Monday, June 20, 2016

Beach Baby, Beach Baby There on the Sand...

Our last two beach experiences with Charlotte were stressful to say the least. She was horrible in her car seat. The first trip she decided she needed to nurse every 2 hours the entire time we were there. The next time she started getting teeth and stopped sleeping. Those experiences made me very reluctant to go back, even though I knew this summer would be totally different. Thank goodness it was!! With the help of some new Disney movies (Little Mermaid and Sing a Long Songs), the car ride was actually wonderful, or at least, as wonderful as it could have been. When we got to the beach the first night, C went right up to the sliding glass doors and looked out. I said "that's the beach" and she started banging on the glass and screaming "bee" "bee" "bee". I took her to the balcony and she tried to climb the railing so we took her right out! I was afraid she might be afraid of the waves and not like the sand but oh how wrong I was. When she saw the ocean she looked at me and said "boom boom"!!

She loved feeling the water on her toes and she would stomp her little feet in the water. I thought we would never get her inside that night. If we stood her on the sand, she went straight back to the water!

The next day she was thrilled to find out she could go IN the water! She loved splashing!! A wave actually knocked her down and I immediately grabbed her and started up the beach with her to wipe her off and she started to cry, but because she wanted to go back in the water!

We were actually there for a dental conference so that evening we went to a reception followed by a gathering at The Gulf with free drinks and free family photos! C LOVED that she could run around and play in the sand. They also had a cat that she was a huge fan of, and she ate her weight in french fries.

On Friday Forrest had classes so C and I chilled at the indoor pool. She screamed and squealed and had the most wonderful time!!
When daddy came back we had a little more pool time before we had to get ready! 

That night we had dinner with the Smiths to celebrate our anniversary (7 years), their anniversary (11 years) and the anniversary of Smith and Bailey Dental (3 years) at Fishers. Man oh man was it delicious!! Although it was a fancier place, C loved it. She enjoyed her favorite, the wedge salad, and really liked watching the boats in the marina. There was a marlin on the wall that she made sure EVERYONE saw!

That evening we met up with the Smith and Bailey staff for a photo and a bonfire and crab hunt (C didn't make it that long so no crabbing for her).

On Saturday Charlotte's godmother, Aunt Paula, and Uncle Tom came for lunch and a visit and we got to spend more time playing in the sun. 

My friend Ellen came to visit as well and we got to catch up while C took a nap. She is expecting a little girl this fall and I can't wait to meet her!! That night we went to the staff's condo for dinner and a little pool fun to round out the weekend before we all had to leave the next day.

We were SO bummed to pack up and leave--not because we had to go back to work but because Charlotte LOVED everything. She was genuinely excited about every little experience at the beach. She loved waving to the boats (and hollering "BOAT" when one would come by which was ALL THE TIME), and parasails and the helicopters and the seagulls. She loved seeing her toes in the sand and she would make us show her our sandy toes. She would say "hot" when she didn't want to walk anymore and pretend the sand was too hot for her to walk on (it wasn't hot at all haha). She would say "pool pool pool pool" if anyone accidentally mentioned the word because she loved it that much. She wanted Forrest to throw her and splash her and catch her at the pool, so much so one couple called her "daredevil baby". She was thrilled by all the minnows we saw in the ocean one day. She got to where she refused to stand on the sand near the water--she just wanted to be all the way in the water. Her joy was truly infectious and we were so sad to have to take that from her! Luckily we have another beach trip on deck so she will get to enjoy it all over again! My heart smiles just thinking about it!

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Monday, June 13, 2016

First First Day!!!

You all know how I really get excited over the "first" and "last" of something. First day of school, last first day of school, all that is really exciting to me. Well this month we celebrated Charlotte's FIRST FIRST day of school EVER!! I have been very very excited about her starting preschool. She has the absolute best nanny in the world and I love having her home but my girl is a busy little thing and she loves to be social so I felt like she needed to be around other children more frequently. I went to sign her up for fall and ended up enrolling her in the summer program. She will just be in the nursery and will be able to play with children around her age before her real school program starts in the fall.

