Friday, May 22, 2015

party all week

It's been an ordinary (but lovely- ordinary doesn't always mean boring) week here. We work, we commute, we cook, we clean. We enjoy our sweet girl and try to make the most of every minute we have with her.

Like with a Tuesday night pool party in the driveway. Who says swimming is only for weekends? 

You see this face? This face likes to swim EVERY night.
We're trucking along with Whole30- today makes Day 22, so the end is nearly in sight.

Can't say I haven't been thinking about that day and about the glorious phase of 'reintroduction,' as they call it.

Since I don't see an official day to reintroduce gum, I'm going to assume it's day 1! Wooo!
 On Wednesday night we celebrated my niece's first birthday! Millie was a big fan of the party hats. And also, not shockingly, the cupcakes.


Trust me, I know exactly what to do with food.



We didn't actually let her eat one...I just wanted to see if she knew what to do when presented with a frosting-and-sprinkle-covered item. Eliana basically just stared at her cupcake for a few minutes and looked bewildered. But then, she doesn't eat many finger foods, so how was she supposed to know to pick it up and shove it in her mouth? Millie, on the other hand, eats with her hands all day long. So I was pretty sure she would know exactly what to do with a cupcake. And I was right. Cupcake right in the face, BAM. I snatched it away (mean Mommy, I know), but she had several good licks of frosting before I could wipe off her hands and face, so she felt like it was a pretty good deal.

Obviously it would be awesome if there were pictures of this monumental moment, but I live in a constant state of "memory full; no space available for new pictures" on my phone, and it all happened too fast for me to have time to delete older pictures, so...no pictures. Waaaaah. My next phone is going to have one billion gigs of memory. Mark my words.

On Thursday Millie got to have water day at school! Not surprisingly, she was a big fan.


I showed those babies how we DO it!!

I was pretty jealous of her teachers for getting to experience that much cuteness in one morning. But then I became un-jealous when I calculated how much work it was to suit up, sunscreen, and swim diaper all those babies...and then keep them all happy and supervised...and then undo it all twenty minutes later when they were done. Yeah. Hats off to them.

The transition to the crib is going okay, still. She's better and better through the night- she doesn't wake up or need help hardly at all in the middle of the night now. But the going to bed part is definitely not as smooth as it used to be in the Rock n Play. I think that back then, even if she wasn't overly exhausted, once we laid her down...well, she may lay there for awhile with her eyes open, or babble, but there just wasn't much she could do, swaddled and stuck in a small enclosure like that. So she'd fall asleep pretty fast. But now, if she's not absolutely exhausted? Well...FREEEEEDOMMMM!! She can roll around, hop up, throw her pacis on the ground, jump...I mean, the world is her oyster. She takes advantage. And it's the same in the morning. Even in the RnP, she would often start stirring earlier than we were ready for her to get up- 6:30 or so. But we'd put her paci back in, leave her alone, and she really had nothing else to do but fall back asleep. But now, when she wakes up early...well, it's the same as at night. She just gets herself on up for the party.

So anyway- all of that is to say that she's not getting as much sleep as normal. And then her days are filled with swimming and sun and birthday parties, and sometimes it just all adds up to this:

Zzzzzzzz.....
Sometimes you just can't stay awake to finish your breathing treatment. I had turned around to work on some packing- two seconds later I look at her and she's toppled over asleep!! It was the cutest and most pitiful thing ever! Don't worry- I picked her up and cuddled her while she slept and finished her treatment. Then I put her straight in the bed and for once (this week, anyway) there was just stillness and sleep. Sweet girl didn't even have it in her to give us a good roll. 

We are visiting my family this weekend- we are looking forward to spending time with Millie's cousins, doing some swimming and fishing, and most importantly, seeing my grandparents! They are coming all the way from Texas and this will be Millie's first time to meet her great-grands! I'm so excited- they had been waiting and hoping and praying for her right along with the rest of us, and I am so thankful that they will finally get to meet her.

I hope you have a wonderful long weekend (well, if you're American. Sorry everyone else.)!

P.S. Today it occurred to me that I graduated from college TEN YEARS AGO, so now I feel particularly ancient. That is all.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

big.

It seems like my Little Bit all but grew up this weekend.

She's basically a big girl now. Waaaaah.

I mean, I've seen it coming, lately. I leave her sitting on the floor in the living room and two minutes later find that she's pulled up on the couch.

Well, that's because I'm a big girl.
 And when we play in her room, she chooses complicated toys like puzzles and can manipulate the little pegs well enough to pull all of the pieces off (so that she can bang them together and chew on them, obviously).

