Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach bound

Last night we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to the beach. (Another bucket list item...yay!) It was only the second time in her little life that we've taken Stephanie, and we weren't sure how she would react. As soon as we pulled up she started yelling "water! water!" We found a spot to dump our stuff, and she immediately ran toward the edge of the water and plunged in. As the waves lapped at her feet, she shrieked and giggled. As they crested, she ran away from them but immediately ran back to get wet again. A few times she fell in, even dunking her head under, but she came up smiling. She's a little beach bum!

She spotted the sea-gulls, and yelled "tweet tweet!" while trying to chase them. She ran through the sand, reaching down every now and then to grab handfuls and let it run through her fingers. She chased me into the water, and threw back her head in laughter when I tossed her into the air just as the waves reached her toes. (I did have to quickly pass this task along to Dan, as it was too much for my pregnant body to handle more than a few times. And with my daughter, there is no such thing as "a few times" when it's something she loves.)

Our attempt to get dinner in her was a major fail. As soon as we sat her in the beach chair and gave her her sandwich, she jumped up yelling "water!" Since the night was all about her, we didn't push it. She was just having so much fun, we couldn't deny her access to her precious water. I even let go of my sand anxiety!

As I watched my daughter run through the sand, arms splayed wide, laughing and gigggling, I took a minute to pause and commit the moment to memory. She was just so happy and free, and thrilled to be there. It warmed my heart and caused a smile to constantly be on my face. The beautiful sun was setting, framing my little girl in it's light, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect moment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to relax

Yesterday I felt like such a lazy Mom, however I know that I needed to be. We've had a lot going on, and we had a very full weekend of friends and parties. Last week I worked hard on accomplishing everything on my cleaning schedule, and was proud that I stuck with it. It made me exhausted though, and towards the end of the week I was having a lot of cramping/braxton hicks contractions. I met with my Dr, who advised me to take it easy, and get plenty of rest with my feet up. But, as I mentioned, we had a lot going on over the weekend, so I didn't rest like I should have. Then, a lot of things happened around the house that caused me stress, and I found myself getting tense and emotional.

It all came to a head esterday morning, when I had a bit of an emotional break-down. With everything going on, I just couldn't seem to get it together. I was a mess, and was doing my best not to show it in front of Stephanie. I ended up going to visit my mom, and she was so wonderful to me, taking Stephanie and I out to lunch, and then watching Stephanie at her house so I could grocery shop alone. When I picked her up and brought her home, she went right in for a nap. I cleaned up the toys, and dusted the living room, dining room, and entry way, and then just decided that I was done. I needed to sit down, have a glass of water, and relax. I picked up a book that I had recently taken out of the library, and proceeded to read it for the next two hours! Then I made a pot-pie for dinner, and woke Stephanie up before she slept so long that it would interfere with her nighttime sleep. We ended up having a fun afternoon, and I was in much better spirits. We even went for a family walk after dinner. (Woohoo, I can check at least one item off my summer bucket list!) I went to bed last night feeling like I had had a successful day, accomplished all I needed to, and spent quality time with my family.

It amazes me how refreshed and revigorated it makes me feel to take some time for myself. As a stay-at-hom-mom, I often feel guilty if i'm not spending every minute of my day taking care of my daughter or my home. But right now, especially being pregnant, taking time for myself is essential. In fact, taking time to relax is actually taking time to care for the little life i'm growing. But even when i'm not pregnant, I need to learn to let go of the guilt, and accept the fact that I both need and deserve some down time. Every mother deserves a break now and then, and I plan on making it part of my routine to fit at least 10 minutes of relaxation into each day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Bucket List

Several bloggers that I follow have been writing Summer Bucket Lists. One of my all-time favorite blogs, Karma-Continued, took the writing prompt from another blog, which encourages people to create a list with 50 things they hope to do over the summer. Well, clearly I am far too lazy (and pregnant) to even think about accomplishing 50 things. Instead, I came up with 10 things that I truly do hope to do during summer 2011.

