Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little Moments with Easton

Now that Easton is almost 11 months old, he’s gotten to be a pretty funny guy. He learns new skills almost daily and I’m constantly texting Joe about some crazy trick he’s picked up.

Here are some of my favorite funny moments/ tricks from the past several weeks:

- Easton recently learned how to sign “all done.” He started by doing it when he was done eating, which is when I typically would sign it to him. Now that he’s got the hang of it, he pulls it out any time he’s unhappy and wants to stop what we’re doing: during diaper changes, when I try to put him down for a nap, in the store when he’s sick of riding in the cart. Sorry bud, it doesn’t always work.

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- Joe taught E how to scream a few weeks ago. Yeah. The two of them would shriek back and forth and then burst out laughing. Unfortunately, Easton hasn’t forgotten this trick. Last week at play group he spent most of the time practicing his screams. Anytime it would start to get noisy in the room he would scream at the top of his lungs for a good 10 seconds at a time. Luckily the other moms thought it was pretty cute!

- Easton loves pushing his walker toy around to practice walking but now he thinks EVERYTHING is meant to be pushed. I keep finding things like his tabletop toy or empty boxes abandoned in the middle of the hall.

- When he rides in the cart at stores he insists on turning around so he’s facing out. He’s always strapped into the cart and his legs are in the holes so his body is twisted like an S. It looks uncomfortable but he stays that way the whole time.

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- He likes giving kisses but always does it by opening his mouth as wide as it goes and then sucking/biting your face.

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- I’m starting to feel like we have a dog in our house. Every time Joe or I sit down with food or a drink, Easton is right there at our feet giving puppy dog eyes and reaching for it. It doesn’t matter if he just finished his own snack or hates the food we have, he still insists that we share.

- He started saying “mama” recently, but half the time it comes out as “momop.”

- Easton loves to play with phones and remotes. Somehow whenever we have the TV on, he manages to find the remote, turn the channel and record a program. We find the weirdest shows listed on DVR. The funny thing is that 9 times out of 10 it’s a kid’s show that he’s recorded!

- He thinks paper and cardboard are the best snacks ever. We have to be really careful about leaving any sort of paper within his reach. A few weeks ago I caught him munching on a page from Joe’s textbook.

- The other day Easton was playing on the floor in just a shirt and diaper while I was flipping through a book. I glanced over at one point and saw his cloth diaper laying on the floor. Before I realized what had happened, a naked butt came streaking past.

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That little guy makes life hectic these days, but I don’t know what I did without him!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The First Big Snowfall

This weekend brought a huge snowfall here in Minnesota. While I’ve never been a big fan of winter, even I can appreciate how beautiful the trees and houses look right now with a thick coating of snow.

We packed our snowy weekend full of Easton-friendly winter/Christmas events. On Saturday morning we went to a children’s Christmas party put on by Joe’s work. The business he works for is pretty huge and they had activities set up throughout the building for kids. When we walked up, we were greeted by a few of Santa’s reindeer. We didn’t risk setting Easton too close for a picture (we didn’t think he’d be too thrilled about that), but I did sneak this shot of my two boys taking a peek.

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Inside the office there were cookies and milk, crafts, face painting, balloon animals, a magician, a musical performance and a few costumed characters wandering about. Easton was too little to partake in most of the activities, but we had a good time watching all of the excited kids. Of course the big event was getting pictures with Santa! The line was huge but we couldn’t resist getting Easton’s first photo with the big guy. We ended up waiting for 20ish minutes (which seemed long for a work party!) before we were led into a little maze where Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting. We thought the secretive set up was a little odd, but eventually realized they had planned it that way because there were multiple Santas! It was pretty funny but it definitely worked to keep the line from moving too slowly. We sat with Easton so he didn’t seem to mind but he definitely wasn’t impressed by Santa either. The pictures are supposed to be posted on a photo site this week and I’m anxious to see how ours turned out!

We had plans to join some friends for the big holiday parade Saturday evening but it fell through. Instead Joe ended up having a late dinner with his friends and Easton and I stayed in and had Chinese take out. I was a little disappointed that I had to miss the fun so I could put Easton to bed but we had a fun evening together and, of course, he’s always worth it!

Late that night was when the snow really started to fall. By mid-afternoon Sunday there were already 6+ inches of snow on the ground. I was so excited to take Easton out for the first time to experience his first big snowfall. We bundled him up in his snowsuit, boots, hat and mittens and brought him out onto the snowy deck. His reaction was too funny to describe, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

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Apparently he’s not the biggest fan of winter either. Winking smile

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Years Later

Today is a special anniversary in our home. Five years ago on December 7th, Joe got down on one knee and proposed. We don’t actually celebrate this anniversary, but I didn’t want the day to pass by without acknowledging it. After all, if that proposal had never happened, we wouldn’t have the life we do today! So in honor of this day, I’m sharing one of my favorite stories; the story of how Joe and I met, fell in love, and got engaged. *Cue sappy music*

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Joe and I met the first week of college. At our school, first year students were required to take a class called "first year symposium" (or FYS) that is meant to help improve your reading/writing skills and get you acquainted with college life. Joe and I were in that class together.

There is a “legend” that you will meet your future spouse in FYS. I don’t know how often that has actually happened, but it did for us. According to Joe, he was thinking about that legend on the first day of class and scoping out his classmates, trying to decide which he would hypothetically marry. Now I can’t verify if this is true, but Joe swears that when I came in the room he decided I was the one.

I noticed Joe on our second meeting a few days later. I was sitting in my first biology lab when Joe sat down at my table. He, along with two others, ended up being part of my lab group for the semester. I remember thinking he looked familiar, but I didn’t realize he was in my FYS class until a few days later.

Anyways, we bonded over microscopes, a goofy lab partner, and an unusual professor. We became friends really quickly, which is strange for me because I’m a relatively quiet person and it usually takes time for me to become friends with someone, especially a guy. We started spending more and more time together, and it quickly blossomed into a relationship.

 

The first picture of Joe and I at 18.

Early in our relationship, our FYS class had to do a project that involved being assigned to small groups and putting on mini plays for the rest of the class. Our class met one evening for our performances. When we were all finished, our professor broke out refreshments, including gingerbread cookies (it was almost Christmas). Afterward, Joe walked me back to my car (I had to drive to the other part of campus). We chatted for a bit and then Joe leaned in for a kiss-- our first kiss. I told him that he tasted like gingerbread, and he laughed. From then on, every time we ate gingerbread, we reminisced about that night.

Fast forward 3 years. On December 7th, 2007, Joe came to my apartment to hang out. He brought a gingerbread house for us to set up and a big white box tied with a red ribbon. I asked what was in the box, but he refused to tell me, saying it was a surprise for later. We worked hard on our gingerbread house for an hour or so (it still turned out a mess, we’re not very artistic).

When we finished, Joe told me I could open my surprise. When I did, I instantly saw that it was gingerbread people that looked like us (our hair color, eye color, etc). I smiled, noticing how cute the curly hair was on the "me" gingerbread girl. Then I stepped back to take in the whole picture and instantly noticed what I had stupidly missed. The "Joe" gingerbread boy was on one knee and in his hands was a ring... a real ring! Once I caught on, Joe picked the ring up, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him.

