Friday, June 29, 2012

On the subject of daycare....

Sooo....get ready for another controversial post, people!  This one was something I started awhile back, after reading a blog entry somewhere that kind of ticked me off...or perhaps it was the comments that ticked me off, but regardless...I was ticked off.  And I wanted to kind of express my feelings as best I could, which ends up being a rambling blog post.  (You unfortunate souls, you...)  Enjoy!


On the subject of daycare....


This post I read was regarding women who leave their children at daycare for eight plus hours a day, people like myself who have jobs they must go to and no other option than to pay for their children to attend some sort of child care.  The person writing the post stated that these moms who did this were selfish and were paying other people to raise their children. 


Ahem.  No.  I am not.  Thank you.


Reading that sentence just made my blood boil.  And it upset me even more as I read the comments where other women said the same thing.  I even remember reading the word "neglect," in that women who just leave their children in facilities to be cared for by strangers are neglecting their children.  Hurtful words, yes.  And if I may say so myself, ignorant ones at best. 


It was never an option that Aubrey would not go to daycare.  There were several reasons for this, but from the beginning, we knew she would be going to daycare.  We found out we were pregnant in June and began researching daycares in August.  We wanted to get on the waiting lists for the top quality, well-respect centers out there, and unfortunately, in order to even stand a chance at getting in these places, you basically have to sign the baby up before the sperm even reaches the egg.  (Hell, the place we use has a waiting list of 100 infants!)  We fell in love with the daycare where Aubrey is as soon as we walked in the door.  It was clean, the staff was friendly, they interacted well with the children, it was state accredited, and it was close to both of our places of employment.  It was expensive, yes, but you pay for what you get, in my opinion.  So we signed up that day to get her on the list.  (It was so early we didn't even know she was a she!)


I chose to go back to work after Aubrey was born for several reasons.  I'm not going to lie, the biggest factor in this decision was financial.  I went to school for seven years, so you can imagine the student loans I have, and we also have a mortgage to pay.  The expenses we have simply do not allow for us to survive on one income.  My maternity leave was unpaid, as well, so I needed to get back to work as soon as possible.  However, I also chose to go back to work for another reason.  I love what I do.  I love to work.  I love my job.  I chose to be a working mother because I wanted to have both- a child and a legal career.  That's what I've always wanted.  I went to school to do what I do, and I don't regret that for a second.  And I've always wanted to be a mother.  I guess I never saw it as an "either, or" type of deal.   I believe you can be both. And that does not for one second make me a bad mother. Nor does that make me a neglectful parent.  


On a side note, I'm not one of those women either who thinks that being a stay-at-home mother isn't a job either.  That's a full-time job and then some.  I admire women who do that very much.  All I'm saying is choosing one or the other doesn't make you a bad parent or a better parent than others. 


I want to encourage my daughter, too, that, if that's something she wants to do, too, then do it.  I will encourage her, similarly, if she wants to stay at home with her children.  It's her choice, but making one decision or another doesn't make her a bad parent.  It doesn't mean her child would be neglected.  It just makes her a mother who works outside the home?  Someone who, yes, relies on others to care for her child during the day, but that doesn't mean she would love them any less, would be any less of a parent, would not participate as much in their upbringing and development.  It doesn't mean she couldn't be a good parent. 


Do I hate having to leave Aubrey at the daycare?  Yes.  Somedays it takes all I have in me to walk away from that cute little face.  I have pictures of her all over my office, and I find myself looking at them always.  I have videos of her on my phone I watch several times a day.  I miss her during the day.  And the best part of my day is when I get to pick her up from daycare and take her home.   I look forward to that moment all day.  And when we get home and when we are with her on the weekends, we spend all the time we can with her, playing, teaching her new things, etc.  We raise her.  Just like any parent would. 


I do not feel the two lovely women who care for Aubrey during the day are "raising" my daughter.  The ultimate responsibility for Aubrey and her development rests with T and me.  We tell them what we want and how we want things done.  We provide them with everything she needs during the day.  We get up with her in the middle of the night, love on her, care for her when she is sick, work hard on her development, make her try new things and experiences.  We are her parents.  If she's sick, I don't leave her there and say "hey, you deal with it - that's what I pay you for."  No, I go and get her.  She is my child, she's my responsibility.   I'm her Mommy.


We provide our child with love, support, a warm environment where she feels safe and secure.  And when she grows up, I have no doubt she will not say "my teachers sure raised me right!" or "my parents abandoned me!"  No, what I want her to feel and say one day is "I was loved."  And I think that makes me a pretty darn good parent. 



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nain's journey through music


Second Blooming


 
 
This week's Spin Cycle with Gretchen at Second Blooming is on music.  It's a pretty open topic.  Where do I go with it?  I can't lie...I thought and thought about what angle I'd take on it, and finally...I said screw it, I'm going random on this!  So music....
 
 
I was always into music.  I'm not saying good music, but music.  My parents got me my very first stereo, a My First Sony: 
 
 
Image courtesy of Google Images
And I used to play my New Kids on the Block  tapes on it over and over and over again.  I also had a pretty cool Walkman-style one, too.  I'd totally love to have one of these again.    But this was my first introduction into music.  And I didn't just use my My First Sony to play tapes.  I also recorded  on it (note the cool microphone)  I would record my own radio shows, placing the radio close to another radio playing the radio, recording what songs were playing.  (Can you imagine the quality on that sound?  Whoo!)  And then I'd listen to these tapes, enjoying the songs recorded from songs played from a recording.  It boggles the mind, doesn't it? 
 
 
In high school, I was one of the last people to get a CD player and I never had one in my car.  I had to use one of these things to play any CDs where you plugged this into your Discman (Kids:  This is like an iPod that plays CDs...) and then put the tape part into your tape deck on the car radio. 
 
 
 
 
 The quality sucked,  and you always had to take the risk that you would hit a bump in the road, thus making your CD skip.  Honestly, it wasn't until I leased my Saturn in 2002 when I finally got a car with a CD player.  So in playing music in my car, I had to get really creative.  I had to record CDs onto tapes to play in my car, so I would record my brother's and sister's CDs so that I had something to listen to while driving.  I even mastered the art of making mixed tapes combining different songs from different CDs and recording them onto tapes from my parent's stereo.  Most of the music I recorded was crappy pop music or songs from the 80s.  Not much changed from my My First Sony days.  Different medium, same crappy music. 
 
