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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shower The Baby

I had two wonderful baby showers; one hosted by seven (!) of my closet friends and one hosted by your dad's cousin. We received almost all of the items we registered for and more toys, clothes, blankets and other goodies than we could ever possibly use. Everyone has been so generous at welcoming your arrival.

What blows my mind is that the gifts keep coming! Here we are almost four months later and we are still being showered. I'm so surprised every time the UPS man knocks on our door. Just last week we got three packages in one day...adorable onesies from family friends, a darling personalized bench from your dad's college friends and three surfer t-shirts from one of mine.

I feel like a big jerk and wish I had consulted my Emily Post etiquette guide earlier because I thought showering the baby stopped at the showers. I didn't know that you sent a card and/or another gift after the baby arrived. In particular, I thought if you attended the shower, you were done. I feel badly about this and vow to acknowledge baby's arrivals from now on in a bigger way.

By the way, if you are reading and have yet to receive a thank you card, we appreciate your gift and I'm sorry, you will receive a formal thank you in the mail...eventually.

What a lucky baby you are!

The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Five Things That Make Me Smile

I haven't been doing the mommy thing for very long, but I already have a few favorite products that have made our lives a little easier. I have even recommended a couple of these items to fellow new moms and they are pleased with them as well! By the way, I'm not getting paid for these endorsements.

Although we haven't swaddled you in almost a month, I love Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets. We received one as a gift before you born and I have since bought eight more! They are made from soft, breathable muslin fabric and have multiple uses...light cover at night, emergency burp cloth, stroller or car seat shield, tummy time mat, arm rest during feedings, etc., etc. I love them because they are so large (47 inches x 47 inches) and come in a variety of designs. We use at least one every day.I like to sleep in a plain white t-shirt and figured why wouldn't you too. I got you plain white Carter's Long Sleeve Bodysuits and they are perfect after a bath. They keep you cozy, but not too hot and because they're white, they always look clean and fresh and I like to get them in a size bigger than you are for a roomier fit.Coined "the world's first and only seat for babies who are not yet able to sit up on their own", the Bumbo Baby Sitter, is super for helping to strengthen your baby neck muscles while providing you a little independence as you learn to sit up.Kiddopotamus Snuzzler Complete Head and Body Support, or as I like to call it, your bear skin rug. This ingenious design cradles you in any oversized carrier providing a comfier fit.Pricey, yes but oh so worth it, the BOB Revolution Jogging Stroller has super sturdy off road tires that are perfect for sand or street. It's nimble and rides smooth and has lots of roomy compartments for bottles, (yours and mine) the garage door opener, phone and sunscreen and more Plus the see through sun canopy is a nice added bonus for your viewing pleasure.I'm off to find more cool baby gear!

The best is yet to be.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

Sleep and I haven't been too friendly lately and boy, do I miss it! I should be napping when you nap, but that doesn't work out too well for me. I have never been a napper, besides when would I blog, let alone get dressed, eat, or do the piles and piles of laundry you create?

Your dad and I take turns getting up with you at night and most mornings, he is kind enough to care for you and let me sleep in as long as possible before he has to get ready to go to work, but for the past few weeks (just when you were almost sleeping through the night!?) you have been getting up almost every two hours and our mornings start sometimes as early as 5:30 AM, so we are all very sleep deprived.

I've collected quotes for as long as I can remember and here are a few from the archives on sleep, glorious sleep:

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." - Irish proverb

"Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep." - Fran Lebowitz

"Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone." - Anthony Burgess

"That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep." - Aldous Huxley

"True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment." - William Penn

"Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night... without the satisfaction." - Lynn Johnston

"There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good night's sleep." - Edgar Watson Howe

"Money will buy you a bed, but not a good night's sleep, a house but not a home, a companion but not a friend. - Zig Ziglar

"Sleep is like the unicorn, it is rumored to exist but I doubt I will see any." - Anonymous

My personal favorite:

"People who say they "sleep like a baby" usually don't have one." - Leo J. Burke

The best is yet to be (and here's hoping it involves sweet sweet dreams!).

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby Free Hours

Your dad spent most of the day with you today solo while I spent literally hours trying to figure out what to do with myself.

After taking a very long, very hot shower, in which I loofahed my entire body and shaved areas that have been hairy for far too long, I added three more mommy blogs to follow to my list, read through every What To Expect The First Year e-mail newsletter I have received in the last three weeks and then realized that the only books on my bedside table are: On Becoming Baby Wise, The Happiest Baby on the Block, The No-Cry Sleep Solution and Trees Make the Best Mobiles. Agh! Is this really what my life has come to? Is absorbing mommy information the only thing that I'm interested in nowadays?

It is hard to recall what I used to do with all of my free time before baby, but that doesn't mean I don't miss it or think about it longingly. I think I had hobbies, didn't I? I vaguely remember reading novels and flipping through glossy magazines for hours on end, watching movies from start to finish in one sitting, enjoying leisurely lunches with friends, having meaningful conversations with your dad that didn't involve the words "poop", "melt down" or "nap", pushed myself to the limit in hard core work outs, took last minute trips to Vegas and Palm Springs and indulged in many guilt free glasses of wine, oh yes and sleep.

I suppose my old interests aren't gone completely or forgotten, they've just expanded to include the most important activity in my life right now, which is raising little you.

When given some me time, why was I at such a loss for what to do today?

