Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Home

I try to refrain from too many domestic-life-is-awesome posts. I want to be relatable to everyone and never want to be all, "nanny nanny boo boo, I have a baby and it is so cool, but some of you wouldn't know what that's like." But, I have to say this one little thing about having a child and then I'll go back to making fun of JD and writing about the cat. You know, things we can ALL relate to. 

Having a small child in the house makes everything better. The constant chatter and mama-mama-mama-mamas makes our home feel so alive and sweet. I've gotten used to little handprints on all of the mirrors and glass doors and I love discovering toys cleverly tucked behind shelves and toilets. Having a little person in your home makes it messy for sure, but it also brings everything to life in a way that only having a child can. Everything is new and awe-worthy to a child. They want to know how it works, to touch it, to lick it, to do it. I discourage JD from doing all of this as he is a grown man and had his chance to lick things while he was a small child, but exploring with Beatrice and letting her taste a knob or two is a favorite game of ours. 

Some things don't change after having a child. Things like housework and the maintenance required for your home to run smoothly. But I never sang songs while I folded laundry before Beatrice came into our lives. I never had to vacuum after every meal before her and let her point out the Cheerios in the canister. I never had a little person to talk to all day and want me to let her touch every light switch in the house because it is awesome to make light. I never had so much specialness in our home until I had a baby. I never noticed the possibility to learn something with every chore before Beatrice showed me how to. And I love it.

I love it so much that I have an announcement to make..............................................................................
I've started to watching a friend's baby 3 days a week. You totally thought I was going to say I was pregnant, didn't you?! Now I have a toddler jabbering away all day and a sweet, tiny baby cooing too. I love it. Our home is kind of a disaster now with toddler and baby stuff everywhere, but it is a happy, loud, sweet disaster.

Before I had a baby of my own, children got on my nerves. I liked them just fine, but I never wanted a little kid messing up my walls or furniture. I never knew how wonderful it is sharing your home with tiny people. They make your home wonderful and lively and THAT is something I wish for everyone to experience.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Steppin' Out

This weekend has been a blur of holiday baking and decorating. We never left the place except for about an hour on Saturday night to go to church. We were very casual.

Cardigan, Urban Outfitters
Jeggings, Forever 21
Boots, Ugg

Turtleneck, Carter's
Leggings, Baby Gap
Sparkle Shoes, Stride Rite (Keds)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Recap

We had a good day yesterday. JD had to work so it was Beatrice and me until the afternoon when we headed over to my mom's house. Everything was great until Beatrice fell off of the bottom step and busted her lip. She cried, I felt awful. Thanksgiving began with tension and tears. I tried to stay positive but the more Beatrice fussed, the worse I felt. So I focused on the things that I am thankful for, like my husband and healthy child. A healthy child I cannot keep off the stairs, but whatever. 

I saved my baking for nap time. I made the pumpkin roll from the back of the Libby can. It is heaven. My brothers ask for it every year and eat it alongside their land fowl like a dinner roll. I can't say that I blame them. It is technically a vegetable and the cream cheese is cheese (obviously) so it is like a vegetable gratin. Except that it is dessert and so yummy, so nothing like a vegetable gratin at all.

We headed over after Beatrice woke up from her afternoon nap. My mom has a fancy schmancy camera so we wanted to get some Christmas card pictures with it. Out of about 75 pictures, there are maybe 2 that don't suck. We may completely redo them. My gut tells me to buy us some adult footed pajamas to match Beatrice's and take a family picture in our living room. We'll see..... As you can see, blinking is my gifted ability. Not looking at the camera is Beatrice's. And not coordinating family outfit colors is JD's. 

My mom had the table set and buffet stocked when we got there. Too bad we had to wait for everyone else to arrive before we could eat.

But when it was time, boy did we eat. This was the first Thanksgiving that I can remember not being conscious of how many calories I was consuming. I don't know if it is because breast feeding burns so many or that I am truly confident that my body won't turn into a gelatinous blob after a ham feast once or twice a year. Easter ham, mmmmm. Whatever it is, it is truly wonderful to just enjoy a 2500 calorie plate of food without guilt of what I will look like in the morning. For that, I am thankful.

After dinner, we broke out the Cranium board and had a 2 hour game. JD and I rule at trivia, humming, and drawing with our eyes closed so this game is right up our alley. We slaughtered the competition, AKA my brothers and their Jennies.

