Thursday, September 27, 2012

Elyse @ the Beach--How We Got There...& Back!

Well I think I finally have a few minutes to start our family vacation recaps, but with sleep training in progress there are never any guarantees...
Think we have everything???  Thankfully I don't think we forgot a single thing...except for Hubby's toothbrush!
I think the thing that worried me the most about driving 800 miles to Destin, FL with a 9 month old was the car ride there & back.  She has such a good schedule when we're here at home and I didn't know if we would be able to maintain that schedule on the road.  Would she sleep too much? Would she not sleep at all? What if she wouldn't nurse when we needed her to? What if she wouldn't sleep at night after being in the car?  I was definitely a little stressed.

Carseat check, pacifier check, snacks check...let's go momma!

We stopped for a picnic on our first day for lunch...this was a great idea even if the stop was a little longer than it probably needed to be!

Love these 2!

Playing with momma before we get back on the road!
However, as I should have guessed, all of these concerns were for nothing.  We had told ourselves before we even left that we would take long stops for meals, getting out and going into eat instead of just getting drive through and if needed, we would stop to give Elyse a break.  We scheduled our departure time & meal times to match up with Elyse's schedule as much as we could and if needed one of us rode in the backseat with her and played while she was awake.  This worked pretty fabulous until we were just a few minutes from our stopping point on Saturday night. We had plans to specifically stop at Jackson, MS which was a little over half way, so we could all take a break from the car.  She was definitely tired of the carseat & hungry & we didn't quite have her food ready for her...cue unhappy baby!  However, a little bit of food and she was ready to go.
My car had a little birthday somewhere in Mississippi I think...or maybe it was Alabama...
We drove the rest of the way on Sunday and arrived just after Elyse finished her afternoon nap.  If you were to drive it straight through, it would take approximately 12 1/2 hours to get to Destin from our home in Southwest Missouri...well with a 9 month old & several stops, it took us right at 16 hours total.  I'm definitely not going to complain about that.

More mirrors...this condo unit was perfect for Elyse!
When we came home, we had planned on making the entire trip in one day.  Cue another little stress out moment...however, again we made a plan and decided that we would simply give her a bottle of pumped milk for each of her feedings instead of taking time to stop and nurse her each time.  This worked like a dream.  Each time she woke up we simply pulled off long enough for one of us to hop in the backseat with her and give her her bottle.  This allowed us to get farther down the road much more quickly than taking time for nursing breaks.  Thankfully I was able to pump in the car to relieve myself and this plan seemed to work more easily for everyone.  We left Destin around 5:45 and made it home right about 8:00...we cut 2 hours off our trip and made it home in 14 hours...without any major meltdown from Elyse.

Soon I'll have some actual beach pictures...but all of this to say, you certainly can do long family road trips with babies!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekend Rewind~Fall has Arrived!

Well Fall has definitely arrived in our neck of the woods, temperatures over the weekend including highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s-low 50s!  I just love throwing open the windows in the house and turning off the a/c...there's just something about the smell of fresh air filling our home. 
Friday afternoon Hubby & I were off work because our local town festival was being held this weekend and our office is located right in the middle of everything.  We had plans to have a fun family outing to the zoo...Elyse's first visit!  However, I ended up laying down for a nap, Elyse fought her nap, and Hubby lost track of time installing the child locks on our cabinet.  So...the zoo will just have to wait.  We still headed out for the evening which included dinner at Qdoba (Elyse loves their guacamole!),  a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond for a wedding gift, and dessert at Orange Leaf.  & by then...Elyse was done!  Time for bed! 
Seriously, this picture makes my child looks like she weighs twice what she does!  I hated to even show it, because it doesn't hardly even look like her...but it just cracks me up! 
Saturday morning Elyse & I spent the morning by ourselves while Hubby went & played golf with his dad. We just worked around the house & played while we waited on him to come home.  I did laundry and Elyse followed my every move...unless she wanted to take a moment to show off her new skills! 
Look mom, I pulled up & stood up by the couch all by myself! 
Hubby & his dad got to our house right about lunch time and brought food from a local burger joint!  Yumm!  We had a little while to relax before we headed out for Hubby's cousin's wedding.  I failed to snag any good family photos, but it was a beautiful evening for an outdoor wedding.
Elyse & cousin Jackson...she was not about to let us have her pacifier at this point! 

A little unsure about all the strangers around her!

Going for a walk with daddy...check out those leopard print leggings that Mamaw got her! 

Laughing with Mamaw!

& we tried to get a cousin pic...but it was a challenge!

