Friday, September 28, 2012

Spectacular September

Well, it is almost the end of the month, so I figured that I might as well go ahead and talk about everything that happened this month. It feels like September just flew by! I can't believe October is right around the corner. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, so we are excited for October and all the fun that Fall brings.

As usual, we will start with Alexander and some fun things that he learned to do this month. His vocabulary is improving. This month he learned how to say "no." He also tries to sing "E-I-E-I-O" with us when we sing him the "Old MacDonald" song. It is truly adorable! He also learned how to sign his first ASL word! He now signs "all-done." It is really cute. He had been throwing food on the floor like crazy, but once he learned the sign for all-done, he learned that he could just sign it, and we would pick him up. The funny thing is that he also thinks all-done means "pick me up." So he tries to make the sign when he wants us to pick him up to go over a baby gate or outside. It is really cute and really useful too!

He is getting much more active too! He has learned how to climb off the couch and can almost climb out of the bath tub! He has also started running. He is so fast that sometimes we have to run to catch up to him. Since I am getting more and more pregnant every day, and he is getting more and more active, we decided to invest in a harness for him. It is a little monkey back pack with a leash on it, so that I can take him on walks in the neighborhood, and not have to worry as much about him running into the street. I used to be very opposed to the idea of a harness because it reminded me of a dog leash; but I have to say that they are very handy. It is nice to not have to try to run after him.

Scott started playing this cute game with Alexander this month. Scott will spin in a circle, then stop and point at Alexander and say, "Your turn!" Then Alexander will spin in a circle until Scott says, "My turn!" It is so adorable and he loves it. It seems like spinning is one of his favorite things to do. The only problem with the game is that Alexander likes it so much that he will keep doing it until he falls over from dizziness!

One of the cute things he started doing this month was feeding other people. He started out feeding Mommy and occasionally feeds other people. It is really cute! He will eat his food, and if he decides he is full, he will start feeding his food to me. The funniest time was when he started feeding me his Cheerios during Sacrament. I ate so many that morning because I enjoyed the fact that he was being quiet! He has also started pointing this month. He seems to point to everything he sees. It is really cute.

One of the most adorable things that happened this month was that Alexander became very attached to his blanket. One day, he was feeling a little cranky, and after I changed his diaper, he reached his arm in the slats of the crib to grab his blanket. Of course, I helped him get it out, and he started carrying it all around the house! Now he is frequently carrying around his blanket. We think that it has become a big comfort thing for him because he is teething hard core. He has been working on getting his molars in all month. His gums have been black and blue where they are trying to come in for over a month now. They still haven't broken the skin yet, but hopefully they will come in soon.

The scariest moment of this month, was when Alexander tasted his first bit of peanut butter. I had given him half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I knew peanuts were a high allergen, so I made sure not to give it to him until after the year mark, but alas, he is indeed allergic to them! He was sitting in his high chair, just loving the peanut butter sandwich, when he all of a sudden got cranky. Assuming he was just done, I pulled him out and gave him some milk. That is when I noticed hives forming around his mouth. I didn't think much of it, until a few minutes later he started getting more cranky and rubbing his eyes. That is when I noticed about fifteen little bumps on just one eyelid. I started to panic, called the doctor, and they squeezed us in for an appointment. Luckily, his body started to handle the allergy and by the time we saw the doctor, he was looking a ton better. Even though it turned out that it wasn't as serious as I thought, it made me glad I rushed him in, just in case it was something more severe. It looks like we will have to skip peanuts for awhile.

Every time I start a blog about the things he learned in one month, I am shocked to see all that happened! It is amazing how much they are learning and growing each month! Well, we did have a few fun things happen this month. The first was that we attended a temple dedication for the newest temple the Brigham City Utah Temple. It was my very first temple dedication and I loved it! We had one of my friends watch Alexander so that we could attend together. I even purchased some cute white handkerchiefs that had the Brigham City Temple embroidered on them. They were really cute. I have to say that I do love the temple so much and it was so neat to see all the little details that go into dedicating a temple. I was really grateful for my opportunity to attend.