I was so excited to get her school supplies and pretty much made myself sick trying to choose a backpack and lunch box (not a valid reason to stress, I know). I got her name on everything possible. I picked out her first day outfit months ago and then changed it the morning of. I mean I was really really really excited! I just knew she would love it and so I felt great about the decision we made to send her. I was nervous, however, about drop off and pick up. At her school the director comes to the car and gets them from the carseat and then at the end of the day brings them to you and straps them in (what service!!). At first I was really horrified--I couldn't let some stranger (actually she is our neighbor but C doesn't know her) take her from her car seat!! I planned on taking her in the first day but then I realized that would probably be worse--she cries when I leave her sometimes, even when she is at home, so I knew she would freak out if I left her in a strange place. The school knows best, and since I would have to let them take her from the car eventually, I decided we would suck it up and rip off the band aid.

On the first day I felt like it was MY first day. I got up earlier than necessary, got ready for work in about 10 minutes, and just sat there waiting to wake her up. Forrest and I talked to her all during breakfast about school and seeing the other babies and how much fun it was. She had no idea what we were talking about but you could tell she was excited because we were. We left the house super early and we had to drive around to kill time. I got SO nervous at drop off. The babies in front of us cried and I knew C was going to cry and not like it and that is exactly what happened but we survived with only minimal tears (none from me--yay--I had court so I couldn't focus on her being upset). The teacher told me she only cried a couple of minutes and that she loved the rest of the day. Who wouldn't love playing with new friends all morning long!? I was so jittery that morning I barely got any work done at the office--I wanted to know what she was doing so badly! Forrest and I went to pick her up together and she was so happy to see us but SO tired. She slept for 3 hours that afternoon and went right to bed that evening. She still cried the next day and I'm sure she will cry at drop off for a while, but at least she enjoys it while she is there and I know she is really benefiting from it. I'm so proud of her for being such a big girl!! I am a little sad that she can't tell me all about her day but that will come soon enough!

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Memorial Day weekend

We wanted this Memorial Day weekend to be all about fun with Charlotte so we jam packed it with lots of activities and adventures. We went to Mimi's house Friday night and boy did c have a big time! Mimi, granddaddy, my cousin Juliana, and Aunt Fran kept her so Forrest and I could go eat and run some errands. We had a great dinner at flip burger, got a few things done at the summit, and capped off the evening with drinks at the oh so posh grand bohemian hotel and dessert at Chex lulu. C, meanwhile, was busy running circle through the house and trying on everyone's earrings. I have it on good authority everyone was wearing hoops at one point!
The next morning we met aunt Fran for breakfast at a new restaurant, holler and dash. It's a fancy biscuit place and my oh my was it fantastic! 
Chicken biscuit with pimento cheese, pepper jelly and candies jalapeƱos. C enjoyed the pickled okra! (Yes my child will eat pickled okra, feta cheese and olives but not fried chicken). 
Our next stop was the zoo and Juliana was added to our group. This was the first time c had been to the zoo since she started walking and it definitely made the trip more fun! 
The bubble machine at the entrance was quite entertaining!
We started at the petting zoo with her favorites, the goats. 
She wanted to touch every single goat despite the fact they were head butting each other. No fear in this one! 

Feeding the giraffes! Now is you ask her what the giraffe says she sticks her tongue out!
The highlight of the day for c was watching the lion training!! I didn't realize how loudly they roared but that was her favorite part.
Our fun group and my sassy pants!
Last on the agenda was a train ride! The perfect way to end a great morning!
After a nap we want to visit our precious friends the gandhis who have recently moved to Birmingham. It was great to catch up and see their new home! 
 C loved meeting Arth and playing with his toys! He was so sweet to share with her.

We went to Mass next. We have REALLY been struggling with C at church lately. She isn't bad, she is just busy, which is what one year olds are, all the time. She can't sit still and she doesn't really understand whispering so she just climbs all over us and says hey to the people around us, which I know is super distracting. I was nervous to take her to a new church but I figure God doesn't care if your baby is spirited so we went. She immediately realized she was in a church (which surprised me) and she started hollering for "Harp", her friend Harper whom she sees at church often. She lasted a good 10 minutes before she went back to the cry room. Oh well--that's what they are there for. Afterwards we went to Brio for dinner. Now we LOVE Brio but I wasn't sure how C would do--she had already had a pretty busy day and it's a very noisy open restaurant. Well she loved it. She really enjoyed the bread and the wedge salad (yes, my baby eats wedge salad with blue cheese--she loves it!). 

Afterwards it was back to Mimi's for snuggles before bed time! I should also mention that I was terrified of her sleeping down there but she did great in her pack n play!

The next day we had baby's first dim sum at Red Bowl with all the Bailey's to celebrate Davis and Megumi's wedding anniversary. 
Quite interested in the meal! 

