I May Not Be A Supermom...

Friday, July 29, 2011

I may not be Supermom...but somehow, I still managed to have a "Super Squishy". :)

Disclaimer: Photo taken with iPhone

Emma's First Haircut!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Despite both my grandmother, my mom and I having HUGE heads of hair (SUPER THICK), it looks like that gene skipped right over Emma. :) When she was first born she had incredibly dark hair, but it was gone in just a few weeks. Her hair certainly hasn't grown very fast, and it's very thin, although the texture is very similar to mine. The sides of her hair are what kills me. Its like that part doesn't grow at all! The back was getting longer, and the front was long enough to hang in her eyes, but the sides were just all over the place! I had no idea what to do with it. Do I cut it and make it even shorter? Do I just let it go and have her looking like a hot mess everyday? :) Everyone kept saying that it was too early for a haircut but I couldn't take it anymore. :) So I broke down and took her to get her first haircut just about a month after she turned two.

I was too scared to do it myself. :)

We went on the same morning that we headed over to Sugarbakers to order a cake for my parent's surprise 40th anniversary party (where Emma also had a chocolate cupcake at 9:30AM - I couldn't resist. You have to have SOME fun once and a while right?!?!). I had been talking up the haircut all morning so she was pretty excited, even though she didn't really know what was coming. I just kept saying "Are you excited to get your first haircut today?!" and she would respond with "Yeah! Yippee" Just like Mommy's!!" Umm...almost honey.

We headed to the local Great Clips and although she was a little nervous at first, she LOVED the fishies on her little gown and sat in Mommy's lap like a champ. It was over before she knew it, and she came out looking much better!

I always thought it was kind of odd (okay...and a little gross) that people would keep the hair from their babies first haircut like my mom did. But before I knew it, I was walking out with a little card in hand, with Emma's hair taped to it. ::: sobbs ::: The funny part was that since she barely has any hair in the first place, there wasn't much to cut at all, so the card actually contains everything that was cut off! And its not much. :)

Here is Emma before said haircut....

And after said haircut...the sides are still a little screwy. :)

I think the chocolate cupcake for breakfast was kicking in since she wouldn't stop running around so trying to get a good picture of her haircut was impossible. :) Ergo, her little golf club and ball in hand. I'm pretty sure immediately after the last picture she walked over and smacked me with it. :)

My little baby girl is growing up way too fast...

Shhhhh! Don't Tell Emma....

When Emma's not looking, we let Squishy snuggle up with "Charlie" and she would NOT be happy about it. :)

What's with the Toes?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I still don't know if this is a regular baby thing or not, but a lot of people tend to comment on our little one's toes. Emma did the exact same thing as a baby, and still does a lot of the time, but Jackson is clearly following in his big sister's foot steps (no pun intended)! :)

The toes are always crunched!!

"The Cereal Zone"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Emma was born, we were introduced into "The Milky Zone", which is where she would go when she was really tired after pounding a bottle (okay, so Emma never really pounded anything....but you get the idea). There was no snapping her out of The Milky Zone... 

But ham bone Jackson, is blowing right by The Milky Zone and entering into The Cereal Zone! We started him on oatmeal cereal last week after his doctor's appointment and even though we were a little early, he was clearly ready. Within the first feeding, he had eaten probably a quarter cup of cereal (they say to start out with a teaspoon, but he wasn't having it) and was already learning how to open his mouth and deal with the spoon. Fast forward to not even a week later and he is pounding the same amount of cereal, plus an entire container of fruit. We have only tried peaches so far, but on his second introduction into peaches he polished off the entire thing, along with his side of oatmeal cereal.

I had a feeling that Squishy was going to enjoy his first introduction to "food", so of course I got out the camera for our first attempt with the oatmeal cereal, and before we knew it, Jackson was in "The Cereal Zone"...

These pictures make me laugh every time I see them.


Now that he has even more of a hang of it he is actually REALLY hard to feed. He BARELY fits into his Bumbo chair and when he sits in it, he wants to be fed so fast that he folds himself in half and leans forward, grunting and groaning the whole time until you shovel another spoon in. Then he shoves his hands into his mouth almost like he is trying to lick every little morsel that he can get.

You can't feed this kid fast enough or with a big enough spoon. :)

And boy does he make a mess! These pictures are NOTHING in comparison to what he looks like now a week later while eating. He gets it ALL over his face, all over his hands (from shoving his fists in his mouth), and all over his legs because he is constantly leaning forward for more.


Let's Recap....(Updated)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Let's recap the events of the past week, shall we?

  • Sunday: Broken down car. New battery. Car fixed.
  • Monday: Broken down car again, Mommy's stuck at work. Emma has 103 fever. Nanny is barfing. Emma's up until 2:00AM.
  • Tuesday: Emma still has a fever. Daddy stays home with babies. Car fixed. Didn't have to buy the new battery in the first place. Too late now. Emma wakes up at 4:00AM.
  • Wednesday: Emma can't shake fever. Mimi stays home with babies.
  • Thursday: Mommy takes Emma to the pediatrician's for fever. Emma gets a catheter. No UTI.
  • Friday: BGE Peak Rewards kicks in. House is at a cool 87 degrees when we get home. Emma's awake until 10:00PM, Mommy's awake to 1:00AM getting ready for party.
  • Monday - Friday: Mommy works over 50 hours this week.
  • Saturday: Host a surprise party (more to come on that later), Jackson spikes a fever during party. Emma's awake until 10:00PM.
  • Sunday: Entire family is exhausted. 
  • Monday: Emma barfs on kitchen floor before Mommy leaves for work.
  • Monday Night: Air conditioner breaks
  • Sunday - Tuesday: Wes deals with poison ivy.

