Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Final Thoughts--My Last Post

As Aubrey turns 1, I feel like I am ready to officially "finish" my blog. It has served its purpose for me, and I hope that it has served some purpose for other moms out there.

I started this blog for a variety reasons. I first wrote it because I was so surprised by motherhood, that I wanted to share my experiences and feelings with other new moms so they knew they weren't alone. As the months went on, I also liked the idea of having a documentation of Aubrey's first year-for both her and for me. It will be really entertaining to go back and read my experiences as a new mom with Aubrey when she is older. And lastly, blogging has been very cathartic for me. I've always expressed my thoughts and feeling through writing, and the blog gave me another means besides journaling to do that. It's a lot faster to type than it is to write!

Some final thoughts for my last post. Obviously, those thoughts will be about my baby girl, Aubrey, since it's the eve of her first birthday. For the last few days, I have been replaying all of the details of this time last year in my head. My mom and I going to my doctor's appointment where he said, "It's time to go the hospital", me telling my mom that I guess it's too late to change my mind, eating a "last" meal at Scotto’s pizza (broccoli pizza with ricotta, a breadstick, and a huge Coke), calling my husband and him not answering (don't worry, he called me back right away!), being induced and having to wait forever for contractions to start, screaming for an epidural when they did start, pushing for 35 minutes and thinking I was going to die right then and there, and the biggest moment of all...seeing Aubrey-healthy, beautiful, perfect. Exhaustion, relief, joy, and love all rolled into one big feeling.

As all moms know, you can't put into words the love you feel for your baby. What has been even more surprising to me is that my love for her triples every single day. My real life started on December 8, 2009 at 7:12pm. From that moment on, I finally felt a true sense of purpose and joy. Everything in my life is better because of Aubrey. Having a child gives you hope, joy, and a profound love that you've never felt before. It's 100 times more challenging than I thought it would be, but honest to God, it is 100 times better than I thought it would be.

Thank you all for reading my blog, commenting, voting, and your support since I've started. Good luck on your journeys as moms, and maybe I'll be back when #2 comes along! (That is NOT a pregnancy announcement!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Finally got to Make my Christmas Cookies

Last November, I was delusional. I'm not sure if I ever told this story on my blog before, so I apologize if you've already heard this.

As I said, it was last November. My mom and I were sitting on my couch, a few weeks before my December 3rd due date. I gazed starry eyed across the room and excitedly proclaimed, “I can’t wait until the baby is born! It will be so great to have a baby at Christmas time! I’ll bake chocolate chip cookies and decorate and watch Christmas movies while she sleeps. Maybe she can even go shopping with me. I can’t wait!” My mom gently smiled and softly shook her head, “Oh, Christie... I wouldn’t plan on it. Having a newborn may not be exactly as you envision it."

I felt like a seventeen year old who was just told, “Oh, wait until you get to the real world." I convinced myself that my mom (a woman with three kids and thirty years of parenting experience) had no idea what she was talking about. My experience would be different.

Well, my mom was BEYOND right. Last December I averaged 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Aubrey's naps ranged from 15 minutes to an hour, and they weren't very often. When I did have a spare 45 minutes, I certainly wasn't whipping up Christmas cookies. I was in such a fog all month that I probably would have forgot the oven was on and burnt the house down.

Well, I am happy to say, that THIS year, I finally got what I had envisioned. I just finished my first batch of Christmas cookies while Aubrey napped (because now she actually naps for 2 hours, instead of twenty minutes) and Aubrey and I have been shopping together all week as we drive around listening to Christmas music. My house is decorated and we even put lights up outside this year. I am in SUPER Christmas spirit mode this year, because I feel like I missed out on Christmas last year.

This time last year I had no idea what I was in for with a newborn baby. I had no idea that the first four weeks of motherhood would be the most difficult four weeks of her first year. The December ’09 “fog” feels like it was years ago, and I am so happy to be able to enjoy the holidays in full force again—with plenty of sleep and plenty of Christmas cookies 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Get me out of here!

Paris, New York, London, Milan--we have a problem. As much as my daughter loves looking at herself in her latest fashions, she HATES clothing stores. WHAT?!

And it's not just clothing stores. It's any section of a store that has clothes in it. She loves Target, but the second we go into the clothes section, she screams her head off. Carters? Children's Place? Baby Gap? Babies R Us? FORGET IT. She has had temper tantrums in these stores (more than once) which included ripping clothes off the racks and flinging them across the aisle. When I try to hold her, she wiggles and squirms so violently that I'm afraid she's gonna fly herself out of my arms and onto the floor. Somehow she has already learned that if she acts like a crazy lunatic, her mommy will frantically run to the nearest exit.

