Thursday, November 29, 2007

Superdad to the Rescue

After JD was born, Jon and I agreed (after the first month) that during the week, I would get up in the middle of the night with JD and that he would handle the weekends. I understood this policy because Jon still has to get up during the week to go to work and actually function as a human being. Plus, when we first agreed to it, JD was blissfully sleeping through the night (yes, he started sleeping 8-10 hours a night at 5 weeks).

Around 6 months of age, that all came to a stop. Apparently anything and everything can cause a baby's sleep patterns to change on a dime. For JD, he has sprouted some new teeth, had his first stomach virus, started solid foods and started crawling - all very good reasons to stop sleeping at night, according to all the parent research sites. It is hit or miss every night whether he is going to make it all night or not. And JD never adjusted to the daylight savings time change. He gets up at 5:30 am every day (sometimes earlier), ready to start his day.

I actually get stressed out about it. I am sleeping really terrible because I just know as soon as I drift asleep, JD is going to wake up. So I never actually get into a deep sleep anymore. And as luck would have it, JD tends to wake up in the night during weekdays and not on weekends. So I have been on baby night duty a lot recently. Add that to the early mornings and I am starting to turn into a slightly sleep-deprived grouch.

This morning, I was bleary eyed and sleepy at 5:30 after getting up at 2:00 am to settle JD back down. My super-sweet husband offered to get up with JD and give him his breakfast bottle while I snoozed a bit. I responded to his kind offer by hitting my head back down on the pillow and falling immediately back to sleep.

JD and Daddy played for about an hour and Jon brought JD in, all sleepy and ready to take a nap. So Mommy and JD both got to take a nap until 7:45! Best morning in a long time!! It is amazing how little acts of kindness like this can make a whole day better!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful for Thanksgiving

I am certainly blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with two families on two different days this year.

We started off at my family's on Friday with family pictures! This was quite the adventure with four grandkids - two under 1 year old. The last I heard we were going to need to photoshop a different head of JD since he was the only one not looking at the camera at the same time. He definitely has a hard time smiling in different situations. Oh well.

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch with all the traditional Thanksgiving foods and enjoyed talking and catching up with my Aunt Jan, Uncle Ivan and my cousin Mystee. JD loves playing with the girls. They are so entertaining! Emma (who is 6) sings and plays with him, Ellie (almost 2) keeps him on his toes by stealing his toys back ("mine" is a big word for her right now) and Marin (5 weeks younger) who is just entranced by JD and can't stop smiling at him. We ended the day by watching Ratatouille together.

Jon and I did some cooking that night to get ready for the next day with his family - a casserole, chocolate trifle and greeen beans. I had to pack up too to get ready to bring JD over to his family's house. We brought the pack n play for naps, the Johnny Jump Up and a bag full of toys, not to mention all of the necessities - diapers, formula, baby food, etc.

We got up bright and early to make the 1 hour trek up to the compound (Jon's family's place). We were the first ones there because Jon was so excited about getting the guys started on the football game. People started to trickle in and/or wake up and the guys braved the wet and cold weather to start their game.

The womenfolk stayed behind to set up for dinner. Everyone's food was delicious! We set up the two tables in the living room and laid out the spread. The guys came in with only two injuries (Daniel had pulled a muscle and Solomon turned his ankle) and ready to eat.

We had a surprise announcement during our Thanksgiving prayer from David and Suzanne, who are expecting a little one next May!! Yay! More cousins for JD! We are so happy for them!

After dinner and dessert, we cleared out the room and enjoyed some music by Gerry, Hannah, Solomon, Sarah and Mercy. JD enjoyed playing with all of his aunts and uncles. Here is a cute pic with his Uncle Daniel.

Then we got down to the business of Christmas. Santa Mercy (helped by her daddy this year) passed out presents to everyone. I think everyone got something they really needed/wanted! JD got to open his very first Christmas present - it was from Uncle David and Aunt Suzanne.

After presents, everyone talked and played with their new presents and there was an impromptu "bluegrass" band that was created among the musical siblings. They had a great time recreating such classics like Amazing Grace.