And there isn't even an end in sight!

::: sigh :::

Update on New Year's Resolution: To Simplify

Friday, July 22, 2011

I was thinking the other day about how I was doing on my New Year's Resolution for 2011 about simplifying and although in some ways I was still doing okay, in most ways, I had lost the end goal. So, I can pretty much sum up with one word, how I am doing with simplifying my life...


I was actually doing pretty good for a while, with things like Brain Dumps, keeping up with our budget, and even though I haven't updated my Project Simplify page yet, I actually did most of the activities (I just have to download the before and after pictures and post about it).

But, the good news is that once you fall off the wagon, it doesn't mean you are off the wagon for good. There is always another wagon coming behind you, ready to pick you up. Much like the commuter buses that practically run me off the road on a daily basis during my commute home. There is always one right behind me. Argh.

This is my attempt to get back on the wagon. This is my attempt to remind myself what it's all about. This is my attempt to remind myself that it is my choice to be stressed or not stressed in the majority of situations. This is my attempt to remind myself to do a better job at choosing my own response to situations. Now, the tough part with that one is where the PPD comes into play. A lot of my stress, or anxiety, is caused by the PPD and it's harder to shake now than it was before. For example, before any kind of event that we go to, whether its big or small, whether its a work event or just heading to my parent's house for dinner, I need to give both my kids a bath directly before leaving the house. Do I know that leaving the house with two young kids is bad enough? Yup. Do I know that I could give them a bath before nap time which would make leaving the house easier? Yup. Do I know that the world is not going to end if I don't give my kids a bath before going to my parent's house for hot dogs and hamburgers? Yup. Can I just say "forget it today"? Nope.

Despite all of that, and despite the fact that I know how stupid it is in my head, it gives me extreme anxiety to think about my kids not having a bath and not smelling like absolute heaven when they snuggle with their Mimi and Pop. It gives me extreme anxiety to think about giving them a bath before nap time, and having them wake up all sweaty, and not giving them another bath before leaving the house. So, although I am trying to remind myself to do a better job at choosing my own response to situations, it's not always going to work. And I'm okay with that. But in the end...
"Stress isn’t happening to me, it’s a reaction to a situation I’m allowing."
In some ways I have gotten a little better, like with the desperate need to clean the house like I had while at home with Jackson on maternity leave. Does it still bother me? Yup. But I don't have enough time to really be bothered by it and I can now make the choice to let the dishes sit for a night, or not sweep the floor until tomorrow because I would rather spend that time snuggling and playing with my babies.

Now, as far as the budget goes, that's pretty much been a total loss lately. :) While on maternity leave I didn't really pay attention to it. It was the last thing on my mind. I came back to work, updated it for a month, and then let it slip. So, instead of forcing myself to sit down for 2 hours and go back through the entire month of July, I'm scrapping July, and starting over in August. I'm choosing to not stress out about not following our budget in July. Remind me I said that when I realize that I am broke in August because of that. :)
So although its pretty much been a big FAIL lately, it's still on my mind and one of these days, I'll get back on track.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Baby, there's no other superstar, you'll know that I'll be,
Your Mom-a, Mom-arazzi."

Disclaimer: These are terrible pictures because the lighting was awful (my ISO was set to 1600), so ignore the noise in the photo. I couldn't help but snap a shot of my little celebrity.

Jackson Douglas

The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression

When this whole postpartum depression thing started after Jackson was born, and I was thrust into medication and therapy, one thing I struggled with was how I was going to know when I was better. How do I know the difference between the postpartum anxiety, and just the 'typical' anxiety that comes along with having two young kids, 21 months apart. When I came back from my first therapy appointment, Wes's first question to me was, "So, are you going to go back again?"


And in Wes's defense, neither he or I really yet understood what we were up against. And it certianly is a "we". It takes two.

It was a struggle sometimes to get people to see that it's not something you get over in one day. It's not something that one therapy session is going to fix. It's not something where the doctor says "Take this medication for two weeks and you will be fine." You don't know when it is going to end. You can't tell anyone when it is going to end. Something that I am still learning today through therapy, is that you can't rush it. It can take months, and sometimes years to fully be able to say "I'm cured".

That completely sucks.

I saw on another blog about the link between PPD and the famous "5 Stages of Grief." I was pretty amazed as I was reading it, thinking back on the past four months and how I certainly hit every single one of those stages, head on.

You are probably thinking...umm...Laura...the post is called the SIX stages of PPD...not the FIVE stages of PPD...but keep your pants on...that parts coming. :)

Denial: I certainly was in denial my first three weeks with Jackson. I absolutely just thought this must be what life is like with two young kids. I'll be fine. I just need more sleep.
"Looking back, there were certainly signs of the PPD setting in already, but in the moment, it was far from my mind and I assumed that a lot of what I was feeling was natural for having two young kids."
"I just thought that it would get better. If I could just hold on through the first couple of weeks, it would get better. I thought that it was just because I was so tired. I thought, if I could only get my linen closet organized I would be all better."

Anger: This was the "why me" phase, and a lot of which I went through the weekend after I was diagnosed with PPD and couldn't face being at home. I don't want to have to take medication to cope with life. I don't want to go to therapy. I shouldn't have had to call the doctor. It isn't fair. I was so angry at Emma for the smallest things. I was yelling at her all the time, and to this day, I am still trying to make up for it.
"I was exhausted, completely exhausted, but it was physically impossible for me to sleep. Yet at the same time, I felt hopeless that I would never catch up to my own expectations. Which turned into guilt, feelings of being overwhelmed, an inability to make simple decisions, irritability, frustration, anger, feelings of inadequacy as a mother, and even more anxiety."

