Friday, February 25, 2011

10 < 12 (but not by much)

I know you won't believe this, but it's true. My teeny tiny sweet little bebegirl is 10 months old. And while 10 months is still less than 12 months, it's too close for my comfort. Here are some pictures I took of her being beautiful on her 10 months birthday...

You're welcome. :)

Also, as a side note, I don't know if anyone else has ever heard of this problem but my computer won't open Facebook. It opens everything else, but won't open Facebook. So if anyone has a solution to this, please share. Until then, I can only post pictures here, so you should feel lucky.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stuff and Things

Happy Presidents' Day! Hopefully most of you are off work for the holiday and doing whatever your heart desires. I was scheduled to have Austin today but it seems there is some food poisoning or a stomach bug at their house today so they stayed home. I will never complain about a surprise day to spend with my hubby (off for the holiday) and my gorgeous little bebe. Currently she is napping, and I ran out of nail polish remover after cleaning only 6 of my nails, so I figured it was as good a time as any to write a new blog post! I don't have a specific topic so I'll just carry on about what we've been doing lately.

A couple of weeks ago my husband started a new job. That has been wonderful. He's still in the same industry just working for a different company doing what he started out doing a few years ago. He loves it and that makes me happy. At his previous job his group had basically been given a "stop work" order and he was literally doing nothing for the past several months. You can imagine how miserable that was (sounds dreamy to some, I know, but it got old quick). So I know have a happy, energetic husband again who wakes up smiling, comes home smiling, and generally is feeling purposeful and awesome again. I will also throw out that he pretty much named his salary for this job and that makes us all happy!

Otherwise, as you know, I am pretty much at home with the babies during the week, but our weekends are often packed full of activities. This past weekend, for example was both busy and relaxing. Friday night we stayed home and did some much needed cleaning and tidying. That stuff just doesn't get done as frequently now that I don't have time to do it during nap time (whenever that happens). It also helped that I was hosting a Mary Kay party on Saturday morning. There's nothing like some company to motivate me to clean my house. The focus was my main level (living room, play room, kitchen and powder room) since that's where the company would be, thus the basement and my bedroom may have suffered a little in absorbing some of the extraneous clutter -- wait, what? Strike that, I don't have clutter in my house.

Saturday morning I woke up at usual time (7 on the nose) and got started on party preparations after I got my bebe fed, changed, and dressed. I baked some cookies, cleared off my counter tops, and set out some appetizers and beverages in my most beautiful serve ware and pitchers (because it's just more fun that way). My cousin is the Mary Kay consultant who was doing the party for me, so she arrived a little early and we got to chat while everything was getting set up. Luckily my tiny girl went to bed for her morning nap just before my cousin arrived. My girl friends showed up and we got to pamper our skin for a bit and try out some make up. Then I tossed some lunch into the oven (puff pastry filled with ham & provolone on one half and pepperoni & mozzarella on the other half -- so quick, so easy, so delicious!), and we got to visit, shop, and eat. It was a busy morning, I won't lie, but so much fun! Then I had no plans for the rest of the day. Me and the hubs just hung out, watched tv, he played some video games, I laid on the couch with him. It was awesome. That evening after our bebe girl went to bed we ate some dinner (leftover chinese, yum) and watched Sleepless in Seattle. It's a Valentine's day tradition for us (though now that I'm a mother it was a little more heartbreaking to see the little boy missing his mom and wanting his dad to find love again.. ouch!). But all's well that ends well, and we went upstairs to snuggle the night away.

Sunday morning was another busy one. We were up an hour early because our little lovey girl woke up early for reasons unbeknownst to us. Gah. We had to hurriedly make ourselves both church appropriate and all-day comfortable before racing out of the house on empty stomachs to make it to a 9:00 baptism 30 minutes away -- oh wait, and drop our dog off at the in-laws on our way there! Eeek. We made it to church only 10 minutes late, somehow. After the baptism we spent most of the day at the in-laws visiting and eating. It was nice to hang out with everyone and still make it back home for afternoon nap. And when I say afternoon nap, I mean we ALL took an afternoon nap. It was glorious! Again, some leftovers for dinner and some tv/vegetating afterwards.

