Affirmations

Before I start I just want to acknowledge that today is my baby’s 14-month birthday!  Yay!  Today she waved good-bye to me when I dropped her off at daycare.  She’s becoming such a big girl – independent and curious and so very sweet and loving. Her hugs are THE BEST.  Seriously.  She gave me a minute-long hug this morning and I didn’t want to let go until she did. Her head on my shoulder, her arms wrapped around me . . . smelling her baby soft hair . . . does it get any better??

14 months . . . such a short time on Earth for someone to occupy such an enormous part of my heart.

So today I thought I’d blog about affirmations.  My work put my entire division through a leadership training course in August of this year.  It was not your typical training – it wasn’t really focused on the workplace but on what we do and say to ourselves each day that limits us personally and professionally.  It challenged us to overcome negativity and limiting thoughts and people to become who really want to be.  One of the things we practiced was writing positive affirmations and revisiting our statements daily – or more frequently – to help us stay on track toward our goals.

Two of my major goals is related to personal finance and my immediate family.  I definitely could be better with my money.  Some months I am amazing with my cash.  Other months I fritter it away and spend emotionally or frivolously. September was one of these months for me.

As for my relationship with my husband, I would say that it is very good – but marriage is something I believe you have to work at every day.  Life isn’t a romantic comedy and after you say “I do” on your wedding day there isn’t necessarily a “happy ever after.” We have our ups and downs like every body else and I will say that having a baby has definitely introduced new challenges to our marriage as we’ve navigated the ups and downs of parenthood.

Here are my affirmations for October:

Personal Finance

I am deliberate and thoughtful in the way I spend my money.

I don’t give in to impulse or emotions when I feel the urge to purchase something – particularly clothes.

I save money by eating food at home or I bring food from home to eat at work.

When I am good with my money I feel relaxed, secure, confident and happy.

Relationship with DH

I tell DH something good, awesome or special about him every day.

I speak kindly to him and give him sweet looks and affectionate hugs and kisses.

When I feel negative about our relationship I think instead of what is right.

I always assume good intent with him and his actions.

When I act and think lovingly toward DH I build a stronger relationship for us as a couple and as parents for AJ. This makes me feel loved, cherished, secure, at peace and content.

So, there you have it!  That’s what I’m working on this month! 

Do you write affirmations?

I’m still here!!

I guess I took a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus.  I didn’t mean to but life just got in the way I guess.  But I’ve really wanted to revisit this blog many times over the last few weeks . . . and I’ve been REALLY wanting to comment and socialize with other bloggers, but I felt like I couldn’t until I updated here! 

Here’s an abbreviated version of what happened over the summer:

Celebrated AJ’s first birthday at the park with family and friends:

Happy 1st Birthday!

I made a vanilla cake and cupcakes frosted with raspberry buttercream icing . . . which proceeded to melt on the crazy hot day (but they were pretty while it lasted!).

Cake!

AJ took swim lessons on Saturdays at the Y and enjoyed ALMOST every minute of it (not so much a fan of the dunking but the “motor boat” song was a definite highlight of every lesson):

Playing at the splash pad before swim lessons.

We took a Saturday drive up to Huntington Beach to visit an old Air Force buddy of DH’s.

Enjoying the sun and surf on the HB pier.

 One Sunday afternoon in September we went to our local Oktoberfest for some brew and bratwurst (well, I enjoyed the brat, DH passed being that he’s a veggie):

AJ enjoyed “dancing” to the music. Cute stuff!

There were other things too but mostly I can sum it up as: trips to the park, trips to the park and more trips to the park. And we worked and cleaned and made meals and saw friends and family . . . Overall it was a good if not slightly mellow summer. 

And now for a Monday Morning Chit Chat post – it’s been a LONG time since I participated and happy to be back! (Brought to you by My 1/2  Dozen Daily).

Captivated by the leaves and sky!

Reading: Yup, I’m still plodding along with The Game of Thrones – about 70 percent through a Book 3 and woah!  FINALLY things are starting to happen and get interesting!

Watching: Real Housewives of Miami on our DVR this morning.

Listening to: Miles Davis – a little jazz on this over cast day puts me in the mood to write!

Cooking/Baking: I prepped spinach and artichoke baked pasta yesterday for tonight’s dinner.  Can’t wait!

Happy you accomplished this week: I’m happy that we had such a good weekend – a great balance of time at home to do chores/prep/laundry while getting in some quality time with friends and with just DH and my girl.  It’s hard to find that balance but this weekend we actually did!

Looking forward to next week: Saturday DH and I are checking out the Open House of a new townhouse development – we are feeling ready to think about buying a home of our own and this will be the first time we actually go check out a property other than just do neighborhood drive-bys.  On Sunday we are taking AJ on her first trip to the pumpkin patch!! 

Thankful for today: A really lovely weekend leaving me feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead.