Bargaining: If I just do this, or just do this...I'll be fine. This is where a lot of recommendations from others were hard to handle. I did the same thing to myself, but deep down, I knew, it wasn't about eating right, it wasn't about exercising, it wasn't about having an organized house, or an organized linen closet. In my mind, it was all about Jackson. If I could just get to where he was sleeping through the night. If I could just keep breastfeeding him. If I could just do "this", it will go away.

"I thought, if I could only get my linen closet organized I would be all better."

Depression: This stage is fairly obvious I think...

"That weekend was probably the toughest weekend of my life. It was like I couldn't face being at home. I needed to get out. I needed to get out of my head. I needed to get out of my house."
"During the days I felt okay, but like I was just passing through life, but not really involved. I was going through the motions of changing diapers, feeding bottles, but mentally I was somewhere else, doing whatever I could to not think about things."
"Why in the world wouldn't I want to be around my Emma? What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I handle things like before? Why did I just want to be alone, when I felt so alone at the same time? Why didn't I want to be at home? When was I going to be able to go home? When would I feel normal again? Why couldn't I be the mom that I wanted to be? What kind of mom wants to be away from her kids so bad? Why was I failing at life?"
"I finally, after what seemed like an eternity, got him to sleep and I just broke in half. I handed Jackson off to my dad, and just cried in my mom's arms."
"I feel like I am a weak person. Like all of this came about because I can't handle being a mother of two young children. I feel like a failure."

Acceptance: This is the stage where you finally give in to having PPD. You don't use it as an excuse, but you give yourself permission to not be okay some days. You finally realize it's not your fault. Its okay to talk to a doctor. It's okay for me to ask for help. Its okay to take medication and be in therapy or do whatever is necessary for me and my family.
"And even though my bedside table has a book about anxiety along with anxiety medication, it also has a pacifier and baby monitor on it that reminds me how truly lucky I am that I am a mom to two amazing babies."
"I'm fighting postpartum depression and anxiety and in the end, I will win. But the battle won't be pretty. I'm not always going to handle it well. I'm not always going to be good at telling people what I need, or explaining what I am going through, or being patient with those who are trying to help me. I'm not going to feel like Warrior Mom every single day."
"You don't have to "win" every day. You don't have to be Warrior Mom, or Supermom. Whether you have PPD or not, whether we are working moms or not, we don't have to take each hit with a smile. It's okay to be a "Regular" mom, because frankly, that's hard enough."
The quotes above are directly from my previous posts about PPD.

So where am I now?

I'm in the stage that comes after acceptance, during treatment and during the time when you start feeling better but aren't quite 100%. Someone once called it the post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD stage. I'm here because even after four months of being treated and getting better, its going to take me who knows how much longer to really get over what I went through. To get over how angry I was at Emma. To get over the thoughts that I had about hurting Jackson. To get over the fact that I needed to leave my home in order to be "okay". To get over the anxiety that I am still very much struggling with today.

Like I said in the beginning, its hard to figure out when you know you are better. But its easier to know when you are not. Sometimes, its hard to tell if you are just having a "regular" bad day, or if its PPD. On most days, I feel like I have lost confidence in myself, mostly as a mother, and I don't know if I'll ever get it back. Some days, there are rays of sunshine though, where I feel like Supermom. But my own definition of Supermom.

I'm going to get there, it just make take a while. But I know I am going to get there because of those days that I feel like Supermom now. Those little glimpses of hope, that I will soon begin to fully feel the love that was always there, just stuck under the big rock called PPD.

Fevers, Rashes, Colic & Alternators

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What a combination.

That's what yesterday was all about. Here's a quick description of what life was like yesterday, in all it's glory.

They day started out pretty normal with both kids waking up around 5:45AM. Crikey. This has become a new habit, mostly for Emma Kathryn in the last week or two. It doesn't matter if she stays up later the night before, it doesn't matter if she only had a short nap the day before, no matter what, she has been up at 5:45AM every morning for the past week and a half. Jackson seemed to wake up fine and happy as a clam and we got ready for work and were surprisingly ready at a decent time. The Nanny came over and I was off to work. Wes decided to work from home since his boss was out of the office.

Everything was fine that day, Emma was fine, Jackson had a great day, seemed like a typical day. I was having a pretty crazy day at work, and have been struggling a bit with the PPD over the past few days, but I was making it through the day. I ended up having to work until about 6:00PM and should have/could have worked much later but I knew Wes was home with the babies by himself around dinner time which is always tough for either parent. I planned on signing on and getting some work done after the babies were in bed. Needless to say, that didn't happen.

::: tries to start car :::

::: car doesn't make a sound :::

::: car is totally dead :::

::: kicks car :::

::: wipes forehead because it's 1,000,000 degrees out :::

::: kicks car again :::

::: calls home :::

I have to back up here for one minute because our car actually died on Sunday as well, but Wes went and bought a brand new battery which seemed to do the trick, and which got me to work perfectly fine. Round two.

Wes comes to get me at work with a VERY whiny toddler and a seemingly fine infant. We can't even jump the car, so it spends the night in my work's parking lot, where it is still resting. Stupid car.

We get home, Emma is VERY cranky, refusing to eat dinner (which was surprising because it was a hot dog which she LOVES), and when I was snuggling with her I felt her head which was clearly warm.

