Monday, June 27, 2011

June Wrap Up & Photos

Whew. Life is going too fast. Everyone says it does after you have a kid. I am now one of those people, because my kid is going to be 6 months in a few days and I absolutely cannot believe it. I'll do a picture post around that time so we can see how much the little monster has grown.
But for now, here's a little recap of June in Emily World.

We introduced veggies and a couple of fruits to Charlotte when she turned 5 months old. My plan was to wait until 6 months, or however long it took her to be ready, but with encouragement from her pediatrician, we went ahead with it. Charlotte loves it! So far we've done sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, avocado, apples, pears, and peas. She loves all of it....except apples. Once I mixed em with nanners though, she was an addict. That's how I interpret her little shakes of anticipation for food. Certainly it can't be excitement. Clearly, she's a baby addict.
First tastes of sweet potatoes 6/4/2011

She's been cirque du soliel-ing for a while, but is now officially playing with her feet every chance she gets

We've also slowly started to introduce her to beer. We're trying to build up her tolerance, so we only allow a little bit at a time. 

Siting up is our next big milestone. She's not quite there yet, but she's getting closer. She hasn't reached Weeble status, as she still falls down.

Charlotte had her first trip to Lake Michigan. We didn't go on the beach, but we walked the pier.
(Edit: She's been to Lake Michigan up north. This was her first time closer to home.)
She looks so tiny in her big stroller. It's funny to picture a 4 year old fitting in the same stroller a 5 month old is in.

After our long hot walk, we rewarded her with a little bit more beer.

I busted out the jumperoo this month. I have ADD when it comes to toys. I am just too excited to see how she responds to the new gear. She does like the jumperoo, but the little stinker is either too short or doesn't weigh enough for it.
Not a lot of bouncing going on in there.

Appleschmutz. Not a fan.

She sure loves her Daddio. And he loves his little "Nugget". His "Mrs. Bucket" His "Didi Benami" Yes, he actually called her the name of an American Idol season 9 contestant.

The non-Charlotte photo: Marcus and I had our first overnight away since the Little Dictator took over. We had an absolutely fabulous time at our friends' wedding in northern Michigan. Charlotte was her usual non-sleeping self while we were gone, but Grandma and Grandpa survived!

Back to Mini Mussolini: I have been trying my hardest to get her to laugh! She's given me little chuckles for a couple of months. After trying peek-a-boo, tickling, puns, sarcasm, and self injury, she finally laughed! At the dog.
Here's a clip. (Darby was jumping around and trying to chomp on a chunk of styrofoam) Forgive the poor quality, I grabbed the nearest video cam.

And lastly, a quick photo before she "marched" in a premature 4th of July parade. No one could even see her, since she was sleeping in the Ergo carrier...I was just excited to have an opportunity to have to wear this outfit more than once!!
Her shirt says "America's Sweetie" I find it somewhat hilarious that children's clothes rarely reflect the true meaning of our independence here in the USA. It's all cutesy "Daddy's Lil Firecracker" and "Star Spangled Beauty". Don't forget "Mommy's Little Heart Attack" with a kid lighting a Roman Candle.

So that's June in a nutshell. July has always signified the middle of summer...after that it just flies by. July is also the month in which my little girl turns 6 months. Does that mean she'll be a year in the blink of an eye?

I guess I should start planning her party now...

Friday, June 17, 2011

My very first "Guest Blogger"

Marcus has been showing an unusual amount of interest in my blogging lately. Saying things like "if I blogged, I would dominate!!!" and "I want to blog about pickles!" <--well, not that (completely).
So I offered him the opportunity to write for my readers.
When I asked him what the title is all about, he made me notice how the font gets smaller. So it's sort of like an echo or something? I don't know. Ask him.
So, welcome Marcus! This dude loves run on sentences!
Guest Guest Guest Guest Blog Blog Blog Blog