And that brings us to now. We're at the 2-hour mark for baby girl's nap so I anticipate she'll be up any time now. I think maybe we'll head out to Target or something when she gets up just to enjoy the fact that we can leave the house in the middle of the day. Next weekend is a 4-day weekend for me. Austin's grandmother is coming to town so he will be at home with her on Friday and Monday. Who knows what kind of shenanigans we'll get into then! Stay tuned... :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Justin Who?

I have long said that my baby girl has Justin Beiber hair, and so have complete strangers! So last night watching Glee with all the Justin Beiber look-alikes, she decided to do her own official JB impression. I personally think she's WAY cuter than he is ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nap Time Post!

Remember that time I said I'd blog again when I got both babies to sleep at the same time again? Well, here I am. Granted I've been here in the interim, like just a little bit ago when Austin kindly allowed me to upload some Valentine's day photos of my sweet Baby Girl. So how's that babysitting gig going, anyway?

Well Mr. Austin (now 3 1/2 months) is very cute, that's for sure. The adjustment to having a 9 month old AND a 3 month old is still, well, an adjustment. We are in a pretty good groove as daily routines go. There are always those days here and there that are off. The beginning of the week tends to be bumpier than the end since everyone's schedules get a little thrown off over the weekends. But, alas, we manage.

The biggest adjustments for me have been 1) Giving up time with my own baby, and 2) Giving up time, period. I know what you're thinking, I'm still at home taking care of my own baby so how bad can it be taking care of one more? Judge me as you wish, but I miss my baby during the day when I have to split my time between her and Austin. There is a good reason (beyond biology) people don't have infants 6 months apart in age. Both are so needy when it comes to your time and attention that it is exhausting and impossible to care for both as they would demand. It has been really hard for me to watch my baby crying for me to hold her while I have to do something for Austin instead. I know she'll be fine and isn't going to hate me when she's older or anything like that. I'm just saying it's hard, that's all. On the other hand, sometimes I have to do something for her that Austin isn't always happy about. Three things that come to mind which I can't do while holding him are change her diaper, feed her (nursing or baby food), and lay her down for her nap. For a little bit they were napping in a staggered pattern so that Austin fell asleep first, I could take my baby upstairs for her nap while Austin slept, and then he would wake up shortly after I got back downstairs. That was really nice because I got to spend a lot of time with each of them individually. For some reason that pattern came to an end. Now Austin wakes up just as I'm taking my baby up for her nap. Not only does that mean I have to hope that he stays happy while I'm nursing her and she's falling asleep (go ahead and judge me for that too, then ask me if I care), but it usually means he has napped for a whopping 30 minutes.
I deal by reminding myself that I'm at home and my baby is safe and happy and I am the one taking care of her. I know it's much worse for moms who have to adjust to taking their babies to sitters or day care. A huge part of my decision to make the financial sacrifice and stay home was that I knew I couldn't have done that. I would have if it were absolutely necessary of course, but knowing there was an option, I couldn't have done it.

The other struggle for me is having no time for anything else. Austin is here approximately 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. He leaves a between 4-5 pm. My baby girl is usually napping at that time so if I did have errands to run or anywhere to go, I have to wait for her to wake up (usually 5:30-6:00). Beyond that, making appointments is nearly impossible. Doctor's offices are rarely open that late and if they are the evening hours are so tough to schedule because everyone else who has to schedule after work is looking for the same spot you are. I won't even delve into trying to go out to the store at that hour. I know lots of you probably deal with these things as part of your every day life, and I'm sorry if this sounds whiny to you. I'm not saying these things are devastating and extraordinary circumstances. I'm just saying it has been an adjustment for me, not looking for pity.

And with that, my tiny darling has just awoken from her nap and I can't wait to snuggle her before Austin is also awake.

Until next time...

Happy Heart Day

This is being posted today because every second of yesterday was spent caring for babies, preparing a yummy dinner, and being with my cute husband.

I hope everyone's Valentine's day was as great as mine!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teachers Grading Parents?

