Thursday, August 4, 2011

Newborns & Toddlers

My daughter, Lily, is 20 months old.

After sleeping 14 hours last night she woke up this morning singing and telling me she wanted to eat. I asked her what she wanted and she said hot potatoes (this is what she calls all potatoes except fries, this is also what she asks to eat for every meal.). We don't have any hot potatoes so I got her to agree to eating eggs, as long as they had cheese on them. So, I cooked both of us up some eggs, got a spoon and set her food in front of her and we both happily ate our breakfasts.

After breakfast, she asked for some ice water and then brought me books to read to her & her friend, Laila (who is almost 2.5 years old). We played and sang the whole morning. She told me when she was hungry, when she was thirsty, what she wanted to do and what she didn't want to do. She told me if she was cold, if she had a boo boo that needed kissing and when she was ready for a nap. She tells me she wants to get dressed and even helps pick out her own clothes. She's gotten pretty good at putting clothes on too!

Most days, Lily is so easy to take care of. If I need to get things done, she happily plays by herself (or with Laila). With over 100 words and 5 or 6 signs, she communicates awesomely and very rarely is unable to express herself to me. We have a system & it works. And it's easy. And she's amazing. And she's funny. And she's lovable.

And she's self sufficient. You moms out there know how much easier life gets when your child become even somewhat self sufficient. How much more freedom that allows us as mothers that our child can exist without us, even if it's just long enough to get the dishes done or dinner cooked. But, the best part is that as self sufficient as she is, she's still a mama's girl. She's still full of hugs & kisses & snuggles and still loves to be rocked and sang to before bed. We haven't hit that point where she no longer needs mama or dada at all. She's at that perfect in between age.

I love where our family is at right now. So, why oh why oh why, would I want to change that? Why would I want to add a newborn to the mix when things are just getting good?! Newborns don't sleep through the night. They have no means to communicate except to cry. Does that cry mean s/he's tired? Hungry? Hot? Cold? Bored? Have you ever tried to dress a floppy newborn? It's not an easy task. The poop. The spit up. The constant attention that they need. So opposite from what I have with Lily. What it took 20 months to get to.

So, I ask myself, why do I want to change things?! Why would I want to start all over again?! And then my friend has a baby, a tiny, perfect little ball of squish. And I get to hold him. And smell him. And hear that little newborn cry. You know the one, it sounds like it is echoing from the pit of that baby's belly. It certainly doesn't sound like the one Lily has when she's told she can't have something she wants (that sounds like it's coming from the pit of somewhere else!). And then I see my other friends have babies. And post their little squishes pictures online. And talk about their growing family. And I know that I want that too.

A good friend once told me that you know when your family is complete. The fact of the matter is that, right now, I know my family isn't complete. I know that I love what I have with my daughter and that going back to the newborn stage isn't going to be easy. But, it'll be worth it. And I look forward to doing it again, because, we all know the newborn stage isn't all bad and the toddler stage isn't all good (even though I've made it sound like sunshine & rainbows).

So, I may be clinically insane. Or maybe that fog of pregnancy/infancy that everyone talks about is true and I DON'T remember how bad it was and I DON'T remember how hard it's going to be. All I know, is that I'm ready to start it all over again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feeling Creative

I have a lot of crafty mama friends. Like my friend, Sarah, who makes personalized stuff for your little one (The Snobby Peach). She custom made a taggie blanket for a friend's son! It came out awesome, but apparently it's not easy to make so check out all her other stuff but don't ask her to make one or she may kill me! ;) My friend Chanda who is awesome at sewing (Redheaded Mamas Imagination), if we truly do CD with Baby G. 2.0, I'll be sure to try out her mama-made dipes, and I'm really hoping to buy Lily one of her custom made art smocks here in the near future! And my friend, Lisa, who makes the most gorgeous homemade jewelry (Jewelry Designs by Lisa P. ). I bought my mom a necklace & earring set for her birthday that she just loved! The craftsmanship was awesome and the jewelry itself was beautiful!