My answer was "OF COURSE!!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Biting my Tongue

For the past few months Easton and I have been going to a baby play group every Tuesday afternoon. The program is a drop-in play time for babies 0-1 that’s run by our local school district’s Early Childhood program. There are a handful of moms and babies that are there each week but there are also typically 2-3 new moms each time. We all sit around and chat while we play with our babies in a big room filled with toys. I’m not usually one for situations that require forced conversation with strangers (I’m so not an extrovert) but it’s pretty relaxed and low-key and there are usually only 4-6 moms at a time so I kind of like it.

Yesterday’s session was a little different. There were 11 moms with babies in the room this time, which was the biggest group I’ve seen so far. At any given time there were at least 4 different conversations going at once. I spent some of the time talking with the two moms that are there every week and chatted with some new faces but, as usual, much of the time was spent wrangling Easton. While I was occupied with him, I happened to overhear a few moms near me talking about getting their kids to sleep and the conversation made my blood boil.

Now, I’m clearly no expert on getting babies to sleep. Far from it, in fact. My 10 month old has not slept a stretch over 3 hours in the past 8 months and still has never spent an entire night in his crib. But I have some very strong opinions when it comes to parenting. I know how I want to care for my child (when it comes to most topics, there are still some that I’m unsure of) and while I truly don’t judge other moms for having different ideas, I get irritated when I hear them put down my style of parenting.

Back to those two moms. One woman said that her 5 month old son still doesn’t fall asleep on his own and she’s trying to start sleep training. Mom #2, who had a 6 month old, went on to tell her exactly how she should go about that in a way that implied that her way was the only “right” way. She told Mom #1 that she had implemented the program when her son was 3-4 months old and he became a good sleeper almost right away. She instructed her to put the baby down in his crib and leave him to cry… for up to an hour. The second day, she was to put him down and let him cry… for up to TWO hours.

Now I’m the first to admit I do not like the cry it out method at all. That being said, I know that it works well for some moms to put their babies down and let them cry for increasingly longer periods. However, I have NEVER heard someone suggest leaving their baby, at just 3 months old, to cry alone in his crib for 2 hours. Ugh.

I’m not one to jump into conversations and offer my opinions when they aren’t asked, so I didn’t. But boy did I want to. I just couldn’t fathom giving out that kind of advice and then criticizing mothers who choose not to let their babies cry it out. Maybe using that technique would be the solution to getting to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, but there’s no way I could listen to Easton’s heartbreaking cries and do nothing for so long. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think I’ll stick with bags under my eyes for now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trust

 

Over the last year our family’s church attendance has been pretty awful. At first we took several weeks off because we were nervous about having an unpredictable newborn in church. Then there was the problem of Easton’s nap. He typically takes his morning nap around 9 or 9:30. Our church has only one Sunday service at 10:00. That means Easton either has to take a really early, really short nap or has to wait until we get home and go to church sleepy (and as anyone who is familiar with kids knows, a sleepy baby= a crabby baby).

When we actually did make it to church, Easton HATED it. It turns out that being stuck in our arms sitting still on a church pew was not his idea of a fun time. Our church does have a nursery, but they don’t take babies until they are 9 months old so we had no choice but to keep Easton with us. We tried several times but it was always the same thing. Within 15 minute he would be fussy and I would spend the rest of the service pacing around with him in the back, barely aware of what was happening in the sanctuary.

Then in mid October, Easton turned 9 months old, which meant he was finally old enough to go in the nursery. We were out of town the next 2 Sundays in a row but then I kept making excuses to stay home. The truth is I was so nervous to put my baby in the nursery! The people working in there are actual paid employees who have plenty of experience with children, so I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Still, I wasn’t used to leaving Easton with anyone. Since I stay home with him full-time Easton has never been in daycare or stayed with a babysitter. The only person who had ever watched him aside from Joe and me was my mom, and that only happened one time. Still, I really felt like I needed to start going to church regularly again and I knew that bringing Easton in with us would be 1000 times worse now that he loves to crawl, climb and scream.

This past Sunday I decided it was time to give it a try. Easton woke up that morning at 6:30, which was an hour earlier than usual. When he started to get crabby around 8:30, I tried to put him down for a nap but instead he got a second wind and just wanted to play. So we all got ready for church, knowing that Easton was already overdue for that nap, and just hoped for the best.

When we first walked into church, a sweet older woman was standing at the door to greet everyone. She took Easton’s hand and said good morning to him and he burst into tears. Joe and I just gave each other a look, both wondering if we were making a bad decision. But we kept on and got Easton signed in to the nursery and ready to go. When I handed him over to the woman in charge, he burst into tears again. So Joe and I came in, sat down on the floor with Easton played for a few minutes. Once he was distracted with toys, he seemed fine. So we both gave him a kiss and headed out. We peeked through the window in the hall for a minute. Easton seemed content playing with one of the nursery workers so we took our pager and headed into the sanctuary, placing bets on how long it would be before we were paged.

We made it through the opening songs and prayers and the pager was still quiet. As we listened to the announcements and sang a few more songs, Joe and I were both getting nervous and started glancing at the pager every few minutes. We were sure Easton had been crying since he noticed we were gone and we couldn’t believe they hadn’t called us back to get him yet.

Amazingly, we made it all the way through the sermon, communion, the offering, and the closing prayer and never got our page. As soon as the service ended, we dashed off to pick up Easton. When we got to the nursery, I peeked through that hallway window again to see what Easton was doing without us but I didn’t see him playing anywhere. Then I looked right under the window where one of the teenaged girls working in the nursery was rocking a baby. I did a double take and realized that the silent, sleeping baby in her arms was Easton!

When we picked him up, we were told that he had fallen asleep almost right away and stayed that way for the entire hour! I was absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe that my kid—the one who fights sleeping every time we try to get him to nap, has only been away from both of us once before, has never been left with a stranger, and cries when we leave the room he’s in for more than a minute—had spent his first day in the nursery sleeping in a stranger’s lap!

Here I had been avoiding church for so long because I didn’t think Easton would tolerate being away from us and he did better than we ever could’ve imagined. It must be God’s way of telling me that I need stop making excuses and stop worrying and put my trust in Him. I’m going to do my best to do just that. So from now on if you need me on Sunday mornings, I’ll be in church listening to God’s word and not staring at that pager too much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It’s Still Christmas

 

Every Christmas when I was a kid my dad would take my sister and I to go pick out a Christmas tree together while my mom stayed home and dug out the holiday decorations. We weren’t cut-your-own-tree people but we always bought a real tree from one of a few small places in town. My sister and I would wander around looking at every tree they had while taking in that wonderful evergreen scent that just screams “Christmas is coming!” After browsing for way too long my dad would start to throw out suggestions until we all agreed on a nice tree. M dad would pay for the tree and then my sister and I would watch from the car while he painstakingly tied the tree to the roof with frozen fingers. We would bring it home, pop it in the stand and groan when we were told we had to give it a day to settle before we could decorate.

My husband’s family did things differently. When he was 4 or 5 his family’s house caught fire while they were away. They lost a lot of their possessions and had to move. They ended up building a new house and moved in near the end of the year. By the time they settled in to their new home, Christmas was coming soon. The artificial tree they used to put up was one of the things they lost in the fire so Joe’s mom went out to the store and bought the first fake tree she could find. It was a small, spindly tree but she figured they would just use it that year and then buy a bigger, nicer one the following year. But that never happened. Every year they would talk about getting a new tree, but in the end they always wanted to use that same scraggly tree.

