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!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thanks Mom!

As I write this, it's almost 1:00 on Sunday afternoon. I've spent the last 20 hours baby free (thanks to my mom), celebrating my 3 year wedding anniversary with my husband. Well, I guess I wouldn't count grocery shopping this morning as celebrating, but knowing that I could peruse the aisles (do I want the 16 oz salad dressing on the 24 oz? hmmm….) and not have to worry about Aubrey losing it was good enough for me! Last night we had a delicious dinner and then went bowling. Bowling for an anniversary? Yes! I've been begging Justin for a few years now to go bowling. I don't know why I love it so much--I'm really, really bad (even with bumpers). Nonetheless, we finally went bowling and we were home in time to watch the Phillies game. Total bummer that they lost, but it was still fun getting to watch the game with the tv blasting and being able to scream (in both celebration and in anger), without having to worry about waking Aubrey.

So that was our night without the baby, but I'm writing today's post for my mom, because I am so grateful for everything she has done to make sure Justin and I still have time to ourselves. At least once a month she takes Aubrey overnight (staying out late is much more fun when you know there is no 7am wakeup call!), and she also watches Aubrey at other times as well. Just the other day she took Aubrey from 6am til 5pm so Justin and I could spend the day in NYC. About two weeks ago she watched Aubrey so I could go shopping for clothes that don't fall under the "sweats" category. She is always happy to watch her, and she has even rearranged her work schedule at times to be able to help us out. I am so grateful that I have a mom that loves being with Aubrey as much as I do, because Lord knows I appreciate-and need- the "breaks". I don't know what I'd do without her.

Thanks Mom for all your help with Aubrey, I wish I could do more for you than just say thank you, but I am still waiting on that lottery win (or book deal).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Months and She's Hooked on Chocolate

This morning I was thoroughly enjoying and taking full advantage of having a calm morning. Aubrey was in a chill mood; one of those moods where she can sit in the same place and do the same thing for 20 minutes. I love those moods! So, I went into the kitchen with her and started doing some things like prepping her fruits/veggies for later on and wiping down my appliances.

At one point, I opened the refrigerator door and Aubrey spotted a bunch of fun size Kit Kats. She grabbed all the Kit Kats from the fridge(they were still wrapped, of course), and since they are too large for her to put in her mouth and choke, I let her play with them on the floor. She was having fun sitting on the floor banging them together, hitting the fridge with them, just playing nicely by herself. I knew that would keep her occupied long enough for me to finish what I was doing.

Then as I was chopping up some carrots, I noticed that the banging and noises had stopped, and she was being quite quiet...too quiet. I could see her from the corner of my eye sitting on the floor, but I noticed her back was now turned to me. When I walked over to see what she was up to, she looked up at me, chocolate covering her lips, sucking the life out of the (now opened) Kit Kat bar! Apparently, she had cut through the wrapper with her teeth and was now sneakily enjoying her first piece of chocolate!

I couldn't help but laugh when I saw her. She must have known she was doing something wrong, because she was smart enough to be very quiet and have her backed turned to me. Naturally, I took the Kit Kat bar away from her, and being a true girl at heart, she screamed bloody murder. I just hope I will still be able to get her to eat her apples now that she's had a taste of the good life :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's a Birthday Party, Not a Wedding Reception

My sister is not one to dish out advice. She listens, but mostly keeps her opinions to herself. My sister and I were talking, and I told her how I had been stressing over what to do about Aubrey's 1st Birthday. In an ideal world, I'd have a big house that could handle a first birthday party. In a semi-ideal world, I'd at least have enough money to rent a hall to throw the party (who knew that halls cost $500!). Unfortunately, neither of these situations reflects my life situation right now.

So I was telling my sister how bad I felt because I couldn't throw a big shindig for Aubrey's birthday, and she said to me, "It's a birthday party, not a wedding reception". For some reason, those words really resonated with me. As I was googling first birthdays, I could not believe my eyes at how carried away you can let yourself get. From $100 invitations to gourmet cupcakes, you can spend a fortune on your child’s 1st birthday.

I would never judge someone who threw a huge party, because truth be told, if I had the bank account to have a big bash I would love to! But in MY life situation, I was trying to plan a party that I simply could not afford. My sister's words helped me to remember that it's okay not to have a huge party with a fancy cake, catered food, and a 75 person guest's a birthday party, not a wedding reception.

In the end, we decided that we will just invite our family and have it at my mom's. The house will be filled with people who love Aubrey, and she will have so much fun seeing and playing with all of her family. We'll have all of the 1st birthday staples—things such as party hats, balloons, and a yummy cake. But I won't miss a mortgage payment trying to keep up with the Joneses.

As I shop for the birthday necessities, I will remember the mantra, "it's a birthday, not a wedding reception" when I am tempted to buy something that just isn't in my budget. Besides, I only have 15 more years until Aubrey starts hitting me up for some outrageous sweet sixteen party, and I have a feeling my mantra won’t hold up as well in an argument with a 15 year old!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Top 10 at 10

My little newborn had her 10 month "birthday" yesterday...10 months! She's practically not even an infant anymore. She's been standing by herself more and more lately, and I know it's just a matter of time before she's walking. I don't miss that young newborn stage; it was probably the craziest three months of my life! But I am in shock that in two months, she will be a year old. This year really is flying by, but it just keeps getting better and better.