So Emily left me with C-nibbles (that’s today’s nickname for Charlotte (her name starts with “C” and she’s recently taken to nibbling things)) for the 2nd night in a row so I’m taking this opportunity to “Guest Blog”, or so I think.  Technically I’m writing this in Microsoft Word© and I have to leave it up to Emily to enter it into her blog.  So it’s her choice to take this .docx file and do with it what she pleases.  She could just leave it saved here on her computer where it would be a misplaced journal entry.  She could read it out loud to C-Nibs (Short for C-nibbles) as a bed time story.  She could email it to herself, copy the email on her phone, MMS it and make it an unusually long and grammatically correct text message.
So as a person who has made a choice to refrain from broadcasting my life on the internet, I’m going to that say that I’m not blogging right now, I’m just typing.  I don’t have anything against the people who spend a lot of time social networking;  it just isn’t for me.  I’m borderline ADD as it is-- I’d get nothing done if I had to manage a facebook account and real life at the same time.  You may say, “You should try twitter, it’s fun and doesn’t take up much time at all.”  But if you said that to me, I would slap you in the face hard.  Because I do have something against twitter.  Why are hundreds of millions of people around the world using twitter?  I liken it to a bunch of middle schoolers who are given an assignment in writing class to compose a Haiku.  Twitter takes about the same amount of creativity but it has two fewer rules.  Well, maybe 1 fewer rule.  Keep it under  one hundred twentysomeodd characters and avoid tweeting photos of your crotch.  Last week something smelled like poop in Grand Rapids, people started tweeting, someone started a #hashtag, and there was a story on that was as focused on the tweets as the poop smell.  Ridiculous by every measure.
So speaking of poop smells, back to Charlotte.  I took her  grocery shopping tonight.  Clausen Pickles are $2.50 a jar and buy 5 get $5 off so we did not go to the "ritzy" Meijer store just down the road from my house that never has the sale items on the shelves—we went to the Meijer at 54th st. with the ill-conceived parking lot where the lines are short and the shelves are stocked.  Being in that part of town, I thought Charlotte and I could witness a shoplifting event, then I could report said event, show Charlotte the consequences, and teach her a valuable life lesson.  Then we could go home and eat pickles!  The shoplifting event did not happen but we had fun anyway.  It’s evident that Charlotte loves pretty much everything that moves so long as it does not emit a loud, startling noise (That means you—guy in the old blue Caprice Classic who honked at the SUV that was not backing out, but rather was simply centering itself in its parking space.  If you were paying attention, you would have understood that the SUV posed no danger and I was carrying a baby 5’ from you.  It’s bad enough that an idiot designed that parking lot, that’s no excuse for your idiotic behavior).  So yes she loves just about everything that moves. 
A glimpse into the inner workings of Charlotte’s mind:
Hey lady in the dirty XXL Disney T-shirt with the mangy looking pony tail? (Back to my mind:  people should call them donkey or ass tails when they look that bad).  You’re moving near me, here’s a big ass smile for ya!

Howdy, middle aged man wearing a leather vest who has to ask the lady in the technology department where the cheap MP3 players are, and who then proceeds to grab one, bring it back up to tech. dept. lady and ask her if it has radio because you don’t want to miss “the game” (Me:  Oh, so you don’t want an MP3 player).  I think this whole exchange has been utterly hilarious, let me turn my head side to side and smile at both of you!
But the trip was a success; Charlotte learned that her dad is totally awesome.  She might think it’s a little odd that I took the pickles to the technology department for checkout, but she also saw me save a guy $20 by telling him to use a Meijer Summer Buck for $20 off a GPS unit that he was buying anyway. And I also helped a girl out who was asking the tech. dept. lady to see a sample so she could get a visual of how big the 18” x 24” poster print would be if she printed a photo that size.  You may think, “Oh, 18x24?  That’s about a foot and a half by two feet”, which is exactly what I thought before I pointed the girl towards a display appeared to be 18” x 24”.  Tech. Dept. Lady didn’t have a sample, but did have a tape measure, and proved to Charlotte and the girl asking the question that I sure am good picking out dimensions.
So we returned home, and I ate a pickle (C-nibbles, despite today’s nickname, wasn’t really interested).  I gave her a bottle and got her to bed on time by my standards.  Emily understands that my standards are different than hers.  When she says, “give her a bottle by 7:00, then put her in a size 3 diaper, swaddle her up and put her to bed”, and that process starts at 7:12, I think I’m doing pretty well.  Though Charlotte did not appreciate the step I added just before the swaddling—bumping her head on the end rail of the changing table.  Whoops!
So that’s it, Charlotte is sleeping, typing is finished.  Thank you, Microsoft Word©-osphere, for listening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Project Marriage

