Friday, September 28, 2012

Eleven Months

I say this every month: "Where has time gone?" "How is she this old?"

Thumbs up for 11 months!
I have little recollection of who she was last month. I have no idea what I did last week. All I know is that my little giant giggling ball of sunshine is getting bigger, louder, and cuter. If you entered your child into a cute baby contest with my baby, you'd still vote for my baby; that's how cute she is.

Helping Daddy at work
I don't know how much she weighs, how long she is, or how large her giant brain still is. I can tell you that she regularly wears 24mo and 2T pants, 18-24mo onesies, and she can wear 12mo to 2T dresses. I have no idea what her shoe size is and it's been difficult to find a pair that will stay on her without cutting off the circulation to her cankles. She has size 5 shoes that don't hurt but she looks like a kitten wearing mittens when she tries to walk. I'll probably just continue using socks with shoes on them.  

At 11 months, she is cruising, rolling, crawling, dancing, clapping, waving, singing, babbling, laughing, and melting hearts wherever she goes. She is a total charmer. It's been wonderful seeing the smiles she brings to people's faces.  She loves being in her stroller and waving to people in stores and hallways. Even the grumpiest grinches will wave back. She especially loves to wave and talk to black women and really tall men - I love it!

She eats anything we give her. Her favorite is now Cheerios (sorry bananas!) and she can polish off a jar of spaghetti and meatballs without batting an eyelash. I'm not very good at making her food but I am fantastic at cutting up fruits, veggies, and letting her eat from my plate. In one month, we'll be switching from formula to milk and I can't wait! We're going to save at least $25 a month by switching.  

I am beyond excited to plan her birthday party! Because her birthday is so close to Halloween, I decided to do a costume party. I also wanted her to wear her costume for more than one day because she is seriously the cutest baby I've ever seen in my life. She's going to be Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street. Instead of spending $30 on a plastic costume she'd wear once, I wanted to find separate pieces she could wear again.  For her costume, the wings were given to us from Jen, the hat was $5 from Target, and the dress is $18 from Target. There are official Abby fairy wands on Amazon for $5 so I may cave and get her that, too. It's a good thing that Abby is barefoot because there's no shoe that will stay on her foot.


And now that we're in the final stretch before her birthday party, I'm frantically checking pinterest for ways to up-cycle things in my home instead of spending money. So far I've cleaned and painted the lids of 12 baby food jars so people can take candy home with them as a party favor. I've also printed photos and "saved" ribbon so I can hang photos of her as a birthday banner. I'm thankful the Dollar Store had packs of pink and purple streamers for $1 each.

Wow. One more month until we have a one year old!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Retrospective

4 years ago, I married my best friend.

2 years ago, I was feeling empty and broken because I couldn't get pregnant.

Last year, my body was on the verge of exploding because I was SO pregnant.

8 months ago, I felt betrayed by my body because I wasn't able to give Joanna the nutrients she needed. It caused her to lose too much weight. That led to us from exclusively breastfeeding, to supplementing, to only using formula.

Right now, we're feeling like we're on the verge of movement. We don't know when our next chapter will begin or where it will take place.

In hindsight, God was always there. He knows where we'll be while we only know where we've been.  God knows what He's doing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lasik: A Love Story

Back in June, I shared with you all that I was planning on having Lasik eye surgery. After postponing the surgery until my hormones normalized, I was able to have the procedure last week.

They started with a few tests to measure how awful my eyes truly are. Over my 20+ years of horrible vision, they progressed to -5.50 on each eye. The nurse said that I was essentially too blind to be measured on a 20/20 vision scale. In preparation for surgery, I was given valium and many eye drops. Then I took my glasses off for the last time as they walked me into a small cold room with a reclining chair between two big machines. The entire procedure took about 15 minutes.

This is how I would describe the procedure to a 9 year old:
  • An eyeball shaped vacuum was placed on my eye so it would stay still. The suction unintentionally made my vision go grey while the laser made tiny holes on the outer layer of my eyeball.
  • I had to stare at an orange light that I could barely see because I was so blind. Even though I was very fidgety, the computer was still able to keep track of me.
  • The same vacuum sucky thing on my other eyeball and I went grey again.
  • I couldn't see the other orange light either.
  • The procedure ended and I could see the clock on the wall.  It wasn't very clear but I could see it far better than I could before.