1) Go to the beach. We live 10 minutes from the gorgeous beaches, and yet...last year we went once. Stephanie adores both water and sand, so I'm hoping to get her there more than one time. (At least twice, haha). And, to top it off, I will make it my goal NOT to freak out over sand in the car. Or the diaper bag. Or the rugs in our apartment. Or the shower.

2) Bring Stephanie to the Children's Museum and the Zoo several times. We have memberships to both of these places, but I can see myself being too lazy to drive north and actually go. But she loves them, and it isn't fair for me to keep her cooped up in the house just because i'm hot, huge, and miserable.

3) Go swimming. The water provides such wonderful, low-key excercise for a pregnant woman. We have several friends who have offered us their pool to use whenever we want, and I really hope to take advantage of their generosity.

4) Buy a maternity bathing suit. If I hope to accomplish numbers 2 and 3 on my list, than this is a must.

5) Spend quality family time in the evenings. So often Dan will come home at 5, watch Stephanie while I cook, we'll eat together, i'll give her a bath while he cleans up, and she goes to bed. Since it's summer, I would love to occasionally throw this schedule out the window and have some spontaneous family-time. I'm thinking taking a picnic dinner to the park, going for a walk on the beach, (or anywhere outside), having a bbq dinner on our patio while Stephanie plays in the yard, or even just letting her stay up late to play while we watch her having fun.

6) Take advantage of local events. Every summer, there are tons of fun events that occur in and around our town. There's a balloon festival, block parties, live music nights, and much more. Yet, again, we tend to get stuck in our routine and don't often attend any of these. I'm hoping to make it to at least a few this summer.

7) Go blueberry picking. I love picking fresh fruit at the local farms, and was very disappointed that we never made it to pick straweberries. However, there is still a chance for blueberries, and I am determined to do it!

8) Go for walks several times each week. I am pretty proud of my weight gain so far (12 lbs, vs the 21 lbs I had gained at this point in my first pregnancy.) In order to keep the weight down during my third trimester, I need to force myself to do low-key excercises, and what better way than walking.

9) Read a lot of books. One of the ways I make sure to take "me" time during the day is by reading. Often it only happens at night when there's nothing good on TV, but as i've noticed my body getting more and more tired, I've tried to take at least 15 minutes of her nap to rest with my feet up and read a book. I know that once Joseph arrives my reading time will be even more limited than it is now, so i'm soaking up as many books as I can.

10) Spend A LOT of quality time with Stephanie. This is the last summer that it will be just her and I during the day, and I want to make sure she gets as much bonding time in as possible. I want to really be involved with her play, take life more slowly and let her explore when we are out and about, and really be "in-the-moment" when i'm interacting with her.

I am excited about the prospect of accomplishing each of these items, and hope to make this the best summer yet for our family!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mama, Mama, Mama!

For a long time, Stephanie seemed to prefer Daddy to Mommy. It took her a very long time to call out for me, or to even associate that I was "Mama". She'd wake up in the morning calling Daddy, she would look for him every time we walked in the front door, and when he came home from work she would attach herself to him for the rest of the night. Well, over the past few weeks she has gone from the ultimate Daddy's Girl, to a Mommy cling-on!

Now the first thing I hear in the morning over the monitor is "Mama! Mama! Mama!" ("Followed by uh-oh...Pooh! Taggie!Oh no! Uh-oh!" Obviously these beloved lovies have catapulted themselves out of her crib. She would never dare to throw them out. Nope, not her.) It seems like I am the only one who can do anything for her right now. Diaper and change her (which she really doesn't even want me to do. But at least she doesn't scream and cry hysterically like she does if Daddy tries to do it), feed her, bathe her, play with her, etc. If I leave the room for one minute, she follows me, calling "Mama, Mama!" If I dare to attempt going to the bathroom without her, she stands at the door, bangs on it yelling for me, and tries to look under it to see if I am really in there.

