Catching up (in a long long post) January 13, 2010
So, here we are almost halfway through January, and I have yet to post ANYTHING this year.
Good thing my New Year’s resolution wasn’t to blog more, because obviously that would be a failure. I’d have more success losing weight.
OK, maybe not.
Here’s a picture-filled recap of the last few weeks.
After we opened Maggie’s presents on Christmas morning, we kept an anxious eye on the weather. We were supposed to be driving back to The Sticks to see my family but there was a big ice storm coming through PA and we didn’t want to get caught in it. If it would have been just me and Mike, we probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it, hopped in the car, and gone on our merry way. But with Maggie on board, I imagined brutal car accidents, or being stranded for days on end halfway between my house and The Sticks. With that in mind, I packed the car full of bottled water, Maggie’s snowsuit, a million blankets, a bag containing way more formula and diapers than we could possibly need, and extra layers of clothes for Mike and I, along with gloves and hats and scarves.
After consulting NOAA, we decided we had a short window of opportunity, so we piled into the car and were on our way. There was just a light drizzle at our house, but as we climbed into the mountains, that drizzle became a snowy icy mix. Ugh. I’m a real control freak about driving and like to always be the one in control, but I “allowed” Mike to drive (it was Christmas, after all, so I wanted to avoid a fight) and sat in the back seat with Maggie. I had a 4 hour panic attack the whole way there, clutching onto Maggie’s car seat, yelling “suggestions” to Mike on how to handle the bad conditions (he loved that), and refusing to blink because I might miss seeing the car in front of us careening out of control.
We made it there safe and sound, and thankfully the weather in The Sticks was manageable and much less treacherous. We spent the long weekend running around, back and forth from my grandparent’s house to my Dad’s house, into town to get fitted for my dress for my brother’s wedding this summer, and visiting friends.
Maggie was an absolute dream. She had her fussy moments, but she adapted well to being passed around, sleeping in a strange room, and being in and out of the car more times than we could count. She was worn out by the time we got in the car to come home on Sunday, and slept the entire ride. The weather had cleared up by then, so we had an uneventful trip home.
Mike had off work the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I, however, had to work Monday through Thursday. So on Monday morning, I was off to work while Mike and Maggie hung out all day. After I got home we did a quick cleanup of the house and threw some laundry in . . . .
. . . .because on Tuesday, Mike’s brother, his wife, and our niece and nephew arrived to stay with us for the week!
This was the first time they got to meet Maggie and it was so cute to see the kids with her.
The rest of Mike’s family came over on New Year’s Day for dinner and to exchange Christmas gifts.
At one point, both Maggie and I were really tired, so we had some quiet time together on the couch.
But then the next day Mike’s brother’s family had to head home, so we said our goodbyes. Our nephew had picked up on Mike and I calling Maggie “Magpie”, and when he said goodbye to her before heading for home, he gently touched her arm and said “Goodbye Maggiepie.” It was so sweet! I just wished we lived closer to them so that we could see them more often.
You would think all of the chaos would end there, but it didn’t. Next up was Maggie’s baptism, which was during the 5:00 Mass last Saturday. I had a million errands to run during the week leading up to the baptism, but we got snow almost every day around 5:00PM and then overnight, so my 8 mile commute to and from work sometimes turned into an hour (one way) and I gave up on the errands and concentrated on making it home to spend what little time I could with Maggie before bedtime. So on the morning of her baptism day, I left the house around 8:30 and didn’t make it back until around noon. My brother and his fiancée had made it there in the meantime, and my Dad and his fiancée arrived a little while later.
We left the house around 4:30 and met Mike’s family at the church. I was a little nervous about Maggie making it through the entire Mass. I envisioned a major uncontrollable meltdown, the kind where nothing would calm her. Our church is HUGE and the Saturday evening Mass is packed. Any other time, I could just leave with her, but since she was the center of attention (and we were in the front row), I knew it wouldn’t be that easy. I didn’t need to worry. She squawked a few times during Mass, but no one minded and the priest even made a comment about how excited she was. She was an absolute angel during the actual baptism. She was shocked by the cold, and jerked her hands up over her head all three times, but didn’t cry. It was a beautiful baptism, and the congratulations from the congregation afterwards were overwhelming.
Afterwards, we all went back to our house for dinner. It’s rare that my family and Mike’s are all in the same room together. In fact, I can’t even think of a time when it was just all of us. They’re all at the benefit we have each year, but being in a crowded bar isn’t the same. It was so nice for all of us to just hang out and relax.
On Monday, I took a half day of vacation to Maggie’s 4 month appointment. She now weighs 16 lbs 10oz; still in the 95th percentile, which is where she was at birth. She’s 26 1/2 inches long. The problem with her soft spot closing early seems to no longer be a problem, and everything else checked out OK. We were smart this time with her shots and gave her Ty.len.ol as soon as we got home instead of waiting until the fever (and the screaming) started, like last time. She wasn’t fazed at all and was her normal happy self all evening.
And, now we’re back to “normal”. No trips planned, no visitors, no running around like crazy. Work has been hectic lately, so sometimes it’s a struggle to get out the door at 5:00 or shortly thereafter, but I’m slowly coming to accept that I only have an hour or so with her in the evening during the week and try to make the most of it.
Cloth diapering is going really well. Not nearly as gross as I had imagined it to be, and I’ve gotten into a rhythm of washing them every other night and doing other laundry on the nights in between. There was a little bit of trial and error when it came to figuring out how many inserts to use to make sure she didn’t wet through, but we were able to make it work. I was mostly concerned about what would happen overnight, since she’s in the same diaper for 12 hours, but those diapers are so amazing that it wasn’t an issue. She’s (thankfully) still sleeping like a champ. There have even been a few nights where she woke up every hours and soothed herself back to sleep and we didn’t even have to go in once to put her pacifier in!
So, that’s what has been going on in our lives lately. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog a little more consistently over the next few weeks instead of doing such a massive catch-up post!
Santa December 27, 2009
I didn’t think Christmas with Maggie would be all that “fun” this year. She’s 3 1/2 months old. She doesn’t “get it” yet.
But after seeing her face on Christmas morning when she saw her presents from Santa, I changed my mind. The wonder and joy on her face was enough to make ME believe in Santa . . . .
Ch-ch-ch-changes December 22, 2009
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 . . .