Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Answer me, part I

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to the questions. We had a busy weekend, including hearing Em LAUGH for the first time! And just last night she ROLLED OVER for the first time! She was doing Tummy Time in our living room, then leaned over and bloop! On her back! It wasn't on purpose, but it was great to see, nonetheless.

On with the questions! I got lots of great questions, so I'm going to break this into two parts.

*****

Is motherhood what you expected? If not, how?
- From The Slackmistress

I had a vague idea about the logistics of being a "mom" from my hours and hours AND HOURS of research. But the emotions that come along with it? Nothing like I could have ever imagined. I read somewhere that when you're a mom, you look into a mirror while holding your baby, and you don't see yourself. So very true. Bringing a child into this world has made me more selfless. I put Em before me so much of the time - well, as much of the time that doesn't impact my sanity. Every mom needs some time to herself now and then.

*****
I've been a silent reader for a couple of years now, and as a mother myself, one who was so very fortunate to be able to be a stay at home mom for 10 years, I'm wondering with you having to go to work here fairy soon, are you excited to get back to work or completely torn at the thought? - From Tedra from Don't you people have lives?

First, thanks for delurking! To answer your question, I'm somewhere in the middle. Up until I got pregnant, I had no desire to be a stay-at-home mom. I thought, "I worked really hard for my degree, I'm going to put it to good use, damnit!" Now that Em is here, though, I totally understand why women take a break from their careers to take on the hardest job in the world. Children are the greatest gifts. I would gladly spend all my days with Em if I could make it work within our lifestyle goals. (It would take forever to upgrade from our condo to a house otherwise, among other things. And we love living in Los Angeles near our families and such great culture, so I don't see us moving to lower cost of living areas anytime soon.) I envy moms who have found a way to make staying at home work for them.

I still hadn't found a daycare before Em arrived, and I remember one day I burst into tears while researching them online. Don't know if that was a result of a massive hormonal shift or what, but I couldn't bear the thought of someone else taking care of our sweet pea. I've circled back around to acceptance, though. I know she'll be just fine and she'll even benefit from going to daycare.

I admit, I'm looking forward to some more adult interaction when I go back to work. But I'll definitely look forward to seeing Em's smiling face at the end of the day. I think I'll be ok when I go back to work, but we are doing a daycare "warm-up" the week before I return. I'll be leaving her at the daycare provider a couple hours a day that week - partially to ease her into it, but likely be more for my own benefit.
*****
Even though I've been reading for a couple years at least, I don't think I know the story of how you met your man. I love a good love story. What's yours? - From Doahleigh

I blogged about it P.D. (pre-Doahlegh). You can read it here. In a nutshell? We met in college, nearly 10 years ago, where we were both journalism majors.

*****
Did you have any postpartum with Em? - From Nessouita

No, thankfully. I was fortunate to not have dealt with that, which impacts an estimated 10 percent of all new moms.

*****

Did you ever finish that A - Z homework assignment from the Next Exit photography class? If so please post the results, tyvm. - From Winnie

Heh, heh. Winnie is referring to a really fun assignment, where Cat asked us to take photos of the alphabet but only letters found in nature - basically anything that isn't an intentional letter, like on a sign. I've scoured my neighborhood during walks with Em, but haven't explored beyond that enough to finish my assignment. I'll give you a sneak peek.
K

I'll be sure to let you all know when I eventually finish the assignment!

*****
I've been researching strollers and car seats for some time now. There are so many different ones and they all obviously have their pros and cons but I'm so drawn to the look first (bad mom). What kind of stroller and car seat do you have? - From Mrs. M

Right now we mainly use our Graco Snugrider, a stroller frame, with our Graco Snugride infant car seat. It's great because the stroller frame is soooo light and easy to pop in and out of my trunk. The bigger travel systems, where the car seat sits on a full-on stroller, were just too big and bulky for shorties like me. And we got the Graco Snugride because it's the No. 1-rated car seat. The stroller frame is good as long as Em fits the car seat.

We have another stroller, which I originally got for when Em outgrows the system above. It's called the Red Castle Whizz, a European stroller that tried to make it big in the U.S. to compete with the Quinny and other high-end strollers.
I didn't want to spend a ton on a second stroller, but I was able to score this one nearly a third of the price via a deal-a-day baby bargains site called Mamabargains. (I warn you - it's an addicting site, so proceed with caution!)