I finally just got in the car and drove. I ended up taking myself to lunch and then walked around our local farmer's market for 45 minutes (something I have wanted to do since we lived here) and got some beautiful produce and fresh flowers; then thank goodness my favorite spa takes last minutes appointments, I got a facial. After that, I spent a glorious hour wandering around the bookstore looking up, you guessed it, baby information! I couldn't help it, I instantly gravitated towards the Parenting section.

All in all, it was a truly rejuvenating afternoon and not a bad way to spend a few baby free hours by myself.

The best is yet to be.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

You Gotta Have Friends

I have to admit, I was reluctant to join a Mommy & Me group. I just didn't want to "deal" with it, for lack of a better reason. We had a good thing going you and I; with our daily walks, bi- and tri-weekly outings to Target and counting down the hours until Daddy got home, why on earth would we need a playgroup? You aren't even playing yet. Boy, was I wrong! Our life really is fuller now for having joined the New Moms of 2009 group. So far, we have attended several events and they are, in a word...fun.

Everyone in the group has a baby under the age of seven months old and the conversations are exactly the type I had dreaded, but very much needed to be a part of: at what age did your baby sit up/roll over/find his feet/sleep through the night, where did you get that toy/onesie/hat/play gym, what do you think about that stroller, those diapers/burp cloths/diaper bag, how often and how much are you feeding him, etc., etc. Sort of mind numbing stuff to anyone but a new mom, but topical and very important. It's great to share with and learn from other new moms and so comforting to know there they are going through the same frustrations and concerns that I am. There are a couple of moms in our group that I could see being very good friends with and I am definitely enjoying the social interaction and adult conversation!

The babies are so young yet that all they do is lay there side-by-side and play with colorful hanging toys above their heads, but you do seem entertained by the other tots and the idea is that the group stays together long enough that our babies grow up together and be friends, which would be very cool indeed.

The best is yet to be.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Sisters

As far back as I can remember, my wish on every shooting star and every candle I blew out on a birthday cake, I asked for a little sister. Finally, almost 12 years later, I got one!!

I can't believe my sister, Leah is 25 years old now. I tell her every year on her birthday that I remember the day she was born as if it were yesterday. It was a great day. I can vividly recall driving to and from the hospital (our mother had been induced on Monday, March 5) with our dad as he played out loud with different girl's names: Kara Leah, Leah Kara, Kara Alexandra. It was a special time. Leah Alexandra finally made her arrival on Wednesday, March 7; and as I anxiously waited for news in our mother's recovery room, I had my Walkman on listening to Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace and the moment I heard you were born, the song The Man played. I love these lyrics:

And it's just the way he thought it would be
'cause the day has come for him to be free
then he laughs, he kicks and rolls up his sleeves
I'm alive and I'm here forever
This is the man


I think it’s the line, I’m alive and here forever in particular that stood out to me because it is such a strong declaration and at that very moment, a new wonderful little person was being brought into our world and she wasn't going to go anywhere, she was here forever.

Aside from a few babysitting jobs in middle school, most of my experience with babies comes from having a little sister. I had held a baby before Leah, but she was my first diaper change, burp, bath, and feeding. I learned a lot about parenting and babies by helping our mom and dad care for little Leah and I enjoyed every minute, even the late nights of babysitting. After all, to me she was a living doll.

Over the years the age difference between us has either seemed far too great or has actually felt like it has shortened. Today, we have more in common than you might think and laugh at the same jokes. As completely frustrating as my little sister may be at times, I honestly don’t know what I would do without her in my life. She has a heart of gold, is honest and true and has a naivete that will melt your heart.

I have definitely struggled with being Leah's surrogate parent over the years, but know that now, I'm all she has and vice versa. We are family. I worry about her just like a parent would, but know that it is okay for her to make mistakes as she finds her way in this world.

Your aunt Leah just spent a week with us and not only is she amazing with you, she's really fun to be around. It was SO nice to have another set of hands, eyes, and ears to help out and we already miss her. Lucas, you are so lucky to have such a wonderful role model in your life and I'm really looking forward to her living closer next year!

The best is yet to be.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Feet

"Walking is man's best medicine." -Hippocrates
Walking is one of the best exercises there is; it's low impact, can be done anywhere and it's health benefits are immeasurable. Walking reduces the chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, helps increase life expectancy and bone health and lowers the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and raises the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Walking is one of our body's most natural forms of movement, not to mention the best one for our environment and I love it!

I live for our daily walks. They get us out of the house and hopefully (eventually) back into my pre-pregnancy jeans! I'm also hoping that by taking these walks, I am instilling in you, the importance of daily exercise.

We don't go very far; 3-4 miles around our neighborhood, along the beach, or at an outdoor mall and it doesn't take very long; we are never gone more than an hour and a half. Now that you can sit up (sort of) I think it's one of your favorite things to do too because you love to gaze at the trees, plants, flowers, cars, people, pets, occasional dolphin (!) and surfers we see along our route. You recently discovered your hands and feet and enjoy watching the shadows your limbs make too. Sometimes you use the time to take a nap, while I breathe deeply and clear my head in silence or gab away on the phone connecting with friends, checking in with your dad or updating your grandma on your latest and greatest.

According to my parenting books, the average human child achieves independent walking ability around 11 months old. I wonder when you will take your first steps?