It was so fun to be able to spend time with both families during the holidays! I have to say that I am still full from the food though. I'm glad there is a year in between Thanksgivings to recover and lose the extra weight!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Too Young for the Movies

So JD and I were approached by a man in the street asking if we had ever considered putting our baby in the movies... Just kidding. This blog entry isn't about being too young to act in movies.

Yesterday, my mom and sister decided that it would be fun to do a girls' movie trip to see Enchanted, the movie where the animated princess gets put into real life New York City to survive. I thought it would be fun to go with my nieces and mom and sister to see this movie together. Unfortunately, Jon already had plans that did not include JD.

So I decided to bring JD with me. It was about nap time and I thought that it would work out great - he would fall asleep in the car and I would be home free.

Jon dropped me off at the movie theatre and it was raining. I pulled the infant carrier out of the car and turned around. I slipped and hit a concrete post that was coming out of the ground right by the car. Down I went on the wet pavement, using my body as a soft landing spot for the infant carrier. Two gentlemen were kind enough to give me a hand (Jon was completely oblivious to the entire episode since he was on the drivers' side). I had a bruised backside, sore back and aching arm where I was still clutching the infant seat, but my ego took the bigger beating! My shoe heel also managed to come off. Jon came over at this point after seeing two strangers running over to the car to help me. And the best part of the whole embarrassing episode is that JD was just fine. He didn't even cry or look disturbed in the least. Apparently even after 2 months of Baby Boot Camp, my body is still as soft as a pillow. But the downside is that JD was definitely awake.

So I drag myself and my 20-something pound infant (plus whatever the carrier weighs) into the theatre to meet the girls. Everyone is ready to go in, but I told them quickly about my ordeal. Everyone felt bad for me and checked JD out (who of course is wide eyed and bushy tailed now).

We go in the theatre and get seated. JD is chilling out in his seat pretty good until the previews start. He starts squirming and fussing a bit. So I got him out of the seat and sat him on my lap. He started to get pretty sleepy, but didn't want to give it up for a nap (way too much action going on around him to close his eyes).

So we went in and out of the theatre about 5 times trying to go to sleep when the movie started. I finally gave up and just pacified him with his bottle and let him play in my lap. Then it happened. I started to smell THE SMELL. All mothers know this smell. Their noses are trained for it. I was in denial, thinking, "It can wait. I'm sure it isn't that bad." But finally I decided we needed to go investigate his pants and see what the damage was.

The movie theatre does not provide any changing stations for infants. Apparently, as movie patrons, we are not supposed to bring any diaper-wearing humans to the theatre. So I had to lay out his changing pad on the nasty family bathroom floor and perform the procedure. And JD is of the age where you put him down on his back on any flat surface and he immediately wants to flip over and crawl around. He and I are wrestling and I notice that he has had a blowout in the right quadrant (diaper poo leakage below the back of his right thigh). Great. Now an already complex diaper change has turned into a full-on clothing change too.

I sit him up and he is just squirming around in his poo on the changing mat. I am about to start crying because I am just so overwhelmed with the situation. But instead I start to laugh until I am crying with laughter, bordering on hysteria. JD starts laughing with me too, him on his poo-mat and me squatting above him, trying not to touch my already dirty backside on the nasty bathroom floor.

After stripping him, wiping him down, wiping the changing mat down, soaping and rinsing off his pacifier and several toys off (which he managed to pitch on the nasty bathroom floor), getting him dressed back in overalls (the MOST complicated piece of apparel to put on when you don't want to touch the floor or the dirty mat with your child) and putting everything back in the diaper bag, one-handed (since I had to hold JD off the floor with the other hand), we finally made it back in the movie to catch the closing credits. Best $7 ever spent on an afternoon entertainment experience.