If you guessed "scuba diving" at this picture, then you rule at Cranium too and can be on our team. If not, then you can lose with the other weaker-brained people in my family. Pssh. I laugh in the face at friendly competition. I play to win. JD totally missed this one. He kept saying, "hand to my mouth, thank you, kicking my feet." Yes honey, that is clearly what it is. When the card said your hint was "thing", it really meant verb. After this little incident, I may be looking for a new partner. Just sayin'.

And what was Beatrice doing during all of this? Well that may be the best part of the day. I have no idea. I know that my mom and grandmother had her somewhere in the house, but for 2 uninterrupted hours, I played and talked and ate pumpkin rolls. No chasing after a little body up the stairs, no denying milkies, no sharing bites. It was wonderful.

It started raining so we headed home. I put Little Bits to bed and JD and I watched a movie. I crocheted some ridiculously cute leg warmers for a special order. I can't wait to make Beatrice some.

We woke up late and will not be Black Friday shopping. Sleep is more valuable to me than 60% off. I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving.

And since the Christmas season is officially upon us, can you spare 2 clicks for the blog? JD keeps asking when I'll win this thing so he can quit clicking. I won't win anything, but can be ranked higher to the top with each click click. So click away friends! Do it for the baby Jesus.

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving (Giveaway Winner)

It is a glorious, warm morning here in our neck of the woods. We are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and spilling Cheerios all over the floor. There are pumpkin rolls to bake and eggs to devil, but for now, we are taking our time easing into this Thanksgiving.

When I got Beatrice up this morning, I told her that I was thankful for her. She said, "Dada?" I told her yes, Dada was thankful for her too. "What are you thankful for, Beatrice?" "Bobo." Bobo is her stuffed monkey. I suppose I would be thankful for Bobo too, if I had one.

Random.org has declared commenter #24 the winner of the Christmas POM hat. Kate said, "hi aly! love your blog (and your darling hats, too)! happy thanksgiving to you and yours!" Kate, email me at alysbloggityblog [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know what size hat you need and if you prefer red and white stripes with green trim or green and white with red. Thanks to everyone that participated. 

Beatrice is extra defiant and testy today (no one told me that would start at 1) so I must tend to her. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Prisoner's Diet

I am guilty of judging mothers of picky eaters. If a child only eats 3 things, 2 of which come from a box or a cellophane wrapper, I blame the mother. I always thought that a picky eater was the fault of the parent. Those parents must not offer enough wholesome varieties of food. They must be lazy and not too intelligent if they feed their children macaroni and cheese every meal.

Then I had a picky eater of my own. And I realized that IT IS NOT MY FAULT.

My child has a prisoner's diet. She eats toast, cheese, and water. I'm lucky if she'll eat some bananas or grapes. She won't touch vegetables, meat, or any other foods. My child eats like she's in jail. And I feel responsible.

She hasn't always been this way. When we started table foods, she would eat anything. If I put it in front of her, she would gobble it up. Everyone would comment about what a good eater I had on my hands and I would beam with pride. I felt like I had something to do with her being a good eater. After all, I offered her a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, I baked whole grain bread, and I gave her plenty of opportunities for new tastes and textures. I ruled at having a good eater. Now, I fail. I fail miserably and it's driving me crazy.

I try not to get too upset over her poor diet. I continue to offer her lots of different, healthy options. Those options always end up on the floor, but at least they were offered, right? I have come to realize that having a crappy eater is not my fault. It's not anyone's fault. She is a person with her own likes and dislikes. Who happens to dislike everything but bread, cheese, and water, but whatever. Just because my child doesn't eat any fruits or vegetables doesn't mean that I am a bad parent or that I am lazy. It just means that she is picky. And hopefully it is a phase that she will outgrow. One cannot live on bread and water alone, can they? Not without everyone judging the mother, they can't.

I thought that if I let her hold the spoon herself, maybe just maybe, she would eat some yogurt. She loved the spoon. Not so much the yogurt. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beatrice and the Wild Animals

I was scrolling through my photo album on my phone and noticed quite a disturbing trend unfold. I like to take pictures of Beatrice with wild animals. Posed pictures. As in, I place my child near wild animals and take pictures as if every normal parent does the same. What? I like a good photo op.

The good news is that most of these animals are not real. The bad news is that I like pictures of my baby near wild animals. This can't be normal.