Oh. Hey there, blog!
I've been struggling to come up with a topic for my newest blog entry. But after visiting mommyfriend, I was reminded of the Project Marriage challenge for June; sharing your love story. I think overall, our love story is less than thrilling. I mean...don't tell Marcus I said so. However, we've had plenty of memorable moments.
Here's one of my favorites.

Marcus and I had been dating for nearly 3 years when Spring of 2006 came around. Marcus was basically obsessed with me and wouldn't stop telling me how much he wanted to get married.
Read that last sentence and replace "obsessed" with "putting up" and "married" with "buffalo wings."

It was I who was constantly bugging him about making a life long commitment to me, and I'm sure I made it super appealing by being as annoying as possible. I just didn't want to be wasting my time having fun with a guy I totally adored, ya know?

I kept on waiting for clues. But there were no special dates planned, no bridal magazines hidden under his bed, nothing! Finally, I told myself to relax and just enjoy the time that we are actually having! I was creating unnecessary tension by looking for a way to bring it up all the time. (Ugh, what was I thinking?)

One Friday night, we decided to go out kind of last minute. I had to work the next morning, so I didn't want to be out too late. He asked me where I'd like to have dinner and I decided on one of my favorite tapas restaurants. It's usually quite busy, and we didn't realize that there would be a long wait to be seated. We decided to just sit along the grill and enjoy our dinner there. It was hot, it was loud, but we had sangria and lots of laughter. And since things were going so swimmingly, we decided to grab an after dinner drink.

There's kind of a swanky spot nearby that we tried to get into, but they were at capacity, so we wandered down the street to a popular bar where you know you'll always see a familiar face. Once we got there, we thought it would be funny to sneak into one of the VIP events they had going on. It happened to be Cinco De Mayo and it was quite the fiesta in the club. We snagged a seat on a big leather couch and I ordered a glass of chardonnay, and Marcus ordered a beer. We felt so sneaky...trying to look around to see if anyone noticed that we were crashing their party. As far as I could tell, we were under the radar.

There was some hot chick strutting around with a tray full of complimentary tequila shots, and with Marcus being Dutch (read: frugal) he couldn't pass up that offer. Besides, tequila is was his liquor of choice. (He has since moved on to Scotch.) He picked up a shooter for me as well, even though I can't stand the stuff. But hey! It's Cinco De Mayo! A holiday I've always cherished because I love guacamole.

Being the ever annoying girl that I was...I just had to bring it up. Tease him a little bit about his habit of dodging "the subject". So I say to him, "What will you give me if I take this shot of tequila?" So coy, I was.
He response was somewhat uncharacteristic and he said, "I will take you for a romantic stroll downtown..."
Continuing to be delightful as ever, I replied with "That's lame. You know what I want to hear." (oy.)
All I had really expected was "Okay. Fine. I'll marry you if drink that tequila." And I would have been a happy senorita.
Then, wouldn't you know it, he was in front of me on one knee, holding a sparkly ring.
And I'm holding a mini glass of tequila.
"Emily, will you marry me?" he asked.
My eyes hurt from being open so wide and my hands were covering my mouth.
As far as I know, I said yes.
People all around were noticing.
It was the biggest surprise EVER.
I downed the tequila.
We continued celebrating when we saw nearly everyone we knew downstairs in the main portion of the bar.
I recognize it's sort of tacky to say we got engaged in a bar, but it was one of the most fun nights I've ever had.
Had he actually taken me on that romantic stroll, I think I would have realized what was going on. I loved the spontaneity and the surprise. I'm glad there wasn't a trail of rose petals and a fancy man knows how to make memories.
And now I ponder what other surprises await me over say, a dram of Scotch...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Charlotte - The Sleep Thief

I've made it no real secret that we've struggled with sleep 'round these parts.

