I am desperately trying to clean the house and get ready to celebrate Chrismas with my family, but it's a challenge!

On the plus side, Grace got so sick that her tear duct cleared out. It had been clogged since birth and I was really worried that we were going to have to get surgery to get it cleared out (here are some pictures of how bad it was.) Her eye is totally clear now and she's appreciating me not having to clean it out multiple times a day.

I hope next week my posting schedule will get back to normal. Tomorrow I will post my 2011 review!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick Update

We had a wonderful Christmas! We spent time with Mike's side of the family and we'll do my family's Christmas over New Year's Weekend. Most of Grace's presents are still in their boxes so my goal this week is to get all of her old stuff packed up and get all of her new stuff out.

Unfortunately, Grace is still not feeling 100%, I'm worried she might have an ear infection. She doesn't want to lay down and she's not taking very much of her bottles. I'm hoping for a healthy 2012 for our house!

I'll update more tomorrow but we have another family event tonight. 

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Guest Post- My mom

So by Wendesday, Grace was finally starting to feel better and I thought we were home free! I was wrong. I have the worst immune system ever and my body hates me. I got horribly sick and am still in recovery mode. Therefore, I asked my mom to write a guest post for me since my days are now consisting of laying on the couch trying not to get sick and yelling at Grace to get out of the kitchen cabinets.

My mom is a very tech savvy person and has her own blog about being a grandma. My parents were always the "cool, young parents" so now they are the "cool, young grandparents." I know some of these "six things" are directly pointed at me. And because of that I'm going to post an embarrasing picture of her :)

Wow, gotta love the 80s hair and glasses : ) I'm guessing I wasn't much older than Grace here
 So that was the mean picture, here's a better more recent one of us at our wedding.

For your reading pleasure: 
Six Things You Should Never Say To A Grandma

Hello, Moments That Take My Breath Away readers - I'm Beth, otherwise known as Webgrandma, and I blog at  Mostly, I blog about being a grandma, and how much fun it is.  Since I'm a grandma, and Stephanie's mom, and Grace's grandma, Stephanie asked me to write a guest post about some things grandmas never want to hear.  I'm not going to tell you that you can't ever say one of these things to your child's grandma, just that I would recommend against it.  Here we go:

1. "We'd like you to only give your beloved grandchild one gift this year." 
Well, first off, I've been shopping all year for that little one of yours.  When I find a deal, I pick it up.  Also, I consider gift-giving an act of love.  Finding something that I know little Grace will love gives me a lot of pleasure, and really getting it right doubles the joy.  Giving six different presents that are just perfect multiplies that by six, and so, as you can see, I'm getting 12 times the enjoyment by giving six gifts.  Yeah, I know you've got space issues.  We did too when we were young parents, and once we made a grandma take a big plastic car back to her house for our kids to play with.  That's okay.  I don't mind if you leave some toys at my house - just let me give her some great stuff!

2. "We're going to Barbados this year for Christmas, so we won't be at your house."
All right.  I can live with that.  But, and here's the deal:  Christmas doesn't have to be on Christmas Day, but I want it sometime in the winter season.  I don't even mind coming to your house for a Christmas celebration sometime around Valentine's Day, but I want to see my grandchild open her gifts.  Every year.  Call me crazy.  Oh, and if you ever get rich, take old Grandma along on that beach trip, okay?

3. "Please don't feed our little sweetie anything but organic tofu and edamame."
Okay, Stephanie might be feeling a little persecuted on this one.  She's waiting until Grace is one before she has sweets.  I'm actually fine with this, although Papa is struggling.  He desperately wanted to give her a cookie last weekend.  Food allergies aside, if you've just decided that your child will grow up with nothing but the purest organic, locally-sourced, hand-picked veggies, and all I've got at my house when the grandkid is spending the night is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, I'm going with the mac and cheese.  If you tell me to try to limit the sweets to just one snack before bed, I can probably live with that, but please, let me indulge that little one just a bit. 

4. "We think little pumpkin looks just like his dad's side of the family."
Okay, you're right, little pumpkin does look something like her dad, but she's also the spitting image of her mom. In our family, we like to think that all the grandkids look most like our side of the family.  Weird, but true.

5. "We didn't figure you wanted new pictures of our little one this year, since we Skype all the time."
Grandparents' corollary #1: We always want pictures.  New pictures.  We would prefer a new one every day, but we'll take the Facebook updates for that.  However, we want printed ones every year.  If you haven't gotten studio pictures taken, no problem, just take out your cell phone, take some pictures, and print them up.  Buy a Walmart frame, and stick them in there.  We need pictures at our office, and to show our grandparent friends.  It's the cheapest gift you'll ever buy, and it makes us very, very happy.

