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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Mom Brain

I always heard about "pregnancy brain" and "mommy brain" and y'all, I'm here to tell you it is a REAL thing! I have to tell a story on myself to prove it but it shook me so badly I feel the need to share in order to help out other moms! So Sunday night Forrest, Justin, Farrah, and I went to Atlanta to see Beyonce. 
Becky (with the good hair--haha), her sister in law Jennifer, me and Farrah) 

She was FANTASTIC by the way and you don't even have to know the words to her new album (I didn't) to have an amazing time. PLUS--she brings out special guests at the beginning (in Atlanta it was people like TI and Ludacris!!) so you are bound to have a blast!!! PS--what the heck is UP with Bey and Jay?? I really don't have enough brain space to deal with it so someone keep me in the loop if anything goes down, please! Anyway, I digress. I purchased the tickets and Farrah paid me with some cash and also a check. She gave me this money while we were in the car on the way and I put it in my purse. This purse never left the car, as you can only bring clear purses into the Georgia Dome and very teeny tiny purses. Therefore, money was never gallivanting around Atlanta with us. I remember worrying that I would forget it in my little purse and thought about giving it to Forrest to hang on to but I never did. When we got home late that night I put the little purse next to my big purse so I wouldn't forget to put the stuff back in the big purse and went to sleep. That's the last I have any recollection about the money. Flash forward to Wednesday. I remember the money. Where on earth is that money?? I seriously go crazy thinking about the money. I checked the little purse which I had put away--not there. I looked in the big purse--not there. I checked the car--not there. I assumed Charlotte had taken it out of my purse, since she likes to empty it out, and carried it off somewhere. But then I realized--how far would she have gotten? She is never unattended! If she got it while I had my back turned she really couldn't have hidden it too badly, so I tore my room apart. I took out all the bathroom trash, moved all my shoes, checked under all my clothes. I searched all the laundry, Charlotte's room, under all the furniture. I looked in the car. I got Forrest to check his wallet. He checked my car at 10pm last night. I barely slept worrying over this money. I assumed by this point I had accidentally thrown it away while I was straightening up on Monday or that I took it out of my purse by mistake at work. It wasn't at work...I was dreading telling Forrest that we were going to have to go through all of our icky trash and went to the front office to tell our sweet assistants to be on the look out for any loose money in any files in case I somehow scooped it up and filed it by mistake. While I was lamenting to them about losing the money I opened up my receipt envelopes from the runner who goes to the bank for me. Lo and behold--I had put the money in the bank on Monday!! I was expecting to see the receipt for my Friday check and it was in there but there also was a receipt for the exact amount of money I had "lost" dated Monday, which meant I had to physically take the money from my purse, write the deposit slip, endorse the check, put it in the envelope for the runner. I have zero recollection of that to this minute. I can tell you everything else I did at work that day, I know whom I spoke to on the phone, what files I dealt with, etc, but I have no memory of handling this money. I assume that my mommy brain, which was extra tired from being out late at Beyonce, just couldn't hold any more facts. I have felt straight crazy all day--actually I think I feel more crazy now that I realize what I did than when I thought I had just misplaced it!
My take on the whole thing is that now as a mom I have SO much more to worry about than before I had Charlotte. Not only do I have to worry about things like what she will eat, is she safe, etc, but minute things are always running through my mind like "where are her white sandals", "what is she wearing to church", "does she need sunscreen", "does she need a snack", "does she need the fleece pajamas tonight"...and on and on. My brain just needs a time out I think! Luckily at work I'm still sharp as a tack--probably because we have to write everything down, I have assistants helping me, and I get to stay pretty focused on what I'm doing while I'm there. At home, not so much. Three seconds of thinking and then I'm chasing a toddler who's heading towards the toilet with the remote control or pulling stickers out of the Sonny's hair (true story) while C is throwing bites of cheese at him from the high chair. It's a crazy life nowadays but we wouldn't change a thing (except maybe I will start checking my bank receipts before I freak out?)

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