I never said I was normal.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thankful Giveaway

Every now and then, I crochet some things for craft fairs. I make a bazillion hats and hope that they all sell, otherwise I have a bazillion hats lying around. There was a fair this past weekend and I sold several, however got stuck with some Christmas pom hats. I just proofread this as "Christmas PORN hats." I guarantee you I have never made Christmas porn anything. Especially not hats. These:

Since it is Thanksgiving week and I'm feeling generous, I am giving away one of these festive POM hats to a random commenter. If you want to enter twice, like me on Facebook (look at the top right of the sidebar) and leave a comment telling me that you did. Although probably not as fun as porn hats (whatever those are), these Christmas hats will look awfully cute on a little (or big) head this holiday. I will draw a winner via random.org on Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Bed Is Hoppin'

I don't know how to put this delicately so I'm just going to say it: sleeping with JD is a wild adventure. Not like THAT. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about actually sharing a bed and sleeping with him. He kicks, he punches, he screams, he yells, he whimpers, he snores, he cuddles with his whole body, he jerks around, he talks, he overtakes the bed. And that's on a good night.

I never knew any of this until we got married. He slowly started getting wilder and wilder as time went on. It began with a few random yelps and screams. I would wake him up to find out he was having a bad dream. Then the kicking and horizontal running in place started. He told me that he was involved in a police chase when that happens. Next came the punching, mumbling, whimpering, and occasional cursing in his sleep. Those responses were because of the murderers chasing him. Naturally. I have learned not to get too close to pointy body parts like knees and elbows or else I might get jabbed in the night. Or completely covered in legs and arms when he decides that he is cold or wants to cuddle. With his whole body.

In all fairness, I'm no peaceful slumberer either. I regularly dream that bugs and snakes are crawling on my pillow, causing me to jump up and wipe them off. This scares the police-chasing right out of JD. He wakes up to a wife frantically clawing at imaginary bugs while lunging out of the bed away from snakes. It is quite a scene. Needless to say, our bed is quite lively most nights.

And here you thought I was going to talk about sexytime. Pervs.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

With approximately 1 month left until Christmas, my wheels are turning on our Christmas card design. True to my Southern roots, I like to personalize everything. That's why I never send store bought Christmas cards to my friends and family. I love scouring the internet and stationery shops for the perfect card that embodies my favorite things about the holidays: photos of my family, sweet wording about the Reason for the season, and bright red and green prints.

This year, I have been loving the festive options from Shutterfly.com. I have used this site for several photo printing and gifting resources and I love them. They offer high quality printing and their holiday card designs keep getting better and better. They also print and ship super fast so if you're indecisive like me and wait until the last minute to decide upon a design, your cards will still arrive in time. But best of all; everything can be personalized. Win!

This one is my favorite.

Check out all of the holiday cards here. And while you're at it, shop for some great personalized gifts here. Your moms can thank me later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Need My Mommy

I have never felt comfortable being called an adult. I don't feel like an adult. I feel the very same way that I felt at 16: old enough to drive and kiss boys, but not old enough to have a mortgage or a child. On my wedding day, I seriously thought that someone would interject and say, "Come on. She's just a kid. A child bride. Alyson, take off that veil and all of that makeup and go clean your room." I felt like a kid, even though I was 26. And I still feel that way.

Don't get me wrong, I am responsible. I pay our bills, I save money, I brush my teeth before bed, and I eat my vegetables. But when faced with grown up decisions, I get uneasy. My stomach hurts and I get anxious. I do not feel qualified to make such huge decisions. Not as a child bride and teen mother.

JD and I have been talking about making some huge decisions lately. Huge financial decisions that make me want to puke. And even though JD is older than me (36), he feels the same. We are 2 kids terrified of all of the grown up things we have managed to avoid, but really should deal with head on. You know, since we have a child now and everything. 

Things like our house and our need to grow if we ever want to grow our family. We live in a 2 bedroom townhouse. We own said townhouse and have made it our home. Our home however, is just the right size for a family of 3. Add a cat and things start getting cramped. Add in more children and things start getting ridiculous. No, we're not having any more children right now but we would like to soon and if we stay in our current place, it would be difficult. Our place is so perfect because financially, it is at our comfort level. We are settled in our budget and any big changes feels like the scariest thing ever. I don't feel qualified to make this decision. Neither does my teen husband.

I have spent all day scribbling out our budget on the back of some pink paper. See, that's an indication of my never ending youth. A grown up would've made a spreadsheet in basic font. JD and I are going to talk about it tonight, but I know it's going to be awkward and weird because we feel silly making these decisions. Maybe our moms will come over and figure it out for us, then make us go to bed early. But we'll show them who's boss by staying up late and watching T.V. Because that's what mature adults do. Oh, and then go buy a house too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Day In Photos

Beatrice woke us up at 8 am. We brought her to our bed for morning milkies.

We always have a cup of Cheerios while watching cartoons.

Then we had breakfast.