I am definitely flattered, and feeling the love. I'm soaking up all this mommy-daughter bonding time, since come October I will have to share my time and attention with another little one. But every once in a while it gets tiresome. I would love to be able to have a few moments of peace when Daddy walks in the door, to cook dinner or, you know, go to the bathroom. But it's hard to focus on a task when you have a little one calling for you and acting as though her world has ended because she does not have you in her sight. A part of me is anxious as well, and hoping that she'll get this phase out of her system now, before Joseph arrives. If not, nursing him is sure to be a blast, while she is pulling on me and whining for me, instead of happily playing with Daddy. But, I know she'll be fine, and it is good for her to have such a strong bond and attachment to me. After all, during the day, I am her number one, primary caregiver. We spend every one of her waking minutes together, so it's natural that she prefers me right now. And despite the tiresomeness and anxiousness over October, it really is sweet, especially when she just wants to crawl into my lap and cuddle in the rocking chair for a few minutes. I cherish those sweet moments, and would never trade them for anything. Even to go to the bathroom in peace.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pregnancy Must-Haves

There are so many things I can't live without, so when I decided to write a "My Favorite Things" blog, I realized I needed to break it up into categories. So, for this first entry, i've decided to list my pregnancy essentials.

1) Boppy wedge
My mom bought the wedge for me during my first pregnancy, and it proved invaluable. It's a small, wedge-shaped pillow, and I tuck it under my belly for support while i'm sleeping. It helps keep my whole body aligned and alleviates a lot of my abdominal muscle pain. I use it every single night, and with this pregnancy I think I used it way before I actually needed it. It's that comfortable.

2) Water
Sounds so simple, but this pregnancy I have craved water. I drink it constantly, and have a camelback water bottle that I carry around whenever i'm out of the house. (I will not list that as one of my favorites, since i'm not all that thrilled with it. One of these days i'll look into getting a different bottle, but for now it serves its purpose.) I think that all the water is doing wonders for my body, helping to keep both the weight and the blood pressure down. Miracle liquid!

3) Skecher's slip-on sneakers
At the beginning of the spring, per usual, I started wearing flip-flops constantly. Every night I would wake up with horrendous cramping in my calves. Finally my husband pointed out the obvious: flip-flops were not giving me enough support. I was in denial for a while, but finally admitted he was right. I researched supportive shoes that met my criteria, which was to not be ugly, be able to slip on and off so that I didn't need to waste time heading out the door, and be able to be worn without socks. I found some Skechers slip-on mary-jane style shoes that fit the bill. They are not something I would normally choose, but they are serving their purpose, and I have not had any cramps since wearing them.

I'm sure there are more things, but those three are definitely the most invaluable to me right now, and I couldn't survive this pregnancy without them!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A new leaf

Lately i've been feeling overwhelmed by housework. I also tend toward the lazy when it comes to keeping things clean, and will wait until something is visibly dirty before I clean it. I do keep up with the laundry, and the dishes, and I make the bed every day. But when it comes to dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the windows, scrubbing the floors and bathroom, etc., I am lazy. I want to turn this around, and be better about keeping on top of things before they get gross to the point where I can't stand it and force myself to clean. I thrive on routine and schedule, and I think the lack of such things have led me to this place. The solution is what I will call "The Brandi style of clean."

Brandi is one of my very best friends, and a fellow mommy to a young toddler. However, one of the major differences between us is that she is an excellent housekeeper, and follows a strict schedule which allots time throughout the week for each cleaning task, including things that she does once a month. She also includes errand running and grocery trips in her schedule. When I made the epiphany that I would feel better/more organized/less lazy if I had a similar routine, I enlisted her help.

Through a very detailed email, (thank you Brandi!) she listed out her weekly schedule, and gave me all the details about things she does daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. I then sat down, using her schedule as a model, and created my own. I am eagerly looking forward to starting my schedule next week, and I have high hopes that it will keep me organized, clean, and happy. (I do realize that it is slightly pathetic that I am this excited, however, it's how I feel.)