One with Mamaw...Hunter was determined to hold Elyse! 
 Sunday morning we headed to church and didn't end up getting home until after 7:30 that evening!  After church we met up with my brother & my SIL along with my parents at a local park.  They have a huge pond with lots of ducks and some nice picnic areas.  It was absolutely gorgeous outside and Elyse loved to check out the pond and all the ducks! 
Hanging out with Uncle Nick

Elyse & Aunt Millie
 We gave Elyse dog-duty for a little bit...Josie was at the end of that leash, outside the picture. 
"Josie, Josie...come back!"

Checking out the ducks, the pond, and the rocks! 
After our picnic, we headed over to Mamaw & Pappy's house for a relaxing afternoon.  The guys watched golf with my MIL & I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and just chatted the afternoon away.  After Elyse's nap, she played & played & played! 
I'm a little nervous, but this girl is going to be walking so soon!

All ready for dinner!
It was a fabulous weekend with gorgeous weather!  & thankfully the gorgeous weather seems like it's going to stick around for awhile! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

40 Weeks On...40 Weeks Off!

Exactly 40 weeks ago today was Elyse's due date, meaning it's been 40 weeks and 4 days since her arrival.  It took her 40 weeks to develop and make her arrival into this world and I can't hardly imagine our lives without her. time flies! 

While I was still pregnant with Elyse, I was already thinking about how I would be able get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I made some not so smart decisions as soon as I found out I was know like completely stopping ALL forms of working out, using the eating for 2 excuse at almost every meal, and finishing most evenings with something frozen & sweet like a Dairy Queen Butterfinger Blizzard.  This made the pounds come on quickly & easily and I eventually started to get a little nervous.  Would I ever be able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight? 
May 22, 2011...My first belly shot, probably about 9-10 weeks along
At some point probably about a year ago I was having a conversation with my best friend (who's had 3 children and now is my Zumba instructor) about baby weight and she reminded me..."Just always remember that it will take your body 9 months to put all that weight on, give yourself at least 9 months to get rid of it." 

My last belly shot...5 days before Elyse's arrival
And as I sit here today, 18 months from finding out we were pregnant, approximately 80 weeks from when this whole mommahood journey began, 40 weeks from Elyse's projected due date, and a bit over 9 months from the arrival of precious baby bestie was oh so right.  I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight and maybe even just a few pounds under. 
Same outfit, same # on the scale, MUCH longer hair! 
Sidenote...Any hair opinions?  I'd love to cut my hair back off...but it's so easy to just put up in a ponytail when I want to! 

I'm mainly writing this post so that someday I can use this as motivation after our next baby (God-willing), and also maybe someday down the road when I'm lacking motivation to just work out....I'll know that I did it once, I can do it again. However, it seems like practically EVERY single blog I read has an author who is either a new momma, preparing to be a momma, or someday wants to be a momma, so here are a few things that worked for me post-partum! 

1.  Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed!
~Now I know that not all momma's can nurse, want to nurse, or have enough milk to nurse; however, I really think this was a huge help for me!  I was back down to within 10lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight very quickly. It's been the last 10 pounds that I've had to work for.  I always thought it was awesome to think about the fact that I was burning calories just by feeding my baby.  While breastfeeding burns calories, that means it also makes me I've had to work on having some healthy snacks around and also staying hydrated.  I've tried to continue drinking water like I did when I was pregnant & I keep almonds, Greek yogurt, fruit, and low-calorie frozen fruit bars (we LOVE Blue Bell's Strawberry bars...only 70 calories!) on hand almost all the time. 

2.  An awesome hubby--(or other support system)!
~Along with conversations with friends & family, Hubby was supportive even before Elyse arrived about helping me get back to where I wanted to be.  He has been incredibly supportive & encouraging when it comes to eating just a little more healthy and allowing me to take time for myself to workout.  I absolutely know that I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him.  He's training for another 1/2 marathon in November so we've also given up all pop together as well (unless we're eating pepperoni pizza, because you just can't have pizza without a nice cold Dr. Pepper!)

3.  Find something you LOVE!
~I remember watching Biggest Loser back in the Spring and Bob Harper was telling the contestants that it didn't have to be running, and it didn't have to be weighlifting, or going to the gym, or a combination of all of those things...just find something you enjoy!  Because if you don't enjoy it you'll never keep it up.  Thanks to my bestie, I started going to a Zumba class and fell in LOVE!  I've never been a dancer (yeah, my body just doesn't move like that!), but Zumba is so fast-paced that no one has time to tell if you're doing it perfect or not. Burning 700-800 calories in an hour...I'll take it!  And back to point #2, Hubby is always pushing me out the door to go...which also gives him some fabulous one-on-one time with Elyse. 

