Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Welcome Back

Hello, friends. A myriad of life events have occurred.

I got a job at Target. I got pregnant. I quit said job at Target. I threw up a lot.

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Susie on November 25th 2013.

I had severe post pardum depression.

I got a job as a Registrar at a private Christian school.

We bought a house.

I forgot to renew my domain name for my blog and a Japanese discount Nike distributor bought it.



So, now I'm in the process of converting all of my wordpress posts into this old blogger format. I likely won't buy a new domain because I'm not housebroken anymore (woo hoo!)


Happy New Year!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Seven Months

My last post was June 3rd? Wow. Sorry, y'all.

Susie turned 7 months.

And then she turned 8 months.

And she just keeps growing!

She doesn't crawl - she pulls her self across the room with her mouth agape like a puppy toward a brand new tennis ball.

She doesn't fully laugh - she cackles and smiles with all 6 teeth.

She loves life. She loves Joanna. She loves music. She is awesome. We love her.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Six Months

Susie woosie. My little lamb. My smiley kumquat. My blubbering, drooling, ball of sunshine. Six months ago we met you. A few months ago I was exhausted from you. Now, I'm so thankful for time. Some moms wish that time would pass more slowly - I was the opposite for these six months!
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Now that I'm more rested, I can finally fully enjoy you! It's not your fault that you wanted to be held and comforted constantly. You're a woman that knows what she wants and will do what it takes to get it. I admire that quality in women - but not in babies. You're now at an age where you interact and give smiles back. I live for those moments. Thank you for your infectious smile that cures any ailment.

SueLou can roll (in one direction), sit up for a few moments, and crawl with her arms (SO scary!). She has two teeth and a big voice in her 19 pound body.

 

And now for adorable pictures on our couch!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Show Me The Belly

It's time for photos of my belly.

I knew motherhood would leave me with some sort of medal, whether it be stretch marks, a pooch, or both. Never did I expect to look as if I were smuggling dinosaur eggs. I defied gravity with my basketball belly. My children tipped scales but didn't leave a stretch mark. But the lack of marks doesn't mean I escaped unscathed.

I have a severe "Mother's Apron". Basically, I have a large fold of skin dangling over my C-section incision. Rather than hide it from you lovely people, I wanted to show you what my motherhood scars look like. I have two beautiful kids. I'm in the best shape of my life. I can bench press an Olsen twin without breaking a sweat. My body doesn't look like how I feel about myself - but that's what clothes are for.

 Pregnant with Susan at 38 weeks


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One Year Post-Joanna at 175lbs, relaxing versus sucking in.
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Susie's birth day |  2 weeks postpartum with a belly band.


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January 2014 at apx 185lbs |  May 2014 at apx 178lbs


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5 months postpartum - relaxed versus sucking in


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I recently cut out about 70% of my carbs, gave up soda, and eat way more fruit and vegetables - I've lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks! The biggest difference I saw was my bloating. The sag is saggier and I can zip into a size 12 now instead of a 14. My waist can still accommodate a size 8 while the sag requires more fabric. (If only hoop skirts were still in fashion!) For now, I will continue to strengthen my core, minimize the fat, and get my sag to its "skin-iest" so I can hopefully have it removed surgically. Spanx will only compress it so much without it restricting my breathing or ability to sit down.  At the end of the day, Flowy tops are my friend. Maternity pants are a necessity. Skin is just skin.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Big Update - March / April

It's good to be back.

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Susie has outgrown her constant need for comfort - HALLELUJAH! She started rolling last month and continues to develop ahead of schedule. At her four month appointment, I had to check the "no" box for the question "Does she roll from belly to back." During the appointment, she nearly rolled off the table from back to belly. The doctor looked at her and said "Wow, that happens at 6 months." Apparently my child is able to flip belly to back but just chooses not to, she'd rather roll back to belly and stick her head up and smile. What a stinker. She is a belly sleeper just like her big sister.

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Now at 5 months, she found her thumb! We lay her down on her side so she can choose to get on her back and wiggle around or she can get on her tummy and sleep. Susie loves music, especially Frozen. She'll be a soprano for sure. Susie can mimic pitch really well for a baby, better than Joanna did. She loves when we clap her feet together and can go from 0 to smile in milliseconds. Her giggles are stupendous.

And she likes being worn! YAY! I can wear her in my Boba and ring sling now! We skipped the Moby stage completely.

And did I mention I'm weaning? Instead of nursing and supplementing 10% of the time, I'm now using formula and nursing about 15% of the time. It has been so wonderful to give up nursing! My hormones have stabilized, I'm not tired all of the time, and my back and neck pain have been alleviated a bit by the literal weight that was lifted off of my shoulders. I'm glad I nursed and I'm even more glad I'm done. I only nurse in the mornings at this point.

