Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Temptations

Niall seems to be tempted by a lot of off-limits things these days... and I've been getting a little bit too relaxed lately with letting him roam around without my supervision.  Bad combo.

At first, I tried to keep him strapped in the johnny jump up all day while I worked.  When I realized that was cruel, I gated him into the room where I work and let him move around a little... but then he started pulling on the laptop cord, biting my leg, and getting bored with the tiny space.  So, then I decided to let him crawl around in the family room.  Big mistake.

It's just the room right next to me and it's all open (no doors between us), so I figured it would be fine if I baby-proofed it really well.  I can still hear him and everything.  So, I just put up a gate, took my keys and cell phone away, blocked off the stereo & DVD player, and checked the floor for anything I may not have noticed.  Lay out a few toys and back to work.  Well, not really, because this little explorer is not interested in baby toys.  He's interested in adult toys.  Anything in the room that is not meant to be played with- he will find it. 

About 5 minutes later, I hear a loud shatter.  As I sprint into the family room, I'm thinking "What could that possibly be?  I checked everything!"  (...followed by "Is Niall ok??")-- good thing I have my priorities straight ;)

There was Niall sitting on the floor with little shimmering specks of glass on his skin- not crying or anything; just a little shocked by the noise.  I had no idea those mirror coffee table trays were breakable!  I didn't even think it was real mirror in there.  It was only $20 from Target; I thought the whole thing was plastic.  Luckily, none of the large shards of broken mirror came out, but those little tiny pieces that you can barely see- those are the worst.

I wasn't even sure how to get them off of him without lodging them into his skin further- not to mention making sure I actually find all the hidden pieces.  So I took a burp cloth and starting swatting his face, arms and legs to try to gently sweep them away.  It would not have looked very good to a bystander.  Poor Niall was looking at me, thinking "Why is mommy beating on me?"  Well, it was a good try, the whole 'play by yourself' thing.  But I think we'll stick to leg biting and laptop cord pulling. 

When did you start letting your child play in a (somewhat) baby-proofed room by themselves?

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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Twilight Zone

Matt had to work Saturday, so I decided to take Niall on a nice walk to the park. I, instead, ended up taking a stroll through the twilight zone.

As we were heading down the sidewalk of a fairly busy road, I noticed a man running toward me... in the middle of the road. Actually, it was the middle of a lane. It probably would have been better if he had been right on the yellow line, somewhat out of everyone's way.

It was almost like he thought he was a biker and the cars needed to share the road with him. The best part was that there were 2 sidewalks on either side of him, but he wanted no part of that. He was goin' for it. All or nothing. He wasn't even trying to stay off to the side, either. He was just right smack in the middle.

He looked like he had never run a day in his life, but woke up that morning to some kind of revelation. He must have rolled out of bed and said to himself, "This is the first day of the rest of my life!" He was short and stocky, with a scruffy beard, a v-neck undershirt, and an 80's sweatband across his forehead, probably in his mid 50s. He was so adorable, I was really hoping that nobody would be too mean to him.

I think the cars behind him were too confused to honk or get angry. They just kind of lingered for a second to see if he would move and then drove around him. All I could do was burst out laughing, but I'm sure if I were one of those drivers, there would be a lot more than giggles coming out of my mouth.

Then, on our way home from the park, I decided to take the scenic route home through the neighborhood. And it really was quite the scene when I came upon this lovely house... A 1964 submarine missile parked in the driveway (my guess is permanently), with 26 political signs posted in their front yard. You have to feel bad for the neighbors if they ever want to sell their house- their property value just took quite the plummet because of Clark Griswold over here.

(the missile)

(the so-called front lawn)

I always wonder the real point of those signs. I'd like to think that people put a little more thought into their government leaders than they did their high school president. You can't possibly expect people to look at your sign and say "I want to vote for the popular one!" I had hopes that people might be smarter than that, but you never can tell.

Or are the signs just because you want everyone to know your political point of view? Maybe you could just get a tatoo and not ugly up the entire neighborhood. Maybe I'm being too harsh... what if it is the running man's house?! That would be too perfect ;)

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Best of Mom Quotes

I love the attitude and thinking of moms who have more than 3 kids.  They crack me up with their stories of going from doting perfect mother to unfazed neglector.  I am sure this is what will happen to me after number 2, but right now I'm still trying pretty hard to be perfect (keyword trying).

I still check on Niall in the middle of the night and during his naps to make sure he's breathing.  I have this crazy fear that he is somehow incapable of taking a breath on his own, without my life supporting hand on his back.  The scary part is that I'm not sure what to do if I go in and he's really not breathing.  I know how to do CPR, but I've never actually had to put it to use and I'm pretty sure I'd be horrible at it.