One of the other fun things we did this month was attend a "Pirate Night at the Museum." We went to a small museum in Lehi with Scott's family. It was super fun getting all dressed up as pirates. I was surprised to see that the pirate costume we bought for Alexander last Halloween still fit him! It was pretty big on him then, and just barely fit him this time. He was by far the cutest pirate there. Below are some fun pictures of us that night:


Well, there isn't much else to report. I would like to take a moment though and give you an update on the pregnancy. Overall, things are going really well. My morning sickness is all gone, and I have a bit more energy. The hard part is that Peanut is a bit of a kicker! He kicks me so much more than Alexander did. He is frequently waking me up in the middle of the night with his kicks. This month I have also been having some pretty intense cramping every time I walk. It seems like if I decide to go out for a short walk with Alexander, than later that day it hurts to walk at all or even lift my leg over the baby gate. The doctor said that it was just intense round ligament pain, but I have to admit, I don't like it! Hopefully it will go away soon. A week ago, we all caught the stomach flu too! So on top of all these random aches and pains, we all threw up three times. I have to say having the stomach flu and being pregnant is not fun. Especially when you have a sick hubby and baby to care for at the same time. We are so glad that is over! Although pregnancy can be pretty tough at times, I still feel so grateful to be having Peanut. There are times when he starts kicking me and I just giggle and enjoy his movements. Having another baby crawling around makes it hard to appreciate the little moments of being pregnant. So sometimes, at night, when I am super tired and Peanut starts kicking, I just smile and think of it as our special time together for just the two of us. I really am so blessed to be a mother.

This month, we also took some fun family pictures. I just scanned in the pictures because we haven't gotten a cd yet, but they turned out so cute! Below are a few of my favorite ones. I hope you enjoy them!

Lastly, I'd just like to take a moment to talk about my hubby. I really am so proud of him and feel so grateful for all he does for me. As I have been dealing with the aches and pains of pregnancy, he is always so good about stepping in and helping out. He will put Alexander down for me and order me to bed, or just help with a little extra housework on those days that I am too tired to finish my to-do list. On top of that, he is a hard worker. This month he got numerous compliments from his coworkers about what a great job he is doing and how much they appreciate him. His boss even made a point to pull Scott into his office and congratulate him on all the great work he has been doing. It is so nice to see him work so hard, and feel so appreciated too. I just love him!

Well, I need to get to bed, so that is all for now. Tune in next time for something special :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Awesome August

Hey there guys! Well, it is that time again...the time when I review the last month. The truth is, there isn't much that has been left unsaid. August was a busy month mainly filled with Alexander's birthday and traveling to Washington for my cousin Beth's wedding. Besides that we mainly just enjoyed spending our time together. Oh, and of course we had our ultrasounds, which was very nice! We also went to the park, enjoyed the pool, and just enjoyed some lazy days at home.

Unfortunately, with our busy month, I didn't take the time to record as many of Alexander's firsts. But there are a few new things that happened in August. While visiting my aunt, Alexander played in dirt for the first time. He had played in the grass and mud puddles before, but Aunt Debbie's yard had spots with dirt and rocks. He loved it and would try and eat rocks and get all dirty. It was really so cute to see how much fun he had playing in the yard. It made me envious that they had a fenced in back yard versus our patch of grass.

Alexander also started doing a few cute things. He now spins around when dancing or excited. It is super cute! He also stomps in place when he gets really excited. I think he learned this from Scott. Occasionally, when Scott was trying to get Alexander to chase him he would smile and stomp in place and then run away. It was super cute to watch them, and now Alexander just stomps when he is excited :)

He is also a very strong little guy. Scott has been teaching him to do this thing where he hangs on to a bar by himself. It started with him hanging onto the door at church, and now Scott does it with him all the time. It is kind of cute. Well, this month we finally got a picture of it. And it is one of my new favorite pictures. I just love my strong little man!