Now, that I've plugged all my friends & their awesome work, I want to tell you about me. I'm less than crafty. I don't sew. I couldn't work a cricuit if you made me to do it. And the thought of making my own jewelry blows my mind (unless you count the stuff I made from play-doh as a kid & tried to sell. *ahem*shanna*ahem*).

But just because I'm not crafty, doesn't mean I'm not creative. I do consider myself to be creative. I love working on creative things, whether it be writing or creating scrapbooks (originally by hand, but now I do all my work digitally). I've also been known to dabble in my Photoshop Elements program. I started off making Lily's birth announcement, and then a spring card that I sent out. I even made my own Christmas Cards last year! And, I'm getting better....I think.  Apparently, my cousin thinks so too. Because she asked me to design her post-wedding BBQ invites. We narrowed it down to 2 different styles and I was pretty happy with both of them. Check 'em out!

She must've been happy with them too because she asked me to keep designing things for her. First her baby shower invites (I didn't mention this beautiful bride to be is pregnant and due in October?! Yea, well she is) and then Christmas cards for her 1st chance to show off her new family!

Due to my excitement, I've already gotten started on the invites. I have to admit, they're a lot more fun to do than wedding invites! Her shower theme will be "Classic Winnie The Pooh" which left me with a lot of ideas! Here's a preview of some of the 1st drafts that I sent her to take a look at.

I admit, I may have gotten a little carried away in designing them. And I could probably do 3 or 4 more that are different from these! I'm really have a lot of fun making them!

It's nice to have an out lit for my creativity, whether it be blogging, scrapbooking or helping a family member with her special day(s). I like feeling like I'm doing something. I mean, being a mom is great. Being a nanny is great. Even being a wife is great. But, it's nice to have something that I can do for myself & makes me feel good about myself.

All that being said, I know I'll never go "pro" doing this stuff. I do it because I enjoy it and because I'm good at the basics. I have a friend, however, who does do it professionally. She's much more creative than I am. Or at least much more capable with Photoshop than I. She helped me a lot in the beginning. She taught me the things I do know and I always turn to her when I need help. Her name is Lyndsay and she's the founder of Paper Dahlia Design Co.  She's the lady I go to when I need something done & done extra special nice (she made Lily's custom 1st birthday invites, which can be seen here.) or when I need help with anything that I'm doing for myself! I have no desire to do this on a larger scale. I'll never be able to compete with Lyndsay in creativity or my other friends in craftiness. But, it's nice to do something that I'm proud of!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lily's 1st Closet

I know what you're thinking. A Closet? Really? What an odd (and boring) thing to blog about. Must be a slow day in the G. household!

But, you've already read about my previous house. You've heard how small it was so Steve got the closet in the master bedroom and I used the closet in the nursery. All of Lily's things were in drawers. We even had to get one of those plastic organizers with drawers because at one point we didn't have enough space in the dressers for all her stuff.

I remember when I was pregnant with Lily everyone on Babycenter was posting pictures of their nurserys including closets where tiny little clothes were hung on tiny little hangers and tiny little diapers were stacked. I knew that Lily wouldn't have a closet and it made me sad to see how cute a closet full of baby clothes could be. Things just didn't look the same folded up and put into dressers. I couldn't show case all my baby clothes for the world to see.

So, as soon as we moved, one of the 1st things I did was break out all those little hangers I had gotten for my baby shower and start hanging Lily's clothes up! Sure, the clothes are teeny-tiny anymore. And the diapers aren't size 1 with their little line to let me know if Lily has peed or not. But, her clothes are still cute. And they're still hanging there for all the world to see.

So, after more than 2 years of waiting, I'd like to share with you, Lily's 1st Closet!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Feeling Nostalgic

Let me start by explaining my house. It's less than 1000 square feet. 2 bedrooms. 1 (very small) bathroom. A living room that doubles as a dining room because we have to eat on the couch. A small kitchen. And a side room big enough for a washer and dryer, but only if you stack them. Sound small? That's because it is. But, when I bought it in 2007 it was just single me & my trusty dog, Loela. It was all we needed. Enter cat loving boyfriend turned fiance turned husband, 1 child and 3 cats and we outgrew this house before we could blink. And being so close to Detroit with the economy being like it is, the neighborhood is leaving more & more to be desired.