 
Now that I own my very own CD player in my car, I get to listen to whatever I want to play.  Which is...wait for it...crappy pop music and 80's songs!  I have yet to buy the new NKOTB CD but...this isn't to say I didn't almost buy it when on a trip to Best Buy.  Honestly, I still might.  My current playlist comes from Roxette's Greatest Hits.  I consistently tortured T with Roxette songs when they would play on his XM 80s station, and I always said "I need to get Roxette's Greatest Hits!"  Never did, until my maternity leave, when T surprised me with it.  So now, it's in my car.  Did you know Roxette had 20 "greatest hits?"  Me either, but they somehow came up with 20 songs they wrote.  I only listen to the first 10 because those are the only ones I know.  Anyway, this is just one example of my taste in music.  Once, I had work done on my car, and I accidentally left my CD book in it.  My dad was worried the mechanics would steal my CDs...my response was "what?  They're going to steal my Britney Spears CDs and burnt copies of NOW That's What I Call Music?  The NSYNC Christmas CD I had?  The soundtracks from Dawson's Creak, both one and two?  Nope, sorry...my collection isn't exactly one someone would take.  In fact, my collection is one where, if a person did steal it, they'd get away, open the book and curse wondering what the hell that crap was. 
 
 
But I'm proud of my crap in music!  I am Nain, and I love my crappy music.  And I'm not afraid to expose my daughter to it, too.  Though I think T might have something to say about that....
 
 
Wonder what her first version of "My First Sony" will be? 
 
 
I told you this would be random!
 
 
Stop by Gretchen's blog and see what others have to share about music!
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tough lessons on being a mom

This week, I experienced one of the tough parts of Mommy-hood.  Not being able to help your child.  More specifically, not being able to take pain away from your child.  And well...it sucks.  And I don't look forward to this happening again.  (I've been told it doesn't get any easier.)


On Sunday this last weekend, Aubrey just wasn't acting like herself.  She was a little more fussy than usual and wasn't eating as well.  Normally, as you can tell from the pictures I post, she's a happy baby, always smiling and cooing.  And as the day went on, she got more and more fussy, and it wasn't the fussy cry that accompanies  her needing to eat.  It was a "I'm in pain" fussy cry.  So I decided to take her to the doctor upon an on-call nurse's advice who said it was probably a repeat ear infection. 


Monday was T's and my four year anniversary of when we met, so we had arranged for a friend to babysit for us while we went to dinner.  I took Aubrey to her appointment on Monday morning, and sure enough, she had a repeat ear infection.  She didn't have a fever at the doctor, so our friend assured us she had no problem watching Aubrey that night.  I waffled on that one, going back and forth, not wanting to leave her while she's sick, but as the day went on, she got more and more miserable.  So we decided, nope, not going anywhere.  And I'm so glad we decided that.  The poor thing didn't want to do anything or be anywhere but held by Mommy.  She would fall asleep off and on in my arms, only to wake up screaming..  By the time she went to bed, her fever was around 102.5.  First time her fever has ever gotten that high.  Sure, we gave her Baby Tylenol and gave her a luke warm/cool bath but it still was high, and her little cheeks were just so rosy.  I felt so bad for her. 


And that's the part that hurt.  Here she was, crying and in so much discomfort, and there wasn't much I could do about it.  All I could really do was comfort her, hold her, and just let her cry.  And of course, Mommy and Daddy were then almost in tears wanting to cry.   We kept a close eye on her through the night...no sleeping through the night for us, of course, and then next day the fever did go down to 99.7.  But that still warranted T having to stay home (since I had court). 


This poor infection really took a toll on her, too.  She didn't smile really for three days, which is unlike her because she smiles all the time and coos so much.  But she just sort of lay there with this sad look on her eye.  Not even the bee on her car seat made her smile, and her bee always makes her smile. 


I hated it.  I hate watching her just be miserable and know that I couldn't fix it.  And I know...you moms out there are going to say this doesn't get better, and if that is, in fact true, then we have a long road ahead of us. 


All I want is to see my little girl smile.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Father's Day Recap


I'm a stellar mom/wife because it's taken me over a week to do this, but...here's a recap of what we did for T's very first Father's Day!  Better late than never, right?
On Memorial Day weekend we had intended to go to IU for the day, but with Aubrey's fever, we decided to delay those plans until Father's Day.  So after letting T sleep in that day, we headed to Bloomington, stopping first at Oliver Winery. As you can tell, Aubrey was pretty stoked.  She does love her wineries....

 
 



We did a tasting, and then we bought a bottle of wine to share for a picnic.  It was warm outside, but not too terrible.  Here's Mommy and Aubrey enjoying the day.



And, of course, we had to get a shot of Aubrey with her Daddy.  I love the look on her face..."another picture?  seriously?"




We then headed to IU to walk around.  It was pretty warm outside so we walked outside for a bit and then went inside to the Indiana Memorial Union to get her an outfit.  Of course, we decided not to after seeing that a onesie cost $24.00.  I couldn't in good conscience buy something she'll wear for like a month.  So we went to one of those discount places.




We stopped by Mommy's old stomping grounds, the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism.  She was so thrilled, can't you tell?


We then went to Kirkwood, which is the main street where the bar district is.  No, we didn't go to any bars, but I thought she should at least be introduced to it.  When she attends in just eighteen years, it'll be important she knows how to locate the hot spots on campus. 



Aubrey when asked if she wants to go to Purdue University.....




Aubrey, when asked if she wants to attend the clearly superior mecca of education, Indiana University...




We finished the day going to Upland Brewery for some dinner and dark beer.  For those of you who watch the show Parks and Recreation on NBC, since the show is written out of Indiana, any beer they have on that show is from this Bloomington brewery.  It's pretty cool.  Anyway, here's T drinking his amber ale.



I'm afraid my dark beer drinking habits will quickly rub off onto my daughter.  Every time I took a sip from my beer, she would carefully watch me drink it.  Mommy has a future Guinness drinker!!!



Despite the hot weather, we had a great day, and I think T really enjoyed his first Father's Day with his girls.  Plus, Aubrey was exposed to the happiest place on earth, so how can that not be a great day? 
Hope all you dads out there had a wonderful Father's Day!

 
 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Four years ago

Four years ago today...

I was so nervous.  I was getting ready to meet a boy named Tim for the very first time.  We had talked on the phone for a month, we had gotten to know each other well, but we had yet to meet.  I had no idea what to expect.  As I drove to meet him at Carrabbas close to where he lived, all I kept thinking was this could be just another one of those first dates.  Another "nice to meet you but this isn't going to work out" kind of things.  I talked myself into believing that it wouldn't work, but after I met him, I felt immediately at ease and comfortable with him.  It felt right.  Little did I know.....

Three years ago today...

I was happier than I had ever been in my life.  T and I had dated for a year, and little did I know that in just a week, it would be the (3rd) happiest day in my life (the 1st being our wedding day and 2nd when Aubrey was born, of course!).  I remember before our anniversary dinner, I had worked for months on end on a scrapbook about our first year together.  Throughout the year I had kept little things from our dates, and I put them together in a chronological summary of how we got to know each other.  I didn't think I could be any happier than I was that day.  Little did I know....