But wait, there's more! Since Jon dropped me off, I rode back with my mom, my sister and her two kids. The three kiddos were outfitted in their car seats in the back seat, so I rode in the trunk of her Exterra. And my sister managed to accidentally elbow me in the nose in the process. I start laughing again (the hysterical kind) and the girls start to laugh and JD is laughing. They drop me off at home in one piece (yes, we avoided getting rear-ended with me in the trunk). I get JD down for a nap IMMEDIATELY and hit the chocolate trifle that I had made for Thanksgiving on Saturday. Chocolate can cure almost any bad day.

It is safe to say that it will be a LONG time before JD and I venture to the movie theatre again. I don't think either of us are emotionally prepared to go through that ordeal again anytime soon!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Not Your Traditional Turkey Day

Yesterday was National Turkey Day or Thanksgiving. We celebrated in a most unconventional way. We put up our Christmas tree! Since my family was gathering for Thanksgiving on Friday and Jon's family on Saturday, we decided that Thanksgiving was the perfect day for kicking of the holiday season with our tree raising.

I thought it would be very difficult to pull this off with a 7 month old baby who is crawling around and pulling up on everything. I figured that he would be into everything and pose a danger to himself and us in the process.

But he did just great! He got sleepy right around the time that the action was starting, so we put him off to bed for a nap. Jon and I did the heavy lifting work that is required with a 10 foot artificial tree. We put all of the "nice" ornaments up high and out of baby's reach. We put the more child-friendly ones down toward the bottom so JD could see them.

When JD got up from his nap, he was amazed by the lights on the tree. So far, he hasn't really discovered that the ornaments can be removed or that he could try and pull up on the tree.

Jon and JD watched the Cowboys, while my mom and I ran some errands. Then we had my mom over to eat some Italian food. Jon made some chicken parmesan and spaghetti with homemade sauce and some homemade bread for us. Yummy! Definitely not traditional Thanksgiving food!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Inspiration as Medicine

My poor husband is sick. We're pretty sure it is from JD, but Jon was up all night coughing last night.

I'm not sure if it is like this for other moms/wives, but I find myself treating Jon like I treat JD when he is sick. For some reason my sympathetic actions are the same whether it is for a little kid or a big one!

I made Jon some soup and grilled cheese (his favorite when he is sick) and I encouraged him to drink lots of liquids. But he has had such a busy week, that he hasn't really had any time to rest.

And he has so much to look forward to that I know he wants to feel better. Tonight we are going to a hockey game, while JD stays with Grandma. Tomorrow we are putting up our Christmas tree and decorations, and of course, we have the Thanksgiving Cowboys game to watch. Friday is Thanksgiving with my family and Saturday is Jon's family Thanksgiving/Christmas.

I'm praying that he feels a lot better today! I'm putting a picture of a time when he felt like he was on top of the world (literally and figuratively) as inspiration to get better!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Funny Face

I love his sunny, funny face!! A few recent pictures that I love for different reasons.

JD is thinking - I can make it to the couch Mom! Just watch me try!

These are my very favorite pajamas. He looks so cute in these and it is a bonus that there are little firetrucks on them! His expression reminds me so much of his daddy!

You are going to make me eat more of this stuff?? JD was not a huge fan of mixed vegetables. I have to say that I am not either though.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bad Friday - Tales of a Selfish Mom

Since having JD, I have not been in the habit of over-planning my days. We take it pretty easy and build most days around JD's schedule of eating, sleeping and pooping. The only real scheduled activities have been my Baby Boot Camp and working one day a month at Care Corps, our church's outreach center.

This past Friday was the exception to that rule. I had a bunch of stuff planned for us to do that I wanted to get done. We had planned to get up early to go to a children's clothing sample sale that is held twice a year down in Garland. Then we would go to Care Corps for the afternoon. The plan was to then take JD home for a good nap and then we would head back to church. Jon and my brother-in-law Josh and Jordan (our friend from church) were going to be cooking a tasting menu for an upcoming event that they are catering. So this was the plan.

Things went pretty well first thing in the morning. I got up at 6 and got ready before JD woke up (that works best for everyone). Then I fed JD and played with him like normal. We got dressed and headed over to pick my mom up for the sale. JD took a nice nap in the car along the way. We got to the sale and I put him in the Baby Bjorn (which he really doesn't like) and went into the sale madness (women pushing and shoving for the best selection).