August was a big month for food changes for Alexander. He started whole milk and finger foods. We have started him on whole milk, though it has been a slow transition. He doesn't seem to like the taste of it, so we have slowly been mixing it with a little formula. Hopefully by the time we run out of this container of formula he will be used to it. Whole milk is so much cheaper than formula! He also has basically decided that he is over baby food. He wants to eat what we eat and loves finger foods. This has made it a bit challenging for me because I have had to be more creative to try and get him to eat the foods he needs to eat. He does love fruit, cheese, Cheerios, and Greek yogurt. We just have to get him to like more things too! Being a mom really is a learning process!

He has also been having lots of bumps and bruises these days! With his new found ability to walk, he seems to fall that much more! It seems like every day we are discovering a new bump, scrape, or bruise. Well, one time this last month, he was playing in the bathroom, and slipped and fell right into the side of the toilet bowl! He busted open his mouth and got his first fat lip. It was so sad! He was bleeding and crying like crazy, and I was super worried. Luckily, he made it through just fine and is doing quite well now.

This month we also got him a belated birthday present thanks to some money my Mom gave Alexander for his birthday. We got him a swing that we attached to the roof of our porch. He absolutely LOVES it! It is so nice because we can go outside and I can read or chat with Scott online, and push him in his swing. He loved it so much that the first few times we tried it out, he would cry when we took him out of the swing. He just wanted to stay in it all day. He really is such a cutie!

Well, that is all for the month of August. Tune in next time for Spectacular September :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lessons I've Learned in My First Year as a Mother

A few months ago, one of my friends and former mission companions, Rachel Johns, did a post about the lessons she had learned in her first year as a mother. As I read her blog, it got me thinking about my first year as a mother and the many lessons I had learned. For weeks I thought about what my blog would say. Then, time flew by, I went on vacation, and forgot it all! So today, I have the task of trying to remember all those great lessons I had been thinking about. I really want to record all the lessons I've learned, so my children may benefit from them. So here goes nothing!

Lesson #1: Labor isn't as bad as the movies make it seem.
Maybe I just got really lucky with Alexander, but I remember being really scared about giving birth. I was terrified that I would be a wreck and it would feel like torture. But honestly, it wasn't that bad. I remember fearing that my water would break while I was swimming and wondering if I would know it had happened (this is due to the fact that I swam just about every day while pregnant, and had planned to go swimming the day Alexander was born). Well, luckily, my water broke in bed at about 5:30 am. It felt just like Alexander took his little fist and punched me and then my water broke. I remember waking up Scott and telling him that I thought my water had broken. Then when I was sure (only a few minutes later), we leisurely got our bags together, and drove to the hospital. It was great. I remember taking in the beautiful sunrise and thinking, "Today I am going to have a baby." I had the mildest of contractions going on, and the nurse even had to point out when I was having contractions. This meant they had to induce me and put me on pitocin so that the contractions would start working and we could have the baby, since my water had already broken. For the first part of the day, I felt great, just some mild contractions here and there. We listened to the music we brought to the hospital, and played card games. At about noon though, I was to my breaking point. That is when I decided that I would indeed have an epidural (something I was hoping not to have to do). But let me tell you something, my decision to have an epidural was the best decision I ever made! I went from tears streaming down my face in pain, to laughing out loud while we watched Brian Reegan hospital skits on Scott's laptop with the nurse. I actually almost fell asleep, and they had to wake me up because I was fully dilated. Once I started pushing, Alexander came pretty fast. He was born at 3:07 pm, on August 11, 2011. I had been in labor for a mere ten hours (if you start from when my water broke). When I held him in my arms for the first time, I remember thinking, "He is the most perfect little boy I have ever seen." I immediately started to cry. One could argue that I may think labor was awful if I didn't have an epidural, or ended up with complications, or a c-section. Maybe they are right. For some people, it could be an awful scary experience. But for me, it was the most joyous day of my life so far.