Two years ago today....

We were celebrating two years of knowing each other at that very same place, but a new date had become an even more important date.  We were just months away from our wedding day on September 18th.  Exhausted from wedding planning, we were thrilled to go out on a date, just the two of us.  We talked about how much had changed from that first date two years ago, and we talked about future, our wedding day, our honeymoon, where the years will take us.  Little did we know...


One year ago today...


We were celebrating three years of knowing each other, still eating at the place where we had our first date.  So much had changed in those three short years.  But yet, so much had stayed the same.  We were happily married for nine months and we had just found out we were expecting our first baby.  We hadn't quite told everyone yet, so it was still our little secret, a shared happiness.  I was in that new stages of being pregnant, too, so despite the delicious food and atmoshere, I could barely eat a thing.  But I still enjoyed my date, and like other dates, we talked about how far we had come and all of the unknown blessings that awaited us.  Little did we know....


And today...


Here we are, the same people we were four years ago today.  The same, but yet so much has changed.  We have grown, have been blessed.  We're approaching our second wedding anniversary this September, have lived in our own home for just over a year, and we've been blessed with the sweetest, most loving baby girl we could ever have wished for.  And tonight, when we go out to that same restaurant, like so many years before, we'll talk about how far we've come and what the future could bring.  How little we know....


And to all think it started from taking a chance and meeting a sweet, funny guy named T, just four years ago today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I want a time out!


It's been a week.  That's the only way I can describe it.  A week.  And man, I am glad it's over. 
 
 
It's one of those weeks where I have found myself doing work every evening, pulling in 10 hour plus days...
 
 
A week where I have frequently hit my coworkers up for some Dove chocolates.  I think the other day I asked her for one at 9:00 a.m.  I got there at 8:30 a.m.  That, my friends, is not a good sign for the day.
 
 
I may or may not have asked the question "is it time to have a drink yet?" Or have said "there's a glass of wine at home with my name on it." 
 
 
I'd go into why, but I won't.  It's been busy, hectic, emotional, a little stressful.  I have snapped a few times and have had to be the tough one (a task I don't always love), and I've had to make some tough decisions.  It hasn't been fun.  I'm ready to change out of my big girl pants into something else.  Maybe go back to the days of being a kid.  I mean, come on...doesn't she look like she doesn't have a worry in the world?
 
 
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Look at those eyes, so fully of wonder, awe and innocence.  Can we take a time out and go back to that feeling?



Those days where a play mat can take your attention for thirty minutes and make you smile and giggle.  Those were the days, right?


 
 
Man, it can suck being an adult.  I'm just going to put that out there.  And then celebrate the fact that this week is over.  Onto the next one!
 
 
Sorry for the uplifting post today!  Oh and Monday I will not be doing Motivation Monday...skipping a week and dedicating my post to my four year anniversary of knowing the love of my life!
 
 
Have a great weekend, everyone!
 

These are my confessions

As Usher would say...these are my confessions...sorry you'll get a more substantive and coherent post tomorrow, I promise!


My little girl rolled over for the first time on Tuesday!  We were having her do her normal tummy time, and she's gotten quite adept at pushing herself up and keeping herself up there.  Before we knew it, she had rolled out her back.  (I guess that's a good way to get out of tummy time!)  Both T and I kind of gasped and looked at each other like "did we really just see that?"  And then I started squealing.  So proud of how quickly she's developing!


I have worked a ton this week.  And by a ton, I mean...a ton.   I'm doing the normal 8-8.5 hours during the day and then working two hours in the evening.  Poor neglected, T.  But unfortunately, that's kind of the way things will be for the next few weeks. 


I absolutely cannot wait for our vacation the week of July 4th.  I think both of us need this in bad, bad way.  (See above confession.)


I have become quite obsessed with reading coverage of the Sandusky trial.  I have no idea why, too.  The lawyer in me is curious about the defense strategy (or lack thereof), and it just shocks and astounds me how, if these allegations are true, someone could be so sick and get away with so much.  T may stage an intervention pretty soon, though, if I don't step away from the news sites. 


I'm still not exercising every day like I hoped I would.  I'm probably being a bit unrealistic, because Aubrey's new wake-up time of 4 a.m. is truly making this an impossible feat. 


But, at the same time, I'm freaking out about the fact that I'll be walking 13.1 miles on September 1st. 


I like that new "Call me, maybe" song.  It's annoying, but I like it.  Except I have come up with my own lyrics to it:  "Hey, my name's Aubrey.  And I'm a baby.  And here's my diaper.  It's time to change me." 


I also have been known to listen to "I'm sexy and I know it" too.  And like the previous song, I have come up with my lyrics to this one, too.  I call it "I'm stinky and I know it."   "Every time I wake up, Mommy's staring at me.  She looks really tired, and she really needs to sleep.  But I've got poopy in my diaper, and I'm not afraid to show it.  I'm stinky and I know it.  I blow out." 


Mommy has some serious sleep deprivation, and it's causing her to come up with crazy songs and scare both her husband and baby. 


I've hit an all-time low when, after we went to mass one day, I started singing to the tune of the "Our Father" prayer when sung at church: "Our Aubrey, who art in Greenwood..."  T looked at me and said "wow, way to blaspheme, Mommy."  Yes, I have really lost it. 


I would cut off my left foot to get a good twelve hours of sleep.  Anyone want to come over and feed my child at night? 


Ok, enough of that...these are my confessions....random on a Thursday morning.  But, it's almost the weekend!  So thank God for small blessings!  Have a good one, everyone!




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun with words


Second Blooming


I had a fun time doing this week's Spin Cycle with Gretchen at Second Blooming.  She introduced me to a fun site called Tagxedo.  You enter in your blog address, twitter name, etc., and the site populates words from these and puts them in a sort of word collage.  I was curious, so I had to give it a try, and this is what I came up with:
 


I'm guessing the big words are the ones that appear the most often, and I love the words that appear prominently:  motivation, baby, new, Father, blessing.  Because, really, this is how I feel.  Some of them are hilarious, and the fact that good girl is on there cracks me up, too.  Good girl?  Really?  And if I look closely, I do see doctor, which is true because of how many times I have been to doctors over this past year.  But I am pretty happy with how it turned out, and what wonderful words to describe my life as expressed through Twitter and my blog! 


You should try it out!  Just click on the hyperlink I included above and enter in whatever links you want.  You get to pick your color background, shape and font.  Link up with Gretchen once you've made yours and see what others created.  It's pretty fun to see what words are used by everyone! 


 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Listen up!


On Friday, we took Aubrey to her four month appointment.  She did pretty well, met all of the developmental milestones she had to meet, is in the 99th percentile for weight and 52nd percentile for height.  And she was given the go-ahead to start cereal.  Unfortunately, we had to end her appointment with two shots.  But she did pretty well. 
 
