It's a Jungle Out There!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Now that the holiday craziness has settled down, and life is somewhat back to normal (or at least as normal as it can get with two little ones), I started to try to get my head together for Jackson's First Birthday. And yes, I am fully aware that it's still months away (March).


Excuse me for a second while I go cry my eyes out.

I can not believe that my baby boy is turning one already. What a whirlwind this year has been, and with an incredibly rocky start with my baby boy and I. Between the scares that we had while I was pregnant, and the Postpartum Depression robbing my little man and I of months, it was a crazy start. But my Squishy means the world to me, he is my one and only little man, and is very much a Mama's boy, which I tend to think is just God's way of helping us make up for our lost time from the beginning.


I'll be the first to say that I had no intentions of going overboard with The Squishy's first Birthday, at least not until I started getting into it. Muwhahaha. I love this stuff. Will Jackson remember any of this? Nope? But I will. I want to be able to show him that no matter what he and Mama have gone through, no matter what any one else thinks about us, he is my main man, and this is just one small way that I can show him that.


Now, with all of that said, I'm am going to TRY to keep it reasonable. And I'm not talking about money here (I intend to keep that part even more than reasonable by lots of DIY). I love to design a lot of the little things myself, I think it's fun, and its a cheap way to make it personal. The food is going to be simple, the attendees are going to be limited to family, and luckily I have a lot of left over stuff from my parent's surprise party we threw this summer to help keep the cost at a minimum.

I stumbled upon this super cute website, called Cocoa Mint, where I downloaded adorable little jungle animals for $5.00 and then can use it for whatever! So here comes Squishy's water bottle labels, Birthday invitation, "Happy 1st Birthday" banner, cake topper and who knows what else, chalk full of cute jungle animals for my cute jungle animal.

So, my jungle adventure begins with planning one sweet birthday party for my sweet birthday boy who is turning one.

::: sobbs :::

What A Christmas

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas was truly amazing this year.

We started out celebrating Christmas with Emma and Mommy heading to church with her Mimi and Nanny and Emma did amazing. I am starting to introduce a little bit more of our religion into Emma's life now that she is a little bit older and although she won't quite "get it" for a little while longer, if she is old enough to know about Santa and the North Pole, she is old enough to know about God and Heaven. So it was really important to me to take some time out of the holiday hustle and bustle and remember what it's all about.

After church, we headed home to kick things off with Mimi, Pop, Nanny and some of new soon-to-be family members as we also celebrated my brother getting engaged! So I'm getting a new sister in law to add to the two awesome ones that I already have, and I couldn't be more excited! Wes made an awesome dinner like usual (man he is a keeper), the babies played their little hearts out in their red and green Christmas jammies and we just relaxed.

Before bedtime, we made sure to leave out some cookies and milk for Santa, along with some carrots and celery for the reindeer. Emma had insisted on the celery so I was glad that we actually had some. Low and behold, when we woke up on Christmas morning, it was clear that Santa and his reindeer loved the little snack! Although, Emma was pretty puzzled as to why Santa left the chocolate part of the cookie which is obviously the best part. He must have been full. :)



Emma woke up about 6:30AM on Christmas morning and we were trying to keep her in our room until Squishy woke up but she was just too excited to contain, so we headed downstairs to see all the goodies that Santa brought!

Emma had been talking about two things (for about three months) that she wanted for Christmas. A guitar (or "bitar" as Emma calls it) and a Pooh-Bear sippy cup that she spotted a long time ago. Every morning, she would tell "Santa the Elf" that is what she wanted for Christmas. Wouldn't you know, the real Santa must have gotten the memo because both of those things were waiting for her as she came down the steps. She spotted the guitar immediately (we like to leave one present unwrapped each year) and was too excited to even talk! She just pointed and kind of mumbled and eventually got herself together and ran over screaming "MY BITAR! MY BITAR!" and I think she could have been done with Christmas right then and there.



We were hoping to wait to really start opening presents when Squishy woke up but wouldn't you know the little guy slept for almost another hour. So Emma started tearing into her presents from Santa and eventually The Squish woke up and joined us. Although he was more interested in eating the paper and bows, but he clearly had a good time.

He has recently started to do this "smile" where he scrunches up his little nose and eyes and shows off those four little pearly whites. The Squishy, in all his glory.


Of course, he is still a little drool factory and despite all the toys surrounding him, he just wanted to play with the tag on his big sister's new bumble-bee shirt.