JD was a little fussy at the sale, but did okay considering the circumstances. After the sale, my mom and I went to La Madeleine's for lunch before going to Care Corps. JD took a nap during lunch and woke up at the end to eat a bit himself. So far, so good.

Then we went to Care Corps to interview applicants for Christmas assistance. We had 9 people come in, plus a few drop-ins for food help. This made for an extremely busy afternoon. And JD was unnerved by all the strangers in the room. He screamed everytime I put him in the Johnny Jump Up or the pack n' play. (It didn't help that all of these well-meaning strangers kept coming over to him to try and play with him). So I carried him on my hip all afternoon, while making copies of IDs, talking to applicants, packing food, carrying groceries, etc. at Care Corps. I think my left side is getting unnaturally large from the extra muscles I used.

He just got worse from there. We spent an extra hour and a half at Care Corps because of the extra people, so I was just frazzled at that point and JD was SCREAMING.

So we went home. I gave him a bottle and some food - still SCREAMING. At this point, I knew I wasn't going to be able to go up to church for the tasting. And for the first time since I had JD, I was really resentful of my little son that I would be missing the fun. I know that sounds terrible, but I really wanted to enjoy some relaxing conversation and some good food.

So I stayed home with JD. Instead of steak and potatoes, I ordered a pizza and we hung out. He cried and fussed for most of the night except 30 minutes right before bed where I had him in hysterics laughing from playing and singing. Then he went to bed (more crying and SCREAMING before he finally went to sleep). Ahh... I earned my mommy card on this day.

And I learned my lesson. Trying to do too much in one day makes for a very rotten and fussy baby and a very tired and frustrated mommy.

** Follow Up Note - On Saturday morning, Jon did a great job of trying to give me a break and hanging out with JD. And we had a GREAT time together as a family doing some Christmas shopping that afternoon. JD was an angel like he usually is!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'Tis the Season

I know that everyone has their favorite holiday traditions. I have been looking forward to starting a family with Jon so that we could pass down some traditions and create our own.

My family always had one tradition - how we opened our presents on Christmas morning. Someone would play Santa and sort all of the presents into a little pile for each person. Then we would start from youngest to oldest and that person would open up all their presents and everyone else would watch. I used to think this was the WORST tradition in the world because after I would open up my presents (I was second in those days), I would have to wait to play with them because I was required to watch everyone else open. Now I actually appreciate this tradition because I love to see everyone else open their presents and enjoy what they received. Nothing gets lost in the shuffle and everyone can see the other person open up the present that they purchased for them.

But my favorite tradition isn't even one of mine. This tradition is in my husband's family. I'm not sure how long it has been going, but I think it is the best. They celebrate Christmas on Thanksgiving. I know it sounds a bit odd, but it works great.

Everyone tries their best to make it in for the whole day (whether it is actually on Thursday or Friday or Saturday) and we have a traditional Thanksgiving morning/lunch. The guys go out and play football until they are bloody and torn, while the women put the finishing touches on the beautiful Thanksgiving meal. We all eat at a huge table in the living room (last year, the kitchen table collapsed under the weight of the meal so now we eat in the living room). There are so many of us, usually 18-19 people at the table.

After the meal, the boys do the clean up work so it gets done quickly (Jon puts together a very efficient assembly line approach). Then we get together in the living room (without the table) for Christmas. We do a gift drawing in advance and keep it a secret until that day. I always see the younger brothers scrambling in a bedroom for some wrapping paper or sweet-talking a sister into wrapping their gift for them at the very last minute.

Then everyone opens their presents when Santa Mercy (Jon's youngest sister) brings them over to each person. We sing some Christmas carols and maybe Jon's sister Hannah will play something on the piano for us. And we enjoy chatting and playing with the new Christmas toys with Mercy.