So when we started looking to buy a new house I was excited. When my sister offered to sell us hers, I became ecstatic! I thought for sure that the only tears I'd shed come moving day were ones of joy to be moving forward. But here I am, less than a week before the move and I am a mixed bag of emotions.

It's sinking in that this is the 1st house I ever bought. And I did it on my own. And I lived on my own. I hated it. But I did it.

I planned a wedding right here in this living room. I got married and moved my husband into my our house. We started our lives together here. Planned for our future here. Fought here. Made up here.

And the parties. Have I mentioned the back yard is a double lot so it's friggin huge and perfect for bonfires?! Man, did we throw some parties. Bon fires in the back. BBQ'ing in the garage. And at one point, the spare bedroom wasn't known as the nursery, it was the beer pong/tippy cup room. We could throw a mean party.

So, as I pack up on my belongings into a surprisingly small amount of boxes (not sure what I expected, you heard how tiny my house is! not like there's room for much) I feel a sense of sadness. Of nostalgia. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy as a pig in shit to be moving. I couldn't have gotten a better house or a better deal. But, I have to admit that this house will be hard to leave.

Above all, it's going to upset me to leave behind the memories surrounding Lily. I vividly recall changing the beer pong room to a nursery. Steve pulling up the carpet. My dad laying the carpet and painting the room. He came while I was at work and did it for me and even painted the rim of the light fixture green to tie in the green walls & contrast the white ceiling. Then just the week before Lily came (not that we knew it at that time) he came over to help me put the finishing touches on the room. Hanging pictures and putting up decals on the walls.

 Lily's first smile, laugh, words, steps, were all taken right here in this living room. This house will always echo her giggle and the pitter patter of her feet. But the new owners won't know to listen for it. They won't know the life and love that was created by this family. They won't know that we've left a small piece of ourselves behind as we move foward. A piece that I cannot pack into a box no matter how hard I try.

And believe me.

I've tried.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This is going to hurt me more than you

I remember being younger and hearing the cliche "It's going to hurt me more than you" a lot on TV and in movies. It always seemed to be in conjunction with discipline. As in, this spanking is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. I always thought it was such a silly phrase. I mean, do parents really say that kind of cheesy stuff in real life?! Mine certainly didn't but maybe that's because I was so perfect that I never got in trouble. But, I digress.

I don't know if real parents say that to real kids but I know that if I would've understood what I was doing almost 4 weeks ago, I would've said it to Lily. And it would've been true. And we both know it now.

Starting just after Lily's 17 month birthday I decided to start weaning her from breastfeeding. She's always been such a boobie monster that I thought for sure I had my work cut out for me and it was going to be a long rough time full of tears and resistance. She nursed 1st thing in the morning, before her nap & then before bed. But she *needed* to nurse to fall asleep. So slowly but surely we weaned her down first by cutting down the amount of time she nursed and then cutting out nursing one session at a time. We're down to only nursing for 5 minutes before bed at night.

And Lily's doing great!

Me, on the other hand, not so much. Emotionally, it's been rough. It's hard to willingly give up such a special time that's just for the two of us. I figured that at least we'd have our snuggle time and I wouldn't feel like I was missing out on so much. The joke was on me though. Now that she doesn't need me to fall asleep, she doesn't need me at all at bedtime. Instead of rocking per our usual routine, when we go in the bedroom she points at her crib and says "nigh, nigh". She doesn't want to be held. She doesn't want to be snuggled. She doesn't want to be rocked. She wants for me to lay her in her bed so she can play for 10-30 minutes and then fall asleep on her own.

And it kills me.

It feels like by expediting the weaning process instead of letting her self wean, I've expedited her growing up. In a matter of 3 weeks she's gone from my baby to my little girl. I know that not only is this a part of nature, but it's a good thing. She'll be able to stay elsewhere and me not worry about being there in time to nurse her to sleep. I know that this will give me freedom to do more things because I won't be "tied" to her. I can't even count all the times I've had to pass on something because I knew it would interfere with nursing. Not that I regret any of that! But I can definitely see where this is a good thing for both her & me. But, I already miss my baby and a part of me wants her back. And wants that special before bed/nap time back. The time where I'd watch her eyes get heavy and feel her body go limp in my arms. The times I would spend an extra 20 minutes rocking her sleeping body just so I could watch her and wonder what she was dreaming of.