4. Find good substitutes! 
~Hubby & I love to have something sweet as we relax in the evening watching I've really been trying to find some sweet treats that are yummy & not so full of calories & fat!  They have tons of low-fat frozen treats @ Walmart & we've tried a lot of them, they give us just the amount of sweetness we need for less than 100 calories.  I've also had to start keeping healthy items on hand for my lunches when I'm at home.  Some weeks I just eat leftovers, but otherwise I try to eat a turkey sandich or wrap with avocado...Elyse loves avocado too so we share a lot!    

5. Give yourself some credit! 
~As my body has started to bounce back it feels so great to be back in my pre-pregnancy sizes again! I'm working hard and it's actually showing. However, there are still certain areas that don't seem to be bouncing back quite as quickly. I may always have that little pooch above my scar or a little bit more weight in my face...and I think I've finally gotten to the point where that's ok, because all I have to do is look at this sweet face & know that every single pound was worth it...even if some of those pounds are staying put in places they didn't used to be.
My precious baby girl!
I'm certainly not going to sit here and act like I'm a fitness guru because I still love my pizza, ice cream, pasta, etc., etc., etc.!  Enjoy your pregnancy but don't go overboard, give your body time to adjust to this crazy new life you are leading, and finally, pat yourself on the back when you do a good job.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Elyse Love ~ 9 Months

Thankfully this month was much easier in the photo shoot department...she has really learned to ham it up for the camera!  I think we might have a little Miss Photogenic on our hands! 
Weight/Height: At her 9 month appointment she weighed 17 lbs, 13 oz but I honestly can't remember her length (and I'm at work so I'll have to update this later).  She's back in the 25% for weight, and still in the 75% for height...her skinny minny features continue on!   
Clothes: Any leftover summer items are still 6-9 months, but as for everything else she is wearing either 9-12 months or 6-12 months depending on the sizing.  So far she has been right on with clothes sizing which makes it easier for people (aka Mamaw & Gigi) to buy new clothes for her.  I've got two huge totes full of clothes that are gonna be heading to the attic's so crazy how fast they grow!  She's still wearing size 3 diapers and with her tiny little waist that probably won't change anytime soon. 
Food: As of her 9 month appointment we were given the go ahead for her to eat basically anything except:  cow's milk, eggs, honey, shell fish, and nut products.  We were planning to wait until close to a year on all of these foods anyway since they are high-allergy foods.  Otherwise she's been eating incredibly well and seems to enjoy a lot of the foods that we give her. Favorites are still sweet potatoes, avocadoes, bananas, apple sauce, and green beans.  We've also started giving her some yogurt for breakfast and chicken at certain meal times.  She's willing to try almost anything and hasn't spit much out!  Papa even gave her a dill pickle the other day and she loved it!  In addition to 3 meals of solids a day she's also still taking 4 bottles throughout the day.  We had period where she was wanting to nurse in the middle of the night but we seem to be past that so I'm hoping it was just a 9 month growth spurt. 
Sleep: Sleep?  what's sleep?  or at least that's how it felt for most of month 9.  Wow, her sleep schedule was all over the place.  Naptimes never seem to be affected too much, but she was not sleeping well at night at all and for several nights either Hubby or I would end up sleeping with her on the couch.  And sleep in Destin...yeah, not so much.  Again several nights she ended up sleeping with one of us with the other went to another room.  It was obviously a new scary place so we're hoping that was most of it.  Even though we're now into the 10th month, sleep the last 2 nights has been wonderful so let's all cross our fingers...k?
Activity:  Crawling, crawling, crawling, climbing (see previous post), standing...yeah, it's a whole new ballgame!  She is moving everywhere and is now able to follow us if we move from room to room.  This has also made showering extremely difficult if I'm the only one at home with her.  She still really enjoys her walker and loves to roam around the house as we're moving about!  She loves to talk into a large cup, or sand bucket, or measuring cup and hear the echo it makes.  She also really enjoys all of her small hand-held toys and is very interested in all of the little details on each item.  She has mastered the art of banging 2 objects together or banging one on the floor to make noise and is so proud of herself.  This age is probably my favorite so far just because she is so responsive to everything! 
Personality: I am seriously so in love with our baby girl.  She makes me smile every single day and I truly can't believe how big she's gotten.  She is still very independent when she wants to be but is also going through a little bit of separation anxiety from her momma.  It breaks my heart when I pass her off and she cries...but I know it's just a phase and she's normally over it as soon as I walk from the room or she finds a new toy to play with. 
Communication:  I've decided to add a new topic just because Elyse has become so incredibly verbal in the past month.  She is making all sorts of new sounds & I think one of my favorites is when she's really focused she says something that sounds like "giggle, giggle, giggle"  it is absolutely too precious.  She has also said something to the effect of "hi da!", "hey daddy", or "hey da" several times when Hubby has walked into the room.  While we haven't been able to get her to do it on command, I'm pretty sure she knows exactly who he is....I'll guess I'll let him have that one "first" of his own.  I think she's also incredibly close to learning how to wave bye-bye, just a little bit more work is needed on that one. 
~cups: of any shape & size as long as she can "talk" into them
~bathtime:  this girl is a swimming machine, she loves to just plop herself over on her belly and swim around reaching for toys
~momma & daddy:  her eyes just light up and she's started happy screaming when we walk in the door to pick her up after work
~jewelry:  she is fascinated by all things shiny & sparkly (a girl after my own heart), a necklace or bracelet or watch is sure to buy us a few more minutes of entertainment if needed
~life in general:  we have such a happy happy baby...I know I've said it a thousand times but she is normally always so happy unless she's tired or hungry! 
~diaper changes:  I think she's decided that diaper changes are a waste of time and she would much rather be doing other things than laying on the changing table.   
9 Month Milestones:
~Experimenting with Vocal Chords: August 26
~First Football Game: August 24
~First Time w/o Daddy: August 22-26
~Official hand/feet crawling: August 25
~1st STL Cardinals game @ Busch Stadium: Sept. 3
~Crawled up my first stairs: Sept. 4 @ Papa & Gigi's
~Talking like crazy!:  Sept 8-9
~1st Family Vacation:  Destin, FL September 9-16

