Thursday, December 27, 2007

Growing Pains

I came home from work today and found a toe peeking at me.

It might be time to move up to the next size...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Celebration To Remember

You may recall that Mommy’s Only Christmas Wish was for Baby to sleep through the night. We had the best intentions to wean Baby from his middle-of-the-night milkfest, but he pre-empted our plans with an ear infection. I have to admit that his defensive strategy is more effective than that of our beloved Believeland Browns.

Despite the lack of sleep and slightly grumpy baby, we had one of the best holiday celebrations that I can remember. This Christmas season touched me in a way that I had always hoped for but never achieved. As a new mother, I felt just a little bit closer to the Virgin Mary as I contemplated the birth we celebrated. I could easily imagine the mixed feelings of distress and joy she must have felt as she gave birth to the Savior of the world in a stable far from home. I also enjoyed the magic of Baby’s first Christmas, which was everything that I hoped it would be.

And in the midst of this celebration, I received a call that should have ruined the festivities.

My grandmother died on Christmas Day.

At any other time, the news would have been a numbing shock, but this felt somehow appropriate. I have no doubts that my grandmother died with love for Christ in her heart because she shared that love daily with the friends and family that surrounded her during her lifetime. It only seems appropriate that she would die on the day that our Savior came into this world to save her.

The news of her passing was also sobering for me as I realized that my last grandparent has died. That generation is gone from our family now, but the next generation has arrived to fill the void that they have left behind. They are gone from this world, but their legacy remains.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Mommy's Only Christmas Wish

I love to sleep.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved sleep. I can sleep anywhere and anytime. I can sleep in a car, on a plane, in a movie theater, anywhere. I even slept during labor between contractions only an hour before my son was born. I wouldn’t believe it myself, but witnesses say I was even snoring.

So you can only imagine my agony since I haven’t been able to sleep through the night for the past 9 months, 2 weeks and 5 days.

Baby loves to nurse. He battles the bottle all day at daycare and has never drank more than 9 ounces a day. Since he started solid foods, he is only drinking 6 ounces a day. You would think that he would drive his daycare teachers crazy with his antics, but they say he is darn cute, so that is his saving grace.

Since he doesn’t drink all day, he is very excited to see Mommy after work. He nurses constantly in the evenings and usually wakes up at least once a night to nurse again. This hasn’t been so bad because, like I said, I can sleep anywhere. I usually sit in the rocking chair in the nursery to feed him and we both fall asleep there. I’m only actually awake for a couple of minutes, so life hasn’t been so bad for the last few months.

Until now.

Baby has decided that he loves the middle-of-the-night nursing so much that he should do it more often. He is waking up several times a night and refusing to go back to the crib.

I’ll admit that I let this kid get away with a lot because I have Working Mommy Guilt, but I’m at the end of my rope. Mommy is really cranky right now.

Since Daddy doesn’t like Mommy to be really cranky, we have decided that it is time to wean Baby from the middle-of-the-night milkfest. No more num-nums after 11:00pm. Daddy will be waking up with Baby and offering only a bottle of water beginning tonight.

Please pray for us. I really need this to work!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

13 Things I Never Knew

I think I’ve been fantasizing about becoming a mom for my entire adult life. The minute I first looked into my husband’s eyes, I must have thought, “I need to have this man’s baby.”

Since we were married 8 years ago and our son is only 9 months old, you can only imagine how many days ticked by filled with the anticipation of a baby. Since God gave up trying to teach me patience a long time ago, I had to find a way to keep myself busy while we were waiting.

I started bargain hunting for baby paraphernalia. I bought undershirts, sleepers, socks, shoes, blankets, toys, medicine-dropper pacifiers, baby hangers, sheets, curtains, rugs, and board books. I found like-new strollers and bouncer seats at garage sales. We had so much baby stuff before our baby was conceived that I created a baby gear inventory spreadsheet to keep track of all the stuff in storage.

As if that wasn’t enough, I started reading. I read baby books, birthing books and breastfeeding books. By the time the egg and sperm met for the first time, I was a pregnancy and birthing expert.

Little did I know that I still had a lot to learn about motherhood. On the slim chance that there is another woman on this planet that is as neurotic and anal as I am, these are the 13 things that I never knew about motherhood until I had a baby of my own:

1. Just because you are 4 cm dilated, don’t assume the baby is on it’s way anytime soon. (don’t believe that, read my birth story)

2. Even with all the breastfeeding books I read, I never knew that breastfeeding hurts until I spent the first four weeks of my son’s life crying in agony every time he latched on.

3. Some babies don’t like baby lotion. If you got 6 bottles of Johnson’s Baby lotion at your baby shower, chances are good that your baby will be the one that hates lotion.

