Oh Baby Girl, I can't really believe you're ten months old. I realize I say that every single month, but it's true! Ten months ago, you were this little teeny baby who couldn't even hold her head up, and now you're this independent little girl!
In the last month, you've started clapping! It actually just happened in the last couple of days. You'll clap when we do and also when you do something that makes you happy (turning on a toy, some music, etc.). Your daddy noticed that you're clapping by bringing your left hand to your right--is it possible you'll be left-handed? Mommy and Daddy will have to enlist the help of your aunt and uncle to show you how to write and cut with your left hand, if so!
You also have started to shake your head "no". We don't think it's actually that you're saying no, though--it happens more often when you're dancing to some music or just generally being silly. You've also started shaking your head when Mommy and Daddy do, too. For now, it's adorable, but I'm not sure if it will be so cute when we're trying to scold you. Oh, let's face it, it'll still be cute...but might be frustrating!
You love music and books so much. You're a lot like Mommy and Daddy (music for both, books for Mommy) in that respect. You love to dance to music by bouncing while standing. You're a busy, busy girl, but if we give you a few books, you'll actually stay in one place for a few minutes, turning the pages and sometimes giving the babies in the book kisses (big, wet, tongue kisses).
Speaking of kisses, you're great at giving kisses. Yes, they might be a bit wet and you might tend to stick your tongue in Mommy and Daddy's mouths, but it's obvious that you're trying to kiss us. You also love when Daddy tries to have you blow kisses to Mommy before he takes you to bed. You always giggle as he puts your hand to your mouth.
This month you've also really found your balance and stand upright without holding onto anything much of the time. One time you even stood up from a crawling position without pulling up on anything!
You are so close to walking...you'll hold onto our fingers and walk, but aren't brave enough to try it while not holding on! I know we'll get there soon enough. Soon you'll realize that you could do it if you wanted to and once that happens, look out! You'll be running soon after you start walking (once you figure out it's quicker to walk than to crawl!).
This past week you discovered the stairs. Within two days, you figured out how to scale the steps like a pro and can now get up three of them before we can get to you! We've been trying to teach you how to come back down safely, but you aren't really interested in that part.
You also got your first tooth this month! Your bottom left tooth showed up with no fanfare and Mommy and Daddy thought that meant they would all be pretty easy. Unfortunately, you seem to be getting a few more (at least the bottom right and possibly the 2nd bottom left and maybe your top two) and your sleep has begun to suffer for it. You chew on your fingers (and everything else) really hard, trying to work those teeth through your gums.
The only thing about you this month (and most others!) that hasn't been so pleasant is your sleep (or lack thereof). We had gotten into a great groove with bedtime and were able to put you down awake most nights and you'd suck your thumb and fall asleep. Now, though, you need to be completely asleep before we can lay you down and even then sometimes you'll pop your little head up--sometimes crying and sometimes grinning ear to ear. Mommy and Daddy can deal with the waking once (or twice) a night, but this bedtime stuff is pretty painful. We all can tell you're obviously tired, so just let yourself sleep, please!
I had to mention the sleeping, but feel I need to also tell you what an absolute joy you are. I could watch you play for hours. Unless Mommy or Daddy has something you want (the laptop, a remote, a cell phone), you are really pretty independent and can entertain yourself with your toys as well as some of the things around the house (the bookcase, the armoire--really anything you can pull up on). You're quick with a smile and giggle pretty easily. You're friendly with strangers and now even sometimes smile at them in the stores instead of just staring. You are fascinated by other kids and just a pleasure to be around all the time. I love to watch you grow and change, even though I do want to hold onto my baby for awhile longer. I'm not ready for you to be a one year old!
I'd like to start doing a weekly post to tell you about thrifty ideas that I have. I've been called a "coupon queen" by a lot of people, but there are thrifty (but not crazy) things you can do other than using coupons (although I'll probably give some couponing tips, too). You know I'm a busy lady and my top priority is Baby Girl, so I'm not going to tell you things that will take a ton of your time, either.
The first topic I'd like to cover is cooking things to go into the freezer. I've tried to get into freezer cooking, but haven't done a lot of it. But this past weekend, I did some a bit and I think it's going to help a lot in the future. I went to the grocery store on Sunday morning and found big packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.99/lb. (they've actually been on sale for $1.79/lb at Kroger recently, but I didn't go there this week and in the interest of saving time, $1.99/lb is a great price--I always aim for around $2/lb for chicken when I'm stocking up). I went home and found that some of the meat I'd purchased the previous week (we ended up eating out more than planned because of Baby Girl's weird sleeping) was a manager's special (meaning it was close to expiring) and needed to be cooked up before the night we were planning on using it.