 
However, when we got home, I sat her down and asked her what she thought about everything - the shots, the new food she would be trying, making sure she didn't have any body image issues from being in the 99th percentile...and she had quite a lot to say...
 
 

 
 
The conversation started out calmly enough.  She was pretty pleased with her progress and how nicely she was treated by the nurses and doctor....
 
 

 
 She was very vocal, however, on the issue of the shots and the cereal.  I didn't realize her opinions were so strong, but she had a lot to say. 
 
 


It's extremely important that we listen to her.  This girl knows what she's talking about.  And she is going to make sure we all know about it.





I think we came to a good agreement.  We tried the cereal on Saturday, and I profuselyy apologized to her for not giving her a heads up on the shot thing when those nurses came into the room.  I promised to do better next time, and of course, gave her a  nice dosage of Tylenol. 


I have quite the talker on my  hands, and I love it.  I have a feeling as she learns words and gets older, it's only going to get better.  She's such a funny little girl.  God, I love her...


 
 



Monday, June 18, 2012

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday


Happy Motivation Monday, everyone!  As always, I could have gone for a longer weekend...I'm sure all could.  Do you think there's some way to petition this to happen?  Or maybe give us a mid-week break by having Wednesday be considered a national "day off?"  Anyone? 


Anyway, despite my desperate plea, I must plug ahead.  My motivation this week is one that I shared not too long ago.  I need motivation to have...well, motivation. 


See, towards the end of last week, I found myself looking through older posts just for the hell of it, and I came across this earlier post. I went through my weekly accomplishments for the week, and damn, this post makes me look like a lazy butt right now.  Seriously, where did I find the time or energy to do all of this?  Granted, a lot has changed since that time..we have a new little girl who demands a great deal of our attention, and we're going on four to five hours of sleep (on a good night) every day.  But still...I feel like I hardly ever get anything accomplished during the day.  Or maybe I'm not recognizing the things I do get accomplished.  Either way, I know I could do better. 


I hate to say it, but this lack of sleep is seriously affecting my ability go concentrate and get work done.  I don't like using that as an excuse, but that, coupled with not feeling well and my PPD has made me have no desire to do pretty much anything.  And I hate that because I'm usually one of those people who can multitask the heck of out things and is constantly going and running all over the place.  I have so many things I need to and want to do, but when I'm working, sometimes I just find myself blankly staring at the computer.  Or I find myself thinking of Aubrey, wondering what she's doing, missing her.  Either way, I can't seem to get anything done.  And I feel just awful about it because I feel like I'm stealing time and completely wasting the day.  I can't keep doing that. 


Every week, I swear up and down that it'll change.  I'll make a to-do list for each day and check things off.  I'll get up early and work out and not miss a day.  I'll get x or y done in the evening.  I'll work in the evening or on Saturday to catch up on hours lost.  But...it never happens. 


I really need to do it.  I know, I'm probably beating myself up here and expecting way too much, but I know I can do better.  I have to do better.  Sure, there's no way I can go back to the productivity I had in that previous post, unless a miracle happens and I suddenly catch up on all lost sleep.  But I can at least utilize the most I can out of the 8 or so hours I'm not at home and am kid-free. 


Let's just say that this post isn't just a Motivation Monday post, but rather it's a cry for a little help.  You moms out there...how do you manage?  Does it get easier to find time to do things as the kiddos get older or is it a matter of priorities? 


I need to keep this quote I read the other day in mind:  "Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, etc…"


So there's my motivation...here's hoping I can pull it off?


What's your motivation this week?  Link up, sharing a post you've written about the motivation you need this week, and I'll add you to the list!  Thanks!!!


 

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Letter to my Daughter

Today's post is a special one...warning:  you may tear up a bit.  T has a way with words.  But here is a special Father's Day post from T...enjoy!


A Letter to My Daughter from a New Dad on His First Father’s Day

Dear Aubrey,

I am writing this letter to you one day shy of you turning 4 months old and three days shy of my first Father’s Day as a father. I never really knew what it meant to be a father until now. You have changed my world and my life, all for the better. I love you more than anything in this world (besides your mother). I wanted to tell you how you have changed me and made me better.

I will never forget the day Mommy and I found out we were going to have you. I was so happy, scared, excited, ready, and unprepared all at the same time. I never really thought I would be a Daddy before then, but that day changed my life forever. I had no idea how much my life was about to change. Your Mommy was special in that she was a high risk pregnancy because of her heart condition. My job was to take good care of her and of you while you were inside her. We didn’t know you were a girl until about halfway through the pregnancy. I always suspected it, though. I had a hunch that I would have a little girl someday, and that someday was about to arrive. I remember hearing your heartbeat for the very first time. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard, although I was about to hear the most beautiful sound soon. Mommy and I had our scares but you always managed to pass all your tests just fine, with flying colors. As you got bigger, I would put my hand on Mommy’s tummy and read books to you. You must have liked that because you always seemed to kick and move when I did that. It made me happy every time I got to feel you move and kick. I could not wait to meet you.

February 15, 2012. That is a day I will never forget and was the second happiest day of my life. That is the day you arrived into our world. Mommy and I woke up that morning and we were very excited to meet you in just a few short hours. We packed our clothes and the car with all of the stuff we needed for you. I remember looking around the house before we left and thinking to myself, “We are leaving as two people but the next time we come home, there will be three of us.” We got to the hospital and the nurse began to prep Mommy. Both Mommy and Daddy were nervous, but oddly calm. I was ready to finally meet my little girl. I could not wait to hold you, hug you, kiss you, and love you. Soon it was time. Mommy had to go back to the operating room without me, at first, to get the anesthesia. I was really nervous and the half hour it took to prep Mommy seemed like forever to me. Finally, the medical student came to get me. I went into the room and saw Mommy on the table. The doctor was ready to bring you into our world. I could not wait. After about 15 minutes or so, you were born! The doctor said, “Hey, she kicked me!” when he got you out of Mommy. You were a fighter from the start!

Then, I heard it. The most beautiful sound I will ever hear. Your voice. You were crying and that cry is the single most beautiful sound I have ever heard! You made it! After about 5 minutes, the nurses brought you over to me. They asked me, “Do you want to hold your daughter?” Of course, I said, “Yes!” immediately! They put you in my arms and I held you for the very first time. Thankfully, one of the doctors was able to capture this moment forever in a picture. This is hands down, my favorite picture. It is the moment I first held you, first saw you, first hugged you, and first introduced myself to you. There is no way to describe the joy I felt right at this moment. I was the happiest person alive and I could not be more proud to be holding my little girl.


