Friday, September 28, 2007

Fashion Friday: Last Days of Summer

Oh, and say a little prayer for us. My sister's wedding is today!!! Hopefully Baby B stays put, and Emma walks down the aisle!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Finding My Mommy Groove

When Emma was first born, I had a hard time. The first two weeks, everything seemed to come pretty naturally. After all, she just ate, slept, and pooped. But once other elements started coming into play -- how often to feed her, thrush, nursing troubles, and lots of opinions -- I started to stress out. I had NO idea what kind of mother I wanted (or needed) to be.

Do I feed on demand? Do I let her cry it out? Do I try these sleep "patterns" I read about in books? How long should her naps be? Do I trust the nagging instincts about her tummy, or am I overreacting? Allergies -- do they exist in infants? Does she have reflux, or am I imagining it? And how about vaccinations? Are they causing huge problems like autism, or are they protecting my baby from getting really sick?

And then I did the worst thing I could have done. I read a million books, asked a million questions of people, and googled until I could no longer google. In other words, I overloaded myself with information...none of which gave me any sort of answers. Just more questions. And more doubts.

I felt guilty for not being 100 percent sold on "attachment parenting," yet I didn't want to let Emma cry it out either. I wanted to trust my doctor, who told me to space out her feedings no matter how much she indicated she was hungry, but I ended up getting sick to my stomach every two hours, when I KNEW she was hungry. Was I a horrible mom for giving her a pacifier? Should I stop nursing when she clearly isn't enjoying it and I'm wasting away on a very strict diet, or do I stick it out because someone tells me "it's the best thing for her?"

Every time I turned around, it was a new question, a new research finding, a new opinion on what "good" mommies do. Quite frankly, I was pretty darn lost. I was confused. At times, scared. Why didn't I just "know" like every other mom who seemed to naturally take care of their child? Why was I so insecure? Honestly, I would say I felt like this for the first year of Emma's life. That didn't make Mommyland very fun most of the time.

But as I prepare for this new child, I am so thankful for all of those questions and doubts. They made me search hard and deep about the kind of mom Emma needed, and even more so, the kind of mom I wanted to be for all of my children.

The largest lesson I have learned is that kids are not "one size fits all" and that each one requires special attention based on who they are. I also learned to trust those good old "mommy instincts" Jenny McCarthy talked about on Oprah the other day.

Emma was not a cuddly baby. At all. She loved her crib at 2 weeks, and NEVER wanted to be swaddled. She liked her space, and still does to this day, so babywearing probably wasn't the best option for her. And I definitely knew co-sleeping wasn't for her either, but I also learned it wasn't for me. Jeff and I enjoy our bed, and we cherish the small amount of alone time it gives us.

I also decided that I do not want my baby to cry it out. First of all, it went against every instinct I had in me. If my baby cries, I want to hold her, comfort her. Emma was so active, that she really just needed a longer soothing period to fall asleep. Some may have thought I spoiled her -- and still do -- but I know my baby, and I know what works.

I also really believe in schedules. I like schedules because of my personality, but I also learned it works for Emma too. Am I too strict? Maybe, but that's my Mommy style, and I can honestly say I'm okay with it. Emma doesn't skip naps EVER, and I work around her. To me, that's what I am supposed to do. Before I know it, naps will be gone, and my baby will be in school. I can handle staying at home for a few hours so she gets her much-needed rest. To me, that is more important than any errand.

I hate junk food. Emma doesn't get it. She gets all-natural most of the time, and sugar is avoided unless it is in fruit or once in a while, a milk-free cookie. Some may think I am somehow horrible for not giving her chips or fried food for pure enjoyment, but why in the world would I give her something that I know isn't good for her? Sure, it's hard and takes more work (and money), but it's worth it to me. Her allergy issues only make it that much more important.

TV is avoided at all costs, but I don't think it is "evil" either. Emma gets about 20-30 minutes a day (at most), and once in a while, a family movie at night if all 3 of us are home together. As long as it teaches her something, I can deal with a little bit every day.

Outside time is very important to our daily routine and so is physical activity. Unless she is sick or it is raining, we always find time to run around or at least go for a walk. Fresh air goes a long way!

Discipline is a must. I try to avoid "no" and give "creative directions," but hitting or other aggressive behavior gets a time-out on the naughty chair. Emma knows right from wrong, and she knows when she's been "naughty." When her time is up, we talk about it, and she usually tells me what she's done wrong before I can. She says she's sorry, we hug, and it's over. Until the next time of course! Either way, she needs consequences, and I am sticking to it. I'm not perfect -- I do yell more than I'd like -- but I am avoiding spanking for as long as I can. Emma is very physical, and I think it would only add to the problem instead of solve it.