If I can follow my schedule, I think it will be helpful for when #2 arrives in the fall. It will let my husband see what needs to be done and when, so that he can help. I also feel that it will help me stay on top of the household when everything else seems to be falling apart. (I still remember well that feeling of helplessness that comes on with the sleep deprivation and overwhelmingness of new-motherhood. A feeling that can only be magnified by also having a toddler in the house.) It's safe to say that I have high hopes for this schedule, and look forward to this, my "turning over a new leaf" lifestyle!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday. My Mom is my idol, and although there are plenty (PLENTY) of things we don't agree on, I strive every day to be the kind of wife and mother that she is. Growing up, she was a stay-at-home mom, and she never ever made it seem like a chore or a hardship. She stopped going to college after only one year because she couldn't afford it, but I never felt like she had "settled" by having kids and staying home instead. She loved taking care of us and our home, and that earliest model of loving the home life inspired me to strive towards the goal of being a stay-at-home mom myself. Of course, there is no way, in my mind, that I can ever reach the level of homemaker that she was. I guess in some way it's because she'll always have years of experience over me. Perhaps when she was just starting out, like me, she often felt like a less than perfect SAHM. However, I never saw that!

My mom is a great cook. She always has a hot meal on the table, my dad always compliments her on her dinners, and she seems to truly enjoy cooking for her family. She also loves to bake, and so growing up, we always had a home-made dessert to eat after dinner. (I was the only kid in school who begged for store bought treats, because we never had them. All the other kids would clamour to eat my mom's homemade things.) In fact, the day she brought my little sister home from the hospital, my older sister and I wanted to make brownies. When Stephanie came home from the hospital I felt like a truck had hit me, and I could barely stand up. But my mom helped us make brownies, and there are pictures of her holding a newborn while reading baking directions to us. Amazing. I actually prefer baking to cooking myself, but I havn't yet figured out how she found the time to cook, clean, do laundry, take care of us kids, and still bake every day. I'm working on it.

Growing up, our house always seemed clean. My mom would scrub the floors and the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, and pick up clutter constantly. If she ever struggled to get it done, or felt annoyed that she had to do it all, I never knew it. (Until I got older of course, and she made me start pulling some weight. You know, the HORROR of having to clean your own room and make your own bed.) I'm sure she did struggle, and there were days she resented doing it. I know that now, because there are times when she'll complain about my dad not doing things around the house, and why should she do it all, etc. But the point is, growing up, she never allowed me to see that. I never felt like she was bitter about anything, and I truly don't think she was! I just think now she'd rather have the free time to spend with her grandkids, and would much prefer that over housework.

Holidays were my moms real area to shine. She made them all special, even the smallest and most mundane. She had boxes of decorations for every holiday, and would decorate our house about a month before the actual day. She would have crafts and special baking projects that we would do leading up to the big day. On the day itself, she would dress us up special and send us off to school (if it was minor holiday) with festive cookies, lunches, napkins and other snacks. She truly made the holidays special, and still does! She loves doing it, and loves spoiling all of us. I think that out of everything, this is the trait I inherited the most. I ADORE the holidays. My daughter has the festive outfits, I have the boxes of decorations, and I try to do at least one special baking or craft for each holiday. I will always be thankful to my mom for passing on this love of celebration to me.

The best thing about my mother is how much she genuinely, truly, loves us all. I grew up surrounded by her love, and I still feel it every day. So today, a day all about her, I hope that I can, in some way show her how much she means to me. I hope that she will know how special she is, and how blessed I am to have her for my mother.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slow Down!

I had a baby check-up today, and found myself getting very sentimental as I walked through the halls of the medical building. As I headed towards the office, I was transported back to my 1st pregnancy, where the memories of walking these same halls are so vivid. I recalled the excitement and anxiety that a first pregnancy brings, and I was suddenly brought up short by the realization that this pregnancy is more than half over. More than HALF. How is that possible? It seemed like with Stephanie I was at that office time and time again. This time I feel like i'm hardly ever there, and my visits are in and out, done within 10 minutes. I guess it's probably because I have a bit of a "been there, done that" attitude, so I know exactly what each visit entails. I also don't have any questions, because my first pregnancy is so fresh in my mind. However, I feel a little sad about the fact that in less than 4 months (hear that Joseph? I don't expect you to be late!) the amazing miracle of pregnancy will be over, and I know that within a few months I will miss it.