I ended up putting the camera down for most of the morning so that I could truly enjoy Christmas with my babies, and it was amazing. We had the perfect, relaxing morning, just the four of us where Emma had cookies before breakfast, we all stayed in our jammies, made a complete disaster of the house, and loved every minute of it.

The Squishy went down for his morning nap while Wes and I got cleaned up and Emma even took a little morning nap. We then headed off to Mimi and Pop's house to destroy their house as well celebrate Christmas with them. Although we had an amazing Christmas, we were missing all of our family members that we weren't able to celebrate with like Emma and Squishy's Gigi and Papa and their Aunt Adrienne and Uncle Kevin and their other cousins as well. You guys were certainly in our hearts on Christmas as well!

I didn't end up taking too many pictures for the rest of the day since A) it was pure chaos like any true holiday B) the babies didn't stop moving the entire time and C) the babies didn't stop moving the entire time. I still haven't been able to get a picture of both Emma and Jackson dressed up together, but decided that I give up and that a trip to the Picture People is in order soon.

Another "Squishy" smile. :)


The only other time I could get a picture of Emma was when she was so tired she couldn't even move. She isn't shy about telling you when she has had enough, so about 6:00PM she started telling us that she was ready to go home. After snuggling her Pop for a little bit while Mommy fed the manly and got him in his jammies, she ended up getting her sixth wind for the day, and was good until about 7:00PM. Then they both completely crashed in the car.


All in all, it was a perfect Christmas, and I am already looking forward to next year. We very much missed our Gigi and Papa but can't wait to see them again and are sending all of our love to all of our family and friends this holiday season.

I will never forget the magic in my babies eyes on Christmas Day. There isn't anything like it in the entire world.

Ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011








Christmas cards are mailed (with missing punctuation, old pictures of the babies because I didn't have any time for a Christmas photo-shoot and with free breast-cancer awareness address labels because ours were late and of course arrived the day after I mailed our cards.)







Cookies are made (out of the box with egg and butter for the most part, not as many as I had hoped for, but I hear Santa isn't picky). Emma did help make our first ever real Gingerbread cookies though. Although she refers to them as her "Gingies". The Shrek Christmas Special is one of her favorites. :)


 







"Santa the Elf" is out and about and usually makes it to his new landing spot every morning before Emma wakes up. He sometimes even leaves her a little note which she LOVES.














Emma is primed and ready with a recent hair cut, despite the fact that she still barely has any hair. Christmas outfits are cleaned and ironed and ready to go, although it wasn't hard because Emma is almost the same size as she was this time last year, so she is wearing her Easter dress, and Squishy is wearing some hand-me-downs that happen to go perfectly with Emma's blue Easter dress. :)










The house is clean (or as clean as its going to get in the next couple of days) thanks to help from the babies...











Presents are purchased and wrapped (for the most part, still have some stocking stuffers to take care of to help out the big guy).

Santa drove by the house right before bedtime earlier this week on a fire truck...BIG HIT. Emma is still talking about him.

Both babies went for their regular doctors appointment earlier this week and both are doing awesome! Squishy now has four teeth! Woo hoo! Emma is off the charts with her development and both are happy and healthy! Jackson weighed in at 20 lbs 8 ounces which put him right in the 50th percentile and was 28.5 inches long, which again was right at the 50th percentile. Emma Kathryn weighed in at 25 lbs (fully clothed so I think she is still in the 24 lb range) and I forget her height (DOH!) but both were in the 5 to 10th percentile, so remains our tiny little package. Since she has remained in the same percentile for a while now for both height and weight, her pediatrician estimated that she would be about 5' 3" and 105 lbs fully grown.

We also signed up the babies for a little holiday session swim class and they have been loving it! Squishy wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first but really got the hang of things. He never cried, but he certainly wasn't smiling during the first class. :)

So by "Ready for Christmas", I mean "As ready as I'm going to be!"

Despite all of the chaos that the holidays bring, I can't help but take a step back and thank the big guy upstairs for how incredibly blessed we are. People are always telling us how blessed we are, and it's not hard to lose sight of that in the daily shuffle, but that's what the holidays are all about. Taking time out of our crazy lives, to think about what life is all about, be thankful for everything that we have, and I honestly couldn't ask for anything more. I have an amazing husband, two incredibly happy and healthy babies, an amazing family that supports us no matter what and great friends to confide in. So despite what shows up under the Christmas tree on Sunday morning, how many cookies are made or not made, how some presents may be missing bows, Christmas is going to be amazing this year, and I couldn't be happier.