ImageJoanna has been the perfect older sister. She loves to help, she mimics us by using her dolls and stuffed animals, she is eager to hug and kiss Susie, and she loves making her smile. It's so freaking cute! We're trying our best to split our attention as evenly as possible. Some days I'm lucky when they nap at opposite times so I can have one on one time with them. Most days I'm just trying to survive until Jonathan gets home.

We spent Easter with Jonathan's family in Fredericksburg. Joanna had the time of her life running around her aunt and uncle's back yard searching for Easter eggs with her "cousins".  (The photo to the left is from Easter). We also visited a farm near our house a few weeks ago. It was the first time Joey was able to see a horse, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and peacocks in person! It was like seeing a child at Disney world and the cow was Princess Anna.

By the way, Frozen is played at least once a day in our home.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Job!

It is with deepest joy and greatest pleasure that I announce that I was offered a job in Education Administration in my dream county, with a salary that will cover childcare AND enough to move into our dream county, I'll have my own office, and I will finally have a place to wear all of my gorgeous jewelry every day. I will be a Registrar again! YAY! I officially start July 1st (the current Registrar is finishing out the school year.) I'm not naming where it is because this is the internet, and everything on the internet is searchable.

Remember how I searched for a job for nearly 18 months? Applying to over 100 jobs? Last week, I received an email from the librarian at the school saying that she found my resume on Indeed - she saw I attended and worked at Liberty University as a Registrar. She told me about the opening, said that she was also an alumni of Liberty, and asked if I would be interested in applying for the position. Shocked, I replied within minutes and thanked her for finding me! I altered my cover letter, spruced up my resume, and dug up my references. Within 12 hours, I had an interview scheduled for the following week. The interview consisted of 2 panels - one was administrative, the other was with principals. 2 days later, I was offered the job! Holy crap. HOLY CRAP.

As soon as the Headmaster called, I immediately felt 20 pounds lighter and began to cry. Working is a privilege. I now have a job where I can apply my education, experience, and passion. AND I'll make enough so my children can attend a great daycare and have a great house to call their home. I'm overjoyed, y'all. Like, seriously overjoyed.

I'll be using these next months to train part-time. We're also using that time to find the perfect childcare that fits both of our daughter's needs. There are hundreds of places to choose from in Northern Virginia and I'm really thankful for the variety we have.

It feels really great to be a working mother again. I'm going to be happier, my children are going to have the opportunity to be more active, and everyone will be able to meet and play with new people.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Attached

Susie loves me. I think I'm her favorite thing in the world. I am food, I am music, I am swing set, I am diaper changing machine, I am tickler; I am everything to her. And its exhausting.

Little time for dates, shopping, eating, or regular hygiene.

Here is Jonathan holding Susie so I could eat when we went to Foster's. He was able to get her to sleep and still finish his fries. He is superhuman.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Teething

Teething, you art a heartless guttersnipe.

Susie is a horrible drooling mess. She's 3.5 months old and can barely hold up her head, let alone put a teething toy in her mouth to soothe the pain. When she's at her screeching worst, she doesn't even want to nurse. All I can do is rock her and sing "Over (and over and over) the Rainbow." The moment I stop is the moment she starts screaming again.

I know Susie won't remember the pain, but I feel bad that Joanna is being so impacted by it all. Susie shrieks, I comfort her, and Joanna looks at me then picks up one of her dolls and tries to console it. She is having a hard time understanding why Susan is allowed to cry and complain but she can't. Joey has a great deal of empathy, too so she starts crying and seeking comfort. It's not in a "give me attention now!" kind of way - I can tell she is sincerely sad for her sister's pain.

So far we're addressing Susie's teeth with an amber teething necklace on her ankle (because she doesn't have the neck control to wear it as a necklace), orajel, and some pain reliever. I gave up caffeine for now (OY!) so she can hopefully get to sleep more easily.  She's too large and my torso is too small to baby wear her like an infant, and she's too young for me to wear her like a 9 month old (even though she's the size of one). Bigger is not always better.

She's crying again. Time to put my ruby slippers back on.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

3 Months Old

I'm getting very bad at updates. Life is insane. My business is booming and my house is a hurricane. I'm keeping up with quick updates to Facebook and Instagram but it takes a small army to update my blog. We were going to do photos in the chair again like we did for Joey, but the couch has much better lighting. Joanna sometimes likes participating, too.