We headed upstairs to fold some diapers.

Then it was nap time. Milkies first, though.

I got ready while Beatrice napped.

We got up and read some books.

Then went outside to practice walking and groom the mums.

We came in and made some wheat bread.

During Beatrice's afternoon nap, I sipped hot cider and worked on my crocheting.

She woke up and we played.

Daddy came home.

We ate, bathed, and played before bed.

Story time.

Good night.

It's amazing how a mundane day can look so cool in Polaroids.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Going On Strike (Maybe)

I always planned to nurse Beatrice for a year, but once we approached her first birthday, I decided that we would keep going. Partly because of flu season, but mostly because I don't know how to wean her. Beatrice is addicted to milk. She goes crazycakes for milkies. Nursing her has never been a sweet, relaxing thing for either of us. She attacks me with her claws hands and foams at the mouth to get to my milkies. She wiggles and climbs. She pinches and bites. She goes back and forth from each side about 30 times a minute. And it has always been this way. Nursing her is like wrestling a baby alligator. I think. I mean, I have never actually wrestled a baby alligator but from what I've seen on T.V., that is exactly what nursing Beatrice is like. 

For one reason or another, I have always dreaded our nursing sessions. In the beginning, it hurt and took forever to feed her. I was glued to the couch with her glued to me. She attacked me like a little nurse shark. Now, it is the attacking and demanding that is unbearable. I always said that I would wean before my child was old enough to ask for it. Well, she doesn't ask for it, she demands it. She tugs at my clothes until I give in. She even knows how to unhook the front panel on my nursing bra so she can access the milkies anytime. I used to lock them safely away in my bra and say, "all gone." But now she knows better. Stinker. 

After almost busting my lip tonight on her wild, bucking head, I think I'm ready to think about weaning. I kept telling her to settle down but the more I tried to wrangle her, the more she bit and pinched me. Truth be told, I'm scared. She is vicious for the milkies and I know she will fight me for them no matter how much I refuse. She's cute too. It's like her secret weapon. I always give in to that cute, vicious stinker. I know that this behavior is only going to get worse the older (and stronger) she gets. So I am seriously considering weaning.

This is all Beatrice's fault. I was prepared to nurse forever. Not forever forever. But at least until she was 18 months old. I have told Beatrice from the beginning to stop attacking Mommy because not all mommies let their babies drink their milkies. She has never believed me. Tonight I told her that she would have to drink cow's milk if she didn't stop slapping me. She mooed at me. Hmmph. I will show her. I mean, if all of my nursing analogies involve predatory animals instead of cuddly ones, I think it's time to close shop on this milk factory.

This is after the milk attack. She needed 5 babies to sleep with tonight. Thank God Baa-Baa, Turtle, Bunny, Seahorse, and Bobo Monkey were there. 

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

It has been cold and rainy for the past 2 days and I love it. This is my favorite kind of weather. Everyone gets so mad at me when I say that, as if saying that I like it makes the weather even colder and rainier than not saying it. It is most unpopular to like this weather. When sunny skies and warm air seem to be the ultimate climate achievement, I revel in these damp, chilly days. I feel energized on rainy days. No sitting around in pajamas all day for me. No siree, I get stuff done when the weather sucks. It inspires me.

I think Beatrice likes it too. She likes it so much that yesterday she decided to celebrate by taking her first steps. We were playing in the kitchen when she just up and walked away from me. It was a huge moment, one that I was terrified of missing. I have been so afraid to leave her for any amount of time because she has been on the verge of walking for a few weeks now. To see it first hand was pretty awesome. She's still very timid and prefers to crawl, but with some coaxing from JD and me, she will teeter over to wherever we are dangling our cellphones as bribes. This is how we got her to crawl too. Nothing entices little kids to do stuff like the promise of blinking electronics. 

We may not get to enjoy the outdoors when it rains. But we do get caught up on cleaning, coupons, laundry, and tackling major milestones. Rainy days are good for the grass, but they're also good for me and my house.

"Mama, can we go outside now?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Parenting Stuff Is Getting Hard

I've been dealing with some pretty heavy things lately. Things that I always knew I would stress over but have put aside while Beatrice has been little. Things like how we will raise her and protect her from the world. Things that are tough for outsiders to understand. But things that hound me. I have learned that no matter what your ethnicity, religion, or background, most parents want 3 things for their children: success, happiness, and most importantly, they want to protect them.

