Sorry for my absence. I really have no excuse other than the avalanche of just normal life that dropped on my head in the past few weeks. Something had to give, and blogging was just one of those things.
A few weeks ago, I had it all together. Christmas shopping well underway, work stuff contained to 9 hours out of the day, an hour and a half of family time every evening, dinners made and on the table each night, and the grocery store and other errands run after Maggie went to bed. I had blocks of time scheduled on the weekends for projects that needed to get done—painting the powder room, cleaning the house in preparation for out-of-town guests after Christmas, wrapping presents, etc.
Then it all went to hell.
The first big change . . . .we took Maggie out of daycare. For now. The opportunity came along for us to have Mike’s sister watch Maggie full-time until next summer, so we talked it over and decided to go that route. It helps out his sister financially, and of course there are so many benefits for us—not having to pack her up and drag her to daycare in the dead of winter, having guaranteed one-on-one care for her, etc. But it was actually sad to pack up all of her stuff and to leave the wonderful women that have taken care of her for the past 5 weeks.
They actually cried when we left with her and begged us to bring her back to visit. Maggie seemed to really like it there and we were really happy with them, so we made it clear that she will be back next year and they even agreed to keep her “active” in their system to ensure that she has a spot, and also to allow us to use them on a day-to-day basis if we would need to.
Next big change . . .Maggie’s getting her first teeth. They’re just starting to poke through the gum, but as of right now they don’t seem to be bothering her too much. Hopefully it will stay that way.
And . . .I think she’s almost ready for rice cereal. She drinks six 7-8 oz bottles during the day (!), and has for a few weeks now. She was at the point where she was only waking up once or twice throughout the night (and mostly because she turned herself sideways during the night and her feet were up against the crib rails). But now she’s waking up more and more, and getting up earlier in the morning. I’m not sure if it’s hunger or her teeth that are causing this, and assuming I get a few free minutes during the day at work tomorrow, I’m going to call the pediatrician to talk with her about it. She’s 3 1/2 months old, and that seems early to me to start cereal, but at the rate she’s packing away the formula, that might be a sign that she’s ready to take it up a notch. What do you guys think?
I took last Thursday afternoon and Friday off (the last of my vacation time), and was able to get the powder room painted. Something like that wouldn’t typically be a high priority on my to-do list at this time of year, but it had never been painted since we built the house 3 years ago. There were patches on the walls where nail pops were repaired, and the normal scrapes and marks that occur with (cheap) flat white paint. Also, we have a poster of our benefit logo blown up each year and we use it for a “guest book” that night and have everyone sign it—we frame the poster and hang it behind the toilet in our powder room (Seriously. If nothing else, it’s a conversation piece for visitors.) Well, the toilet is tucked into a little alcove that’s approximately 27 inches wide, and the frame is about 26 inches wide, and for some reason this year we scraped the hell out of the walls wedging the frame in to get it hung. Even I thought it was shameful-looking and I’m really good at ignoring things like that.
So, I proceeded to paint. With a ladder that didn’t fit into the powder room. And with Mr. Curiosity the Cat (otherwise known as Forrest) very interested in the whole process. I love to paint, but I can almost guarantee you that that room will never get painted again as long as we’re in that house—what a pain!
The next big change was the switch to cloth diapers. We had debated on whether we were making the switch or not for quite some time, but around Thanksgiving I counted out how many disposables were in our stockpile and figured we had about 6 weeks worth left. I had been scouting around online looking for the best prices I could find on the brand of cloth diapers we wanted to use, and came across an awesome 20% off sale for Black Friday. We knew it was decision time, and we made the leap and ordered them. We had previously gotten a few of them to try out just to make sure we were OK with using them, so we ordered 12 more, plus a diaper sprayer and a few wet bags. We saved about $75 thanks to the sale, and the best part? We will not have to buy diapers AGAIN.
I wanted to make the switch over a weekend so that I was the one changing her around the clock, making sure she wasn’t freaked out by the different feeling, and to check for leaks. All was going well . . . .