From the bottom of our hearts, we wish everyone a safe
and truly joyful holiday season.
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis


The Squishy @ 8 Months Old

Friday, December 9, 2011

Age: 8 Months Old! (Almost 9 Months!)

Weight: 20 lbs & some change

Height: The Squishy is heading back to the doctors in two weeks for his 9 month check-up so we will have official updated stats soon!

Size: Jackson is pretty much in 12 months clothes now, with a few exceptions where his 9 months clothes fit (depending on the brand). The majority of his 9 month clothes are pretty tight. Squishy is very broad, so they might fit in length, but in the waist and shoulders its pretty tight. Although, I'm pretty sure he is wearing one of his big sister's 18 month onesies in the pictures below. :)


Movement: Does.Not.Stop. The Squishy has been pulling himself up to standing for over a month now and is now also "walking" down furniture. He can even "walk" across the floor using his big sister's shopping cart so we are guessing that it's only a matter of time before he starts to try to take his first few steps. He doesn't stop moving, ever. From the minute he wakes up he is on the go, until he crashes at nighttime.
  
Teeth: Squishy finally had his two bottom teeth pop through a little while ago, and every day we are waiting to see those top two little guys pop through but he has a really hard time cutting teeth and it seems to take him a long time.

Sleeping: Jackson is still pretty consistent with his sleeping and not too much change here. He is able to stay awake on most nights now until just about 8:00PM, and sleeps until about 6:30/7:00AM in the morning. He still needs two naps a day, but his morning nap is starting to get pushed out a bit and he only sleeps for 30 - 60 minutes. Then he goes down again the afternoon around 1:00 for anywhere between an hour and a half to three hours. He is a lot easier to put to bed now though and usually doesn't put up much of a fight. At nighttime, he is so ready that he usually doesn't even make a peep.


Eating: The Squishy is an eater. He is still mostly on baby food but clearly craves "big people" food and when given the chance, will eat about twice as much as his sister. For breakfast he usually has some fruit and cereal, maybe some yogurt and then a ton of Cheerios or part of a cereal bar. For lunch, its a vegetable with cereal, usually a whole yogurt and then some more Cheerios or puffs. Dinner is usually pretty similar to lunch although we have started to give him more "real" food like grilled cheese (which he will eat an entire half of after his fruit or vegetable) or some plain pasta. Squishy still seems to gravitate more towards the homemade food so I try to make the majority of his food. He will tolerate blended chicken but is not a big fan of it after it gets frozen. He still has his bottles as well, 6 ounces, four times a day.

Milestones: Standing and walking with assistance!!! He now says Mama too!!

Favorite Things: Squishy's favorite things are pretty much still the same as well. The remote control, any type of dog toy, and his big sister.


Dislikes: Overall Jackson doesn't have too many dislikes. He still REALLY wants his own crib when its bedtime and he isn't really one to fall asleep if you are holding him. He just wants his bed. There aren't really any foods that he dislikes now, the little chow-hound will pretty much eat anything at this point.

Words: Mama!!!!!

Personality: The Squishy very much takes after his sister in the fact that he is one happy baby. Given a normal night of sleep and normal nap schedule, he is just a happy little guy and just always on the move. He plays so hard, that he crashes hard at night. He is a lover. He is a snuggler (on his own terms though) and he is still flirting with all the ladies. He has an incredible level of determination and if he wants something, he is going to do everything that he possible can to get it. If you take it away, he will yell at you. :) Jackson is very much becoming a mama's boy (which I love). If he is hurt, he wants The Mama. If he is tired, he wants The Mama. If it he ready to rumble though, he wants to rough-house and wrestle with Daddy. Boy does he love his big sister. He just wants to keep up with her and be with her and play. He glows when she gives him her attention. :)

20 Questions with Emma Kathryn

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Last night while Daddy was cooking dinner and Mommy was feeding the endless pit Squishy, we played 20 Questions with our Emma Kathryn. Here are the questions and her respective answers....

What is your favorite color? "Pooh Cup"
(This is a hot topic in our house. Emma saw this Pooh-Bear sippy cup about 4 months ago in the Disney Store and its pretty much the only thing she wants for Christmas.)

What is your favorite toy? "Bitar"
(Guitar)

What is your favorite fruit? "Vegetables & Rice"
(This coming from the kid that won't touch vegetables.)