Em is just big enough to use it now, so we've taken it for a few strolls and it rides reaaaaallllly nice. I love the simplicity of my Graco, but I love the smoothness of this stroller. I also just scored a great deal on a used carrycot (a bassinet) that attaches to the frame of the Whizz, so Em will get to ride in style like this (but in black and grey, no blue).
In addition to the pink pad you see on the one above, I have additional black and turquoise pads in case our next little one is a boy.

If you're REALLY into researching strollers, check out this Yahoo group. Those folks are hardcore, but a wealth of information.

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." - James Thurber

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Nanners...

Haven't done this in a while, so please allow me to open the floor up for questions!

Anything you've been curious about? Something I mentioned in a previous post that piqued your curiosity? Wondering about something specific about my life as a new mom?

Feel free to leave your question and I'll address them in a future post!

"Dreams are today's answer to tomorrow's questions." - Edgar Cayce

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"We had the $240. We had to have the pudding."

Before:


After:

Awwwww. yeah.

"I know what you're thinking. 'Barry and Levon, where'd you get $240?' Shhhhhh. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it, baby." - Barry, The State

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Em's hat trick

If you hadn't noticed in my previous post, Em showed off a couple of her many hats. She has a pile o' hats, but I tend to forget they're there. So I pulled a bunch of them out for a fashion show! (Or as Kelly from The Office would say, "Fashion show! Fashion show! Fashion show at lunch!")

And you'll have to forgive me - I didn't want to push my luck with the many hat changes, so some of the hats aren't pulled down all the way as they should be.

Here's one of the hats she was sporting in yesterday's post:
Flower power

It's from Etsy, and I happen to think it's adorable! (My mom thinks it makes Em look like a synchronized swimmer. Or a flower pot. A very cute synchronized swimmer or flower pot, mind you.)

This is a pink beanie, which only looks like it has a brim because I didn't roll the entire edge.
Pink beanie

Gretchen gave this to Em as part of an armload of Target's Dwell baby stuff.
Dwell hat

A monkey hat from Jodi!
Our little monkey

From our pal, Liz!
Watch out, Cat in the Hat

Hello Kitty! From JustJenn! It's part of a set with mittens and shoes!
Hello Em-my

I got this one from Old Navy.
Bear ears

As you can tell, we love us some hats with animal ears. And lucky for us that Em can rock said hats with animal ears!

Lois Griffin: Oh look, Meg, it's your little baby booties, oh and your little bronzed hat, and your tail.
Meg Griffin: My what?!
Lois Griffin: Nothing.
- Family Guy

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend in photos

Brent played "Where's Waldo?" with Em while I tried to sleep in Sunday morning. See if you can spot her.
Where's Em?

When Em got tired of posing for photos, she threatened Brent with a knuckle sandwich.
"One more pic and I'll give you a knuckle sandwich!"

We took advantage of this gorgeous 80-degree weather we've been having for the past couple weeks -- apologies to my readers in freezing climates -- and headed out to our favorite Farmer's Market. We skipped the stroller and Brent wore Em in our Beco carrier.
At Farmer's Market

When we got home, Brent captured one of our favorite tricks with Em on film. I started doing this when Brent came home from work or a jog. Sometimes I'll pop her out the front door or just inside our entry way.

From afar:
What the?

Close-up:
Our favorite optical illusion

My mom came down for a quick visit Sunday afternoon. Em chilled with her on the couch and still managed to find the tv. (Babies love the television. What is with that? Is it a forbidden fruit thing? We try to prevent Em from seeing it as much as possible as "they" say it contributes to ADD.)
Can't keep away from the tv

Sunday night we took Em for her first trip to Versailles. She did great, as she usually does when we take her out. This was a noisy restaurant, perfect for any possible baby tantrums.

After my mom left today, Brent and I went to the Grand Central Market in downtown LA, where we had fabulous horchata (a rice drink) but lackluster Mexican food.

The rest of the day we just hung out at home and played with our baby girl. I explained how exciting tomorrow is because we're getting a wonderful new president, one who will be much better than the one in office when she was born.

She's hopeful, too.

Trying out her new chair

"Look what we've got here. A little mother and a littler baby. You like Mexican food little baby?" - Leroy, The Toxic Avenger

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nada mucho

I don't have anything to blog about tonight.

Don't worry - you're not the only one who's disappointed.

jigga what

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." - Hannah Arendt

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Toot, toot! Ah, beep, beep!

Brent and I slacked on Em's official birth announcement to send to friends and family. She was born Oct. 5, and I had hoped to get them out well before the holidays. Next thing I know it was Christmas and we hadn't done anything with them.

One afternoon while Brent was out jogging, I put Em in her bear outfit for the first time and grabbed the camera to practice some of the tips I got from Cat's photography class.

