Monday, November 29, 2010

We've All Got a Lot to be Thankful For

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I'm still doing my darndest to get into the holiday spirit. I don't know if it's been the weather, the denial that it's actually almost December, the fact that the XM Christmas station is still playing their crap music, or what, but I'm just having a really hard time with it this year. Normally I'm chomping at the bit to get my Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving, but this year, all the storage bins are still firmly in the basement and I don't think we're even going to buy a tree. I know I will put them up at some point soon but for right now, I'm happy just getting the fall stuff put away.

Anyways, all of the blogs in my google reader (and a lot of friends on Facebook) have been doing a daily countdown of things that they are grateful for. While I doubt I can commit to a daily countdown, I have been thinking of a list of things that I'm thankful for this year and I thought it deserved a post.

1) The usual suspects- my wonderful husband, my beautiful healthy baby girl, and a mostly-well-behaved Captain Kingsley. I'm also thankful for a roof over my head, Hubby's steady job, and the freedoms that we as a society enjoy.

2) I'm thankful that both of our families live in the general Atlanta area and can be a consistent part of Anna's life. We had no extended family live anywhere close to Atlanta when we were growing up (at least in the G household), and visits were limited to once every several years, if that. I love that Anna has 2 aunts, 2 uncles, 2 wonderful grandmothers, and an equally wonderful grandfather within a relatively easy driving distance, and that they'll get to share in her development and milestones (and babysit!).

3) I'm thankful for everyone in this photo plus Karrie, who would be photoshopped in if I had such skills.

I have some fantastic women in my life and I have learned so much from them, as well as shared so much support, excitement, and just plain fun with all of them. Some of these girls have been in my life since early elementary school (yay Murdock Mustangs, haha) and some have become friends just in the last few recent years, but I count all of them among my life's biggest blessings.

4) I'm thankful that my epilepsy has been manageable with the baby's sleep schedule. I was really really worried about this before the baby came and while I'm obviously still being very careful with making sure I get enough sleep, I haven't had to go back on my medication (and therefore could continue breastfeeding) and I really can't express how relieved I am about this.

5) Speaking of breastfeeding, I am also thankful that it has come so easily for me and Anna. Before the baby came, all I ever heard about it was how hard it was and how "if you just struggle through the first x number of weeks, it will get better". I was lucky and only had a few days of discomfort at the beginning, but we figured it out quickly and haven't had any problems since then. I know a lot of women really do have problems with it, and because of those problems, it can be very painful, but we managed to skip all of that. I think the class we took helped, and maybe I just got lucky with a baby that never really had latch problems or allergies or anything, but regardless of the reason, I'm a happy momma!

6) I'm thankful for marrying a man that is thrilled to be a daddy. Steve really goes above and beyond with wanting to be a part of Anna's life. I love being able to stay at home with Anna and handle most of the work with her so that when Steve gets home, he can enjoy his daughter and be a part of her day before she goes to bed. I love that he pays enough attention to her that he has favorite outfits that she wears, and that he can calm her down when she's really fussy. He makes up the sweetest little games and songs for her- I honestly could watch them play together for hours. Steve also always talks about plans for Anna (and all the future kids) and things that he's excited to do with them, and the best part about it is that I know he'll follow through with it and always be there for them.

My Little Turkey

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

meeting Aunt Kristy for the first time!

Enjoying some fresh air on the porch while Daddy plays croquet

playing with her SueSue
Uncle B
Anna's pointing at the tree that she wants, haha
Turkey!! Gobble gobble

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2 Months Old!

Our sweet baby girl is 2 months old today! This past month has been a fun one. Anna is really starting to be awake and alert, and cooing up a storm. Steve got a big giggle out of her the other day when he was changing her, and he was so excited about it (hopefully that will motivate him to change a few more diapers, haha). Anna smiles frequently throughout the day and is pretty much constantly making noises and sounds.

She loves being held and cuddled, and her new favorite thing is to have her mommy and daddy sing to her. Steve is a lot better at making up songs for her, but now I have started to introduce Christmas songs into my Anna repertoire so I have a bit more to go on. As a side note, has anyone else noticed that a lot of nursery rhymes and baby songs are actually kind of disturbing, once you really look at the lyrics? I've phased out any songs that involve babies falling out of trees or leaving or any other disturbing things, and replaced them with new ones, whether they are made up or not. The newest one is "this baby is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S". I got a giggle with that one, so thank you, Gwen Stefani! She also enjoys the college fight songs (UT, UGA, and NC State), especially when we have her dance along with them. I sat down with her at the piano the other day and helped press her hands on the keys and the look on her face when noise actually came out of the piano was priceless.

