Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eleven Weeks

Well, it has been eleven weeks now since we met our little boy. It seems like he has been here for so long, our little family fits together so well. It certainly feels longer than eleven weeks, but it is still flying by too fast!

Max started daycare this week, and he seems to love it so far. We are happy with the daycare, and everyone there is awesome so far. The daily pictures are the best!

Max playing at daycare, he loves swatting at things hanging above him!

Max spends more and more time talking, he is quite the chatterbox. He talks to us, his toys, his book, lights, everything! He has been looking at cameras/phones to have his picture taken for weeks. To be honest, it's kind of scary!

playing and talking with daddy!

His neck control is a lot better. He is doing a great job of holding up his head while sitting, and he loves looking around the room. He still doesn't like tummy time at all, but he is getting better. When he plays on his back, he wiggles around a lot. Sometimes he rolls onto his side and lays there to look around. He gets bored and then rolls back onto his back. He does this a lot when he's playing in his Kick and Play Piano Gym (picture below). It's adorable!

loving his kick and play piano gym

His hands are always in his mouth, he just loves sucking on them. His hands are holding onto his feet more too! He may not know what those weird things are, but he likes to grab them!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

First Day of Daycare

It's late, but I wanted to post anyway. Today was Max's first day at daycare. I knew it would be hard for me, and it was. His daddy stayed home with him for my first three days of work, so I was eased into the “back to work” pain of leaving my baby. Leaving him at home with your husband and leaving him at daycare are two completely different things.
I had always thought that I would be bored at home with a baby. That I would be dying to go back to work. I don’t like being stuck in the house all of the time, and I like feeling like I’m contributing to something. For some reason (which I can’t understand now) I thought that staying home with a baby would be hell for me. I thought I was the career woman who would love to be working hard and earning money, while leaving my child at daycare. Well, once Max was here, the whole story changed. I didn’t want to return to work. I wanted to stay home with my baby. I was busy at home. I wasn’t bored. I felt that I was contributing to something far more important than what I would be doing at a job. Coming back to work was tough, but it was inevitable. I believe that in the end, our family will be far better off because I returned to work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier right now.
Sean and I both went in to drop Max off for his first day, in separate cars. Sean held him while I talked to Max’s teacher and unpacked his bag. My voice was shaky and my hands were clumsy with his things. I was trying to push through it and not lose it, but I eventually started crying. I didn’t communicate everything to the teacher that I had previously planned. I forgot half of it, and the other half wouldn’t come out of my mouth because I was trying so hard to not cry. I didn’t want Max to see me cry, because it upsets him (he saw me crying last week about having to return to work, and he started screaming immediately). It was tough.
I grabbed Max from Sean, and handed him to his teacher. I said good bye and kissed him on the head. He was just looking around the room, oblivious (of course) to what was going on. He warmed right up to his teacher, he was fine. He was thrilled to have new stuff to look at. He would be a happy little boy there, but mommy was devastated. I cried on the way out, rushing by the administrator who was trying to be kind. I hugged Sean in the parking lot, which only made the tears fall faster. I hopped into my car, and cried the first half of the drive. Not the whole drive though, so I was able to look partly normal when I arrived at work.
People were telling me, “It will be okay.” Yeah, I know it will be okay. I am not worried that something bad will happen, or that the world is going to end. I know it will be just fine. Heck, he’ll probably have more fun there than he was at home with me. But that doesn’t make it any easier for this new mom. This is hard. I hate it. But it’s what we need to do.
I can't explain how it felt to hold him for the first time after work. It was like a piece of me was missing, and that I was finally whole again. I kissed his forehead a million times and took a picture in the parking lot to show his daddy that we were both fine. All night long he wanted me to hold him, and I loved every single second of it. He was his happy self, and it seemed that he hadn’t skipped a beat.

Max and I right after pick-up

Daycare isn’t the end of the world. Going back isn’t the end of the world. It’s just different. We’ll adjust. He’ll have better social skills, our family will be in a better financial position, I will have an outlet (my job) for my need to organize/plan/etc things to death in a way that won’t drive my husband mad and the world will go on. It will take time to get used to this new life. It will get easier. It will be best for our family.
Oh, and his teacher sends me pictures and updates during the day. That is totally awesome! It makes these days a lot easier.