I know that every child is different, and I've even made myself believe that nothing will actually help her except for Time. All of the reading and research and tips and tricks are only serving as a distraction, and after a year of trying everything, she'll have outgrown her hatred of sleep and I won't know who to credit because I have indeed tried everything.

But here I am, looking for help. I know you moms have lots if ideas, and I'm willing to try them.
First, you need to know what I am doing and what I have tried.
Here is a pretty good idea of what her day looks like:
I follow a general Eat/Activity/Sleep routine. No need to read the details if you don't care. She's on about a 3 hour schedule.

7:30am: (and she's always happy - good sign) Milk
7:40-9 or 9:30: play & 10 minutes of quiet time before nap
9-10:30: Nap with a little help after 45 minutes. I sneak in and gently jiggle the crib mattress. She calms down right away, and often sleeps for another 30-60 minutes.
10:30ish: cereal/vegetable <--just started veggies
11:00: milk/formula (6 oz)
11:10-1ish: drooling, squealing, blowing raspberries, tummy time, loving life.
1-2:30ish: nap time! Same story as above - sometimes she sleeps straight for an hour and a half, other times she needs help.
2:30 or 3: milk/formula (6 oz)
3-4:30: kicking, cooing, avoiding smiling at the camera, general baby shenanigans
4:30: short nap (meaning, I don't work to make it longer)
5:30: Milk + formula  I know my supply is low since going back to work. I tank her up at night with both so I know she's full before bed time.
Play until 7:30 or shows signs of sleepiness.
Bedtime routine is about a 1/2 hour total consisting of bathtime (doesn't happen every day), Peanut Butter Jammie Time!, snuggling in the rocker and maybe reading or singing
7:30: to bed for the night. <---she's always put down while she's still awake, and puts herself to sleep without any problem.

After this, she might sleep straight until 11 when I feed her again (because I know then she can make it to morning without a problem). OR, She might wake 5 times by 11. Then after I feed her, she is awake at least every two hours. Many times, we can give her paci back and she's right back to sleep.
My habit of late is to go in, give her a paci, and go back to bed. I do not intentionally let her cry, but I don't go in and pick her up and rock her either.

Here is what I have tried, and does not work, but should mention I do not want to make a habit of it either:
  • Rocking
  • Checking Diaper
  • Nursing
  • Bringing her into my bed (which takes a while to get her back to sleep and then I can't sleep comfortably
Here is what I've tried but probably have not been consistent enough with:
  • Hearing her cry, waiting 5 minutes, going in and giving her paci back. (she then goes back to sleep for an hour or two - so never get to build up more time letting her cry)
  • Hearing her cry, and turning down the monitor so I can only hear her quietly over a fan and through two doors, and waiting to see how long she cries. I usually fall asleep, but wake a half hour later to her (still?) crying (again?)
Do I force myself to stay awake so I know how long she's crying? I thought this crap took like a week or something. I am fairly certain that there was one night that she cried straight for 3 hours, but I would drift in and out of consciousness.
She is swaddled at night (and has rolled over onto her belly while swaddled! Can also roll belly to back while swaddled)
She is not swaddled for naps.
She freaks out and does not sleep well on her back anymore, so she sleeps on her side or her tummy.
I've tried cereal in a bottle before bed. Inconsistent results. Sometimes it seems she slept better, other times it's still Open Crib Party!!
What I feel is kind of crazy, is that she wakes SO happy in the morning! But I am bleary eyed and exhausted.
All I want is like 4 hours in a row of sleep. Each night. I don't feel that that's asking too much of a 5 month old. There have been plenty of nights where she's giving 7-9 hour stretches and I love love love it....but then it's followed by No Sleep. I just want a little consistency.