We were grilling out that evening (the grilled hawaiian pizza--it was delicious!), so I had The Hubby also cook up some other meat. I had: 1 package of garlic brats (purchased for just over $2), 2 tubes of ground sirloin (low fat cut of beef--purchased for just over $2/lb--I bought 10 tubes and put them straight in the freezer (we'd thawed two tubes for planned use last week)!), and the chicken. One meal we're having this week calls for already-cooked chicken and another is for uncooked chicken. I pulled out the amount we needed for the meal using uncooked chicken and had The Hubby grill the rest of the chicken and the brats up while the grill was heated for the pizzas.
We also cooked up all two pounds of the ground sirloin and made it into taco meat (we plan to have one meal of tacos this week). We put one pound into a Tupperware container, then put the other pound into a freezer bag and put it in the freezer for future use. If more was thawed, I would have cooked more and frozen that as well.
We then put a couple of the grilled chicken breasts into a baggie to go into the refrigerator, then I sliced up the rest and put it into a freezer bag and put it into the freezer.
We used the brats last night for dinner.
This is really helpful in both saving money and time on the weeknights. We did all this preparation in less than a hour and that also included cleaning up toys, cleaning the kitchen and preparing the pizzas for grilling and now we have over a pound of chicken in the freezer, a pound of taco meat, and also had meat for three meals this week cooked, so all we have to do is reheat it. You can buy your meat when it's very cheap, cook it up, and freeze it if you don't think you'll get to use it right away just by cooking when you're already cooking other things.
There's also a part two to freezer cooking--making entire meals (specifically casseroles) and freezing them for use later. If you're already making a meal, why not make a double (or triple!) batch and freeze some for use later. I haven't done a lot of this, but hope to in the future. One of my friends suggests Shepherd's Pie as a great candidate for this sort of preparation. We also made some freezer meals before Baby Girl came along and were able to reheat quickly once she was here.
So that's my first installation to Thrifty Thursday. What other topics would you like me to cover? Do you do any freezer cooking? If so, what is your favorite recipe to make for freezing?
Baby Girl is probably less than 2 weeks from walking. This weekend she REALLY got into cruising (she'd already done it some, but I think really saw the value in it this weekend). Then yesterday she was down on the floor and stood up without pulling up on anything. Eek! There were also a few times when she was holding onto something (her Exersaucer, the stairwell bannister) and she'd lean toward something and think about stepping toward it. The Hubby and I thought she'd just take off, but both times she'd drop down and crawl. I am SO not ready for this!!!
Teeth! Last night in the car on the way home, I reached my hand back to her carseat, stuck my finger in her mouth, and found something sizeable and sharp. I *still* can't see it, but there's at least one in there. She won't let me in there enough to see what I'm feeling, so I peek a little and feel a little. But they are there.
Unrelatedly (or is it related???), we've had a couple of good nights of sleep once she gets there. Bedtime has still been fairly rough (I've nursed her to sleep most nights this week), but the overnight has been really pretty good. Last night, for instance, she passed out around 6:45 (tried nursing her at 6:20 and she refused--I think she was too awake and knew she'd fall asleep) and DH took her upstairs. She woke up a little less than an hour later and I went up and rocked her back to sleep. From there, she slept until 4:30! 4-freaking-thirty, folks! Even if we count that as a full waking (which I don't typically count), she slept for almost NINE HOURS straight! Even better, she went back to sleep after eating at 4:30 and slept until almost 7. She woke up happy. Beautiful morning. Ahhhh...
I'm going to be setting a fire here at my house. If you see the flames, don't call 911--I promise I'll keep it all (mostly) under control.
We had a rough night last night. In my blog post, I said she'd calmed down. Well, she did...until she was put in her crib again. I know she was horribly overtired. It was awful. We ended up just bringing her downstairs to see what she would do. She crawled around like it was two o'clock in the afternoon. She was happy and playing around. Which is why no one other than us sees when she's tired--she doesn't get cranky until you try to get her to sleep.
We let her play. And play. Eventually, I picked her up and read to her while I rocked gently. She sort of rolled toward me and sucked her thumb. I knew she was ready, but she didn't seem to think so. I rocked a bit more. When she realized my motives, she wasn't happy. But I held her like I did when she was little and we rocked. I snuggled her close to me, on her right side, so she could suck her left thumb. I held her close to my chest, patted her perfect little bum, and whispered "shh" to her when she'd start to fuss. She finally succumbed to the soothing and fell asleep at 9. I let her sleep there with me for about 45 minutes before The Hubby took her upstairs. This time she didn't wake until 3:30 a.m.