Like I said- I'm a BIG GIRL, Mommy!!
 And my personal favorite aspect of Big Girl-ness...she can destroy her room in about the amount of time it takes me to put on my mascara. Yay.

But I really needed to see EVERYTHING IN THE TOY BIN AT ONCE!!
 In addition to doing smart Big Girl things, she's also like...big. As in, has arguably been too big for her Rock 'n Play for probably about 5 months, but since nobody gave her the memo, she had no plans to quit rockin' and playin'.

Try and separate me from my RnP. Just try. I dare you.
And ya know...my mama didn't raise no fool. Millie sleeps 11 glorious, silent hours in that puppy. Right next to my bed. It's the greatest thing on earth. Where's the motivation to mix it up?

I'll tell you where. NOWHERE. I'm not one to mess with a good thing.

Butttttt a few weeks ago we finally gave up on the swaddle. Yes, she was nine months old. More importantly, she was 21 pounds and 29.75 inches, and evidently our swaddles weren't built to handle that much baby. She basically busted out the bottom of them all and that was that. We transitioned her (pretty seamlessly, I must say- she didn't seem to care much at all) to a glorious aden + anais sleep sack (that is so soft I wish I had one for myself), and it's been good- but now that she has her arms free, all of a sudden her RnP situation started seeming a little precarious. As in, she could clearly reach up and climb out if she got a notion to do so. And sometimes it seemed like she might be getting that notion. Soooo...

.......

.......

on Friday night, we put her in her crib in her very own room to sleep for the night. Waaaaaaaaaah. 

She's been sleeping in her crib (both at home and at school) for naps for months now, so she's not unaccustomed to the idea...but apparently sleeping there in the dark, at night, for a lot of hours must be different than for a 45-minute nap. Because uhhh...yeah. Not so much on the sleeping. More like...welcome to Millie's Acrobatics Hour! Watch as she flips, twirls, climbs, and leaps!

It was super special. She would sleep for about an hour at a time, then take a break for gymnastics. Then lose her paci and need parental assistance. Then sleep, then roll over and be too foggy to remember how to roll back, then need parental assistance. Then sleep, then roll over, then sit up, then be confused about what is happening, then need parental assistance. Then lose her paci. Then do a back flip. It was all very entertaining, so it's a good thing we started this process on a weekend. Last night was a little more peaceful (the acrobatics didn't really start up til closer til morning), so I'm hoping that third time's a charm and that tonight she'll be back to normal Millie sleeping habits. 

But if not, that's cool. I kinda missed out on all the 'being up all night with a newborn' stuff (I know, wah wah, poor me. Trust me, I'm not complaining.), so if I get to make up for some of it now, I'm down with that. 

So anyway. Big girl is now officially in her crib, and I've washed the RnP and am ready to hand it off to a friend expecting twins. And I may or may not have shed a tear when I folded it up for the last time. You served us well, RnP. May you have the same magical effect on newborn twins.

So in other giant news...well, may as well change All the Things at once, right? So on Friday night while Millie was preparing for Cirque du Soleil, Matt and I (okay, mostly Matt) were preparing to blow her mind by assembling and installing her Big Girl Car Seat!!

Uhhh...my mind is not really blown. Try harder next time.
I am thankful for friends that point out things like hey, she needs to move to a new seat when she's 30 pounds OR 30 INCHES. That was good to know, since I only knew about (or remembered, I guess) the 30 pounds part...and she was 29.75 inches two weeks ago. Oops!! So we lickety-split researched and ordered her Big Girl Seat and Friday night got it all ready to go!

We went with the Diono Ranier because it seems like basically the most badass car seat on earth. Its frame is SOLID STEEL. Which means it is not exactly lightweight, but I don't really care. I need a car seat to keep her from being crushed to death, not to be comfortable for me to carry around. Also, she can rear face until she is FIFTY POUNDS. Yes. Fifty. FIVE ZERO. And we plan to be the freaks that make her stay rear facing until she reaches that limit, so...ya know, until middle school. And then it can be forward facing/booster until she is 120 pounds. College! So in conclusion, I'm trying to think of some really cool things I can let her do when she's a kid/teenager that will make up for what a horrible lame mom I am going to be about car safety. Like I will totally let her get whatever piercings she wants. She can have the coolest piercings ever. Or like...purple hair. Or no hair. Or whatever. I feel like I'm going to have to really give a lot to make up for how lame I plan to be about the car seat, but ya know...whatever. The whole purpose of mothers is to be really embarrassing to their kids, right? I'm just planning ahead about how I want to do it. Picking my battles early.

