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10 posts from April 2011


Anna And Her Bumbo Chair


Anna is 14 weeks old today. She made it about 20 seconds sitting in her Bumbo chair yesterday morning before we left for the babysitter. Last time she freaked out immediately.

Hey, it's progress!


Happy Happy Birthday, Family Style

I love my family.


We have our issues, like any family.


And during get-togethers we have the typical frustrations of so-and-so not doing so-and-so.


Saying something they shouldn't have.


Or, not saying something they should have.


But, I'm learning that the world can be pretty crappy.


People you thought you could trust, you cannot.


Bad things happen that don't seem fair.


And in the end, it's really your family you can count on.


My parents are awesome. My sisters are awesome.


It's a forced love that I don't mind.


Happy Birthday Steph and Dad.

I love you both.


No Visit From The Easter Bunny This Year

It was our first year to celebrate Easter with Anna and although she's a bit young to have the Easter Bunny come visit, we made our way Friday afternoon to the mall (ugh) to get our picture taken.

Luckily it was a shorter line than I feared and only took about 30 minutes.

I had been trying to figure out what I was going to do about an Easter dress, since anyone that's been a little girl knows how important an Easter dress is! I really didn't want to spend $20-$30 dollars on a one-time dress (how much they were running even at Wal-Mart and Target) so I was verypleasantly surprised when Caressa (my doula from Anna's birth) left the cutest dress on my front porch a few weeks ago.


(Anna would start crying REALLY quickly after I'd put her down so I kept walking over, calming her down, and the woman wasn't very good at hitting the shutter button in the few seconds she was calm.)

I found matching shoes at a local second-hand store for only $2.99, and they were never worn, with the original tags on and everything! Although, it's pretty funny that Anna fits shoe size "0-6 weeks" even though she is almost 14 weeks old. She has some mini-feet!


So, I got her all dressed up for the mall trip and ended up being really happy I could capture her first Easter.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to church. Anna got dropped off at the church nursery and Cody and I headed to one of the "overflow" rooms so the first-time guests could sit in the sanctuary. We did our usual volunteer thing the second service (our church has three services) and picked Anna Banana up afterwards.


A quick lunch with our friends Dace and Jacque (and Hudson) and we headed home for the rest of the day to take it easy.


No Easter Bunny this year, but a good first Easter none-less!


Spangler, Look at Me.

We've had a ton of rain in North Texas recently (and like much of the country, lots of tornados and really bad thunderstorms) so the dirt in the backyard dirt is really soft (our backyard has been turned into dirt with grass patches from Spangler--nice, huh?). 

Yesterday afternoon I walked outside to let Spangler back inside and wasn't surprised to see this:


Spangler was looking at me with his paws and muzzle covered in wet, sandy dirt. He knew exactly what he did and that he was in trouble.

"Spangler, sit."

<He sits.>

"Look at me. Spangler . . ."

<Very slowly looks at me.>


"Did you dig a hole in the backyard?"

<He looks away and lies down right where he was sitting.>


It's like he was so defeated that he got caught that I couldn't really discipline him. It's like he was punishing himself. (Well, I say that because I guess I'm justifying not punishing him? Man. He better feel lucky that his Mom is such a softie!)

So I wiped him off and took him back inside.


Going Back to Work After Anna's Birth

It's been a little over a week since I went back to work. I was fortunate enough to get 12 weeks off paid from my company ("paid" since I had six years of sick time saved up!) and it feels like I've never left work but also that I've been away forever.

The First Eight Weeks

The first eight weeks were hands down the hardest. I had no idea what I was doing and it seemed like every second I needed to be doing something with Anna. Finding time to put her down and take a shower sometimes was my biggest challenge of the day and it could be overwhelming.


(Anna becomes Baby Rambo when her bow starts to come off. Hanging out with Aunt Steph.)

I had a mini-breakdown around the eight week mark. I mentioned that I was breastfeeding her exclusively and on-demand, so I'd feed her whenever she was hungry. I kept waiting and waiting for my milk to be enough where I could still feed her AND pump enough to get a supply saved up in the freezer for when I went back to work, but that day never happened. I'd only be able to pump an ounce or less at a time and it was starting to stress me out.