Anna also had her very first roll over this month. She hasn't done it again since then so it might have been a fluke, but we'll keep trying and I now have the video camera trained on her every single Tummy Time, hoping to catch her in action. She also has really started to grab things and hold on for dear life- fingers, shirts, hair...pretty much anything she can get her fingers around!

The other new thing that she's been doing is "swimming" in her whale bathtub. She loves being in the bath (not so much the getting out process, haha), and loves it when I splash the water. She will sit there and kick her legs the entire time like a little frog, and when she pairs her frog kicks with a little giggle, it really is the cutest thing in the world. We've started giving her a bath every night, now that we've found a soap that doesn't dry out her skin (California Baby, from Target).

Next week we will really start emphasizing the nighttime routine and also start transitioning her to sleeping in the crib instead of her bouncer. I'm still terrified that she's going to choke like she did in the hospital but the pediatrician keeps reassuring me that it's a lot more common for brand-new newborns to choke like that, vs. a 2 month old. We are going to try elevating her mattress too a little bit but I know that at least for the first few nights, I'm going to be glued to the video monitor to make sure she's okay! Anna is still waking up every 3 hours on the dot to eat...I keep asking her when she's going to start letting her momma get some more sleep, but so far we've only had a couple of longer stretches. I figure we'll get there soon enough, when she's ready, and the 3 hour stretches aren't so bad.

Anna also had her 2 month pediatrician appointment yesterday, which she was not impressed with. The timing ended up being horrible...she woke up later than she normally does (exhausted from the big fun lake weekend!), and so the appointment ended up starting RIGHT when she wanted to eat. Damn it. So needless to say she screamed the entire time- I kept trying to feed her a little bit while we were waiting for the nurses/doctor but it didn't really help much. The only good thing about it was that she was already so upset that she didn't even notice when the nurse gave her the very first vaccination shots...two in one leg and one in the other, plus an oral vaccine and an oral dose of baby Tylenol. The nurse said that usually the oral one is the easiest one to give...not so much when the baby is screaming!

The doctor was thrilled with how healthy Anna is. She weighed in at 12 lbs, 10.4 ounces, and has gained an inch and a half to measure in at 22 inches. It certainly makes sense, given how she's grown out of most of her newborn clothes and even a few of her 0-3 months footed pajamas. I get a little sad every time I pull an outfit out of the closet and into her storage box because it doesn't fit anymore, but I know she's got a LOT of cute outfits to grow into. Just don't get there too fast, Baby Girl!!

We are now gearing up to be in Madison with Steve's parents for Thanksgiving...we ended up packing a good combination of things while we were up at the lake this weekend and it went SO much smoother than our last out of town attempts, so we'll be taking the same things this weekend- her swing, her rock 'n play, her monitor, a LOT more outfits, a fan for some white noise, and her bathtub. And her new pacifiers since her old ones are too small now!

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Baby Smiles!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on a Funny Movie

Last Christmas, we received a movie called "Away We Go", and we didn't get around to watching it until I was around 6 months pregnant. It turns out that it was a perfect time to watch it, given that the entire storyline revolves around the main character being pregnant. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play a couple who find themselves expecting a little girl, and decide to travel around the United States finding the ideal city in which to raise their baby. They visit friends who are already parents, and get inside looks at the varied parenting styles. It is quite a funny movie but also very interesting to watch...the different parenting styles were obviously exaggerated in the movie, but it did get us talking about what kind of parenting styles we think we would have once our little one came.

I've been thinking about that movie more now that we've got a couple of baby months under our belt and I'm amused to see which elements of the parenting styles we've already adopted so far. While I think as a whole, we seem more like the Montreal family, it does make me giggle that the single character I associate with the most so far is actually Maggie Gyllenhaal's...which I definitely didn't see coming!!