The best is yet to be.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Our Favorite Things: Sophie La Girafe

It looks like a dog toy. It feels like a dog toy. It even squeaks like a dog toy! But this is no dog toy... this is the perfect toy for teething babies! A big hit at our recent Mommy & Me group, Sophie the Giraffe has become your new favorite thing.

You haven't shown much interest in toys up until this point, but this retro style rubber object is just the right size for your tiny mouth and hands. You are in the very early stages of teething and seem to really enjoy gnawing on it. I hope Sophie continues to be well-loved in our home.

This over priced (I paid $22.00) giraffe from France is your new favorite toy and her story (and benefits) are too cute not to share. I took the liberty of Americanizing the following from www.sophiegiraffeusa.com:

Sophie the Giraffe, who looks exactly the same then as she does today, went into production on Thursday, May 25, 1961, St. Sophie's day.

A certain Monsieur Rampeau, an expert in transforming sap from the Hevea tree using the rotational molding of rubber as a toy-making concept, came up with the idea of designing a giraffe. Such an exotic wildlife figure would be a first on the market, and its size and shape would be ideal for a baby’s small hands to grasp.

Sophie was an immediate success when mothers saw that she helped soothe their children as soon as the first signs of teething appear. By simple word of mouth, the little giraffe’s fame spread.

Vulli, a company based in Rumilly in the Haute-Savoie region of France has continued to keep the jealously-guarded secret of how this wonder toy is made. In today’s fast paced world it is unusual to see a high production toy still "traditionally produced" and made by hand: Sophie requires more than 14 manual manufacturing steps.

Sophie the Giraffe is designed to stimulate each of baby's senses:

SIGHT At the age of 3 months, a baby’s eyesight is still limited and he can only make out high contrasts. The dark and contrasting attention-catching spots all over Sophie’s body provide visual stimulation and she soon becomes a familiar and reassuring object for baby.

HEARING Sophie's squeaker keeps baby amused and stimulates his hearing. To begin with, the funny sound Sophie makes when she is squeezed helps to stimulate baby’s hearing, and then later, helps him to understand the link between cause and effect.

TASTE Sophie is made of 100% natural rubber and food paint, and is completely safe to chew. Her soft texture and numerous chewable parts (ears, horns, legs), make her perfect for soothing baby’s sore gums during teething.

TOUCH Touch is the first means a baby has of communicating with the outside world. Sophie’s soft feel, like baby’s mother’s skin, stimulates physiological and emotional response that soothe baby and promote healthy growth and well-being. Sophie’s shape and 7 inch size are perfect for baby’s small hands. She is very light, and her long legs and neck are easy for baby to grip, even from his earliest days.

SMELL The singular scent of natural rubber from the Hevea tree makes Sophie the Giraffe very special and easy for your child to identify amid all his other toys.

More than 30 million Sophies have been sold and favorable reviews have appeared in Mother & Baby and Parenting magazines.

She is an undisputed star for babies everywhere. The archetypal embodiment of the early learning toy. Sophie the Giraffe is a must-have who enjoys widespread popularity and is genuinely loved by every parent and child.

We are definitely in love and it helped my buying decision process that one of my oldest and dearest friends is also named Sophie!

The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creature Of Habit

When it comes to food, I am such a creature of habit. I know what I like and I have it over and over and over again, which means there's not a lot of variety in my diet.

I have the exact same thing for breakfast every single day: toasted whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter, string cheese and a Granny Smith, not a Macintosh, not a Red Delicious, not a Pink Lady, a Granny Smith apple. I can be very irritable if I am out of any one of these items and have been known to drive to the nearby 7 Eleven to get peanut butter. I love my little meal. It's the perfect combination of carbohydrates, fiber, dairy and protein. I am a big fan of breakfast foods, but only if I go out will I deviate from my menu.

Sandwiches are my preferred lunch and I have been coined "sandwich girl" by more than one friend. I probably eat at Subway at least three times a week and I order the exact same thing every time I'm there: six inch sub on wheat with turkey, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, cucumbers, mustard and a little mayonnaise. It fills me up and never lets me down.

As you can imagine, over the years, I have taken a lot of heat for my culinary choices, but I don't care. I stick with what I know and enjoy and don't see any reason to change.

I will eat other things...for dinner. I enjoy colorful salads chocked full of veggies, thin crust pizza, sushi that's not too fishy, the spicier the better Mexican food, angel hair pasta with chicken and spinach and I'd never turn down a big juicy cheeseburger. Thanks to your dad, dinner is when I really mix it up. If it weren't for him, I'd probably have a bowl of cereal or another Subway sandwich every night. Obviously, I don't cook. I have never been comfortable in the kitchen. Your dad, on the other hand, is very comfortable in the kitchen and makes us all sorts of yummy creative dishes and we have a great system, he cooks and I clean.

I've taken several cooking classes so I do know some kitchen basics and can make a couple of meals but nothing without a recipe in front of me. I find it fascinating when people can throw a meal together by adding a little of this and that and it comes out tasting delicious. I don't posses that level of confidence when it comes to assembling a meal. Don't worry though, you won't starve once you start eating solid foods, there's wonderful "kid food" (chicken tenders, mac and cheese and hot dogs). All stuff I can handle, even though I will exppose you to all different types of cusine. With my luck, you'll probably end up being a foodie* with way more refined tastes than your mother's.

