Friday, March 15, 2019

TGIF

Another 5-day work week is almost behind me. Next week is a 4-day work week as Paul's daycare is closed for conferences on Friday. I know some think it's odd to have teacher's conferences for a baby, but I appreciate getting 20-30 minutes with all of his teachers! He has 3 teachers and because he's there for 9.5-10 hours a day (such a long day, but unavoidable since Phil and I both work the same hours and have to factor in a 20-30 minute commute between daycare and work) Phil sees 1 of his teachers in the morning and I see the other 2 in the evening. I know we won't find out anything substantial at his conference but it will be good to check in with them and get a more thorough report on how he's doing. We absolutely LOVE his daycare and could not be happier with the love and care he is getting! All this is to say that I'm glad next week is a short work week!

After that little soliloquy about daycare, here is what's going on in my work!

The book I'm reading is From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. This is a middle-grade novel that was published back in 1967. I had never heard of it when I was a child, but have seen it recommended multiple times in the last couple of years so I thought I would check it out. I like to occasionally read middle grade and young adult novels. That way I can buy them for nieces or nephews if they are a good fit or keep them in consideration when Paul is the appropriate age to read them. This book is about 2 siblings who runaway from home and go to live in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. It doesn't read like a 1967 novel - I was actually surprised to read that it was published that long ago! It's pretty cute so far and will be a quick read for me.

The high of my week was hearing Paul's teacher tell me about how he says hola with the other kids when the cook brings in their breakfast at daycare. I guess all the kids yell hola and Paul pounds his hands on the table in excitement (he eats so well at daycare - he pretty much eats anything they feed him. This is NOT the case at home). He doesn't say hola independently but will often repeat it when we say hola to him. It's cute to hear his little voice - I can't wait to hear him say more words! He also says "cracker". It's not perfect, but he's clearly trying to say cracker. Do you think he says mama, though??? NOPE! Crackers > mama, I guess. ;)

The low of my week was finding out an offer we made on a house was not accepted. We saw a beautiful home on Friday, went to see it for a 2nd time on Saturday and decided to make an offer. It was absolutely gorgeous and is by far the nicest house we've seen since we started looking. But there were 5 offers and we didn't have the highest price. The home needs a new garage as the current one wouldn't fit 2 cars and the floor of the garage was terribly cracked, so Phil felt that we shouldn't offer too much over the asking price since we'd have to build a garage. I was super disappointed and am trying to erase the pictures of the gorgeous kitchen from my mind. :(

A recipe I made was Smoky Lentil Potato soup in our instant pot. This is a recipe that we make 1-2 times/month. We add sausage to it to amp up the flavor a bit, but it's still good without the sausage. It makes a ton, but we love soup as leftovers. It doesn't look super appetizing as leftovers as the soup becomes pretty thick and it's a green color, but it tastes great which is all that matters to me!

The best money spent was on some clothes for Paul. I bought a shirt for our photo session this weekend and bought a few outfits for our Florida trip. We've spent so little on clothes for Paul as we've borrowed clothes from friends and received a bunch of hand-me-downs from my cousin. Since I don't shop for him very often, it was fun to pick up a few new things.

For workouts I did daily burn workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I'm planning to do 2 more workouts on Saturday and Sunday. I'm itching to get outside for walks and eventually some runs, but it's too icy out there. Our sidewalks are just so dangerous right now!

My plans this weekend include staying in tonight. Tomorrow morning we have our photo session and then friends are coming over for a card night that evening. On Sunday Phil's mom is coming over for lunch and then Paul and I are getting together with a friend for a play date in the afternoon. So we have a good mix of social activities for the weekend!

Bonus Paul Pics


He loves banana pancakes so much. He shoves so many into his mouth at one time!

He's using his walker more and more and is getting more steady each week

"look at my car, kitty!" Kitty doesn't care. Ha.

He loves the little scooter that my parents gave him for his birthday!
What was the high of your week? What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Looking Forward

We've reached the point of winter where I'm about lose my mind over the weather. This happens every March but it's especially bad this year since we had a record-level of snowfall in February. I know it's spring-like in some parts of the country but we still have a good 1.5-2 feet of snow on the ground and it's SO DANG ICY right now. I nearly fell multiple times this morning on my way to the bus stop. Ugh!