We stopped at the outlets on the way home and then went to my parents' house to have dinner and celebrate Memorial Day with Momsie and Pop and my brother and sister in law. Dad had gotten C a little pool and a bubble machine and she was in heaven!! She loved "smooshing" the bubbles.

The next day, Memorial day,  C felt a little feverish but she was acting happy so we assumed it was her teeth (she was getting a new one on the bottom) and we took her to the pool. What a day she had! She loved the splash pad, she loved the baby pool, she loved the big pool--she loved everything!! This is a water girl I tell you what!! 

After her nap she woke up with more fever--pool girl--and turns out she had a little fever virus. Luckily it went away quickly and she bounced right back.

A very happy memorial day indeed!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

15 months

This month I have realized that Charlotte completely understands us. Well maybe not completely but she gets it.  She responds to commands (except no--she will just smile and wag her finger back at me and say no no no) and interacts appropriately when we talk to her. Her speech is coming along and she has the cutest baby talk. She still only likes to saw the first syllable of words but she tries to say anything we ask her. New words this month are watermelon "wa ma", squirrel "curl", stick "kick", Elmo "melmo" or "mo", and go go go (from the cat in the hat show). She also says the names of the doc mcstuffins characters (at least the first syllable of Hallie and lambie and also "doc") and always calls for her friend "harp". She loves the show the lion guard and will sing "oh oh oh oh" along with the credits music and sometimes she walks to the basement door and bangs on it while roaring, meaning "mama please take me to watch the lions!" She is still enjoying watching her preschool prep letters and tries to say the letters with the show. She can recognize o, a, b, and m the best right now. We just got her some letters to play with in the tub and my mom got her some magnet letters for the fridge and her house and she loves them both! Right now I don't think it's a huge deal if she knows all of the letters but I like her to be learning all the same. 

She loves loves loves playing outside so oblige her as much as possible. She has gotten to where she doesn't want to ride in the stroller or tricycle but would rather walk along with us or push whatever apparatus she started riding, so we look like crazy parents who make our child push their own toys through the neighborhood.

 This independent streak has really taken hold and she will push our hands away when we try to help her. I'm so proud that she is independent but it scares me for her safety all the time! As independent as she is becoming she has been very clingy to mommy for a couple of weeks. This goes in phases, I know, but it's interesting that it's occurring at the same time her independence is flourishing. 

She has also mastered getting off of our bed safely and is learning to scoot herself down stairs--which I think are very important safety skills! 
C is still a big fan of animals and so we try to expose her to them as much as we can. Luckily her papa b has chickens and so she gets to visit with them every week! 

We also go to the petting zoo at the park when we can and she loves the goats! 

Her biggest development this month was getting out of the baby tub! I know she was way too big for the baby rub but she didn't mind it and it required so much less water I was in no hurry to ditch it. When she spent the weekend with my parents while we were at erin and wesleys wedding, it was discovered that she liked swimming in the big tub, so that was the end of my money and water saving baby tub. 
(That's a sticker on her chest--she loves stickers A LOT and wouldn't let us take them off of her. Here she is stirring her ducky). 

At her check up this month she was 31 inches which is a whole inch taller than she was at 12 months and 21 pounds 6 ounces. She isn't gaining much weight but that is normal. She has gone from a chunky monkey to a long and lean lady! 
We are so looking forward to this inner with her and all the fun things it brings. Pool visits, beach trips, playing with friends--there is so much to look forward to! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Erin and Wesley's Wedding

I will never forget being in the car with Forrest and him receiving a text from our friend Zach saying something to the effect of  "Omg Wesley is going on a date with Erin". (I'm pretty sure he didn't say OMG--sorry Zach). Anyway, we talked all the way to where ever we were going about how they made a great couple and we hoped it all worked out and that they would get married. See, Wesley is one of Forrest's fraternity brothers and Erin is one of my sorority sisters, my grand little sis, actually, and so we were close with both of them and nothing is more fun than friends marrying friends! It all DID work out and this weekend we were delighted to celebrate their wedding with them at the Ritz Carlton Reynold's Plantation on Lake Oconee, Georgia. It was a fairly quick and easy drive and we arrived just in time for the beautiful "Nearly Wed" party. We sipped s'mores cocktails under the trees as we caught up with college friends. It's funny to think about how far we've come--young, college kids with no greater care than what we were going to wear to the band party that night to grown ups with jobs and mortgages and babies!

The next day we hung out at the resort pool--omg was it heaven. Waiters were constantly strolling by with towels, ice water, and were ready to take your drink or food order and bring it in a jiffy. I was totally born for that life!!