After this experience, I had to figure out why it was happening. I needed answers. Like any person who loves learning like I do, I read. I read anything I could find on the subject of baby sleep. I turned to the book that my sister-in-law and several friends swear by. I read a section geared specifically toward babies 5 months to one year. I even found a paragraph that described all the symptoms Baby Girl was exhibiting, to the letter. I was so excited--maybe he knew the answer to our problem!
As I read, though, it became apparent that the author wrote this book as literature for families with only one working parent. I had noticed it before--the mentions of "the working parent"--but didn't think much of it. But then I read that paragraph and knew that he was only interested in dealing with families with one parent working. Families where a baby can be put to bed at 5 p.m. And if you're not one of those families, you're officially being selfish.
Sure, there's about 3 pages toward the back that is specifically for dual-working parents. It says that if you can't be flexible enough to get your child to bed when s/he needs it, you're being selfish. It insinuates that all families where both parents work are doing too much on the weekends and aren't allowing their children to get the sleep they need. It equates us to withholding food from our child, without knowing our situation. Without knowing that we both HAVE to work and that our schedules cannot be adjusted and that we cannot physically get this child home from the sitter's before 5:30, but that we still put her to bed pretty much immediately after getting home, even though neither of us spends time with her during the week. Without knowing that we don't really go anywhere on the weekends, either, to allow her to sleep in her crib as needed. He suggests that we should be having the sitter feed the child if we cannot get home early enough to do everything we need to before bed. We could do that, but we still couldn't meet his 5 p.m. uber-early bedtime that he says my baby needs because she's so overtired. And therefore, we're bad parents.
Well doctor, we got the kid home at 4 today. We had dinner at 5:15, she was nursed starting at 5:45 (where she immediately passed out), and she was in bed by 6:05. Yes, it was obvious to us, too, that she needed it. But today was an anomaly. The Hubby got out of work early to take care of some other things and was able to rescue pick up Baby Girl from the sitter's, where she was hanging out in her bed with toys and a bottle, but was expected to be sleeping. And the sitter wonders why she isn't napping there anymore. If I had toys and food in my bed, I wouldn't be sleeping, either. But we're going to work on that. Or find a new sitter.
You know what, though? I'm tired of reading that book, of having it suggested that we're doing something wrong by working. That maybe we shouldn't have had this child if we both have to work and have to live further from work than we'd like. So I'm going to set it ablaze. I've taken the batteries out of the smoke alarms and bought the marshmallows. I'm going to make some s'mores on this fire...but I'm sure I won't get to eat them because as soon as they're assembled, she'll wake up.
Here I sit in my recliner. I was hoping to go to book club tonight, but I guess it's not going to happen now.
Baby girl was rubbing her eyes from the second we picked her up. She just hasn't been napping well at the sitter's, which is leading to a shaky evening, at best. We got take-out for dinner and got her home, fed her, and I sat down and nursed her. She was closing her eyes while eating, so we figured she'd be sleepy right away. After I was done nursing her, The Hubby scooped her up like normal, took her upstairs like normal, read her her story like normal, rocked her like normal...and then she fought it. She wasn't interested in going to sleep early...or, really, at all. He fought with her for about 15 minutes, twice laying her down only to have her wake back up and scream. He eventually retreated downstairs.
We let her cry for five. long. minutes. Longest five minutes of my life. He soothed her, laid her back down. She woke back up. He came back downstairs and we sat and listened to her scream. After awhile, he got back up to get her. I told him I would go, but he just said he'd do it (not necessarily in the nicest way, though...). She's up there screaming at him. I know in my heart that she'd calm down better for me. She's been really attached recently, you see. I've been able to soothe her much more easily. I want to go up and help him, to get her to calm down, but know I need to let him handle it. Or do I? Does he resent the fact that he's the one up there? Will he feel undermined if I come up? Or will he want the break? I don't know what to do.
While I've been writing, though, she's calmed down. I suspect he's tempted to spend the night in the rocking chair with her. I know I would be.
What happened to my baby who, while she didn't sleep through the night, would at least go down without a fight in the evenings? The last 4 nights have been horrible--her crying, me crying, lots of hair pulling, her pushing away from both of us, her chewing on her hand... Like I've said before, I hope to hell this is teeth. I've been hoping for teeth to be the answer for over 6 months now. I'm so damned tired of this--this battle.
Because last weekend was taken over by birthday celebrations for The Hubby, we postponed Mother's Day and celebrated yesterday (Sunday, May 16th). I didn't have any expectations for the day, really, just wanted to have a nice day with my favorite girl and her Daddy.