So, I was in California for the wedding and kept sneaking away from the crowd to do the old breathing check.  My stepmom asked me what I was doing, so I told her about my fear and asked if she ever grew out of that phase (assuming she had been in it at some point).  She looked a little confused, like she had never done the world famous breathing check before.  When I elaborated, asking her if she ever went in while her kids were sleeping to make sure they were still alive, she responded:

"Why would I do that?  I would risk waking them up."

Hahahaha!  I love it.  It's a good point...


Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Sagittarius

The lady sitting next to us on the flight home from Cali was a big horoscope/zodiac sign buff and was telling us all about how Niall really fits with the characteristics for his sign- sagittarius.  So, of course, as soon as I got home I started looking up the scoop on Sagittarius.

I know it sounds a little naive to think that every person born under every sign is going to act in that exact way or display all of those characteristics, but I was completely shocked at how much Niall fits the bill.  I put stars by the traits that describe Niall to a tee...

Positive Traits & Likes:                               
optimistic and freedom loving*       
good humored*                          
honest/ straightforward                 
on the move all the time*
full of energy*
love traveling and exploring*
love of outdoors*
irrepressible sense of fun*
good athletes
good musicians
good sense of morality

Negative Traits & Dislikes:
gambling problem (yikes!)
refuse to grow up
dislikes being confined*
dislikes disapproval from others*

I just think it's fun to see how you compare to what the stars are saying :)

Anyway, I was really excited to see Sagittarians tend to be both great athletes and great musicians.  I think Niall may have both in the bag.  Check this out- holding a football while wearing an Alice in Chains t-shirt (thanks Sarah!).  It's Matt's favorite band, so they now have matching gear (one in black and one in white)...

He has also been dabbling in a little bit of piano on the side- he's the real tortured artist type, moaning in frustration as he strives to give his best work yet...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blog Hops and Botched Soup

So yesterday... It's a shame that coming home from a vacation always has to be like waking up 2 hours before finals, to realize that you had only done 10 minutes of studying prior to passing out. It's like I can feel the clocking ticking in my ear and as much as I'm REALLY trying (and feeling like I'm doing a lot), I'm literally getting nothing done. Nothing.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and that was about it. How was that all I accomplished in 24 hours, I really don't know. Well, maybe I have an idea... it has to do with different strokes for different folks.

My stepbrother's girlfriend has 2 kids and was sharing some of her much appreciated advice with me- what I thought sounded like a fantastic idea, actually. Spend all day Sunday making a big pot of soup for the week and then you don't have to worry about it for the rest of the week. I'm sure that this works for a lot of people, and I can see how it does. But it doesn't work for me.

I learned the hard way that I would much rather spend one hour every single day making food than 6 agonizing hours in one single day. I'm not even kidding- I had to stop every hour and sit on the couch because I felt like I was becoming a hunchback. Matt had to massage my low back while I threw myself over the counter.

When all was said and done, I had to figure out how to de-bone and de-skin a boiled chicken without scorching my fingers and ultimately ended up ruining the entire batch of veggie filled soup. In my attempt to shield my baby from the poisonous sodium in canned beans, I attempted to boil, clean, let sit, drain and rinse a bag of beans in their raw form. Can I just ask, WHO DOES THAT??? It's not worth it. EVER. I'll take the 0.004321% of sodium in the can, thank you.

By the way, you also have to cook them for another ridiculous chunk of time after that, which I forgot to do. So my soup is full of half cooked, half uncooked, half mush veggies. I feel bad about it, but there's no way I'm wasting the whole thing after all that work. I'm going to throw it, bit by bit, into our 1 cup food processor (thus defeating the whole purpose of cooking ahead of time), and Niall is going to gobble it up.

Oy vay. It may be time to give myself a break and go with some jars. I think it's about time I stop feeling bad about not being able to breastfeed. Making my own baby food isn't necessarily going to redeem me- not matter what I tell myself.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Honeymoon's Over

Oh, jetlag.  Why do you make life so complicated?  It's a lot more difficult when it's not just me who has to recover- it's poor Niall, too.  He woke up really late this morning, took the world's longest nap and then zonked out for the night at 6:30 pm.  Me, on the other hand, I have SOOO much to do I can feel my head spinning and I just know it's going to take another couple days for Niall to get back on track.