The wedding that evening was so sweet and simply elegant. I really enjoyed that they had water for the guests during the ceremony since it was outside and sweltering. The cocktail hour led into one of the greatest wedding meals I have ever eaten!! Of course, we ended the evening just like we were in college again--all dancing the night away to the band.

Where was Charlotte, you ask? She was being spoiled by my parents and my sister! She got to go out to dinner twice, and one time included an invitation to the soft opening of a new restaurant in town. She got a new kitchen complete with dishes, a shopping cart with food, and stuffed Sesame Street characters. Oh and a bubble blower--seriously. She had the best weekend and didn't even want to go home! We are lucky to have family that she loves and that are always ready and willing to stay with her! It was a nice weekend away for us, something we need to make sure we do frequently, but we always miss our girl when she isn't with us.

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Mother's Day Weekend

I had several people tell me "Happy First Mother's Day" this year and I had to, sadly, correct them, as it was my second!! Last year Charlotte was about 10 weeks old at Mother's Day. This year was much much different. Instead of a sweet, quiet little bundle of baby we had a rambunctious ball of toddler energy! I spent Mother's Day church stuffing Cheerios in her mouth and picking up wipes off the floor as fast as she could throw them and I spent lunch walking her around the Country Club, as she was too cool for the high chair and she wanted to be social. Here are a few pictures to recap that weekend!

This water baby kicked off the weekend in her new blow up pool. When I say new I mean I bought it 5 years ago and never opened it. She is a water baby for sure!

Next we celebrated cousin Logan's graduation from pharmacy school! We forgot to get a picture of c and Logan but here is one of my blue eyed beauties! 

Later that night Forrest and I went to the highlanders ball--one of our favorite parties of the year. Guys wear kilts and funny shirts and girls wear dresses and hats. I loved the fascinator Farrah found me! Forrest was repping our current favorite show, Game of Thrones! While we were having fun dancing with our friends c was home with Davis and Megumi having some fun of their own...

The next day we took our wild girl to church (I think it's ok that my one year old can't sit still during church, right?) and then had lunch at the club with all the Baileys. We had too much fun and food to remember to take a picture! We also forgot to take a picture with momsie and pop that night. Oh well. We did manage one of c and me though! 
This picture sums us up perfectly...c wiggling and wanting to be busy, me exhausted but so happy. 
That morning in church we had a visiting priest and he had someone stand up and he talked about what a lovely example of a mother they were, and they were in fact quite lovely. However this was not a mom (since he was visiting he didn't know--he picked the first lady he saw). Most of the moms there didn't have perfect hair (one poor mama with 5 kids had wet hair that day) matching everything, make up applied without a baby pulling on their dress, or a corsage pinned on their perfectly ironed lapels. Most mamas, at least with young kids, were just proud to be there somewhat on time, kids and parents at least somewhat dressed for the occasion (c always is dressed better than me no matter where we go). Mama life is hard, exhausting, messy, frustrating, unscheduled, but so perfect in its own way. Like that picture of me above (jacked up hair since I had only about three minutes to run a straightener over it, pale skin since there is zero time to lay out or get a spray tan) it may be a wild ride but it a wonderful one that makes me so so happy. Happy Mother's Day (several weeks late, done like a true mama) to all of you other mamas out there smiling through the blessed chaos! 