Bon Appétit!

The best is yet to be.

.....................................................................................

As boring and bland as my diet may be, not too long ago I read an article outlining six reasons to eat the same thing every day and I'd like to share them here:

1. It Makes Shopping Easier and More Cost Predictable: Eating the same foods every week allows you to budget properly for groceries and in the end, makes shopping faster and easier.

2. It Makes Weight Loss or Maintenance a Lot Easier: Whether you want to maintain weight or lose weight, eating consistently the same things can make reaching your goals a lot easier.

3. Knowing Your Body: Eating the same foods helps you understand your body and how it reacts to foods. When you eat new or atypical foods, you will be able to hone in on what foods make you feel too full, gassy, not full enough, etc. Further, it will also give you insights into how your body reacts to chemicals, preservatives and spices. If you eat healthy most of the time, your body will expect that, and so, if you throw it a curve ball, it will let you know whether or not it likes it.

4. It Makes Cooking a Lot Easier: I use whole foods or ingredients and don’t try to get overly complicated.

5. Greater Appreciation for Off-Days: Having a routine for meals makes dining out or those times you do get creative in the kitchen all the more meaningful. New dishes and flavors have much more significance and tend to taste extra scrumptious.

6. Healthy Behavior on Off-Days: If you find the optimal ‘formula’ from #1 above, you will have a good baseline for when you don’t eat the same foods. You will become very accustomed to how much of what kinds of foods you need and will be able to use that as a guide for the days you digress.

(Brett's Blog: 6 Reasons to Eat the Same Thing Every Day June 1, 2009 by Brett Blumenthal)

*Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook. - From Wikipedia

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Last Day Of Summer

I will always remember the summer of 2009 as the summer that my life changed forever.

This summer, I didn't spend any time in my bikini working on my tan and I didn't have any mornings feelings like I drank a little too much the night before. I didn't see very much of my friends or spend one lazy afternoon with a book. I opted for an early bedtime over enjoying the fireworks on the Fourth of July and I declined several invitations to picnics in the park, pool parties and barbeques. I didn't see a single summer movie blockbuster at the theater and I avoided all the summer sales at the mall.

Instead, I spent my summer washing bottles, changing diapers, writing thank you notes, taking more photos than any previous summer, trying to figure out how to fold a stroller, carry a car seat without pulling out my back and learning how to wrap the perfect swaddle. I spent the summer of 2009 getting to know you.

You are 108 days old today and sadly our first season together is over. Thank you making it one of my best ones ever. I'm ready for fall!

The best is yet to be.

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Text Messages I Never Thought I'd Send (Or Receive)

Already had a poop blow out and got spit up on...it's going to be a great day! Sent September 21

My kid is gassing up a storm right now while I feed him. Stinky boy. Received September 18

Seriously, how do you get rid of the stinky milk ring around the neck smell?! Sent September 17

My size 10 jeans are too big...finally! I miss my old body! Sent September 12

I am cracking myself up, I just fed LMW in Bjorn with one hand while I ate a Subway sandwich with the other. I should have had someone take a picture. Sent September 11

I believe my 13 week old just gave me the cold shoulder. Sent September 5

My son has already had three outfits on today and I'm still in my jammies! Sent August 27

LMW was a super star on the plane!! I am so relieved. Sent August 14

Back in my old bra size today! Yay!! Sent August 13

I wish my hair would just stop coming out. This is nuts. 6 months of it! Received August 11

I almost just donated your son to Goodwill!! He has been screaming for 15 minutes and counting! Sent August 6

It's amazing how with LMW a trip to Chipotle can turn into a drive through Del Taco. Received August 1

I just got my first "real" smile. My heart is melting. Sent July 22

Just got spit up between my toes! Sent July 20

LMW just had the biggest poop blow out that I cut his onesie off and threw it away! Ah, the joys of mommyhood. Sent July 16

LMW has officially outgrown his newborn diapers! Sent July 8

It's almost 4:30 and I just got around to brushing my teeth! This new parent thing is tough. Sent June 22

Alone with Lucas for the first time today. So far so good... Sent June 16

Our living room looks like a Babies R Us! Sent June 13

Happy circumcision day! Received June 11

I feel like I have been let in on one of the world's greatest kept secrets: parenthood! Sent June 11

It's comforting being able to share the ups and downs and sometimes very funny moments of being a new mom and I know the best is yet to be.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Used To Carry A Designer Purse

Before becoming a mom, I used to carry a designer purse. My favorite designer purses are Coach purses and I have at least ten of them. I also have two beautiful Frederic T handbags from Paris, a gorgeous Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton that I paid way too much for, a knock off Chanel all the way from the streets of Bangkok and several trendy bags from Target, Old Navy and Nine West.

I love purses and back when I used to use one, I would switch them out depending on what I was wearing, the season, my mood, or what I needed to carry. I miss my purses. I miss the versatility and completion my purses add to my wardrobe and the ample amount of space they provide, allowing me to carry whatever I need.

Now, I carry a diaper bag....the very hip Skip Hop Dash Deluxe messenger-style diaper bag, as seen above, but I miss my purses.

There is a lot of room in our diaper bag for your essentials, but not a lot of room for mine. In other words, I had to (gulp) downsize. I used to be able to carry everything from band aids, safety pins and the current book I was reading to a note pad, Tide Stick and mirror. Sadly, those six items (along with all of my frequent shopper cards) were the first to go.