I have never believed in love at first sight. Even the first time I met Mommy, I didn’t feel love. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked her, but it took time for me to love her. But, there is no question that I loved you at first sight. I knew the second the nurse put you in my arms that I loved you and that I was always going to be there for you. I would and will do anything for you. I then introduced you to Mommy. She cried when she first saw you and I know she felt the same love I felt. She told me how beautiful you were. I didn’t want to let go, but the nurse had to take you back to do all kinds of stuff to you. I almost didn’t let go, but I knew they needed to do that stuff to keep you healthy.

After the surgery, I stayed with you and Mommy the entire time you were in the hospital. That was three long days. The first night, Mommy really couldn’t get out of bed or do much because of the surgery. So, I took care of you. I had no idea what I was doing, but something just kicked in for me. It was like instinct had taken over and I just did what I needed to do. Whether it was feeding you, changing you, wrapping you up, or just holding you. I did it because I loved you. I knew you were mine. We finally went home three days later. I will not forget that first car ride with you in the back seat. I was driving so carefully. I was going slow and avoiding every bump. I wanted to make sure you were safe. We brought you home and I showed you around the house. You seemed to like it, but you were also hungry and tired. It was an adventure when we first brought you home, but it is one I would certainly take all over again. See, Daddy likes to figure out how things work and you were something new. I wanted to figure out how you work.


Mommy and I have learned a lot along the way. We went from guessing at everything to knowing your cries and what you need. You are only four months old, and already I have watched you grow from this tiny newborn into a beautiful, healthy little girl. You have taught me so much along the way. You have taught me what it really means to be a father. These are the promises I make to you as your father….

1.       I will always be there for you, no matter what.

2.       I will always love you, unconditionally, and without hesitation. (Even if you say you hate me when you are a teenager, and believe me, you will say that).

3.       I will do my best to protect you from evil. I will teach you that good always wins.

4.       I will make sure you have the best shot at an education and help you learn as much as you can. (Hint: You can never learn too much.)

5.       I will show you how, by example, a good man treats a woman by the way I treat your Mom.

6.       That I will always have your best interest at heart.

7.       I promise to let you spread your wings and learn to fly. It may be hard on me to let you gain independence, but it is one of the most important things I can do for you.

8.       I promise to always know when to give you a hug. That promise sticks when you are an adult, too, you know…

9.       I will make sure you know that you can do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be. There is nothing you can’t do and I want to make sure you know that anyone who tells you there is, is flat out wrong.

10.   I promise that no matter how much someone breaks your heart; you will not die of sadness. You may think that at the time, but trust me; you will move on and become stronger for it.

11.   I promise to teach you how to grow into a strong woman. Mommy is a great example and I encourage you to be like her.

12.   I promise that I will try my best to not get mad at you, but rather, to turn something you may have done wrong into a moment to teach you the right way.

13.   I promise to always make you go to church. There will be times where you don’t like it, don’t see it as cool, don’t understand why you need to go, and think it is stupid. But trust me; someday you will understand why I made you go every week.

14.   I promise to let you explore. Explore everything and anything you want…

15.   I promise to keep you safe.

16.   I promise that no matter how down and out you may seem to be, that I will show you a glimmer of light and hope.

17.   I promise to let you have fun and play and be a kid.

18.   I promise to let you have ice cream and pizza if Mommy is away for an evening…

19.   I promise that no matter what, Mommy and I will always love each other because our love is very important for you to know.

20.   And finally, I promise that when I am gone, you will still feel my love and know that I am watching over you, always.


Aubrey, I love you. You are the best part of me and Mommy and without you, our family would be incomplete. I feel like I have known you my entire life, even though I have only known you for four short months. I can’t wait to see the person into which you will grow…

Love,

T (Always your Daddy)





Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inquiring minds want to know


Okay, so I already tagged Vandy at The Testosterone Three and Me with this meme last week, but I'm short on post ideas at the moment, and she answered my questions I gave her and gave 11 more of her own to answer.  So I'm not going to do the whole tagging 11 people and asking more questions thing, but rather, I'm just going to answer the questions.  Because I need material, that's why!
 
 
What is your favorite family game, or game to play with friends?
I totally hate games.  I'm one of those people.  Whenever my family wants to play games, I always sit it out because I'm just a party pooper like that.  Don't even get me started on playing Scrabble with my family on Christmas.  Ugh.

Do you enjoy cooking or find it a colossal chore?
Now during the week...I can find it to be a gigantic pain, but on the weekend, I love to cook and experiment with new recipes.  And I love watching T enjoy one of my big meals I'll make on a weekend night.
What is your preferred weekend activity?
Doing nothing.  We hardly get to do it but I love it.  We are usually running around cleaning, grocery shopping, etc., but I love just hanging out with Aubrey, doing nothing at all. 
What is your bad habit?
I have so many...I apologize for pretty much everything, I pick at my nails and the skin around my nails (yes, I know, gross), and I have a bit of a potty mouth.  Just to name a few.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Gossip Girl.  Love that show, and I'm so sad it'll be over next year.  And no, I'm not 13 years old.

Do you have a must see TV show?
Other than Gossip Girl? :-)  Dancing with the Stars when that is on.  And I always DVR and watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report.  Oh, and Hoarders.  I love love love Hoarders.

Do you have pets?
No, I think caring for a baby is enough for now.  I have had pets in the past, and honestly, that is a really good blog post for another day.  Hmm...maybe next week...
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee.  Always always coffee.  Unless I'm pregnant. Which I'm not.  So I'll say coffee.  Hell, I'd take coffee in an IV drip if I had it my way.  And no, I don't have a problem...
What is your favorite summer evening activity?
Taking a walk outside or enjoying a fire pit, none of which we have done so far this summer.  I must alleviate that ASAP.

What is your favorite go to quick dinner that's not take out?
Something I make at home?  Oh geez, if I'm really lazy and don't feel like doing much, I'll make grilled cheese and soup, usually tomato.  Or we'll make grilled chicken salad because that's pretty quick and easy to make.

What is your favorite animal?
Don't judge me, but I really don't like animals.  I'm sorry, but I'm just not an animal person.  I think there must be a small piece of me that is missing or the inner child inside me is dead, but I'm not an animal person.  I guess if I had to say any animal at all, including those in the zoo, penguins are cute?  Other than that, I could take or leave animals.  Really not my thing.  Don't judge.
 
Stay tuned tomorrow for a guest post by T!  Yep, I've twisted his arm into writing something on Father's Day.  Knowing him it'll be very well written, sentimental and given to me to post in the eleventh hour.  (Love you sweetie!)  So come back and give him lots of love!
 
 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Random Nain

I'm not feeling 100 percent today.  Sleep deprivation combined with the cold, now turned sinus infection, has taken my ability to form coherent thoughts, so you'll be getting random Nain musings today.  Enjoy!


