Friday, December 31, 2010

We're Not Meant for the Outside World

JD and I have become that cliche couple that has a baby and never goes out again. You know the one. The couple that disappears off of the radar once they have a baby, never to be seen at couples' weekend getaways, the movie theater, or out to dinner again. The couple that holes up in their home and never goes anywhere without their precious offspring. That's us. And we kind of love it. We are big homebodies so this suits us just fine. We are more content watching a Netflix movie in our pajamas with our girl sleeping soundly upstairs than we would be at a restaurant. But every once in awhile, we are bitten by the social bug and actually want to venture outside of the comforts of our home and do something. Especially on a holiday weekend.

Tonight we decided to drive 30 miles into the city to a famous hotel to check out the massive Christmas light display they put on. Every year it gets better and better and since we haven't done anything in so long, we decided that it would be the perfect celebratory thing to do for New Year's Eve. Plus, we could take along Beatrice and she would love it.

I was so proud of us for not backing out like we've done for the last month. We got ready like we had planned and left on time. Everyone was in good spirits. We were going to get there early to avoid the traffic and have enough time to grab some Mexican food and be home in time for Beatrice's bedtime. It was going to be a night to remember. The start of a New Year's tradition perhaps. The night's potential had no limits as far as we were concerned.

We got there in excellent time. 4 o'clock on the dot. Actually, we got off of the exit at 4. It was about 5:15 when we made it the half mile onto the property. Traffic was a nightmare. We literally did not move, not one single inch, for an hour. I was starving, Beatrice was hollering in the backseat, and JD was mumbling what a terrible idea this was and how badly the whole thing sucked. It was not festive and definitely not celebratory. After pleading with Beatrice to be happily confined in the dark backseat to no avail, I crawled back there to set her free. Don't worry, we weren't moving. Children have to be buckled in a moving vehicle. We never moved so she was perfectly safe. Lots of climbing took place in between the several demands for boovie. Like boobie, but with an exotic twist. After 2 hours of sitting in line to get to the parking area, we gave up. We turned around and came home. I was disappointed and angry, JD was grumpy and impatient, and Beatrice was hungry. Our big night out was a complete wash.

As soon as I buckled Beatrice back in her car seat, she began to scream so I stayed in the backseat in efforts to keep her calm on the drive home. I failed miserably. While she screamed and cried for more boovie, I sat in the dark and fumed. I may have even cried a little bit. I hate when a plan doesn't work out. And I hate wasting time. Because of the level of suckage of being stuck in unmoving traffic for 2 hours, we didn't engage in meaningful conversation. We didn't discuss New Year's resolutions. We just complained. And whipped out boovies in the backseat of my car. It was a wasted night.

We ended up calling in takeout and eating at home. Beatrice went to bed an hour past her bedtime and JD had to go to work. It was not the perfect family night that I had planned. But as we laid in bed for a few moments before he had to leave, we started laughing as we recapped the night. How hilarious to have a perfectly planned outing go so horribly wrong. Especially when we never go out. It proved how terrible we are at outings and how perfect we are at staying in. Looking back, the whole shebang was pretty awesome.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She's A Big Kid Now

There is nothing quite like having a baby. Having a tiny, little person rely on you for everything is so rewarding and makes you feel like the ultimate nurturer. I loved those days with Beatrice when she needed me all day long and even sometimes at night. When she wanted nothing but to snuggle and be held by her mama melted my heart and I knew I'd miss it when she grew up. Having a big kid though, is even better. Having a big kid means that there is someone to interact with you on a tangible level. There are conversations (mostly about animal sounds and shapes, but conversations nonetheless) and helpers to create clean up messes. Having a big kid is better than having a baby because while they still need you and want to cuddle, they are also little people with precious sing-songy voices telling you what they need/are thinking about/think is hilarious. It's kind of wonderful.