I was awakened, as usual, by a crying baby just before 6:00 a.m. I got up and fed my sweet girl and when we were done, her daddy took her downstairs and let me sleep. I actually didn't think I'd be able to fall back asleep after being awake for a half hour, but I did and I slept until they came and woke me up just before 9:00. They brought me breakfast in bed (McDonald's! A hash brown, orange juice, and an Egg McMuffin (with the folded, scrambled egg instead of the one with the yolk and white separated--just the way I like it!)). While eating breakfast, I found out that The Hubby had gotten a call from work while I was sleeping and he took Baby Girl to work with him. He wore her while helping his student workers install some theatre lighting. That was the best present--not being woken up to take care of the baby while he went to work.
We fought with Baby Girl to take a nap (as would become the theme of the day), then she was down for a little while. During that time, I was given my gift--a Knifty Knitter kit and a storage bag for my knitting needles. Even though I already know how to knit, it was a neat gift. I ended up knitting an entire winter hat yesterday just in during downtime.
After naptime, Baby Girl ate (pasta--yum!), then we went to the grocery together, all three of us. It was a fairly quick trip, but nice to have some company this time. We got back home and it was time for another nap...and another fight. After trying to get her to nap for almost an hour, we just brought her back downstairs and let her play. After awhile, it was time for her to nurse anyway, where she promptly fell asleep. I was able to transfer her to my shoulder, where she slept for 45 minutes. Best. Feeling. Ever. She got back up, we played for awhile, had dinner, then it was bedtime. Bedtime was even rough, but she eventually got to sleep.
The Hubby and I just hung out together and watched TV for the rest of the night.
It was a really nice, relaxing day--just what I needed. Made it that much harder to come back to work today, though. I miss my girl, but hope like hell that she's napping for the sitter (which she hasn't been doing recently).
Happy (belated) Mother's Day to all you mommies out there, whether mommies of furbabies, little babies, big babies, or mommies-in-waiting. Love you all and please know that what you do for your babies is appreciated, even if you never hear it enough.
After my little freak-out the other day, I started taking steps to try to be sure my supply doesn't diminish too much and am happy to report that it seems to be working (for today, at least). I've been making sure to pump every night before bed, drinking at least 3 mugs of Mother's Milk tea each day, and drinking at least 64 oz of water a day (usually much more).
Back when I was losing weight, it wasn't abnormal for me to drink 100 oz of water. Now, though, I have to make a conscious effort to get in the 64 oz. But I'm doing it and today I was back up to pumping almost 12 ounces. Who knows if this will be an every day occurrence, but at least I got that for one more day. We're still hanging in there!
This past weekend my parents came up to hang out to celebrate The Hubby's birthday and then to babysit Baby Girl while we went out to dinner. Up until now, my dad has sort of kept his distance from Baby Girl--I think he was afraid he'd break her and wasn't sure what to do with her. Now that she's mobile and much less fragile, though, he's all over playing with her. After we had cake, I looked over and Baby Girl was on my dad's lap with a bowl of Cheer.ios (my parents seem to think she's always hungry...now I know why I've always had weight problems!). I walked over and my dad said, "She just fed me a Cheer.io". I didn't really know what he meant until he showed me. He said, "Can I have one?" and she picked it up with her amazingly skillfull little fingers and placed it into his open mouth. The Hubby and I have gotten her to repeat it on us, too. So cute!!
I might be a bit melodramatic, but I fear that breastfeeding is coming to an end for us. For the first 6 months or so back to work, I was getting 12-16 ounces a day, depending on if she ate overnight, etc. I'm now down to 9-10 ounces and haven't experienced any real fullness in awhile. No, it's not horrible and I'm fully able to keep up with her daytime needs by pumping before bed, but I just feel like it's going to be my body that falters before Baby Girl gives it up, which makes me so sad. We both love our nursing time together and I know she's going to miss it when it's time. Lots of people have been asking when I'd be done with nursing and I couldn't come up with a timeline--I wanted to keep nursing as long as Baby Girl would have it, but it seems like it's going to be my body that ends it.
Yes, I'm probably getting ahead of myself--she was fine over the weekend and didn't need bottles or anything, so it's not getting that drastic yet. I'm just getting anxious, realizing that this phase of our journey is slowly coming to an end. I'm fighting with all my might to hold on, though. I'm pumping at least 3 times a day at work and once before bed at home. I'm drinking my Mother's Milk tea, drinking lots of water, and eating as much oatmeal as I feel I can. I just fear I'm fighting a losing battle--not that that's going to stop me.