Susie is screaming less, eating more, and starting to smile. My little one is getting into 9 month clothes. She'll soon catch up to her cousins that were also born in 2013. (My gigantic monster children will starting giving them handmedowns.)

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Maybe with all of this snow, I can get more done? Or I'll go more insane? Or both?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Love/Hate Nursing

Nursing is difficult, beneficial, rewarding, and exhausting. I was told all of these things in advance and I still felt blindsided.

The first weeks are brutal as you and the milk monster try to get into a rhythm of timing and duration. Each mother and each child is different so its hard to set a schedule that will work for all babies. In the midst of mastitis and kidney infections, it was an annoying chore to feed my child from my body.  Thank God for formula.

On a good day: I nurse Susan on both sides right before bed, one side right after waking, then pump the other side.  I'm usually able to nurse her throughout the day while on the couch or chair while Joanna reads, colors, or dictates what is happening on Sid the Science Kid. When I need to feed Susie more quickly, I'll use the milk I pumped earlier. When Joanna sleeps, Susan nurses for 30-40 minutes on each side. By the time she finishes, I have 20-30 minutes of freedom to do laundry and dishes before Joanna wakes.

On a typical day: I nurse Susan on both sides right before bed, one side right after waking, then pump the other side. Joey wakes up, we hang out, then Susie wakes. She wants to be held, fed, and held again. If she were first born, I'd be down with the demands. But she's not. So I hold her, put her down, she screams, I pick her up again, try to parent Joanna with one hand, fail, put Susie back down, she screams, I make a bottle, give Joanna my phone so she can play Endless Alphabet, try to feed Susie, clean up spit up, bounce, rock, burp, change, beg her to stop crying, then give up and start nursing. This sequence happens at least 4 times each day.

In these screaming moments, whether coming from Susie or from inside my brain, I have to remind myself that nursing is beneficial for my baby and myself.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nuby Review and Giveaway: Teething Bunny

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Susie the sweet 9 week old is a charmer. She coos, sings, eats, cries, and eats. We've noticed that responds much more to toys than Joanna did at this age. She loves things that rattle, jingle, and crinkle. She especially loves her new teething bunny from Nuby.

The main body is crinkly while the feet will be very useful when she begins teething. The ears and arms are easy for her to grab, too. For some strange reason, the crinkly sound puts her to sleep!! It's amazing! This little critter isn't machine washable but you can just spot clean it if need be. It wipes clean very easily.

Nuby has many excellent teethers available on Buy Baby Direct. I reviewed the Nuby Icy Bite Keys when Joey was teething and I know this Bunny Teether will be very valuable to us.

And of course one lucky reader will win their very own teether!! Entering is super easy - just leave a comment and a winner will be randomly chosen on February 21st. Good luck!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Nuby Dora the Explorer Sippy Cup

I love giveaways, don't you? And I especially love when Nuby sends me awesome products to review and give away!

My 2 year old drinks water all day. She doesn't like juice, she occasionally likes milk, but she loves having water nearby. In our search for the ultimate sippy cup, we cluttered our cabinet with 8 different varieties: tall, short, fat, skinny, straws, no straws, etc. We've since narrowed it down to 3 kinds: Hello Kitty, Dora, and orange. We realized that it didn't really matter what the design was for the cup - it was all about the look. Her Dora cup from Nuby is especially desired when she's watching Dora every night on Nick Jr.

nubydoracupsThe cup itself is fantastic because it comes with a stopper with 3 options: slow, fast, and removed. If your child is ready to be stopper-free, it's easily removable so they can drink it like a normal sippy cup. Those options helped Joanna grow into using it when she was weaning off of bottle feedings. It's also dishwasher safe! They are available through Amazon and Walmart.

On a personal note, I really love that Nuby partnered with Nick Jr. to offer a Dora the Explorer cup. When you raise a child in a racially diverse city like we do, you have the amazing opportunity to teach your child about different cultures. But more importantly, you get to teach them about how similar all people can be. Our next-door neighbor only speaks Spanish. Although there is a language barrier, she dotes on my daughter like she was family. We try to communicate with the few words we know in each other's language, but Joanna understands her body language, inflection, and facial expression - our neighbor is kind, loving, and friendly. Now that we're watching Dora, Joanna gets excited to tell her "Hola!" to her whenever we see her on the porch or on her steps. (She forgets all of the other Spanish words she learns but I'm at least able to translate the basics.)

In general, I tend to shy away from licensed products that aren't toys, but this sippy cup is a favorite of ours. Joanna loves it - and I hope you'll love it, too because Nuby is graciously giving one of my readers the opportunity to win one! To enter, just leave a comment. A winner will be chosen on February 1st.

Good luck!