I recently read this article posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I decided that my thoughts were too long to leave in a comment, so I shared it on my own Facebook page and came straight to Blogger to unload my mind. Lucky you ;)

If you don't feel like reading the article (or just did and have forgotten) the gist is that a Florida lawmaker has suggested that school teachers start giving grades to parents on their performance in three areas:
1. Child comes to school prepared with materials, having eaten a meal and having had a good
night's sleep
2. Homework is completed at home
3. Good communication between parents and teachers

Obviously the marks would be of no official consequence. Parents won't fail classes or not earn their degrees as a result of failing grades.

As a teacher and a parent my feelings on this are mixed.

I agree completely that parents need to be more involved in their kids' educations. I've seen all too many who aren't available (for valid and invalid reasons alike) to enforce studious behavior at home such as studying, completing assignments, going to bed at a reasonable hour, etc. This is not to mention lack of communication with teachers, failure to show up at scheduled conferences, and pure lack of relationship with kids altogether. A good example is a parent of one of my students who "yelled" at me over email one time for not notifying her when her kid had missed an assignment. Beyond the fact that it's nearly impossible to notify every parent when their kid misses an assignment, my gradebook was posted online. All the parent had to do was log in whenever she wanted, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and she would see my updated gradebook in real time. When I reminded her of this she replied that she did not have time to log in and check every day... but teachers have time to sit down and go through their 150-student roster and skim all 30+ grades that are entered for each of those students and then email the parents of all the kids who are missing an assignment. But wait! You also have to make phone calls for all the parents who don't have internet access, it's only fair. And when the phone number they gave you is invalid, then you have to go to the office and guidance and the phone company to try to track down a correct number. If you don't then you obviously fail as a teacher. All that said, I'm 100% in favor of doing something to draw parents' attention to the fact that their involvement counts as well as documentation in the grading records that there was or was not parent support. Especially in times when the notion of basing teacher salaries on student success is being tossed around, it is not unreasonable to also collect data on parent involvement to show that perhaps a teacher was doing their part and beyond but the students' failure could just maybe be tied to lack of support at home. Flat out, there's only so much a teacher can control and influence in 50 minutes a day. The best teacher on the planet is no guarantee that a student who goes home to zero educational support is going to succeed in school - or even care about school for that matter.

On the other hand, I don't think grading parents will change anything. Lots of parents who actually care will be offended. Other parents who barely care will be offended that teachers are holding up the mirror. And parents who couldn't care less won't even know they're being graded. The school system actually works a lot like a business with parents and students being "the customer." Many times principals and the higher ups hesitate to do something that could potentially make parents angry. Let me tell you, they may never show their faces for a conference or return a teacher's phone call, but if you offend them, call them out, or punish their kid for something they will be busting through the office doors with fists swinging in a heartbeat. This is how schools have gotten to where they are today actually. The system cares (probably a little too much) about making parents and students feel happy. Part of this is a result of new-age parents' belief that everything is the school's fault.

I'm going to stop there because I feel a major tirade coming on and I want to spare you from that (as if this wasn't tirade enough). It's also getting late and I should be going to bed. But I'll ask as I often do for your thoughts on this topic. It's always fun to hear what others think!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Forgot to Mention...

Remember my post not too long ago about goals for 2011? Somehow I managed to forget one pretty important goal that I've set for myself. In 2011 my teeny tiny sweet little bebe girl will turn one. In fact, that is happening in less than 3 months! I know, hard for me to imagine also. One of my goals for 2011 is to have her first year scrapbook completed by her birthday. I would really like to have it on display at her birthday party with a few pages for family and friends to sign. I will of course add the birthday party pictures later. That said, here I sit with not a single page even started. I do have a book and a LOT of photos, but I haven't started the actual project yet.

I have to say, the difference between being a stay-at-home mom and being a babysitter and stay-at-home mom is a lot greater than I thought it would be. My nephew, Austin is at my house for about 10 hours a day from 8 am to just before 5 pm. While he's here I am pretty much feeding, holding, changing or putting one of these babies in bed at all times. Rarely do I get them to both sleep at once, and if I do (Austin sleeps in the little play area on my main level) I basically find something quiet to do so I don't disturb anyone. There is no cleaning, tidying, washing dishes or laundry. My dog follows me if I leave the room so the sound of him walking on our hard floor sometimes makes enough noise that Austin wakes up. Nothing gets done during those hours other than baby care, which is fine. But in the after work hours I then have all of my regular housekeeping to do, plus I like to spend some time snuggling my baby since my attention is so divided while Austin is here. The point here is that scrapbooking is pretty low on the priority list and well, to my knowledge, there's no way of adding more time to the day.