*Bonus Question*

Do you “switch out” your purse when the seasons change? No, not really.  In Southern California the season change is very subtle. As it gets cooler I do tend to work in more of my fall and winter clothes but let’s be real, my version of winter clothing is probably a lot different from a person’s who lives in the mid west and deals with snow and other chilly elements!  I’m carrying a black canvas purse right now with leather detailing (a second-hand Coach) and will probably continue to carry it through the end of the year and into 2013.

Bringing Up Baby: She’s a Toddler Now!

Newborn AJ: 12 hours old

AJ at 11 months

How did it go so fast??

 This morning DH and I had our “needs and services” meeting with the lead teacher of the toddler room at AJ’s childcare center. We took a tour of what will be AJ’s new learning environment for the next year and discussed what we as parents should expect.  As the teacher was showing us the diaper-changing area she pointed to a miniature sink about two feet of the ground and a miniature working toilet.  She said that when bubs is ready, she will start washing her own hands and, a little later down the road if she’s curious, she can try out the potty.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this had me in tears.  My little baby is not such a baby anymore! Wahh!  She’s learning to become more independent and do things on her own! This is a bittersweet moment.  While I know she’s ready for the transition (all of the children she was playing with in the infant room recently moved over and now she’s the eldest by several months), it breaks my heart to see how big she is.  It really is true what they say about parenting . . . “the days are long but the years are short.” ::Sad sigh:: I know that at every stage there is something to worry about.  And while I know that worry gets you nowhere, there are certainly things I have concerns about as we make this transition. 1) Partial weaning.  I’ve been pumping at work since I returned from maternity.  In the beginning I pumped 3x/day.  Then it went down to 2x/day a few months ago.  As of this past Monday, I started pushing my mid-morning pump session a little later and eliminating the late afternoon session. I’ll continue at this pace for a few more weeks and soon I hope to be all done with the pump (until baby #2).  I can’t say that I have loved pumping but I am proud that I kept up with it despite the challenges. I’m not ready to wean Bubs completely and I don’t think she’s quite ready yet either. So at night and in the morning we’ll continue to nurse. This leads me to wonder,  what kind of milk should she drink during the day? The center provides whole cow’s milk for the children as part of the cost of tuition.  However, we are welcome to bring in alternatives if we’d like. I wonder what the best option is . . . I need to do some research.  2) AJ is still on a 2-3 nap/day schedule.  In the toddler room there is one nap in the middle of the day after lunch.  I worry about her transition to this new routine.  They sleep on cots instead of cribs.  There isn’t any rocking. I forgot to ask if there is a sound machine.  The teacher said that usually the children are so tired from the activity (prior to nap time is art/music, outdoor time and lunch) that by the time nap time rolls around they are ready to nap and remain asleep for much longer.  I hope this is the case with AJ as well. 3)Breakfast, two snacks a day and lunch are provided but I’m not super thrilled about the menu options.  A menu is posted at the start of the week.  This is what’s on the schedule this week for lunch: tuna roll ups with lettuce and cheese, chicken nuggets with green beans and pears, turkey sandwiches with carrots and apples, and burritos with corn and peaches (no lunch on Friday, school is closed). Am I crazy or do some of these things sound unhealthy or just a little “old” for toddlers.  For instance, chicken nuggets? Turkey sandwiches?  I’m not a fan of processed foods, especially for the little one.  And I’m not crazy about lunch meat (although I’m eating some this week in my lunches – still, it’s a rare thing).  I’m probably being a little neurotic but I told the teacher that I’d like to supplement AJ’s meals with things from home.  She said that was fine as long as it was easy to prep and didn’t require extra work.  I’m happy that they accommodate me but I worry if AJ will want to eat what the other kids are eating and refuse my food?  I guess I will just have to roll with the punches on that one. We’ll see how it goes!  In the meantime, I’m planning a teacher appreciation gift for AJ’s infant room teachers (there are three).  I can’t buy supplies until the weekend after next when I get paid, but this is what I was thinking of: Pinned Image

 (via Pinterest and Giggles and Galore)In other news, tomorrow I’m taking a vacation day so that I can sit with my step-mom in the hospital waiting room while my dad has surgery to remove some tooth implants and gum tissue that appears to be pre-cancerous.  As I think I mentioned on Monday, a recent CAT scan showed that everything appears normal with the bone. A few years ago they found cancer in his gum around these implants and he had some work done.  Since then he’s been cancer free . . . until a recent doctor appointment when they found the abnormalities.  We’re hoping that the implants are the problem and that once they are removed he’ll be good from here on out!

Friday is an off day for me because AJ’s childcare center is closed for a professional development day.  I’m not sad that I get to have the day off and I’m looking forward to getting a head start on my weekend chores with a few trips to the park thrown in! 🙂

Hope you are all having a good week and I’d love to know . . . do you have any tips to help make this new transition from infant room to toddler room easier on all of us? 

Peace and love,

Margie

 

 

Bringing Up Baby – what I’ve learned about sleep and my baby

AJ co-sleeping with her monkey.