For Aubrey's 10 month "birthday", here are my Top 10 Favorite Things about Aubrey at 10 months:

1. She laughs at everything, and I mean everything...she has such an awesome sense of humor.

2. She always smiles and waves at people in stores, causing the cutest little scene.

3. The way she rubs her face against anything soft, so cute!

4. When she wants me to read to her, she picks up a book, drags it over to me, and then sits in my lap. Such an advanced child ;)

5. When she hears something loud (like the vacuum), she comes crawling up to me super fast and snuggles against my chest.

6. There is a train that runs along the top of the ceiling in Wegmans. Whenever we are food shopping, she stares up waiting for that train to come. As soon as she sees it, she starts laughing and jumping up and down in her seat.

7. Aubrey can stare out the screen door for endless amounts of time watching the squirrels play with each other. Likewise, she loves being outdoors-she would stroll around outside and stare at squirrels all day if we could!

8. When Daddy leaves for work, she crawls over to the screen door, she smiles real big, and waves bye-bye until he drives away.

9. She loves looking at pictures of family and friends. She points to the people she knows in the pictures and screams with excitement.

10. Aubrey has favorite commercials, usually ones that have a catchy jingle. When she hears one of her favorites come on (the Friendly's commercial, HH Greg, AT&T- just to name a few), she stops in her tracks and stares at the tv.

11. (sneaking in an extra!) When you ask Aubrey to give you something, she holds out the object as if she were going to hand it over, then swipes it back once you reach for it. All while laughing at you, of course  What a little sneak!

12. Ok just one more, I promise. After she wakes up from a nap, she doesn’t want to come out of her crib right away. When you go in her room to get her, she races around her crib and plays, daring you to try to get her. She even tries to hide by putting her head in the corner of the crib against the bumper!

I could list so many more things! This is such a cute age, and I just don't ever want to forget these little moments with her that are so precious.

Very excited to be 10 months old!

Who knew a diaper box could be so fun?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Personal Day!

Yesterday couldn't have come at a better time. Monday and Tuesday were really tough days with Aubrey. Come to find out, she had a bad stomach bug. You DO NOT want to know how I figured this out. Let's just say it involved a crib (and baby) completely covered with poop. One of the only things that got me through Tuesday was knowing that Wednesday my mom was coming over to watch Aubrey so I could go out all afternoon, by myself. Call it a Mom's "personal day", if you will.

My first stop was to Babies R Us. My mom tried to stop me from going there, since I was supposed to be out shopping for myself, but I had to go. Aubrey needed some new pjs and I had a gift card that I intended on using for a diaper bag. That counts as shopping for me, right? I don’t know what else I was expecting, but every where I turned I saw a pregnant woman or mom with a baby. Instead of rejoicing in my freedom of being childless for the day, I found myself thinking, "Awww, I wish I was pregnant again and registering" or "Awww, I wish I was pushing my cute little baby girl in a cart and chatting with her". Completely forgetting how just last week I WAS there with Aubrey, and it was not so pleasant. She screamed the whole time-hence the reason I was back there a week later.

So then it was off to the mall to buy myself some clothes, yipee! I had some birthday money to spend and considering that every time I go to the mall with Aubrey I see thousands of things that I want, I figured I would be in my glory. I had money in my pocket, coke in hand, and no baby stopping me from trying on all the clothes I want. Funny thing happened though. I went from store to store and tried on NOTHING. Nothing caught my eye, and I felt like I needed (well, wanted) so much stuff I didn't even know where to start. Feeling defeated, I left the mall, money still in my pocket, tempted to just go to Carters and buy a bunch of baby clothes. Just to be safe, I avoided passing Carters on the ride home.

I called my mom and even though it was getting late, she encouraged me to keep shopping and I would find some stuff. I eventually found my inner shopping bug again and bought myself some nice fall sweaters and boots, but not without every mom's least favorite accessory--guilt :( Even though it was my birthday money, I still felt like I should be spending it on Aubrey!

Guilt aside, it was a GREAT DAY! 4 hours of driving and shopping on my own terms, no distractions, free to take my time and only think of (gasp!) myself! Of all my birthday gifts this year, 4 hours alone surely takes the cake. Even if I had come home empty-handed, it still would have been well worth the time alone. Thanks ma!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Hard Days

Things with Aubrey have definitely gotten easier as time has gone by. She has her nice, predictable schedule, we are getting to really know each other, and she is just so much more fun than she was at 3 months. I've gotten used to the changes I've had to make as a stay at home mom...I don't always get to shower or eat lunch or get the things on my list done that I want to get done, but I really am fine with all that.

Then, there are days like TODAY. Hard days. Days when the fussiness starts at 8am. Days when she just does not want to nap or be happy. Days when she wants to get into EVERYTHING and even a trip to Target doesn't hold her attention. Days when I know she's not teething, but I give her baby Orajel anyway, hoping maybe she is teething and this will make her happy again. Days when I envy the celebrities who can afford nannies to watch their baby on the hard days so they can escape and go shopping or to the gym. Or out for a margarita. No nanny for me, I am the nanny. Even with my makeup on, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror today and thought, "AHH!" I looked like I just ran a marathon. I FELT like I just ran a marathon.

4:15pm hit and I was running on fumes. So I picked up Aubrey and said, "Sorry girl, I need 15 minutes" and I put her in her crib. I heard her make some yells for me, but I needed a breather. And the poor dog needed to go for a walk. After ten minutes, her room was silent. She was asleep. Looks like I wasn't the only one who needed a rest!

Lesson learned: If Aubrey is so fussy that I can no longer keep up with her, chances are she is just as tired as I am.

Today was rough, but I’ll take it. You gotta take the good with bad. I just hope we are back to the good tomorrow!