So I'm going to force myself to turn my attention to the months to come. Eventually the weather will warm up and the snow will melt and my outlook on living in Minnesota will change (right now I kind of hate Minnesota - ha!). Here's what I'm looking forward to!

This weekend I'm looking forward to our 4th and final photo session with our wedding photographer. We bought a "baby steps" package with her which included 4 total sessions. We did newborn, 4 month and 8 months photos and now we'll wrap up the package with a 1-year session. Phil thinks 4 sessions is a bit of an overkill but I know we'll treasure these photos! I'm also looking forward to our monthly card date on Saturday night with another couple. We missed the month of February as we didn't have any free weekends in common so are very overdue for a game night!

This month I'm looking forward to a belated 1st birthday party get together with my mom's group. We were supposed to meet in late February but had to reschedule due to big snow storm. We haven't gotten together as a group since September - I can't wait to see how the babies have grown and change. Some are walking and some are saying words!

In May I'm looking forward to seeing Pink in concert with 3 of my college girlfriends. We bought tickets last fall. I've never seen Pink in concert but I've heard that she puts on a great show! It's so tough for the 4 of us to get together as we all have kids and busy schedules. I'm glad we have this fun night out to look forward to! The concert is on a Sunday so I took Monday off so I could sleep in as it will be a much later night than usual for me (I go to bed around 9 these days!).

This spring I'm looking forward to our first family trip to Florida. I really wish this trip was in March as I'm ready for a warm-weather getaway NOW. But traveling during spring break season is really expensive, so we opted for the less-expensive option of going to Florida in April. I hope and pray we get nice, warm, sunny weather! I can't wait to hang out on the beach with Paul. Hopefully he likes the sand! Our condo also has a pool so I'm excited to take him swimming.

This summer I'm looking forward to long weekends at the lake. I'm hoping to get there once a month and will take at least 1-2 days of vacation to make our stay a little longer (and avoid the highest traffic times). My parents have so many beach toys so hopefully Paul likes the sand and water!

That's as far out as I've planned at this point, but at least we have a handful of things to look forward to in the coming months!

What are you looking forward to? What is the weather like where you live? 

Friday, March 8, 2019

TGIF

Woo hoo! It's Friday! This is my first 5-day work week in a couple of weeks. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I wish 4-day work weeks were a thing! ;) Here's what's going on in my life!

The book I'm reading is The Tattooist of Auschwitz. My friend Amber raved about this so I think I will like it.

The high of my week was seeing a decline in my weight on the scale. I started watching portion sizes, tracking what I'm eating and I mostly cut out sweets (except for a cupcake at Paul's birthday party - I think I earned that treat!). I know some people take an intuitive eating approach but intuitive eating just doesn't work for me when I'm trying to lose weight.

The low of my week was our awful weather. It's been so cold here this week. It's been well below 0 with the windchill in the morning this week. The warmest temperature of the day is still well below freezing with the windchill. It's so depressing to look outside and see 2 feet of snow. When will spring arrive??? We are possibly getting as much as a foot of snow this weekend. Wah!! I'm so sick of my winter coat and boots!

A recipe I made was Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas. This is a favorite in our house but I hadn't made it in quite awhile. It's so good! We love Indian flavors in our house.

The best money spent was paying down our mortgage. Super fun, I know, but we are super practical. I got a bonus in late February and we decided to pay down our mortgage since there aren't any investments with a yield that exceeds the rate on our mortgage.

For workouts I did daily burn workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I'm planning to do daily burn workouts on Saturday and Sunday, too. And I'll probably take Paul out for a sled ride this weekend since we are getting a bunch of snow.

