Ringing it in

I have very bittersweet feelings about New Years. On one hand, it’s full of excitement. It’s a clean start. A brand new year to do whatever you want. A fresh slate.

On the other hand, it’s an ending, and endings are always a little sad. Also, it can be a fresh start only theoretically. Most of the time you’re still in the exact same place you are at the beginning of a new year you were at the end of the previous. I guess it’s the mindset that can be different.

2012 had my pregnancy and A’s birth. It also had a promotion at work and two pay raises. John and I celebrated our first anniversary. We moved into a bigger place. 2012 was a great year.

2013 will be great, too. Not only will there be a ton of firsts for A, but I’m going to try my best to stick to my goals for 2013 to make it one of our best years. I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. Somehow it seems easier to accomplish goals instead, so this year I’ve made a list of those:

1. Eat and live cleaner.

John and I have a nasty eating out habit that leaves our diets less than stellar. I want to work away from that and towards fresher, healthier eating. On the same note I want to start looking into homemade and all natural cleaning and personal hygiene products.

(You’ll notice I say nothing about weight loss here. It’s not that I don’t want to lose weight per se, just that I never ever do well when I set a weight goal. I get frustrated and upset when I don’t lose it fast enough or if the goal isn’t met which leaves me feeling even worse about myself.)

2. Exercise more.

I’ve been pinning easy to do at home work outs on Pinterest, and we plan on starting couch to 5k.

3. Be more financially responsible.

It’s not that we’re completely irresponsible in this regard-we have a budget we’re mostly good at sticking to, and we don’t have too many frivolous expenditures-but with the addition of daycare and other baby expenses, we really need to buckle down. My main goal is to pay off most of our debt. I know that we’ll be paying my student loans for a while, but it would be great to pay off as much of the car loan as possible, as well as the little bit of credit card debt we have.

Part B of this is to save more. We have a general savings account we contribute to from each paycheck (our house savings), but I’d like to open another for rainy day purchases or emergencies.

4. Write every day.

Not necessarily blog every day, but write something daily. But blogging more often (at least five times a week) falls under this too.

5. Project 365

I got a new camera for Christmas, so I want to put it to use. I think it will be totally satisfying to look back at the end of the year and see little reminders of how we spent our year, plus it will be very special for A to have later on.

6. Make some big purchases.

I know this goes directly against number three, but I’d like to save up for some big purchases this year. The first being an iPad for me (we got one last Christmas that was supposed to be for both John and me, but John has basically adopted it as his own). I draft 99% of my posts on my phone (the Catch app is my new BFF). It’s easier because I can jot things down at work, while I’m nursing, etc, so having an iPad would make my goal of writing more more attainable.

The next big purchase would be new living room furniture. We’re going to be where we are for at least another year so I want to make our living arrangements as comfy as possible. I hate our couch right now. It’s huge, ugly, and torn up. I would like to get a new couch, recliner or over stuffed chair, and an entertainment center. The last one is more important for baby proofing than aesthetics (keep wires and game consoles out of A’s reach).

7. Find a more fulfilling job.

I have worked for the same company for two years. I love the company I work for, and I do well at my job, but I kind of feel I’ve reached my personal limit in this career path. Whether this means finding a new position in this company or something else, I’m not sure, but by the end of the year (preferably in the next couple of months) I want to be doing something different.

8. Have a weekly(ish) date night.

Now that we’ve got this parenting thing (mostly) under control, I want to spend more time with John. We have a great support system here of people willing to help with A, so we really have no excuse not to spend more time being just us.

9. Enjoy life more.

This one is a bit vague and nebulous, I know. Basically, I want to worry less and laugh more. I don’t want one day to pass without smiling. It kills me to leave this list at nine things.

The OCD part of me feels this list is very unfinished. But the good thing about goals is you can always add more. At any rate this seems like a good start.

Happy New Years from us to you! What are your goals for 2013?

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Dear Amelia {Three Months}

amelia3months

Dear Amelia,

Wow. Three months! Can you believe it? I can’t.

You are an amazing little girl to watch grow up, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to do so. You are getting bigger and stronger every day. You have total head control now. No more bobble head for you! You want to and are trying to sit up on your own. If you’re awake and someone tries to cradle you like a newborn, you will fuss and attempt to sit up in their at arms. You can put weight on your feet and will “stand” for several minutes. You can roll from side to side so well pretty soon you’re going to roll all the way over and scare the crap out of yourself.