1.  I totally had a moment of freak out yesterday when I looked at the calendar and realized it's mid-June, and my mini-marathon is on September 1st.  And I have barely trained.  I emailed T, freaking out, and he managed to find a training program I think I can handle.  Now I just need to get off my lazy, sleep deprived butt and just do it.  How is it possible that the race is that close?  Only 12 weeks away!  Yikes.


2.  I mention the sleep deprivation...that's not just Aubrey.  Sure, we're doing sleep training, and that has lead to some sleepless nights.  But I also have the world's most annoying cough that has kept me up for the past three nights.  It gets so bad that I almost get sick when I start coughing.  I'm hoping the cough suppressant and antibiotics I'm now on can help with that because Momma seriously needs some rest or I'll never get better.


3.  On that same note - I need Kleenex.  Blowing my nose on toilet paper and napkins has caused it to be rather raw.  In a moment of desperation yesterday, with no paper product on which to blow my noise, I may or may not have found a stray glove in the backseat of my car while blindly searching with one hand and driving at the same time.  I've now hit rock bottom. 


4.  Our baby girl turns 4 months on Friday, and we have her 4 month check-up.  More shots.  I hate that.  And that will be the third time we've seen her doctor in two weeks.  Poor girl is going to hate us for having to go to the doctor so often! 


5.  The 4 month mark - the sad thing about that is I start thinking about the fact that when I was just 4 months old, my parents took me to my 4 month check-up and discovered my heart defect and had to rush me to surgery.  My child is that same age.  I have such new respect for my parents having to endure that because looking at Aubrey, I have no idea how they handled that.  And it breaks my heart to think of all parents out there who have to be the strong ones when their little ones go through such tough times at such a young age. 


6.  Last night I met a new friend for dinner.  I have to admit I was actually kind of nervous because this was the first we've ever hung out.  When I was driving to meet her, I legitimately felt like I was meeting someone for a first date.


7.  Making friends at 31 years old is pretty tough. 


8.  Speaking of first dates, on June 25th we are coming upon the 4th anniversary of when T and I had our first date.  We have a sitter scheduled for that night, and I'm super excited about getting an evening with my one and only.  Even if it's a Monday night. 


9.  Sign that you're getting older - you get excited about it raining because that means your lawn and garden will get watered.  We used to never care about things like this.  My how priorities change....Speaking of, we need rain here in the Midwest in a bad way.


10.  In just a few weeks we'll be taking our first trip as a family on vacation to St. Louis.  It makes me a little nervous having to think about all of the crap we have to pack now that we have a little kiddo.  It's amazing how much stuff comes with someone so small!  But I am really excited to have some time off and away with my family. 


11.  Look at this face.  I have such a hard time not kissing all over those cheeks: 



So those are my random thoughts for the day.  Now excuse me while I chug the rest of my coffee in hopes that I'll eventually come to some sort of conscious state of mind.  Have a wonderful day, everyone!



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Miss Talkative

Our little girl is changing by the day.  It's so amazing to watch her discover things and grow.  She's become quite adept at sitting up (assisted still, of course), and she focuses so well on things. This past weekend she became more vocal than she had been before.  She just talks up a storm, too.  I had to tape her on Saturday just so I could capture some of her babbling. 




I wonder what she's talking about.  I'll try to converse with her back.  She'll say something, and I'll respond with "Oh really?  She said that? What did you say?" as if she was gossiping about other daycare kids.  And she's been smiling up a storm, too.  When she smiles, her whole face smiles.  It warms my heart so much.  Once she got the antibiotics in her all day Friday, she was just as happy as a clam, just talking away.  It was so funny that even on Saturday, I woke around 7:30 a.m. to this noise coming from the monitor.  It sounded like her, but it was fainter and definitely wasn't talking.  I peeked in her room, and there she was, just laying in her crib, staring up at her mobile, talking away.  As soon as she saw me, she just got this huge smile on her face.  Now that's something I can wake up to every day!


Would you believe my little girl is now 16 lbs?  She weighed in at 16 lbs 4 oz on Monday when we first went to the doctor, and by the time we got back to the doctor on Friday she had already gained 3 oz.  It's insane!  We're going to start the cereal this weekend, too.  We were going to this past weekend, but with the medicine, I just couldn't chance it on her little tummy. 


She's also starting to push herself up pretty well.  She still hates the tummy time, but when we put her on her stomach the other day, she held herself up for a few seconds and moved her butt up in the air, too.  I'm afraid once she starts crawling, she's going to be off and running.  Perhaps it's time to baby proof the house? 


Like Mother, like daughter...Aubrey likes the Today Show.  We put her on her boppy in our room when we're getting ready for the morning, and lately she has taken to watching the TV when the Today Show is on.  And it's not right in front of her either..she literally turns her head to watch it behind her.  And she watches it so intently.  She must like Matt Lauer, too.

Now that I've babbled on and on about my pride and joy, I'll stop.  But it has been some time since I've given a real Aubrey update.  It's so hard to believe that this Friday she'll be 4 months old.  It's amazing to watch the videos I taped when I was at home on my maternity leave and then watch this one and see how much she's changed in such a short period of time. 


I'm such a lucky Momma, and T and I couldn't be more blessed!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday 

It's another week, another Motivation Monday...who here is excited?  I'm not going to lie...I just wrote that sentence and then started off at the TV for about 45 minutes.  Is it bad that I'm not even motivated to write a second sentence?  Probably. 


So I need some motivation this week.  Right.  Motivation...hmm....


This past weekend T and I dealt with one sick little girl.  On Thursday, I was up most of the night with a screaming baby.  Aubrey has been sick for a few weeks now with a virus...stuffy nose, congestion, coughing.  I took her to the doctor on Monday but the doctor didn't see anything other than a virus.  Friday morning, around 4:00 a.m. when she still wouldn't stop screaming, I thought maybe something was off.  Just a mother's instinct, I guess.  So T and I took her to the doctor, and the poor little thing had double ear infections on top of the virus.  So T and I spent Friday and Saturday comforting her and doing everything possible to make her happy.  Saturday morning she started smiling more, which made me so happy to see her back to her normal.  Granted, she stll is coughing like a chain smoker, and I absolutely hate to see her have trouble with that, but she is smiling and playing so that's better than Thursday, right? 


Anyway, I swear I have a point.  I always do, you know?  This weekend got me thinking about how lucky I am with my family.  I wanted nothing more in this world than to be with my little girl and T and nurse her back to health.  And this probably sounds weird, but as she get better and better, I almost took a step back in my mind and went "wow, this is just amazing."  I am truly blessed.  I have a beautiful, happy little girl.  When she smiles, she smiles with her entire face.  She loves T and I unconditionally, and you can just see it in her eyes when she looks at us.  And I have T - he is such a loving and sweet husband and father.  I can always depend on him, no matter what, and watching the way he has been with Aubrey, she can depend on him no matter what.  He really is a wonderful man.  And I'm blessed. 