Lesson #2: Being a nanny doesn't prepare you for everything!
I remember as the days got near delivery, thinking that I was really prepared to be a mother. We were financially stable, my husband had a great job that he loved, and I had spent years as a nanny caring for young children and even multiple children at a time. I thought, "How hard could it be?" Boy was I wrong! There was so much to being a full-time mother vs. a full-time nanny, that I didn't even think about! As a nanny, the parents would tell me how they wanted me to care for their child and set the schedule. As a parent, I was faced with questions like, "Is he getting enough milk? Should I let him cry it out so he can learn to sleep through the night? Is now a good time to start solids? Does his high temperature mean we should take him in? Could this allergic reaction be serious?" The list goes on and on. I learned that for the first time in caring for children, I was the one who had to decide what was best for my child (with Scott's help of course)! It was scary to know if I was doing the right thing. I felt like I was constantly reading books to try and determine what was best for Alexander. Don't get me wrong, being a nanny did help me out. I was able to use the things I learned from watching other children and apply them to watching Alexander. But all in all, it felt like a whole new ball game because I had to be the one to decide what was best. It gave me a headache most days, and many tears were shed, but in the end I just had to remind myself that I was doing the best I could with the knowledge I had gained.

Lesson #3: Mother knows best!
After all those questions that get thrown at you, you can't help but feel overwhelmed. I remember reading one book that said that if I let my baby "cry it out" to try and teach him how to sleep, that I would be teaching him that I am not there for him when he needs me and would emotionally scar him. Coming from a bit of a rough background, that was really harsh, and made me scared to ever let him cry. Then I read another book that ensured me that let a baby cry it out, would not emotionally scar him. But what hit me most in this second book, was that they said that I am in charge. They gave lots of tips and ideas and then told me to choose what felt best for my child and our family. That really helped me a ton! (Side note: The book is called "Babywise" and I would highly recommend it! It really helped us figure out feeding and sleeping). I realized that I should do what I felt most comfortable with and if my mommy instincts said I needed to check on a crying baby, it was okay. If my mommy instincts said that it was okay for him to cry a little, that was okay too. It helped me to learn to relax and trust my instincts. There were those moments when he felt a little too warm, and I realized he was sick. Or moments when he seemed more cranky than usual, and I was able to discover that he was teething. As I paid attention to him, and to my instincts, I was able to do the best I possibly could for him.

Lesson #4: When mother has no clue, seek the Lord's help.
There have been countless times in the past year, when things haven't went the way I envisioned them. I have to say that trying to get Alexander to sleep through the night was one of the biggest. I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed that he would sleep through the night, for his sake and ours. Sometimes I think the pleading with the Lord, gave me the strength to do my part in helping things go more smoothly. As I plead for Alexander to sleep through the night, I was given the assurance through the Spirit that it was perfectly acceptable to let him cry it out and it would help him and us to sleep better. There was a time when Alexander was really sick (he had a virus similar to RSV), and we were visiting the hospital every day for a few days. It was really scary, but as I prayed, I was reassured that he would be okay and this too would pass. I remember when I was pregnant with Alexander and I started having some signs that I had miscarried him. I was so scared and so sad. I asked Scott for a blessing, and it was probably the most powerful blessing he has ever given me. Even though we both thought we had lost the baby, he said, "The baby will be fine and you will be able to hold him in your arms very soon. The child has been waiting to come down to be your child and to have you as it's mother." That filled me with comfort and hope that everything would be okay, and as you know, it was! I know I could not have made it through the pregnancy or this first year, without the Lord's help. He has guided the whole way. He has comforted me when I have been scared. And he has given me the strength to do all I needed to, when I felt there was no strength left in me.

