Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year of the Baby... and New Business

At the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 I was 25 weeks pregnant and had just decided to try to created a little side business for myself doing some portrait photography in order to earn some extra spending money/income for my family.  I had NO IDEA how either of these endeavors was going to go... but I can now report that both turned out fantastically. =)

Today Jacob and I have a beautiful, HAPPY, healthy baby girl.  Emily is 36 weeks old today and surprises us with her intelligence and personality on a daily basis.  I fear that she will be walking by the end of January, which I'm sure will lead to all kinds of fun adventures for us in 2013.  =)

As far a "business" (I hate calling it that... makes it sound so official. lol), I have done better than I ever expected that I would.  I actually made a PROFIT this year!  (Only $20, but I'm just excited that I managed to pay off my camera with the income.  That was my biggest investment this year).  I had about 18 jobs this year... family, seniors, maternity, baby/kid, boudoir... the whole gambit.  It was awesome! 

I am so looking forward to what this coming year will bring!  So far on the horizon is a family vacation to Disneyland in March (will be a first for both Emily and me!) and Emily's first birthday in April.  I can't wait to start the party planning.  ;)

It's taken me a week to post about Christmas... but I have a good excuse.... "Christmas" in our household didn't end until yesterday!  That's right... instead of celebrating Emily's first Christmas, we celebrated Emily's first FOUR Christmases!  Here's the recap:

Christmas #1, Dec. 23rd - Our first Christmas celebration happened unexpectedly (for me).  We spent the day with Jacob's parents, brother, niece and nephew playing in the snow at Mt. Hood and then headed back to his parents' place.  I wasn't aware that dinner and presents were occurring as well!  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the "Christmas" festivities that evening, but here are some adorable shots of Emily's first snow experience. =)

Christmas #2, Dec. 24th - Christmas Eve morning Jacob woke up with the flu.  =(  We had plans to go to his brother's house for a our formal celebration with his extended family, but I wasn't sure what the day was going to bring as he laid on the couch watching Dr. Who and trying to recoup.  In the end, he decided that he wanted to be with family, so we made the drive to his brother's place for dinner and presents... I'm hoping that he didn't breathe on anyone (so far I haven't heard that anyone else got sick).

Christmas #3, Dec. 25th - Emily had already been put to bed before it was time for the present portion of the previous evening so, on Christmas morning I made Jacob get out of bed (still sick) so that we could have a family Christmas morning and Emily could open a couple of presents. 

We were supposed to go to my parents place a couple of hours away for Christmas, but Jacob was feeling horrible and I wasn't about to leave him on Christmas.  So, we decided to have a day at home and reschedule Christmas with my family for the following weekend.

After opening presents, getting Em down for a nap, and deciding that we weren't going anywhere, I booked it to Safeway to find something worthwhile for a Christmas dinner.  I'm pretty proud of myself: roasted turkey, steamed green beans, homemade garlic mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie... not bad for dinner on the fly! =)

Christmas #4, Dec. 29th - About a week after he got sick, Jacob was still feeling pretty gross, but was at least good enough to make the trek down to my parents place for the night.  My mom had, amazingly, pretty much recreated Christmas for us!  (There were so many presents under the tree it looked like they hadn't already opened most of them! lol.  Guess who most of those gifts were for? ;))

All three of my brothers, their significant others, my nephew and my grandmother all made it over for dinner.  (My dad joked that we should have just postponed Christmas in the first place).  We opened presents, had dinner (and lots of dessert), and then hung out for awhile as a family before people started heading home.  I was glad that I got to have "Christmas" with my family this year after all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

8 Months!

Weight/Length-You had an impromptu doctor's visit this month and weighed in at 17.5 lbs (less than what I weight you on our home scale last month... hmm... makes me wonder if I actually weigh less, too! ;) )

Eating- You are drinking mostly 6 oz bottles these days, with about 8 ounces right before bed.  We are starting to offer you more solid foods, but I think we need to start bumping up our frequency of this... especially since you are getting SO close to our first birthday!

Sleep- Bed time is roughly 7 pm and you sleep until 6:30 (or so) in the morning.  You've been doing much better with the "sleeping through the night" thing, but have been waking up pretty regularly from a cough in the middle of the night for the past several weeks.  If it doesn't sound like you're able to get yourself back to sleep, mom or dad will go in with a bottle of water to help sooth your throat and that usually does the trick.

 Clothes-Still wearing 6-9 month stuff, but your 6 month stuff is starting to get a little tight... though the 9 month pants are still a big baggy around the middle.  I have a feeling that you're going to be a tall, slender young lady!