For the past five years, this tradition has kick-started the holiday season for me. I love starting off the holidays this way. I know JD will enjoy this tradition as well. And as we add more cousins in the fold, the traditions will just continue to get richer each year.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday Family Fun

We hosted the Boyd family over for lunch after church yesterday to enjoy visiting with his aunt and uncle who were in town. Jon and I always have fun planning for a get-together with his family.

On Saturday, we did a "super clean" on the house and got it pretty much in order again (which was undone in 5 minutes when JD got up from his nap). Then we loaded up in the family vehicle to go to Sam's for some grocery shopping.

Let's pause here - have I ever mentioned how much we LOVE Sam's? Usually, a trip to Sam's is an entertainment event, comparable to dinner and a movie or a trip to the zoo. We love to go up and down the aisles and imagine what we could do with 2 gallons of mayonnaise or French's mustard.

I managed to turn this particular Sam's trip into an impromptu Christmas shopping experience. I found 50 yards of Christmas ribbon for wrapping my presents (perfect to go with my 50 feet of wrapping paper from Canton). I found a present for one of my nieces and got some ideas for a couple of other people.

After Sam's, we came home and started to plan for our Sunday lunch. We were making spiral cut ham, baked mac & cheese and homemade rolls. And we wanted it to be pretty much done by the time we all got done with church. So this was going to require some timing finesse. Jon thought through the logistics and I carried them out on Sunday morning after he left to get the A/V ready for services.

Side Story: At church, JD and I were sitting with my mom and my sister and her daughter Emma in the pew. All of the sudden during one of the "stand up" songs, I noticed the back of my pants were wet! I look back and the entire seam of the pew where the back and the seat meet was filled with brown liquid. I have no idea where it is coming from but I'm not excited about sitting back down in it when the song was over. I used baby wipes to start to clean the mess up and some other pew members helped by getting paper towels. We discovered that my sister had spilled her cup with tea in it when she left to take Emma to children's classes. What an adventure! I think it is safe to say that Dara will probably not be bringing tea to church for awhile!

Anyway, lunch went off great! Jon's mom brought a fruit salad, Jon's sister in laws brought homemade apple pie and potatoes and we all enjoyed a yummy meal together! JD entertained everyone with his new word - Ra-Ra and crawling around blowing raspberries. Can't get much better than that for a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sleepless in Allen

What new mom's blog would be complete without an entry on baby sleep issues? We have been so lucky not to have any issues in this area until recently.

JD started sleeping through the night (at least 6 hours) by 6 weeks old. He has always been a great napper (3-4 in a day).

Well, I think we have hit the 7 month itch or something. He hates sleeping. Or to be more precise, he hates going to sleep. And he doesn't seem to want to put himself back to sleep anymore in the middle of the night. So we have had a lot of late evenings and middle of the night wakings lately.

He is Mr. Explorer these days and wants to see everything around him (and stick it in his mouth, but that's another entry). He loves his mom and dad (yay!) and seems to genuinely enjoy their company.

So when it is time for sleep, he is loathe to close his eyes because he might miss something. When I pick him up to start getting him relaxed for bed, he arches and cranes his neck all around, looking to see what he might miss. We finally get him sleepy-eyed and pretty much asleep and we lay him in the crib...then his eyes pop open and he flips himself to his back and starts screaming! We have repeated this performance most evenings at least 3 times before he finally gets the hint and goes to sleep.

I started reading all of the parenting articles on sleep that I had been ignoring (we don't have THAT problem). I am against "co-sleeping" at this stage (mostly because I want my sleep without a noisy baby in the room) and I can't do the Ferberizing method of hours of crying on their own. So I chose the gradual cry it out method to try out last night.

I got JD nice and drowsy after his last bottle and I sang little lullabies to him and rocked him for just a few minutes in his room. Then as his little eyelids started to droop, I laid him in his crib so gentle and quiet.

Eyes popped right open and the screams commenced. I walked out of the room (but not before hearing the pacifier flying across the room and JD jumping up to hold on to the side of the crib).

I heard screams come out of that child like his leg was being cut off or something just as traumatic. I waited 5 minutes and went back in and laid him down again (he was clinging to the side of the crib) and patted him on the back. He calmed a little and I gave him a pacifier. I walked out of the room and the screams began again.