When Joe and I spent our first Christmas together in our little apartment, we were both excited to get our first tree together. I had visions of wandering through stores smelling of pine and choosing a cute little tree with long dark needles. Joe, on the other hand, was dreaming of going to a big store, looking through the display of artificial trees, and choosing the one that we would put up year after year. When we realized how different our visions were, we were surprised. I couldn’t imagine Christmas without that real tree smell. Joe couldn’t picture getting a tree every year just to throw it out at the end of the season. We went back and forth for weeks but in the end my stubbornness wasn’t a match for Joe’s laid-back attitude and he gave in.

Joe still didn’t like the idea of throwing the tree out every year and he hated the way the needles fell off everywhere but he did come to like the tree. Every winter after that we continued the tradition and picked out a new real tree.

Until this year.

This year, something changed. This year I have an almost-toddler who is into absolutely everything. I knew that I would be spending my day trying to keep him out of the tree’s water and stop him from eating the needles he pulled out of the tree. I knew that the living room that he spends much of the day playing in would soon be full of pine needles that would jab him in the hands and feet (and if you’ve ever stepped on one, you know those suckers hurt!). I just couldn’t justify doing that this year.

When I told Joe I was leaning toward getting an artificial tree, he was thrilled. The next day the three of us headed to the store to pick out our tree. We browsed through the small selection, chose the perfect tree and loaded the box into the car. We came home, put it together and decorated it with lights and ornaments.

And you know what? It still felt like Christmas. In fact, there were some advantages to a fake tree. We didn’t have to stand outside trying to tie the tree to the roof or fit it in the back of the car. We didn’t have to wait for the tree to settle before decorating it. And best of all, after vacuuming up plastic needles once (right after decorating) there hasn’t been any upkeep. No more vacuuming and no watering! I do miss that pine smell, but there are always candles for that!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding my Community

 

Today I’m linking up with Becky at From Mrs to Mama. I just started following Becky’s blog a few weeks ago but when I saw this link up, I knew I had to join.

I started blogging back in 2009 a few months after getting married. I was the first of my friends to get married and I longed for a community of other young newlyweds who would understand what my life was like. It took a few months to get the hang of blogging regularly and soon after I found a bunch of great newlywed bloggers to follow. I loved having this new group of women to interact with and, let’s face it, the snoopy side of me loved getting these little glimpses into others’ lives.

I blogged there for over two years before I started having trouble keeping it up. I was busy working, going to grad school, moving into our new house, and planning for our coming baby. While a lot of other bloggers I followed seemed to make it work despite being even busier, I just didn’t make blogging enough of a priority and it started to feel like a chore. So last August it was with a sigh of relief that I closed up my blog.

My son Easton was born on January 16th, 2012 [edit:I just had to go back and change this date after I realized I listed my due date and not his actual birthday! Oops… that’s embarrassing!]  (I can’t believe he’s nearly one!) and soon after I found myself wishing I still had a blog. Not so much because I wanted to document his life (though that was also true), but because I longed to be a part of that community again. Just like I had been the first in my group of friends to get married, I ended up being the first to have a baby. I still loved my old friends but wanted to connect with a group of women like me again. After debating for awhile, I started blogging here. I’m still trying to find balance in my life so I have time to sit down and blog but after nearly a year of motherhood, I’m starting to make it work

So who am I?

I’m a 26 year old Minnesota girl. I love living in the Midwest but hate the snow and cold weather.

During my 10 years in the workforce I have been a lifeguard, office assistant, nanny, personal care assistant, substitute teacher, and summer school teacher. I am passionate about education. I finished a graduate degree in Special Education last December and was excited to use it this fall. I ended up falling head over heels in love with my new son and decided to stay home with him instead. I definitely made the right decision but I still look forward to being a Special Ed teacher one day.

I love love love to travel but I’m also a serious homebody.

I am a major type-A personality. I love organization, budgets, and schedules and I am easily stressed.

I have one sister who is my polar opposite in nearly every way. We were really close as kids though we’ve grown apart as adults. We live 5 hours apart and only see each other 4-5 times a year. Our lives are completely different which makes it tough for us to relate to each other. Still, I love her to death and I hope that one day we’ll be close again.

My parents separated two and a half years ago and eventually got divorced. I’ll be honest, that really sucked. I’m mostly over it now but it makes life really stressful around the holidays and my sister and I still get caught in the middle a lot.

My husband is my best friend. We met during our first week of college and he quickly became my first and only boyfriend. We were engaged at 21 and married at 23. People used to question how I knew he was “the one” when he was the only person I ever dated but I never had any doubts. We’ve been married 3.5 years now and we still do almost everything together.

I have ups and downs in my life just like everyone else, but overall I feel so blessed. Life with my two boys is (as my blog title says) imperfect and unpredictable but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Monday, November 26, 2012

3 Thanksgivings in 2 Days

Our Family had so much to be thankful this year that we needed THREE separate dinners to celebrate. We started out late Thursday afternoon at my sister-in-law’s home. There was a good sized group there including all of my in-laws and my husband’s grandparents who hadn’t met Easton yet. We had a good time stuffing ourselves, chatting, playing with Easton and his cousin and rifling through all the ads for Black Friday (though most of us had no intention of actually shopping that night).

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Easton and his cousin posing in their Thanksgiving shirts.

But that was only the beginning. We headed out in a snowstorm (not so fun) and made the two hour drive to my hometown. We got to my mom’s house just after 10:00 but Mr. Easton had spent the entire drive sleeping so he was wide awake and ready to play when we arrived. Luckily he crashed after just over and hour so we all headed to bed.

The next day we had Thanksgiving #2 with my mom and sister. It was a smaller and more casual celebration but I still managed to eat way too much. Thanksgiving #3 came that evening at my dad’s house. He had cooked up quite a bit of food but I spent most of that meal feeding Easton (who apparently loves Thanksgiving dishes!).

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It’s been so much fun seeing all of the holidays in a new light now that I have a kid to share them with. Our holiday wasn’t exactly relaxing but after three celebrations full of lots of family and lots of food, we can definitely say we did Easton’s first Thanksgiving justice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This and That

- I did a mini overhaul of my blog last night including changing its name! My old name was always intended to be a place holder until I came up with something I wanted to be more permanent. My little home on the web is now  called Imperfect and Unpredictable. I think that describes my life as a SAHM as well as anything could! I also added a new banner and pictures. It’s nothing too fancy but it’s a definite step up from what I had slopped together months ago.

- Thanksgiving is in 9 days and we are still working on solidifying our plans for the holiday. This is one of the times that having divorced parents really sucks. This year it’s my in-laws’ turn to have Thanksgiving on the actual day so we’ll be at my SIL’s house on Thursday. That means we have to find time to see both of my parents individually on Friday. I wanted to go to my extended family’s gathering too but that’s scheduled for Saturday and that’s just too much driving and socializing for Easton. I’m a little bummed that we’re going to have to skip it but 4 Thanksgivings is crazy anyway.