Beatrice and I had a girls' day out this morning complete with blueberry pancakes at Cracker Barrel and a quick shopping trip to a furniture store. While I used to dread outings with her, today was really fun. We ate pancakes and talked about the weather. Even though I was technically the only adult at the table capable of 2 word sentences, we had a lovely time. It made me realize how much I love having a big kid. I have a person to share meals with. A person to talk to when nobody else is home. A person to go shopping with. And she loves it as much as I do.

I will always cherish her babyhood and her helpless little self needing me for everything. But I can't help be a little proud of the big kid that she's becoming. Her budding independence and fiery personality has got to be a reflection of my awesome nurturing skills. Right? Having a big kid rules and I am glad to finally have one.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Packing Up 2010

We put away all of the Christmas decor tonight. I usually postpone it until after New Year's because it seems like such a waste to take it down so soon after planning for so long, but with our place on the market, the extra clutter was making me nervous. Plus, I'm really ready to move on to the new year. Cleaning up this year's Christmas marked the end of 2010. Bring on 2011.

I don't know that I have looked forward to a new year like I am this coming year. 2010 has had a few trials and many victories. We have learned and grown. We have struggled little and strengthened much. 2010 wasn't a bad year, but I'm glad it's over. I can't help but think 2011 is going to be great.

I have plans for 2011. Big plans. One way or another we will be moving to a bigger place, our baby girl is going to be more awesome than ever before, JD and I are going to seek God more wholly, and there will be lots of joy. Did you know that you can choose to be joyful? I'm choosing joy this year. And I'm looking forward to all of it. Goodbye 2010. You've been pretty cool, but 2011 is going to be so much better.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Was Merry Indeed

We had a blessed, whirlwind, exhausting, wonderful Christmas celebration this year. Christmas Eve marked the official start of our celebrating. With both families in town, we have learned that it is easiest to split the Christmases between them over 2 days. At 3 o'clock on Friday, we met everyone at church for candlelight service. It is my favorite part of Christmas. Really. I love the production our church puts on reminding us of the miraculous gift of having God come to earth as a baby to save us. It overwhelms me. And to share that with all of our family? Emotionally overwhelming. I peeked at my brothers during the singing and we all had tears welling up in our eyes. There are some members in our family that are not saved and having everyone in church together, even if it's only a few times a year, is a huge thing for us. We are blessed to know Jesus.

We did Christmas with my family after church. Between our Italian feast, Christmas china, gifts, and lots of laughter, there was still the excitement that we all got to do it all over again with the rest of our families the next day.

Beatrice is not allowed to touch our tree so she's figured out that if she stands close enough to it, it is touching her without her having to touch it. Semantics. But the trees at everyone else's houses? Fair game.

Sitting still for presents proved to be difficult.

My family loved their crocheted gifts.

What a difference a year makes.

We woke up Christmas morning to snow! Our living room quickly looked like a bomb exploded, but it was kind of great watching Beatrice play with all of her toys all over the house. She had a blast. Waking up to open gifts in my own living room and staying in my pajamas until it was time to go to Nana's was so wonderful. This is the first year that has happened. I dug it.

JD and I were blessed with great gifts too.

We had lunch at my grandmother's house with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Everyone had a fit over Beatrice and she had a multitude of playmates.

After lunch, it was off to JD's sister's house. Cousins, more food, and even more gifts, we were bursting at the seams with Christmas cheer.

My brother and his Jenni got engaged this weekend.

It was a wonderfully happy weekend. I hope everyone out there in internet land had as blessed a Christmas as we did.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beatrice the Snacking Warrior Christmas Elf

With just a handful of days left until Christmas, I have been dressing her in the most festive outfits in order to get some wear out of them. Here she is being a Christmas elf in her stripey dot tights and ornament bloomers.

Monday she wore her Christmas present shirt and candy cane leggings while eating a "nack."

And today, she was the sword wielding Christmas warrior with her nordic holiday leg warmers and stupid bearded hat I made for my brother. Topless, of course. That's how sword wielding Christmas warriors roll.