Max during his first day at daycare



Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Top Ten

Today Max is ten weeks old. Today I went back to work. Big day for all of us. I figured I would celebrate the events by writing a Top Ten list (in no particular order) of things I will miss about being home full time with Max.

1. Chatting with him whenever he woke up from a little cat nap.
2. Breast feeding every hour while he is awake, all day long.
3. Laying on his quilt together playing.
4. His naps on my chest.
5. His wiggling into his favorite positions until he was comfy.
6. Watching him look around and smile at objects around him.
7. Hanging out in the back yard, especially laying in the hammock watching the sky.
8. Kissing and hugging him whenever I wanted.
9. Giving him little foot rubs when he stuck his feet out for one.
10. Being able to focus on him, and only him.

Having these ten weeks with our baby was amazing. I wouldn't change anything. The many hours we had together as a family focusing on nothing but each other were amazing. I will treasure this time forever.

Leaving him is hard. Coming home to him softens my heart right back to normal.


Finally home with Max after my first day back at work

Friday, August 17, 2012

Money: Baby Steps to Retirement

"Take control. If you don't use the reins, the horse will be in control of you and may carry you from where you want to go."

I just read an article in Real Simple Magazine (LOVE!) that inspired me to write another blog post about money. Now, I will be honest here and tell you a few facts about me. I am not a financial expert. I have plenty of debt. I don't always follow my own advice. I'm a mess, right? Well not really, if you consider most of America (and apparently most women). I have had a 401k since my first "real" job at 20 years old. I watch my pennies. You get the idea. I just wanted you to know that I'm not a complete financial idiot, but I'm also not a financial guru. 

So, this article I read... women are apparently afraid of dealing with money. Not in terms of going out shopping (which I kind of hate), but in terms of saving for the future (which I kind of love). It seems that saving for retirement is something that we, as women, don't focus on enough. We like to watch our daily expenses, but we don't look at the big picture. 

If there is anything that you take away from reading this, it would be that you need to buy a book for yourself. The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanly and William D. Danko is something that you should pick up. You can buy a used copy on Amazon (here's the link to the book, to make it even easier for you) for like $3, which could be the best $3 you'll ever spend. I read this book right after graduating college, and it completely changed my life. Seriously. I grew up poor, always wishing I could have what the rich kids had. This book helped me let that feeling go and realize that just because people may seem to have it all, things may actually be quite different behind closed doors. Rather than always having the newest and/or flashiest thing out there isn't going to help you in the long run. Get by with what you can, and put the difference in the bank. Financial security is more important that the newest tech gadget. 

If you have a 401k available through your work, you should definitely take advantage of it. Does your employer match your contribution (for example, some companies will contribute 100% of what you put into your account)? Even better! It would be silly to let that free money go to waste. The money will automatically come out of your paycheck, and you probably won't even notice the difference. If you aren't offered one through your employer, you could speak with your bank about setting up an IRA (for more info, this link helps explain the difference). You can start out small (maybe 2%) if you're scared, and increase it as you become more comfortable. Many plans will let you increase your contribution each year, to align with your annual raise. You definitely won't notice the increase that way! The money will keep growing and growing, and you'll be able to rest easier knowing that something will be there for you when you retire. If you're interested in understanding more about compounding interest (your money growing), check out this link for more information and calculations. This graph shows you how $1000 will grow over ten years, without doing anything at all (except choosing the right account to start)! 

Image from www.savvymoney.com

Nobody ever sat me down and taught me about saving money. I saw a lot of financial chaos around me, and I was following that path myself until I graduated college and really woke up. Realizing you're now an "adult" can be scary! I started doing lots of research online, there is a ton of information out there if you look for it. Eventually I was adjusting my 401k on my own (most have automatic plans that you can select based on your age and/or risk profile), and felt in control. When switching jobs last year, I had to meet with an advisor from a big financial company (who I won't name) that held our 401k accounts. I had never met with one of these advisors before, because I didn't really get the lingo (I google a lot while I research) and felt overwhelmed. I had two advisors (both men, no offense) ask me who diversified my 401k for me, and they refused to believe I did it myself until I explained how I did it. The whole "but you're a young woman" and "we've never seen this before" thing offended me more than flattered me back then, but in hindsight I have more confidence over my financial decisions. So don't be scared off by the scary retirement prospect, and don't be afraid of the lingo. Start small and don't be afraid to google the fancy words. Investing your time up front will be a huge payoff in the long run. Trust me. 

