Friday, February 24, 2012

Never say never

So, Never say never may become my new mantra.

Never did I think when I was decorating Sammy's nursery last summer that in desperation it would end up looking like this:
 This was the before:

The funny part about this new decorating style (who will be the first to pin this?) is that when I was searching for what to put up there that was dark enough I came across the prayer quilt that was made for Paul by the ladies at his Mom's church when he was diagnosed with cancer last year.  I grabbed it thinking this is perfect, it has been heavily prayed over, made with love, Sam is an extension of Paul and God knows after 1.5 hours of trying to get his son down to sleep, I really need an answered prayer.  Yes, you read it right, yesterday after I spent 1.5 hours trying to get him to take his 1.5 long nap this make shift comfortor contraption is what I came up with.  5 minutes later he was alseep.  Every nap since then has been a going down success.  Length of the nap, not so much.  At this point, I'll take what I can get.

His blackout curtain can't get here soon enough.  I searched everywhere for one, and the cheapest was pottery barn kids if you can believe it.  I had to order it online, so it better fit!  If not, I'm going to end up having to teach myself how to sew.  This little guy has gone from being able to sleep through his loud and sunny welcome home party to only being able to sleep in a cave with white noise pumping.  Ay yi yi.

Four Months with Sammy

Wow!  I can't believe you are four months old Sammy!  You are really awesome.  You're in this quintessential perfect baby stage, where your constant smile is all gummy and you are giggly and just pure love.  How amazing to be your mom and watch you grow into your personality.  Developmentally you've had tons of changes.  You can sit and stand with assistance, really do some mad pushup during tummy time, grab at things, you put absolutely EVERYTHING into your mouth.  You are super interested in what we are eating and best of all, you are starting to interact with all of us (including the pets) so much.  It is awesome.  I'm glad I stopped you before your interacting with Bailey almost ended with you putting his tail in your mouth.  I can only imagine that ending badly for all parties involved.

So, some more ch ch ch changes this month include best of all that you, me, Bailey and the cats get to kick it all day while Daddy goes to work to take care of us!  Don't worry. we don't just sit around riding the gravy boat.  We go for lots of walks, run errands and play on your activity mat, in your jumperoo, read, nap and somewhere in there I try to cleanup and cook some too.  We do the things babies and mommies do and I love it.  I wouldn't trade this time for my salary and job back for anything.

We had a lot of fun things happen this month, you became great at liking your pacifier and being able to grab it.  That is great, except when you pull it out at night and get frustrated.  Trust me, it's more frustrating for me!  I'm looking forward to you learning the next step: putting it back in!  By that point it will be time to teach you not to like your pacifier, but I digress.

We celebrated superbowl (well you went to bed) Daddy pretty much watched it on his own, while I sorta watched the commercials.   This also was an awesome celebration for us.  One year ago superbowl weekend we found out we were having you!

Here is my two favorite commercials.  When you are wiggling while I changed your diaper I think of the M&M and crack up.

M&M Sexy and I know it
Volkswagon dog strikes back

 Your first time being annoyed with mommy!
You went in your jumperoo for the first time and loved it!
You semi rolled for the first time.  Just in time for me to see it when I got home from work
You fell in love with this awesome gift: Twinkle Twinkle Elmo soft cover book.  When I opened the gift I knew you would both read it and eat it.  I know you so well ;)

 You went to your first party, your friend Natalia's first birthday on your four month birthday!

There are some things we need to work on Mr.  This month has been rough sleep wise; mommy going back to work threw us all for a loop (fortunately for you, that means there isn't much finger pointing in your direction in relation to your sleep regression, I kidd I kidd).  It was pretty easy to ascertain the connection between my transition back to work and your transition with different caretakers to your sleep regression.  You're so far off your routine, I've pretty much given up and have just started from scratch.  You no longer just easily go down drowsy but awake at night, which is unfortunate.  We loved knowing it was 8 pm and our work for the next 6-8 hours was done.  I've learned to predict the unpredictable and just go with the flow instead of thinking it's x time you are usually sleeping now, WTF!  So now, if it's been 90 or so minutes I'm sure you are due for a nap.  I'm sure now that I wrote that down tomorrow it won't be true and I'll be left scratching my head again.