I realized that I couldn't keep up what I was doing and so with Anna getting her first round of shots, and with a lot of encouragement from Cody and friends that switched to formula after breast milk, I gave her a formula/breastmilk bottle for the first time.


(Passing time with Mommy while the floors are getting redone downstairs.)

It probably makes total sense to some women, and seems silly to other women, but it was really emotional for me. I had envisioned that I'd be the kind of Mom that would breastfeed until she was at least six months old and I even talked about wanting to follow the AAP recommendations and continue with at least one feeding a day of breast milk until she was a year old. Coming to the realization that I couldn't do that was heartbreaking. It's hard to not feel like you're a bad mom for not giving her the best source of nuitrience that you can.

The Last Four Weeks

But then, it seemed like all the stress of being able to continue to breastfeed her after going back to work was preventing me from really enjoying motherhood. As soon as I started supplementing her with formula it's like my whole world changed. I ENJOYED every moment with her and the fogginess of day-to-day life with a newborn went away. My last four weeks of maternity leave was amazing. Cody was probably relieved as I was much more pleasant to be around. Anna started sleeping longer at night (which gave us some much needed sleep too) and I didn't have to worry about pumping in the middle of the night either.


(Asleep on Daddy, complete with drool!)

I have friends who can feed their baby AND pump an entire bottle of milk and coming to the realization that I couldn't do that, but that it was okay, was huge.

The First Day Back

I thought last Monday was going to be full of tears and guilt, but surprisingly, it went really well. I think it 100% had to do with finding a babysitter who I trust completely and who I see eye-to-eye with on how to raise kids. I picked Anna up that afternoon and I was so excited to see her. She was awake from pick-up to bed time and I loved every minute I had with her.

I hate only having 30-60 minutes with her in the morning and really hate putting her in her carrier when she's in such a good mood, but I'm happy that she's at a place with two older children (2 and 3, and the three-year-old girl LOVES "Baby Anna" and LOVES to help do everything for her--it's adorable).


(Cody is the king of making Anna giggle! Photos by Aunt Dianne!)

I wish she didn't have to be gone all day and I'm hoping that we can pick her up early a few days a week (when Cody gets off work early or if my sister wants to hang out with her in the afternoon's, etc.). I know that it will be hard again when she gets to the age where she realizes that Mom is leaving, and even harder when she can talk and she tells me that she wants to stay at her house, but for right now it's working and I feel so blessed that we found her babysitter.


Family Nap


There is no lack of snuggling at my house. The dog, the cat and the baby.


Living Room and Dining Room Redecoration, Day 2

(You can catch up on your reading of the new flooring/redecorating here: Day 1: Furniture Removal).

Day Two

They arrived bright and early to start the demo work on the floor. I knew it would be messy, but what a pain to get everything up.


The living room had carpet, so it only took 10 minutes or so to rip up, but the rest of the floor was engineered wood glued down or the small area of marble tile in the entryway. The wood would come up in small pieces and since the glue has to be removed before the tile can be put down, pulling the wood up was only part of the process.


Most of the flooring was pulled up by the end of the day, but what a long and manual process.


During it all Cody and I decided to have them go ahead and rip out the tile around the fireplace (the same marble tile as the entryway) since we want to replace it with a rock veneer. Might as well go ahead and demo it while the house is a mess. So it's added one more thing we need to do once the flooring is complete.


You can see the the really smart homeowner before us installed the tile directly to drywall, so we have a couple holes in the wall. Nice.

While this was going on, Spangler, Anna and I hung out upstairs most of the day while "the girls" (what I call our two cats, Sage and Drifter) were in our bedroom downstairs (which the only part of downstairs that isn't getting the tile floor).

I know some people are anti-crate training (and I've heard lots of opinions) but Spangler really does love his crate. He puts himself to bed almost every night and even takes a lot of his naps in his "bed." So, there is only one place to go when there are weird people in your house and . . . Spangler goes and watches the demo work from his crate (and yes, the door is wide open).


I don't even try to understand him.