As Beatrice gets older and begins to be impressionable, I stress about her being influenced or subjected to opposing values or belief systems that we do not support. Things like magic and fairy tales and other "fun" things wrapped up in child-sized packages that God says to avoid. Duet. 18:9-12, Rev. 21:8. Things that are marketed towards children but oppose God's Word. It scares me to think that she could come in contact with these things in movies, television shows, and books. JD and I are quick to change the channel if the cartoon has a witch or a magic spell and we read all of her books before we buy them. We know that we can protect her while she is in our house, but what about when she's not at home? How can we know that she won't come in contact with something we don't want her to when she's not with us? If you haven't guessed by now, we are pretty serious about this God stuff. We take Him at His Word and when He says to stay away from XYZ, we do. It's all of the XYZs in the world that worry me. How can I remove them all so that my precious children never have to come in contact with them?

I have laid awake at night scheming how to protect my daughter from these things. JD and I agree on what movies she can watch and what things we will allow her to play with, but to imagine her to only be in our house throughout her entire childhood is not exactly realistic. She will have friends houses to sleepover at and opportunities to see some stuff that we would never subject her to. That is the scariest thing to me: not being able to protect her from the world.

After letting this stuff eat at me for a few days, I finally had a heart to heart with God about it. I need to lighten up on the stressing and trust Him to protect her and equip us to teach her what His Word says. That is really what parenting is about, right? Teaching our kids how to live, whether it be a God-honoring life or not. We teach them because we cannot control what is out there. We can only instruct so when they are exposed to unsavory things, they will know how to choose God. I fully believe that we have several years to protect her from things that she should not watch or be exposed to while she is little and trust me, JD and I are on it. I worry about when she is older and will have more opportunities outside of our protection. 

This is when I want to be a Duggar. They homeschool and have enough children for the others to play with so they don't really need outside friends or influences. I'm kidding, sort of. A sweet friend told me not to worry about the things that I cannot control, but equip Beatrice to know what the Bible teaches so when she is exposed to something that we don't condone, she can stand up to it and not let it trickle into her brain. It is our job to teach her what is right so she can make right decisions. I know that this all sounds like I am trying to control everything in her life, but my only intent is to protect her. She is precious and I want to give her the precious gift of knowing how to live a life in line with God's instruction. That should be pretty simple, right? If not, that Duggar thing might not be too bad after all....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Steppin' Out and Stayin' In

I'm pretty much giving up on posting these on Saturdays because I'm lucky to wash my hair on the weekends, let alone dress up. We stepped out this morning to catch early church and because it's raining and cold, we are staying in the rest of the day. In sweat pants and fleece pullovers. And this weekend I never washed my hair so it's even better. Lazy, rainy Sundays are always better with fleece and stinky hair. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Head to toe J. Crew

Corduroy coat, Baby Gap
Smocked dress, Royal Child
Tights, Baby Gap
Mary Janes, Target

This is a terrible angle but JD was getting grumpy and I was feeling stupid trying to explain its purpose for the blog so this is what I have to work with.

Sparkly sweats, Victoria's Secret
Fleece pullover, ancient Gap (like, it's probably from high school)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Say It Isn't So

I made a realization today that I've been ignoring for a long time. I don't like to shop. I know, I know. It's so unlike me. But I really can't pretend anymore. I don't like it.

Beatrice and I went to do some boutique shopping today a few towns over and despite my best efforts, it wasn't fun. Maybe it's the stroller that I have to maneuver on crowded sidewalks and through narrow aisles or maybe it's the crowds that make me feel claustrophobic. Maybe it's that even when I find things that I love, I don't like to spend money anymore. Whatever it is, shopping is not what it used to be.

I used to shop like nobody's business. Every weekend I would travel to the best spots to hunt whatever thing of the moment I had to have. It didn't matter how much it cost, it was just money and I could make more. This is single Aly we're talking about here. JD would never stand for shopaholic Aly. Nowadays, I'd rather stay home and internet shop.

We were shopping for Christmas outfits like this:

But instead, I bought another smocked outfit. A romper this time:

Despite not enjoying my favorite pastime anymore, I love hanging out with my girl all day. But she loves shopping. She touches all of the clothes and points to things that she likes and talks to all of the shop clerks. She's a natural born shopper. And after an afternoon of shopping 'til she dropped, she likes to take it easy and relax with her mama. Sorry about the massive crotch shot.

So it looks like I will have to find a new pastime. Or maybe I need to give shopping another chance. JD is shaking his head saying "no, NOOOOO!" Maybe after the holiday crowds dissipate or when Beatrice no longer needs that bulky stroller I'll like it again. One thing is for sure: my girl loves it. I guess I'll just have to keep trying. For her sake.