The pediatrician told me at your 4 month appointment that you're taking advantage of me at night and although you act like it, you don't really need to eat.  She obviously hasn't seen your new trick of throwing your arms down with as much vigor as possible to get your point across that you are not happy with the current situation and would like it changed.  So, we'll have to see if next month, I've wizened up and caught on to your little nighttime bout with narcissism with my own solution that doesn't include you waking up long enough to eat and fall back asleep in my arms rendering me stuck in a rocking chair without padded arms (note to self, get this fixed ASAP).

Sometimes you wake up happy from a nap, here is proof:

You've got us wrapped around your little finger.  Case in point, we seem to be taking a lot of naps together.  Which is fine for now, because I know there will come a point when you don't even want to hug us.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2011, a pictoral year in review

Last Year I did this same post.  I had to because when I went to write about 2010, the only things that I could think of were family tragedies, illnesses and the babies we kept on miscarrying.  Laying the year out in pictures, reminded me of how much happiness was embedded in the sadness.  Ironic how pictures can do that.  We don't normally capture the sad times in pictures, I guess for good reason.

Well, I'm so grateful to say that I could write an infinite amount on how awesome 2011 was for our family.  I am not even sure the pictures will capture the happiness enough.   You'll notice a lack of photos in the earlier months, because even though I was happy, I was way under the weather with morning sickness and fatique and pretty much did nothing but jump on the hamster wheel and pray I didn't fall asleep and fall off!  I can honestly say that this was definitly the best year of my life.  I pray I will have more years just like this, even though I know it surely will be dispersed amoungst years similar to 2010.  Once in a while we are lucky enough to have a good day, month and in my case even a year.  In times of struggle, I try to remember that we are lucky enough to be given the gift of another day. 

In January Paul and I were homebodies.  He was still recovering from surgery and getting ready to head back to work.  We both ended up really sick for the first time in 12 years together.  It was strange to be curled up on the couch loving each other as much as we loved our puffs plus and nyquil. 
After Paul recovered from having back to back surgeries, January became the month of new life.  This was the month we finally conceived our sticky baby!  Sammy what a dream!  You were well worth the flu, the double kidney infection and antibiotics from hell.  Note to self, never take antibiotics without also taking a probiotics and buying stock in fage greek yogurt. 

See what I mean, I was SICK! UGH, at least I have my cute furbabies (I have three, but one cat doesn't like to be caught near the dog).

February started off fantastic!  On 2.3.11 I saw two pink lines:

I doubted I was pregnant, but took a test anyways because I wanted to be sure I could drink on superbowl!  Yea to finally not being able to have a drink!

About two weeks later, we had an amazing time at the beach.  I was just newly pregnant, a few days away from hearing our baby's heartbeat for the first time.  What a wonderful tranquil place to be when you are starting to get morning sickness.

This picture cracks me up because Paul didn't realize he wasn't supposed to be in it! 

The birth of our niece Grace Elizabeth!  What a miracle baby, born at 38 weeks weighing just 4.4 lbs due to IUGR.

Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures of the next few months because I was holed up inside trying to survive a 16 week bout with horrible morning (evening) sickness and fatigue.  About all I can say for our family in March is Bailey got his first bath at barks and bubbles thanks to an awesome groupon ($10!):
In April, it was pretty much the same as March, I dragged my butt out of bed to go to work, dragged it home to sit on the couch, puke, then to bed by 8pm.  I did go to the outlets with my friend Kari who unlike me was excited to help me get some maternity clothes.

We did enjoy some pretty flowers in our front yard:

In May: I finally saw the light of day, FINALLY!  I think the last three months were the hardest physically that I'd ever gone through.  Growing a human is no joke!  In what felt like our first time out since Novemeber without illness and work stress lingering.  Our marriage really struggled during this time and it was great when I finally was able to live again.  We had the best time taking Bailey to the Reston Pet Fiesta and then to my best friend's sons birthday.  It was a glorious day.  Paul and I finally connected again and how awesome is that!  Sometimes you just need to get out and have a couples day, you really remember that your spouse is your best friend.

Here is Bailey, cooling off in the fountain at reston town center!

A few days later on my mom's birthday, we found our baby, would be baby Sammy!  Confimration of what my heart was saying, baby was a boy!

Feeling better couldn't have come soon enough because we had lots to do.
My sister in laws wedding in cocoa beach

Laura, my childhood best friend's wedding whom I had the privledge of doing her flowers and making her desserts. 

In June: Michelle, my other childhood best friend's wedding in miami, FL (we made this trip into our fantastic babymoon). 

