Hand In Hand

Hand In Hand

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you, The Disheartened and Jessica for the nomination! I'm not used to getting blog nominations and sometimes, I just think people skip over my blog, since it really isn't always the most interesting! I appreciate the love TONS!

Here are the rules:
1.) Winners- Put the above image in your blog.
2.) Include a link back to the person who gave it to you.
3.) Tell 10 things about yourself
4.) Award 15 other bloggers
5.)Contact the bloggers you awarded and let them know they won.
So, I put the picture there right in the beginning of this blog. AND, I linked back to the two awesome women who nominated me. Now, for ten things about me...
1. I still consider my doggie to be my "firstborn." I know, it's not the same, but fur babies are babies and she was my first one. Shhh! We won't tell Isabella!

2. My husband actually chose our daughter's name. I was really leaning towards "Azaria." I think it's a beautiful name and it means "Helped by God." I thought it seemed perfect for my child after all I had been through, but we had four names on the list and in order to secure the middle name "Joy," I let Hubby choose her first name, Isabella.

3. I'm a teacher and I LOVE my job. Regardless of how bad things are politically in New Jersey at the moment, my students are my job and I love them.

4. My husband and I met at our first real teaching job. He's a music teacher and I'm a special education teacher. It was almost love at first sight. I just had to stop denying how I felt about him.

5. I play the flute. In fact, I played at the Earth Day assembly at my school on Wednesday and ended up with my picture in the county newspaper.

6. I'm in love with nature, mainly the spring flowers. I just love to go for walks on warm spring mornings and evenings with my camera in tow so I can take pictures of the blossoms on the trees and the flowers in full bloom in the gardens.

7. I'm a quilter. I haven't yet made a quilt for my daughter, though I plan on doing that this summer. I have made other baby quilts and have a few to make for my new mommy and mommy-to-be friends.

8. I used to work at a camp called "Mt. Misery." For real, that's really the name of the United Methodist Camp. Google it. It's an awesome place with a very quirky name.

9. I went to an all women's college, Georgian Court University (it was still a college back then). In order to get some men around, we "imported" them from the military base. One of my dearest friends is one of those military guys.

10. I have almost no sweet tooth. It died when I got pregnant with Isabella and hasn't really returned. I guess it's really not a bad deal.

Now, the nominees (in no specific order):

1. Christina from The Subfertile Frugalista
2. Jennifer at Thoughts From a Blonde
9. Journey Girl at Donor Eggs Journey
10. ~Sabine~ from A Land Far Away
11. Catrisha T at Baby Dreams
12. The Mrs. from In God's Hands
14. Olivia from Traveling Within

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Few Lessons Learned on Planet Mom

There are a thousand lessons a mom learns on her first adventure in parenthood. And certainly, I can't write them all down. I don't know most of them, since I haven't yet learned some of those lessons. But I thought I would share some of those lessons with you. Some are comical, some are personal, some are just common sense. Enjoy!

Lesson 1: Sleep has a new-found value. Yes, I thought it was best to start with this one. The truth is that you will still get sleep as a mom. But you won't get as much sleep as you used to and it often is broken sleep, with a baby waking up in the middle of the night. Again, not a big deal, you still get sleep, but sleep takes on new value. Being a mom is exhausting and it's always good to have those extra moments to nap.

Lesson 2: You're time is not your own anymore. Yes, you may still have a few moments of "me time." But it just isn't the same. Your time is spent doing laundry for the baby, giving the baby a bath, nursing, feeding the baby breakfast, lunch, or dinner, playing with the baby, cuddling with the baby, or rocking the baby to sleep. Yes, those few moments of "me time" are usually spent driving to work, getting a shower, or letting Daddy play with the baby.

Lesson 3: You can NEVER have enough baby clothes. Okay, my loving and very frugal husband would definitely not agree with that statement. But it's true, especially for baby girls. They need such a beautiful wardrobe filled with dresses, rompers, jumpers, leggings, athletic pants, khakis, jeans, onesies (short and long sleeved), t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, socks, hair bows, jackets, etc...you get the idea. There can never be enough. Everything out there is just too darn cute!

Lesson 4: Babies want to spend a lot of time with Mommy. There are moments when I would just love for Isabella to want her daddy. But the reality is that she wants to spend a lot of time with me. Sometimes, it's just sitting on the floor playing with her and that's all she wants. Other times, it's a soft place to sleep and loving arms to rock her to sleep. But it's a lot of time spent with Mommy.

Lesson 5: Sleep deprivation is a natural thing and you learn to work through it. Yes, I never thought I would say that. But I get a lot less sleep now than before I had Isabella and somehow, my body has adjusted to it and it's fine. But, of course, I still get 6+ hours of sleep a night, so it's not full sleep deprivation. 

Lesson 6: Ear infections+teething=a very unhappy baby. Okay, that's common sense. I just had to add it in. It was a miserable weekend when the ear infection was in full force. Thankfully, it's gone and the first tooth is working its way in (just broke the gums today).

Lesson 7: A smile from your baby can make everything feel okay. Maybe you had a bad day at work. Maybe you're just feeling sad or depressed. Who knows what's going on with each of us day to day. But I know that when I'm not feeling fabulous, Isabella gives me that Hollywood smile (I know, an eight-month old can give a Hollywood smile? Really? Yes!) and it just melts my heart. It makes everything all better, even if it's just for the moment.

Lesson 8: Strangers are going to admire your baby (and not always from their own personal space). There are too many dirty, germy hands that reach out for my baby because they want to admire her. It's just I need to teach adults about personal space and the rule of "if it's not yours, don't touch it!" They will feel the need to "pet" your baby's head, touch their feet, and try to hold their hand. Yes, it happens quite often and I am irritated by people's lack of personal space.