My plans this weekend include staying in tonight. Tomorrow morning Paul and I might get together for a play date with a friend but it depends on whether our boys are awake at the same time. Coordinating nap schedules is tough sometimes! In the late afternoon, a babysitter is coming over so Phil and I can go to my co-worker's retirement party. I know Paul is going to cry hard when we leave so I'm not looking forward to that, but his babysitter works in an infant room and LOVES playing with Paul so I know he's in good hands. On Sunday I might get together for another play date with a friend from my mom's group but if we get as much snow as they are calling for, we will likely stay at home.

Bonus Paul Pics

Is there anything cuter than baby jeans?

He's getting more and more into using his walker!

So tired but so hungry. Someone has been waking around 5-5:30 for the last week. 

What was the high of your week? What was the best thing you spent money on? Is the weather awful where you are?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Paul's Birthday Party!

Are you sick of Paul Birthday posts yet? Here's one last post!

For Paul's party, we went with a Little Blue Truck theme as that is one of Paul's favorite books and has been from the early days of his life. The publisher has a free party kit that you can download so you can put a party together pretty inexpensively. Honestly I didn't do all that much in terms of decor to carry out the party theme. Party planning is really not my thing and Paul won't remember this birthday. I know some moms put a lot of time, effort, and money into planning their kids parties but that's just not my style (you do you!). So I did a few things to make the celebration special and more so focused on the food (yummy food is a must for me!).

I did order a few things from Etsy to make the party a little more special. First off, I purchased this invitation. Instead of having someone else design the invitation, you purchase a template. That made it easy to play around with the wording and update it to our liking. Instead of printing and mailing these invitations out, we went the "green" route and emailed them to our family members. I'll print one for Paul's baby book but figured an e-version of the invite was sufficient for family members!

Paul's invite with our address redacted
I also purchased a Little Blue Truck "milestone" board. I've seen other friends make something like this on a chalk board. My writing is TERRIBLE and I don't have a creative bone in my body so I decided to purchase one. I figure it will be something we can put in Paul's baby book and it was a nice thing to display at his party.

Lastly, I ordered a special onesie for him to wear. I figure it's something he can wear this spring so it won't be a one-time use shirt!


This picture sums up how Paul felt about all the attention. :(


The party table I set up - I kept it very simple and put out a couple of books, his milestone sheet, and the decorated cupcakes

A pre-party photo
 I ordered some balloons for the party. I thought Paul would love them. He was afraid of them. He's looking at them in this picture.

"What the heck are those things floating in the air?"
I forgot to take a picture of the spread of food but I snapped a picture of my (very full) plate of food! We served Cuban pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches (I obviously skipped the bread - GF buns are pretty awful and not worth the calories!), cheesy party potatoes, jicama salad, home made guac, veggies and hummus.


For dessert we made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. In hindsight, we should have covered the cupcakes after we frosted them as the frosting got kind of hard after they sat out for a couple of hours. But they tasted good! Paul wasn't too excited about the cupcakes.


He did take a few bites eventually.


But overall, I think he would have preferred banana pancakes with peanut butter. Oh well!

We got Paul some books for his birthday. His favorite one is the Springtime Little Blue Truck book. It has flaps that you can lift.
Reading his new book with daddy
He mostly got money for his college account from his guests (yay!!) but he got a few physical gifts. This little scooter bike from my parents was his favorite gift. We can't wait for the weather to warm up so he can use it outside on our sidewalk.


He did not want to sit on others' laps all that much during the party but I did snap a quick picture of him sitting on my sister's lap.



It was a really nice celebration. Paul might not have been a fan of all of the attention, but I loved seeing my parents, siblings, and their family. I think Paul just takes after his dad and does not like a lot of attention. He likes to look around at others, but having lots of people looking at him is no bueno!

And now I will take a break from Paul-centric posts unless there's something really notable to share!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Birthday highlights!

I took Friday off for Paul's birthday. Paul was up bright and early at 5am on his birthday. I guess he was excited to celebrate his special day? I left him in his crib until 5:30 and then we came downstairs and tried to play as quietly as possible as my sister was sleeping in our office on the main floor. She got to our house after midnight (I wasn't up to greet her - we left the door unlocked for her as I was sound asleep!) so I didn't want to wake her up at an obnoxiously early time!