I don't necessarily need  motivation to appreciate my husband and daughter, so I guess that may be the wrong term.  But this is Motivation Monday, after all.  We get so bogged down and busy with daily life, just trying to make it through the day and accomplish everything we need to do, that I know I don't always step back and appreciate the love and blessings I have right before me.  And I need to do that more often.  Because they are the most important people in my life.  My world.  And I need them to know how much I appreciate them every day.  So that's my goal.  To do those small things, those little actions and make sure they always know how I feel.  And to not take them for granted at all. 



Like I said, I don't need "motivation" per se to do this, but it is good to step back and make a point to appreciate it when it's there.  So that's what I plan to do this week.  There's my motivation.  It's a pretty damn good one, right? 




So what's motivating you this week?  Hope you can participate!  Just write up a post about what motivation you need this week and link it up to my post in yours.  Comment on this blog with a link to yours, and I'll link you up!  Easy peasy!


Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!






Friday, June 8, 2012

Selfish

Lately, I've found myself wanting to be just a little bit selfish - with my time.  Sometimes I find that my time doesn't really feel like my time.  It's everyone else's time, and I just kind of go along for the ride.  Or at least that's the way things worked in my world pre-baby.  I managed to juggle it all pretty well, too.  I got things done, but I was always running around.  It's exhausting.  And when it came to me and to my time....well, there just wasn't any more left. 


After Aubrey's arrival, this sacrifice became a little more obvious.  Everyone wanted a piece of our time...well, actually really Aubrey was the motivating factor.  Quickly our weekends became not our own but opportunities to drive ourselves crazy trying to spend time with everyone and please everyone.  It was like a switch was hit.  All of a sudden, as soon as we were leaving that hospital room, our weekends were booked.  We were booked.  We never got a chance to breathe, to just sit back and look around and go "hey, we're a family now!"  And the more that happened, the more both T and I began to resent it.  And others in the process. 


T and I handle that resentment differently, of course, because we are two different people.  Me, I internalize it.  I keep it in until I have a breakdown, and it wasn't too long ago that that breakdown finally occurred.  I just can't do it.  I can't keep trying to please everyone and make time for everyone.  Because I'm never making time for myself. 


We've started pulling back.  It's been super hard for me, too, because we're getting a backlash because of it.  But I have to.  We have to.  Something eventually has to give.  It's as simple as that. 


During the week, we have no time.  We get up at 5:30, one of us works out while the other gets Aubrey ready, eat breakfast, shower and head off to drop her off at daycare and work.  We get off work and pick her up at daycare, not really getting out until 5:00 or 5:15 p.m.  Then comes the hectic 45 minute commute home.  By the time we get home it's basically 6:00 p.m.  Get out of the car, unload, someone has to get Aubrey out and play for her for a bit while the other rushes around preparing for dinner, washing and preparing her bottles for the next day, and packing lunches.  We've become quite adept at quick eating, always watching the clock knowing that at 7:00 we need to start Aubrey's bedtime routine.  Bath, book and bottle, and then she's down by around 8:00 p.m.  Then comes that precious time.  Two hours we get to just do whatever we want.  But even then, it's not quality time.  It's not enough. 


I find myself sitting at my desk at work, looking through pictures of T and Aubrey on my phone and on Facebook, missing them so much.  Sure, I see them every day, but I don't get to really see them.  So when it gets to the weekends, that's all I want.  I want to snuggle my girl, kiss on her, make her giggle, watch her sleep, and spend Daddy/Mommy/Aubrey time.  I want some peace.  Some quite.  Just the three of us.


Now that it's summer I want to do things as a family.  I've waited my whole life to be a mother, and even though I know Aubrey is so little and won't remember any of the things we do or trips we take, I want to start making memories now.  And yes, I want that time to be just the three of us.  And some days...I couldn't feel worse about it. 


I'm aware that others want to spend time with us and see Aubrey.  I can empathize with that.  But I want to be selfish.  I want me time, us time.  I want to scream "I can't do it all!"  when people make me feel guilty for not visiting or not spending time with them. 


Not having that space and time hasn't been easy on me either.  Not with the post partum I spoke about a few weeks ago.  Eventually Mommy is just going to crack.  I am afraid that time is not too far off. 


So for now, I need to be just a bit selfish.  And others will just have to understand. 


Thank you for letting me vent just a bit here - I began writing this wanting to focus on another topic all together, but as I began to write, I just kept going.  These are my thoughts - the good and the bad.  And you know what?  It feels pretty good to just get it out.  So yes, thank you for listening! 


Have a lovely weekend, everyone!  Me, I plan to spend as much time as possible with my two favorite people.  Just because I can.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

You've got a friend in me


Second Blooming
 
 
This week's Spin Cycle brought to you by Gretchen @ Second Blooming is on friends.  Such an open topic - I could pick a friend and right about that person, but honestly, I don't know how I'd pick someone and then I'd feeling guilty about not picking someone over the other, and God knows I don't need more guilt...just thinking about this right now stresses me out...so yeah, I needed to find another angle with this.  Think, think, think....
 
 
So it got me thinking about the concept of friendship...what it means to me now, what it meant to me back in the day, and what I want out of a friendship.  It's funny how much the concept of a "friend" changes.  When I was a kid, a friend meant someone to play with outside, to have slumber parties, someone to hang out with at recess.  I don't really remember the quality of these friendships.  We didn't "talk" or have some sort of deep connection.  You played with them.  It was who was fun and who let you share their toys and didn't call you names.  That was a friend. 
 
 
In middle school and into high school, a friend almost became a status symbol.  You were cool if you were friends with the popular girls.  You had to have a lot of friends; it was important to be liked.  This isn't to say friendships didn't have quality and you didn't have those special friends who were extremely close.  But you also had those groups of friends, cliques where you just were one of many.  It wasn't until I approached my later years in high school where those true friendships developed and were fostered.  Sure, I had those friends who were still just friends on the surface, but then I had those few, select friends I spent all my time with, those friends I passed notes to in between classes, the ones who I called every night to talk about this boy or what happened at school, the ones who I had inside jokes with that to this day make me giggle when I hear a certain word and am brought back. 
 
 
Into college, the concept of friends changed even more - you had your friends you knew on a purely social basis, those you saw at parties or at the bar, and then you had your core group of friends.  Or at least I did.  These were the people who saw me through some truly tough times but also are people with whom I share my fondest memories.  These are the friends who hold back your hair after a particularly rough night of partying and don't hold anything you say in your drunken stupor against you, the friends who will pick you up after a rough break-up and stay up all night with you, not saying a word but just be there.  And you're right there for them without a question, no matter what the time, no matter what the situation.
 