Lesson 9: Your post-baby body is still beautiful, baby pooch and all. I know, this is a hard lesson to listen to. But it's true. There is nothing more beautiful than the body of a woman who brought life into this world. That kangaroo pouch is a beautiful thing, just think of the purpose it served! Of course, it helps to be even more beautiful when you put that beautiful baby in your arms. It's like arm candy!

Lesson 10: Time goes too quickly during the first year. Everyone says this and we all nod our heads and say "Sure it does." But seriously, it does. I am at a loss for where time has gone. It has flown by, too quickly, much too quickly. Write down everything, take lots of pictures, too, because the time just goes by too quickly.

Lesson 11: All moms need mom friends who know what they are experiencing. I could not have embarked on this adventure alone. It has been so important to me to have friends who have babies Isabella's age or just a little older who know what I'm going through. Their knowledge and wisdom has been so important to me.

Lesson 12: That beautiful hair you gained in pregnancy? Gone. Yep, gone. I lost so much hair around 2-3 months postpartum. Now, I have these annoying baby fuzzies on the top of my head, right around the front of the hair line. My hair is not as lustrous or full as it was during pregnancy. My husband still says it's beautiful, but it isn't what it was nine months ago.

Lesson 13: Anything that makes noise can help distract an angry baby. I love that I can distract Isabella with my cell phone, the dog's squeakie toys, or any of her rattles. She can get moody, but I can easily get her attention on something new instead of whatever was making her mad before.

Lesson 14: Everyone will offer advice on every situation. Some pieces of advice are great. Other pieces of advice are not worth much. The best piece of advice I was ever given was that not all advice given to me would be worth my time. But everyone, even those friends without children, think they know everything. They have been there, tried that, done that, and experienced that. They have the answer for this problem and that problem. Just take it all in and decide what applies to you.

Lesson 15: Quality spouse time can be hard to find. This isn't always the case, but especially with ear infections, teething, and hungry babies, it can be hard to find time to really enjoy quiet time with your spouse. 

Lesson 16: Put away those pretty trinkets that dangle around your neck. Yes, I mean your bling. It becomes an excellent pulling toy for the baby. Isabella LOVES necklaces. Mommy doesn't wear them, so she loves to be held by anyone wearing them. She pulls on them, chews on them, and loves the feeling of the chains on between her fingers. But if it's an expensive piece of jewelry, you may not want to wear it for a while.

Lesson 17: You will gain an infinite amount of patience dealing with a baby. Maybe you didn't think it was possible to have the patience of a saint. But have a baby and you'll learn that you'll gain it quickly. It can be very frustrating taking care of a fussy baby, especially when you don't know why they are fussy. But sometimes, all it takes it a lot of patience and a lot of love (plus some gas drops, Tylenol, or cuddling) to help ease the grumpiness.

Lesson 18: Your adventures are endless, as there are always new things to do. Isabella is getting into more and more things and yet, she isn't even crawling yet! Imagine the adventures once she starts crawling and then walking! We've already had a lot of adventures and she is so much fun. There are so many more adventures just waiting around the corner!

Lesson 19: Taking an adventure with your spouse (even to the grocery store) without the baby is a DATE. Okay, so maybe not a trip to the grocery store, but any time you can get out without the baby, it's a date! And it really doesn't happen that often if you're like me and want to soak up every moment you can with your baby.

Lesson 20: Babies make the world a much happier place. This needs no explanation. It just is true!

Those are my lessons learned. And of course, there are so many more to share, but I'll leave you with those 20 lessons for now! Thanks for reading them all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ear Infections, Teething, and My Little Princess

I know, I know, I'm a slacker and haven't posted for a while. Lots has been going on, keeping me very busy and unable to really get on here to post anything. 

We survived Isabella's first ear infection! It was NOT easy. She was running a fever two weeks ago, so we called the triage line for our pediatrian. They weren't too concerned about it and told us to just keep a watch on it. So we did. The fever broke and we thought nothing of it. Then, two weekends ago, she wouldn't nurse. In fact, she pretty much lost her appetite and would just scream and cry at the drop of a hat. We would lay her down. She'd cry. I'd try to nurse. She'd cry. I'd try to feed her some baby food. She's cry. We were at a loss. She was really gassy, so I just chalked it up to the gas and teething. An entire weekend of this went by with no change. So we got her in for a sick baby visit and sure enough, she had an ear infection. She had lost weight because of what the pediatrician called "Baby Anorexia." I call it a modified nursing strike. She's been on antibiotics for over a week and it's made all the difference. The old Isabella is back and it's nice to have her back! My milk production took a serious nose dive from her ear infection. In fact, my cycles started again because of her nursing strike. But my milk production has increased in the last few days, so hopefully, we're fully on the rebound. She's now up to 16.19 pounds. I'm sure she would weigh more if she didn't have that nasty middle ear infection. 

Now, the teething. Ugh...those teeth are still not in! The bottom two are trying to push through the gums. In fact, the tooth bud for the lower right side is working on coming it. You can feel it and see it clearly, but still no teeth. She's wanting to chew on EVERYTHING. She wants to massage her gums with anything she can get her hands on. Not always a good thing. She decided tonight to chew on the TV remote! That's a no-no for sure!

As for everything else, things are going well. Isabella is such a little ham. She knows when the camera is out and she'll pose. I know, an 8-month-old who poses? Come on. Well, I'm serious! Here are a few pictures to leave you with. I'll try to post a better, longer post this weekend. But we'll see how busy Izzy keeps me!