6. "Oh, I didn't know that diaper was poopie when I asked you to check it!"  We've done our poopie diaper time in the poopie diaper trenches.  We'll do it, but we really don't like it any better than you do.  If a grandma tells you she loves cleaning up the poopie diapers, she's lying to you, or a better person than I.

In the interest of promoting good generational relationships, I hope you'll take to heart some of my ideas.  Remember, moms and dads, we're really crazy about your kids (and you too).  We want to spend time with them, and show them how much we love them.  Give us those things, and you've got built-in babysitters for a very long time. 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Not So Glamorous Side of Motherhood

Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach or get grossed out easily, stop reading. I warned you.

I always wanted to be a mom. I always dreamed about rocking my babies, playing with them, reading to them. I never thought about the grosser side of motherhood. I got a taste of it last night. And being a first time mom, I made a few mistakes along the way that I have certainly learned from.

Grace ate a great dinner of black beans and corn and then played happily for an hour or so before bedtime. We got her ready for bed, read our books and then gave her a bottle. She went down with no problems around 8:15 and I started to get some things done before getting ready for bed myself. I hadn't been feeling too well that day so I planned on going to bed early. Then, just as I was getting ready for bed at about 9:30, we heard an awful sound over the monitor. I don't think I've seen us run that fast before. Mike grabbed her out of her crib to find her covered in throw up. It was all over her crib and the floor around her. I quickly rushed her to the bathroom while Mike cleaned everything up. After a few minutes, she stopped vomiting and so I took her into the nursery and sat and cuddled her while Mike finished changing the sheets and getting everything in the washer. That was mistake #1. She proceeded to throw up again all over me, the glider and that corner of the nursery. I rushed into the bathroom again and stripped us both down. For the next hour, Grace and I sat in the bathtub while she vomited more times that I wanted to count. Mike cleaned yet again. After her vomiting had subsided, I took her into the shower with me to get us both cleaned up and after we were both dressed in warm, clean clothes, I cuddled her on the couch while Mike went to get pedialyte from the store.

Mistake #2, I gave her a sip of pedialyte because I was worried about getting her dehydrated. She was so tired by this point, it was about 11, that we laid her down and she fell right to sleep. She didn't have a fever and she was acting like herself, so we thought the worst was over. We breathed a sigh of relief and went to bed. I'm sure all of you more experienced moms know what's coming next, but remember this is the first time we've dealt with a sick kid so we had no clue! At 11:30, we hear the horrible sound yet again and rush to find that she had gotten sick again. I cuddled her while Mike cleaned up again and we had to wait for the 1st sheet to get out of the dryer because we only have 2 (note to self, get another crib sheet.) Finally at about 12:30 AM, we all got to sleep. I heard her once more coughing at about 3 AM so I went in but she didn't have anything in her stomach so she was just doing the painful dry heaving. Then she woke up at 6:45 AM screaming and acting really hungry. Since then, she has had 4 oz of pedialyte, 4 oz of formula and some applesauce. I'm reintroducing things slowly, but her stomach seems to have calmed down now. I felt so helpless watching her get sick over and over again. This is not a part of the motherhood that I had dreamed, sitting covered in vomit in the bathtub with my baby. But it's part of the deal, and I will gladly do it to help her feel better. She's still not feeling 100%, so we're taking it easy today. We've watched the Pixar Christmas specials on Netflix and sang tons of songs. Hopefully we can all get rest tonight!

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We have a winner!

The winner of the $25 gift card to Leo & Lyla was announced! Was it you?
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Decorating for Christmas

I love Christmas! I am so excited that this week is finally here. It did sneak up on me though, so our decorations didn't get put up until this past week.

Our Tree:

There are no presents under it. We know better. Grace would have a field day tearing up all of the wrapping that I spent hours doing last week.

The Mantle:

I love Willow Tree and Mike got me the Nativity Set two years ago. I love it, it's probably my favorite part of our decorations!

The Centerpiece:

I'm not the most creative person when it comes to decorating, but I'm happy with how it turned out. I took multiple ideas I saw on Pinterest and combined them.

Now I'm officially ready for Christmas!

It's your last day to enter to win $25 to Leo & Lyla. Get your entry in now! 
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Friday, December 16, 2011

The mandatory Santa picture

Last night, we went to Bass Pro Shop to get Grace's 1st picture with Santa. Little did we know that you have to get a "Santa Pass" to even be able to wait in line, and they were out of passes for the day. So back home we came. I was not happy that we had wasted 30 minutes and had gotten Grace all dressed up only to come back empty handed.

So Grace and I tried again today. We got to Bass Pro at 1:30, had to get a pass to get in line at 2 and finally got up to take her picture at around 2:30. It was a long wait and of course I didn't think about bringing in the stroller, so my arms were killing me after holding her for an hour straight! She weighs close to 23-24 lbs now. I was worried that after such a long wait, she would be grumpy. Luckily there were 2 little girls behind us in line who were doing a great job keeping her entertained, they clapped with her, tickled her and they all had a great time. Finally we got to the front of the line!