::: takes Emma's temperature :::

::: 103 degrees :::

::: gets ready for a long night :::

We then find out that Emma's Nanny, after heading home early, took a nap, woke up with a fever and has been throwing up ever since. So after a dose of Motrin, Emma heads off to bed early (after not touching her milk which is a big red flag) and Mommy immediately starts Puke Patrol 2011.

::: gets out washcloths :::

::: makes sure washing machine is empty and ready ::::

::: removes all stuffed animals from crib :::

::: places bucket by Emma's door :::

::: has panic attack :::

This is when we insert Jackson's colic freak out, which has been reoccurring lately out of no where. So I then spend about 45 minutes listening to a SCREAMING baby, trying to get him to sleep. Finally he passes out and Puke Patrol 2011 continues.

I kept checking in on Emma, who was white as a ghost just laying in her bed not falling asleep, moaning and groaning. This goes on until about 10:00PM, so she has been laying there for almost 2.5 hours by this point. She begs to go downstairs, so we turn on a little Tigger and Pooh, and relocate all of the Puke Patrol equipment downstairs. And we wait. Every move she makes, we jump up. Every noise she makes, we jump up.

Miraculously, Emma starts to feel better around 11:30PM, she is chatting again, laughing at Tigger and Pooh, almost back to her old self again. We head upstairs to bed and she.is.wired. We eventually give in and bring her in our bed and she starts hitting Mommy and Daddy with pink bear. Then she starts to tickle Daddy. Then she snuggles on top of Mommy. She continues to beg to go back downstairs. She stands up. She sits up. She jumps on the bed. She "reads" her Shapes book, and by "reads" it I mean that she hits Mommy and Daddy in the head with it. She smacks Mommy once again with pink bear...

This continues for another three hours.

::: falls asleep at computer :::

::: wakes up to continue story :::

We give up and Emma goes back in her crib, only to talk and play for another half hour before finally going to sleep. She was up again this morning at 5:45AM. Ouch.
Emma has also had a rash for a few weeks now. It’s all around her diaper area, on her thighs and recently started to crawl up her belly. She has seen her pediatrician about it, he prescribed some hydrocortisone cream that seems to help, but hasn’t actually gotten rid of it. He also looked at it again at her 2 year check up and it was still there, so he said it was probably from the heat and her diaper irritating her, so it will probably stick around for the rest of the summer. It does seem to get worse after she comes in from playing outside, or if she gets really hot, but no matter how long we let her run around with no diaper on (outside of course), we just can't shake it. The doctor didn’t seem to think it was any affect from the potential antibiotics she could be on from the VUR study, but I contacted her urologist today who wants us to send in a picture.

We still have to figure out this crazy car thing as it is still sitting in the parking lot at work, and we think its the alternator (thanks to input from the big brother), but fingers crossed, that's all it is considering the car is a 1996 with 195,000 miles on it. :)

Brother & Sister

Monday, July 18, 2011

I thought I would do a little comparison of the two monsters babies. Here are a few pictures of Jackson and Emma at various ages. I wasn't really thinking that they look very much alike, but the more I look back at pictures of Emma, the more I can see it. 

Say Cheese!!


Hair Raising! 
(Or Lack There Of...)


It's the Cheeks!

Cuteness Overload!


Emma Kathryn @ Two Years Old

Friday, July 15, 2011

I have been meaning to write this post since June 27th, my Emma Kathryn's second Birthday, but obviously, I am a little behind. :)

With how hectic and crazy life is right now, I am afraid that I am going to forget all of the little things about my babies unless I write them down. So, I thought I would give you a little introduction into both the big and little things about my baby girl.

Age: Two Years Old ::: sobs ::::

Weight: Emma has finally made it to 23 lbs, which just bumped her from the 5th percentile, up to the whopping 10th percentile.Height = 33 inches (25th percentile)

Height: 33 inches, which puts her in the 25th percentile which is another jump from her last appointment.

Size: It always depends on what brand you are talking about when it comes to what size Emma is wearing now. For the most part, she is in 18 month outfits. Most of her 2T stuff is still WAY too big, in both around the waist and in the length. She often, is sporting a 12 month outfit as well, mainly in shorts. But at least we are getting our wear out of her clothes since she is still wearing summer stuff she had last year!

Movement: Rarely.Stops. Moving. It took Emma a while to get going when she was little, but I don't think she has stopped since. She LOVES running and although our perfectly square house sometimes annoys me, it provides the perfect race track for Emma. She is constantly running in circles around our downstairs, either chasing Shamus, or Shamus is chasing her, or just running because she can. She isn't the most coordinated person in the world (God love her), mostly because she doesn't pay attention. I'm surprised she doesn't run into more walls. During gymnastics class, she does great with coordination, unless she hears the kids behind her, in which case she pays attention to them, and then immediately proceeds to fall off the balance beam. She loves jumping too. On Mommy's bed, the couch, the ottoman, the trampoline at gymnastics, you name it, and she has most likely jumped on it.

Teeth: Emma has sixteen teeth now, and just finished cutting the first set of her two year molars a few weeks ago. Whoa. Those babies were tough. She got all four at the same time but was a trooper. So I think four more to go. Crikey.