- Easton has been spending the majority of the night co-sleeping with us since he was born. I loved having him in bed with us but I realized last week that it was time to end that. Easton has never been a good sleeper but now he started waking half a dozen times a night and crawling  all over me. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve woken up to his butt in my face as he leans over me to slap Joe in the face (you can imagine how much Joe loves that wake up). So starting on Sunday we started working on keeping him in his room all night. The first night wasn’t too bad but last night was BRUTAL. He woke up at 9:30, 11:30, and 1:30 and it took me about 15-20 minutes each time to get him back down. Then he was up at 3:30 for 45 minutes! Every time I thought he was asleep I would get back in bed only to have him pop up again. Joe finally got him down for me at 4:15 but then he was up again at 5:30 and never went back to sleep. I know it’s one of those things that’s going to take time before it gets better but I do NOT want any more nights like that one!

- I’ve always been terrible about getting my Christmas shopping done early. I tend to be the one in the store on December 23rd rushing to get my last few gifts. This year we’ve already ordered a few gifts and have ideas for many more. I just need to come up with a good idea for my husband now… I can think of a million little things he would like but I always struggle to find something really special for him. I’m hoping something awesome will come to me soon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Easton’s First Halloween

I realize I’m a tad behind on blogging but I’m getting my Halloween post up before Thanksgiving, so I’m counting this as a win. ;)

Halloween kind of snuck up on us this year and we didn’t really do too much for it. Our decorations never made it out of the garage and I ended up buying candy for the Trick-or-Treaters the night before Halloween. The only part of Halloween I was excited for was dressing Easton up!

When I was a kid my mom always made our Halloween costumes. I loved flipping through the pattern books at the fabric store and picking out something unique that nobody else would have. I wanted to do the same for Easton so I scouted out ideas early. I found a pattern online for a really cute dragon costume and was totally in love. The only problem was I had never sewn clothes before and never really even used a pattern. I’ve made quilts and cloth napkins and easy things like that but the dragon was definitely beyond those projects. I decided to give it a shot anyway and it ended up being much easier than I’d anticipated. Granted, I probably ended up using my seam ripper more than my sewing machine but oh well.

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Our local library had a special Halloween story time where kids could come in costume. I took Easton in his costume (which I had to take along and put on him in the parking lot since the tail wouldn’t fit in his car seat, oops!) and we had a great time. We sat next to Easton’s buddy from play group who was dressed as a monkey and the two boys spent most of the time pulling on each other’s tails.

We dressed Easton up again in the evening for pictures but we didn’t actually take him Trick-or-Treating. He helped me hand out candy for awhile instead and then went to bed early.

Altogether he probably only wore his costume for about an hour so the amount of time and effort that went into it was probably not worth it but I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted to make Easton’s first Halloween special… even if he won’t remember it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fab Friday

I had every intention of finally recapping my baby’s first Halloween today but today has not been my day. The babe was up at 5:30 this morning after a very rough night (FIVE THIRTY! That’s so not acceptable in this house!), and only napped 30 minutes this morning. Yikes. Needless to say, he’s been a cranky pants today. But he’s napping again now and instead of feeling sorry for myself any longer I’m going to focus on the positives.

I’m linking up (my first link-up on the new blog!)  with Laura from Behind the Lines for Fab Friday.

 

- I got my very first iPhone on Wednesday and I’m totally in love. I had been using an android phone for 3+ years now and there is honestly NO comparison. There are so many apps that weren’t available for android phones. My old one didn’t even run instagram! I joined instantly on this one though and I love it already! (Follow me @ hmsass :) )

- Joe got his first full paycheck from his new job so I can finally update our budget accurately. We’re not exactly swimming in money but I think we’ll be fine on one income for the rest of the school year. I’m still praying that it will work out long term so I can stay home with Easton for the long haul.

- It’s been gorgeous fall weather these last few days. 50 degrees in November is almost unheard of here in MN so we’ve been taking advantage and going on long walks.

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- We have big plans to get Chinese take-out tonight! I realize my excitement over that makes me sound totally lame but man, do we love Chinese take-out.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Perfectionist and a Baby Don’t Always Mix

It’s no secret that I have a Type A personality. I’m a hardcore perfectionist, I like routine, I prefer to know my upcoming schedule many days (or preferably weeks) in advance, I love to organize things (bonus points if I get to use my label maker!), and I feel stressed when my house isn’t in order. Unfortunately, keeping my home perfectly neat was a challenge before I had a baby. With Easton in my life, it’s downright impossible.

It’s incredible how much more there is to clean and take care of around the house since adding Easton to our family. First there’s the added laundry. Then there’s the toys books everywhere that need to picked up 73,000 times a day. The mess left behind in the kitchen after every meal might be the worst of all. I have a weekly cleaning schedule to keep me on task (Type A… remember?) and I attempt to do 1 load of laundry each day so our teeny laundry room doesn’t end up buried in clothes. Still, some days staying caught up is overwhelming. If cleaning was all I had to do, it would be a piece of cake. But, of course, there is the matter of that little baby who likes to be entertained by his mama most of the day and my need for a little bit of downtime so I don’t completely lose my sanity. Some days the stars align and everything gets done on time. Most days, though, are like today.

The laundry is clean… but still in the dryer.

The living room was vacuumed… but the bathroom counters are dirty.

Dinner was made… but the garbage cans were left at the end of the driveway (until Joe brought them back up when he got home).

The kitchen was cleaned up after dinner… but the high chair dropcloth that was airing out on the deck and blew down into the yard is still out there somewhere.

Learning to ignore the mess and embrace the chaos that is life with a baby has been an adjustment. Sometimes I look around and shake my head at the mess surrounding. Still, at the end of the day I would much rather have a messy house and a baby who was played with than a neglected child and a spotless home.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Fall is in full swing here in Minnesota. The temperature has dropped, the leaves are brightly colored and Halloween decorations are out. I’ve been dying to start some fall family traditions but at 9 months old Easton is a little young for most activities. We do have one tradition already that has been a part of Joe’s family for many years. Every year we all get together at my in-laws in October to make our annual trip to a nearby pumpkin patch. I was really excited to bring Easton for the first time. He did pretty well though it may be a few years before he really cares about the pumpkins!

 

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We attempted to take some cute pictures of Easton and his cousin, but neither was the least bit interested!

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Here’s a side-by-side comparison of last year and this year. Last year I looked like I was smuggling a pumpkin under my shirt… this year my little pumpkin seems so big!

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We picked out a pumpkin for each of us and they’re sitting on the front porch at the moment. I’m not sure if we’re going to end up painting or carving them or if we’ll just leave them as they are but either way they add a nice festive touch to the front of our house!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bittersweet Milestones

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 9 months as a mom it’s that parenting is full of bittersweet moments. Each time my little guy hits new milestones I smile and cheer and take pictures and call/text everyone to share the good news. But then when the moment passes, I sigh. I shake my head and sometimes even tear up wondering how my baby is already big enough to (fill in the blank). In the past 9 months it’s already happened so many times.

When Easton was born I was delighted that my baby was FINALLY here. But I also mourned the end of my first pregnancy. The end of carrying my boy with me everywhere and feeling his sweet kicks all day long.

I was so excited when he rolled over for the first time. But I was sad that the helpless little newborn I had brought home from the hospital was no longer so helpless.