Now, I have a small corner in your bag for a clutch wallet that is busting at the seams with all the items I can't leave home without...my bare necessities: money and credit cards, chap stick, hair tie, gum and phone. My, how times have changed.

I really do like our diaper bag and highly recommend it new moms. The new fall line of Coach bags is worth checking out too! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the leather Brooke bag and someday, I would love to own a legendary Hermès Kelly handbag, named after Grace Kelly, but for now I can live with the contents in my corner.

The best is yet to be.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do You Know Where Your Strength Comes From?

Strength. There's physical strength and then there's the emotional or mental kind. It's an interesting attribute, isn’t it? I've had a lot of time over the last 23 months to think about my inner strength.

For a long time after my parents died and even now sometimes, people say to me “you’re so being so strong”, “I can’t believe how strong you are”, “I admire your strength” and it makes me wonder where it comes from. I think we all have it, to some degree. What we choose to do with it, that's a different story.

When I think back to those first few days after I found out my parents were gone, I was conscious of having to make a choice. If I didn’t get out of bed, eat, take a shower, put on make-up, go to work, participate, stand around the water cooler and discuss last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy with my co-workers, go out and be alive, etc., etc., what was the alternative?!? For me, the alternative was to curl up in a little ball and sleep my days away. After all, I was in a nightmare. I have never hurt so much before in my life, but I knew well enough to NOT let myself go; that I HAD to keep putting one foot in front of the other....slowly, unsteadily, but steadfastly. I HAD to simply take each minute as it came and just breathe as deeply as I could to prevent myself from breaking a part. I had to keep it together for my new marriage and my younger sister. I had to dig deep down and be as strong as I had ever been before.

I know for sure that the way we each deal with tragedy and loss is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to handle it. The waves of emotions are constricting, substantial and very very real.

One of my greatest escapes during those first few days and weeks (besides many glasses of wine) was TV and I think it was during this time period that I really got hooked on the TV show One Tree Hill. At one point my sister had all of the seasons on DVD and we would watch them together back-to-back-to-back. In the episode entitled Things I Forgot At Birth, this passage really spoke to me:

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroad, afraid, confused, without a road map. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. Of course when faced with the unknown, most of us prefer to turn around and go back. But once in a while, people push on to something better, something found just beyond the pain of going it alone, and just beyond the bravery and courage it takes to let someone in, or give someone a second chance, something beyond the quiet persistence of a dream. Because it's only when you're tested, that you discover who you are, that you discover who you can be. The person you can be does exist, beyond the hard work, faith, belief, and beyond the heartache, and fear of what lies ahead. - Season 4, Episode #402, Things I Forgot At Birth, Voice over by Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray)

I don't remember the specifics of the episode now, but the message of being tested in order to discover who you are and who you can be was very profound at the time and still is today. I have most definitely been tested in my life and while I feel like I am still discovering who I am and who I want to be, I believe I'm on the right track.

I hope that I am able to teach you how to be strong in your darkest hours and that you always choose to press on and move forward, good days and bad.

The best is yet to be.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Mother Love

In my post yesterday, Anyone Can Be A Mother I shared my feelings regarding the physical work involved in being a mother and how I think anyone can do it. I feel compelled today to expand on those thoughts.... Being a good mother means everything to me and I didn't mean to sound crass or disrespectful.

Motherhood is an incredible gift and one of the most difficult, thankless jobs there is. I have been given an incredible gift, a child. I have this perfect little person in my life now and it is up to me and his father to teach him as much as we can in order for him to make his way in the world being the best human being he can be. I value this role and embrace it with everything I am.

Knowing more than most how quickly life can turn on a dime, I know how precious just being here is and that not even one second should be taken for granted. I never ever EVER want to take any of these moments with you for granted, or make light of the role I have in your life.

I love my son more than I have ever loved anything in my life. He owns my heart and I do know how tremendously lucky I am to have him and have this wonderful new title of MOTHER.

The best is yet to be.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anyone Can Be A Mother

Maybe I am just having a particularly good week or perhaps I have completely gone off the deep end, but I believe anyone do this mommy thing. I mean, let's be honest, the work itself is relatively easy...make a bottle, feed, burp, change a diaper (or six), hold, walk around, bounce, swing, sway, dance, or sing (insert your favorite method here) to keep baby from crying, give an occasional bath, be able to do at least one load of laundry every day, be completely willing to make a fool of yourself and do all this on very little sleep with more patience than you ever thought you had and repeat ALL. DAY. LONG. I'm sure most of my mommy friends won't agree with me, but anyone can do this job. Don't get me wrong, the work is exhausting, frustrating and monotonous, but if orchestrated and managed correctly, it is not hard.

Every paying job I have ever had required me to have a high level of organizational skills, an extreme attention to detail and the ability to multi-task. I have taken these areas in which I am proficient and applied them to motherhood. I have found that the key is staying ahead of the game ever so slightly by having the next bottle or two ready, the car packed up BEFORE putting the baby in it, the changing station replenished with diapers, burp cloths and onesies ready for the next day, trying to sleep when you sleep and ALWAYS carrying a burp cloth!