Aside from the craziness of today (which I'll have to talk about tomorrow), the wedding/vacation was great.  It was definitely different than the vacations we are used to- even the one we took with Niall several months ago.  For some reason, it was just so much more exhausting.  The flight was incredibly long- 10 hours including the layover- and he's so much more active now, it was tough to keep up.  No plane napping any more- or reading a magazine or listening to an ipod or relaxing in general.

I have to be grateful, though, because he was as good as a traveling family could hope for.  He only cried for maybe 10 minutes total over the course of both trips.  He just wanted to explore.  If it wasn't looking out the window or grabbing at the poor guy next to us, he was crawling all over the dirty disgusting floor.  But I was too tired to fight him on that one.  At one point he got stuck under the seat and we had to really work together to get him out of there.  He also liked picking up the crumbs and playing with them in between his fingers.  I never in a million years would have thought I would allow that.  You learn to choose your battles.

Anyway, Lauren (my stepsister) was beautiful and beaming with happiness, and the setting was even more amazing than I could have imagined.  We were literally right up there on the cliffs with the sun setting right in front of our eyes.

We had some of the most amazing food we've ever had, but I can't say the same for Niall.  He was stuck with the baby food jars which he poo-poo'd the whole time.  Nothin like mom's home cookin ;)

But in the process, the cutest thing happened.  He was making the most horrible grimace, so I thought "I have to get a picture of this!"  When I went to snap a photo, he purposely smiled at the camera.  It was so bizarre.  How could he possibly know that you're supposed to smile at a camera?  So, I tested the theory and snapped another shot.  Same thing!  I did it 5 more times and each one just got cuter and funnier.

The trip was a blast, but it blew by in what felt like 2 days.  We are completely exhausted and it almost felt like half work, half vacation, but we loved the vacation part.  Would I do the whole thing again?  Absolutely, but I would spend the extra money to get a direct flight.  No more wasting an entire day in travel.  And I would definitely allot at least 3 recovery days when I got home ;)

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A little vacation

When I booked my flight to San Diego two months ago, I was very careful about making a wise seating selection. Niall has flown before, but this was when he could barely move. He sat there like a little angel bump on a log and everyone around us just smiled and admired him. I don't think we're going to be so lucky this time.

He's all over the place- squirming and crawling and bouncing up and down, so I had a feeling it was going to take some serious focus from both Matt and myself to keep the rest of coach class from killing us. This is why I picked seats that a) kept us all together, b) had at least one of us on the aisle, and c) were close to the front so we can get off there as quickly as possible when the flight is over.

We have 4 flights total; 2 going and 2 coming back home. I sat in front of that online seating chart for a good half hour, making sure I had the ideal scenario for all 4 flights.

So you can imagine my excitement when I checked my itinerary this morning to find the following message: "would you like to choose your seats?" (or let the airline do it for you). My blood just started boiling and I immediately had visions of Matt in the front of the plane and me and Niall stuck in the very last seat, with Niall spitting and puking all over the guy next to me.

I was told that the airline must have "reset" their seating chart after I had made my arrangements. Cool. Thanks for letting me know. My best shot is to get to the airport early and explain my situation. Customer service people are so not helpful. They always refer you to someone else who is just as clueless.

I'm trying to stay positive and focus on the beautiful week we're about to have instead of dwelling on the horrible flight we're up against. My stepsister is getting married right outside of San Diego, at the cliffs of La Jolla. It looks so amazing that all of these little glitches along the way seem totally worth it.

Plus Niall will get to see Grammo and Grampo- it's been over 3 months!

I won't have my laptop out there, so I'll be back on the blog next Tuesday.  Thanks for stopping by :)

Photo Credit: Estate Wedding and Events

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Monday, August 16, 2010


I feel so guilty... this is how I start a lot of my thoughts and conversations, which is something I really need to work on. I think a lot of us moms have been made to feel guilty about one thing or another in our parenting abilities. Not to mention all the other aspects of our lives.

Anyway, I feel terrible when I'm working from home and glance over to find Niall just staring at the floor (or me), bored as can be. I never knew that working from home could actually be as difficult as doing the whole day care, go to work thing.

As a work-at-home mom, you essentially become both the day care provider (which is a full time job in itself) and the business professional. It's really tricky finding the balance of getting your work done and providing a stimulating environment for your baby.

So of course, my pediatrician started making me feel guilty about this when Niall was a mere 4 months old- "Have you started socializing him yet?" is what she asked me. I beg your pardon? Socializing. For a 4 month old. Not only should I be making sure he is interacting with other babies, but apparently they really need to be within a few months of his age.