Maggie's character plays a mom with pretty extreme "new age" views regarding the raising of her children. I relate more to the general mechanics of her parenting style vs. the actual attitude behind it - she's very judgmental and the whole philosophy seems kind of pretentious and affected...but I look back on her character and have to laugh because a lot of the components are alive and well in our house. The cloth diapers, the desire to co-sleep (I honestly would do it every single night if the epilepsy wasn't a factor), the breastfeeding, the baby-wearing (not gonna lie, I have that exact same wrap that's pictured in that photo up there...and no, I didn't do that on purpose), the organic food. Apart from the breastfeeding, I didn't walk into parenthood convinced that I was going to do all of these things, they've just evolved because they felt "right" for us and our little one. I do maintain a healthy sense of humor about everything and I would like to think that I'm a lot more laid back than Maggie's character...and I certainly wouldn't turn down the gift of an expensive stroller because I enjoy using a wrap, haha. I believe her quote was "I LOVE my babies, why would I want to PUSH them away from me???!!?" And I certainly don't judge other parents for the choices that they make (apart from not vaccinating your children...I will always maintain that it's an extremely irresponsible decision. And yes, I researched it.) long as the kids are fed, clean and happy, every family is different and I trust parents to make the decisions that are right for their families.

Anyways, I know a parenting style is constantly evolving, especially as babies grow up. It will be fun to see how Steve and I handle the various situations that parenting can throw at us. "Away We Go" is a cute movie especially if you have babies or have one on the way, and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up if you're looking for a Saturday night movie.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Pesky Item Crossed off my To-Do List

Now that Anna is a little older, she is usually pretty content to sleep in her swing or crib during the day for at least a little while so I can get some stuff done around the house. This morning, however, she had kind of a traumatizing time at our first mommy meet-up group attempt (loud, sunny, busy outside table at Starbucks does not equal a cheerful baby), and so I was happy to let Anna sleep on me as long as she wanted to. Well, today I finally found something productive that I can do with Anna sleeping on my chest, and luckily it was something that I've been meaning to do for a while now.

Before I got knocked up and stopped working, we enjoyed a dual income with few major expenses, and we really just spent money as we wanted. We only very loosely followed a budget, and we each had a well-fed "fun money" account that easily covered whatever we wanted for the month. Well, momma ain't working anymore and with the expenses matching up to our income a lot more closely now, we really needed to set a realistic budget and actually follow it. Damn adulthood.

My computer-whiz CPA hubby set up quite the complex Excel sheet with the budget numbers and then columns to log our actual expenses. The theory was that we could transfer all the numbers from the checking accounts and the credit card, and then Excel would add everything up for us. The Excel sheet was well-done, but for a budget that complex, it was really time consuming to have to enter everything manually, and there was no way to view the actual transactions. There was also no way to see how close we were to the budget numbers at any given time without going back through and adding everything up again. And another big problem is that I rarely get that much time to sit down and focus on something like that (these blog posts take me a max of 10 minutes, otherwise you guys would never hear from me, haha). We've been using that for a month or two now and I started thinking that there must be a better way to do this.

Enter It's a totally on-line, FREE budgeting and financial software that anyone can sign up for and access anywhere in the world. I had heard good things about this site before but never used it, and signed in today for the very first time. The neat thing about Mint is that it can pull in all the info from your credit card and your bank accounts (I researched the security of the site before doing so, obviously!!), so you can see every transaction, and it will update automatically as new transactions occur. You can then create a totally custom budget with your own categories, and assign the categories to the various transactions. Mint tracks your spending throughout the month and compares it to your at any given minute, you can log in and see how you're doing.

So today, I spent about an hour creating all the categories for our budget, assigning categories among our various transactions, and fine-tuning everything to get it fully up and running. The standard expenses and deposits were assigned permanent categories so I won't have to always go in and assign those, which will cut down on the amount of time I'll have to spend on categorizing expenses every time I log in. I will be adding a Mint check-in to my weekly to-do list, so that we can have a good handle on how our spending is going for the month. I have a feeling that just a few minutes spent doing this every week will really help keep us on track!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My baby is smarter than your baby

My baby, with her eyes closed, can hone in on the one area of my shirt not covered by a burp cloth...and then puke on it. Mad skillz.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Picture Post!

 Sitting on the porch waiting for trick or treaters

 Steve flies Anna around while singing a Super Baby's one of the tricks he made up for when she's fussy. He will also make her go after things ( coffee, Kingsley...pretty much anything in reaching distance) while singing the Jaws theme.

 Rocket ship baby...another fussy time game

Don't forget the Captain!