Living Room and Dining Room Redecoration, Day 1

Cody and I moved into our house in February of 2009. One of the reasons we bought it over some of the other homes we looked at was that parts of it were already updated--lots of white moulding, my favorite! But, one of the things we knew we wanted to replace once we moved in was the flooring.

And it's now April of 2011 (26 months later) and we still have the same flooring.

The carpet has seen better days and even the hardwood floors aren't in the best condition (and it's the kind of hardwood that we can't sand down and stain). The previous owner installed the hardwood floor himself, laying it in a brick pattern instead of the random pattern that it should have been. It also had some considerable water damage around the windows and had begun to separate from each other in some areas (so when I mopped the dirty water would seep down in the spaces and it was just gross).

We're FINALLY getting the downstairs flooring redone and we're using this opportunity to also redo the look of the living and dining room.


The main colors were taken from our house in Illinois, which are a deep red with oranges and yellows. I used the "primitive" look (new things that look old) mixed in with the some traditional items, like the shape of the leather couches.


(Sniff. I will miss these pillows, although they really do need to be replaced. The front fabric was a steal. Originally $80/yard 100% silk, I got one yard for $18. I just used $1/yard red polyester fabric from Wal-Mart for the back.)


It's good timing to change the look since Spangler managed to pull the curtain through his crate, ripping the bottom to shreds. He also bent the curtain rod.


The other good reason this is happening is because at the entry to our house we have a grey marble tile, which in itself isn't bad, but three different types of flooring just come together here. And that is just a big no-no.

Hey, the rule of threes is always good in design, just not when it comes to flooring.


Day One

Yesterday Cody headed to Home Depot and picked up 45 boxes of tile. We are using the same tile we used in the half bathroom last summer, Tuscany Rouge 18 x 18 porcelain tile. We lucked out and found a store that had, in stock, enough for the entire project. He got  all 45 boxes of tile, 12 50lb bags of thinset and four 25lb bags of grout. The tile weighed 65lbs PER BOX so it took two pick-up trucks to haul it to our house. Thank goodness for good friends in pick-up trucks!


We moved the furniture out and the flooring/redecoration project has begun.

(Hi Sage!)


It's going to be fun to have all this going on with a big black dog and a 11 week old baby.


But, I know it's going to pay off.

Stay tuned . . .


Finally, Some Mommy/Anna Pictures

I'm usually the one behind the camera. I love taking pictures and really love capturing all of the people that love Anna and choose to spend their time with her.

But, sometimes that means that the everyday moments of me and her go by with nothing to document it.


Before we left for the awards dinner the Saturday before last Cody snapped a few pictures of me and Anna.


I love them.


They are perfect in their imperfection.


And, something I'm going to make sure to do more often.


Good Saturday's

This past weekend was great. We spent some much needed time together as a family, just taking care of things around the house on Saturday and doing our usual routine of church and Bible study on Sunday.

Saturday morning Anna woke up at 2am, 4am and again at 5am and Cody found himself unable to go back to bed so he got up and hung out with her, letting me sleep in until 8am. Let me tell you, it felt great. I then had a hair appointment and disappeared for another few hours, with Saturday morning turning into a really great break for me and some good Daddy-Daughter time for Cody. We worked a bit on the garage Saturday afternoon (trying to get it organized and gone-through) and finished the day with a burger and dessert with some friends.

This was a big difference from the two previous Saturday's where we stayed busy out of town. We worked one Saturday at Cody's parents, putting in a new floor in their bathroom (well, Cody and his Dad put in the new floor while Anna and I hung out with Cody's Mom and sisters) and then the following Saturday we got a baby-free evening, celebrating the young alumni award Cody received from our alma mater.

(We even got to dress up!)


It was a beautiful evening put on by our Alumni Association, celebrating not only Cody but three "Outstanding Alumni," an "Outstanding Faculty/Staff" and an "Outstanding Friend" of the university.


Cody had to give a quick speech (eek!) but he really did great.

And I know he felt a little ridiculous to be honored, as he just gets up and does his job every day, but it was great for his hard work to be honored in this way. I am just so proud of him! It was one of those, "Hey, that is MY husband!" moments.


Lots of good Saturdays recently.