At any rate, her first few days in the new seat have been nice and uneventful. I don't think she's nearly as excited about it as she should be, but what can ya do? Maybe she can somehow sense that this is the beginning of a twelve-year relationship (how long it is til it expires), so she's starting things off cautiously. I guess that's okay.

I guess those are all of the huge milestones she hit this weekend. In addition to just...ya know, being big...she got to spend some time with her cousins!! On Saturday afternoon the girls went for a swim in Millie's new pool and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

First, you need to see an old picture of them from August. This will help you appreciate their current pictures.

Awww...look at little fetus-Millie!!!! So itty!!

Eliana is 2.5 months older than Millie.
Today, the tables have turned. Millie is the reigning heavyweight champion of this duo...

POOOOL PARRRRTAAAYYYYY!!!

If I get hungry, I could eat Eliana for a snack!!
Actually, she couldn't. Eliana is one quick mover, and an extremely proficient splasher. They had fun playing side-by-side (and back-to-back) in the pool, splashing and trying to stand up and grabbing handfuls of grass, sticks, and dirt into the pool. They definitely agreed that a dirty pool was a more fun pool!

After the girls wore themselves out swimming, we left the wet babies with our husbands and the three sisters-in-law went to watch Pitch Perfect 2!! I go to the movies basically never...maybe once a year, if that...but I was really dying to see PP2, particularly with people who would deeply appreciate it (as in...not my husband). I'm so glad Jess and Amy wanted to go with me- it was as amazing as I had hoped it would be. Totally lived up to the first movie. And I would like to see it again, so if you need a buddy...lemme know.

And that was pretty much our weekend!! Little Bit grew up way too much, slept way too little, and oh- she ate BBQ (pulled pork) for the first time. And as you may have guessed by her physique, she's kinda go big or go home about food she likes...and this definitely counted as go big. I bet she ate at least an average adult male-sized portion. It was touching, really. She just loved it so much- and she was so tired- and she would rub her eyes and look so sleepy and then SHOVE MORE IN HER MOUTH and then look so tired but then SEE THE BBQ AND SMILE SO MUCH AND SHOVE IT IN HER FACE...it just blessed my little southern-food-loving heart. So anyway. At least one new thing this weekend impressed her! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

one thousand

I had planned to blog about reaching the halfway point of Whole30 tonight, but when I logged on, I noticed that this will be post number 1,000...and that just seems way too monumental a milestone to waste on something as frivolous as a diet nutritional reset. So maybe we'll catch up on the food talk later.

So, a thousand posts. That seems like a lot. I mean, it's been a little over seven years since I posted that first scintillating post, so I guess I'm really only averaging 142 posts a year, but still. A thousand. It feels big.


Hey! Erika of 2008 looks like a younger, skinnier version of Erika of the Present!
I remember what I was thinking when I started this blog. Along with what I explained in my first post about not wanting to be a creepy anonymous commenter anymore, I had another motive as well. You see, I was really into mommy blogs back then. And although we'd only been married barely six months, I knew we would start trying to have a baby sometime soon, and I knew that once we did have a baby pregnancy, I would most definitely want to have a blog. I wanted to do the weekly bump pictures, the monthly updates, the nursery reveal, and most of all- inundate the world with the pictures and stories about our babies. All four of them- because that was the plan.

So I figured I'd better go ahead and 'establish' a blog so that I'd be ready when the time came. I wanted to be in the habit of writing, and I wanted to have a handful of blog friends that would care if I did. So I started writing, biding my time until I could break out into full-fledged mommyblog-dom.

My selfie game was strong then, even if my makeup game was not. And look at that cool date stamp!
And you know, it's a really good thing I started this blog then. God knows I needed all that time to really get in the habit of writing, right? Ha. 

If I'd known then how long my journey to parenthood was going to be, I don't know if I would have started. I had no desire to be an infertility blogger- I barely even knew that such a thing existed. And when I first learned about them, it seemed a little too depressing- and simultaneously like I'd finally found my tribe. And because I found my people, I kept writing. 

And now that I've crossed to the other side, the promised land, the greener pasture, it's easy to focus on everything that's great and awesome (and truly, most everything is), but I am so thankful for the years when it wasn't, but I wrote anyway. Maybe it seems weird, but I don't want to grow satisfied- to forget where I came from, to forget what I went through, to forget the years the locusts ravaged. And I don't want to forget that even in the midst of that, there were so many happy days. So many amazing experiences. There was so much love, and experiences to laugh at, and people to hug, and grammar to rant about. And I'm thankful that I wrote it down so that now, and tomorrow, and in twenty years- I will still remember. And I'm thankful for each of you that came down into my joy or my sadness, whatever the flavor of the day happened to be, and joined me in my laughter and tears.