After many attempts to take her clothes shopping, I've realized that it’s just not happening--yet. I'm hoping she will grow out of this phase and will be ready to shop til she drops by the time spring comes around. When I was pregnant, I had visions of going out shopping with Aubrey, but as long as these tantrums keep up, it looks like I'll be shopping for her the same way I shop for myself--online!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Trade Off

I'm learning that sometimes a mess is worth the time it takes to clean it up. Aubrey loves getting into things. She loves to open the nightstand by my bed and rip everything out. We joke and call her "Hurricane Aubrey", because after she's done with a drawer or cabinet it looks like a hurricane hit. I should also mention that my nightstand is where I hide everything that I don't know what to do with. For example, old receipts, playing cards, chargers, boxes of check books, etc. So, she has plenty of things to scatter all over the floor and entertain herself with for quite a good amount of time.

Hurricane Aubrey used to bother me. I would say, "NO!" and pull her away from the nightstand or drawer (whatever room she was in at the time). Then one day, I really needed to get ready so I could leave the house early. Her toys just weren't keeping her entertained. So, I let her tear apart my nightstand. For THIRTY MINUTES she sat and played! I was right near her getting ready, and she didn't even fuss once for my attention.

After this experience, I realized that sometimes the mess is worth the five minutes it will take to clean up after she's done. If it buys me a half hour to get ready, I don't care what she tears apart! Now I’m not trying to be clever, but I really do need to go clean up the mess she made in my bedroom this morning before naptime ends!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Little Teenager

So I know people warned me that the first year of motherhood would fly by, but I had no idea that by 11 months my daughter would be acting like a teenager.

Let me start by saying that for the last couple of weeks, Aubrey has really loved wearing her headbands and sunglasses. She takes them out of the drawer herself, and even tries to put them on. So today she was hanging out in her bedroom, rockin out to Isty Bitsy Spider (the girl can dance), wearing her Dora shades and fancy headband. She also happened to be holding my cell phone. Then she started walking across the bedroom floor (yes, she is walking now!) in her little black leggings, hot pink baby UGGs (actually they are TUGGs, Target brand UGGs...), holding the cell phone up to her ear, chatting away. She seriously looked like a little mini 15 year old. She even bitched at me when I took the phone away!

Before I had a baby, I didn't have any idea of just how big the personalities of almost-1-year olds were. I figured they still were very “baby” like and only did things like try to walk and say “mama” and “da-da”. This girl has got sass, a love for electronics, an eye for fashion, and she does not like "no" for an answer. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a teenager to me! Perhaps she is already going through the teenage phase, and she will be a mature, beyond her years, 15 year old instead? Ah, I can dream.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recharging Your Battery

I think I am very lucky that I am surrounded by people who allow me the time I need to recharge my batteries. My mom is always around when I need her, and my husband never puts up a fight if I want some time alone.

This past weekend, I went up to Connecticut to visit one of my best friends (and mom to be!) while my husband stayed home with Aubrey. God bless him, he even conquered the grocery store and got all but one item on my very long list! Of course I missed Aubrey from the second I walked out the front door, but I knew that my trip to Connecticut was worth it. Not only did I get to spend two days with my friend Michelle (doing nothing but shopping, talking, and eating--woo hoo!), but when I came home yesterday I felt like I had just had a two week vacation.

I've written a lot on my blog about how much I treasure date nights or "me" time, and the reason is because it makes me a better person and a better mom. When I get opportunities to "recharge my battery", I always come home happier and more energized. Nine out of ten days with Aubrey are so much fun and I enjoy every second with her. But for that one day out of ten that makes me want to run for the hills, knowing I have a date night or alone time helps me to get through it with my sanity still intact!

I know that if I have another baby it will be harder to get this time alone, so for now I am going to take advantage of it and savor every quiet second!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Miss Independent

Aubrey and I spent the morning at the library for Moms group. It was also the library's song/story time, so it was quite busy in there (I felt bad for the poor folks who thought they were going to have a quiet morning at the library!). Before I go on, let me just say that my library has the BEST kid's section. It's insane. You could spend hours there and not get bored. Toys and tunnels, blocks and games, computers and books (although, the books are the most unpopular option in the kid's section!), there is something for everyone. It's especially entertaining because you are in a room full of other moms and kids. If any of you moms out there are looking for a way to kill a morning or an afternoon, check out your local library!

Anyway, after the stories and songs they opened up the room for open play. I was sitting on one of the chairs talking with a couple of other moms, and when I let Aubrey down to go play, I assumed I would be chasing after her the whole time. Much to my pleasant surprise, I sat and talked with the other moms for 15 minutes while Aubrey made her way around the room playing with all the toys. I don't think she even looked at me once, but more importantly, I didn't have to GET UP once. YES! It was awesome.

Eventually we had to leave the private room (the one they use for classes), and play in the main kid’s area. Unlike the private room, there were no walls keeping her contained, so she was free to roam. And roam she did. I was actually sweating after awhile from chasing her so much. I don't mind her being on her own (when she's in my sight of course), but when she is trying to climb up rocking chairs and attempting to rip up library books, I feel that's the time to go chase after her.