This weekend my cousin is going to a scrapbooking get-away. Sounds like fun, but it would mean giving up more time with my baby girl, and she is already showing signs of missing me as it is. She has gotten super clingy. I'll be honest, it makes me a little sad. I know it's good for her (to a degree) to get used to not having my undivided attention. But at the same time, I struggle with not wanting to make her give that up until it's necessary (like when we have another child). Ah well, this is turning into way more than what I had originally intended. Ergo, I will sum up...

I'm declaring a new goal of completing three scrapbook pages per week for the next few months until my bebe's birthday party. I'm sure even that will not be enough pages to hold all the photos I already have, and I've only printed up through the fall. The idea is to have a goal though, and that will give me something to aim for and will hopefully result in at least something getting done! I'll keep you posted.

As for my other goals, here's where we stand:
- We did not make a budget! Hubby just took a new job though so we will make it February's goal to have a budget made up with that new salary :)
- I have sold my elliptical machine and purchased a treadmill which I have been using and LOVE. Yipee!
- I have NOT organized one room for January, but I did just read an article with some fun and interesting organization ideas in it and I'm pretty sure I'm going to try some of them. I will again make it February's goal to organize one room (does a powder room count? LOL!).

Do share your successes, or ahem, shortcomings with regards to your new year's resolutions or goals! You might inspire someone else :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Table That For Now

My little tiny bebe went to her 9 month check up at the doctor's last week and the doctor suggested that it is time to transition to a "toddler diet" which would mean cut/mashed up table food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. Currently, our baby is eating oatmeal cereal twice a day with a baby food fruit or vegetable and nursing in between. I have tried giving her small pieces of Puffs on two different occasions and both times she gagged, the second time she threw up enough to soak her outfit. Our doctor suggested mashed soft fruits and small pieces of pancakes and waffles for a start. I also have a food mill which I can use to pulverize things into baby consistency.

Yesterday I decided to try putting a banana in the food mill and giving it to her with her oatmeal in the morning. She recognized it as foreign right away and refused to swallow. Finally I did get her to swallow it despite the terrified look on her face and some whimpering. When I tried to sneak a second bite in with a spoonful of oatmeal she was not having any of it. She just cried and held it in her mouth. When she finally swallowed, she then wouldn't open up to eat any more of her oatmeal. I had to take her out of her high chair, calm her down, and slowly sneak little bits of oatmeal in her mouth to show her it was just oatmeal until she finally ate the rest of it.

I decided that maybe she was expecting her usual baby food fruits for breakfast and was resistant because the banana was something unexpected (though she has eaten baby food bananas, so all I can surmise is that it was the slightly thicker texture). So after her morning nap I decided I would make some pancakes. I put a tiny bit of butter and syrup on one of the pancakes to make sure it was delicious, then put it through the food mill. Sure enough when I fed her the teeniest tiniest little mushed up bite she instantly got that terrified look on her face and started crying while trying to get the pancake mush out of her mouth. I attempted to retrieve it for her but that scared her more. Eventually she gagged and threw up all over herself. Super.

So I am going AMA, and table-ing table food for another month. Say what you will about age, this girl is not ready for table food. Everything I've read suggests she can eat small bites of meat, cheese, breads, and well-cooked fruits, veggies, and pastas. I'm pretty sure she would absolutely choke if I gave her any of those things. In addition to her terror, followed by gagging and throwing up when I've tried to give her tiny morsels, she also is not interested in putting any of those things in her mouth when I've offered them to her. She doesn't try to eat my food or really put any small things in her mouth. She can pick things up with her pincer grasp, but she really does seem to think that these things are not food when I put them in her mouth rather than showing interest in tasting and eating them. So rather than adhering to the medical milestone markers, we're moving forward at the baby's pace.

I would love to hear your stories about transitioning to table food and what you've tried (successfully or not) with your own babies! It's always good to know I'm not alone, and maybe get some new tricks to try... when the time is right, of course :)