Playing with his bucket of shapes and animals

Some quiet reading time

After Abby was up, we chatted and played with Paul for a bit. Then Paul and I headed off to the doctor around 8. I had planned to get his shots done at his 1-year appt on Wednesday but they weren't able to do his vaccinations that day since he wasn't technically 1 yet. :/ The state would have considered the vaccinations invalid so I made an appointment to come back on Friday. In hindsight, I should have pushed off the vaccinations until the following week but I had Friday off so figured I should take him in versus taking time off work another day. He was pretty fussy over the weekend so it was a bad decision to get shots that day. :(

My sister is training for the Boston marathon so she ran 8 miles while we were at the doctor. After her run, Paul's nap, and some party prep, we headed to Victor's 1959 Cafe, which is a Cuban place close to our house. It was Abby's birthday on Wednesday and Paul's birthday so it was a double celebration.


Enjoying a cracker before lunch
Paul did pretty well at lunch. He spent the whole time looking around at all the people. At one point he was playing peekaboo with a woman sitting at a nearby table. He wasn't too interested in Abby and me until his food arrived!

Enjoying his birthday pancake


After lunch, we headed home and Abby and I did some party prep while Paul napped. My mom called mid-afternoon to let us know she had ended up in the ditch on her drive to Minneapolis! Luckily she was ok but I am sure it was a terrifying experience to go in the ditch on Interstate. It had been snowing so the roads were slick. :( She was pulled out of the ditch and was able to keep driving but she arrived much later than she anticipated!

My dad had been in Denver for work that week. My mom was planning to pick him up at the airport but she was too delayed after going in the ditch so Phil headed to the airport when he got home and I took Paul for a birthday sled ride. We got almost 6" of snow on Friday and the temps were in the 20s. My Arizona sister was freezing but I told her it was actually a pretty warm day. Your idea of "warm" becomes really warped by March.

Paul loves sled rides! We have soooo much snow!
That night, we had a low key evening. Phil picked up salad take and bake pizzas on his way back from the airport. My parents and I don't get to see my sister much so we soaked up time with her!

I'll be back later this week with a recap of Paul's first birthday party!!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Baby Paul: 1 year!

Baby Paul turned 1 today! Can I still call him Baby Paul? Since my dad's name is Paul, early on I started calling him Baby Paul.  Plus my co-worker's name is Paul so it's easier to refer to Paul as baby Paul at work. I know he's probably technically a toddler now but he still seems like a baby to me since he's so small and isn't walking so I might hang onto that nickname for a little longer!

Firsts:





- We took him sledding for the first time last weekend. He really enjoyed it, especially when I would run with the sled! We have SO MUCH SNOW so I think we'll be able to take him sledding for at least a few more weeks. The challenge is that it's been so darn cold. If it was more mild outside I would take him on short sled rides after work every night.


- He got his first 'owie' from falling. He was using his walker and fell backwards and pulled the walker into his face. He got an abrasion on his nose and chin and was not happy about it when it happened! He bounced back pretty quickly, though, and wanted to use the walker again that afternoon so I guess it didn't scare him off. He seems to fall multiple times a day in the process of pulling himself up along furniture or when he reaches for a toy when he's standing along furniture. Such is the life of a babe that doesn't have a great sense of balance yet!

- He figured out how to climb our stairs this week. The first step is pretty steep so it took him a good month of working at it to get his little leg high enough to climb. Once he tackled that first step, he had no problem crawling up more steps! We don't have a baby gate. When we had our main floor painted 2 falls ago, we had them patched the indentation in the wall from the gate the previous owner. I'd really like to avoid making marks in the wall again from a gate so we are holding off on installing one for now. (We are still hoping we find a house soon but this awful weather is pushing out the spring buying season!)

Growth:

- He was weighed at his 12-month appointment on Wednesday and weighed 17 lbs 11 oz and is 28 inches long. He's almost 5th percentile now. Woo hoo! He eats quite a bit these days so I guess he must have a super high metabolism.

- He's still wearing mostly 9-month clothes. He finally outgrew the 6-9 month snow suit we'd been using this winter. But he still fits his 6-9 month onesies. We get A LOT of use out of his clothes since he stays in the same size for such a long time!

