14 Months and some change

I mentioned in my last post that I was on the job-hunt. Well, three months and a million applications later, and I have accepted a position as a member service representative (teller) at a local credit union. I am excited but also very nervous. These past seven months getting to stay home with my little mini-me have been so precious to me. Sure, there are days where I feel overwhelmed/tired/lonely, but overall it warms my heart to get to watch Adelaide (and her personality) grow.

I’m nervous about working full-time. I haven’t worked that much since the summer before I got married, and even that was only for six weeks. I’m nervous about keeping up on housework when it’s difficult to do even when I’m home 24/7. I’m nervous about daytime weaning. I have no desire to lug around my pump just for one session. Although, I’m also nervous about clogged ducts and mastitis, so we shall see what ends up happening. Also, a sort of afterthought concern is hoping that I’ll have enough work clothes to wear. I was pregnant for most of  my last professional gig. Hopefully, no one will notice the full-panel hiding under my blouses.

I am excited to use my brain more extensively on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to talking to other adults during the day and maybe even (gasp!) making some new friends. I’m excited for Chris to have more one-on-one time with our girl. I am also beyond thrilled to start digging out of debt and actually have some extra money just for fun stuff. We’ve only been on two dates since Adelaide was born, and one of those  was during my maternity leave. Extra money also means we’ll be closer to planning a little brother or sister for Adelaide. And as sad as it makes me sad to think about, going back to work will probably be the push we need to have Adelaide fully weaned before she’s in kindergarten. Not saying that I want to practice such extended nursing, but the girl loves to nurse for the time being, and it will be much easier to deny her if we’re apart.

Sorry this turned out to be a sort of heavy post. Here are my favorite outtakes from a recent shoot Chris did with Adelaide to make you smile.

Stinkeye

Stinkeye

Tasty

Tasty

Putting her necklace on the tree

Putting her necklace on the tree

I don't even know. It makes me laugh.

I don’t even know. It makes me laugh.

Over it.

Over it.

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13 Months Old

Here is Adelaide, in her Little Red Riding Hood costume which was handmade by her Daddy.Image

My big baby girl is 13 months old today, and I feel just a little more sad about that then I did about her turning 1. She is walking full time now and usually running. Walking is her newest source of tantrums. I like to hold her hand and let her walk, so I can keep her close to me. Well, when I don’t go the way she wants, she will throw herself down and twist her body to get free from me. I guess that the “terrible twos” describe the second year and not just being 2 or older.

Adelaide is learning so rapidly these days. I give her two pacifiers (or “chupies”) to sleep with, so she can hold one in her hand and have one in her mouth. When she wakes up, I ask her to put them in her crib, and she does now. I can also ask her if she’s ready to lie down with her chupies, and she’ll say, “Yeah,” and walk towards her room. She says: Mommy, Daddy, Jack, Ellie, belly, hi, bye, thank you (or something akin to that; she’s not very consistent with that one), yeah, chupy, baby and dog.

Eating is kind of a sensitive subject over here. At her one-year checkup, we learned that not only did she not gain much weight but that she’s also slightly anemic. When I say slightly, I mean slightly. Her hemoglobin level was at 10, and normal range is between 11 and 14. Needless to say, we have made some changes to her diet, namely the addition of Poly-Vi-Sol with iron. The stuff is horrid, but obviously, her health is important to me. The transition to whole cow’s milk is going, slowly. I can get her to take probably 1/2 cup at a time now, if I add some Carnation’s Instant Breakfast. I don’t feel guilty about that really, though, because there are additional calories and iron, along with the sweet chocolate flavor.

All in all, I am still very much enjoying my time with my sweet girl. We still love going to the library for Baby Bookworms together each week, and I love all our snuggle/play-fighting time. However, I am on the hunt for a job again. We could use the extra funds, and I could do with some extra adult interaction and mental stimulation. I have a few interviews coming up, and I’m getting nervous. I have been applying for jobs for almost two months now, but this will be my first time actively job-hunting since shortly before I found out I was pregnant. Hopefully, I will find something soon. Until then, I am cautiously optimistic and devoted 100 percent to my beautiful little girl.