She's fierce.

Only 2 more days and several outfits to work in. Can we do it? Yes. Yes we can.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Worst Mother In the World

We had our first ER visit today. Beatrice got into some Germ-X hand sanitizer and after smelling her mouth, it was determined that she ingested some. I called the poison control hotline and they told me to take her to the hospital. So we packed a diaper bag and left. After 3 hours of being observed by the doctor and nurses, they told us she was going to be just fine. We could go. We left and I proceeded to beat myself up all night for being the worst mother in the world.

I'm very relaxed when it comes to Beatrice. I don't mind when she makes a mess, I let her play with my makeup, I don't call the doctor for every sniffle, and I don't freak out when she falls. I never want for her to get hurt or sick, but when it happens, I roll with it. Thankfully nothing serious has ever happened to her, but it's just my personality to not freak out when things do happen. And that totally freaks me out. She is my precious, vulnerable child. Why don't I worry more or stress when she toddles out of the room and gets into the pots and pans? Why do I assume that she can't get into anything dangerous? Ugggh, what is wrong with me?

Thankfully, she is totally fine and the worst part of the day was trying to keep her entertained in the hospital room for 3 hours. That was horrible. She wanted down so badly, but even I know that could be dangerous so we stayed on the bed watching Tom and Jerry cartoons on my phone. I have to step it up when it comes to what I let her get into. No more digging through the diaper bag (that's where she found the Germ-X), no more playing in my makeup (pretty sure some of that stuff is poisonous if consumed), and no more being so bla when it comes to the fact that there are things that can hurt her. I am a responsible parent, but I'm a very easygoing when it comes to danger. And that has to stop. I don't want to be fearful of what can happen to her, but I need to be more aware of the dangers out there. 

She needs me to be on my game.

Monday, December 20, 2010

T-Minus 5 Days

With only 5 more days until Christmas, I am happy to say that I only have a few gifts left to purchase, wrap, and place under the tree before I am ready for Christmas 2010. I have been wrapping as I go so I don't find myself staying up late and overwhelmed on Christmas Eve. We had these gift tags made the first Christmas that we had our Kittyboy. I found them to use this year. Hello Dil-bil-skil-skil-skil. 

The best part? I have done all of my shopping like this.

Internet shopping may be the best invention since, well, the internet. It is necessary when you have a small child. Beatrice is happy to be hauled in and out of 2 stores. 3 tops. But once I start loading and unloading her in and out of her car seat several times in a row, she protests. Plus she really likes to touch everything at the stores. Most times while shopping, I look down at her in the stroller clutching 3 or 4 items that have been dragging the ground for quite some time. She and the store clerks alike get pretty upset when I have to put them back. So having the convenience to do all of my shopping on my couch while she snoozes has been wonderful. I highly recommend it. The last few things on my list will have to be actually shopped for, but I'm pretty proud that I have not had to get out once this Season to brave the crowds. And the wintry weather.

A few things on my list this year: thisthis, and especially this. I really don't need anything. When we cleaned out my closet last month to get our place on the market, I counted 27 pairs of jeans, 30 dresses, 15 sweaters, and over 100 tops. That doesn't include t-shirts, sweatshirts, or long-sleeved tees. I have enough stuff.

My favorite gifts so far are the ones that I have crocheted for my family. I cannot wait to post them later in the week. It is some of the dumbest/awesome-est stuff I've ever made. I know awesome-est isn't a word, but I like the way it sounds so I'm using it. You can make up words when you have a blog. 

T-minus 5 days until the big day, folks. I think today is the last day to get guaranteed shipping by Christmas Eve on your internet shopping so get on it. is your friend.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Give Me Some Sugar, Sugar

I had a relatively sugar-free childhood. My mother served us Kool-Aid without sugar, unsweetened iced tea, and water. I recall a few sippies of Diet Coke too. I have zero memories of having desserts other than homemade sugar-free Kool-Aid popsicles made in ice trays with toothpick sticks. I know desserts existed because I have photos of my brothers and me blowing out candles atop birthday cakes, but those were probably made with oats, whole grains, and sugar-free Kool-Aid.