But gone are those days and I can truly say that this transition has been much harder on me than it has for her. But, isn't that what being a mom is about? Don't we want to take all our children's pain away. My guess is that, this is going to be the 1st time of many that I will feel this way. And maybe it's a cliche for reason.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My *other* full time job

Man, I just started on this blog & have already slacked off a lot. But, in my defense, I've slacked off on most things in my life for the past 10 days. Cooking, cleaning, spending time with my hubby, pretty much anything that I would do on a normal basis. I've been cheating on reality with A Cutest Baby FB contest.

Basically, I entered Lily in a contest to be voted the cutest baby and win a free photoshoot with a local photographer. Couldn't be too hard, right? I get my friends & family to vote & maybe they help by passing the word & getting their friends & family to vote. All the while, the photographer is getting her name out there, so that's good publicity.

But it all changed when a dear mama friend (*ahem.sarah.ahem*) told me that the baby website I belong to Babycenter, has a special board where mamas exchange votes for their kids in any contests they may have entered them into. So, I go here & start voting away. Some are as easy as a click of the mouse & other's require a bit more, such as registration & confirming emails & what not. All is going well, until - DUN, DUN, DUN - I find that another person in the same competition on this board doing the same thing. So essentially we're just getting the same votes now.

And here is where I went into overdrive. It was no longer about the prize but instead just about winning. What can I say, I may have a bit of a competitive side. So I google how to get online votes and boy am I amazed at what I find! There are sites upon sites upon sites dedicated strictly to people exhanging votes. You can exchange votes from all over the world. If the sign up is in a different language, they'll even explain to you what it says when they request the vote. I know all this, because I joined one of these sites; Get Online Votes. I also found FB groups that do the same thing. And, to my surprise, there are even websites, like, MicroWorkers, where for as little as $0.08 you can actually buy votes!

I opted out of buying votes and put all my spare time & effort into exchanging votes in all the other ways I listed. For going all my wifely & motherly responsibilities just to get votes. Not to win the photo package, just to win.

In the mean time, this experience has really got me thinking. I understand the premis of "have your friends like my page and then the picture". I get where that expands who knows about your company. But, I think in this day & age of technology, it's taken too far. How do the people all over the world I have voting for me help your business at all? And that's what these things have come down to. In reality, I probably had less than 20 local votes. Granted, those people who are local probably never would've liked her page if not for the contest. I guess what I'm getting at is that there should be some sort of stipulations. Such as, you can only have people within the area (city, state, whatever) vote. It would've saved me a lot of time & effort and it would've saved the photographer a lot of time verifing votes (which she says she did, although I'm not sure what that meant anyway). And by tomorrow, I'm sure she will have lost a lot of fans because people in Malaysia just don't care about some photographer in Macomb County MI.

In the end though, I did not get the win. Me & my formidable opponent tied with 311 votes a piece. Good news is that we both are getting a free photosession! And, I can honestly say that despite the way we got votes, we really did have the 2 cutest kids in the competition! But the bad news is that it took a piece of my life to get it.

Moral of the story: You'll never see me enter into another of these things again. Although enlightening, they're too much work and time away from the things I love most in my life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All The Cool Kids Are Doing It!

Well, well, well! Let me take a moment and welcome myself to the world of blogging.

What? No applause?

Anyway, I've been going back & forth on starting a blog for awhile. I used to "blog" on myspace back before it became a ghost town and always enjoyed that. Actually, I've always enjoyed writing. At one point in my life that's what I did. That's what made me me. Period. So today I says to myself, "Self, why wouldn't you want to blog? All the cool kids are doing it!" Well, aren't they?

I really have no idea what I'm doing here or how to do it. But, I promise, if you bear with me I will get better. My backgrounds will get better. I'll get all those cool little "gadgets" everyone has on the side of their pages. And, maybe, if you're real lucky, my writing will get better and you may even find yourself enjoying this!