Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!!

Happy Halloween

I used to love Halloween. It was an excuse to dress up and have fun and be someone different. As a child I dressed up as a cat, a gypsy, a flapper. Over time, I became less interested in the dressing up. I didn't have time to play and give in to the whimsy. Meeting Daniel changed my outlook on things and made me comfortable to let my guard down.

Halloween 2003:

KVB & D Halloween 2003

Halloween 2004:

Halloween 2004

But then we got too busy to dress up. We were going to rehearsals for shows, dealing with illness, Nana's cancer, etc. Life kind of swept us up and we became Halloween grinches. It didn't help that our old neighborhood was ridiculous on Halloween. Car loads of children were dropped off and they would trick or treat until after ten at night. Teenagers who weren't dressed up held out their bags as they flirted with me. Drunk fathers stood in the middle of the road holding beers as their children commented on our extensive DVD collection. Last year, we closed all the curtains, turned out all the lights and hid in our bedroom with the dogs.

This year we're getting back to the joy of the day. Zoe will be dressing up. We're going to visit with friends and we have a ton of candy to hand out to our new neighbors.

Since Zoe is now a part of our family, we're enjoying getting to celebrate today with her and making memories. We're even starting some new traditions.

Halloween Stuff

Every holiday we're going to get a new decoration and a new book for Zoe. Putting out Christmas decorations was always a big deal to me and I loved looking at each item and remembering the years past with my parents. I still tell the stories of certain things to Daniel and once she is older, I know I will tell Zoe. So this is our way of spreading the joy out over the year. We'll do this with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... and whatever else we can. I think it will be fun for all of us, and keep us from spending too much money every year on holiday gear.

Happy Halloween! Expect a treat or two tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Right This Moment....

Zoe is in her Jumperoo (the biggest toy, EVER) watching Shrek 2. She's talking to the movie and dancing up and down like she's having the time of her life. This is a relief because a half hour ago she was not happy laying down, standing up or sitting. She was crying. She was screaming. She was laughing. Yup. Laughing, and then crying. Our little monkey sometimes has trouble making up her mind what emotion she wants to er, emote. When all else fails, she likes to spring them all on me one after the other and see how I handle it. And then? And then she likes to mix things up a bit by throwing up all over herself and me. The dogs love this, especially Max who always runs over to help me clean up the mess. And Zoe? Zoe seems to like it too. Maybe it's the loud "Ew!" or "Yucky, Zoe." that make her smile the sweetest (sometimes sly) smiles at me. I'm not sure. All I know is I'm absolutely in love with her and that I smell like vomit. Yum. Sexy. I know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whoa Mama!

So, I have a little more than two hours left to my "Mama Monday" and I thought I'd check in. It's funny how my "Mama Mondays" started off as a way for me to have some me time, get together with friends and sleep but now I tend to use them to run errands and blog. It's hard to get all the things I'd like to get done taken care of when Zoe is here looking all cute and wanting my undivided attention. But hey, at least I'm able to make time for blogging.

Speaking of that. I'm crazy and have decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this year. Yeah. Me. That lady who just got finished saying how hard it is to get anything done. I've asked Zoe very nicely to let me participate and she seems keen on the idea (and Daniel is going to assist in cheering me on). I mean, what's not to love? I'll be joining some of my favorite bloggers in posting every single day for the month of November*. I'm thinking it will make up for all the lack of posting the last six months and get me to focus on having some "mama time" every single darn day. Now if I can just manage to sneak in a bubble bath at least once a week. THAT would be heaven.

* You should TOTALLY sign up too, and add me as a friend while you're at it. Come on. You know you wanna.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wide Open Spaces

So. We are LOVING the new house. So much loving of the new house is happening that we are a little behind on cleaning the old house. It's just hard to go from this bright, big space to the old, dark house. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED that house too... but it was too small for the five of us and downright claustrophobic if we had guests.

I'm going to hold off on posting pics of the inside of the new house until sometime next week. We haven't finished finding a spot for everything yet. We have nothing hanging on the walls and the guest room bed is not built.