Needless to say, when I got older and had more freedom from my mother's hatred of sugar, I binged on the stuff. In high school, I spent my lunch money on a bag of purple Skittles and a Dr. Pepper. I ate candy and soda for lunch everyday for 3 years and it was awesome. My mom never knew. Until now. Hi, Mom. I got a few cavities but blamed it on my ancestry and my lack of flossing. No one needed to know about my little sugar  affair I was having 5 days a week in the halls of education.

When I got to college and moved out of my mother's house, things really got out of control. I could actually buy and store candy in my own living space without my mom discovering it and throwing it away. So I bought tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of candy. Brach gummy bears were my favorite. I would eat an entire bag during my college algebra class 4 nights a week. Most of my freshman 15 can be attributed to Brach's gummy bears. I was, in fact, turning into a gelatinous bear myself.

Once I began working, I kept canisters (plural) of a variety of candies on my desk. I loved Hot Tamales, Jelly Bellies, Starbursts, purple Skittles, and Twizzlers that had a tart, lemony filling. Those were awesome. 

After several years of eating a diet of mostly candy, my teeth began falling out of my head. Not really. But I had hundreds of thousands of cavities. My teeth hurt. I was fat. It was not working out anymore. But I had a major sugar addiction. I tried giving it up cold turkey, but I would get the shakes at night because I needed/wanted something sweet so badly. I resorted to eating jam by the spoonful. I thought that would just take the edge off. I ended up eating the whole jar in 2 nights. Not good.

It got to the point that my dentist told me I had to stop eating so much sugar. The enamel on my teeth was eroded, I had cavities on top of cavities, and I had trouble chewing because my teeth were so sensitive. About this time, I had a major revelation on my health and took up running while giving up sweets. I got healthy, but I never got over my love of sugar. I learned that eating sweets in moderation wouldn't kill me. And that moderation meant a few times a month, not smaller amounts per day. My teeth got better and I finally kicked my addiction to needing sugar after every meal.

Then I got pregnant. Did you know that one of the side effects of pregnancy is poor dental health? Apparently, your tiny fetus needs the nutrients in your teeth too so all of the tooth vigor you once knew will be extirpated for the sake of your growing baby. And it doesn't get better with flossing. Since having Beatrice, I have 2 abscessed teeth, cavities, and a molar with enamel erosion so bad, my root is exposed. And none of it can be repaired until I quit breast feeding. So basically, I have a mouth full of rotten teeth. Maybe that's why JD doesn't want to play the kissing game anymore.

What does all of this mean? Why am I writing about teeth and sugar???? Because I cannot eat any sweets at all anymore. Not even in moderation. It. Is. TORTURE. Especially at Christmas. I make really good goodies like toffee graham crackers and white peppermint bark. I haven't bothered making anything because I can't eat it. That exposed root makes for searing pain when it encounters sugar. I can't even drink sweet tea. This is probably a blessing in disguise. Especially after yesterday's post. But I can't help be a little bitter (the opposite of sweet, how fitting) at the fact that I can't enjoy my grandmother's jam cake this year. Or my mom's chocolate dipped pretzels. What the heck, mom? You never made those when we were kids. I will sip my water and eat my vegetables while you all indulge in my most favorite thing of all: sugar.

Here is a picture of JD and me with our wedding cake. Look at my face. I'm not kidding, I am serious about sugar.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Don't Want to Poison My Child Anymore

Yesterday, I read this. And I totally felt guilty because I feed Beatrice a lot of that stuff. A cup of Cheerios is quicker (and cleaner) than a piece of fruit when we're on the go and she needs a snack. A Gerber cereal bar is more convenient than toasting whole grain bread and smearing some hummus on top. And while I'm not under the impression that Gerber makes things more healthy just because they are marketed for babies, I still buy the stuff because it's readily available, cheap, and Beatrice will eat it.