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Adelaide’s Party

Adelaide’s party was yesterday, and I don’t think it could have gone any smoother. Even though her nap and eating routine was all thrown off, Adelaide didn’t melt down or fall asleep the whole time we were setting up, having the party and then cleaning up afterwards. I’m so grateful for all the people who could make her day so special. We did it! Chris and I survived our first year of parenthood. It’s definitely bittersweet. : )

 

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My Birth Story, One Year Later

I had planned on doing a pre-party post with sneak peek pictures of the decorations and favors Chris and I are making, but here we are 4 days away from the big day, and we are still not done. Anyway, I wanted to share this story if only for the sake of posterity. Disclaimer: This is pretty personal and may have too much information, so if you are not a fan of labor and delivery stories, you can stop reading here.

I actually wrote most of this when Adelaide was a week or two old, so that it would be fresh in my mind, but I have embellished my initial thoughts, so that the story flows better.

I like to think that my labor story starts much earlier than Adelaide’s actual birthdate. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions throughout most of the summer, which I attributed to the extreme heat and me sometimes doing too much. At my 36 week appointment (9/16/11), Denise (my CNM) told me that I was dilated to 2-3 and baby’s head was “right there” on my pubic bone. She told us that Adelaide would not make it to her due date (10/10/11). We got super excited and told our friends and family that our little baby would be here soon. That weekend, we went crazy buying last minute items and walking around trying to get things moving.

The same day of my appointment, my uncle Acey passed away. It was really hard on me, especially since I could not attend his funeral since it was in Texas the next Monday. Although I was sad, I was finally completely sold on Grace as a middle name, as a way to honor my dear uncle.

At my 37 week appointment, Chris couldn’t get off work, and when I was checked, I was still at a 3, but my cervix was thinner and baby was still quite low. By my 38 week appointment (9/29), I had started to lose a little  steam since it looked like Adelaide was still taking her sweet time. Denise checked me, and I was at a 4. She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes to get things going.  I agreed and held Chris’ hand while she did the very uncomfortable procedure. I immediately started to feel crampy. Denise said the feeling would probably go away and return in the evening.

After the appointment, I went to my internship, shared what had happened  and told my supervisor that there was a 90% chance that I would go into labor within the next 3 days. I got home from my internship and my back was really bothering me. I decided to call into work and take it easy for the day. Soon after I called my boss, I got a call from my coworker Tiffany. She asked me how I was feeling, and when I told her I was doing ok, she told me that the “staff meeting” that was on my calendar for the day was actually a surprise baby shower. I agreed to go in just for the party. It was very nice, and my coworkers were very understanding. I got home and put my feet up until Chris returned home.

Later, we went to my sister’s house for dinner. I continued to feel crampy, my back ached and I was having contractions off and on. By the time we went to bed, my contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart. Soon, I realized I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I came out into the living room and tried laboring on the birthing ball my sister had given me earlier. It kind of helped. The bath tub felt better with the warm water from the shower head pointed directly on my back.  My contractions started coming closer together and getting stronger, but they still weren’t perfectly regular. I tried to sleep in between them, but they were too intense, and when I wasn’t contracting, I had an intense urge to pee, so I spent the night in between the couch and the restroom.

At 2:30 a.m., the pain was way too intense to handle on my own, so I climbed into our bed and cried out, which of course woke Chris. I told him I might get in the shower again, because it hadn’t been a full hour that my contractions were 5 minutes apart. He left it up to me whether we would go to the hospital or not. I told him I tried to wait until at least 3 before I woke him up. He laughed. I decided we better head in. He called L&D as I went to the bathroom again and packed last minute toiletries.

Once at the emergency room, L&D was called and 2 nurses came down to wheel me upstairs. The contractions were super painful to the point I was seeing spots. The nurse wheeling me told me to breathe. Which, surprisingly, I needed to be told to do. I closed my eyes and breathed through the contractions, and they were much better. I got settled into a room, and the nurse (forcefully) checked me, and I was at a 5. She called Denise and came back and told me that they would admit me. The nurse asked about an epidural or if I wanted to get in the whirlpool. I told her I had planned on not having an epidural, but the whirlpool sounded nice. She asked if I was sure, and I told her maybe I’d have the epidural after all.

I labored in the tub while we waited for the anesthesiologist. The bubbles were very soothing, and I was able to relax. Then the nurse came in to tell me that the anesthesiologist would be there soon. I dried off and got back into the gown and “tube top” with the 2 monitors (for baby’s heart rate and contractions). A different nurse checked me, and I was a 6. The  anesthesiologist had very cold hands, but she was very nice. She felt my back and hips over and over again to get the placement just right. It was hard to stay in that position for so long. My neck became sore, and breathing through contractions was even more difficult. She put in the test dose, and I immediately felt relief. I joked that I was a lightweight, and she said that was a good sign that it had worked so quickly for me. It was about 5 a.m. at this point.

