Monday, September 29, 2008

Time marches on

I have to balance that last post with a something a little more introspective and to show you that I am not 18 years old, I swear.  Tim and I attended a close friend's wedding in Kansas over the weekend (Hi S!~ It was gorgeous and lovely and you were stunning!!!  Have fun on your honeymoon!) and we sat at a table with the bride's sister's friends.  They were hilarious and an all around good time, but while we were sitting there and chatting I just kept thinking how they were older than I am, and man, they have KIDS, and families, and pee-wee football games to attend, and RESPONSIBILITIES.  And to our left was a table of young adults, early twenties, who were seemingly unencumbered by parenthood and those pesky responsibilites.  I kept thinking that we should be sitting with those people and not at the ADULT table.  I mean, we aren't ADULTS...or are we?  

We're parents now.  That's not to say that parents don't have fun (I had my fair share of the open bar and paid for it all day yesterday), but we're not free and loose like we might have been in the past.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks at the wedding.  We had something very much in common with the people at our table--our kid(s).  Having Noah and being solely responsible for him is a huge undertaking and has really forced me to "grow up" in these past months.  I no longer feel like I am playing house with Tim...we're actually living this life and truly enjoying it.  I look at the pictures my 21 year old brother puts up on his Facebook page and I reminisce about my own 21 year old experiences and for a few minutes I might pine for those days.  And then I look at Noah and see that my life has a different trajectory now.  As a parent, and therefore an adult (no matter how old you are when you have a baby, it makes you grow up), what I consider "fun" is morphing into something new.  Late nights out at the bar just don't exist for me anymore and that's ok.  My fun now involves making Noah laugh just so by tickling his cheeks.   Or blowing raspberries on his chubby belly.  And it is so fantastic.  

My love for all things silly and immature will always be there, just below the adult-like surface, this I can promise.  But from now on, it's Noah's job to be the child, and my job to show him how fun life can be.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

My apologies

We have a problem. A big problem. I hesitate to share it with you for fear you may look at me a little, um, differently. Ok, here goes: I am obsessed with Gossip Girl. Like the can't miss an episode and no, watching it the next day on the DVR does not work for me kind of obsessed. I am ashamed. Truly ashamed. This show is so damn addicting and maybe it's because lately I am starting to feel, shall we say, older, that I am drawn to a show about uber-privileged 18 year olds with a penchant for Chanel bags and Chloe dresses.  In my defense the show does have some kick-ass music, but that's pretty true of most prime time dramas these days.  So, every Monday from here on out will be devoted to the Upper East Side, Serena and Dan, Blair and Chuck, and Nate's unfortunate choices in women.  I'm so sorry.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Two Months

Dear Noah,

Over the weekend, you turned two months old.  And something changed.  You seem to have "woken up" to the world.  And it is amazing to watch you focus so intently on the world around you.  You're quietly alert much of the time, always taking in the scenery and storing it all away in that big brain of yours.  You know my face and search the room for me when I am not holding you.  I love that you do that...knowing that you need me and I need you just as much in return.  You see your father and smile that big, innocent smile of yours that shows him just how much you love him too.  Your smile is the greatest gift I receive everyday.  It's the very first thing I see in the morning when we wake up and the last thing I see when you go to sleep and it cause my heart to burst into a trillion pieces.  I am always picking those pieces up off the floor.

We spend our weekdays lazily together, there is not always a plan for the day and I love that we get to spend that time together, just us.  Most days we play on your activity mat and you adore the little ducky that rattles.  You're not yet able to reach out and hit the rattles but you are so close.  Your tiny fists shake and swing in all directions but when you do hit the rattles and they make noise you are so surprised with yourself.  It won't be long before you're batting them back and forth!  Your newest trick is getting your fingers in your mouth when you're laying down on your tummy.  At first we thought you would just suck on your fist, but oh no, you take after your mama and you found that left thumb so fast.   The minute you're placed on your tummy you have your left thumb in your mouth and start happily sucking away.  The pacifier is no contender against that thumb of yours.  

You've also started sleeping through the night.  I say this knowing that you can change that game plan at any time, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that you keep it up.  No need to go back to that waking up at night nonsense.  That wasn't any fun for either of us, was it?  No sir it was not.  If you keep this up I will get you whatever you want forever and ever.  I promise.   

I love you so very much my little monkey.  You have brought so much happiness and joy to our lives.  Thank you for picking us.  We are so damn lucky.

Love, Mama

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sara learns to code part TWO

Check out what I did.

I wish I could say I did that all on my own, but Photoshop Express must be properly credited. It's a fantastic program...makes Kodak Gallery look like kid's play. Go here to play with Photoshop Express (shhh, it's FREE).  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baby Stuff We Love and Hate--Updated

There are a million posts and reviews out there for baby products and I figured my opinion didn't really matter.  Except I then decided that I can do whatever I want so without further adieu, my picks for best and worst baby accoutrements.  Keep in mind that this is what works best for US...your baby may have a completely different opinion and voice it loudly.