We've been nursing for over nine months now (yay us!), but baby girl has started to hurt me again. I haven't felt pain like this since that first month. I think it's a combination of two things: 1) side-lying nursing (we have a hard time getting a properly placed latched, but it's SO convenient for middle-of-the-night feedings, which we're doing twice a night now) and 2) her getting distracted but forgetting she's still attached. Ouch. She'll go to look at something and clamp down with her gums or lips and pull away. I'm actually in a lot of pain, even just when moving around or something. Hopefully sitting up to nurse each time and holding her closer and paying more attention to her latch will help. For now, though, I will be popping some extra Advil!
I know the last time you heard from me (besides my meal planning post), I wasn't doing so well. I really appreciate the comments that you left and your good thoughts.
Things are better, but not really because of anything I've done. I just got home that night and really realized how hard DH is trying. It's not like he's being lazy--he just has so much on his plate with work and some home things. He does care about baby girl's sleeping, eating, etc. And I did make a comment to him about how I feel like I have to do and thinking about it all and he just said, "yep". He sounded upset about it, but since then I feel like he's making a real effort to help me keep track of things and making some of the decisions.
Oh, and to respond to Liz's questions...no, he doesn't get paid any extra for all the weekend and evening work. He actually has to tell people when he's purposefully taking Saturday and/or Sunday off (like he did this past weekend). He's salary and gets paid the same amount whether he works 40 hours or 100. And it's just the expectation that he'll be available whenever anyone needs anything unless he tells them otherwise. He's the go-to guy around there. It's frustrating for both of us, but he doesn't feel like he can do anything about it right now. He is trying to train other people so they can answer calls and do things on their own, so hopefully it will get better soon...
So we're trying. And it's gotten better for now. Hopefully we can keep communicating. I know I tend to shut down when I get frustrated and just take it all on myself. I feel like if I have to make the effort to tell him what I need, I may as well just do it myself. But I'm working on that.
(originally scheduled for 5/1--not sure why it didn't post then)
I won a fantastic photography shoot giveaway through Two Peas in a Pod Designs for a shoot with Britt Lakin. I knew Britt already through a message board, but had never met her in person. We had a fantastic time--she's so fun! It was such a great experience to be able to get some photos of all three of us, too.
While there, however, we had a bit of a mishap. Baby girl was up on a step and Daddy had stepped back to allow for the shot. Baby girl didn't realize how big the step was and fell off of it onto her face. It wasn't anyone's fault at all, but was still pretty scary for all of us! She was fairly fussy for the rest of the shoot, but once we headed home, she perked right up and never really seemed to notice her boo boo after that. But this is what we looked at for the next 5 days or so:
I'm tired. I'm tired of Baby Girl's sleep getting worse. I'm tired of feeling like I'm the only one taking care of her. I'm tired of only talking to my husband long enough each day to fight with him. I'm tired of fighting with him. I'm tired of him having to run into work when we're supposed to be spending time together. I'm tired of pretending that that's okay. I'm tired of not being able to see an end to this situation.
I'm tired of trying to be proactive with Baby Girl's sleep. I'm tired of feeling like I'm the only one who really cares about how she sleeps. I'm tired of being the only one impacted when she doesn't sleep. I'm tired of being afraid to admit that she's slept the last 3 hours of the last 2 nights in our bed. I'm tired of feeling like the only good sleep we get is when she's in our bed. I'm tired.
I'm tired of not having enough time to do what I want. I'm tired of not having enough energy to do what I need.
I'm tired of coming to work. I'm tired of coming to work to find that I have no personal relationships anymore. I'm tired of then turning to the people in my computer for 8 hours a day because I have no one else to talk to. I'm tired of not being able to focus on my work.
I'm tired of worrying. I'm tired of thinking. I'm tired of trying to hold my household together with virtually no help. I'm tired of feeling guilty when I do take a break. I'm tired of looking at all the dirt and mess around the house. But I'm too tired to do anything about it. I'm tired of, when The Husband finally does give me a break, having a child who has become so accustomed to having mommy come crawling over and pulling up on mommy's laptop. I'm tired of having to be the mean one. I'm tired of having to be the one who decides what we're having for dinner, then cooking it while Daddy gets to play. I'm tired of not really want to play, either, though.
More than anything, I'm tired of feeling like a failure at everything. I'm tired of feeling stretched so thin that I can't give my all to any one thing in my life.
This past week baby girl had started trying to stand on her own for a couple of seconds. Today, though, she has stood by herself for at least 15 seconds a time a few times. She starts laughing and eventually tumbles into my lap. Cutest.thing.ever.
I am SO not ready for this...the doctor said once she started this, walking isn't that far away. Eek!