4. Diapers leak, and I’m not talking about pee.

5. Babies change their clothes more often than a teenage girl getting ready for her first date.

6. Toys are a waste of time because babies prefer junk that is lying around the house.

7. The baby that is NEVER sick will be sick on the one day out of 365 that you absolutely can not stay home from work.

8. Teething happens long before you see the tooth.

9. Your life revolves around naptime. If you dare to interfere with the nap schedule, prepare for fireworks.

10. There is no need for birth control because babies make darn sure you never find an opportunity to have sex again.

11. Everyone that said your baby would sleep through the night soon was LYING!

12. There is no child on the planet as beautiful and as intelligent as your own.

13. Motherhood is the best job on earth!

For more lucky 13 lists, go check out Thursday Thirteen!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ghost of Christmas Past

For this week’s edition of Works For Me Wednesday, sponsored by Rocks in My Dryer, I’d like to share a holiday tradition that I swiped from a former co-worker. I know that WFMW has been swamped with holiday tradition ideas, but I’m too sentimental not to share this one with you.

Growing up, I remember decorating our tree with familiar ornaments every year. Each one held special memories of Christmas seasons of the past. There were the delicate, lace snowflakes that my Aunt made by hand and the old gold garland that I wrapped around my head to pretend that I had long, flowing Rapunzel hair.

After I got married, the Christmas decorations in our new home didn’t hold any sentimental memories for me. It took a couple years to accumulate items that held special meaning, like the “Our First Christmas 1999” ornament that we received as a very thoughtful wedding gift, or our tacky Niagara Falls candy cane ornaments that we bought for Bonus Daughters while we were on our honeymoon, or the Grinch ornaments that Bonus Daughters got in their McDonald’s Happy Meals and demanded to hang on the tree.

Since I’m such a sentimental creature, I started a new tradition for Baby last year while I was pregnant so he will never have that first Christmas without the old familiar memories. We have started an ornament collection just for him. Each Christmas season, we will give him one ornament that has special meaning. The ornament will include the year in which it was received. At the beginning of each Christmas season, we will get out his ornament collection and reminisce about the year he received each one.

When Baby gets married, we will give him his ornament collection to decorate his first Christmas tree with his new family. As he decorates his tree, he will share memories of his childhood with his new wife. Then, he will go on to create new memories filled with love and joy.

Someone hand me a tissue to wipe my eyes, please…

That’s What Works For Me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's My Name?

I was dropping Baby off at daycare this morning and I must have lost one of my earrings because a little girl found it and was hopping up and down frantically trying to get my attention.

Exasperated, she finally hollered,
"Hey, David's Mom!!!!!!!"

That was the first moment that I realized there is an entire community of little people out there that don't know that I am Dawn and don't care. I am simply David's Mom and that's good enough for them.

That's good enough for me, too!

I love my new identity.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow Day

Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is collecting snow day haiku today. As I read the comments from her readers, I started fantasizing about the happy days ahead for Baby.

Eating ice cream for the first time.

Falling asleep on Mommy’s lap.

Using his new lunch box for the first time on his first day of Kindergarten.

Hoping for snow days.

Waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.

Going on his first train ride.

Counting the days until his next birthday.

Pretending to be a pirate or a dinosaur or a fireman.

Watching all six Star Wars movies with Daddy in one day.

Swimming in the big kid pool during hot summer days.

It’s great to be a kid, but it’s even better to be a Mom because you have an opportunity to really appreciate the beauty of these moments and cherish the memories they create.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thank God

I was searching the internet this morning for some graphics that I need for a report at work. I googled the term "world health" for images and found a picture that brought tears to my eyes. The photo showed a small baby, bare-chested, ribs clearly visible, a bloated belly, and a mouth wide open in a cry of agony.

I immediately said a prayer begging God to end this child's pain and thanking him for the health of my son. I'm thankful that we can provide for his basic needs. He has food, clothing and shelter through the grace of God. I am thankful that I don't know the pain of watching my child suffer, the pain endured by the mother of the child in the photograph.

It's so easy to take for granted the blessings God has given me. I get so busy worrying about our hectic schedule, household chores, bills, and projects at work that I forget to take time to thank God for the many wonderful things he has done in my life.

If you're as guilty as I am, this is your reminder to say a little prayer today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WFMW: Bargain Shopping for Baby Online

For this week’s edition of Works For Me Wednesday, sponsored by Rocks in My Dryer, I’d like to share my obsession with bargain hunting. Like many women I know, I have a gene that prohibits me from paying full price for anything. I spend more than a reasonable amount of time surfing the internet in search of the best deals.

It’s no secret that many folks find online shopping more convenient than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. That certainly isn’t my WFMW tip of the week.

What I do need to share is a website that I stumbled upon this week that is every bargain hunter’s dream. Many online retailers offer a price protection guarantee that allows you to get a refund if any item that you buy drops in price within 30 days of your purchase. The only problem is that you don’t automatically get a refund when the price drops. You are responsible for monitoring the price and you must contact the retailer to request a refund.

That doesn’t seem like it would be worth the hassle, but the Price Protectr website does the hard work for you. When you purchase an item online, you simply register your purchase at this website. For the next 30 days, Price Protector monitors the item you purchased and notifies you via email if the retailer drops the price within 30 days of your purchase. You then have an opportunity to contact the online retailer and request a refund.