We were just playing around in her crib.
Bear with us

I call this one "Ralphie, don't leave me!" (Five points if you can name the reference.)

Then I thought her pink outfit would pop more with a darker background. So I plopped Em into the rocker in the nursery (the same one we use for our monthly photos) and threw the brown receiving blanket that Wan gave us over the back.

I showed Brent the photos when he returned, and he was really impressed. I joked that we should use one of them as the birth announcement, along with a pun about a having a "beary happy new year."

Next thing I know, Brent took one of the photos and worked his Photoshop magic to make her face pop a little more. Then we designed the rest of the announcement together, using Brent's wonderful graphic design talents. (It's an impressive hobby of his.)

Here's the censored version of the announcement. Under that circle is Em's first initial.
birthannouncement

Brent even made that little brown bear! He saved the file as a JPEG, then I ordered copies from Target (via Flickr) as a photo for one-hour pick up. (Only 15 cents a copy!)

Why am I telling you all this?

Because we are both so proud of the end result! (And now everyone has received their copy.)

I wish we could have included a little note that said, "We made this - the beautiful baby girl AND the announcement!" My guess is that most folks assumed we paid a photographer and then some designer to make this. Nope! It was the work of some sleep-deprived parents.

Ok, I feel so much better, having gotten that off my chest. All the recipients I really wanted to know are likely the same folks who read my site. Thanks for letting me toot our own horn!

"Pride follows many paths, speaks in many voices and comes in many forms... Some stranger than others." - Lance Rund

Monday, January 12, 2009

Delurking in the wings

Totally late on this, but couldn't miss out on National Delurking Day! (I'll happily celebrate tomorrow, too.)

If you've never commented, do this new mom a favor and make thyself known!

"Just when you think that a person is just a backdrop for the rest of the universe, watch them and see that they laugh, they cry, they tell jokes ... they're just friends waiting to be made." - Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Le Freak, C'est Chic, Freak out!

I think I've finally recovered from an increasingly rare but nonetheless trying freak out by Em.

Brent was at a work event this afternoon and evening, which he's been preparing for over the past few weeks. The last few nights I've been responsible for putting Em down to sleep on my own, which isn't hard for me to do usually. I can handle bathing her on my own, wrapping her up, taking her to the nursery, changing her for bed, reading a couple stories, swaddling her, feeding her and getting her to drift off to a peaceful slumber.

Tonight, however, went a little differently.

For some reason she decided not to take her usual naps today. She typically takes a 2+ hour morning nap, followed by a few other shorter naps before bedtime. Today she would only take little cat naps - less than a half hour each. I even took her on a neighborhood stroll, which would usually conk her out. Nope, not today. At 6:15 I stopped trying to get her to nap as it was getting closer to her 7:30 bedtime. She fussed and fussed and fussed.

I got her into the bath, where she seemed calm. Then she had a massive freakout for reasons unknown. The water temperature was fine. This was before I even shampooed her hair, so I knew I hadn't gotten anything in her eyes. There were no piranhas nor electric eels to be seen in the bath water.

I quickly took her out of the bath and she proceeded to scream through the rest of our nighttime ritual (sans books - thought I'd better skip it). The house phone and then my cell phone rang. I knew it was Brent on his way home from the event. I called him back and said, "Can't talk. Dealing with the ultimate freak out."

Brent has complimented me numerous times on my ability to stay calm when Em freaks out. I surprise myself sometimes, actually. When it happens, I just run through all the possible solutions for the possible problem. It's this weird sort of Mommy Mode that emerged when Em did.

When all else fails, out comes the boob.

And tonight that's what ultimately calmed Em down enough to finally sleep.

While I was able to remain calm, nights like this still wear me out.

Brent is on his way home with dinner from one of my favorite restaurant, and he just called to remind me to make an appointment for a massage tomorrow.

Good man, good man.

"It's a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby." - Jareth, Labyrinth

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gifted

Em and I got some really great and thoughtful gifts this holiday season. And yes, I'm just now getting around to telling you about some of my favorites. It's the life of a new mom, what can I say?