. . . .until I tried to install the diaper sprayer. It looked so simple. It connects to the water line on your toilet. You turn off the water, loosen the connectors, take the piece off, replace it with the sprayer attachment, turn the water back on, and viola . . . diaper sprayer. Long story short, I made a disaster of it, and we had to call in a plumber to fix my mess. Plus, I had put one of those blue 2000 flushes things in the tank eons ago and it just won’t fully dissolve, so I had blue stuff everywhere, including my freshly-painted walls.
And then, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, the cooties invaded. I woke up at 12:15 AM feeling like garbage, and then proceeded to wear a path in the carpet going back and forth from the bed to the bathroom about 478 times until morning. Mike was supposed to leave the house at noon to go to the Steeler game with some friends. He was so excited to go—it would be the first game he had gone to in a few years, and he and his friends had plans to go to Jerome Bettis’ bar for lunch and drinks and to watch the early games before heading over to the stadium. By 9:30 AM he called to cancel after seeing the state that I was in. He felt that there was no way I could take care of Maggie, even though I half-heartedly protested that he should go and that we’d be fine. I felt so incredibly bad and guilty that he was missing out on a fun afternoon/evening. .
. . until an hour later, when he was running for the bathroom too. Since our powder room downstairs was, um, out of order thanks to my plumbing experiment, it made more sense for him to quarantine himself upstairs while Maggie and I camped out downstairs. I was over the worst of it anyhow, so I only had to grab her to make a few trips upstairs myself. Poor little girl got quite a show while she was sitting in her bouncy seat in my bathroom.
Maggie and I spent the remainder of the afternoon lying on the floor with the TV on. She seemed entranced by WALL-E, so I let her watch that for half an hour and then felt guilty for plopping her in front of the TV. I mustered up enough energy to play with her for a little while and was hoping it would be one of those few-and-far-between days where she took a nap, but it just wasn’t gonna happen.
Mike came downstairs around 4:30 or so, and the two of us muddled through until it was time for her to go to bed. I still had some things I HAD to do that day, like laundry (didn’t want to wait the extra day to wash the cloth diapers), so I got everything done that I had to do and went upstairs to bed. We were up a few times with Maggie that night like usual, just to put her pacifier back in, and I have never been so glad to have a baby that sleeps relatively well at night.
I still haven’t had much in the way of solid food since Saturday night (but I lost 10 lbs so far!), and being at work all day has been a struggle when all I want to do is put my head down and fall asleep, but we’re at least on the road to recovery. Mike took Monday off work because he was still feeling so bad. Coincidentally, that was JLo’s first day watching Maggie.
I had intended to have the house clean, the fridge and pantry stocked, and everything organized for her. Instead, she walked into a mess of a house (after having to come through the garage because the front steps never got shoveled after we got a ton of snow dumped on us), no food, a non-working bathroom, Mike there but still sick, and a screaming overly-tired child who refused to nap. Oh, and then the plumber showed up, so there’s a little added chaos. She’s probably second-guessing her decision to watch Maggie after only the first day!
So, needless to say, the next few days are going to be a little crazy. I still haven’t wrapped one gift, the house needs to be cleaned before we head to The Sticks to see my family on Christmas morning (Mike’s brother and family will be coming in to stay with us right after we get back to Pittsburgh ), we STILL haven’t hung any ornaments on the tree, there are no decorations at all inside the house. And to top it off, things are incredibly busy at work. On Monday it was non-stop from when I got there at 7AM until I left at 5:15. Good thing I couldn’t even think of eating food, because I never had a chance to stop to eat lunch!
But as screwed up as all of my well-organized plans got over the last week or so, it’s still going to be an amazing Christmas. Our first one with Maggie, who doesn’t care that the house is dirty, or that her presents aren’t wrapped, or that there aren’t any ornaments on the tree. Because beneath this whole whirlwind of holiday stuff, I know that only one thing is important . . .spending time with the ones we love.
And now . . .some pictures . . .