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Phone Call & A Fall

With this being my first day at home with Elyse since our vacation, I had plans for a nice relaxing day...maybe a walk around the neighborhood, maybe a trip to the store, or maybe just lounging around playing with baby girl.  Why oh why do they always have other plans? 

First of all, Elyse slept HORRIBLY last night.  I ended up sleeping with her from 3:30am on in our living...on the couch.  Yeah, I'll let you guess who got the better night's sleep of the 3 of us in our family!  ha! 

So...Elyse 1st #1 of the day...

Hubby took care of Elyse this morning while he was getting ready for work so I could just have a few more moments to myself before getting the day started.  As Hubby was passing Elyse back off to me, he casually says:  "Elyse called 911 this morning..."  Of course I'm in disbelief, but he quickly pulls out his phone and shows me the evidence. 9 months and 1 week of age, Elyse has made her first phone call. 

Apparently he gave her his phone to play with (which I totally am against) while he was in the bathroom getting ready.  As she was chewing on it, pressing buttons, and checking out all the details Hubby hears the words..."911, what's your emergency?"  He then had to proceed to explain to the operator that there really was no emergency, everyone really was fine, and it was just a 9 month old being too smart for her own good!  Needless to say she won't be having access to cell phones again anytime soon! 

Elyse and I had breakfast, played a little while and then it was naptime.  I was expecting a struggle this morning as her sleep has been ALL OVER THE PLACE, meaning waking up at ALL random times of the night for the past few weeks!  Yeah, sleep training is about to commence...I'm sure I'll have more on that subject very soon. 

Anyways, she struggled to go down and after trying to soothe her I simply left her a little fussy and she eventually fell asleep about 9:25.  Not even 30 minutes later, I hear her start to fuss again and I've determined that I will just leave her until she gets really upset or until 30 minutes has passed.  Well she stays fussy but the crying doesn't really go crazy until about 10:00ish.  I decide that I'll just grab a book and rock her back to sleep until naptime is over. 

And Elyse's 2nd #1 of the day...

Imagine my terror as I walk into the room and find sweet precious Elyse sobbing on the FLOOR!!!  Yeah, sweet baby girl has managed to crawl over the top of her crib and is now on the floor, sitting up, bawling, and staring into her closet.  Cue, MOMMA FREAK OUT MOMENT!!!  I of course quickly scoop her up, start crying, and run to my phone to call Hubby.  Elyse has practically quit crying at this point, but I'm a mess.  I try to explain to him as best I can what has happened, and thankfully he decides to come home from work (can I just say what a blessing it is to work for family!) 

By the time Hubby gets home, Elyse & I have both calmed down and she's back peacefully asleep in my arms.  Hubby quickly lowers the mattress and tries to assure me that it's not my fault & that it's going to be ok.  As Elyse sleeps, Hubby calls the doctor and we're reassured that this actually is a quite common occurrence and that we just need to keep an eye on her and make sure that she's acting like her normal self.  Once she wakes up from her nap, I feed her and Hubby gives her entire body a look and really there were no bumps or bruises to be found.  Just a little bit of a red spot on the front of her head...which is where we assume she landed. 