I'm not claiming to be a pro and I know I have A LOT to learn about being a Mom. This job calls for skills I realize I don't have now, nor ever will, and some I hope I actually do posses, but just haven't tapped into yet. I can assure you that I will continue to do my very best with love and I will also revisit this entry whenever I'm feeling a bit cocky and especially when we are going through potty training and negotiating curfews.

The best is yet to be.

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Definition of the word mother from Wikipedia:

A mother is a biological and/or social female parent of an offspring.[1] Because of the complexity and differences of a mothers' social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to define a mother to suit a universally accepted definition.

Mom, mommy, mama, and ma are some common or familiar words for a mother. Many times these terms denote affection or a maternal role in a child's life. The mother may only be the biological parent: "Anyone can be a mother, but it takes someone special to be a Mom." As such, someone can be a mother and not a mom, or a mom and not a mother.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Idiot Box

In our house, we have The Today Show on every week day morning, but up until we visited your grandparents last week (it's always the grandparents' fault!), you have only heard the morning program. Last week you watched it for the first time! Not all four hours, but enough. You were mesmerized! And who could blame you, with Meredith Vieira's perfect on point interviewing skills, Ann Curry's flawless skin and Al Roker's crazy antics, who wouldn't be? Of course, it could just be the wonderful colors, bright lights and moving pictures.

I love to get my TV on and have several programs that I thoroughly enjoy watching (a couple too embarrassing to list here) and I believe that Tivo is one of the greatest inventions ever, especially for new parents! I gave up a lot of shows when I knew you were on your way; partly because I knew I wouldn't have the time to watch as much TV and because I knew I didn't need that many hours in front of the idiot box anyway. I am very selective about what I watch and don't just pick up new shows for the hell of it and I'm proud NOT to be a slave to realty TV. I only have "Season Passes" to four: America's Next Top Model, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser and Flipping Out .

I believe that watching television is a great escape, a pretty good way to get news and if used properly, a wonderful device to promote further communication on a variety of topics. It might also be a sanity-saving way to keep you quiet/distracted/tantalized/occupied for a few minutes, but I refuse to let you just zone out in front of the TV for hours on end now or later!! Mark my words, buddy....you will play outside and your electronic time spent with TV, video games, computers, iPods, Wii, etc. will be limited! You should also know that if push came to shove, I would give up that glowing box to read a book any day!

The best is yet to be.

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In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement about media and children. In it, the organization discussed the benefits media education can have as well as the health risks TV poses to children, especially those under the age of two. Specifically, the AAP said:

"Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged."

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Trial And Error

"Here we have a baby. It is composed of a bald head and a pair of lungs." - Eugene Field
Supposedly a baby has six distinctive cries, but for the life of me I still don't know which is which. According to my baby bible, What To Expect When You're Expecting they are:

1. I'm hungry: Listen and look for a rhythmic, repetitive cry, combined with other signals such as rooting for the bottle or sucking his fingers.
2. I'm tired: You'll hear a cry that starts slowly and builds in intensity and is accompanied by yawns or eye-rubs.
3. I'm stressed out: Get ready for a fussy, whiny cry; he may try to turn his head or body away from overstimulating sights or sounds.
4. I've got colic: You'll likely know it by the intense screams, accompanied by fidgeting movements; often occurs in the late afternoon or evening.
5. I'm in pain here: Listen for a loud, intense, out-of-the-ordinary cry that comes on suddenly (at a time or in a way that's unusual for your baby).
6. I'm not feeling so well: You'll hear soft whimpers; usually very different from his normal cries.

Seriously, if a gun was held to my head, I might be able to identify two....pain (but who doesn't know that cry? It's make your ears bleed, high-pitched and piercing) and hunger. Does this make me a terrible mother or just clueless? Maybe I just don't have an ear for them yet?

I think the important thing for me, is that I know you're not crying just to be annoying. You are not crying because you are just a fussy baby, you actually do need something and eventually I figure it out.

The best is yet to be.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lost And Found

I haven't written in a few days because I took you to visit your grandparents in the Bay Area. They are completely, head over heels in love with you and we had a good trip. You were relatively well-behaved, considering you were taken out of your everyday routine and environment and are already turning out to be an awesome traveler with three flights under you belt! Our trip is not what I wanted to write about today.

Today marks the one year anniversary since I worked. I can't believe it! Time truly does fly and I wanted to take pause and try to express some of the mixed feelings I have about reaching this milestone and about the year behind me.

When I gave my four weeks notice, I did so for very specific reasons and then two months later I learned I was five weeks pregnant with you. The reasons I originally had for quitting my marketing manager position at a trade magazine company changed completely and for the better.

What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend dated Saturday, July 26, 2008. Obviously, this e-mail was sent before I became pregnant with you. I include it here because I feels it outlines my original reasons for deciding to take some time off.

My last day at work will be Friday, September 12. As you can imagine, this was an extremely difficult decision to reach, but the very best one for me right now. It is time for me to be home, spend time with my sister, organize the mounds of paperwork that have consumed my life for the past nine months, get my lawyer to do her bleeping job by helping to close my parents' estate, tackle numerous projects that I have been avoiding (finally read the sympathy cards and e-mails, books and articles that caring friends have sent, sort through the photographs, preserve, store, or sell my father’s carpet collection, have repair work done on the Arizona house and put it on the market, etc., etc., etc.) and most importantly, face my grief head on, or as one good friend put it, finally “lose my shit!”.