When Easton outgrew his newborn clothes and was able to fit in the next size up I couldn’t wait to dress him in all of the adorable outfits waiting in his closet. But I cried as I packed up his smallest pajamas and knew he would never wear them again.

At 4.5 months old Easton started sitting on his own. I realized it was so much easier to engage him and play with him when he didn’t need to be laying on the floor or held. But he was starting to need me just a little bit less and that made me sad.

Then he started crawling. And then he started crawling FAST. I loved watching him realize that he could move on his own. He was able to get to his toys on his own and entertain himself more which gave me a little more freedom. But that also meant he didn’t need to be carried as much and he didn’t need my help as often. He could play at my feet but he could also crawl away from me and go somewhere else.

It’s hard to watch my baby get older but at the same it’s very exciting. I know this is only the beginning of bittersweet milestones. One day I’ll have mixed emotions when he  first goes to kindergarten, when he plays his first T-ball game, gets braces, learns to drive a car, or (gulp) gets his first girlfriend. I’ll do my best to focus on the happy side of Easton’s milestones, but I know it won’t always be easy. I guess that’s just what parenting is about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This and That

- Whenever I plan to write one of these posts I think of a million things to include throughout the day. But when I actually sit down to write it? Crickets. Sigh.

- I’m still on a mission to make some “mom friends” but I’m not someone who makes friends easily. I’ve been taking Easton to our weekly playgroup and a weekly baby story time at the library. It’s been really nice to be able to talk with other moms who are in the same stage of life and don’t make me feel completely boring.

- Joe and I have been on ONE date since Easton was born at that was over 2 months ago. I wish we could get out together a little more often but I have such a hard time leaving Easton. My mom watched him the last time we went out and it went just fine for her but she lives 2.5 hours away so it’s not like she can watch him whenever I want. I know there are other people in our lives that would love to watch him but I’m too neurotic to let them at this point. It’s not that I don’t trust them to take good care of him, because I completely do, I just don’t trust them to take care of him EXACTLY like I do. I told you I’m neurotic.

- Now that Easton is starting to get more independent and seems less like a baby every day I’m kind of sort of starting to get that baby itch again. Just a tiny little bit. I don’t plan on doing anything about it because I would go nuts with two kids right now but it’s still on my mind more lately.

- If you followed my old blog you might remember that we got a cute little kitten named Clyde 3 years ago. He was our baby for 2 years and we adored him. Now? Not so much. It’s really amazing that he is living with us. I feel really awful for being so annoyed with him all the time but OH MY GOSH that cat is obnoxious. He paws at the closet door just outside our bedroom around 3:00 every morning until someone gets up and feeds him or kicks him downstairs. He rolls in my clean laundry constantly, meows right outside the baby’s door right after I’ve gotten him down for a nap, sneaks out onto the deck when we open the door, and hides in closets or under the bed and refuses to come out. He even had a bladder issue a few months back that caused him to start peeing all over the house. I realize that wasn’t his fault at all but it drove me nuts that somehow he always managed to find the baby’s stuff to pee on. I’m trying to be more patient with him but I’m not doing so well with it…

- We have been contemplating painting all of the wood trimwork in our house white. I really love the look of white trim and think it would make our house look a million times cuter and more modern but I’m not excited about all the work it will take to get there. The plan is to try it out in our teensy little entry and then if we hate it or decide it’s too much work we can just replace that small amount of trim.

- Joe started a new job this week! He had been with his old company since right out of college (4 years ago) and he was ready for a change. Joe’s still adjusting to the new place (those first 1-2 weeks of a job are always weird when you don’t really know what you’re doing) but I think it’s going to be great for him. Instead of commuting an hour by train, he now drives 12 minutes to work. That means that he’s home around 5:15 now instead of a little after 6. It’s been so nice to have him here sooner so he can play with Easton before he starts getting cranky.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Nine Month Old

I’ve been writing down Easton’s monthly updates each month but haven’t gotten around to posting them. In an effort to use this blog as a scrapbook of our lives, I’m going to start including them on here.

Dear Easton,

You are 9 months old already and you are starting to seem more like a little boy and less like a baby every day. It’s amazing to look back and see how quickly you have learned new skills. You have a delightful personality and you are constantly making us laugh over the silly things you do. You have your crabby moments but overall you are a very pleasant boy.

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What you’ve been doing this month:

- You wear mostly size 12 month or 12-18 month clothes though you still fit a few 6-9 month things.

-You are still wearing your one-size cloth diapers along with one size medium. You have 2 size smalls but they are about to get packed away.

- You weigh around 21 pounds. I don’t know how long you are but you are tall compared to most of the kids your age at storytime and play group.

- We have continued to do baby-led weaning with you since you hate purees. You are willing to try almost anything though very little actually gets swallowed. Your favorites are tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, cheese, yogurt, apples and pasta. You’ve also surprised us by enjoying some spicy and strongly flavored foods like chicken from a burrito, curried couscous, and marinara sauce. You started drinking from a straw sippy cup last week. I gave you some smoothie in there the other day and you went nuts for it!

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-You still love to nurse though you aren’t eating quite as often. You sometimes sign “milk” when you’re getting hungry.

- You have 5 teeth- 3 on the top and 2 on the bottom. One more top tooth is very close to poking through. You hate to let us peek in your mouth but you love having your teeth brushed! You started grinding your teeth and clicking them together so daddy started calling you Chompers!

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- You go to bed in your crib every night around 7:30. You still usually wake 1-2 times before we go to bed. When you wake up after we’re in bed, we bring you to bed with us and you sleep very well next to mom. You usually only wake up once more and sleep until about 6:30 in the morning.

- You nap twice most days. Your morning nap is often short (around 40 minutes) but your afternoon one is typically longer.

- You crawl so quickly now and pull-up so easily that it’s hard to keep up with you. By the time I’ve gotten you out of one thing you’re into something else! You like to play in the cat’s dishes and steal remotes and cell phones from us. You try to get to our computers any time you see them.

- You love your baths. You splash like crazy in there every night and love to chase after your bath toys.

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- You like to ride on your toy horse and make mommy give you rides on it every day. You also like to play with your castle toy, wooden puzzle, and stacking cubes. You think knocking over towers is the funniest game ever. You constantly pull your board books off of the shelves so you can flip through the pages and “read” them.

Sometimes when I see how quickly you’re growing, I miss my tiny little newborn. But most of the time I’m thrilled to spend my days with my almost-toddler. I love to see you hit all of your milestones and learn new things each day. We love you to bits, Easton!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The World’s Worst Napper

My little guy will be 9 months old next week. Easton is a very happy baby most of the time and he’s truly a joy. He does so well in public, nurses well, eats (relatively) well and even entertains himself well. Family and friends always comment on how spoiled we are to have such a good baby. I smile and nod, secretly thinking they have no idea.

Easton is a good baby, I’m not denying that one bit. But we are definitely not blessed with a perfect baby that gives us no trouble. Our little guy simply saves most of his “bad” behaviors for naps and nighttime.