Mama's Faves:
  • Mei Tai Wrap by CatBirdBaby.  This carrier is a little complex at first because there are no buckles and it takes a while to learn how to balance baby and get the wrap tied on properly. But it has been so great when Noah's been fussy...within minutes of getting him settled and cozy in the wrap he falls asleep and STAYS asleep.  I've taken him on walks in it, out shopping, and just around the house so I can get things done while he's awake but not pleased about spending time in his swing.  Love it.  Plus this company is located in Chicago and I always like supporting the local economy.
  • Bugaboo Frog.  I KNOW.  So expensive, so trendy, there are just as nice strollers out there for less, yada yada.  But listen!  The Frog?  It is super awesome.  It's an all in one taking the baby from infancy to four years old (though if my four year old isn't walking his ass around then feel free to smack me one).  We love the bassinet feature and especially that it's removable so if Noah falls asleep on a walk then I can just take off the bassinet and bring him in the room with me.  It's got shock absorption and heavy duty tires which may seem silly but we can power over the uneven sidewalks and curbs with no problem.  It will be nice to get through the snow easily too.  Yes, I do plan on taking him out in the cold way in hell will we to survive the winter inside all the time. The one negative I can see is that there is no way to make this stroller a double stroller (they offer a stand on platform for older kiddos, but no extra seat) so if/when we have a second baby we'll most likely have to retire the Frog or hand it down.   Other than that, our Frog is pretty damn sweet.
  • Diaper Dekor Plus.  So far this diaper disposal system is working out really well.  I like that it contains the smell of the dirty diapers without using air fresheners or battery powered fans or anything like that.   It's simple to change when the bag is full and can convert to a standard garbage can when you're done disposing diapers.  I don't know how well it works once you have dirty diapers after solids (I hear those are NAAAASTY), so I will revisit this item at that time and amend my opinion.
  • Skip Hop diaper bag.  We have a now discontinued version of the Skip Hop Duo Deluxe which I bought for Tim so he could have a more manly type diaper bag.  I then bought myself a very lovely and very large diaper bag because I thought I would need something pretty and fabulous.  Unfortunately for our wallets, we both use the Skip Hop and my fancy bag sits on the bench in the foyer.  The Skip Hop easily attaches to the stroller with included clips and can hold anything we could possibly need for a day out with Noah.  It's waterproof, includes a changing pad, and doesn't make Tim feel like a little girl carrying Mommy's purse.  Mission accomplished.
  • Medela Pump In Style Advanced.  This electric breast pump saved me.  We have a little oversupply issue chez Smith so my doc suggested I pump to relieve the pressure and help Noah not gag everytime he latches on.   I first bought a manual pump since I'm not going back to work and didn't think I would need the portability of the electric pump.  Well.  That manual pump is a wussy, weak and downright embarassing example of a breast pump. Shame on you Mister Manual Pump. The electric Medela, on the other hand, is the Michael Phelps of breast pumps.  This bad boy deserves NINE gold medals.  In ten minutes I can have enough pumped for a bottle or even more.  Tim can feed the baby.  My mother can feed the baby.  Hell, you want to come over and feed the baby?  Feel free!  Milk for all! 
  • Sleep sack.  We don't have this exact model, but any sleep sack that is designed to keep the baby warm like a blanket works.  Now, I knew before we had Noah that I wasn't supposed to cover him with a blanket when sleeping because he could suffocate, higher risk of SIDS due to suffocation, etc.  But we didn't buy these sleep sacks before he came home.  Instead I decided that there was no way for a newborn to figure out how to get a blanket over his head. Stupid first timer.   I put a blanket over him and ta da!  Over his head in a matter of an hour.  A quick trip to the baby store and we've been steadfast sleep sack users ever since.  
  • Exercise ball. Ok, maybe not a baby product per se, but Noah loves to be bounced while I am holding him and an exercise ball makes it so much easier.  Especially as he's getting heavier.
  • Other things we love in no particular order:  Graco Pack 'N Play (good for multi-level houses...ours has an attached changing table and Noah naps in there as well), Sassy Me In the Mirror toy, a mobile above the changing table (Best Thing Ever.  Pick any mobile, attach it to the wall or ceiling (ours is an Etsy purchase) and watch your baby be amazed), JJ Cole Bundle Me for the car seat.
Mama's (and Noah's) Take It or Leave It Items:
  • Fisher Price Nature's Touch Cradle Swing.  My child must be in the minority when it comes to his feelings about this swing.  Every parent, and I mean EVERY, sings the highest praises for Holy Father Fisher Price and his swing.  But Noah can barely stand it for more than a few minutes.  There are days where he tolerates it and even smiles at himself in the overhead mirror, but I feel that if we didn't have it, he wouldn't know the difference.  I basically use it as a place to plop him down when I need to get something done quickly and am far enough away that I can't hear him screaming in protest.  YOUR kid will love it, I'm sure.
  • Swaddle Me swaddling blankets.  Maybe it's because we never mastered the art of the baby burrito in the hospital, but Noah hates to be swaddled.  When we brought him home these blankets were the very first things I wanted to use because I was SURE he would love them.  Not so much.  And damn it I wish I hadn't washed them all and thrown away the packaging.  He fought and fought against the swaddle and screamed bloody murder until we unwrapped him.  These now sit, unused, in the back of his closet waiting for a more accomodating Baby v. 2.0.
  • Crib bumper.  Ours came as part of a set and I wish I had just bought a fitted sheet and crib skirt instead of the whole set.  We'll most likely never use the bumper (suffocation risks, SIDS, etc.) and the bumper/quilt were the most expensive part of the set.  I almost stopped a pregnant woman in Target today who was contemplating a crib set, including a bumper, to tell her to put it back and save her money for diapers.  But then I remembered when I was pregnant and would have hated someone for telling me that because damn it if my baby wasn't going to have a fully coordinated crib bedding ensemble.  And it's really so pretty all folded up, in the closet, on a shelf, in the way back.
  • Pampers Swaddlers aka the diapers that leak.  We have had no luck with the Pampers. These were the ones they used in the hospital so I figured they were the best of the best.  So of course (OF COURSE) I went out and bought the super jumbo mega pack. But they leaked, and leaked, and leaked for us.  We switched over to Huggies Supreme Care and have been pretty much leak free since.  (But I am giving Luvs a try this week since they are SO MUCH CHEAPER and have gotten great reviews...I'll let you know. Don't wait on the edge of your seat or anything though.)
  • Updated: We tried the Luvs.  They're ok.  I still think Huggies are our personal best bet since we have had the least leaks/blow outs with those, but the Luvs were ok for day time use.  As long as I changed him frequently, they held up.  Luvs are also made by Pampers I believe so they're pretty similar.  The Pampers were definitely softer than the Luvs, though.
Ok.  I'm tired now.  Hope this helps any parents or parents-to-be sift through the millions of baby products out there.  So much of what you need is dependent on the baby you get and his/her temperament.  Good luck and godspeed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can't think of a lame title for this lame filler post