We repeated this for about 45 minutes. It is heart wrenching to hear your little one so upset and to know that you have caused it! He finally was so exhausted that he gave it up with no pacifier (hooray) and just a little patting on his back.

AND he slept through the night!! I fully expected his little eyes to be swollen shut this morning, a hoarse voice and a sour disposition at his mean mommy who made him go to sleep on his own.

But he smiled right away at me this morning with bright and shiny eyes, which I am going to take as a sign of forgiveness and gratefulness for the wonderful night of sleep that he had.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Too Cute for Words

No blog entry today...just cute pictures of JD over the past week or so!

Looking so handsome in his Dumbo baby outfit, shoes and playing with his Dumbo "lovey." Guess who supplied this? His Aunt Dara, the Disney aficionado.

This is the teething face that we have seen lately. It makes his little cheeks puff out so cute!

Our little walker taking a break. (As a follow to the previous blog - he did fall down soon after this picture)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Legends of the Falls

Recently, JD has given up most of his toy interests in favor of pulling up on anything and everything. I actually got a little frustrated today with it.

I know that this is one step closer to learning how to walk and I should be proud of how quickly he is learning this skill. But this is a hard phase to watch. JD doesn't like to play with toys anymore or listen to stories or songs. He just wants to stand up. And then falling down just comes naturally next. This is what we do all day long.

So I have watched him pull up on our tv stand and fall down (some tears). Then he tried pulling up on the fireplace (more tears and crying). Then he tried pulling up on the trashcan (a big tumble, lots of tears and bruise on his forehead). He even tries to pull up on the Bumbo seat, even though I told him that the Bumbo seats have been recalled, so technically it doesn't exist.

He doesn't understand the word "no" or even my stern tone of voice that I use to get him to stop what he is doing. He just looks over his shoulder at me and laughs. (He reminds me of his dad in that way). So there is no advance protection before he takes a tumble. I try to run over and catch him when he falls, but most of the time he is too quick for me.

I miss playing games and singing songs with him and getting rewarded with a big smile, hand clapping or laughs. He doesn't care about that at all. It is so hard to watch him learning the difficult lesson that sometimes you fall down and it hurts. I just want to scoop him up and protect him from all the falls and bruises.

Does anyone have the website address where I can buy a padded suit and helmet for a 7 month old? Preferably stretchy material that can expand to fit until he is 30 years old?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

In the Swing of Things

We have enjoyed a nice week with the beautiful Fall weather. My Baby Boot Camp class dressed the kiddos up in Halloween costumes to work out. I'm not sure what was scarier, the costumes or the sweaty moms!

Jon and I took JD out to the park to let JD enjoy the swings again. I think it is safe to say that he is hooked! He really loves it!

Last night was Halloween and we had a few trick or treaters around here. JD got back in his Curious George costume (one last time) and greeted all of the kids in costumes. I think he had fun until around 7:45. At this point, he got so tired that he couldn't keep his little head up. We have some great video of him falling asleep sitting up and then waking himself back up when his head dropped.

We've been having some difficulties keeping him asleep at night for the past couple of weeks. Maybe a growth spurt thing or new phase. But he wakes up around 1:30 and doesn't want to go back to sleep.

So I have tried doing less naps during the day and he gets REALLY tired by nighttime. Hence the head dropping, etc. But it has worked for the past couple of nights and he is back to sleeping through again.

On another note - I stumbled across a friend out on the internet that I had been keeping in touch every once in awhile through emails over the years. I discovered that I really didn't know the person as well as I thought. It was a little bit of an eye opener as to the pervasiveness of the internet. I guess the lesson that I took away is that nothing (and no one) is ever really anonymous out in cyberspace. So be careful what you post! It may come back to haunt you...(total pun intended with Halloween and everything)

Hopefully JD doesn't mind later on that I have used this forum to post his exploits and adventures during his first years of life! I guess I will avoid posting the naked baby on the bearskin rug picture to head off any possible future embarrassments!