Personality- You are SUCH a happy baby!  You only really fuss if a) you're hungry, b) you're sleepy, or c) you want to be down on the ground exploring and, for whatever reason, are not able to do so.  You love to touch and play with new things... and EVERYTHING is still going in your mouth.

  • You like eating paper.  If I'm not paying close attention you will tear my (unread) magazines to shreds and start dissolving them with your drool.
  • You like crawling around (and over) things.  You like pulling yourself up at the couch (or a chair) and walking yourself around it.  
  • You like grabbing Dad's thumbs and getting swung in the air.  You smile so big!
  • You LOVE to talk!  You make a LOT of noise... a LOT of the time!  Sometimes we'll listen to you in your crib after bedtime chattering away!  
  • You like to "sing" along to the radio in the car... specific to Bruno Mars.
  •  You don't like getting new teeth.  I don't blame you. =(
  • You don't like falling over and hitting your head on things... and you do it a LOT with your new sense of mobility!

    You can pull yourself up to standing AND walk along things like the couch or a coffee table!
    You have THREE teeth... all of which are on the top.  I'm hoping that you get some bottom teeth soon!
    You got your first bruise... right in the middle of your forehead... got into a "fight" with Grandma's dining room chair..
    You played in snow for the first time!  You weren't quite sure what to think about it... or the bulky snow suit that mom and dad put you in!
    You got your first Christmas tree!
    You had your first allergy scare.  You've been coughing a lot at home and mom was worried that you might be allergic to the cat, or dust mites.  The pediatrician recommended an allergist, who did a prick test and chest x-ray, only to determine that you are not allergic to anything at all (Mommy and Scout (the cat) are VERY happy about this!).  You are still coughing though.  The allergist thinks that it may just been your body's reaction to different viruses that you're coming into contact with at daycare, but also prescribed an inhaler to see if that helps.  So far we haven't tried it, so don't know, but mom things that having a humidifier going on in your room at night helps... so, we're trying that first!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Days

Shannon at From Match to Marriage posted today about what her schedule, as a working mother, looks like during the week... I was VERY happy to see that her schedule looked much like mine... and that housework was nowhere in there. lol

This is what the day looks like in our household:

4:30-6:00- Emily wakes up.  However, after feeding her a bottle and putting her back in her crib, she will USUALLY fall back asleep for another couple of hours.

6:15- My alarm goes off.  I hit snooze.

6:25 - Out of bed and into the shower.

6:25-7:10 - Shower, get dressed, put make up on, brush hair and teeth (I do this pretty quick... sleep is more important to me than doing a good job most mornings).

7:10-7:30 - Try to eat breakfast (try being the key word), check my e-mail, read my blogs/Facebook/etc.... if, of course, I'm not already running late.  =)  Get the diaper bag ready.  Ask Jacob if he's planning on getting out of bed.

7:20-7:30 - Get Emily up (if she isn't already).  Generally Jacob will get her dressed while I do last minute prep and make her a bottle.  If Emily wakes up before this time, Jacob will hang out with her while I get ready... usually this includes the two of them taking a shower.  She LOVES the water and playing in her tub!

7:30-7:40 - All three of us leave the house.  Jacob work bound, me daycare and then work bound.

8:00 - Drop Emily off at daycare.

8:00-8:45 (or 9 if traffic sucks) - Make my way to work.  This usually looks like me driving my car to the MAX and then taking the train into downtown.  Some days I drive, but it doesn't save me any time and (if I don't have a parking spot at work that day), costs more to park.

8:45ish-5:00ish - Work.

5:00-6:00 - Make my way home.  Jacob also gets off work at 5, but since his commute is a bit shorter he stops and picks up Emily on his way home (getting her at around 5:30).

6:00-7:00 - Play with baby time.  This is my ONE HOUR of the day that I can focus on my daughter.  =(  I take advantage.

7:00-7:15 - Put Emily to bed.  Jacob gets her changed and in her PJs while I prep a bottle.  Then he passes her off to me and I feed her and put her in her crib.  She either goes right to sleep or...

7:15-7:30 - Listen to Emily chatter while we make dinner.  =)  If she doesn't go right to sleep when I put her in her crib, she'll talk (loudly) to herself for a few minutes before she passes out.  We don't even need the baby monitor to hear her in there... it's kind of hilarious. =)

7:30-8:30ish - Jacob and I eat dinner together while catching up on some TV.  Sometimes, if I put something in the crock pot for dinner and its ready when we get home, we'll have a "family dinner" around the table and give Emily some food to eat/play with.  It all depends on our meal.**

8:30-10:30ish - Me time (sort of).  This usually includes catching up on FB/blogs/news/etc.  Editing photos (if I've had a shoot recently), watching some of "my" shows (those shows that Jacob could care less about) or doing something silly like loading the dishwasher or folding laundry. =)  (Right now, while doing this, I have a load of laundry in the dryer and another load in a basket that just came out of the dryer... I know these won't get folded any time soon... I'm trying to come to peace with that).