I have learned to ignore the non-spoken, but obvious opinions others have about the way Jeff and I raise Emma. Before, it literally drove me crazy to think someone might think I was doing something "wrong" or that I was catering to her too much. But now, I can officially say I found my "mommy groove" with Emma, and that gives me so much peace. What's even better is that Jeff and I are in total agreement.

Of course, God -- in His awesome sense of humor -- is now giving me another child, which will probably throw all of this out of the window. Which is exactly why I wanted it down on "paper." I am curious to see how much my style changes as I juggle two very different kids.

I do want to say that I am still open to new things. Hoping for more cuddles this time, I plan to try out babywearing with this baby. Maybe not all the time, but much more often. I think it will be good bonding, but also more practical as I try to get stuff done. I also intend to try my hardest to nurse for at least a year (Emma was only 6 months), provided we don't have major stomach issues.

The real question is will I get lax on some of these issues, or will I stick to my guns? I am interested to see. But either way, I can confidently say I am excited about this new Mommyland adventure.

I figure that if God thinks I can handle another child, then I can. I just pray that I can have more fun and less worrying this time around.

Stay tuned... :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fashion Friday: Baby B in Action

jenni and lisa

Baby B pulled his or her first all-nighter last weekend at Aunt Jenni's bachelorette party, where he/she danced up a storm downtown and got several rubs from complete strangers. Needless to say, finding an outfit that was somewhat trendy -- but not ridiculously expensive -- was quite the task at 8 months preggers, but I think I managed okay. And if I've said it once this pregnancy, I'll say it a million more times -- thank the Lord for ballet flats!

With a 4am return time and a 2-year-old that wakes up at 6am, there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping going on, but we did have a whole lot of fun!

In fact, it's probably safe to say my kids live it up more inside the womb than outside of it. This wasn't Baby B's first rockin' night. Thanks to fun Aunt Jenni, we also attended the Goo Goo dolls concert a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of that, but I did wear this awesome shirt from my generous (and very stylish) friend Mama C-ta.

Now that I think about it, this baby also traveled to LA in its early gestational months and ate at The Ivy! (Of course, this was all part of a work trip, so it really wasn't as glamorous as it sounds...)

Not to be outdone, Emma went to Disney in my first trimester and also traveled to DC. She too danced all night at my girlfriend's bachelorette party and her wedding when I was 7 months along. (Yes, I now own TWO maternity bridesmaid dresses!)

I actually think I may live it up more when I'm pregnant than when I'm not. Something tells me this won't change once Baby B arrives.

But at least I can have a glass of wine!

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's Official...

I can no longer see my toes!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fashion Friday: Posing with Great Great Grandma


Okay, so these really aren't Fashion Friday photos, BUT it's been hectic here this week, and I've really been meaning to post these pictures.

As most of you know by now, we currently have 5 generations of women alive in my family. So naturally, we wanted to name our little girl after her Great Great Grandma Emma.

Here the are the two of them just a few weeks ago when we paid Grandma a visit at her new nursing home. Emma did pretty good, and especially liked the birdies they have in the lobby...just like Grandma knew she would.


As you can see, she even sat on Grandma's lap and gave her a few kisses. I love that we got a few pictures of this. I know Emma will treasure these some day as much as I do now.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Better Late Than Never...

Yes, Emma's birthday party was almost a month ago, but I really want to get some of the details down for her benefit.

Like any fun holiday, Emma ended up with a monster cold. Fever, running nose, no sleep. All the night before her party. The day of her party, she took the shortest nap she has ever taken and had a 101 fever. I wasn't too confident that it was going to be a fun day.

BUT I have to say, she did so great. She didn't seem to mind that her nose was running or that she had no sleep under her belt, so I let her do everything she would have normally done -- swim, run around, etc.


She was on Tylenol most of the day and her nose was pretty raw, but as far as her mood, she was in pretty good shape.

I caved in and did an Elmo theme because she loves him so much, but mostly because I got all the decorations for free. My Great Aunt gave them to me about a year ago, and it seemed silly to waste perfectly good table cloths, plates, napkins, and banners. They were nice quality and colorful. I simply had to buy a few balloons and a cake, and we were all set.


Food was simple burgers and hot dogs, and everyone else brought a side dish. AND it was at my Mom's and Dad's house. (Thank you both by the way!) I have to say I really didn't have to do much at all... this is the way throw a party I tell ya!

I kept the guest list to immediate family and great grandparents, but somehow Miss Emma still ended up with a zillion gifts. She is truly blessed to have a family that loves her so much! (And so are we, of course!)

