Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No More Nappy

Well, it could be a fluke- just some weird little glitch in the schedule last night, but I sense some serious changes coming in this little man's sleep patterns. From day one, he has always woken up between 5:30-6:30. Almost always around 6. I couldn't even believe what happened this morning...

He woke up last night at 1 am, so I shut his door on my way out, hoping that he wouldn't hear Matt get up for work in the morning- and I might get a few extra minutes of shut eye.

Oh man, did that work. Could we have been provoking his early rising this entire time?? Should I have been shutting his door all along? I hit the snooze at 6:40 when I realized he was still asleep, turned it off at 6:50, and woke to my own surprise at 7:20. I couldn't believe he was still asleep.

So after I paced around like a lost dog for a few minutes, wondering what I should do or where I should go, I decided to take advantage. I went downstairs, got some breakfast, turned on the news, checked my email. What the heck was going on here?

The boy didn't get up until 8:30! And he was happy as a clam, I might add. That might not sound like a big deal to some of you, but this little explorer is quite the early riser.

He doesn't even let us sleep in when we pull him into bed with us on Saturday and Sunday. He just starts smacking us in the head and stepping on our faces until we give up.

So just as I was getting really excited about this new wake up time, I realized the flip side of the coin... that this was surely going to affect his naps- and it did.

Niall usually takes an hour and a half morning nap and an hour and a half afternoon nap- I know, jackpot. Believe me, I have never taken that for granted. But I am kind of excited to finally be able to do some of these toddler groups that always seem to take place during one of his naps.

Based on today, it looks like we're skipping the second nap- leaving me with an hour and a half less free time each day. That is, unless I can continue to get my butt out of bed at 6:30. Hmmm... is anyone else going through the napping transition?  How are you coping?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Lazy Bones

Blame it on the triptophan (is that how you spell the chemical in turkey that makes you sleep??)-- I didn't get around to anything, much less writing on this blog over the long holiday weekend.  But I think that's what Thanksgiving is all about- aside from giving thanks ;)

I had big plans to take pix of Niall holding a giant turkey leg and put it up as my "Happy Thanksgiving" post... didn't happen.  Then, I was going to write additional posts about grandparents, aunts and uncles and everything we were doing over the weekend... didn't happen.

We didn't even make it to the much anticipated Christmas tree lighting and Santa photo opp on Friday.  And to top it all off, I only took 1 pic from the entire holiday.  I just ate, drank and laid around.  And I loved every minute of it.

{Niall holding up a fake hot dog while riding around in his radio flyer wagon}

All I could think about was how I couldn't remember anything from Thanksgiving last year (Niall was only 4 days old), and how I really needed to soak it all in and make up for lost time this year.  So naturally, I also decided to allow myself to indulge in 3 pieces of pumpkin cheesecake.  I deserve it!!  (is what I kept telling myself)

The story ends with my "life changing" healthy lifestyle diet that starts today.  Wish me luck (it's not that hard- all of the food is really good, so I have no excuse if I fail)...

oatmeal with sliced half banana, brown sugar, walnuts
half grapefruit
glass of water
cup of tea

glass of almond milk
vanilla yogurt with blueberries and granola
glass of water

corn, tomato, avocado, black bean salad
green salad with chicken, tomato, cucumber
1 small piece of dark chocolate
glass of water

mixed nuts
glass of water

fish/ chicken
brown rice/ whole wheat pasta
glass of water

This should last until about a week before Christmas, when I will binge again until the new year.  Tis the season :)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~Male Bonding~

Go Skins!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pirate Party Recap

Let me start with some advice for first time parents... go to the store and see what they have for children's parties before choosing your theme.  Who would have thought "pirates" are SOOO yesterday??  I saw these cute little kid pirate invites online and decided that would be perfect.  Huge mistake- I could barely find anything pirate related in the stores.  We scoured, hunted and made do, though. 

I'm so happy (and surprised) that I was able to get some good pictures from the day.  I figured it would be tough finding the time to snap photos while entertaining guests, refilling platters, etc-- but chasing a jungle boy around the house (with doors opening and closing all over the place) made it almost impossible. 

It's actually pretty shocking that he didn't get lost at some point.  I would hand him off to someone to talk to people coming and going, and it was like a game of telephone.  I would look at the person who I handed him off to, then they had passed him to someone else, who had handed him to someone else.  I'm surprised I didn't find him swimming in the toilet by the end of the night.

I honestly think it would be an accurate guesstimate to say I was with him less than 50% of the time.  But I made sure I was by his side (or all up in his face) for the best parts...

How cool is this vintage radio flyer ride from Grammo and Grampo? 
(the night before the party)

You would think they could have made a simple pirate with an earring or treasure chest or something a little more appropriate for a one year old... but no, our only option was Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom facing off on the scrub deck ;)  It was the best sheet cake I've ever had, though!

This is so funny because I have almost the same exact picture at Jack's first birthday party- they were on 2 of Jack's ride on toys; now they're on 2 of Niall's b-day ride on toys.