Am I supposed to go to some baby picking farm and find me some perfectly ripe, socially acceptable babies for Niall to take home with us? I thought this was pretty strange, but it freaked me out a little. Of course we all want to do what is best for our babies. I don't want Niall to be the loner amongst all the other 4 month olds or anything ;)

So now, here we are at 9 months and I've done a pretty shabby job of getting Niall to all these baby parties and what not. Thank goodness for baby Jack. We try to get them together once a week, but it usually ends up being every other week. When they finally get the chance to catch up, they have a lot to talk about- typically how difficult life is, what brand of diapers they're using, and how their napping schedules have been lately...

They were playing the steel drums today (aka formula cans and milk cartons with wooden spoons) and really rocked out. Debbie and I are hoping that one day, they'll hit it big and be able to say they started their garage band together when they were less than a year old!

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scared of the Dark

You may think this post is going to be about Niall having trouble with the dark- that would make sense. But no, this is about me-- not him. Niall was perfectly fine last night while Daddy was down at the bay house and we were all alone back home. Mommy, on the other hand, was a little bit of a scaredy cat.

I don't know what it is, but I just can't stand being alone in our house at night.
Any house, really. I just notice every little noise and shadow and can't seem to let myself relax.

So, of course, I started off the bedtime routine by checking every closet and looking under all the beds. What would I do if I peeked into a closet and came face to face with the very murderer I was trying to reassure myself wasn't there? I never thought that far ahead. I don't know why it makes me feel good to go checking through the whole house without so much as a fly swatter to protect myself.

It's like I know that nobody is there, but I just need to prove it. Here's hoping I'm never unpleasantly surprised. Anyway, I kissed Niall goodnight (who was completely content, sleeping like a... baby), and quickly crawled under my covers. What more natural thing to think about at this point than the movie "Paranormal Activity"? It only makes sense to torture myself for the next 8 hours and never go to sleep.

Every time I started to doze off, I heard creaks in the stairs and immediately remembered the ghost lady who lived in this house before us- and the potential murderers under the beds, of course.

The weirdest part was that I wanted to grab Niall out of the crib and pull him in bed with me... no, not to protect him in an act of mommy bravery- but to protect myself! For some reason, I just feel safe when someone is next to me- even if it is only an 8 month old baby. He's the next man of the house, after all. He has to protect his mama :)

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Mean Trick?

...or best gift ever?

 (I think I'm getting some good ideas for Christmas presents here!)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wait for me!

I went to take the trash out the other day and came back to the little eager beaver smooshing his face up against the storm door, wondering why I couldn't have taken him along for the ride.  At least that's what I assume he was wondering.  It may have been something more along the lines of "Help! Get me away from  these crazy people!"

I saw his little silouette in the distance and approached slowly, watching him get more and more excited each time I popped up a little closer.  When I finally made it to the door, I put my hands up to his and gave him a kiss through the glass, making him jump up and down and smile from ear to ear.

It made me realize the best thing about being a mom- you can be totally yourself, everything you do is funny, and they really truly need you more than anything else in the world.  You are the best thing that ever happened to that little boy or girl (and vice versa).

You would think that would be a lot of pressure, but it doesn't feel like that at all to me.  It has made me confident, calm, and almost fearless.  I don't think about what could happen to me anymore; I just concentrate on what is going on with him.

For someone who spent the better part of her life anxiety ridden and worrying about her impending doom, it's something totally different for me.  I'm in mommy protective mode and it feels really good to care about someone else more than myself.  I haven't had a panic attack in almost 2 years now!  Who would have thought a baby could de-stress your life?

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Whatchamacalit

I've really been missing the boat with these gadgets that are supposed to make life easier for you and baby.  The age ranges are always so broad that he starts out too little and then, before I know it, he's outgrown it.

I tried the bumbo seat when Niall was about 5 months old, but he seemed too little.  The next time I tried it, he was 7 months old and squirming out of the thing.  A friend later informed me that babies generally use the bumbo from about 4-6 months.  Woops.  I've been doing that with almost all of our baby stuff. 

About a month ago, I had tried out that thing that you put fruit in and let them suck on (with the mesh netting)- I can't remember the name, so I've been calling it the whatchamacalit- but Niall wasn't into it.  Well kudos to me, I finally remembered to pull it out again before it was too late.

We were playing in the back yard and Niall noticed me eating a clementine.  He got that crazed look in his eye and started attacking me.  I decided to let him suck on it for a minute, even though it's not one of the standard baby fruits (with the seeds and all).  And then I realized that the whatchamacalit would be perfect for this occasion!  He was even able to multitask for a minute there...