 
As an adult, my concept of friendship has changed even more.  It's not how many friends you have but how good of a friend you have.  Quality over quantity.  Who they are may change as your life changes - breakups, job changes, moves, marriages, children.  Some of the stay and some are only in your life for a brief period of time but for a purpose.  You grow with these people, they become not just friends of yours but friends of your family. 
 
 
Out of all of these friendships, what I have found are the best kind, the truly special ones, are the ones that started back in elementary school or high school or even college and have grown, changed and developed through the years.  These friendships are the people I don't see on a daily basis or even yearly basis, but they are the people when I do see or speak with, it's like we never stopped.  I am so blessed to have so many of these.  I have no doubt that these special people will always be a part of who I am and a part of my life, and I can only hope I will stay a part of theirs.
 
 
Now I'm not talking about one big friendship that has developed as I have gotten older - to me, it's an obvious one, but as an adult, I find that my best friend, the one person I turn to is my husband  It's that constant friendship that's always there, it's not just a part of my life, it is my life.  It's who I am and who I want to be.  This friendship is one of unconditional love and a connection I never could have imagined. 
 
 
Out of all of this, the most important friendship?  Is the one with myself.  It's really funny if you think about it - as a kid and teenager, all I cared about were my friends, the other people with whom I associated, but as I got older, I also became my own friend.  That may sound cheesy, but it's true.  That relationship you have with yourself is one that makes those other friendships grow.  If you can't be a friend to yourself, then can you truly be a friend to someone else? 
 
 
So that, my blog friends, is friendship to me - and not only do I value all of the dear friendships I have in my real life, but I also treasure the ones I have developed here.  And with that, I will end my ramblings on friendships.  Stop by Gretchen's blog and see what others have to say on the subject! 
 
 
Thanks for stopping by, friends!
 
 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Can't live without you

So yesterday I did a post about the things we got for Aubrey before her arrival that we don't really use or need.  So today I'm following up to that post with a list of things we couldn't live without.  It's a little longer than the previous list, but perhaps this may be of assistance to those moms to be out there who aren't sure.  But this is totally just my preference - take it or leave it as you will.  Just because we desperately need it doesn't mean every baby is the same.  I have a feeling it's a baby hit or miss kind of deal.  Anyway, I'm rambling, so let me just get to the matter at hand. 


1.  Diaper Genie - To put it mildly, this girl has some rancid poops.  She's been a farter from day one, but seriously...when she poops...she poops.  And it's not pretty.  If we didn't have that Diaper Genie, our trash would smell to high heaven.  I mean, it does anyway because of the occasional one where we'll be downstairs and not around the nursery.  For those situations, we couldn't live without plastic Kroger or Target bags.  Those are a hot commodity at our house.  We always put the really really bad ones in those, and when we run out of bags, it's not pretty either. 


2.  Burp cloths - Have them on you at all times.  I cannot count the times where we'll be in the kitchen or living room, and she'll spit up, and we are looking for a burp cloth.  We'll find them in just random places in the house now.  We use them, trust me.  You can never have too many, and you for sure can never have too many within arms reach.  It may seem like they are everywhere, but it's better than being caught in the situation where you don't have one and need one. 


3.  Changing pad - We have a ton of these white, generic changing pads downstairs and upstairs on her changing table.  We are constantly changing them out, too, because it never fails...she'll pee on them or poop will get on them or spit-up.  (On the really fun days, it'll be all of the above.)  They are easy to wash, and if worst case scenario hits, they cost so little it's no big deal to just toss them.  Definitely a must have in the Sullivan household. 


4.  Nightgowns - These were a necessity when she was a newborn.  We loved the ones that opened on the bottom because it was easy to change her when you're half awake in the middle of the night. 


5.  Pajamas that zip up - Now that she's bigger, we bought some cheap footie pajamas that zip up the front.  We have several really cute ones that button, but honestly, the last thing I want to do at 3 am in the morning is try to line up buttons.  It's so much easier to just zip those puppies up.  I'm not too coordinated at 3 am. 


6.  Sleep sacks - a must have, too, for when they're really little. 


7.  White onesies - you can never have too many of those, too.  They go really well under nightgowns and outfits to keep them warm, and it's not the end of the world if something gets on them. 


8.  Bouncy seat - Now Aubrey absolutely hated the swing, but her bouncy chair is her favorite place to chill.  She'll sit in there for a long time and just hang out and watch us, and during the weekends, it's usually where she naps. 


9.  Diaper caddy - I'm not sure if this is the official word for it, but my Mom got us this caddy thing that's made of cloth but reminds me of those shower caddies I used in college in the dorms.  I keep diapers, nail clippers, that little nose sucky thing (technical term, you know) and diaper cream in mine.  When I was recovering from my c-section, I couldn't go upstairs to change her on the changing table, so this helped me stay organized and kept everything in one place for when I changed her downstairs.  I still use it because I'd rather just change her in the living room if that's where we are rather than run upstairs to do it.  Unless, of course, the Diaper Genie is in need :-) 


10.  Bibs - These are a must have for when we're traveling and she spits up in her car seat.  Rather than ruin the outfit, it just stays on the big, and we just take it off by the time we get to our destination.  And I get the ones that come in a 5 pack from Target because they don't need to be all fancy.  I just use them for utilitarian purposes only. 


11.  Bottle brush - I swear all I do is clean bottles.  I've become quite the pro at whipping through them, but I couldn't do it without a bottle brush.  They're pretty cheap, but it is one of those things you don't always think of when registering.  But I recommend it. 


12. Hand sanitizer - Always have this for when people visit so they don't spread germs, and really, I use this a ton when I get ready to change her and for afterwards if I need to move her or do something immediately after before I can fully wash my hands.  And I'd get at least two - one for upstairs by the changing table and one for downstairs.  And one for your purse, too, for when you're out and about. 


13.  Noise machine - We didn't have one of these right away, but as soon as we did get one, it made a world of difference.  Babies need that white noise to help them sleep.  The nurse who recommended it said it was because of the noises they hear while in the womb.  I didn't really believe it until we got ours.  As soon as that white noise started, she immediately relaxed.   If you don't have a white noise machine, we have used a clock radio before when at my parent's house.  Just put the dial to static, and it's the same thing.  (Just make sure you put it back to the radio station before you leave...my Dad missed his alarm the next day because the static was still the sound that went off with the alarm.  Oops!)


Of course, I am not listing the obvious ones - diapers, bottles, car seat, etc., but those are a given.  These are just the little things we couldn't live without, and so many of them are things we didn't even think to include on my registry.   And I purposely didn't include those swaddle-me things because Aubrey didn't like those, but some people can't live without them.  This list may, by no means, be complete, and I'm sure I'll read this later and want to add something else, but these are definitely my "must haves."  I hope this helps, Chloe!  (And the rest of you who could always use tips!)  What about you other moms out there...what are your must haves?