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

True Life...Nursing

People tend to freak out when you talk about nursing. It's such a taboo subject for some reason--I suppose maybe because people feel super strongly about it, one way or another. I'm not that way and I never was. I definitely did want to nurse Charlotte if I could but if I couldn't, I wasn't going to be too upset (or at least that's what I said). It is what it is, right? We had some trouble starting out but I was determined to give it my all and after a few days (and one hospital stay with TONS of help from the most amazing nurses around and a house call from my sweet friend Casey who is a lactation consultant) C and I were able to figure out the whole process and settle into a routine. This routine was both the hardest thing I have ever done and at the same time the easiest. I always knew where her food was and I made as much as she needed (but not much more), thankfully. There was relatively little prep and when she was on just milk only, we spent no money for her food! Of course being a working mama made it a little more difficult since I had to pump and think way ahead in order to make sure she had enough milk for the length of time I was to be away from her, but I managed. Looking back I don't know why I didn't just have the mindset that it would be totally fine for her to have a little formula here and there, as I think formula is just fine. Planning ahead sometimes was really hard once she started to eat more. I would have to "ration" the pumped milk to save enough if I wanted to be gone for an extended period of time so I would have to come home early from work so I could feed her instead of her nanny giving her pumped milk. I was considering trying out for the Olympic nursing team when I planned an entire week of work around pumping enough milk so I could go to the Bama v. Tennessee game in Tuscaloosa (and she was already eating baby food at this point). It was especially hard for me to wake up with her every two hours at night for days when she would go through a growth spurt. She hit the 4 month sleep regression and growth spurt when I was at the beach for 10 days. I spent literally 4 hours on the beach, as the rest of the time I was nursing her every 2 hours day and night or sleeping. Formula added into the equation would have really really made things easier--even just one bottle in the night so Forrest could feed her while I slept for more than an hour at a time. But no, I was her mommy and I could feed her so I was going to feed her. I felt like since I could do it I needed to because there were some mommies that couldn't do it and they wanted to and I was lucky to be able to. Oh well--hindsight is twenty twenty and I did not die--should there be a next time hopefully I will be much less rigid! Charlotte nursed exclusively for the first 4 months of her life. That was all me. I was actually really really proud of myself since we had a rocky start. That girl grew and got so fat and roly poly and it was all because of me! When she hit that 4 months  growth spurt that nearly sent me to the psych ward--we realized then it was time for baby food! She didn't care for cereal but she did love everything else. She still nursed, and I'm surprised to say that I don't remember the frequency any more. I think she would nurse (or take a pumped bottle) when she woke up, then before lunch, and before all naps and before bed and of course during the night. She on her own would drop a feed, starting with the one at lunch and then the one first thing in the morning and of course the one before naps when she dropped those naps. After a while, with the introduction of more and more food, she was only nursing before her afternoon nap and before bed and during the night (she has never been a great sleeper and I can never get around to writing that post). In December, after a small meltdown from exhaustion, I finally admitted to myself that she was a little too attached to nursing. If Forrest got up with her in the night, at first she would scream and be mad and want me. After a day or two, she would just take her bottle and settle right to sleep. If I got up with her, she wanted to nurse and have me hold her for hours. I knew this was not the way things needed to be, especially at 10 months old, so I had to make a hard decision. I stopped nursing, cold turkey, on New Years Eve. I knew, probably a few months earlier, that nursing had become a terrible crutch for her but I wasn't ready to let it go. I was so worried she would be sad or mad at me. Turns out, she didn't seem to mind. I gave her a bottle before her afternoon nap, and she was fine. Forrest got her at night for a few nights in a row and gave her a bottle and she was fine. When I went in at night after that with a bottle, she was fine. I was so relieved and a little annoyed at myself for not trying earlier when I knew I should have. I guess I didn't want to be seen as a quitter (I hadn't made it to 12 months), or lazy (since the decision was really made because I was exhausted). However, the decision was the best for HER and that's what matters. She immediately started sleeping better and took to whole milk just fine! I was amazed at how quickly my body stopped producing milk and went back to it's regular size. I still forget I can order salads for my meal (eating lots of green veggies would upset C's tummy), drink more than one glass of wine at a time, or do things like getting a spray tan. I still catch myself counting the hours I will be away from her, planning my outfit for easy nursing or pump access, or worrying about where my pump is. As hard as nursing was, I definitely would do it again, with some major tweaks in there. I loved the bonding and closeness I shared with her for all those months. I liked knowing that I was doing something great for her (and my own) health. My words of advice to all the moms out there would be do to what you think is best for your own baby..there is no contest or prize for who can nurse the longest or most. If it works, it works, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. Don't get caught up in all the clutter out there telling you what you should do and how...just listen to yourself and your baby. Don't decide you are going to nurse for 12 months, or 5 times a day or whatever--just set loose goals and reevaluate often. It's ok to change your mind at any time, adjust your plans midstream, and take one day at a time. Don't read a bunch of stuff online--talk to a few friends who have nursed and listen to them--real experience is the best teacher. Ask a nurse or lactation consultant for help--they are typically very passionate about their jobs and are very happy to talk to you. It's ok to talk about it and most importantly ask for help!! I struggled silently for a long time when a simple conversation with someone would have made me see some adjustments needed to be made and that those adjustments weren't "failures".  If you decide that nursing is best for you and your baby--good luck! I'm supporting you all the way and you can ask me any questions!!

I can't say that I wasn't thrilled to get my dresser too back! Costume jewelry had to share its space with pump parts for a long long time! 

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