You are definitely no longer my little newborn. I’m not even sure you know you’re a baby. You hate to nap. Actually you hate sleep, period. It’s always a fight to get you to go down. And you’re already teething. You are my little early and over achiever, that’s for sure. I hope you stay that way.

You are getting more and more interested in the things around you. It’s so fun to watch you interact with everything. I can see you trying to figure out how to get a hold of your toys and your feet now. Pretty soon you’ll be grabbing at everything, not just mommy’s hair. I’m looking forward to you figuring out how to put things in your mouth and chew. I’m sure I’ll feel differently when you do, though.

Amelia, you have the sweetest smile and the cutest little giggle. I can and will spend hours everyday trying to elicit them, but thankfully it’s not that hard to get them out of you. You are growing out of the colic, but you can still be fussy (thank you gas and teething).

I’m learning all your little quirks, and I love them all. You get angry when you don’t get your way; you shake your head and SCREAM. You rub your eyes when you’re sleepy and suck on your fingers. You kick your legs when you’re excited. You furrow your brow when you’re trying to figure something out. You love to watch cartoons, especially Transformers, with your daddy. Your eyes light up at all the colors and motion. I’m not so sure we should be letting our three month old watch TV, but it’s just to funny to watch your reactions!

The last three months have been so special. We are so lucky to have you. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Love,

Mama

P.S. A bonus picture just because it was too damn cute not to include:

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Holiday hangover

Happy day after Christmas! Or  as it’s known in my house, happy-recovery-from-the-craziness-and-putting-all-the-new-things-away-day!

A’s first Christmas was wonderful. Of course, she had no idea what was going on, but she was happy to watch everyone one else. She spent all of the present opening time either laying in her bed, sleeping, or nursing. What a life. She got plenty of new toys and clothes, and we got a new camera. I took over 100 photos playing around with it, got them on to my computer, and am now trying to figure out how I’m supposed to upload them anywhere. Baby steps.

She didn’t really handle the overstimulation and disruption in schedule very well though. She was pretty fussy the entire time. Plus we just figured out she’s teething (shout out to my sister-in-law, who pointed out to us her two bottom teeth are like, right there), which explains a lot: the constant need to gnaw on something, the incessant drooling, and non-stop fussing. It also explains her runny nose and cold-like symptoms. I don’t know how the hell we got dealt the shitty hand of colic AND early teething, but I’d sure like to have a few words with the powers that be. Unhappy baby = unhappy mama.

I took today off from work because it’s generally easier to travel in the mornings, plus I wanted to have a day to relax since the last 36 hours were pretty intense. I took A to spend her Christmas money (a couple relatives sent her some cash). She bought a new Boppy pillow, Dr. Brown’s and breast milk storage bottles, and a basket for all her new toys. She took my advice to get useful things very seriously, as you can see.

I am pretty excited about the new Boppy pillow. Our old one was a hand me down from a friend. I don’t mind the second user status of it, but it’s pretty flat and hasn’t been working as well now that she’s older. The new one is SO MUCH BIGGER and holds her up much better. It also props her up better when sitting which is awesome.

I hope you all had great Christmas days! Or great Tuesdays, if you don’t celebrate. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to get those photos into a file I can upload from soon so I can post some picture’s of A in her Christmas dress. She was pretty stinking cute, if I do say so myself.

Visions of sugar plums

I’ve been kinda MIA lately. Sorry about that. Between work, getting ready for Christmas, and an unexpected cold that attacked me and A, it’s been a crazy week. I wanted to get A’s monthly letter out before Christmas (can you believe she’s three months old already? I can’t), but that didn’t happen. I also have a few posts drafted, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to up the posting frequency once Christmas is over.

Christmas Eve is always hectic for us because we go to my MIL’s house for an early dinner and then drive an hour to my parent’s house just in time to hang stockings, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, have a nightcap, and go to bed. It’s nice because we get to spend time with both families, but a little stressful. It’s going to be especially stressful this year because it’s the first year we’re doing all this with baby (who is still not feeling well), and we have to take two cars since John has an early morning flight on Wednesday. But it’s worth it to be able to spend this special time with most of our family members, especially since this is A’s first Christmas.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in amid the chaos to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I wish you all peace, blessings, and love on this magical holiday. I hope you get to spend the day doing what you love with who you love most.

And A would like to add she hopes Santa is extra good to all of you, too. She’s pretty sure she’s gonna get the hook up this year, even if she has been pretty fussy for most of her first three months here.