10:30ish - Off to bed... cringing at the thought of starting the whole day over again... I really feel like weekends should be longer than the rest of the "week".

Any sort of housework either occurs on the weekends, or "a little here, a little there" throughout the week.  I have been working on putting together a chore "schedule" to see if that will help us keep things on track as I am getting really frustrated with my house always being gross and not being able to find a shirt I want to wear or a clean pair of socks (because laundry rarely gets folded, and even less likely does it get put away in this house).

Exercise... what's that?  I am NOT waking up any earlier to do it, and by the time I get Emily in bed and eat dinner, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym.  I bought a yoga CD that I like... sometimes I do it.  ;)

**For the last 2-3 months I have been using the meal planning website Menu for the Week.  I LOVE it!  Saves me so much time and I enjoy eating a variety of things (before we started doing this, our menu from one night to the next looked pretty similar).  I also love the fact that it puts a grocery list together for me... so I just print it and go!  Love.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ode to the Boob

It's been almost a month now since I stopped breastfeeding, and I don't know that I could be much happier about my decision.

When I had Em I wasn't sure if I'd be able to breastfeed.  My mom had problems with it (production issues) and I wasn't sure if that was a genetic thing or not, but I wanted to try and figured I'd do it as long I could... not just for the health related reasons, but also because it a whole LOT cheaper!

Emily was a natural breast-feeder and didn't have much trouble latching on at all.  While I was home on my maternity leave, nursing was great.  It was easy, and available and free.  When we would leave the house, I wouldn't have to worry about bringing a bottle/formula because I was biologically prepared.  And, much to my surprise, it was working.  She was gaining weight.  She was happy and healthy.  And, aside from frustration from time to time that I was the only one who could actually feed her, I was doing ok, too.

And then I went back to work... and had to pump.  Pumping is no fun what-so-ever.  It's especially no fun when you have to find the time to do it... on your breaks and lunch... meaning that I got no breaks or lunch... for almost 4 months.  I locked myself in a single bathroom, with harsh lighting and a loud fan for 20 minutes or so 3 times a day.  I FINALLY figured out how to use rubber bands to attach the cups to my nursing bra so I could read a book while I was stuck in there, but it was still an uncomfortable, unnatural, inconvenient activity... but I did it, for my daughter.

And then, one day, somewhere around the 4 month mark, I got an e-mail from our daycare provider that she had run out of milk... and it was only about noon.  I had a mini-meltdown at my desk.  Thankfully, we had some formula packets in the diaper bag as a "just in case" so there was an option available for her last couple afternoon bottles... but she had never had formula before and I didn't know if she'd take the bottle.  I was angry and frustrated that I wasn't able to provide for my daughter.

I was religiously taking fenugreek to help with my supply (SEVEN pills a day), but, even though I started to smell strongly of maple syrup, it did not appear to be helping and I was still quickly running through my freezer we started to supplement Emily's bottles with 50/50 milk and formula mix.  At first she was a little annoyed, but she took to it, and I continued to feed her when I was able, and pumped at work... but I was pumping less and less every day.

Then one day I forgot my pump at home and went all day without pumping... I realized that I didn't physically NEED to pump anymore (i.e. there was no "uncomfortable" feelings if I didn't do it), and I was able to take an actual lunch break!  I decided that I would stop pumping at work, and try to do it once at night, and again first thing in the morning.

This went on for a couple of weeks until Emily hit what must have been a 6 month growth spurt.  One days she nursed, and nursed, and nursed and was not getting enough to satisfy her.  I felt horrible.  I felt like I wasn't doing my job... and that something was wrong with me.  Finally I succumbed and gave Emily a bottle of formula... and she guzzled that thing down... which made me feel even worse about my own inabilities.

At that point, out of anger and frustration, I told Jacob that I was done.  I couldn't handle the stress of it anymore... but I still continued to nurse about once a day (always supplemented by a bottle directly afterward).  Until, one day, I didn't nurse... and then two days... and then three.  I didn't intentionally stopped, I just kind of forgot about it.  And I am so relieved.

I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  No longer am I the sole food provider.  No longer do I have to worry about what I eat (or drink!) and how it will effect the little one.  No longer do I have to worry/feel guilty when she has bad gas because it must have been my fault for eating the bean burrito for lunch.  No longer do I have ti find a comfortable, somewhat private place to sit down and nurse when I'm in public... I can give her a bottle... anywhere!