I have so much more to say on money stuff, but I will hold off for another time. I don't want to overwhelm your eyes with a novel about money right now. 

Now, go buy that book! Really! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nine Weeks

I know this might be getting old, but... Wow! It has been nine weeks already!? Every week that we hit, I can't believe time has passed that quickly. I fall more in love with this little boy each day. 

One of the activities Max does each day is lay in his play pen and swat at the soft toys hanging above him. He talks to them, smiles, laughs, has an overall blast. Well this Sunday (8/12/12) he actually grabbed onto a ring on the monkey and wouldn't let go of it! He didn't really know what he was doing, but it was a great milestone to watch happen (and of course I got a picture). He kind of stared at the monkey with a curious look, and kept on swatting away with his other hand. After a couple of minutes he let go, and went back to business and swatted at that monkey some more. 

Max holding on to the monkey's ring for the first time!

Since that first grab, I have seen him do it a few more times. He grabs onto the monkey at least once a day, and also the hanging toys on his play gym. He still loves that play gym! He's not really laying flat on his back and kicking now though, he's more interested in rolling back and forth on his sides. He kicks once in a while, but not as frequently. He used to jam his feet so fast that the keys didn't have a chance to play their music! 

Max grabbing onto the rings in his play gym

Speaking of rolling, he rolled over Sunday night! Our little guy does NOT like tummy time at all. He gets so frustrated and screams as he scoots forward with his legs. He doesn't seem to understand that he can push himself up with his arms when he's on the floor, but he has no problem doing that when we lay him on our chests. We were laying with him in our bed having play time before sleep, and Sean put him on his belly. Max was screaming and pushing himself onto his side, and teetered back and forth until he finally got himself onto his back! He had huge smiles and giggles when he succeeded! It was awesome. He had been so frustrated and screaming, but so happy once he finally figured it out. Granted, the bed was on a slight tilt where he way laying, but we'll take it! I can't wait to see him do it on the floor next! 

Max looking at daddy after he rolled over

Max doesn't really like mommy reading him baby books yet. He gets really bored looking at the pages as I read, and he just wants to turn around and look at me. Based on the toys and things he stares at the most lately, I thought that the colors on the pages weren't contrasting enough for his liking. I went hunting for a black and white picture book (Target trip with Hannah!!!) and couldn't find anything. I have seen black and white picture books online, which spread out along the side of the crib or floor for the baby to look at. I am not interested in buying things before trying them out with Max (I don't like wasting money), so I wanted to show it to him in person first before making the purchase. Wouldn't you know, Sean's Aunt Barbara visited us Sunday and brought exactly what I was looking for! Max loves it! He stares at each picture, talks to it and smiles, and then moves his eyes to the next one. He looks down the whole row and starts to the left again. It's so fun to watch. Perfect gift for a curious little boy! I usually have it spread out on top of the back of the couch, so he can look at it while he sits on my lap or lays on my shoulder (this is great for burping him, because lately he wants to sit up with very little assistance instead of get burped). I take it down and show it to him like a book from time to time, telling him what the picture are and such. He has no problem "reading a book" with mommy that way! 

Max napping on his Great Aunt Barbara's shoulder

Unfortunately, I'm crushed today. Today is the start of my last week at home full time with my little guy. I always thought that I would be chomping at the bit, just dying to get back to work once I had the baby. I always thought that I was the working mom type, and that having my baby in daycare would be great for socializing him/her and allowing us (Sean and I) to work and provide for our family. Having Max has really opened my eyes. I love being home with him. I love watching how he changes every day, and being with him all of the time. I miss him when he's taking a nap, never mind if I'm an hour away at work. This will be tough. I know that I'll see him every night and morning, and have the weekends with him. I know it's not like he's going away for good, but still. I will miss him a lot while I'm at work. It's too bad that money doesn't just grow on trees, right? I'm glad that we found a daycare that we love, and feel completely comfortable with. That makes the transition a lot easier. I don't look forward to the first drop off though. I already know I will be a mess! 

Well, back to Max. I'm trying to get in as many cuddles and kisses as I can these days! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Local Bloggers?