THE NEXT THREE HOURS were to be the most crucial and most uncomfortable of the recovery. I was instructed to sleep through it. Unfortunately, we didn't get home in time before the itching ensued. I don't know if it was the valium, the itching, the Tylenol PM, or all of it combined but I was absolutely miserable. I wept several times because all I wanted to do was stop the itching. I couldn't change my circumstances. I couldn't help my situation - I could only hurt it. I even tried to scratch at my bug bites to try and transfer the itching to another place on my body but that didn't help. The last resort was to sit out by the TV and listen to the news with an ice pack on my cheeks and forehead to help dull the itching.

After those dreadful 3 hours, I was able to put in my drops and it helped a little. My Norwegian eyes betrayed me as my sensitivity to light was more intense than ever before. Thank God for those goggles. Jonathan put up a make shift bedroom curtain so I could sleep. He also enjoyed calling me a variety of super villain names based on my new goggled appearance.


THE NEXT DAY was much better. I had a check up and the doctor was pleased with my progress. My vision isn't 20/20 and it may never be, but I can function without corrective lenses! Everywhere I look it seems like I'm in a 1980s soap opera with vaseline on the lens. The nurse said that should clear up in a day or two. I also had some bleeding on my eyeball from the vacuum - the doc said that will clear up, too. I only have to wear goggles at night now - huzzah!

DAY TWO and the vaseline is disappearing as items appear sharper. I still look a fright with a vacuum ring around my eyeballs. This is also the first day that I drove after surgery! I could see everything on the console and inside of the car clearly. Road signs were a different story - anything further than a few hundred feet away were blurry unless I squinted. I drove at night and it was worse. The dreaded halos made headlights look like balloons glued to car hoods. All of this is within the normal range of recovery.

DAY THREE and my distance vision keeps improving. I'm less cautious about interacting within smacking range of Joanna (Joanna's smacking range, not my own). I desperately want to wear mascara. The closest consolation to my lack of eye make up is I'll be able to have fun with bright lip colors.

DAY FOUR - the halos are getting smaller.

DAY FIVE - the overcast weather means I can go outside for extended periods of time without getting a headache.

DAY SIX - my drops are nearly gone and I am missing my mascara more than ever. I feel like a 12 year old with my undefined lashes.

ONE WEEK and the doctor is pleased with the results. Everything is not super crisp. I see very well up close, but distances are still a bit blurry. I chalk it up to the amount of correction that was needed. My vision will continue to improve in the coming weeks!

All in all, I am very grateful to have vision. It's indescribable to go from practically blind to near 20/20 in the span of a week. God is so good.

----------

TWO WEEKS and everything is still okay. I still can't read road signs at a distance very easily. Close up is pretty crisp.

THREE WEEKS and my eyes look almost back to normal. I still have some redness around the colors of my eyes. I'm still not seeing road signs very easily but the halos at night are much smaller.

FOUR WEEKS and I can drive at night much easier now. My overall vision is probably very close to 20/20!

Everyday I'm Blog-a-ling

Several people have asked if I get paid to write. My answer is usually something to the effect of "I get paid in sunshine and butterflies" or "no". When you do something you love, money isn't the priority. I'm very fortunate to have a strong writing resume. I've been featured in a variety of forms and outlets, from theater reviews in the Washington Post to performing original songs on the Washington D.C. affiliates of CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX. I didn't receive a penny but I loved every minute of it. In my previous job, I was often asked to write (or make phone calls) to either relay disappointing information or to diffuse a conflict. Creative writing is a powerful asset in the professional world, even if it doesn't pay as its own entity.