For the first 6+ months of her life Emily got at least SOME breast milk, and, for that, I am proud of myself, but I am perfectly happy not to go another 6 months. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Baby the Model!

Now that Emily has hit the 7-month mark, I guess that I should finally get around to showing off her "official" 6 month photos... yeah... I'm a little behind (I still have posts waiting that I meant to write in September. lol  One of these days I'll catch up!).

One lovely October afternoon Jacob helped me get some photos taken before the rain came back... here's a sample...

I have one darn cute kid! =)

Seven Months! (Yesterday.... oops!)

Weight/Length- According to our home scale you are weighing in at 17 lbs., 13 oz!  (It took me about 4 times trying to weigh you... you just wouldn't hold still!)

Eating- No more boob for you!  You made the transition to formula only a couple of weeks ago... and I really think that we're both happier about it.  You are starting to eat a lot more now, too.  Mostly 4 oz bottles through out the day and a 6-8 oz right before bed, but now you've started to have another 8 oz bottle in the middle of the day, too!  And today you drank 12 oz within 1 hour of bedtime! 

Sleep- Dad and I decided to do the dreaded "sleep training" a couple of weeks ago.  Funny thing is, it wasn't that bad at all.  You never really got "mad" at us when you cried in the middle of the night (which made it easier on Mom!), and you "got it" after waking up only twice on the first night.  You're sleeping now from 7 pm to sometime between 5-6:30 am now.  We are quite happy about this! =)

 Clothes-You're wearing 6-9 month stuff right now.  You're "outfits" have gotten much cuter now that you have so many different sets of clothes to choose from! lol

Personality- You are a smart, happy, independent baby... and very active!  You want to be exploring new things constantly, and get really excited when there's something new to check out! =)

  • You like swim lessons.  You're take it VERY seriously! lol  But you're also have funny in the water.  You are definitely a water baby!
  • You like bananas... a lot!  Avacados, potatoes, and strawberries have also been hits!
  • You like feeding yourself your bottle... you can do it one-handed, too!
  • You like riding on Mom's back in your Ergo!
  • You don't like sitting still... even when you're having a bottle you are a mobile, squirmy active baby.  It's gotten a little difficult to change your diaper/get you dressed when you all want to do is roll around!
  • Now that you're getting into everything, you don't like it when Mom/Dad move you away from something that you shouldn't be into.
  • You don't like that the kitty won't sit still and let you pull his fur.

    You can crawl!  ALL over the place!
    Not only can you crawl, but you are already pulling yourself up on your feet!  AND you've started to take little steps when Mom or Dad are holding your hands!
    You have TWO teeth!  Both on TOP (which apparently is not "normal"... usually the bottom teeth come in first apparently).
    You celebrated your first Halloween AND Thanksgiving!
    You also went to ZooLights for the first time.  I think Mom had more fun than you did, though. ;)
    You have started saying "dadadadada".  Dad swears that this is your first word... I told him that it doesn't count until you use it appropriately! lol


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Wedding!

It's been almost two months since my youngest brother married his high school sweetheart... and I am just now getting around to blogging about it. lol

Every summer for the last three years there as been a wedding in my family.  August 2010 - Jacob and I, October 2011 - my brother Dustin and his wife Brittany, this year we celebrated my brother Scott and his now-wife Jennifer!  The ceremony and reception were held at my parents house (which stressed my mother out to no end!) and it was gorgeous.  My mom, dad and helpers put a lot of work into the hard and the house to transform it for Scott & Jennifer's special day.

(I don't have any photos of the back yard, where the real magic happened, but I took advantage of the landscaping for our family photos earlier in the summer!)

It was a great (busy) day.  I think it was my first day (aside from work) that I was away from Emily for the majority of it.  Between hair/make up, dressing, decorating and photos I didn't have much time.  Jacob did an amazing job keeping her happy and entertained... even took her out to breakfast. =)  We had to leave the reception earlier than I would have liked to get back to our hotel as it was Em's bedtime and she was not sleeping very soundly at my parents place, but we had a great time when we were there... I sure do miss the days of staying out late and dancing!

Front yard, reception area
My nephew, Satori. =)
Emily and Grandma!
My brother Scott, checking out the awesome wedding cake!
The bride and me! Check out my earrings! lol
I love this photo of my little bro singing to his new wife during their first dance. =)
Discovering new things every day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Six Months!