I was lead to this decision because of an epiphany I had earlier in the year, which offered some clarity. I realized that since my parents have been gone, I have been sleep walking through my life. I have been numb, quite possibly still in shock. I haven’t dealt with any of my feelings; I just keep bottling them up and pushing them aside. I am sad, but not mourning. I feel like I’m just going through the motions of my day-to-day life and hiding within the safety of my routine. I fear that the longer that I put off “losing my shit”, the harder it will be to find peace. I know that there is no escaping, no “getting over it”, I live with it day and night, with every breath I take and I am as heartbroken today as I was the day I got the call. I need this time to just BE.


I acclimated to my new life as a retired, pregnant person very well. Some days, I was just as busy as I was when I was working 50+ hours a week. I tried to sleep in, lunched with friends, walked, read a ton, visited family in Texas, made several trips to Arizona, had the carpets cleaned, a new BBQ installed, oversaw garage organizers work their magic, researched and ordered baby items until my head was spinning and as I anticipated your arrival, I attempted to grieve the loss of my parents.

I created a fine balance for myself...one day, I would be on the phone with my attorney, reconciling property and bills and funds and having documents notarized and the next I would be wandering around Babies R Us aimlessly overwhelmed with how many different styles of cribs there are to choose from. One day, I would take myself to lunch followed by a long walk on the beach, write in my journal and not talk to a soul (aside from you and your dad, of course!) and the next would be filled an afternoon of grief counseling and an evening with friends.

Having the freedom of waking up and planing my day around whatever I wanted to do, while also working on the things I needed to do was the best part. The lack of a schedule was wonderful for my psyche and emotional well being and I knew I needed to embrace every minute of it.

People often ask/ed me if I miss working and I do, some days. I mostly miss the people I worked with and using "that side" of my brain. I miss being a part of a management team that made decisions about the magazine's image, promotion and future. I miss being asked for my opinion and contributing to the organization. I miss wearing work clothes (something I NEVER thought I'd said) and I can't believe I'm actually saying this, I miss my 120 mile (round trip) commute. I loved listening to "Mark & Brian" on KLOS in the morning and "John & Ken" on KFI in the afternoons. It was my time to decompress.

When we would talk about having a family, we knew that I would quit my job and stay home with you. That was always a part of the plan and now that you're here and are over three months old, the thought of having to return to work after being on maternity leave is completely mind boggling. I don't want anyone else raising you but us.

The bottom line is, I believe that my parents, wherever they may be, had something to do with my becoming pregnant with you. I call it divine intervention, as it was way too easy and the timing of it all, too coincidental to be anything else. We had been half heartedly trying to conceive for a few months, but just figured like with most of our friends, it would take a lot longer than it did. I feel as though it was their way of letting me know that it was okay to move on with my life. Learning of your impending arrival made what could have been a very difficult time period in my life bearable. I felt lost and then found, like the dark cloud that was hanging over my head had been lifted.

The best is yet to be.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

I Miss My Old Body

I heard Jenny McCarthy (former Playboy Playmate and MTV game show host turned activist) on The Today Show last week say that it took her a full year to get back into her pre-pregnancy jeans. Of course, she claims to have gained 60 pounds while pregnant to my 34, but I was so discouraged I wanted to cry!

After having given birth, I have a new found respect for my body and all of it's capabilities. After all, it made a human! While pregnant, I felt physically stronger than ever and more beautiful the bigger I got. I knew my body was performing a miracle--it created, carried, protected and delivered a healthy baby into this world. Fast forward three months later and I am left missing my old body! I miss the size 6 pants and 29 low rise jeans that I use to wear before I was creating a new life. My parts and pieces feel and in some cases, look completely out of place and my post baby belly is so unflattering that I doubt I'll ever be in a bikini again. How long does it take the linea nigra to fade anyway?

I believe that our society puts a lot of pressure on women to "bounce back" to their pre-pregnancy state, especially when we see celebrities like Jessica Alba and Heidi Klum rocking the red carpet so quickly after giving birth and looking slimmer and more glamorous than before they were pregnant. It's not fair! No, I'm not delusional, I get it, I realize that looking fantastic is a part of their job and that they have personal chefs and trainers and nannies! The pressure I feel about my body is all my own and I know it's unhealthy and more than a little ridiculous, considering it was just 13 weeks ago that I gave birth. Nevertheless, it's there and it's very real to me.

Nine pounds left to lose before I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight and with a little determination, a lot of diligence and saying no to dessert and beer, I know I'll get there. I just hate being in this in between state where nothing fits! I'm proud of the fact that I'm back in my old bras (a small victory), even if I'm still wearing my maternity pants.

The best is yet to be.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Three Months Old

Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital. At three months old, Lucas, you are no longer a newborn. You are now considered an infant; a busy, cooing, gurgling, smiley, curious, happy infant.

The last three months have been the best adventure of my life so far, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better and learning more about myself as we go. So far having a three month old has taught me:

  • When you gotta go, you gotta go and it doesn't matter where you are, who gets in the way or how cute the onesie is that gets sacrificed.
  • The walk to our mailbox is lined with beautiful sunlit trees, plants and cobwebs.
  • Our back yard can be one of the most calming places on earth.
  • A smile can be the simplest and quickest way to improve a relationship.
  • There is nothing more comforting than the security of mom's arms.
  • It doesn't have to be silent to sleep. A jack hammer pounding on cement or a hotel fire alarm going off at midnight could actually promote sweet dreams.
  • Sometimes you just need to be left alone.
  • A bald head, chubby cheeks and thighs are positively adorable.
  • It is possible to love someone more than you ever thought you could.
  • Sneezes are funny.