I'm asking for your help. Even if you don't know me or have never commented, I'd love to hear your suggestions.
BTW, She's napping now. She woke after a half hour. Took her a good half hour of crying on and off (with my help) to finally go back to sleep and it's been close to two hours now.
She clearly hates sleep. One of the best gifts from God, and she hates it.
Is the pacifier the bad guy? Swaddling? Do I move up a size in her diaper at night? (she's often wet in the morning these days) Is her bedtime the right time?
I would be okay if your suggestion was for me to take up drinking. Because I've already done that.
Thank you in advance.

How To Make My What To HUH?!

I couldn't resist this one. I needed to share.
This morning as I was drinking my iced coffee (It started out hot, but then I forgot about I added ice and milk), I took to the internet to figure out how to make our lilac bush grow bigger. We planted it a couple of years ago, but it doesn't seem to be growing larger or yielding many blooms. Do I sound smart when I say "yielding"? Yes?  Okay! Yielding! Wait, is that even the correct term? Screw it, whatever. Losers.

I started typing my query into the Google search bar. In many cases, I absolutely love Google's suggested searches. It finishes my thought, I can quit typing and make a selection.
However, today...I was having a tough time wording my question, hoping Google would just help me out, but instead I got the most ridiculous suggestions that weren't pertinent to my search at all!

So here is my search on Google: How to make your lilac bush grow larger
First, as I typed "How to make" it suggested:
  • How to make a resume
  • How to make jello shots
  • How to make a hard boiled egg
So I continued with "How to make your"
  •  How to make your hair grow longer
  • How to make yourself throw up
  • How to make your breasts bigger
Okay, still not what I'm looking for...
I was going to finish my search with: "How to make your lilac bush..." and it came up with:
  • How to make your lil bastard use the toilet
  • how to make your lil bastard stop drinking
What the whaaat?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Just Right Of Crunchy

Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

Also used to describe establishments where alternative foods and products are sold, i.e. natural food stores.

"I need more crunchy guys in my life. I'm so tired of dating preppy metrosexual assholes."

"I'm heading out to the crunchy store to pick up some fair trade chocolate and tea tree oil, do you need anything?"

Soo in case you didn't know, I'm just a little crunchy.  
For starters, I went to school for massage therapy. This was in 2001, before it was advertised on daytime television non stop and the girls who didn't want to do hair just did massage. (I'm not knocking either of these career choices, just let me get to my point.) Basically, a majority of people who choose to practice massage therapy are smelly hippies. I'm allowed to say this because I did it for nearly 7 years. However, I wouldn't classify myself as a dirty hippie. With that being said, this is probably when my interest in eco friendly and all natural health, beauty, and cleaning products came into play.
Okay, so that's where I got sucked into the granola vortex.
I refused to use products containing mineral oil and avoided using shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfate. Why? I don't remember. Who cares. But it makes me better than you.
I would go on a random kick of health food that lasted like 2 weeks, until I could eat no more edamame succotash and fruit smoothies made with almond milk and flax.
So when I found out I was expecting the Little Monster (who we later named Charlotte), I promised I was going to be super conscious of my eating habits and the products I used. That lasted about 3 days, when the pukes and never ending nausea decided to park it and stay for 20 weeks.
Goodbye fresh field greens with a splash of oil and vinegar.
Hello Spaghettios with franks.
Hey there, entire box of macaroni and cheese, where is your buddy, Bacon?
Mmmmm french fries of all varieties. I never did discriminate.
Yeah, that's right. I was a giant hog.
But now that Charlotte is here, I'm all crunchy hippie again. She has a tiny human footprint, yet I keep trying to reduce her carbon footprint. I use a ridiculously good smelling shea butter moisturizer (that I found on the cheap)! I've been using cloth diapers while I'm at home, and on short trips out (I haven't completely converted).  And this weekend I made our first batch of baby food! And to be frank (without the spaghettios this time), it was delightful!
Sweet potatoes from where else? The local farmers market, bitchaz!

So there it is, all pureed and ready to be frozen in it's little BPA free containers. I only had to move a box of hot pockets, a frozen pizza and Ore Ida french fries out of the way. I told you I don't discriminate.