But in the meantime:

New Backyard

Back of house:
New Backyard

Bailey checks out the pool:
Reflections

Beautiful Roses in front and back yards:
Roses in the New Backyard

It really is like having our own park:
It's like having our own park

We're all very excited*:
Kisses

Especially Max:
Runner

Bailey is warming up to it:
Bailey Stink Eye

I feel like it's our own Shangri-La:
Our Palm Trees in the New Backyard

Honestly, we feel so lucky to get to live here... which says a lot because Bakersfield? Not so much our ideal place to be living.

* Couldn't resist posting one. If you're a flickr user, let me know and you can see all the Zoe pics. I took tons of Her Cuteness yesterday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Zoe,

Today you are five months and one day old. You are currently stretched across my lap and sleeping. You’re out cold and obviously exhausted. But I don’t blame you. This has been a very busy month for our family. I think if I had to choose one word to sum up the past month, I would choose change. We (especially you) saw a lot of change this month.

You started the month off with a new pediatrician. The old pediatrician was very, um, old. She was obviously very experienced and came recommended and praised, but she was not a good fit for us. I felt like I needed you to have a different doctor and so we took you to see the same doc Ellie sees.

The first order of business at your appointments is to strip you down to your diaper and measure and weigh you. I nearly burst into tears when I saw the scale. In the two months since your previous appointment, you’d only gained 4 ounces. You were four months old and only weighed 12 pounds 7 ounces where other baby’s your age were weighing in at 18 or 20 pounds. Your doc asked a lot of questions and suggested we make some changes to your eating. First thing was to let you have an all you can eat smorgasbord whenever you wanted. Your other doc had suggested I feed you for only ten minutes on each breast to reduce your spitting up. The new doc said that by doing this, you were not getting any hind (fatty) milk. We were told to get some Phenugreek to increase my milk supply and to come back in two weeks for a weigh in.

Those two weeks were fabulous. You ate to your hearts content. We gave you rice cereal for the first time and you sort of liked it. When I took you back to get weighed, I was sure that you’d have packed on like, 5 pounds with all the eating you’d done. But you hadn’t. The doctor came in to talk to us. He suggested that the mini pill I’m taking had lowered the fat content of my milk. He told me to start giving you a special formula that would help with the spitting up and get you all the nutrients you need. He could not believe how little you weighed, so we took you out to the scale to double check for errors. No mistake. Even though you look chubby, your weight is low. I joked later that no girl wants to look fatter than she actually is, but I was genuinely scared and blamed myself.

The doc wanted to be as aggressive as he could about finding out what the deal was without being too invasive. He ordered a urinalysis. You were not fazed when they inserted the catheter, but I was freaking out. Your dad came to meet me and we took you to go get blood drawn. You smiled and flirted with the phlebotomists and only cried a little. The next day we took you for an upper GI. Again, you were awesome… just going with the flow. You drank the barium quickly and did not fuss during the x-rays. Your dad and I each held your hands the entire time. The radiologist said everything was looking good and that you did not have reflux or anything visibly wrong. We were relieved.

You love your formula. So much so, that I felt a little sad that I was not your food source anymore. Breastfeeding had been a pain, but having the doc tell me to take a break so that we could see if the formula would help your weight gain was difficult for me. I realized that it is a bond between us and I liked it. So you and I made a compromise. I feed you in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to sleep, and in between you are formula fed. This has been working out very well and as of last week you are 13 pounds. Already I can see more rolls on your little body and your chubby cheeks are even chubbier. This makes your dad and me very happy and relieved. The idea of you being sick or undernourished terrified us more than we let on, I think. We want so much for you to always be healthy and happy… for as long as we can control that.