Lesson #5: Things you thought were crazy, seem to make sense when it affects your child.
I cannot tell you how much this is true! As a nanny, I remember giving a child homemade baby food, and thinking, "This is crazy! Why do they go to so much trouble when they could just go to the store and buy some jars?!?!" After having Alexander, I requested a Baby Bullet on my wish list. Luckily, my brother Robert, bought it for us. It has been so great! I realized that I could save money and help my little guy eat healthier if I made it for him, and it was much easier than I thought. I will definitely keep making baby food for future children! The other thing I thought was crazy, was cloth diapers. I mean, who wants to wash poop out of a diaper...gross! Well, as I became a parent, I realized it was inevitable that I would be dealing with cleaning poop out of clothing. With him having four blowouts a day, and me constantly soaking his clothes in oxyclean, I realized that I was willing to see if cloth diapers would be any better. Many of you probably already read my blog on cloth diapering and making my own baby food, but I have to say I couldn't be happier with those choices! We have saved money and have found that these things just make for a happier baby :)

Lesson #6: Parenting is a two person job.
Of course this seems like a no-brainer! You need two parents to properly raise a child. But it wasn't until I had Alexander, that I realized how grateful I was to not be a single parent. I'm sure that single parents do what they can and make it work, but I honestly could not have survived without Scott. He helped me so much, and continues to be a great father. There were nights where Alexander fed every two hours, and it seemed like those nights lasted longer than I could have imagined. Scott would sit up with me in those moments and play Bill Cosby or Brian Reegan skits to help me through it. In the first few months, breastfeeding was really painful (something I never knew could happen before having Alexander), and Scott's willingness to just sit up with me and distract me from the pain, helped so much! He would even go get me a cold glass of ice water so I would stay hydrated. He has also been great at giving me my own time. On days when I felt super wiped out, he would tell me to go put my swimsuit on and jump in the hot tub while he watched the baby. He would tell me to get out and do something fun for myself for a little while. It helped a ton! But most importantly, he is an amazing Dad! Scott's first diaper change was Alexander's first dirty diaper. From the beginning, Scott was willing to jump in and help, even if it was new and a little scary. He was always there helping to bathe Alexander, to read stories to him, to sing to him, and help put him into bed. I have to say that I love our nighttime routine, because it includes both of us. I love helping to put Alexander to bed as a family. I feel like one lucky girl. This past year would have been so much harder without my sweet husband. I am so grateful for all he has done for me!

Lesson #7: You are better than you think you are.
There are so many times as a parent, where you start to wonder if you are doing any good. It seems that Sally down the street is a perfect Mom. She seems to have it all together. Her house is always clean, she plays with her baby tons, and her baby is already sleeping through the night and hitting milestones that your baby is not. I know they say not to compare your child to others, but it is so hard to avoid doing! And even harder to avoid, is the temptation of comparing myself to other moms. It always seems that there is something I could be doing better and so many areas that I lack. Constantly, I have had to go to my Father in Heaven or my husband and ask them how they feel I am doing. Luckily, that usually does the trick. Remember that no matter how great Sally is at being a mom, you are doing the best you can for your little one, and that's what counts! I have learned that I really am a better mom than I think I am, and though I strive to be a little better each day, my little guy adores me just as I am :)

Lesson #8: Enjoy the little things.
At the end of the day, I need to be reminded to just take joy in the little things. Life can get so busy and my to-do list can seem unending, but the reality is that he will only be my little guy for so long. The laundry can wait, the dishes can pile up, and my facebook status can be non-existent for a few days. What really matters are those moments when I hear him giggle, or see him learn something new, or realize he just wants to cuddle. Those are the moments that make all those stressed out days, and all those tired nights, worth it. When he wraps his arms around me to give me a great big hug, or launches himself into my arms while being held by someone else, in those moments, I know I am the center of his world, and I absolutely love it! It's seeing his joy as we pick his first flower on a walk, or watching him knock over blocks, or see him squeal with delight as he chases Daddy around the house. Those moments just take your breath away. One day, I hope to be the kind of mom who takes so much joy in the little things, that having a spotless house or tons of "me time" won't compare with those little moments that give me so much joy.

Well, I really wanted to have ten lessons, because I am so close, but that is all I can think of for right now. If I think of a few more, I will add them later. I hope you enjoyed the lessons I learned over this last year, I know that I have! That's all for now. Tune in next time for Amazing August.