Getting Easton to go to sleep and stay asleep is truly a nightmare. He did wonderfully for his first 2 months of life but then it’s like a switch flipped and he suddenly became the King of the One Sleep Cycle. For the next 6 months I spent an average of 30 minutes (but occasionally as much as an hour) trying to get E down for each nap. He would scream and cry while I would pull my hair out and contemplate taking up drinking. Finally, he would fall asleep and I would creep out of the room, ready to finally have some peace and quiet. But, like clockwork, he would be up again ready to get up 40 minutes later. Every single time.

A few weeks ago, something changed and Easton finally started regularly napping for an hour twice a day. I know that’s still a short nap for some, but for me it was like I suddenly got to go on vacation twice a day. It was amazing! Not only was he sleeping longer but he was even falling asleep in under 5 minutes in his crib (with me patting his back).

But a week later, just when I started to get used to this new normal, he switched it up again and is now as bad as ever. I still get one “long” nap a day but we’re back to screaming, crying and pitching a fit for every nap. Even worse, he now wants to try out his newest skill of pulling up every time I put him in the crib. It is beyond frustrating.

We have such great days together when Easton is awake and happy, but this napping thing really puts me in a bad mood some days. I feel like I have this mothering thing down fairly well in most other respects but I feel like an utter failure at getting my kid to sleep (and if you’re wondering.. NO, he’s not a good night sleeper either).

I’m praying this is just a phase that he will grow out of soon but part of me still has visions of fighting my screaming 16 year old over bedtime one day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This and That

- My kid’s new favorite thing to do is crawl over to the cat dishes and play with them. The cat always eats his food right away so luckily there’s none of that to go in his mouth but he still manages to stick the food dish in his mouth, tip the water over or (my favorite) sit down right in the middle of the water if I don’t catch him fast enough. If I see him near the dishes and say “No, not for Easton!” he crawls away, but he tests me on it about 934 trillion times a day. It drives me bonkers! If anyone has a tip on how to keep him out of the dishes, I’m all ears!

- I was the first of my friends to get married and the first to have a baby. The majority of them are still in a completely different phase of life than I am. While it’s kind of cool to be the first one to do things, it’s hard that I don’t have any other mom friends. I’ve started going to a weekly baby playgroup through our school district and a baby story time at the library so Easton and I can meet other moms and babies. Activities like that are SO out of my comfort zone but I’m trying to branch out and I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit.

- My sister graduates from cosmetology school on Friday and my mom, Easton and I are making the 5 hour drive there and back to celebrate. I haven’t had a chance to visit yet in the 2 years my sister has lived there so it’ll be fun to see her city and watch her graduate. That being said, I am NOT excited about being trapped in the car for 10 hours with a baby who hates being stuck in his car seat.

- Last night we were giving Easton his bath when all the sudden we realized he had pooped in the tub! That was definitely a new first. Joe and I thought it was pretty funny. I ended up breaking out the bleach and giving the tub a good scrub (which it probably needed anyway) so now it’s probably the cleanest it’s ever been.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Easton’s First Game

I’m not a huge sports fan, I never have been. I grew up in a family that LOVED sports but I never developed the same interest. Luckily for me, I married a man who feels about the same way. Neither of us cares to watch football, soccer or basketball, though we do both like the occasional baseball game. Baseball and softball were huge in my family and we usually went to at least one Minnesota Twins game every summer. To this day I really like going to baseball games. The beautiful green field, the excited fans, the overpriced hot dogs… there’s just something special about the atmosphere there.

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Joe is fortunate to work for a company that has season tickets to the Twins. Every summer they give each employee a pair of tickets to one game. Our turn to go to a game finally came last Sunday and we were both really excited because it was our first time taking Easton to a game.We ended up with all 4 seats instead of the normal 2 so Joe’s friend and his fiancĂ©e joined us for the game.

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I was a little nervous about how Easton would do, but he was great. He loved watching the people around us and spent most of the first 5 innings just observing. He sat in our laps, snacked on apple slices, sipped from our bottles of water and charmed the people around us. It wasn’t until about the 7th inning that he started getting antsy. At the top of the 9th inning, there was this incredible play where the centerfielder made a diving catch. Naturally, the crowd went nuts. Poor Easton wasn’t expecting the sudden burst of noise and activity and he jumped so high and then started bawling. I felt bad for the little guy, but his reaction was so funny that we couldn’t help but chuckle a bit. He calmed down pretty quickly after that and made it all the way to the end of the game.

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We had a crazy moment halfway through the game. The area around us was fairly empty at that point and we saw a couple of cameramen wandering nearby. I have this horrible fear of ending up on the jumbotron so I always cringe when I see them coming. These 2 guys sat down in nearby seats and out of the corner of my eye I swore I saw one pointing right at us. Sure enough, moments later they came by and started talking to us. It turns out Joe and I were the “Powerball” winners of the game (though let’s be honest, they only picked us because we had a cute baby with us!). We got a prize pack with a water bottle, tshirt and $50 in lottery tickets inside. It was pretty awesome. Of course, my greatest fear came true and we had to smile and wave on the Jumbotron while holding up our prize pack and this big red “Powerball” ball. Eek. Oh well, I survived!

All in all it was a pretty successful game. Who knows, maybe having a little boy around will finally make me start enjoying sports after all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Change of Plans

Last week I was supposed to start my new career as a Special Ed teacher. That was the plan.

After a year and a half of grad school and 8 months of “maternity leave,” last week was going to be when I finally used my brand new license for the job I should’ve been doing all along. That was the plan.

I was supposed to get up at the crack of dawn to get Easton and myself ready for the day. I was going to drop him off at daycare for the first time, sad to have to leave him but thankful for the 8 months we had home together and ready to get back to work. That was the plan. That had been the plan since long before Easton ever existed.

But somehow, my plan changed.

When Joe and I first started talking about expanding our family two years ago, we wanted to make sure our timing worked out. I was set to finish grad school in December 2011, so we knew it would be best if our baby was born after I was done. The plan was for me to take the remainder of the school year off after the baby came, stay home for the summer and then find a new job to start up in September. We hoped for a January baby to maximize my time as a stay-at-home mom.

Our planning paid off and our little guy was due on January 9th, 2012 (of course, he had other plans and arrived 7 days later). I thought our 8 months together would give me just enough time to really bond with my babe but still get out of the house before I went crazy. Part of me secretly hoped I would be able to work part-time so I could still be home with the baby a lot, but I always assumed I would work in some capacity. After all, all the women in my life were working moms. My own mother worked, so did Joe’s mom. Many of my female relatives were working moms and nearly all of my friends’ moms growing up had full-time jobs. I always pictured myself following that same path.

But something changed. A few months after Easton was born, I started to feel so strongly that I needed to be home with him. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wouldn’t be happy working full-time at this point in my life. I put off discussing my thoughts with Joe because I was afraid he would be resistant to the idea. After all, we’d been planning on me starting a job that fall for almost 2 years. When I finally brought up the topic, he was hesitant at first, but he came around pretty quickly.

I know staying home isn’t for everyone. I never thought it would be for me. But it turns out, this is exactly what I’m meant to be doing. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of the teachers who went back to school last week; I still can’t wait to teach special ed one day. But right now, it’s not the choice I made. And today, when I was supposed to be spending my day in a classroom but instead spent it reading, playing, giggling and chasing my son, I know I made the right choice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sophisticated Taste Buds

If you read my old blog, you may remember that my husband is a horribly picky eater. To be fair, he has improved a ton and now eats a lot of foods he would never have even looked at 5 years ago. Still, the list of things he hates is still long enough to make meal planning a bit of a challenge.