What is your favorite TV show? "Dora"

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? "Cookies & Hot Dogs"

What is your favorite outfit? "My Tutu!!"

What is your favorite game? "Zoo"
(This is the game that we play pretty much every.single.day in the house. Emma puts all of her stuffed animals together in cages and then you proceed to walk around the room like you are at the zoo. But there are rules here. You can't see the monkey's until you eat lunch, you have to drive to the zoo with the stroller in the trunk...etc.)

What is your favorite snack? "Crackers"

What is your favorite animal? "PINK BEAR!!"

What is your favorite song? "Happy and you know it clap your hands clap clap and my Tutu!"

What is your favorite book? "Fump"
(Ummm....what?)

Who is your best friend? "PINK BEAR!!!"
(I was really hoping for a Mommy answer but no such luck.)

What is your favorite cereal? "Cereal"

What is your favorite thing to do outside? "A paw print, and Zoo!"
(I have no idea what "paw print" is for. I think this is from a recent birthday party with Blue's Clues.)

What is your favorite drink? "Juice"

What is your favorite holiday? "Santa!"

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? "Pwiget"
(Piglet) 

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? "Cereal"

What do you want for dinner on your birthday? "Cake!!"

What do you want to be when you grow up? "Cereal!!"
(My baby shoots for the stars!!)

Model Behavior

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last night, after a yummy dinner of shrimp and pasta, after bathtime full of bubbles and playtime was done, after we were all snuggled in our jammies playing before bedtime, I broke out my camera to attempt to learn how to adjust my white balance manually.

Emma decided that she wanted in on the fun and started practicing posing for the camera.

These are pretty much the worst (technically) pictures possible; dark, noisy, probably out of focus, but they make me laugh. My little girl is turning into quite the ham. The white piece of paper on the floor was what I WAS using to set my white balance, but it quickly turned into Emma's stage. Ready! Set! Pose!












Perceived Perfectionism

Friday, December 2, 2011

I have had a couple of people ask me lately how I am doing with the Postpartum Depression and although it caused a bit of a stir last time I talked about it because of some of the wording that was used, I wanted to post an update for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that it is still a part of my life. It's in a different form, and much less part of my life now, but regardless, it's still a part. The second reason being that I got such an amazing response when I started to talk about PPD from lots of new moms that were going through the same thing, that I wanted to share my story with the aftermath of the PPD.

I want to start out by saying that finally, eight months after Jackson Douglas was born, I am PPD free. Having said that, don't get all excited thinking that I am back to normal, because I'm still a little crazy in the head. :) I may now be PPD free, but I am still struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) and maybe even a little Postpartum OCD tossed in the mix, because hey, why not?

Anxiety is a part of every one's lives. It is a normal response to things that happen in our lives and more often than not, it can actually be helpful. It can help you concentrate and focus on tasks or help you avoid dangerous situations. At work, I do best when I am under pressure. Give me a deadline, and I'll meet it. Give me all the time in the world, and I'll eventually get there. Before Emma and Jackson came along, I would say that I had a "healthy" level of anxiety. Enough to get me to focus, but that was it. Now, with the PPA, although it tends to come and go, it affects me in a very different way.

I stopped going to therapy several months ago when I was doing a lot better with the PPD, so you will have to take all of whats to come with a grain of salt because its pretty much all through self-diagnosis. So, in other words, I could be totally wrong. :)

One of the questions that I tend to ask myself a lot is if I actually have PPA, or if my "healthy" level of anxiety that I had before just got a dose of Emeril and "kicked it up a notch". BAM! In my mind, its PPA because it tends to revolve around the babies. For example, on the weekends, I usually feel very anxious about timing my errands with the babies schedule. Having a schedule both helps, and hurts the anxiety. It keeps the babies happy, but tends to freak me out if the routine needs to be interrupted. I stress about ļ¬nding the time to get a haircut (which I haven't done in months), paint my toenails, take two hours to go buy clothes for myself. And if I finally do, I feel so incredibly guilty about taking "me" time, that I usually just stop and rush home.

I have started a couple of months ago to have random irrational fears. The biggest irrational fear that I have is now driving over bridges by myself, with both Emma and Jackson in the car. It been building for a little while now, so much so, that I have to take a different route to my parents house to avoid going over a bridge when I'm in the car with the babies. I'm afraid that something is going to happen to the bridge or there will be an accident that causes our car to go over the side and I don't know how I will save both of my babies because I am by myself. There's more to it than that, but I'll just leave it there for now.