Whoa. When did it become September? I woke up to a chilly house this morning since Chicago went into a deep freeze state last night. Ok, not a deep freeze but it was definitely below 55 degrees this morning. And that is way too cold for September. It's indicative of summer ending and fall beginning and I just can't have that quite yet. I suppose my summer didn't feel like much of one since we spent the majority of it waiting for Noah's arrival. And since then the days and nights blur together in a haze of walks, soothing, naps, bad reality television, nursing, rocking, shhhing, and smiles. Speaking of, check out the awesome smile my friend D got yesterday from the little man:

Such a cheeky one that kid.

Not much new to report over here. Like I said, the days blur together. Posting may be light until the urge to write just takes over my fingers and I can tap tap tap out something witty for you. Or until Noah smiles again and the world cannot go on unless I post evidence of said smile here. No one gets tired of smiling baby pictures, right? RIGHT?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is this better?

We're ok! I mean, the baby is still yelling about some massive injustice in the world (my guess is Sarah Palin and her god awful hair was slightly better at the convention yesterday since she decided to leave the banana clip at home)but I look better, yes?

I received numerous emails and messages after yesterday's post asking if I was ok and if the baby was ok and if I am thinking of jumping off a bridge, ad infinitum. Thank you for your concerns and I would like to reassure you that we are doing just fine. That particular picture was taken on a rough, no-sleep day (NOT yesterday). In fact, I even blow dryed my hair yesterday because the baby slept for 3 whole hours straight! And put on make-up! I looked FANTASTIC if I do say so myself.

What's helping is that I have finally decided to keep a sleep/feed/diaper log for Noah's day so I can look back and know exactly how much he's sleeping/eating/pooping etc. It really helps me keep things in perspective. Why I didn't do this before is beyond me. Looking back over the past three days, he's actually sleeping pretty well and definitely eating plenty. We have a good routine for bedtime down which I am going to protect come hell or high water. He is now almost 7 weeks and we are starting to encourage him to put himself to sleep. I've been putting him down drowsy and half asleep rather than rocking or nursing him until he's completely asleep. It's been trial and error but for the most part he's catching on. I've also stopped rushing to him the minute he makes a peep while he's sleeping. The video monitor we bought is a godsend for that. I can watch him and see exactly when he's waking up rather than just fussing while asleep. I've also been giving him infant gas drops to help with his gas issues...hopefully we'll see progress in the next week.

Again, thank you for your concern and your messages of understanding. Each day that goes by gets better and better with this little guy. I mean, can he get any cuter?


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My mama said there would be days like this...

Screaming baby? Check.

Unshowered mother? Check.

Vacant look in mother's eyes almost obscured by massive undereye circles? Check. And check.

Daddy coming home in less than 2 hours? OH GOD PLEASE.