Opening a few presents- I think Niall is saying "What the heck is going on here?  Those are mine!  Make some room people!"

Surprise Guest Captain Jack Sparrow arrives!

Why is everyone shouting at me?

Hmmm, interesting...

Vvvverrrry interesting!

 A pretty good day, all in all

Sigh, I guess all good things come to an end :(

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Niall!

So here I am, sitting in the silence of my house and my thoughts on Niall's first birthday.  He just went down for a nap and it's all really starting to hit me.  A whole year has gone by since I first held him in my arms.

I would try to stop at certain points throughout the day and say "Oh, this is when he first looked at me" and "This is when I changed his first diaper," etc.  But the truth is that it was all a complete blur.  I was so doped up on anesthesia from the c-section, I barely remember him being handed to me.  And then we were in such a whirlwind of excitement, the other details all sort of blended together.

I don't know if it would have mattered if I weren't on drugs anyway, though.  I think everything has been such a blink of an eye, regardless of any circumstances.  And now I'm realizing that it's been that way throughout this entire year- and probably will be for the rest of his life.  It's all a blur of excitement, happiness, frustration, challenges and learning.  Thank God I started this blog to be able to look back on all of it.

I can flip through "first year" calendars, blog posts, pictures and videos to find the important milestones I want to tell him about one day (or remember for my own sake).  But the truly precious moments happen in the spur of the moment, when you don't have a camera or simply can't be described in words.  These are the ones I'll have to hold in my heart and hope I can always remember.

Matt and I have learned so much about ourselves and grown in so many ways in the last year, and we have to thank Niall for all of it.  I know it will only get better and better.  Here is a look back on Niall's first year...

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Friday, November 19, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Let's just get right to the point here...

Tomorrow's my first birthday party. I don't know what that means, but there's been a lot of hype. My very own Pirate Party. Everyone keeps saying how special and fun it's gonna be- and I heard something about lots of presents. All for me! So here's what I want...

6 doggies
12 gallons of ice cream
278 gazillion bubbles
9 sets of keys on really jangly keychains
23 cell phones in working condition
Elmo to come live with us FOREVER
347 balloons in every color
my very own park with lots of slides and swings
3 laptops
8 phone chargers
2 cars (preferably baby sized)
934 books with pop out scenes
862 crinkly cloth books
electrical outlet without plugs in it

That's all- I'm not asking a lot.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Lay Mom's Bucket List

Things have been CRAZY these last 2 days- scheduling delivery of our new mattress (Thank God!!- old one was almost as old as me), going to a friend's b-day lunch 45 min away, planning Niall's 1st b-day party, preparing for grandparents to come stay with us... the list goes on and on.

But the more I think about it, the list is always going on and on. It's very rare that I get through a day and think, "hmmm, that was kind of boring- didn't have too much to do today." Which brought me to an important realization... if I'm always going to be this busy (I'm assuming it's not going to be any easier with 2 or 3 kids), how am I going to accomplish all of the extraordinary things I want to do with my life?

Most of the really ambitious things I want to do don't involve a baby-- but Niall is way better than any crazy awesome check off that list, so I decided to mix things up a bit- you know, adapt. Because that's what being a mom is all about.

I'm not going to use Niall as an excuse and just throw in the life accomplishments towel. I'm simply going to create a new list- an attainable list. A better list!

So here it is- the lay mom's bucket list...
  • go to Philly to seek out THE world's best cheese steak (which will involve indulging in at least 10 different cheese steaks with no regrets or shame)
  • write a book- I have actually written a 175 page book that I was supposed to spend the last 6 months editing and have yet to touch it. It will get done some day!
  • Find a 4 leaf clover- so help me, I feel like everyone I know has found one but I've never been able to :(
  • make my own ice cream and/or bread from scratch
  • do a podcast or comedy skit and publish it online
  • spend one Christmas with my family helping in the homeless shelter and give away all of our presents
  • have a conversation with someone who doesn't speak the same language as me
  • host a tea party- I've always wondered if women actually get together for a scheduled tea drinking and pastry eating event.  Sounds like fun!
  • roast a chestnut over an open fire
  • bike the MS 150
  • go on a short family road trip with no destination or itinerary

That's all I got- do you have any fun, easy to accomplish things on your bucket list that I can steal??

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

What can I say?  The kid loves his goldfish ;)

**Side Note** I am SO bummed... a few of my friends and family have been trying to vote for me every day on Top Baby/Mommy blogs and I'm realizing now that their votes haven't ever been tallied.  I'm pretty sure I know why...


It's really annoying and not very clear, but you have to click one more time after you hit the button here on this page.  The first time you click, it only brings you to a page that asks again if you want to vote for the person.  Once you click that, you have officially voted.  So, it's 2 clicks to vote.

Thanks to everyone for helping me out!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Captain Crunch

That's my new name... because that's the sound I make at least 4 times a day, when walking around our house- Crunch!  No matter where I go or how many times I vacuum, I somehow manage to squash another one of those sneaky little goldfish or cheerios under my foot. 