So yeah, I feel like a terrible mom & all I can picture is my baby flying through the air and landing on her head.  However, she seems to be fine and her mattress is now practically on the ground.  She'd have to be some sort of monkey to get out of there now.  So...for all you moms out there with infants...even if they're not showing any signs of pulling up on the crib, please lower your mattress sooner rather than later! 

And so of course my day was shot to pieces; however, we had Elyse's 9 month photo shoot tonight & she of course turned on the charm just like always.  I am so incredibly thankful that she's ok; definitely one of the scariest moments in my short career as a mom. 

I guess the only thing that would have made for a better story is if she had fallen and then later today made the call to 911...then there really might have been an emergency! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mamaw turns 60...with 2 surprise parties!

Hubby's mom, my precious mother-in-law, aka Mamaw turned 60 wonderful years old back on September 6th.  Always one to catch on to any plot you might be planning, we ended up having to work extra hard in order to pull of a surprise party that we had been talking about for months! 
My sister-in-law & I spent the Saturday before the party planning out the final details, shopping for decorations & picking up our joint present.  Of course as my SIL received a text from her dad's phone, she had no reason not to mention that we were together & shopping for the party.  Except for the fact that unbeknownst to MIL was using my FIL's phone!!!  So...thanks to some quick thinking, a 2nd surprise party was quickly planned to deter her from knowing about the 1st...confused yet? 
On Mamaw's actual birthday we "surprisingly" gathered for dinner at a local Italian restaurant complete with presents, cake, singing of Happy Birthday, and even an inappropriate picture or two of the birthday girl with a bachelorette party who was also in attendance.  Unfortunately those pictures have been sealed in secrecry to protect the guilty...but man will they make for some great blackmail one of these days! 
Mamaw & Elyse
Elyse was wearing one of Mamaw's earrings...think they're big enough?!?  ha!
I failed to get many photos at all because by the time dinner arrived, Elyse was READY for bed!  Somehow we managed to stay for the entire evening, including dessert...and finished the evening with a few little white lies that we wouldn't see Mamaw & Pappy again until we got back from Destin! 

 Friday was the official "surprise" party and I took off work at noon to go pick up the cupcakes and help my SIL out with the decorating.  We had the party at a local restaurant with the idea that Mamaw & Pappy were simply coming to have dinner with my SIL & her family.  Since my in-laws had recently moved back from Michigan to Missouri after 10 years away, this was also a little bit of a welcome home party and several of my MIL's best friends were invited as well...we had about 25 people in attendance which was a great group of people to shower her with love, and a little bit of orneriness as well! 
We decorated with diamonds, purple, & red in honor of her Diamond Jubilee.  The restaurant served some delicious heavy hors d'ouveres and we had yummy miniature cupcakes from a local bakery in delicious flavors like salted caramel, lemon & red velvet.  & even thought it was a small group we made arrangements for a small chocolate fountain...because who needs a crowd to enjoy yummy goodies dipped in chocolate?  Hubby's Aunt (my MIL's sister) also made extra large earrings for us all to MIL might be slightly known for wearing extra large dangly, clip earrings!  (see picture above of Elyse wearing a pair!)
I'll let the pictures do the rest of the was a fabulous night & it's always so much fun to celebrate someone you love! 
60 cupcakes in honor of 60 years...decorated in purple & red of course!
We also decorated with diamonds as it was her "Diamond Jubilee"

And what better excuse to have a chocolate fountain!

The official party & my sil!

My parents came for just a few minutes, but mainly to take Elyse back home and put her to bed! The party didn't even start until almost bedtime!

The best family photo we could master...and the best in-laws this girl could ever have asked for!

My loves!

Mamaw & Jackson...check out her party hat!

My precious family...with big earrings and all!

Sparkler candles of course!

Mamaw & Elyse...I think this was about the time Elyse was ready to go home! 
 Towards the end of the evening we played 20 questions about the birthday girl which resulted in a little bit of a "roast" and also a few secrets coming out that none of us knew!  Thankfully my MIL is the most wonderful sport ever...and is normally on the otherside of planning such craziness, so it was definitely all in good fun! 
Funny Face #1

Funny Face #2

& the entire group...minus my parens & Elyse!
Everything turned out so well...but surprised parties are a little bit exhausting!  Even little white lies are hard work!  Happy 60th Birthday's to many, many more celebrations!