The lovely Amber gave me some lip balm from one of my favorite cosmetic lines. It's got a lemony sugar flavor, which tastes/smells absolutely amazing.
Sugar lip balm

She also presented me with this Hello Kitty Sigg bottle. I've been so much better about drinking water since I got it! And it fits perfectly in my diaper bag!
Sigg bottle

Fabulous Lilcee sent me some Hello Kitty cookie cutters, which we'd both been on the lookout for on each other's behalf since justJENN posted about them earlier in the year.
HK cookie cutters

Among the awesome pile o' gifts from justJENN were these personalized spatulas!
My spatulas

And even better? She included mini versions with Em's name! (On the side face-down.) I about lost it thinking about Em helping me in the kitchen with them some day. The funny thing is that I didn't picture an older Em; I just pictured the Em I have now but with walking/talking abilities. Heh.
Mini spatulas for Em

Shelby sent Em this adorable handmade owl onesie from Etsy. I always have to mention that while I think birds in real life are disgusting, I really love inanimate birds on stuff like this!
Owl onesie

Brent got me gift certificates for a massage AND a facial AND a 3-day spa pass, which means I can just go to the spa and chillax without needing to pay for a treatment. That's five total visits to the spa! Niiiice!

And our most recent gift for Em came from Matt and Nicole.
Muppet Whatnot

I thought my head was going to explode when I realized what it was! And it was a real testament to how out of the pop culture loop I am since Em's arrival - I had no idea such a thing existed! It's like Build-A-Bear, but with MUPPETS!!! Apparently "Whatnots," which coincidentally is a filler word I use way too much when talking to folks, are what they call the Muppets you see in the background. Brent and I are huge Muppets fan, and we'll make sure Em learns the awesomeness that are the Muppets, too.

Brent and I decided that we'll build a Whatnot on Em's behalf. Then, hopefully, when she's old enough to decide what she'd want a Whatnot to look like, and if the experience still exists, we'll let her build her own.

So freakin' cute - all of it!

Thanks again, everyone!

"It's time to get things started on the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppet-ational - This is what we call The Muppet Show!" - Theme song

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Quarter of a year

Yesterday Em turned 3 months old!
3 months

She celebrated with a 3-hour morning nap.
Up from her nap

She did a little tummy time. She's getting better and better each day!
Tummy time

Then she played in her Bumbo. She's enjoying it much more than the first time.
Bumbo

She took another nap, followed by a nice long stroll to the nearby grocery store where I hoped I didn't look like I was shoplifting as I put my few groceries into the basket underneath my stroller. Couldn't handle pushing the stroller while carrying a grocery basket, nor did I want to cover Em in lettuce, Lean Cuisines and milk.

We played some more until Brent came home. Then we did our quick 3-month photo shoot.
3 months

After a nice warm bath, which she loves, it was off to bed.

This has been an interesting month. Just when I complained to Jenn that Em must have colic as she just seemed so freakin' cranky so much of the time, she turned on the charm in a way she hasn't before. Her personality is shining through even more and it's so fun to watch.

We went to the baby shower for my friend, Liz, on Sunday, where Em met some friends of mine for the first time. They commented on what a great, laid-back baby she is. I had to resist the urge to tell them that it's a recent phenomenon and that they should have seen her freak out at the last Monday Mommy Movie, where I saw most but not all of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because I was dealing with The Curious Fussiness of Em Dash. (I think she was just going through her 3-month growth spurt.)

In the last month, Em has discovered her hands. She hasn't quite found her thumb yet, and while Brent and I don't want her to necessarily be a thumb-sucker, it's taken all our restraint not to help her find it. However, she seems to enjoy devouring her teeny tiny fist.

It's amazing to watch her focus on something, like the toys dangling from her play mat, and realize that, Hey, I can take these new things I found, called "hands," and use them to touch my toys! She's tentative about it, but in time she'll gain the confidence to reach for them with no trepidation. Heck, she already does that with Mommy's hair.

She's also babbling more and more. Yesterday while I was on the phone with my mom, Em was in the background, cooing away. I thought my mom's heart was going to explode. "OH MY GOD! I can hear her! She's sooooo cute! I can't believe it!"

I can hardly believe it myself.

There are moments where I try to imagine what she's going to be like 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades from now, and other times I wish life had a TiVo so I could pause and rewind time with our sweet girl.

Smiley

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Saturday, January 03, 2009

You're never fully dressed without a smile

Someone flipped a switch on my baby. She's decided to trade in a lot of her crying for smiling.

And I'm perfectly fine with that.

Don't get me wrong - there are still plenty of grumpy moments.

But we're getting more and more of this look*:
This smile!

She's totally getting that pony.

*Picture taken from my cell phone. One of many that I send to Brent during his work day.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

Friday, January 02, 2009

As if anyone would doubt whose child this is...

compare1

compare2

compare3

"Don't hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them." - Evelyn Waugh

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wishing you a beary happy new year!

bear

"Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured." - Ambrose Bierce