Santa was really nice, he told me how beautiful she was, and she went right to him! She was tired so I couldn't get her to smile, but she wasn't crying. So in my eyes, it was a successful trip. Here is the fruit of my labor today:

Not the best picture in the world, but it will be a cute momento for her baby book. I never believed in Santa growing up, so this was my first real Santa experience!

Have you taken your kids to go see Santa yet?

Don't forget to enter to win $25 to Leo & Lyla! Enter now!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things to appreciate when you're pregnant

I know lots of moms with babies Grace's age who are now pregnant again. And I will admit, it's made me extremely sentimental about being pregnant. And occasionally I find myself wanting another baby. But then I remember how much I disliked being pregnant. And how much work a newborn is. And how I am just now starting to get caught up on sleep again. That normally takes care of my temporary insanity!

However, there are many things I wish I would have appreciated more when I was pregnant. I was so sick and uncomfortable that I took many of the wonderful parts of being pregnant for granted!

1. People always hold the door open for pregnant women. Now, with a stroller and a diaper bag and who knows what else I'm trying to lug around, people just watch me try to fight to get in and out of doors. Rarely does anyone actually open it for me. I was out with a friend several months ago and we both had strollers. A man literally stood their watching us wrangle the strollers through the door while giving us angry looks. After we were in, he hurriedly walked out.

2. There are parking spaces for pregnant women. My grocery store, mall and local drugstore all have parking spaces reserved for "expectant mothers and families with newborns." I rarely used these when I was pregnant, but I did take advantage of them at the very end of my pregnancy. However, I now think they should make them wider and reserved for for families with kids. It is so much harder to wrangle a baby/toddler out of a car seat when your car is crammed into a tiny space. I have bumped my door into other cars before due to this and I actually had a lady yell at me once that I had banged up her car (there wasn't even a scratch.)

3. I know that you're really not "eating for 2" during pregnancy, but I never felt guilty about eating a little more junk food than normal when I was pregnant.

4. Baby showers. Ok this one might come off as selfish : ) This is the last time for most of us that we will get to have a party about us where people bring us gifts. I had my graduation party's, wedding showers and then baby showers. Yes, that does seem selfish but I enjoyed having the showers!

5. I miss the feeling of Grace kicking in my belly. I know her feet in my ribs often made me feel uncomfortable, but now that it's not there, I still miss it! 

I know someday eventually I will get pregnant again, so hopefully this post will serve as my reminder to enjoy it while it lasts!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 Months Old!


You are 11 months old today! You're looking more like a toddler every day and I can't believe in only one short month, you will be 1. I warn everyone, this post is video heavy!

You are changing every day and you have such a fun, loving personality! Here's my list for this month:
  • You're a bit of a goofball. You love making people laugh. You'll make funny faces and stick your tongue out just to get attention.
  • You said your first word this month! Mommy has to concede that your first word was indeed dada. As much as I wanted to deny it, you started yelling dada whenever you saw his picture or when he got home from work. I officially gave in when daddy went to take a shower and closed the door. When I took you in the living room, you wrestled out of my arms, quickly crawled to the door and started banging on it yelling at the top of your lungs "dada, dada!"
  • You have also said Doc Doc (for some reason we have always called him that, even though his name is just Doc.) It comes out more as Dac Dac but you certainly know who Doc is. You are trying to say Buddy too but it comes out more as Buody.

You love Doc and Buddy so much! 

  • You are cruising everywhere on furniture and you're a very fast crawler. You can stand on your own for a few seconds, but you're not confidant enough to let go. We think you'll be walking in the next month.
  • You are pretty independent (when you want to be.) Mommy tries to brush your teeth and this happens: 
  • Speaking of teeth, you now have 10. 8 front teeth and 2 side molars. The molars are both on one side, and we think the opposite 2 are on their way in now. You've really had a hard time with the molars, you had a constant fever, a nasty diaper rash and were generally pretty fussy. Mommy thinks that's why you wouldn't nap in your crib for so long. Luckily you're back to your normal naptime routine. 
  • Your new favorite things are computers. Anytime anyone is on one, you think you need to help. You bang the keys, move the laptop screen up and down, and even turn the computer off for daddy (he really appreciates that in the middle of his games!)
  • You love the ladybug that you are holding in this last picture. You carry it around everywhere with you and you love to sleep with your head next to it. 
  • You are in almost all 12-18 month clothes now because you are so tall.
  • You sleep through the night now every night!
  • You figured out how to clap this month and you love to clap along to music!

  •  You make the funniest noise right now which we think is you trying to give kisses. If we start making the kissing noise, you do it back to us. It's adorable.

And now the countdown begins for your birthday. We love you baby girl.

~Mommy and Daddy

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