Picture 1Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Some words

I’ve been trying to find some words, any words for a while now. I haven’t posted anything about this awful tragedy because I haven’t been able to find anything to say. I’m at a loss for words, and those who know me know that doesn’t happen very often.

This type of event is tragic and heartbreaking every time it happens, but it is especially saddening because so many of the lives lost were children. Babies, really. Babies with their whole lives ahead of them. They’ll never fall in love, fight with their parents, party too hard in college, or cuddle babies of their own.  Some of them probably hadn’t even learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels yet.

Their mommies and daddies will never again tuck them into bed, smooth their hair and kiss their sweet cheeks goodnight. They’ll never stay up all night worrying while their child is at prom. They’ll never cry as they drop their baby off at college. They don’t get to wonder, as we all do, where the time is going, because their babies won’t be growing up anymore.

I held A closer the last few nights than I ever have. Nightmares kept me awake, so I watched her sleep peacefully. I listened to her heartbeat and felt her breath on my cheek. And when she woke up and smiled at me, I smiled too. I am thankful she is too young to remember what happened. I am already dreading the day I have to explain it to her.

(But sometimes when I look at her I cry. Sometimes I find myself wiping her tears and my own, though we are crying for different reasons.)

I wish I could hold her close to me forever. I wish I could protect her from all the danger and evil in the world. But I can’t, and as a mother, it breaks my heart and terrifies me. All I can do is love her, teach her right from wrong and to be an advocate for her own safety, and then let her go and pray.

I don’t know what needs to be done to prevent this from happening again. I know a lot of people have said a lot of things. I’m not sure any one of them is a singular solution. But that’s another post, for another time; something I do want and plan to talk about. I will say this: It is obvious that the United States has a huge violence problem, as well as many issues with how mental illness is diagnosed and dealt with. I don’t know what the solution is, but something has to happen. We should never be afraid to send our kids to school, go to church, or go to the movies. It’s time we reclaimed these most basic rights from the evil around us.

But in the meantime, we should simply practice love as a verb. Hug your loved ones tight everyday. Tell them you love them. Extend all the care and kindness you are able. Help others as much as you can. If you see someone struggling, lend a hand to help or an ear to listen. If you can’t, get them to someone who can.

We’ll continue living because we have to, and because we can’t let them take that from us too. But we’ll never forget. I’m not an extremely religious person, but I have found some solace in the following:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.” Matthew 19:14 

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”  Psalm 61:2-3

I hope all of you find some peace today. Let’s keep sending love, prayers, and as many good vibes as we can. We’re all in this together.

Another year older, another year…something

Becoming a mom has put a lot of things in perspective. I’ve always loved birthdays. It’s nice to feel special and loved (I feel special and loved everyday, but it’s nice to get the extra attention). I love the excuse to celebrate. I love the excuse to eat cake (I especially love the excuse to eat the biggest piece with the most frosting). I love ice cream. And candles. And presents. You get the point.

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a great day. I woke up to birthday cards from John and A, I got a cake at work, I came home to a dozen roses, another cake (with candles), ice cream, and a wonderful dinner (bacon and cheddar mac n cheese OMG, so good). It was a pretty amazing first birthday as a mom.

John asked me to rank my 26th birthday on a scale of one to ten, with ten being I got a pony, while in Disneyland, from Mickey Mouse himself, and one being him “beating you mercilessly 26 times” (his words, not mine, have I mentioned how HIL-ARIOUS my husband is lately). I told him 8.5-9, because honestly the only way it could have been better was if I hadn’t had to go to work (and it would have been pretty awesome if A hadn’t cried at all, but that’s not happening any time soon).

It was a great birthday. Maybe even one of my best birthdays. I’m looking forward to celebrating many more.

I think about A’s birthday a lot. I don’t ever want to want to forget the details. I have amazing photos and a video from the day, plus my own written account of her birth story, but I want to be able to tell her in my own words the story of how she got here. I’m sure her first birthday (and all others) will be a very emotional day for me. After all, I’ll be celebrating something too: the day my life changed forever. It’s her birthday, but it’ll be my anniversary of becoming a mom.

I’m sure all mothers think about this on their child’s birthday, mine included. My mom worked pretty hard 26 years ago to get me here, and even though it wasn’t the day she became a mom for the first time, it was the day she became a mom to me, and that’s pretty special too.

BTW, Happy Birthday, December Babies! December is more than just Christmas!