I’m the opposite. There are very few foods I don’t like and even fewer that I flat-out hate. I decided long ago that our future kids WERE going to follow in my footsteps because I refused to raise fussy eaters. Yeah, about that…

We started giving Easton solid foods a few days before he turned 6 months. The first day he had mashed avocado, and he did surprisingly well.

(Here’s a quick video of the occasion.)

The next day, I tried feeding Easton some more avocado and he was NOT having it. He pursed his lips together and turned his head every single time the spoon came near. I shrugged it off and figured he wasn’t in the mood. But the same thing happened the next time. And the next. And the next. I tried feeding Easton mashed bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, and oatmeal but nothing interested him enough to even taste it. I occasionally managed to sneak a bite or 2 into his mouth when he was distracted but he always gave me a dirty look while spitting out the entire bite (and once even bursting into tears). So I took a break for a few days while I tried to figure out how to get the kid to eat. The problem wasn’t that he didn’t like the taste of some foods, he just didn’t even like the idea of food in his mouth.

I decided to give baby-led weaning a shot. I gave Easton a wide array of foods like steamed green beans, carrots, apples, peaches, and whole wheat crackers and let him “feed” himself. So far, that hasn’t worked either. He spends most of each meal playing with the food and dropping it over the side of his tray. Occasionally a piece of food gets into his mouth but it’s always spit back out again.

The other day I was eating some leftover baked ziti while I watched Easton fling his carrots onto the floor. As an experiment, I placed one of the noodles from my plate onto his tray. He picked it up and stuck it and his mouth and his face lit up. He gnawed on that one piece of ziti for a good 10 minutes. He only managed to actually eat about 1/3 of the noodle but he was clearly loving it.

Since then he’s eaten pasta a second time and loved it just as much. He also started chowing down on bits of cheese but few other things make it into his stomach. While I’d love to blame the fussiness all on my husband, a love of pasta and cheese clearly makes him his mother’s child. Apparently he just doesn’t want bland vegetables and fruits, he’d prefer flavorful spices and adult food. I guess I’m just going to go with it, so tomorrow on the menu is prime rib! Winking smile

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why My Home Could be Declared a Disaster Zone…

Life with my 6 month old babe has been crazy lately. Practically overnight my calm, immobile little baby has turned into to a nearly-mobile, adventurous kid. I just love how fun and playful he’s become. On the other hand, it has suddenly become almost impossible to get anything done. Easton can’t crawl yet, but he squirms and flops around until he ends up on his belly, which makes him horribly mad. If I leave him to play by himself for more than 20 seconds, his shrieks summon me back. He hates being contained now that he can move around so the jumperoo rarely makes him happy anymore.

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On top of that, I’m fairly certain Easton is teething now. Granted, I’ve been “fairly certain” 3 times before with no results, but this time I really think I’m right. I really hope I’m right because if this fussy period isn’t the result of teeth popping in, I hate to think about how crabby he’ll be when he’s actually teething. I’ve tried about 900 different remedies but nothing has made much of a difference.

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Still, I love this little guy. Easton is trying so hard to figure out this crawling thing and he recently figured out how to pull up to standing in his crib. He is so proud of himself when he’s up and he always gives a huge grin. As Easton figures all of this stuff out, I can’t help but have mixed feelings. I absolutely love watching him reach new milestones and I’m so proud when he figures out something new. On the other hand, every milestone brings him closer to the end of babyhood and the beginning of toddlerhood and I’m SO not ready for that yet.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Easton’s Birth Story: Part 2

Easton’s Birth Story: Part 1 can be found here

For the first 12+ hours of my labor, I had been able to breathe through my contractions pretty well. They were painful, but not at all unbearable. Soon after my water was broken, however, my contractions started getting really intense. I was no longer able to close my eyes, breathe deeply and visualize waves on a beach. Instead, I was moaning and groaning and starting to question my decision to give birth med-free.

I spent the next several hours laboring in bed, in the shower, and on the birth ball. I started experiencing what I thought was back labor (my midwife later told me the pain may actually have been due to the rods that were placed in my back during a surgery 10 years earlier). During every contraction, my lower back felt like it was ripping apart. We dug the tennis balls out of my birth bag and Joe spent every contraction pushing them into my back as hard as he could to give me some relief. Even so, I spent most of the time moaning, groaning and eventually screaming through my contractions. I never imagined I would be "that woman," the one that people halfway down the hall could hear, but I totally was.

Around 3:00, I finally made it to 4 cm. and was given the green light to labor in the birth tub. I was so relieved that I would finally get to relax in that warm water. I sat in the tub for several contractions, but it soon became clear that I was not going to last in there long. The heat was really getting to me and I started feeling like I was going to pass out if I stayed in much longer. With Joe's help, I climbed out of the tub and laid down on the bed in that room just as a horrible contraction hit. When the nurse came in the room and saw me out of the tub, laying on the bed and screaming, a look of panic crossed her face. Once Joe assured her that I was fine and just needed some air, she relaxed a little. The nurse helped me back into my gown and we crossed the hall back to my labor room.

Back in my room, the nurse checked me again. I was sure I was approaching 10 cm. so I was crushed to hear I was only 5 cm. My back pains were still excruciating and I had reached a point where I felt like I just couldn't go on so I broke down and did what I swore I wouldn't do...I asked for an epidural.

The nurse disappeared to find the anesthesiologist, leaving me to fight through several more horribly painful contractions. After what seemed like hours (but was likely only a matter of minutes), the nurse came back and dashed my hopes. The anesthesiologist had told her I "wasn't a good candidate" for a spinal injection because of the rods in my back. I had been planning an unmedicated birth all along, but  being denied the relief I thought was finally coming was absolutely horrible. The anesthesiologist came into my room to explain why he refused to give me the epidural, but I honestly have no idea what he said. In that moment I didn't really care WHY I couldn't have the epidural, I just wanted him out of the room so I could get back on track!

With the epidural off the table, I ended up getting an injection of a mild pain medication instead. The medication instantly made me feel like I was drunk. It didn't do much to help with the pain, but it made me relax enough to doze off between contractions. I had already been awake for 32+ hours at that point, so it was a relief to finally get some rest. After the injection started taking effect,  I was given some Pitocin. I had turned that down several times earlier in the day but finally decided to go for it, hoping that it would make me progress a little faster.

Just as I was starting to feel like I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, my midwife came back. She helped me into different positions and really got in my face and helped me breathe through each contraction. I really don’t know how I would’ve done it without her. She mentioned in passing that she was only on call until 5:00, but fortunately she stuck with me until the end.

As 7:00 p.m. approached, I had been in labor for almost 19 hours, yet nothing prepared me for transition. Suddenly I went from having 30 seconds between contractions to having them one on top of the other. I would literally just start coming down from the peak of one contraction when I would be slammed with another. I started getting the strangest feeling during those moments. I must’ve been squirming more than usual because the nurse asked me if I felt like I needed to push. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized what was giving me that weird feeling, but once the nurse mentioned pushing, I knew that was what I felt. My midwife was called back into the room (she had just stepped out for a minute) and after a quick check, she confirmed I was fully dilated and ready to go!