Weight/Length- Forgot to check your weight this morning, and you are currently asleep, so I'll guess we'll just have to wait and update this after your 6-month doctor's check up on Friday!
 **Update!  At your doctor's visit you weighed in at 16 lbs., 7 oz. and are 26.5 inches tall!  Still in the 50-75 percentile in everything!  My sweet little "average" sized girl! (for your sake, I hope you stay that way! lol)

Eating- You're primarily formula-fed now... and eating a LOT of it!  Especially, for some reason, at night-time when Mom and Dad are trying to sleep. =P  You still get a couple of ounces of breast milk at daycare, and nurse once with mom in the evening, at night, and then first thing in the morning, but even some of those feedings are followed up with a bottle.  You're healthy and happy though, so I'm not letting the transition stress me out. 

Sleep- Sleep is still not the best, but it's *slightly* better than last month.  You go to bed at 7, generally wake up sometime before 11, then again at 3 and around 6-7 am.  You regularly "sleep" for 12 hours (7 to 7), but you are still waking up to eat constantly during that time.  I'm hoping that it's just a growth spurt and that you'll start sleeping for more than 3-4 hours at a time soon!

 Clothes- You're wearing 6+ clothes for the most part now.  And you have a LOT of them!  Between consignment sales that mom has gone a little nuts at, and hand-me-downs from some of your Dad's coworkers, you have a very nice sized wardrobe.  Mom is starting to think about buying you some shoes... mostly because you take your socks off every chance you get, and it's COLD outside!  I don't want your toes to freeze! I have discovered that, if I put you in 12-month sized pants, they still fit around the waist and are just long enough to cover your toes. ;)  Ha!

Personality- You are soo happy!  I love it!  I get lots of smiles and laughs.  You make a lot of really cute/funny noises.  I have a feeling that you're going to be a real talker!  You are also very focused and determined about things.  Being in the water is serious business for you... whether it's a tub or the pool.  You also REALLY want to get at the cat.  I have a feeling that when you are finally at the crawling stage, that poor Scout is going to be the first thing you take off after!

  • You like playing with your toys.  For the most part you are perfectly ok hanging out on the floor rolling around and playing with your toys while mom and dad do chores around the house or talk.
  • You like exploring new things.  Whether that's putting the cats tail in your mouth, or looking all around you in a grocery store, you love new things.
  • You like being up high in Mom's arms.  I think you like the view... and maybe a little of the cuddle, too.
  • You like playing with mom and dad.  We tickle you, blow on you, do raspberries on your tummy and lay a blanket over your face (peek-a-boo style).  You LOVE it and you laugh and laugh.  It's adorable... just makes us want to do it more!
  • You don't like not being mobile.  You REALLY want to get places... especially if there's a kitty involved!
  • You don't like... I don't know.  Your dad and I can't think of anything else!

  • You are now able to sit up on your own for the most part.  You still topple over from time to time if you try to move to fast, reach something too far away, or sit up to quickly.  But you are doing REALLY good on your own!
  • You have figured out how to get yourself up on all fours!  You are also starting to perfect the wiggle/army crawl.
  • You started swim lessons just this last weekend.  You loved it!  You're a big fan of the water.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Poor Baby

This is another post that's been sitting in my "drafts" for months now.  I'm slowly catching up. =)

One night back in late July/early August, Emily kept waking herself up coughing.  When she coughed she acted like she was in pain... not just an annoyance like coughing generally is.  And then she would pass gas, and that appeared to be painful for her as well.  We made it through the night, but the next day Jacob took the day off and took her to the pediatrician.  Turns out she had some kind of stomach bug.  That day, after leaving the doctor, she developed a bit of a fever.  We monitored it, and it didn't get that bad, but she was definitely not her usual self.

This is what I came home to that evening... my poor little girl looking so pathetic. =(  

The next day I stayed home with her.  She was feeling a LOT better, and we probably could have taken her to daycare just fine, but 1) I didn't want to risk getting any of the other kids sick, and 2) I didn't get the chance to cuddle/take care of my sick little girl and kind of felt guilty/jealous/disappointed about it.

I'm not looking forward to the cold/flu season and the inevitable sickness.  =(

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Famly Beach Reunion!

Here's another belated post... this one from September. =)

Every year Jacob's family has a bit of a reunion on the Oregon coast.  This year our little family was 3 instead of 2!  Emily got to meet several new aunts, uncles and cousins, and we got to have a great beach vacation!  (This was also right around the time that Emily learned to roll over... so she was ALL over the place!)

Trying to convince her to roll back the other direction... using her Sophie as a bribe. lol
Flying baby!
Chillaxin' with Dad!
Napping on the beach
On the same beach where her mom and dad tied the knot!
Whoa! lol
It's just ridiculous how adorable she is. ;)
Just two years ago something completely different was photographed in front of this book case!