After the epidural, contractions felt tight, but the pain was pretty much gone. My BFF Michelle arrived at around 6 a.m. I tried to sleep and did for about an hour until about 8 a.m. Another nurse checked me, and I was still a 6. After calling Denise, they decided to start me on Pitocin and that Denise would come break my water. After the Pitocin, contractions got more intense, but they still weren’t really painful. Denise came in and broke my water. I asked if she was done, and she said yes. I didn’t feel a thing.

Contractions got much stronger, and the nurse told me to tell her when I felt like I needed to push. She checked me again, and I was an 8 or 9.  Denise needed to make rounds, and she told  the nurse to let me “labor down” and wait to push even though I was close to complete. Soon, the pressure on my tailbone turned into intense pain with every contraction, and I felt an overwhelming urge to push. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for Denise. They broke down the bed, and I got started pushing when I felt the first contraction. I held my breath through each push, taking a quick breath before pushing again. Chris was great at encouraging me, and so were Denise and the nurse. Soon, they told me she was right there and had lots of dark hair. I ended up only pushing for 13 minutes, and all I felt was pressure. When they placed her on my chest, I sobbed like a baby. I was so in love. Adelaide Grace was born at 11:40 a.m. Sept. 30, 2011 at 6lbs10oz and 19.5 inches long.

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One Month Away!

Adelaide is 11 months old today, and I can’t believe we will be celebrating her birthday in 4 short weeks. She has changed so much recently.

  • She’s standing on her own now. Still no steps without holding on, but we’re getting there!
  • She gets in silly moods every now and then where she throws herself down at Chris or me. It is so cute!
  • She loves to give us hugs when we sit down on the floor with her.
  • She’s starting to pay more attention to books and can sit through an entire story now.

I just love my little lady and am so happy to see her grow and learn new things. One thing I am working on for us as a family is better eating/cooking habits. Adelaide is eating 100% “table food” now, so Chris and I really need to make some changes in our diet, so she can get the good stuff. I just signed us up for a 3-month trial of thefresh20. We’re living it up this weekend before buckling down and committing to healthy meal-planning. I’m praying this is a good solution for us and that we can stick to it to save money and get healthy!

I got all excited yesterday and decided to get ingredients for some green smoothies. I figured I could finally get some use out of the Baby Bullet I was convinced was essential and bought a year ago. I blame my hormones. Anyway, the smoothie ended up being a bust the first go-around. The peanut butter, banana and blueberry definitely masked the spinach taste, but the texture was not velvety smooth like this blogger’s. Next time, I will dig out our fancy schmancy blender and use the liquify setting. Lesson learned. Although, I was able to score some frozen blueberries at a closeout price for 1/3 of the normal cost, which made for one very happy 11 month old.

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All that was missing was some cheese, and she would have had all her favorite foods at once!

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Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Ever!

I am really terrible with most “domestic” things. Meal planning has never lasted more than a month for us, and most of the time I am too busy chasing Adelaide around to cook and clean properly. Thankfully, Chris has embraced his inner chef and has been doing most of the cooking since I got pregnant. He especially loves to grill, and he is fantastic at it!

I am so grateful to have such a helpful partner. The other night we were both getting peckish, and having no meal ingredients in the house, Chris came up with a craving for grilled cheese. He agreed to chill out with Adelaide while I ran to the store for supplies. Going to the store hungry is never a good idea, but this trip, I think I managed to do a pretty good job. I even managed to get everything on my list except for avocado, which was meant for Adelaide. Whoops!

Anyway, here are the ingredients for the best grilled cheese ever (*bacon not pictured, but very much required) :

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The cream cheese added a richness that made this meal seem much heartier than it was. Also, the cheese combination was heavenly. I’m glad that I was suckered into buying 2 cheeses, since they were on sale 2/$5 at Dillon’s.

Here’s a picture of the finished product, served alongside Art’s & Mary’s jalapeño chips:

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They were so good, I even had another for lunch the next day, minus the bacon. What’s your favorite grilled cheese ingredients? Do you have any quick and easy go-to recipes to share?