It's pretty obvious to any parent of a toddler that 1+ year olds make messes when they eat.  It's not that hard of a concept to grasp.  But it can be pretty tough for 2 anal OCD clean freaks to get used to.  Especially when we managed to perfectly maneuver each little spoonful of pureed perfection into Niall's little mouth for the last 6 months. I would brag about how it only took 1 single wipe to clean up the whole scene after each meal.

Well, the times, they are a changin.  And we better just find a way to get used to it.  I'm definitely coping better than Matt, but it's still an uphill battle.  Finding a cheerio or goldfish on the ground is one thing- but avocado mashed into the rug and hunks of wet, chunky cottage cheese on the floor is a whole other ball game.

Matt came home last night to quite the scene- Niall was flinging chicken and butternut squash soup covered rice all over the place.  He just about had a heart attack.  I believe his exact words were: "What's going on here-- Is this some kind of free-for-all??!"  To which, I replied, "He's learning to feed himself, Matt.  We're just going to have to get over it."  He anxiously rubbed his face and hopelessly sighed, "But there's...there's... a piece of chicken on the floor!  I don't think this is normal."  A piece.  A piece of chicken.  If only he had walked in 10 minutes earlier.

We have a long way to go, but I have hope.  Here's a little example of snack time...

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Monday, November 15, 2010

On a Serious Note...

Since I started this baby blog, I've come across a lot of other interesting mom blogs- some funny, some cute, and some very sad. Last week, Amy, @ A Good Life Blog, referred me to the story of a family who recently lost their 18 month old daughter, and it's really had an impact on me.

Long story short, the young couple went on a date and left little Preslee with the grandparents. Somehow or another, Preslee fell into a canal and drifted a mile and a half down stream, where she washed up to a farmer's feet. He successfully completed CPR and she was airlifted to the intensive care unit. She held on for a little while, but there was too much swelling in her brain and she passed away a week later.

preslee jo sullenger
12.17.08 - 7.16.10

It has been really tough on this family, but they have shown an incredible amount of faith and strength-- most of all, selflessness. Ashley and Patrick are now asking people to help them with a really easy way to celebrate Preslee's upcoming 2nd birthday- Project Pay it Forward.

The idea came when they were so suddenly whisked away to the hospital, completely unprepared for their week long stay. When Preslee needed their constant love and attention, the last thing they wanted to deal with was a trip to Walmart to get some basic toiletries and snacks. They are now putting baskets together for other families who are spending time in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit).

I know it's tough finding time to volunteer and finding the money to make a substantial donation to an organization, so this is a really easy and practical way to do something nice for others this holiday season. Visit her blog to read their story (start at July 10, 2010 to get the full story) and get details on Project Pay it Forward: The Sullengers.

I know you'll be as touched as I was. I read her story last week and went to bed sobbing... I woke up and sobbed some more... and now, a week later, I still can't stop thinking about that family and little girl. The thought of losing Niall is too much for me to bear, as I'm sure it is for anyone who has a child. I hope you'll be able to help make Preslee's birthday a truly inspirational and unforgettable one for the Sullengers.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Serious Confusion

Sometimes my ideas are better in theory than in real life.  I've been wanting to do a funny family portrait card ever since Niall was born, but last Christmas was a little hectic with him being just a month old... and then there really wasn't a good excuse for a family portrait after the holidays. 

So I started thinking about ideas for this monumental occasion a few (more like 6, to be exact) months ago.  I wanted it to be one of those serious but joking types of pictures- ones that only the people closest to you can really "get" what you're trying to pull off.  Everyone else would probably look at it and think, "What the ???"

Which is exactly what happened to me at my wedding.  I had a similar idea about our wedding song.  Matt is really into music, but it all just happens to be depressing kill yourself music- not ideal for a first dance.  I was all about the cute fun songs like David Gray and Billy Joel and Van Morrison.

Most men would probably just let the woman pick the song and go with it.  But Matt's music passion prevented him from being able to back down.  He was not going to give in and dance to some "lame" song with 250 people watching him.  And I knew that it would not be a very genuine couple's dance if it was something that only I liked.  So we decided to just make a joke of the whole thing and pick some ridiculous soft rock 90s song.  Surely, people would know that we were joking, right?

Wrong.  Crickets and blank stares.  Our initial plan was to keep a straight face through the whole thing, but when it started getting uncomfortably awkward, we decided to laugh and make a bigger joke of it.  And yet still, I'm pretty sure 1/2 the guests had no idea that "On the Wings of Love" was not some sentimental and meaningful melody between us.

So our Christmas card will be in the same spirit- the young family and friends will probably laugh, while the older crowd/ distant relatives will probably be severely confused.  I couldn't upload the actual card template, but this is the picture we used.  What do you think?  Obviously joking or hard to tell?

PS. Matt is really embarrassed about his man boob in this pic.  I wouldn't have even noticed until he pointed it out, but now I can really see it!

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