Are you looking for blogs written by bloggers in your area? Check out this blog to search by location, in Bloggers Coast to Coast. You never know, an inspiring writer may live nearby! 



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crazy Eight

Eight weeks already?? How is this possible? 

A couple of times this week Max has actually slept eight hours straight! I was honestly kind of scared of this happening, because his belly digests breast milk in only two hours. He wakes up hungry, I change him, feed him, burp him and he talks to me for an hour before eating again and going back to sleep. It's about a 90 minute process, and we have a lot of fun. He's so chatty and happy when he wakes up, even when he's starving (well I assume he's starving after eight hours!). I love this little boy. 

Sean and Max have been making wolf noises lately. Sean does wolf calls when they are playing, and Max loves it! He giggles and turns his head as he straightens out his little legs. That's when you know he's really having fun. It's adorable. 

We do a lot of talking and repetition of his sounds. I know I could be speaking English to him right now (and I do, most of the day), but when he's chatting I like to mimic his noises to encourage him to do it more. We go back and forth for a while like that. He loves it, and he giggles and wiggles the whole time. 

He's eating hourly while he's awake, he's very predictable when it comes to that. He takes a good nap in the afternoon, and it gives me a chance to do some stuff around the house. I have been totally Max-focused while on maternity leave. If he's awake he is usually always with me, except for maybe bathroom breaks. The cleaning can wait, I want to enjoy every moment that I have with my little boy. It's when he's sleeping that I do some of my mommy duties. Quietly of course. 

Max likes to sit up more and more each day (he has better posture than I do!). He has his chatty time with mommy and daddy, and then he has his observation time where he just wants to look around the room. So we hold him up and let his eyes wander. Sometimes he doesn't want to sit up, and we just put him on our shoulder and let him look around the other rooms. No sitting, you have to walk around with him because he gets bored in one spot. He's quite the curious little munchkin! 

Max curiously looking around the room while on mommy's shoulder


We have been hearing reports of mosquitos with EEE around the area, so we don't go on our nightly walks at sundown anymore. Instead, Max and I go hang out in the yard for a while around 4 or 5pm every day when it has cooled down a little bit. We lay on a blanket on the lawn, or even better... the hammock! He just loves looking around the yard as I walk around, and then when he needs a rest we lay down for him to look at the sky. He loves it. 

Max looking at the sky

Another big change, Max is chewing on his hands! He now has the muscle control to hold his hands up to his face for extended periods of time. It's not just a sign of hunger anymore, he does it right after he eats (and doesn't want more) too. He has his hands in his mouth a lot, he's trying to get his whole fist in his mouth! Lots of drool. He gets so frustrated when he can't get the whole fist in there! It's hilarious. 

I can't believe our little guy will be two months old in a few days. It feels like I've known him for months, but it has only been eight weeks!? Only?? That doesn't seem long enough. Time has become a tricky thing with my emotions lately. I want to slow everything down and really take in each moment, and be able to treasure this time with him. I know that I will love every day, and every stage, but I am in no rush. For now, I cherish each little baby sigh, coo, and smile. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Unlucky Number Seven

Today we had a doctor's appointment for Max, so we got some updated stats on our big boy! He's now 24 inches long and weighs 12 pounds 12 ounces! His head is now 42 centimeters around, which is 4 more than it was at birth. He's growing in every way possible. 

Max got his two month shots today. The poor little boy, he was in so much pain all afternoon. I missed my happy, smiling boy so much. It killed to see him screaming for a couple of hours. There was nothing we could do to make him feel better, and he just looked so scared. We couldn't explain to him that it wasn't going to hurt forever, couldn't explain that we loved him and that we were sorry. We just cuddled him and tried to make him feel it. This much love definitely hurts.

Max at the doctor's office, before his shots

Max has been getting a lot stronger lately. He has learned to sit up, and he loves it. He'll get fussy once in a while until we sit him up (holding him under his arm pits of course). He just loves to sit like that and look around. He feels all strong and independent and it's just adorable! He seems to be looking intently at shades of yellow now also, and he loves going outside. He enjoys staring at the sky and looking at the contrast of the trees above him against the blue sky. He chats away and smiles for us all of the time. He's quite the social little guy. He even smiles for strangers when they talk to him! 

Wordless Wednesday