Another example of the irrational fear that I have is at parties. Even if we are in a room full of just family members, I get really anxious when I can't see or hear either both of my babies. What if someone that was holding my Squishy, just ran off with him. That usually then sends me into a spiral where all I can think about is what I would do if that happened. Lately, this has been more focused on Squishy for some reason. Maybe it's because he has become so attached to Mama that he is always by my side or attached to my hip at home. I have this irrational fear that something or someone is going to take him away from me.

Now, this is where I go a little crazy with the self diagnosing. So get out the popcorn. :)

I mentioned a while back that I was reading the book, When Panic Attacks. It's still sitting on my nightstand half read, so maybe one day when the kids are in college I'll actually have time to finish it. It didn't take long for some of the information in the book to really hit home and help me connect the dots. I pretty much fell off my chair when I got to the section that talked about Perceived Perfectionism. Basically the thought that "People will not love and accept me as a flawed and vulnerable human being."

I know. It's getting deep in here. Hang in there. I promise it's coming around. :)

I can directly tie my PPA, to my need for Perceived Perfectionism, with a little PPOCD thrown into the mix. One of the things that causes me a high level of anxiety, despite fully knowing that it's ridiculous, is getting ready to take the kids to any type of party/gathering. I'm not talking about the usual chaos that ensues when you have a two and half year old and eight month old anytime you try to leave the house. I'm talking about my NEED to have it look like I have the perfect little family with nicely dressed, recently bathed babies. Usually we head out after nap time, and leaving the house is crazy enough. However, I can not force myself to leave the house after nap time (even when we are late) without having given both babies a bath right after nap time. In my head, I think, you big dummy, just give the kids a bath BEFORE nap time, because that's one less thing that you have to do when trying to leave the house because its crazy enough. Nope. No can do. The thought of giving them a bath then putting them down for a nap drives me crazy because kids get sweaty when they sleep. Their hair gets messed up. What if I take my babies to a party with messy hair?!?! The world might actually end. Obviously, thats an exagerations and my brain knows that's not true, but that's not what my body tells me.

By the way, if you are still reading this far into this crazy post, then you deserve an award. :)

Because of this need for Perceived Perfection, my PPA jumps up a level, even when I know it's ridiculous in my head. This tends to be a vicious cycle. It causes me to set unrealistic goals. Then, it gives me anxiety while trying to reach that unrealistic goal and failing (which was inevitable). The constant pressure to work for this perceived perfection is exhausting.
 
So, despite the fact that you probably think I am a lunatic now (yikes), I'm actually doing okay with it all. There are just certain things (like the bath time thing) that I have accepted and just deal with now because its just what I need to do at this point. If it makes me feel less anxious if I am 20 minutes late because I had to give both babies a bath, then so be it. With other things, I'm working on trying to change from the perfectionistic attitude and realize that perfectionism is unattainable. Whenever I come across a self-defeating thought, I take a step back, challenge it and try to recognize the behaviors that are fueling it. I'm also trying to experiment with my standards for success. Here's a good example...cleaning. That's another area that tends to give me HIGH levels of anxiety because what if someone came into my house and it was dirty!!! GAH! Well, instead of cleaning like a crazy person all the time, I'll try to clean like 90%, 80% or on some days, not at all. The world doesn't end when my mom comes over and there is dog hair on the floor. Although sometimes my body tends to make me feel that way.

I'm also trying to avoid all-or-none thinking. Like, if Jackson can't have a bath before we leave for a party but Emma can, we might as well not go! Umm...no you big dope. If I only have time for one bath, that's what we will do and I'll pick the dirtiest child. Which on some days, is a close race. :)

I know in my brain that this need for perceived perfectionism is not a helpful or necessary influence in my life, I just have to convince the rest of me that its true. It doesn't affect me everyday. Sometimes, I can ignore it. Sometimes, it drives me crazy. Sometimes, it rules the day.

Despite Mommy being a little crazy in the head, we still manage to have some fun. Like with pretend Birthday parties (which Squishy is clearly thrilled about) and pretend trips to the airport with Pink Bear in our new Dora backpack so we can go visit Gigi.


Here's to a weekend full of Christmas fun! Including a trip to the "Tree Farm" as Emma calls it to go find our perfect Christmas tree that will be decorated to perfection. Ha! Just Kidding. Sort of. :) Gah.

 
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