While we were there, just 1 day after our 7th wedding anniversary, our newest nephew William was born on father's day.
In July: The birth of our newest niece Lana

We also had our maternity pictures taken.  I bought an awesome groupon for brooke bready photography and because I had $60 in groupon bucks these awesome photos were only $30!

In Aug: We finally laid low this month.  I did a ton of nesting and hanging around the house.  I was also crazy busy this month at work.  We went for our annual gypsy kings concert with our awesome neighbors:

We had a scare on the last day of August that brought me closer than I ever want to get to the NICU.  I was sent to L&D with contractions 1-2 minutes apart.  Sammy was only 34 weeks baked!  Ugh, that is one scare I never want to experience again.  Thank God I had chosen an amazing OB practice (Dr. Hodges at fair ridge OBGYN, you are my hero).

In Sept: So much fun stuff like our baby shower!

In Oct: Well, you already know what happened in Oct! 

In the two weeks before Sam arrived we packed about 8 years worth of dates into two weekends!  I so looking forward to going on fun dates like that again!  We went to eastern market in DC, went to Clifton Day, ate out a ton.  Apparently, it was so much fun that we forgot to take pictures whomp,  Here is the last picture of me pregnant (39.3 weeks).  Thanks Stephanie for taking this awesome photo, I treasure it!

In Nov: Preparing for our first thanksgiving with just me and Paul and Sam.  It was so weird not to be with our family, but nice too!  I have no clue where the pictures are.  Sammy woke up just as we sat down for dinner (at 2pm what we thought would be his nap time, ay yi yi) this is the closest I could find:

In Dec: Baby's first christmas!  Need I say more?!  I also had an awesome birthday.  According to the mayans this could be my last!  I may never turn 30!  I'm sure me and my family will be better off in heaven anyways.

I hope everyone else had a great 2011.  Do you also like do use your pictures to see how much fun you had over the year?

God's Plan>My Plan Pt 2

SO...drumroll please.  I did it!  I ripped the bandaid off, went against the grain and decided to hop off the hamster wheel.  I'm officially a stay at home mom!

I'm stepping out in faith and following God for possibly the 3rd or 4th time ever in my life, I can't wait to see what happens.  Every other time I've done it, blessings have poured out.  Now, I get to spend time with Sammy, going on playdates and mommy dates and to the library for reading, to grandmas house or the gym, and prayerfully getting pregnant again in a few years.  My heart is full of joy knowing that I did one thing I won't regret.  Regrets are things you can't change.  I made up my mind when I was stuck on 66 sitting with the rest of the people racing home in traffic (oxi-moron right?!).  I realized that the one thing I couldn't change was the passing of time.  I could always get another job.

Babies growing so quickly really show you just how fast time passes.  I can't believe 17 weeks ago, I could palm Sammy like a football.  Now he barely fits on the boppy pillow when I nurse him.  There was no way I could ever get back the hours I spent away from Sam earning money I wanted and could use to be comfortable but didn't desperately need.
When I was at work, I also just didn't care the same way I did before and it was driving me nuts.  I was trying to squeeze full time work into part time hours.  I'd leave always feeling like I wanted to finish what I was doing, never being able to.  I started leaving work with my laptop again so that I could get home on time and finish later.  Perpetually exaushted (not exactly like I'm getting a straight 8 hrs of restful sleep), I truly was just never enjoying life.  I wasn't giving the 150% I normally did at work and then I also wasn't bringing my A game at home either.  So where exactly was I winning in life?  I truly just want to do one thing well.  Work doesn't deserve second best and my son especially doesn't.

My last day was yesterday and it was bittersweet.  Leaving a job I absolutely love, saying goodbye to the best boss I've ever had as well as coworkers I've spent almost everyday with for the past three years was tough.  They all saw me cry yet again!  Makes me want to say F U hormones like the guy on knocked up.  I never used to cry!

Needless to say I'm excited I put God and myself first.  The scary uncharted world of being a stay at home Mom awaits me.  For the first time since I was 15, I won't be working (at least not in a paid role).  I'll be fully dependent upon my husband to provide for me in more ways than just love and friendship.  I am going to stand strong in my faith and put my trust where it should be.  I'm believing in my friend Anna's son Jack's favorite verse: "nothing is impossible with God" 

Where to shop: baby edition

Fortunately, the bulk of our new baby purchases are behind us and now we are into the everyday items such as diapers, wipes and bath products.