So along with our mini drama, we were also busy packing up and moving to a new house. The new place is fabulous. We now have more space and sunlight. You now have more room for your toys and to crawl, because I know that’s going to happen any day now. You’re very inquisitive and you often lean forward to look all around. You go from lying on your back to sitting up (with some assistance) to laying back on your tummy and inching forward like a little worm. Our little wiggle worm is what you are! Toys became interesting to you overnight and you adore Max and Bailey. My favorite thing though, I think, is your laugh. You have a strong belly laugh that is so infectious; it makes it difficult to care about anything but making you laugh more.

I am happy to report that with the new house, you have gone from sleeping in your portable crib in our bedroom to your fancy crib in your own room. Hallelujah, kiddo! I was beginning to think we were going to need to get a king sized bed and that you were never going to sleep alone. A tiny part of me missed having you right there with us, but after four nights with a wall between us, I’ve got to say it’s nice to have a wall between us. Someday far (FAR!) in the future, you will understand.

With that, I’m going to wrap up this letter. I had more that I was going to tell you, little one but now you are up from your nap and need stimulation. I think we might venture out in your stroller and give you a tour of the new neighborhood. I love you infinitely and feel so blessed to get to share the world with you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Still Breathing

Today is a good day.

We have a happy, healthy baby who is on her way to gaining some real weight. Thank goodness! (It's a long story that I will tell after Wednesday.)

We packed up four bookcases worth of books yesterday and have a game plan (I made a list!)for packing this weekend.

Tonight we took those four bookcases and all the books and unpacked them in the guest room. We came home, ate dinner and packed up the cars for a early trip tomorrow morning after we drop Zoe off at Cheryl's. My friend is too sick to visit, so Cheryl is doing us the favor of watching the baby so we can get some stuff done. I feel a load of pressure off my shoulders.

Zoe received some awesome presents from my blogger friend Sue today. Two adorable outfits. Two bibs. A pack of onesies. Socks. A toy that lights up, crinkles AND makes music. And my favorite: a pair of pink baby Converse.* I squealed when I saw these. Her generosity warms my heart. Thank you so much Sue!


Have a great weekend everyone!

*Converse were my favorite when I was in high school. I had yellow, navy, black and green. All of them are gone because I used to be married to an ass and he threw them all away. I think I need to buy some new pairs for me. Except I've realized while packing that we have too much stuff as it is and really, my feet are so big I probably have no business wearing bright yellow Converse anymore. I am 31 you know. I should probably let that fashion fave go and live vicariously through the monkey.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Take a deep breath…

And let it out. Phew! I’ve had to remind myself to do this lately. Between baby, dog children, us visiting my parents, trying to maintain friendships and this house (the one we’re moving out of) I forget sometimes. Seriously.

I woke up an hour ago. I took a quick shower (thank goodness!). I folded and hung up baby laundry. I put a load of darks in the wash. I unpacked our suitcase from this past weekend. I separated two more loads to try to do today. I checked email and forced myself to eat some cereal because I probably won’t eat again until at least 1pm. And now I’m sitting down blogging because, YAY! The baby is still sleeping. What I should be doing is making a list of the other things I need us to do so we can move out of here… hmmm.

I’ve always admired SAHM’s. I’ve never been one to say it sounded boring or uneventful. I was excited for the chance to do this because I love the idea of getting to be with Zoe everyday and teach her. There are so many out there who would love to stay home with their children and just can’t. I am very, very lucky. That said; this is hard! I love getting to be with Zoe, but I’m having a hard time managing my time. As a former manager and obsessive planner, this drives me crazy. I know, welcome to motherhood. I knew it would be this way, I just didn’t realize how much I would struggle with it. I look around my house and freak out about the mess and disorganization. I beat myself up about the dishes and the laundry not getting done. And we’re not even going to talk about moving.

OK. Let’s talk about it (baby still sleeping). We have not packed one box. Not a single one. Gah! We’ve known for almost a month that we are out of this house as of October 31st, but you know what? Not so easy packing up a house when you have a baby. And, we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff! Books. DVD’s. Music. We’re like a mini Borders. And there is a lot of stuff we just really don’t need, but we’re both packrats and can’t bear to part with them.

Deep breath!