Despite the sweating and constant chasing, our trip to the library made me really happy today for various reasons. For one, it counts as my exercise for the day. If I break a sweat, that is exercise. Secondly, I got to know some more moms in my group. Sometimes you don't realize how nice it is to have other "mom" friends until you get to know other moms. It's so nice to talk to other women who understand exactly what you're going through. We were talking about naps today, and one very new mom said, "Sometimes when I hear him wake up from his nap, it makes my stomach sick because I still need a break." How great it was for her to be able to say that, and not be judged, but instead have a room full of other moms say, "Girl, we know EXACTLY how you feel."

And lastly, the trip today made me happy because Aubrey loved it so much. I got to watch her play, and I saw how independent she really is. Even though she spends every waking minute with me, she didn't even blink when I was out of her sight, and she was surrounded by strangers. She was off and running, "chatting" with other moms and babies. She was playing with other kids as if she's known them for years months.

As I watched her from a distance, she never once stopped to look for me. You may think this would make me sad, but it made me so happy to know that she feels safe in her world and that she’s not afraid to explore or be away from Mommy. It's been a crazy 11 months, but today made me feel like I must be doing something right.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Aubrey's 10 months old now and she's experienced a lot of "1st" holidays. However, it's not until now that I feel like she will really get to enjoy and experience a 1st holiday...Halloween!

Aubrey got jipped with her 1st Christmas. She was only 2 weeks old and her parents were more like walking zombies than cheerful elves. Being 4 months old at Easter was a bit more exciting, but not by much. After all, she had to get all dressed up and didn’t even get to eat any of her candy! As for the 4th of July, she was passed out sleeping by the time any fireworks went off. Now that Halloween is right around the corner, I am so excited because she will actually get to enjoy and experience the holiday.

Tomorrow morning I am taking her back to my old work to see all the kids dressed in their costumes, parading around the school. Aubrey loves kids, and she especially loves silly, loud kids! I know she will get a kick out of seeing all the kids dressed up tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to seeing my old colleagues and students. On Saturday morning, she will be dressed up in her ADORABLE ladybug costume (homemade by Grammie) and she will be strolling around in the Mount Laurel Halloween Parade. Her Halloween fun will continue on Sunday afternoon when she goes trick or treating for the first time! We are taking her trick or treating partly because she loves people and will love seeing all the new faces, but mostly because we get to eat all her candy. Just kidding. Well, not really. I am really excited about trick or treating after a 15 year hiatus!

I can't wait for our fun-filled Hallo-weekend to begin. It's just the start of all the fun holiday memories ahead of us :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To All You Mean Moms

I was reading in What to Expect the 1st Year (even though my doctor told me to not read this anymore, it will just make me paranoid) that by the age of 10 months, babies know what "NO" means. They will start to test your limits and see how far they can push the boundaries.

I thought this was hogwash until I noticed that my precious little baby girl is already purposely defying and manipulating me! For example, if I say "No" sternly and move her away from a dangerous object (that she was trying to eat), she crawls right back to it, turns her head to look at me, and then gets a devilish little grin. She stares at me and waits to see what I'm going to do. She then grabs the object again. This cycle repeats over and over. It also happened today when she bit me! I screamed when she bit my arm and I guess she loved the reaction, because she did it again and started cracking up laughing. Oh boy.

All of these little instances got me thinking about discipline and how important setting boundaries and being consistent are when raising a child. I learned that lesson very early on as a teacher, and I certainly plan on using the same philosophy in my parenting.

I came across this poem online about "Mean Moms", and it really hits the nail on the head when it comes to "tough love". This poem reminded me a lot about how my parents raised us, and I am thankful for it now.

To all you Mean Moms (and Dads!)...

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic
that motivates a parent, I will tell them:

I loved you enough... to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough... to insist that you save your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we could afford to buy one for you.

I loved you enough... to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough... to make you go pay for the bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."

I loved you enough... to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough... to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough... to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough... to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won too.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Join a Moms Group? Check!

Well, I can check another item off of my 10 Things I Must Do by 30 post from a few months back. I have finally found a Moms group in my area to be a part of. Yay!

I have to admit, I almost backed out of going to the play date today. I had no reason to want to back out. All the moms live within 5 minutes of my house, they all have young children, there are a TON of activities we can attend (for free!), they have Mom's night out each month, the group notifies you of all the fun township activities going on, and they also have a lot of great service opportunities (such as food and clothing drives and bringing meals to new moms).

I don't know if I was afraid of meeting new people (what if they are all mean and judgmental?!) or if it was the thought of committing to something, but luckily I decided that if I want to improve my day to day life, I have to do DIFFERENT things. Your life doesn't just change by sitting around the house hoping for something to happen.

Luckily, I defeated my stagnant mentality and took Aubrey to the playgroup today...and of course, it was a great time! She got to play with (well, more like watch) other kids and try out some new toys. Her favorite was the huge moon bounce that I thought people only rented for birthday parties. Apparently, people own them. Well, Aubrey LOVED it. Are you surprised? A device where she can just sit and bounce for as long as she wants? It's a 10 month old’s dream! I also got to meet some other moms in my town--and none of them were mean or judgmental like I feared (obviously), haha.

I really hope that joining this group is the start of a fun new phase for me and Aubrey. It's all what you make of it, and I plan on making the most of it!