I really do love being pregnant, and I wanted to use this pregnancy to truly embrace all that is happening in my body. With Stephanie I was so eager for her to get here that I mentally rushed everything. I was determined that for this one I would relish every moment, and savor all the feelings, emotions, baby kicks, and expanding belly that come along for the ride. But this time, instead of mentally rushing things, it really is flying by. And I wish it wouldn't. Not that I don't want my baby here, because I do. I want to cuddle, kiss, and hold him. I want to watch him grown and change seemingly overnight. But at the same time, I know that it will be a long time before I get pregnant again. (We want to wait 3 or 4 years) and so I want to stretch the feelings out for this one. I honestly don't think there's any way to truly "slow it down" but I think that I need to start taking a few moments every day to really relax, and meditate on the miracle of pregnancy. I need to be more "in the moment" with this baby, and I am making that my goal for the next 17.5 weeks!

Monday, June 6, 2011

There are no words

My Facebook friend, J., who I went to High School with, has spent the past few months celebrating her pregnancy via status updates and photos. As her due date approached, everyone was getting excited for her to finally deliver and meet her beautiful baby. Finally, it seemed, from other people's posts, that she had had her baby. And that's when the story turned tragic.

I ended up finding out that her beautiful little boy had been born, and stopped breathing almost immediately. He was on life-support in the NICU, and lived for only one week. Words cannot express how I felt when I found out. So many feelings ran through my body, and I sat at my computer sobbing, unable to calm myself down. I feel so much for this family, and cannot even fathom what they are going through right now. How do you live with that? How do you deal? How do you go home from the hospital, see the perfectly put together nursery and know that your baby will never come home?

Being pregnant with a little boy made this story hit home for me. I started to think, worry, and have anxiety about my little guy. I know that these are rare, but that anything can happen, and if it is meant to happen, it will. I am Catholic, and one of my core beliefs is that God has a plan for all of us, and never gives us anything we can't handle. But this has got to be one of life's greatest tragedies, and something I don't know if I could go through. I guess you never know how strong you are until something like this occurs. I'd rather not know.

I will continue to pray hard for this family, because i'm sure when the shock is over and reality hits, they are going to need all the support they can get. In the meantime, I will hug Stephanie extra close everyday, and be extra thankful for her health and safety. And everytime Joseph kicks, rolls, and somersaults in my belly I will say a little prayer thanking God for keeping him safe inside me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To Class or not to Class...

There are times when I feel like an inadequate mother, because Stephanie and I do not attend any parent/child classes. We don't go to storytime, or Gym classes or swim classes, and we don't take Mommy & Me yoga. However, i'm not a lazy mom who sits around all day while my child watches TV. Twice a week I nanny, and that provides Stephanie with socialization and routine. I also spend Wednesday's with my sister and 18 month old niece, also providing socialization for Stephanie. However, I do worry that i'm holding her back. She's never been in a structured environment where she is expected to follow instructions or sit and listen to a story. She doesn't have built in time to practice gross and fine motor skills, and she doesn't have any non-family authority figures. I know she's only 15 months old, but still I worry about whether she'll be behind when she attends preschool in a few years.

I have a degree in Early Childhood development, which means that I highly value the importance of putting children in a structured environment at an early age. I believe that children need to learn social skills, how to follow directions, how to sit still for an age-appropriate amount of time, and how to be away from Mommy or Daddy for a chunk of the day. I also believe that once children turn 3, they should have the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills, writing skills, letters, and spelling. I'm not saying that all children will or should master these skills by Kindergarten, but many will, if given the opportunity. Since Stephanie is not in day care, and preschool in our town doesn't start until the September after she turns 3, I feel like I should have her in some type of class. I think that is the pre-cursor to preschool. However, time and to an extent money, do not allow for that right now. I guess this means it's time to put my degree to work, and make sure that I morph into "Miss Megan" mode several times a week. By that I mean that hey, all parent's are their child's first teacher, and since I am a professional educator, my daughter can be given these opportunities at home, just as well as if we took a multitude of classes each week. I think this means it's time to turn off the mommy-guilt, and focus my energy on helping Stephanie learn and discover all she can about her world.(I actually think I do a fairly good job of that already, but I can't help those occasional feelings of being inadequate. Maybe I can blame those feelings on the hormones too??? And what will I blame everything on once I'm no longer pregnant??)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...