This blog has been the perfect outlet for me to keep my writing chops, keep in touch with family and friends, and keep my sanity while staying home with a creature that doesn't speak English. In addition to maintaining Housebroken Mom, I also regularly contribute to other blogs and websites:

The Motherhood Collective
This group of women is the brain child (or the heart child) of two beautiful women in my area. Lauren and Laurie put their hearts, minds, and resources together and "birthed" one of the most influential parenting groups in Central Virginia. Every other Monday, mothers from all over come together for the Motherhood Cafe to learn about a particular topic, talk with other moms, and drink free coffee. Every non-Cafe Monday, mothers meet for a large playgroup. When it's not a Monday, moms are often online looking at the Motherhood Collective Blog and Resources to stay connected and informed about relevant topics. I love this group - and you will, too! Anyone can join, be informed, and connect with other mothers. You can read my blog posts here: http://www.themotherhoodcollective.org/author/laura/

Babies In The Burg
My sister-in-law Jen created this wonderful resource for local mothers to find doctors, events, and connections related to parenting. Lynchburg, VA is a conservative college town with thousands of young families. Babies In The Burg is the place where those families can converge and stay informed.

Nuby USA
Nuby is an international company with decades of experience making quality baby products. I was asked to be a Mommy Blogger a few months ago and have enjoyed it so much! I am "paid" in products for reviewing and hosting giveaways. Its truly a win win.


Some companies have also plugged one or two of my posts when I reviewed their products on my own. Onya Baby is my favorite carrier and when they promoted my review of them, I learned that they are also really nice people! Thanks to their generosity, we were able to donate an Onya Carrier to our local baby wearing lending library at an extremely discounted rate.

So even though I'm not paid with actual money, I am really enjoying the butterflies and rainbows that are accruing in my imaginary unicorn account.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nuby Product Review: Tickle Toes Turtle

It's that time again - time to review another fun product from Nuby!



With Joanna quickly crawling and cruising, any captivating toy is welcome into her rotation. When we first introduced Mr. Turtle to her, Joanna was very confused. Most of her toys don't have batteries. Of the few that do, they don't make loud noises. (Her parents are meanie heads and don't like noisy and/or seizure inducing plastic toys). We put Mr. Turtle away for a few weeks to try again.

After my lasik surgery (update to come soon), I didn't want to hold her close to my face for fear she would grab at my glass-less face. I thought now would be the perfect time to bring Mr. Turtle back. I played with it in front of her to get her curiosity going. Then I pressed his foot - belly laughter erupted from the adorable turtle and Joanna laughed back! I handed him to her and she bounced it a few times before launching it across the room. She chased him down and kept playing - Eureka! A toy that occupies her!

This is the softest of her toys. It's round and squishy (like her) and has the cutest face I have ever seen on a plush animal. When Joanna is sleepy but too defiant to actually sleep, she cuddles up to Mr. Turtle instead. She hasn't been able to make him laugh on her own, but his adorable face still makes her smile.

And now for the reason you're likely reading about this awesome toy - a giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tickle Toes Turtle (and other Tickle Toes animals) are available to purchase here at BuyBabyDirect.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Color Run in DC

Yesterday, I wore a white tutu, goggles, and a home made cape that said "For Buddy. June 29th. My super hero in heaven". I then jauntily sauntered around the National Harbor with 5 friends and a few thousand fellow happy people. As we approached clouds of color, we were doused with powder that made us look like a rainbow vomited. So why would we join thousands in DC and get dirty rainbow style? The Color Run!


I couldn't think of a better way to honor my unborn babe. The run was for the Children's Hospital in DC. Honoring my child in heaven while helping sick children get better? win win. I signed up to do the race shortly after finding out I was pregnant. It was going to be our first run together. I'm glad we were still able to do it, even if he was soaring beside me in spirit. 

There were many a tutu and super hero cape - my wardrobe choice was in good company. There were also many people that walked the entire thing like us. (Did I mention I sprained my toe the day before?) 

National Harbor
Before
Right after the Yellow Cloud of Awesome
After the Orange (Dorito) Cloud of Amazeballs
After the Blue Cloud of Giggles and Sunshine

The 5k ended in a giant block party with loud music, clouds of color, and strangers doing a conga line. It was like a giant wedding reception with a ton of sober happy drunks. Getting the color off of our bodies wasn't as fun as we had hoped, but after a few scrubbings we were good as new. I also sneezed blue.

Ashley said it looked like Buddy was having fun on my cape :) As I posed for my final photo, I couldn't help but cry. I'll always miss the baby I never met. I'll always dream about what he would have been like, smelled like, and looked like. I'm so glad that I have this opportunity to celebrate his memory and help other children in the process.