Loves:






- He is such an active little guy.  He's always pulling himself up along furniture or crawling around the house with a toy in one hand.


- His new favorite game is knocking down block towers that Phil and I build.

Oscar is hissing at Paul in this photo. She does not like when he gets close and "talks" to her. Oh, Oscar. 

She growled shortly after this photo was taken. 
- He's still obsessed with Oscar. We don't think Oscar would ever hurt Paul but she definitely growls and hisses at him. He doesn't speak her language and thinks the hisses and growls are funny.

  


- He still loves being read to but it's hard to know what book he will enjoy. He will push and kick away a book if he's not interested in it! He really, really likes looking through the Chatbooks I've had made from my Instagram photos. He gets the biggest smile when looking through these books. He doesn't like the books from when he is a baby, though. I'm guessing he doesn't understand that the baby is him!

- He loves to shake his head no to things. He doesn't really understand what it means because he'll shake his head no when he's eating but opens his mouth for more food. But I guess saying no is just sooo fun for a baby/toddler!

Dislikes:

- Getting his diaper changed and putting on clothes. He cries initially when he lays down on the changing table. It's can be very challenging to change his diaper because he wants to flip over into crawling position!

- We've changed our technique for washing his hands and face. He would cry and protest when I wiped his hands with a cloth so now he dips his hands in a little bowl of water and then I dry them off. I also pat the water on this face and gently rub off whatever is on his face and he enjoys that much more than getting his face rubbed with a wash cloth!

***

I'm very excited to celebrate his first birthday this weekend. I hope he likes the attention! He's a very social baby as long as he can see me. If I leave the room, he starts to cry...

I'll be back next week with pictures from his low-key first birthday party!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

(almost)1 year mama update

Paul turns 1 on Friday (!!!). A couple of friends/fellow bloggers (Amber and Anne) posted about their first year of being a mom. I thought it was very interesting to read about their experience as it's so different from person to person so I decided to answer the same questions about my experience, with some Paul pictures sprinkled in.


Was being a parent how I thought it would be or not?

It's hard to know what being a parent is going to be like. I knew I'd love being a mom but you can't imagine how big that love for your child will be!

I was definitely wrong about some things. The biggest thing I was wrong about was thinking I would get bored on maternity leave. I loved my time at home with Paul and never really felt bored (I rarely feel bored in general, though). I was lucky to get 19 weeks with him (my company gives 16 weeks and I took 3 extra weeks) but I would have loved more time at home with him - I think ideally 6-9 months. That's not realistic in this country or my industry, though.

Parenting has definitely had it challenges, especially related to sleep, but overall it pretty much met my expectations. I watched a lot of friends and family members have babies so I think I had a pretty realistic expectation of how having a baby would change our lives. We had many years to travel and do whatever we wanted so I think I was ready to be a bit more 'tied down.' Having a baby has also taught me how to say no. I was a chronic over-committer before Paul was born. Now I say yes to much less and I only say yes to things I truly want to do (or have to do). I like our quieter life, though. I get so little time with Paul during the week so I am very good about protecting my time with him on week nights/weekends.



What was one thing you thought you knew but ended up having to research more?

Pumping! I thought pumping would be something I'd do once I got back to work. Little did I know I would end up exclusively pumping. I belonged to a facebook group for exclusively pumping moms which was very helpful, though. I learned a lot from that group of women!



What would you tell your pre/early pregnant self that you know now?

I'd tell her not to ignore extreme pain. I had pain from my blood clot for about a week before it was properly addressed. I should have known that pain that made it difficult to walk was not normal. Luckily the blood clot was detected at my prenatal appointment but I probably should have gone in sooner. But I didn't want to be that woman who was over reacting to something. Lesson learned.

I'd also tell her that all the pain and challenges of the pregnancy are worth it in the end. I had a pretty brutal pregnancy between RA flares, managing gestational diabetes and my blood clot. But our beautiful, healthy baby boy were worth all those challenges. My difficult pregnancy was an early lesson in the sacrificial love of a parent.