I was skeptical at first, but I am now a believer. I am convinced that my 9 month old son NEEDS the Hasbro Tonka Scoot-N-Scoop 3-in-1 Ride On Toy for Christmas. I looked everywhere for this item and most retailers are selling it for $39.99. The best prices I found online were $34.99 at Walmart with free site to store shipping or $34.99 at Amazon with free shipping. I waited for weeks to order this item because saving $5 online didn’t feel good enough to me. I was convinced that this item would go on sale before Christmas, but I started to get nervous when the price didn’t drop. I needed to order in time for delivery before Christmas Day, so I decided to bite the bullet and order at Amazon. I decided the free shipping was a bonus because I didn’t have to drive to the store and I was still saving $5 compared to other prices I had found.

Just for amusement, I registered my purchase at Price Protector. One week later, I got an email that the price had dropped to $20.99. I sent an email to Amazon and they refunded $14 to my credit card within one hour. Hurray!

The next day, I got another email from Price Protector. The price dropped again to $17.50. I sent another email to Amazon and got an additional refund of $3.49.

So, I was able to get a total refund of $17.49 and I saved $11 on shipping because the original purchase price was high enough to qualify for Amazon’s free shipping offer. I saved a total of $28.49 on this toy.

Now, that’s the kind of shopping that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

That’s What Works For Me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Quote of the Day: Titanic Achievements




A ship in harbor is safe,
but that is not what
ships are built for.

~William Shedd

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WFMW:WDIFE Part II

While I was hanging out at Rocks In My Dryer reading all the Works For Me Wednesday posts, I remembered a super-fast recipe that my family loves that I forgot to share. I stole this idea from a recipe card that I received in the mail with one of the zillion free baby stuff packages that we got in those blurry days right after Baby's birth.
Ingredients:

2 cups Chicken, cooked and diced
1 jar Salsa
2 cups Rice
1. Heat chicken and salsa in skillet.
2. Serve over rice.
3. Top with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream (optional)

This dish is so easy, fast, and yummy. How did I let this one slip my mind?

Enjoy!

WFMW:WDIFE

For this week’s edition of Works For Me Wednesday, sponsored by Rocks in My Dryer, I’d like to share my last-minute cooking tips. Be warned, I’m not sharing because I am a culinary master, I’m simply sharing because this is Works-For-Me Wednesday: The What-Do-I-Fix? Edition.

It's 5:15 pm, the kids are hungry, I have a headache, hubby is almost home, and the pantry has three things in it. What do I make?

Honestly, my first choice is to pick up take-out from Kuhar’s Restaurant down the street. Their specialty is homestyle European cooking, including favorites such as Hungarian Ghoulash, Viener Schnitzel, Chicken Paprikash, and Stuffed Cabbage, just to name a few. Since all their dinners average $7 per person and include a veggie, side dish, salad and bread, I’m wondering why we cook at all.

If that’s not an option, Hubby has a recipe that he throws together when we’re short on time and starving. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany and Austria during World War II, so he ate European style foods growing up. As a child, he remembers visiting his Oma in Austria and eating this dish.

Chris’ Famous Knockwurst
Ingredients:

4 Knockwurst

½ Medium White Onion, finely chopped

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

4 Tbsp White Vinegar

1. Remove the skin from the Knockwurst and slice as thinly as humanly possible
2. Layer slices of Knockwurst on a platter
3. Top with finely chopped onion
4. Drizzle with equal parts olive oil and white vinegar
5. Serve

We eat this with European style seedless rye bread. Dip the bread into the olive oil and vinegar, and scoop knockwurst onto the bread. Repeat until the button pops off your pants.

I also like this dish with any type of mustard. We typically serve this with a side of mac-n-cheese and green beans.

It took me a while to grow fond of this new dish, but now That’s What Works For Me!

Monday, December 3, 2007

You Are What You Eat

I was driving to work this morning when I heard the results of a recent study on the radio news. Research has determined that a child is more likely to eat healthy vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, if the child’s mother ate those same vegetables during her pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

I was so excited by this news that I nearly drove through a red light. OK, I admit that I nearly drove through the red light because I was late for work, but I was also excited by the study.

For a couple of minutes, I gloated with pride over the mounds of vegetables that I happily ate during my pregnancy. We won’t discuss my post-pregnancy eating habits here, but I can honestly say that I make it a habit to eat my fruits and vegetables everyday while I’m breastfeeding. Maybe I just don’t eat as much of them as I should…

My glee was short-lived, however, when I contemplated the whole picture. Because there is always more to the story than the results of the research suggests.

Consider this:

If a mother eats broccoli and cauliflower during her pregnancy, it is likely that her normal diet may include a healthy helping of fruits and vegetables. This mother is probably more likely to offer broccoli and cauliflower to her young child than the mother that dined exclusively on Pepsi and Cheetos during her pregnancy.

DUH.

Another fine example of research dollars wasted.

Aren’t we still looking for a cure for cancer?