These are terrible reasons to feed my child harmful chemicals proven to cause health problems and I want to change.

I haven't always been a healthy eater. Once I learned that food is fuel for the body and that it matters what goes in, I changed my relationship with it. Before I got married, I had a revelation that it might do my body good to eat off of the land. So I grew my own garden and for a summer, I ate only the fruits and vegetables that yielded from my crop. I juiced, I steamed, I ate well. And I felt amazeballs. My body functioned more, er, regularly than ever before, I had energy, and I slept better. I decided that eating right wasn't just an effective way to trim down my waist, it was imperative to my health and well-being to do so.

I started out feeding Beatrice this way. I bought fresh, organic produce and made all of her food until she was a year old. She got pickier and I got lazier. Like most everyone, she liked packaged food. It tasted good and it was quick. But I don't want to be like that anymore. I want to do better and I want her to eat better. So I emailed my friend, Alima, who is the epitome of health and fitness. She runs a Crossfit gym with her husband and they live a Paleo lifestyle. Paleo means eating foods that you would find naturally in nature. No processed foods and limited packaged foods. Think nuts, berries, and hormone-free protein. I asked her to give me some Paleo snack ideas for Beatrice. Here is what she suggested:

1. Lara bars. Made with nuts, fruit, and spices. That's it.
2. Brothers All Natural freeze dried fruit. Just fruit, nothing else. Except freeze driedness.
3. Organic raisins.
4. Terra Sweets and Beets. Sweet potato and beet chips made with canola oil. Mmmmm.
5. Water. Avoid juice which can be full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

I am excited to try these new snacks with Beatrice. My goal is have her diet 99% all natural, non-processed foods. Check out Alima's Paleo blog here. Here's to hoping that everyone makes efforts at cutting out some of the additives in their diets and for a healthier 2011.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No, No, No Beatrice

Beatrice is almost 14 months old. She says over 50 words, walks everywhere, she has mastered a few signs, and is this close to figuring out how to put her shoes on (shuusssss as she likes to call them). This is my favorite age so far. She is a little person who can communicate pretty well what she needs/likes/dislikes. Taking care of her is easy.

Beatrice is also very testy. VERY testy. She has discovered that when she is unhappy with her current situation, she has the ability to control her volume to more effectively communicate her dissatisfaction. This manifests itself in yelling and hitting herself, walls, floors, toys, and any other thing that is in her path of fury. Once, she had a momentary loss of sanity because she decided to hit me. She quickly realized that she must have lost her mind because hitting Mommy is a no-no with a capital N. When she forgets that hitting Mommy is not allowed, she quickly turns her hitting into patting and lays her head on me to show me that she was just playing around. "Just kidding, Mommy. I just lost my mind for a minute there."

While this age means a lot more freedom for both her and me, it is also the hardest on my patience. Beatrice wants to do everything. We hear "me me me me me" all day long. She wants to hold her spoon. She wants to hold your spoon. She wants to put her shoes on by herself. She wants to get her snack by herself. She wants to be big and gets very frustrated when whatever she wants isn't for toddlers. And most of the things she wants to "me me me me" are dangerous.

Like shutting doors. Beatrice is like a teenager in the way that she likes to close her bedroom door and turn the iPod on the highest decibel. If we try to open her door, she slams it in our faces. Playing in an unsupervised room behind closed doors is not for toddlers.

Whatcha doin, Beatrice?

Let Daddy see.

Beatrice Claire, don't you shut that door!

Beatrice, open up. NOW!

Mommy said no.


No more! Give that to Mommy.

Mommy's sorry that you're sad, but iPods are not for toddlers.

And that's just one of the many battles we have on a daily basis. Some days, I feel like all I do is tell Beatrice no, no, no and take things away from her. But safety comes first. Fun and slamming doors always come second. Always.