I couldn't believe it.  He held it and sucked on it and everything... until he started getting distracted by everything else in the yard.  First, it was the book in front of him, then it was the blades of grass, then it was a weed flower, then back to the blades of grass.  He looked like he had to make some life altering decision between the weed flower and the grass.  He ultimately picked the weed flower- a good choice.  Gotta love when babies get ADD!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Temptations

Since Niall has really been going at it with the off-limits household items, I thought I'd showcase his newest obsession each week.

While the VCR slot is not the worst thing Niall could be jamming his hand into, I think it's so funny that he seems to know when he is doing something or touching something he shouldn't be. He really wants to push the envelope to see what will happen.

First, he gets really excited and starts aggressively touching/ hitting the cool new object and then suddenly looks around to make sure nobody is watching him. If he turns around to find me giving him the "no-no" look, he flashes this big guilty smile and goes right back to it.

I read somewhere that you're not supposed to say "NO!" to babies with too many things because the word will just lose its meaning if overused. So I try to let him explore, as long as I'm keeping a close eye on him. Does anyone else let their babies play with potentially dangerous items as long as you're watching closely? Maybe this is a bad thing??

This week it was the VCR slot of the TV in the guest room at the bay house...

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wine and Onesies

My friend makes these really cute baby onesies with slogans like "rock n stroll" and "strollin with my homies."  So she had a little get together last night to have some wine, appetizers, and sell some of her onesies.  Of course, Matt wanted me to special request an Alice In Chains album cover design for Niall.  It's always good to have your 8 month old idolize a heroin addict.  This is the design we're going to ask for:

We've been dying to get these babies together, though.  After 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts, Niall and little Piper finally got to see each other.  We feel like we know each other's babies from our blogs, but this was the first time for all of us to meet.

There were probably 6 babies total, but we were all a little overwhelmed.  I don't think any of us have been around that many babies at one time.  It's so hard to hold a conversation with someone when you can see your baby pulling a vase off of the coffee table out of the corner of your eye.

The whole night, all of the moms would sprint to scoop up their baby (before they destroyed something) and then turn around and ask "what was I just saying?"  The other mom, of course, didn't know because her baby was trying to pull another baby's hair or having a mini meltdown.  It was so funny.  We all had a blast.

I'm so mad at myself, though, because I'm always so concerned with taking a million pictures of Niall that I forget to take some of myself with my friends.  Here's one of Niall with another baby just about his same age.  He was trying to hug her (I hope), but it looked a little more like a death grip.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

I am MaMaa!

Today's conversation with Niall went something like this...

Me: Ok, Niall. You're going to play on the floor while mommy makes lunch.
Niall: Waaaaaaa
Me: Niall, mommy can't hold you all the time. You're going to have to learn to play by yourself sometimes.
Niall: Waaaaaaa
Me: I'm sorry, Niall, but I'm not going to pick you up. You will be ok.
Niall: MaaaMaaa (with that sad little shaky, crying voice and puppy dog eyes)
Me: Oh my gosh, you called me mama and really meant it! That makes me feel so special! (I pat him on the head and give him a big hug, but don't pick him up).
Niall: (desperately, frantically reaching his hands toward me) MaaaMaa...MaaMaaa!
Me: What's that? You want me to hold you forever and never put you down? Ok, that sounds good to me. Just remember that when you're 17 and don't want to be seen with me.

I'm such a sucker!

P.S. I just added my blog to a giveaway search engine so we can hopefully start giving away some cool stuff here on my blog! Look at my sidebar to see the latest giveaways that you can sign up for.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Keep em coming

People think I'm absolutely crazy when I say that I want 6 kids. They are also confident that I will change my mind after 2. Even though I'm only on number 1, I'm over 8 months in and still feel the same way.

My feelings were officially confirmed when we attended "bay camp" yesterday. Every year, my mother in law has a bunch of the little cousins for a week at the bay house. We play in the pool, make fun desserts (best ice cream cake I've ever had), and tell ghost stories around the bonfire.

Niall obviously couldn't participate in the desserts or ghost stories, but he had so much fun being around everyone. In our down time, the cousins would crowd around him while he played with his toys on the family room floor. It was a perfect circle surrounding him, everyone waiting for his next move.

It just made me smile and think how much fun it would be to have a bunch of kids playing together like this all the time. Okay, I'm not completely naive- I'm aware there will be a lot of screaming, crying and hair pulling. But I still think it's worth it for moments like these...

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Note to Self...

Don't leave the diaper bag open while Niall is playing in the family room...

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