Do you want another baby?

Yes, although the thought of going through another pregnancy isn't super appealing as I'll need to start daily blood thinner injections the day after I get a positive pregnancy test. Ay yi yi. I'm more anxious about the pregnancy than having another C-section, honestly. But we really want to give Paul a sibling. And I want to go through the experience of having a baby with the perspective of how fast it goes. Everyone tells you it goes fast but until you experience it yourself, you can't understand how quickly a baby goes from being super cuddly to being too busy to cuddle with mom!! We will DEFINITELY be done after 2, though.


How does your body feel postpartum now at one year out?

Honestly, not awesome. It's been harder to bounce back and feel like myself than I thought it would. I thought the baby weight would come off much more easily, but it hasn't. I don't really like how I look and feel but I'm working on losing a little bit more weight before we start trying for another baby. I am trying to be kind to myself as my body has been through a lot in the past two years but I miss feeling fit and thin.

It has felt great to get back into exercise, though. I'm just so ready for warmer weather to arrive so I can go for daily walks/runs outside! We have sooo much snow and it's so dang cold that after-work walks/runs are just not possible.


What do you wish you had known in the early days?

That Paul would grow at his own pace. It was really hard to have a baby that struggled to gain weight. He still struggles to gain weight but he's been on his 4th percentile growth curve for quite awhile now so his weight gain (or lack thereof) hasn't been concerning since around 4 months. But in those early days, we had so many doctor appointments and weight checks. It was so stressful.



What are you plans for weaning from breast milk/transitioning to milk?

We are still working our way through the tail end of my frozen breast milk. Daycare is going to start to mix organic whole milk with my breast milk to ease the transition to whole milk. Hopefully he'll transition well to whole milk! It's going to be interesting/tricky to wean him off bottles, though. Right now I give him a bottle of breast milk while I am getting ready in the morning. It's really nice to be able to just hand him a bottle while I finish getting ready. He lays on his boppy and that's the only time of day that we let him watch tv (he watches whatever is on PBS kids). That's going to change when bottles are a thing of the past! That said I can't wait to be done washing bottles!



How is being back at work?

I thought I'd give an update on being back at work now that I've been back for a little over 7 months. I'm much happier back at work than I was in the early months. Honestly, July through December were pretty rough. I knew I had to give myself time to adjust to being back to work but I didn't think it would take THAT long to find my groove. It didn't help that I came back to a new boss and a reorganization at work. All through that difficult stretch I told myself that I needed to give it more time and that hopefully by the time Paul turned 1, I would feel much better about being a working mom. It's still hard to be a working mom but it's way less hard than it was in those early months, especially when Paul was waking 3-5 times a night thanks to those pesky, painful ear infections.

I still think a 6 month maternity leave would be optimal but I kind of doubt I can swing that. So if/when we have another child, I'll try to tack on some PTO to extend my maternity leave to 20 weeks or something like that. And at least if I struggle when I return to work after having a 2nd baby, I'll know that it's probably a temporary feeling.



How has having a baby impacted your marriage?

Having a baby definitely adds some stress to a relationship as you are both so tired, but Phil has been a trooper and has done as much as he can to bring the balance of work to 50/50 (for example we took turns getting up during the night with Paul when I returned to work, he's picked up chores like grocery shopping, and he sprays almost all of the poopy diapers). One lesson I had to learn early on is that we don't need to compete over who does more or who is more tired. That's a lesson I had to learn over and over again.

We haven't been on many dates since Paul was born. It's expensive to hire a babysitter and Paul sleeps for most of the time that the babysitter is there so it doesn't feel like the best use of money. But I don't want to miss out on time with him during the day since we see so little of him during the week. I do see a lot of Phil as Paul goes to bed around 6:30 so we get lots of couch time from 6:30-9pm. But we definitely need to work on going on dates more regularly, which is why I added the goal of quarterly dates to my 19 in 2019 list.

***

So there you have it! There have been challenges in the first year but overall I'd say it's been a wonderful year. Let me know if you have any other questions about being a new parent!