Sleeping: We are still extremely lucky in this category, continuing from when she was an infant. Emma goes to bed every night at 8:00PM without a peep. There are the rare occasions on weekends where she will stay up a little later, but for the most part she sticks with 8:00PM. She gets up about 6:30AM in the morning and takes one nap, one LONG nap, usually from about 12:30 to 4:00PM, and we are the ones that wake her up at 4:00PM. She is still in her crib, since we didn't want to transition her to a big girl bed at the same time Jackson was entering our lives, but that's probably right around the corner. The past couple of weeks, she has been taking a book with her to sleep at night. It always has to be her Shapes book though. She says goodnight and "reads" her book for probably 20 - 30 minutes before finally falling asleep. If you walk by her room after putting her to bed, you will most likely hear something to the effect of this..
"Pink. Orange. Blue. Heart. Square. Circle. Red. Diamond. Oh! I like that one! I like that one. I like that one. I LOVE that one!!!"
Eating: Emma's eating habits seem to vary by the day. She still has her staples though that she will eat any day of the week. Those are mostly fruits (although she is NOT a fan of cantaloupe). Emma is just like her daddy in this category where she loves anything that has to do with carbs. She could eat plain white rice for days. She probably eats just as much white rice as Wes does in a sitting. Veggies continue to be a struggle. For a few days, she will one asparagus, then not touch it for another month. This month, she has been all about "big corn" (aka corn on the cob). She still loves her milk, and would drink it all day long if we let her (but since its an appetite suppressant we limit her intake). She has a big class right when she wakes up, then another big glass before going to bed. But she also loves water (with ice of course), so that's what she drinks most often.

Milestones: I guess this one is hard to describe, because it seems like Emma learns to do something different every day. Every time she goes "pee pee da potty" we consider that a milestone, although we haven't truly started to potty train her. She has pretty much eaten all of the "restricted" foods now, other than shell fish. I'm still a bit scared to get that going, although her pediatrician said he has no reason to believe she would have an allergic reaction. For some reason, that just freaks me out.

Favorite Toys: This one is easy. Anything outside and books. Emma is definitely an outdoor girl. She LOVES to play with her water table outside, her baby pool, "helping" Daddy cut the grass, or water the flowers, going on the boat, playing in the yard with her big cousins, going for walks in her Radio Flyer wagon. If its outside, she loves it. Her other big love is books. There are times where we will sit down and read books for two hours. She loves her Curious George book, so that one gets read about 1,000 times a week. She loves her Spot books, and her Goodnight Moon book that her big cousins recorded for her. She also has this little set of books that we got at the dollar store, and they are all about the baby Disney characters. You don't just read one of those books. You read them ALL. She also LOVES movies. There is a new Winnie the Pooh movie coming out in theaters soon, and we are thinking about taking her to her first real movie.

Dislikes: Hmmm....well, vegetables are on the list for sure. I'd also probably put sharing down as a dislike as well. :)

Words: Emma still has an incredible vocabulary, and I know I say that a lot, but she amazes me every day with words she has learned and uses in the correct context. She speaks mostly in 4 word sentences but will break out with the 5 or 6 word sentences once and a while too. This morning in response to me asking her if she would like some yogurt for breakfast she said "Oh! Yes I would like some!". Granted, most of the time its a "yeah". :) She knows a lot of letters, their sounds, and words that start with that letter too. Although I think Wes and I are in trouble because when you ask her what words start with the letter "G", her response every.single.time is "Guys!!". Uh oh. She now knows A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, P, R, S, T, X, Y. She started learning random letters, but once we saw how she seemed to be catching on, we started picking one letter a week, starting with "A", and moving on down the line. That's why A-H are in the right order, then it gets a little crazy. We are on letter "H" this week. :)

Personality: Emma's personality is contagious. She is very laid back in a lot of ways, just like her Daddy. Then she gets all worked up about some things, just like her Mommy. She really is a happy child. She laughs all the time, but no one can get her to laugh like her Daddy. She loves playing with other kids, mostly bigger ones (like all her big cousins) but she is still shy at first, and it takes her a few minutes to get going. When meeting new friends, she is very shy, but ends up bossing them around in no time flat. She is very bossy! I guess she is practicing for being married one day already. :) If she wants you to play with her, she tells you exactly where to sit. She is becoming more and more independent every day, which Mommy is fighting tooth and nail. I'm not ready to have a big girl yet. Emma also is very meticulous. Here is the perfect example. For her Birthday, Emma got this huge array of pretend food to use in her play kitchen. When she "cooks", she puts the food in the exact pots and pans that they came in when she got them out of the box. So the chicken always goes in the same pan. The pan that it was in when she opened her present. The pasta goes in the same pot, every.time. You can only flip the eggs with the red spatula because the blue one was next to the cookies in the box. Not the eggs. She is a little love bug. She still loves to snuggle.

When I get home from work, no matter what kind of day that I have had, she makes it all better. Unless its on the days where she is all cranky, in which case Mommy wants to head right back to work. I mean, she is a toddler. :) She runs over to me when I get home from work, jumps into my arms screaming "Mommy's home!!!! I missed you Mommy!", and then demands to go upstairs with me while I change. On the way, she insists on going up the stairs all by herself (meaning that Mommy just can't walk behind her while she climbs, but Mommy has to stand all the way at the bottom until she gets the top). What a stinker.

So that's my baby girl in a nutshell. I am sure there are things that I am missing, but that's a good start.

PS: What should I do about that hair! That's actually pretty tame compared to what it normally looks like. It's getting pretty long, but only in some spots, and it hangs in her eyes. I don't know whether I should go get it trimmed, or just hold out until it grows? What do you think?

Warrior Mom vs. "Regular" Mom

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've written a couple of times about how Postpartum Depression is a roller coaster, and if you read my blog, it's probably pretty clear. One day I feel like Supermom, and the next day I'm lost. The past few weeks have certainly been no different. I was doing really well over the past week or so, feeling like I was back to myself, or at least mostly there, but then I started to slip again in the past day or two. I came across a blog about other moms who are struggling with postpartum depression and they were talking about being the Warrior Mom, and how using that imagery can truly help get you though the day, and PPD in general. There have absolutely been those days where I feel pretty good getting out of bed, and tell myself that I am going to fight this thing with everything I've got and that PPD is a goner. That Warrior Mom/Supermom frame of mind certainly is empowering because on those days, I have a say in what happens.