Ah, sleep – it’s such a wonderful, wonderful thing.  I remember the days – back when it was just R and I – when we’d go to bed whenever we felt like it and sleep the whole night through without a care in the world. Those were the days!

These days, sleep is more elusive.  It’s not as simple as putting on my PJs and crawling under the covers with a good book until the Sandman whisks me away into dreamland. These days, we have a 10.5 month old!

Going into motherhood, I had preconceived notions of what I thought I would do when it came to putting my baby to sleep.  When we were preparing her nursery, we bought a lovely white crib and I outfitted it with green, white and pink linens and a flower mobile.  And when I was still pregnant with her, one of my favorite things to do was spend time in her room, picturing what she would look like sleeping peacefully in that crib.

But as it turned out, we’ve been a co-sleeping family since night one with AJ.  She was (and still is) a very sensitive person and she was content and calm when in my arms or snuggled up right next to me.  I remember those first few days when I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t just lay in her crib like every baby I’ve ever seen on t.v. or in the movies (I didn’t have much hands-on baby experience going into this!).  I read SO MANY BOOKS about “sleep training” but at the end of the day, I couldn’t bear to let her “cry it out.”  I did try several times but I found that I wasn’t cut out for it . . . and neither was AJ.  Instead, I learned to wear her in a sling when she needed to nap and I nursed laying down in bed, drifting off to sleep next to her at night – this was the only way that all of us could get some rest.

10.5 months in, co-sleeping has become a wonderful, bonding experience for us.  When I went back to work after 12 weeks (too early in my opinion – I wish the U.S. had better maternity-leave standards but that’s another post for another day!), having her in my bed at night gave me the skin-to-skin snuggle time that I missed so much during the day. I LOVE smelling her baby soft scalp and nuzzling her head as I drift off.  In addition, I’ve been able to nurse her through the night as she never truly taken to the bottle – she’ll drink a little throughout the day but she gets the bulk of her milk between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

So, for a plethora of reasons, my little one does not “sleep through the night.”  Gah! I can’t tell you how much I hate being asked about her sleep habits! So many well-meaning women of experience have advice for me when I tell them that my little one still wakes on average five times a night (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on growth spurts, teething, illness, etc.).  A lot of people think that co-sleeping puts a damper on a husband and wife’s “personal” time and that it’s unhealthy . . . I’ve heard opinions that co-sleeping doesn’t provide babies with independence nor does it provide healthy boundaries.

There are nights – the rough ones when she is up a multitude of times, cries and wants constant rocking – when I wonder though my sleepy haze if we are doing the right thing.  But in my heart I know that this has been a Godsend for us and I’m so glad that I’ve followed my heart and not the baby training books or the multitude of people (including family) whose advice just wasn’t right for us.

The number one thing I would tell a new, inexperienced mom about parenting in general is that it’s not a straight line from point A to point B.  Sometimes you take two steps forward and one step back.  Flexibility and fluidity is key – there’s no room (in my short experience) for rigid routines and power plays.  I know that when I try to force AJ into sleep because, according to the clock on the wall that says 7:30 p.m.,  it’s nighttime, she will fight me on it and it is MORE stressful than if I had just waited another 30 minutes until she showed me in her own way that she was ready for bed.  I have to remember to trust MY instincts and allow AJ to follow her own as well with positive guidance and love. To me, this is the foundation of parenting.

Over the last few weeks, AJ has gone down for naps in her crib on the weekends (she also sleeps in a crib at daycare) and at night I’ve begun to put her down to sleep at night in her crib. I feel that we are both ready for this new transition.  The last few evenings she has been up at 9:30 p.m. and I nurse her and put her down again.  After her second wake up (about midnight) I bring her to bed with me.  I think we’ll continue to do this half crib, half bed sleeping for a while until we are both ready for her to sleep independently in her room. 

And I must say, that my husband has been amazingly wonderful and supportive of co-sleeping throughout these last 10+ months.  I couldn’t ask for a more understanding and loving man to be my partner in raising little AJ.  He loves her being in our bed as much as I do as it also give him the time – as a working father – to being next to her . . . to listen to her sleep . . . to have her know that his comforting and protective presence is there in the night. 

I’ll end this post with something I hear R say to a good friend a few weeks ago.  We were at a Memorial Day BBQ at a friend’s house.  Our friend, E (who happens to be recently married but is currently childless) said that we must now know so much about babies that we could write a book about it!  R replied, “Well, we could write a book about how to raise AJ!”  His point was (and he still often reminds me of this when I temporarily go off track) that AJ – like ALL babies – are unique.  You can’t always expect that what worked for someone else will automatically work for you and your baby too.  Just like how all families are different, so are all babies.  While co-sleeping works beautifully for us, I don’t expect it to be the right thing for every family.  I encourage all new moms and dads to tune out the “noise” and just focus on what their heart and their gut are telling them – because it’s usually right!! 

Peace and love,

Margie