We’re fine. My best gal pal is coming to visit Friday through Sunday and I know she’ll be all over holding the monkey while Daniel and I fill and load up boxes. We have a total of three weekends left to get moved in to the new house and clean the old place. That is more than what most people have. We’re lucky. We have friends who have offered assistance; I’m just not so good at taking it. I need to change that.

As a manager, delegating was my biggest struggle/ “growth opportunity”. I had to force myself to do it so I wouldn’t go crazy, but there was this part of me that loved doing stuff on my own. It felt quicker and more efficient. I liked getting to stand back and look at what I’d accomplished all by myself. There is this little part of me that keeps saying that I am a failure at this SAHM-ing. All these other people do it, people who I admire and aspire to be like. Why am I not an instant success at it? A huge part of me is telling myself, “Why can you not manage a household as easily as you managed stores and all those employees?” I’m realizing now, that it’s because I did delegate. I had all these people who got paid to help me on a daily basis. I succeeded because I had awesome people working for me. Training was my big thing back when I worked. I loved it and would go to other stores to train people. So, what I want to know is: Is there a training manual for being a SAHM? Seriously.

OK. I need to switch the laundry, add another load, and possibly start washing some dishes before the little one wakes up.

Deep breath!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Old vs. New

We rent. We aspire to own, but since we don't really know where we want to set roots permanently and the market here (well, everywhere) is not so good.... we rent. Renting has been good to us. So good that we've lived in a cute little bungalow style home for less than $900/month. We were lucky. One day we were just driving around and I saw our house with a for rent sign. I asked Daniel to stop the car and we snooped in the windows. We've lived here for two years and were glad to be out of the little apartment we were in. But in the two years, our family grew. We adopted Max and then I got pregnant and well, then Zoe was born and with her came a lot of stuff. Toys and whatnot. Our space seemed cramped. I felt cramped. And then I became more and more uncomfortable with our little neighborhood and the people who knocked on our door asking for money. So we looked around a bit and while we saw places in nicer areas, knew we could never afford them. And then Cheryl and her husband (the people who watch Zoe on "Mama Mondays") offered to rent us their home. They just bought a new home and because they wanted to help us and not deal with a bad market right now, us renting from them seemed so perfect.

I am elated.

The old house was in built in the 20's. The new house was built in 1997.

The old house is about 1000 sq. ft. The new house is 1700 sq.ft.

The old house has a huge kitchen at the back of the house, far from the living room. We bought the refridgerator and the washer and dryer (that are in the kitchen). I have not had a dishwasher in two years. The new kitchen is smaller, but has a laundry room off to the side, gorgeous hardwood floors, new appliances (including a dishwasher!) and a dining nook. Oh, and it looks over the living room.

When we first looked at the old house we were told that the extra wide hallway right in front of the bathroom was actually a dining room. There was no way that could have been true. The new house has a dining room that also looks over the living room.

We have one bathroom at the old house. We've always only had one bathroom and we've been fine... even when I had morning sickness and even when I was nine months pregnant and needing to pee every five seconds. The new house has two bathrooms. Now, my parents will actually stay with us when they visit because they won't have to worry about fighting for the bathroom (not that we ever made them fight for it). The master bath has a shower and a separate jacuzzi tub. There are two sinks and tons of storage. I have been dreaming about that jacuzzi tub since the first time I saw it and will need to take a bath before I unpack a single box.

The old house had closets the size of a bathroom stall. Tiny. No light. Musty smelling. The new house has a walk in closet in our bedroom that is nearly the size of Zoe's current bedroom. It is huge and has tons of shelving. It is just awesome. All our clothes will fit in it!

There are ceiling fans throughout the new house. Custom paint on all the walls (and some wallpaper I'm not fond of, but who cares). There is tons of storage and high ceilings. Beautiful roses in the front and back yards. Gorgeous flowers planted. Citrus trees. A hot tub. A swimming pool. Lots of grass to roll around in with Zoe and have picnics. A covered patio perfect for hosting BBQ's with friends. It is just awesome. I cannot contain my excitement about this place.