At the same time, its too much pressure.

Something that I have learned recently from other moms out there is that you don't have to be a hero. You don't have to "win" every day. You don't have to be Warrior Mom, or Supermom. Whether you have PPD or not, whether we are working moms or not, we don't have to take each hit with a smile. It's okay to be a "Regular" mom, because frankly, that's hard enough.

That's something that never even crossed my mind.

It's something that is easy to forget. 

It's also easy to forget that it's okay to cry. Although that sounds very cliche, I know that I have this unrealistic expectation (and I'm assuming other moms out there do to), that I should be able to handle everything, and do it with a smile. I should be able to handle taking both kids to the grocery store. I should be able to handle taking both kids to a birthday party by myself. I should be able to have the career I want, the perfect marriage, perfectly behaved children who eat nothing but fruit and vegetables, all while looking like a million bucks.



Enough of my own expectations.

Enough of society's expectations that we are all Supermoms.

Enough of being ashamed or embarrassed that I cry.

Enough of being mad or disappointed that I get frustrated as hell taking both kids to the store and wanting to avoid it at all costs.

Enough of being mad or disappointed that I'm going through PPD.


I'm fighting postpartum depression and anxiety and in the end, I will win. But the battle won't be pretty. I'm not always going to handle it well. I'm not always going to be good at telling people what I need, or explaining what I am going through, or being patient with those who are trying to help me. I'm not going to feel like Warrior Mom every single day.

From here on out, I am giving myself permission to have five great days in a row and then two horrible ones. Or five horrible days in a row with two good ones.

PPD or not, I hope other moms out there do the same.

It's not about whether or not we are Vice Presidents of a company, or if we argue with our spouses, or if our kids each french fries for dinner with a side of marshmallows, or how we look. It's about making it through something, whether its postpartum depression or just a regular day, the best we can.

We Have a Roller!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You might remember that Jackson rolled over for the first time, from belly to back on Father's Day, but the little stinker hasn't done it since.

That is until today.

I just got word from home that he rolled over both ways today, at three months and four weeks old!You better believe I will be tempting him with a toy, cookie steak or something tonight so I can see it today too!

A Visit to the Pediatrician

When Jackson was born, the pediatrician that we were going to use (Emma's pediatrician) was vacationing in Italy for a month. ::: sigh ::: So, instead of Dr. P we saw Dr. H for Jackson's first appointment. We were so impressed that we kept Jackson under Dr. H. During his first appointment, the pediatrician was asking the standard questions, but then started asking questions about Emma. When we went back a month later, he remembered everything that we had told him about Emma too (he didn't have any paperwork with him)! We were blown away, so we decided to switch over Emma to Dr. H as well (we just like to have both kids with the same doctor).

So, on Monday, both of the babies were due for their regular check-ups. Emma was due for her 2 year old visit and Jackson was due for his 4 month visit. I was already a little nervous because I knew they would both be getting shots, and trying to get out of the house with both kids by 7:30AM was going to be challenging. Luckily, our Nanny met me at the doctors and was a huge help!

I may have mentioned this before, but Emma has a big fear of doctors because of everything that she has been through with her VUR. So she tends to freak out around any kind of doctor, including the vet. So back to Monday...

Jackson was up first.

Emma did not like the doctor holding Jackson. It was really the first time I have seen the big sister protective mode kick in. Even though Jackson was happy as a clam with Dr. H, Emma was not having it and wanted her baby back in Mommy's arms. Then it was on to Emma. Even though Dr. H is amazing with kids, Emma was still pretty afraid despite his best efforts. Although he still hasn't gotten his high-five that he asks for every time, she is getting close. :) After Emma's check up it was on to the shots. This time Emma was first. We knew if she saw Jackson get upset, it would be even harder for her. But my big girl was amazing! She got one shot and didn't even cry!! I was blown away!! Jackson did amazing as well!! He got one oral vaccine and two shots and although he cried, he stopped within 5 seconds of being picked up and was good to go! So all in all, it was a really successful trip! At least until we had to head downstairs to get Emma's blood drawn. That was a different story. Ack.

As a reward for being brave like Mickey and Pete, Emma got some "mems" (M&Ms) for the ride home. :)

Both babies slept for 4 hours that afternoon and had a slight fever that night and the next day. But, they are back to being their crazy selves today!

Here are the stats for each of the babies. I'm pretty sure we have a linebacker and a ballerina on our hands. :)

Emma Kathryn at 2 years old:
Weight = 23 lbs (10th percentile), Height = 33 inches (25th percentile)

Jackson Douglas at 4 months old: 
Weight = 16 lbs (75th percentile), Height = 25 inches (65th percentile)

Jackson has Emma beat by about 3 lbs and 1 inch when she was four months old (and technically, she was 4 months and 2 weeks, and he hasn't even hit his 4 month mark yet). No wonder they are in the same size diapers. :)

We also got the go ahead to start Jackson on cereal, so stay tuned as I will definitely be documenting the first cereal experience just like I did with Emma. It's usually too funny to pass up. :)

A New Look

Monday, July 11, 2011

If you have checked out my blog in the past day or two it has probably been a big giant mess (much like my bedroom at home ::: sigh :::), but it's because I decided to do a little updating! Just like I get tired of my hair color every few months, I got tired of seeing the dark background and needed something a little lighter! Maybe it's because I have started feeling better lately and the dark was just too depressing!