C'mon now, did you really think I'd force you to go a whole post without a picture of Millie? I know my people.
 If there's anything I've learned in my old age (I'm not the whippersnapper I was back in '08, unfortunately), it's that I never remember as much as I think I do. Sometimes I reread my old posts and am shocked by how I have NO RECOLLECTION of whatever situation or event I blogged about that day- and it's weird, like finding out I have amnesia or something. And so I'm thankful for my record here, and it encourages me to keep going- to write down my stories, even the ones that are mundane or ordinary or less-than-beautiful, because one day (or in ten minutes) I will forget. And I think that would be sad.

They let me get away with ANYTHING during breathing treatment time!! Parent guilt for the win!
 I guess I've rambled for long enough...you know, for like seven years, actually. But I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for caring, for commenting, for sharing your lives, for encouraging me, for challenging me, and for making me feel like my silly stories- all one thousand of them- matter. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

oh happy day

As it turns out, the grass is often greener on the other side. Now that I've been on the other side of Mother's Day- the participating, tear-free side- I can conclusively report that it is just as great as I'd always hoped it would be. I think I'm still a little hesitant (jaded? bitter?) to get too SUPER enthused about the holiday...old habits die hard, I guess...but each passing day with my girl finds my heart healing just a little bit more, and I spent Mother's Day mainly just feeling incredibly thankful for the gift of her life, while praying and holding fast to hope for my friends who are still waiting in the trenches.

Anyway, enough musing- on with the pictures!

My parents came up for the weekend. We spent the majority of our time working in the yard (bless them, bless them), enjoying the sun, and introducing them to the wild world of Whole30 eating. Ha. They were actually pretty impressed by how good we ate!

We got a TON of stuff done in the yard (like two truck loads of mulch spread- I FINALLY HAVE REAL MULCH LIKE A GROWN UP!!!!!), but after quite a few hours in the hot sun, Little Bit needed a change of scenery. My dad decided to go out for Best Poppie of the Year and drove up to the corner market to purchase Millie her very first swimming pool! And needless to say...it was a big hit.

Hello, Mom's thumb!
 The water was freezing, but this girl couldn't have cared less. After she got over her initial confusion about what was going on, she fully embraced this outdoor bath party.


And I sat around for an hour squealing over how unbelievably adorable she is in her bathing suit and sun hat. Like, cuteness through the stratosphere.


And I also spent a lot of time playing paparazzi. Because cuteness like that demands to be documented...


...and immediately shared with the world. Don't worry, Matt was watching her while I mooned over her pictures.

At any rate, her first kiddie pool adventure was a smashing success and I anticipate many more afternoons and evenings by the pool with this one. Also, she has six more bathing suits, so...those things aren't just gonna wear themselves. Gotta get busy!

The sun wore her out and she woke up on Mother's Day in the happiest mood- ready to play in bed with her mama and indulge me with some selfies!


We made time for some photos before we went to church, because you only celebrate your first Mother's Day once. 

You wouldn't be remiss to oooh and ahhh over that lovely mulch under the camellia...
 I made my mom take some pictures with us because I've wanted a 'three generations' picture for a really long time, and this seemed like a good day to do it.


After a lovely morning at church and an abundance of lovely Mother's Day wishes, texts, and hugs, we headed to eat some Mexican on the porch. This is how Matt and Millie felt about it:

THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE PICTURE IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
 It works out well that Matt and I can't eat the rice and beans that come alongside our meals, because those just so happen to be some of Millie's favorite foods. This time, she invented a new way to eat rice. BLW for the win, yo. She's inventing new ways to get food in her mouth!


And in case you were wondering what she looks like after a delicious feast of rice, beans, and a banana...well, now you know.


And now you also know why we eat on the porch. And buy stock in Oxyclean. And tip well. 

It was a relaxing, productive, perfect weekend. My yard looks amazing now. My house is kind of a wreck. I cleaned rice out of Millie's ear in the bath tonight. I finished my most recent book and it was amaaazing and now maybe I'll be on a Tudor England kick instead of a WWII kick, who knows. My mom and I got pedicures and then I got ant bites on my toes to really class things up. I need to get ready for bed and work tomorrow, but I'm just soaking in the happy bliss of a weekend well spent.

I hope your weekend was also full of happiness and sunshine. For those of you who find Mother's Day to be a day of pain and loss, know that my heart and prayers are with you. I remember that pain well, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hope that your redemption comes quickly.