When we were getting ready for Sam's arrival and in the first month or two following his birth we, meaning me, did a significant amount of baby purchasing.  A lot of it I did on amazon since that is where we registered and there were items left that we needed.  I highly recommend buying baby products from them and registering with them.  It was awesome as was the free prime shipping for being an amazon mom.

The fun stuff: 
Books and toys: Amazon, Homegoods, TJMaxx, Marshalls. 
Amazon prices really can only be beat once in a while.  They have great reviews and a massive selection.  Customer service is also awesome. Really the only downside I see is that you aren't shopping local.  But none of the places I'm listing in this post are local, so touche to that thought.

Tjmaxx can beat almost everyones prices for baby things.  For example, I found this awesome serena and lily sling retail $125, TJmaxx price $25! Excuse the messy bedroom and my overall gross appearance.  A girl can only do so much!

A lot of the items left on my registry were related to feeding Sam when he was older.  For example oxo tot has awesome stuff for kids food as does Boon and skip hop.  One day I went into homegoods and they had everything I registered for!  I was in heaven!  Hopefully in a few months we'll see if Sam cares as much as I do about all of his cute tableware!  They also have a ton of petunia pickle bottom stuff (again more for girls) but still fun to see their super nice stroller blankets and slings there for $20.

Clothes: Children's Place, Carters, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Costco.  The fun places like Gap for the most part only have cute stuff for girls which pisses me off to no end. The stuff for boys might still be cute, but really, the girl stuff is SO much cuter that the boy stuff pales in comparison deeming it unworthy of purchase, especially because its pricey.  Seriously, you can only have so many monkey, baseball, and cute like Dad shirts.

Blankets and accessories: Pottery Barn kids, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Homegoods.  Everyone thinks Pottery Barn Kids is sooo expensive, but honestly for baby things which generally are marked up everywhere they are the exact same price, sometimes cheaper and it comes with great quality as well as superior customer service in case something goes wrong. 

For the basics:
Buybuybaby: They have THE best customer service.  They know what they are talking about, are friendly and the store has way more than you could ever need.  When you use the 20% off coupons, the prices are right on par with target.  I don't shop at their competitor, babies r us anymore.  I really can't stand the people in there and I can never find what I'm looking for.  Neither of the two stores are close to our home, but it's totally worth the longer drive to go to buybuybaby.  I ordered from them back in September when my niece came to visit.  I've always thought it would be easier to have diapers at your end location vs having to bring them with you.  So, to help my sister I ordered Sam his first case of diapers which he shared with his cousin.  They have a wonderful program that is $10 off your first case, plus $5 off every case after that.  They also have ecoupons that give you between 1 and 2 off a case.  So yes, you can get up to $17 off your first case of diapers!  Wonderful way for them to reel you in.  My favorite thing about is their customer service.  I've had to call in several times with questions and they have been so helpful.  One time when I called, the customer service rep pointed out that buying the multiple smaller packs of diapers vs the big jumbo pack was actually cheaper.  Sorta slipped my mommy brain to always divide the full price of the case by the amount of diapers in the pack to see which pack has the cheapest cost/diaper. 

Once I started figuring out the unit price, I realized target was just as cheap if not cheaper than  I've been buying 180 diapers for $35 (.19/diaper).  So, once you and child are mobile again, the convenience of ordering online isn't always worth it.  This brings me to my least favorite thing about the website: they just have way too much stuff and it is overwhelming.  While I like that in a few clicks and a day diapers come to your door, you get sucked into looking at the clothes, then onto their other linked websites,,, and then they have all these stupid coupon codes you have to apply for soap, and clothes and blah blah blah.  Then if you are sleep deprived you forget, which means you have to call to get your $2 back and it is just not easier than putting your baby in the car and going out and having fun at target.  Also, I hate that every day there is a different sale meaning you could either get totally screwed or luck out.  I think Jcpenny has a lot of consumers about to flock to them to stop this hysteria of constantly changing prices.

I still have 6 brand new bum genius diapers screaming at me to be used, but so far it has been so easy using disposables because I know when Sam is wet that I just don't feel like making the switch.  Once we are into size 3's and that clever little blue stripe is not available,  I might make the switch.  By the way, I think that little blue line is a ploy by pampers to trick new parents into changing their new babies diapers too often.  We wizened up after about the thousandth change.

Hope this helps!  Where do you like to shop for baby/kid purchases?