I am also trying (and I repeat...trying) to take some more pictures lately and so I enlarged the posting space (if I knew how to make it even bigger I would) so instead of posting this...

I can post this.

There might be some little tweaks here and there still, and clearly I need to update the pictures in the header seeing that the picture of Wes and I is circa 2006. Crikey. I have a ton of posts sitting in draft that I want to finish, I just need the time!

The Squishy

Only a Matter of Time...

Friday, July 8, 2011

 Gold Metal Here I Come
But no pressure, Emma Kathryn. :)

Emma and my cousin Kim's little one Jillian started a new Mommy and Me Gymnastics class last week at Ultimate Gymnastics and the girls are doing fantastic! I can already tell that they are the new Shannon Miller and Kerri Strug (sans the broken ankle hopefully) and we totally see them together on the USA Olympic team in no time.

And yes, I am fully aware that I am old and that Shannon Miller and Kerri Strug were in the Olympics like 20 years ago. 

The first class was quite the whirlwind, which you can read about on Kim's blog as well. But Emma and Jillian were definitely the youngest ones in the class, and Jillian is a couple months younger than Emma, so they both had a hard time keeping up with some of the older kids that had also been there before. Emma has been to a tumbling class before, but it was pretty different than this time around. Last time, they did some climbing and swinging on rings as well, but half the class was either free time, or time spent sitting in a circle, singing songs, etc. Not this time buddy (as my Dad would say).

Kim and I knew we were in trouble when we started the full on stretching routine and warm up jog. Uh oh. Umm...yeah...Emma is two, and Jillian is even younger, so no, they don't know how to do the butterfly stretch. That was interesting. But after a whirlwind of a first class, we headed back this week and the girls did much better (and so did the Mommies). We had a different instructor but she was fantastic, and there were only three little ones in the class because of the holiday week. But it was a slower pace so we were able to take our time and teach them a little bit better on some of the apparatus.

It's pretty hard to get any pictures of the girls doing their "thang" in the gym since you have to be right by their side and more often than not, holding them in some way shape or form so they don't go "tumbling". :) But, we did manage to snap a few pictures with my phone on the way out after class.

These girls may not be the fastest in the class, but darn it if they aren't the cutest. BFFs in the making.

Disclaimer: I am also fully aware that a tutu is not proper gymnastics attire but both these girls are so tiny, we can't find any leotards that fit them. Plus, the tutu is too cute to pass up. 

Ah Shoot!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This will probably be a really boring post to a lot of people, but I have actually had a few folks ask me about my hobby of photography, so I thought about posting how I got started, and my thoughts on how someone else could get started as well!

It has really been an awesome hobby for me, even though I haven't spent as much time on it lately as I would have hoped too, but I would highly recommend it as a hobby to anyone who...
  • has very little or no time to themselves (it can be something you pick up for 5 minutes one day, 30 seconds the next day, or an hour on the next day),
  • has little ones that can't move (they provide great practice subjects, at least until they can run in which case all of your pictures will be of the back of their heads),
  • has any other subject that could be used as great practice (my other great subject is my 16 year old cat because he rarely moves and if he does, its at a REALLY slow pace),
  • doesn't want an expensive hobby,
  • has Internet access (the web is an invaluable resource for anyone who has a photography hobby),
  • would like to get involved with a club (I have met some very cool people because of photography as a hobby)

You could probably debate whether or not photography as a hobby is expensive or inexpensive but to me, it could go either way. Today's digital cameras are not only affordable, but have built-in technology that allows even an amateur photographer to capture quality usable images. So you don't have to buy a $5000 camera to get awesome pictures, you don't have to buy 100 different lenses. Just buy learning the basics, you can have a great time. Having said that, once you learn your "base" camera and kit lens, if you are able to, the sky is the limit on what you can purchase. New cameras, different lenses, lighting, backgrounds (for portraits), studio equipment, fake set ups (more on this later), and there are a ton of classes and books that you can learn from as well. So it's really up to you on how much you want to spend.

My camera is a standard Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR which so far, has been a great beginner camera. It's easy to use, great to learn on, and a decent price. It comes with a standard 18 - 55mm kit lens which was great at first, but I have really enjoyed trying some other lenses (even though I only have two total).


Although my camera is great for now, if I continue with my hobby as I hope to (and no, I will never be a professional photographer, don't plan to, and will never even try to compare myself to the pros) I'll hopefully upgrade one day.

I already have my eye on this baby.
Nikon D7000 DSLR with 18-105mm DX VR Lens

As far as a starter camera goes, you probably want to start with a DSLR so you can shoot in manual mode eventually (meaning you set the shutter speed, ISO, aperture, white balance, etc). You probably want to start with something that has good megapixel capabilities, about 6.0 and up. A megapixel just refers to the amount of resolution on an image. So the higher the megapixels, the more detailed your finished picture will be.

One of my all time favorite photos that I have taken.
I took this sitting in the back of the car on the way to my brother and sister-in-laws house.

::: shout out to Mary, Lauren and Dana :::

When you start out as a beginner, the amount of information on photography can be overwhelming. It certainly was to me. What I found worked really well, was to start off with one specific photographic goal at a time and focus on that. For example, learn and experiment with just changing the shutter speed. Once you get the hang of that, learn and experiment with what happens when changing your aperture. etc. This way, you get the hang of one thing at at time, and before you know it, you are putting it all together!