The hazy effect of the medication coupled with the concentration it took to get through the intense contractions had actually made me forget that I was going to be pushing out a baby in the near future. I panicked a little when it was time to start, begging my midwife for a few minutes break. She somehow managed to calm me down and convince me that I didn’t need any more time, I just needed to focus and my baby would be out soon. Joe was a little freaked out at that point, but he didn’t have time to dwell on it. The nurse grabbed one of my legs and instructed him to take the other. When I started pushing, I was a little hesitant at first. With encouragement from Joe, the nurse and midwife, I started working harder and harder. During a rest between contractions, I turned to Joe and asked if he could see the baby yet. Both he and the midwife emphatically said “YES!”

That was the push I needed. For the next few contractions, I pushed harder than I thought possible and finally, I could feel the baby’s head starting to slide out. After one more big push, he was here.

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My midwife flipped the baby up onto my chest and my heart instantly exploded with love for that wrinkly purple little guy. I didn’t have long to snuggle with him, though. The medication I was given had made him a little sluggish, so the nurse brought him over to the bassinet to make sure he was okay. After a quick rub-down with the towel, his sweet little cry filled the room. The nurse wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to Joe, who laid him back on my chest for some more cuddles.

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  After 41 long weeks, my sweet Easton Joseph was finally in my arms for good.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Easton’s Birth Story, Part 1

If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you patience is not my strong suit. So you can imagine how I felt when my due date, January 9th, passed by without any sign of labor. I had stopped substitute teaching at Christmas break so at that point I had been sitting home without a baby for two and a half weeks. The Christmas decorations were long gone, the presents had been put away days ago and all of my thank you cards were finished and mailed. I spent my time that week cleaning the house, watching lots of TV, reading, and trying every possible method of naturally inducing labor I could find. As the days went by I grew more and more impatient.

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On Sunday night, January 15th, I finally hit my breaking point. Joe was heading to bed for the night and I realized I was about to start yet another week home alone with nothing to do. Through tears, I told Joe that I was so frustrated. I was tired of being pregnant, tired of not fitting into any of my clothes, tired of struggling to get my shoes on. But most of all I was just tired of waiting to meet the little boy I had been carrying for 41 LONG weeks.

After Joe calmed me down a little, he went to bed. I stayed up watching TV, browsing the internet, and feeling a little sorry for myself. Finally, around midnight, I got up and went to bed. As I lay there, I felt a contraction start up. This was nothing new, I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for about 20 weeks at that point. Yet this one felt a little weird. It hurt just a little and seemed to spread to my back. I ignored it, sure that I had imagined the pain. But several minutes later, another one hit. Then another. After about 4 contractions, I pulled out my phone and started timing them. They were 14 minutes apart… then 10… then 8. Around 1:30 a.m., I finally got up and walked into the living room to bounce on my birth ball for awhile. It was then that I realized I was actually in labor.

I woke Joe up and told him what was going on. We tried to go back to bed but we were both too excited and anxious to get any sleep so we ended up back in the living room. Over the next few hours, the contractions got more intense and painful. I worked through them on the birth ball, leaning over the couch, and in the shower. They hurt, but they were manageable. Around 6:00 a.m. they started coming 3 minutes apart, so we decided it was time to call my midwife. She returned the call right away and asked me a bunch of questions. She asked me if I wanted to head to the hospital or stay at home for awhile longer. I had been in labor for 6 hours and the contractions were really starting to hurt but I had no idea if it was truly time to go in or not. In the end, we decided to head in.

After we packed a few last minute things in our bags, we left the house. I was terrified of having contractions in the car but it turns out, they weren’t that much worse than they had been at home. We drove to the hospital in the dark, getting there just after 7:00 a.m. The hospital had valet parking in the front, so we took full advantage, leaving our car there and heading inside. I checked in at the desk, signed some forms, and was sent to the Maternal Assessment Center, where the nurses determine whether or not you are actually in labor.

As I walked into the center, the nurse asked me what I was there for. I looked down at my hugely pregnant belly and back at my nervous looking husband carrying my labor bag and wondered if she was seriously asking me that question. Apparently she was. I told her I was in labor and she asked “Well, what are your symptoms?” I stared back in disbelief for a few seconds but was then hit with another contractions. As I closed my eyes and tried to breathe through it, she said “oh, just pain?”

Just pain? Really?!

Eventually I got to a nurse who checked me and found that I was dilated to a 3. I had been hoping for a slightly higher number, but was glad to know I had made some progress. Finally, we were brought back to an L&D room where we settled in for a long day.

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I spent the next several hours walking the hospital halls, bouncing on the labor ball, laboring in the shower and trying to catch a few minutes of sleep between contractions. My labor was definitely progressing but it was moving much slower than I’d hoped.

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Around 1:00 that afternoon, my midwife came in to visit. When she walked in the door, I felt instantly relieved and more relaxed. I adored my midwife and seeing her gave me a new burst of energy. Because my labor was moving so slowly, we decided she would break my water. Now, I have to say that this was definitely the grossest part of the birth experience, in my opinion. [TMI alert!] I always expected that my water breaking would just be one big gush. NOT the case. Every time I moved, it was like a tidal wave of fluid. Ick. (A few weeks ago I was digging through the purse I no longer carry and found 2 pads I had stashed in there at the end of my pregnancy in case my water were to break in public. I burst out laughing when I saw the size of those tiny pads, they would’ve kept me dry for all of 3 seconds).

From that point on, things started getting really intense.

To Be Continued…

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Photos!

 

Next week I’m going to back way up to January and post Easton’s birth story. I’ve had it semi-written for about 4 months so it’s about time it gets finished. Until then, I’m going to leave you with some more recent pictures of my sweet boy!

 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just Can’t Stay Away…

Guess what?!

I’m back!

It’s been 10 months since I stopped blogging on my newlywed blog. At the time I thought I was done with the whole blogging thing for good. I had posted on and off for two and a half years and I was tired of coming up with interesting topics, writing, and feeling guilty when I put off posting for too long.

But the truth is, I really miss it. I liked having a written account of my life that I could look back on in the future. So here I am, back to blogging again.

When I wrote my last post on The First-Year Wife I was 20 weeks pregnant and had just found out we were having a boy.

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Our sweet baby, Easton Joseph, was born January 16th, exactly one week late (which made his mama crazy at the time!).

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I may be biased, but I think he’s absolutely gorgeous!  Easton has red hair like his daddy… in fact, he looks pretty much like a miniature version of Joe!

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1 Week Old

E is already 5 months old now! I can’t believe he has been here so long. Yet in these 5 months he has wormed his way so deep into our hearts! He is such a sweet boy with a huge personality!

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I could promise you that this won’t turn into a blog about my baby, but the truth is it probably will.  I want to use this blog to record my days with Easton along with all of his milestones and my life as a stay-at-home mom (which is an unexpected blessing that I will blog about in the future!) I would like to have a record of the first 5 months of our lives together on here as well, so I am planning to dedicate the next several weeks to catch up on what we’ve been doing. (In other words, don’t be alarmed when Easton seems to age rapidly in pictures over the coming weeks!)

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I’m not sure how frequent my posting will be this time around… I’m just going to play it by ear. But I’ve missed being a part of the blogging world and I’m so excited to start it up again!