    Happy three months, baby!

    The best is yet to be.

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    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Superwoman

    Before I got pregnant I used to think no matter how many children I had or how busy my life got, I would make it look effortless. My children and home would always look immaculate, well-groomed and put together. I would always look well-groomed and put together, just like I always had. Why would/should that change just because I had a couple of rug rats?

    Don't get me wrong, I am not claiming to be perfect, but I foolishly thought even with children, I would never go without a shower, lunch, or brushing my teeth. A trip to the post office on the corner would never be "too much hassle", my work outs would become more frequent and more intense, I would always have time for my husband, family, friends, my twice-a-month nail appointments, and would continue to finish my book club book way ahead of schedule; I would still send greeting cards to friends for no reason at all and be witty and clever in all adult conversations; our dish washer would never be full and refrigerator always stocked. I mean, after all, how hard could it be to go to the grocery store with a newborn? Essentially I would still have time for everything. I would find time to do it all. I would be Superwoman!

    Ha! Boy, was I in for a very rude awakening! Once you have a child, EVERYTHING CHANGES and your time is no longer your own. No more living selfishly. Priorities change because they have to. Case and point, there have been several days when you went through three or four onesies while I remained in my jammies ALL. DAY. LONG. I'm not proud of this in the least bit, but it is the reality of being a new mom and I am slowly but surely getting my head wrapped around that; I'm coming to terms with the fact that I can't be Superwoman.

    Now, I tackle only the bare minimum on my "To Do" and what doesn't get done, doesn't get done. I am learning how to live with that new reality. If I don't get to take a shower every day, at least I put on deodorant, I am realizing the value of "date night" through the use of babysitters and I make a point of catching up with friends on the phone during our daily hour long walks. I don't think I've missed any one's birthday or any other super significant events...yet. I still have 15 thank you cards to send (if you are reading this and you haven't received one yet, I'm sorry and you will get one...eventually), but I'm doing the best I can, I'm doing it with love and that is everything.

    The best is yet to be.

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    Too Hot To Think

    One of the many things I worried about before you were born is how I would know if you were too hot or too cold. Well, today, I think I got my answer.

    A crackling heat wave has hit our fair state and the last few days have been almost unbearable. Every single window in our house is open, but the air is thick and still and I am sweating like a pig! It's after 9:00 PM and still 81 in our bedroom.

    Nevertheless, today was one of those days, even though miserable, all you wanted was to be held close and in 97 degree heat with a mommy that hates being hot and sticky, it is not a good combination. We were both irritable and if I had earned a dollar for every time I have said in the last 24 hours, "it's so hot!", I'd be a millionaire.

    We went for a great (sweaty) walk in La Jolla before meeting your dad for lunch and felt a little breeze off the ocean, but not much. The most comfortable place to be the few days is in the car with the air conditioner on full blast, but you read yesterday's entry....

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    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Nine Months And Seven Pounds To Go

    I wish I knew why you hated being in your car seat so much. You are fine sitting in it for a moment or two, but once you (quickly) realize what comes next, you start getting very agitated and that leads to a full blown melt down.

    I can successfully get the straps around your arms, across your chest and up through your legs (could it be possibly be the confinement that you detest so much?) and can even move you into the car, but shortly there after you scream bloody murder for 10-15 minutes and one time 24 minutes! When you finally do surrender and gaze out at the world (freeway) going by, or into the mirror at your handsome self and go with it, you are so worn out that you often fall asleep. Up until this moment of sweet resignation, it is the most excruciating 10-15 minutes of our day.

    Did you know that some babies sleep in their cribs in their car seats they love the restriction and safekeeping so much?

    I have been trying to make the transition from the coziness of my arms to the sheer terror of the torture chamber to the vehicle a smooth one for us both, but apparently you've got my number and it's never pretty.

    Everyone assures me that as soon as you can face forward, you will love riding in the car. Unfortunately, we have nine months and seven pounds to go before we find out if they are right. In the meantime, I am going to keep trying to get you more comfortable with the device and if you haven't already, get used to me telling you that "we need the car seat, you have to be belted in, we would be beside ourselves if anything ever happened to you and it's how we get to go places!" because baby, we have lots of places to go!

    By the way, the above photo was not taken while in the car, but the look of "oh no, don't you dare move me" can still be detected.

    The best is yet to be.

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    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Lesson #1: Independence

    You slept in your crib, in your room last night, all night, for the first time!! Needless to say, I spent half the night glued to a fancy 2 x 2 inch LCD video screen, listening to the crackles of air waves (that picked up the baby next door, incidentally) and trying to ignore the sound of your dad growling at me to turn off the bright glow of the monitor.

    You have been sleeping soundly at the foot of our bed in a bassinet since you were born, but it was time to give us both some independence. We are very proud of you and are patting ourselves on the backs too, however, we felt terrible this morning when we woke up to you wailing having apparently both incorporated your crying into our respective dreams, and our fancy video monitor turned off. Oops! Sadly, it won't be the last time we let you down, but we'll always be right down the hall from you, buddy.

    The best is yet to be.

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