Then, you can start setting weekly goals (or monthly goals like mine usually turn into because of the little monsters). Here is a great place to start: Photography Articles : 12 Weeks to Better Photos

You know the saying that "practice makes perfect"? That is 100% true with photography. Although you may not get to the perfect stage (I never will), the only way to get better is to just get out there and shoot. You don't have to have kids to shoot, you can walk outside in your backyard and shoot some trees, or flowers, or heck...just take pictures of your house! Try to shoot in different lighting. Shooting indoors is much different then shooting outdoors. Shooting in the middle of the day is much different then in the evening with softer light.

And I'm talking shooting pictures, not guns for your gun-happy people out there. Ack.

Keeping your camera handy helps a lot.
I snapped this picture on a summer evening when we had the most amazing rainbow that I have ever seen. It's far from perfect, and I snapped it one handed while holding a toddler but you get the idea.

Here are some more ideas on what you can practice with...
  • Dewdrops on petals, spiderwebs, or grass blades
  • Take a head shot of a person or animal and practice "filling the frame"
  • Take a picture of a subject in motion. Try to focus on a sharp, clean result. (I have to practice this pretty much every time I shoot anything that has to do with my kids ha)
  • Choose a subject and experiment with shooting just left or right of center.
  • Practice looking at things with a photographer's eye. Take a picture of a pot of boiling water and focus on the bubbles or steam.
  • Try to take a picture of a reflection captured in glass, a shiny surface, or on the surface of a mud puddle.
  • Oil mixed with water
  • Head to the zoo! There is a ton of stuff to shoot at the zoo! Animals, people, flowers, plants, even waterfalls!

I snapped this picture, and the first picture in this post on a recent trip to the National Zoo.

I snapped this shot one afternoon at our house.
As I was cutting the grass, I noticed a birds nest in our front tree.
After a closer look, I found some babies, ran in to grab the camera and snapped away.

I snapped this one on a little family walk around the neighborhood.
I just happened to grab my camera on the way out of the house and this is another one of my favorites.

I think that's pretty much it for now! There is plenty more to come and I can certainly post more about my journey, things that work for me, things that don't work for me and things that I am trying. I'll try not to be too boring for those not interested in photography, but check out my photography pages above if you are interested!

500 Calories A Day

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

That's the goal.
And no, that's not my calorie intake goal. That's the number of calories that I am trying to drop everyday. I've been trying for about 2 - 3 weeks now and although I may not hit 500 calories a day exactly (most of the time I am rounding anyway because frankly, with a 2 year old and a 3 month old I don't have the time or the energy to count every calorie), I've lost 3 pounds since I have started. So not bad!!

Here's the deal...
  1. In order to lose a pound, you need to drop about 3500 calories. Safe and consistent weight loss should be about a pound a week. Ergo...you can drop a pound a week by trimming 500 calories each day.
  2. Thinking of it as only 500 calories seems much more attainable to me than only eating 1500 calories a day (even though its about the same thing). Smaller number = easier goal to reach.
  3. It's a daily goal which is also easier to keep sight of, then a goal that may take months to get to. 
  4. I get a little sense of accomplishment everyday, rather than having to wait for months.
Even though a daily goal is easier to keep sight of and for me, easier to accomplish, I do have a longer term goal. In order to get back to my pre-Jackson weight (which was actually a little bit under my pre-Emma weight), I need to lose about 16 pounds. Ack. But for now, it's baby steps.

500 Calories a day.

Here are some of the things that I have been trying to do to get to that 500 calorie mark. Like I said above, I may not always hit it, but I must at least be getting close!
  • Soda: This is a big one for me. I don't necessarily drink a lot of soda each day, but I do tend to at least drink one soda a day. So I took out the soda (with the occasional treat here or there during the week), so that's about 150 calories right there.
  • Reducing Alcohol: Apparently, my PPD and how I am feeling that day is directly proportional to my alcohol intake. Oops. So instead of having those two glasses of red wine at night, I took out a few nights all together, and on those nights where I do have a glass, I keep it to one. So that can save about 100 or more calories as well.
  • Exercise: This one I am still working on and I'm trying to get into a consistent routine. Ha. "Consistent Routine". Yeah, those words pretty much don't exist in our house right about now. :) But, when I do get there, I am estimating I am burning about 100 to 200 calories.
  • Portion Control: Again, something I am trying to work on, but getting better. We actually eat relatively healthy (substitute ground turkey in pretty much everything for ground beef, always have a veggie, etc) but I tend to eat more than I actually need to.
  • Dessert: Wes and I tend to go through phases with dessert. For months we won't buy any and really don't mind it. Then, we will get on this dessert kick and go crazy every night. Crikey. But, the good thing about having a toddler in the house is that it is perfectly acceptable to constantly buy freezer pops, which actually provide a great, 50 calorie dessert for Mommy and Daddy.
  • Coffee: Yeah right. I'm not touching my coffee or the yummy sugar or flavored creamer that I put in it. Not until I get desperate. :) 
  • The Little Things: I also just try to make better choices throughout the day. For example, when I bought lunch at work, I would usually either get a turkey or tuna sandwich, some chips and a soda. So the soda is already gone (from above), the tuna lost its extra shot of mayo (because frankly, I work for a defense contractor who is not exactly known for their tuna sandwiches which can be pretty dry) and my beloved Miss Vickie's Salt and Vinegar chips got replaced by Baked Lays. Not quite as good, but I can still have chips with lunch, and still save calories.

So there you go.

That's the plan.

So far so good.

I've got a long way to go.

Baby Steps.

Tony Horton...Here.I.Come.

The Squishy

Friday, July 1, 2011

Need I say more?

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