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Lady Grace Update

Adelaide will be 10 months old on Monday! We are deep in the process of party-planning now, which is honestly, pretty fun. We’re still trying to decide how we’ll decorate her cupcakes and what the favors will be, but we have a pretty rough idea of how we want things to look/go. We have the invitations picked out, and they are pretty much dictating decorations, which is good.

She has finally started dancing! About two weeks ago, she started nodding along to songs, then she started to throw in some arm movements, and now she is swaying her whole body to and fro. It is so much fun to watch! Sometimes, she even “sings” along. This means that she hums/squeals when certain songs come on.

We are still watching lots of Yo Gabba Gabba, but she has also started to pay attention to Backyardigans, Sesame Street and other PBS Kids shows. It’s nice to get some variety, because we have been through all the YGG episodes on Netflix 5 times now. Most of the time, these shows are a nice background to her playing independently. It’s nice to have the family room baby-proofed, so she can go to town, entertaining herself. She’s still gaga over the dogs’ bowls, but there’s not much I can do about that. They’re interested in her food as well, so it’s a losing battle.

Recently, I had, what I told Chris, was my “best idea ever.” I put all her toys in the cabinet of our TV stand.

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Life has become so much easier. For one thing, I can get all the baby-related things stored in one place, out of sight. For another, this has kept her so busy, so often, emptying out the cabinet and playing with the contents. There are even some empty boxes in there that she loves to play with.

All in all, I’m having a blast with my girl during this super-strange summer. It’s the first time in 6 years that I have not had a “real” summer job and also the first summer of my life where I don’t have the dark cloud of school looming over my head. Now if only, she could cut some teeth, so she can go back to sleeping through the night again. I’m not sure why the night wakings have returned with a vengeance, but I will be happy to see them go. I keep telling myself that teething is to blame and not my big weakness for middle-of-the-night cuddles.

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Family Vacay: A Post in Pictures

If you want some (brief) details, here’s a roundup of our favorite things:

  • This was my favorite eatery. Because of these.
  • Chris LOVED this place, where we ate his birthday dinner. We had to drag him away.
  • Both Topshop and Zara were having pretty major sales, so that was fun. We even got an adorable party dress for Baby Girl’s b-day.
  • The aquarium and zoo were understandably crowded, but worth the trip.
  • I enjoyed the more chill moments where we drank wine and hung out watching Golden Girls or Criminal Minds.
  • Chris and Adelaide loved riding the El.
  • Oh, and IKEA. We all loved Ikea. Even the food was stylish and affordable.

Long story short, the trainride was looooooong; the company, food and shopping were awesome; and we are excited to go back (by plane)!

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38 Weeks 4 Days

Today marks the day that Adelaide has been an outside baby for as long as she was nestled safely in my tummy. I know, I know, the first 2 weeks of pregnancy don’t really “count,” but for all intents and purposes, this is a big deal in my mind. I have an almost 9-month-old baby. This time last year I was big, sweaty and uncomfortable. This year, I’m sweaty, uncomfortable, sleep deprived and just a little bit bigger than I was before pregnancy. Ah, memories.

We are still busy with preparations for our family vacay, but  Adelaide and I took a break from it all to go to the Discover Center with my sister and nieces and nephews for nephew Tony’s birthday. (Shout out to Tony and Frankie, brothers and birthday buddies!) You know, there really should be a combo word for nieces/nephews. In Spanish, it’s “sobrinos.” Anyway, here’s a picture of my baby girl enjoying the “infant sensory garden.”

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Happy Father’s Day to my Mister!

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I think yesterday was a very successful first Father’s Day for Chris. We accidentally slept through Mass. Whoops! But, on the plus side, Adelaide slept in until 8:30, which was awesome! We gave him our gifts: 2 new T shirts, stainless steel grill tools and a soft-cover photo book from Shutterfly. The book turned out great, and Chris said it may be the best gift he’s ever gotten! I’m very proud of Adelaide of being so thoughtful! : ) Overall, it was a pretty laid-back day with lots of family time included.

Now, I’ve got to buckle down and start preparing for our first (!) family vacation to Chicago. We are taking the train to visit our best friends for a few days around Chris’ birthday (June 28). I’ve got to start planning what/how we’re going to pack. I’m excited for all the fun things we’re going to do, but I am a little nervous how Adelaide will fare with so many changes to our routine. If you have any suggestions on how to survive the ten-hour train-ride or how to maintain healthy sleep patterns, let me know!

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