We are getting this place at a steal. We've looked at our budget and adjusted some of our spending to pay the extra money, but really we should be paying at least $600 more a month for what we are getting.

The old house is down the street from a 7/11 and a little market that got held up earlier this year. Gangsters hang out on the street and the bus stop is four doors down from us. People race down the road... literally. Drag races at midnight. This neighborhood seemed perfect for us (its down the street from atheatre we love and close to downtown), and now that we have Zoe I just want to be out of here.

We get to start moving in now. I just need to get us to start packing everything up. We have so much stuff!

The new house is ten minutes from Daniel's work. We will be living in a nice neighborhood just around the corner from a park and orchards. I pretty much want to live there forever. But not really. Someday I hope we can find a place similar in a city we enjoy more. But for now, it is perfect for our family. I feel blessed and can't wait to make memories there.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Quick

So, Daniel is going to be home with the Monkey pretty soon, so I figured I'll get some quick blogging in - nothing fabulous, just a few things on my mind.

Today is 'Mama Monday'. I'm sick, so 'Mama Monday'? Not so much with the fun and the socializing and stuff. I was feeling too horrible this morning to get up out of bed and wake Zo-Zo. Yeah, that's right I wake her. She sleeps through the night (and has for a while) from about 9:30pm to about NINE or TEN in the morning. I kid you not. I would not kid about such important things as sleep. I also would not brag, because you just watch.... tonight she will demand to stay up all night and then wake up at 6am. So me? NOT bragging. Just letting you know that I am feeling pretty darn lets just say DAMN! lucky right about now, even if I do feel like crap.

Daniel did me the favor of coming to get Zoe during his lunch and taking her to Cheryl's for the afternoon. I relaxed. I napped. I watched streaming video on ABC and NBC because we don't want cable even though there are ALL SORTS of shows I enjoy watching right now. Brothers and Sisters - Awesome. Chuck- Love it. Greys Anatomy - I'm a little disappointed but still hooked. I could go on and on. But I'm going to stop before I tell you too much..... like how I cried like a little baby watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition. GAH!

I am noticing that I am using tons of caps in this post. I just need you to know how excited/happy I am about some of these things.

Anywho. While Zoe was away today I pumped. Last week I took the entire day off of breast feeding and pumping and it was amazing. It took a while for breast feeding to not be this horrible, painful experience but I kept on trying. Daniel was extremely supportive and Zoe? She was the "Little Engine that could" and eventually, with a lot of practice and patience and changes in how I was sitting we got it. So, I took last Wednesday off of pumping because pumping sucks. It's time consuming and painful and just an inconvenience. I get warm, fuzzy feelings knowing I'm feeding Zoe and she's enjoying it but the pumping is so... mechanical. But I pumped twice and was happy to do it because... well because I just was. Today I was happy to pump and tomorrow I might not be. It's just the way it goes.

I plan to keep on breastfeeding for as long as Zoe wants to and my milk supply is good. I used to have expectations for how long we would do it, but I've abandoned them. Breastfeeding does not make me a better mom and not breastfeeding won't make me worse. I'm happy to see Zoe grow and enjoy eating (she'd guzzle down formula just as happily). I feel good about the health benefits for her and me. But I don't feel like I'm this member of an exclusive club. I have only breastfed her once outside of our home (or my parents') and that was inside our parked car with a cover over both of us. This was a tangent, I know. It's just recently there was a protest in Bakersfield because women here thought it was wrong for people to judge them for whipping out their boob in public to feed their children. They were aggravated that restaurant owners and patrons wanted them to cover up and be more discreet. I watched the news segment and I did not understand these women. I did not relate. This was weeks ago, but it's been bugging me ever since. OK. Tangent over.

What else? Daniel and I mailed out our letter yesterday to our current landlord letting her know that we will not be renewing our lease here. As of October 31st at midnight we are outta here. I'm thrilled and freaked out all at once. But I'll have to tell you about that later. My family is home.