She can now help Mommy sweep the floor and vacuum. She has a new buddy (Heidi the Hippo) from Build-a-Bear, her very own sleepover bag for Grandma's, a bike, and lots of new gear for her baby. So far, we've only put together the baby bed, but we plan to put out the baby high chair and stroller when Baby B. comes so Emma has someone to take care of too. At least that's the plan...

heidi and bike

sleepover bag


She was extremely good about opening the gifts, and even made sure Daddy was a part of the whole experience by walking across the room to show him EVERY.SINGLE.GIFT. After a few minutes of this, we convinced Daddy to come sit by us so we wouldn't be there all day. We also had two potty breaks during present time, so a huge thanks goes out to my very patient family!

I was a little worried Emma was going to be all shy and goofy when we sang Happy Birthday to her, but of course, that was a silly fear. She literally sat there with this smirk on her face and kept looking around the room as if to say, "Yeah, this is for me...keep singing people!" She actually made us sing it to her twice, AND it would have continued if I didn't put a stop to it! So much for shy.




I bought a regular Elmo cake for everyone else, but made a dairy- and soy-free cupcake for the birthday girl. (I wish I would have gotten a better picture...before the sprinkles melted into the frosting!)


You can find the recipe here. And man, these were so yummy. Had I known they were going to taste so good, I would have made them for everyone. I highly recommend them for kids with allergies (and without!). I did substitute the soy milk with coconut milk. (You could use rice milk too, but I figured the coconut would add more flavor).

I made this buttercream frosting, but had to use Smart Squeeze Fat-Free Margarine (squeeze bottle) because it was the only non-soy/non-dairy butter substitute I could find locally (at Super Kmart... go figure!). Unfortunately, the frosting wasn't very thick, but it tasted good, and I topped it with multi-colored sprinkles. I am definitely making these again!

Emma was pretty pooped by the end of the night, so we actually ended up leaving earlier than some of our guests, but I knew she didn't feel well, and it was past her normal bedtime as it was. Meltdown mania began as soon as we got home, and it was a rough night, but we survived. Unfortunately, her cold didn't go away until 10 days later, which means she was also sick for her actual birthday. Such is life. At least I know she had a great time at her party. In fact, she often asks if she's getting another one soon. With presents of course.

So I think it's safe to say she completely understood the concept. Maybe a bit too well. Christmas should be lots of fun this year!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fashion Friday: Just the 3 of us...

And Miss Queenie all by her cute self...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


As most of you know, I am one of those women that love being pregnant. If it wasn't for the constant worrying AFTER our little ones enter the world, I'd have like 5 kids. There's just something about proudly showing off that belly and the miracle of something growing inside of you.

And really, it's a good thing I love being preggers so much... otherwise I might be tempted to create a third-trimester complaint list that looks something like this:

1. heartburn that somehow results from everything and anything I put in my mouth
2. peeing every three seconds
3. an internal body temperature of 150 degrees
4. the inability to sleep through the night thanks to numbers 1-3 and the fact that someone is winning a gold medal for tumbling in my stomach
5. backaches
6. zero energy
7. sore feet
8. cramping toes and calves
9. the inability to keep up with a very fast and wiggly toddler
10. forgetfulness that is really starting to boarder on insanity
11. hormones that turn me into someone I really don't like after 5pm (okay more like 3pm...)

Yep, I am very grateful that none of these applies to me and my jolly belly!

Another Shoe Contest!

Yeah! Check out this new contest from Steph and Vincent Shoes. The fall styles are pretty darn cute!

Here's hoping I win this time!

Monday, September 03, 2007

These are a few of her favorite things...

For the record, here are a few of Emma's current favorites, most of which are slowly driving me insane. Yet, there's nothing like that smile and squeal any time she is able to experience any one of them. I just keep telling myself that there will be new favorites soon. Right???

  • Favorite saying: "Daddy/Mommy, what 'cha doooooin'?"

  • Favorite song: Down in My Heart (sung by Bob and Larry of course!)

  • Favorite shoes: hot pink Crocs (still...)

  • Favorite book: Sophie and Sam (a.k.a. "Sophie and Sam: When to Say 'Yes' and When to Say 'No'") We must read this at every potty break and before nap and bed time. She especially likes the stories about Lola and Lucy.

  • Favorite food: watermelon (even though she seems to get a rash around her mouth every time she eats it, so we're taking a break.)

  • Favorite toy: Smooshy (a pink 'beanie' bear that she has suddenly grown very fond of, even though she's had it since she was born.) Of course, she still loves Minnie and baby!

  • Favorite thing to do: it's a 3-way tie between jumping up and down like a nut ball; going to the park; and "checking e-mail," which is really looking up Mickey or Elmo on the computer. Why oh why did I ever introduce her to this???