Thursday, July 29, 2010

My World in Nine Months

My Sweet little Laney.

How can it be? You are now nine months. You have been in the world as long as you were inside me. Can you even remember being in Mummy's tummy by now? If you can, surely those memories will soon be gone.

You are growing and changing in so many ways. You are so curious. Everything must be touched, especially if Mummy is using it. You think everything is funny. You trust everyone. All it takes is a word and a look your way to elicit a smile. You pull yourself up with no effort at all. You use anything you can get your hands on as leverage to stand. You want to walk. You still crawl, but you sometimes scuttle along without your knees even touching the floor.

Your Mummy is finished with the phrase, "I can't wait." She has said far too many times "I can't wait for you to smile, to laugh, to crawl, to be more independant, etc." She can wait. Because with the gaining of new skills comes leaving certain things behind. You don't have as much time for cuddles now that you are moving. You don't sleep with Mummy now that you sleep so well in your crib. The day will eventually come when Mummy isn't the most important person in your world and she can definitely wait for that. Yes new things are exciting, but don't grow up too fast.

I can wait.


I Ate a Squirrel to Impress a Guy

In the hopes of improving my writing, I decided to participate in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I chose the prompt to describe a memorable camping trip.

When I was a teenager, I was known for doing slightly crazy things. Probably the moment at the top of my crazy list would be the time that my friends and I ate roadkill. Yes, you read that correctly. Am I ashamed? Definitely. Although it makes a rather humorous story now.

I hung out with some older guys when I was growing up. I had a huge crush on one of them. If you have ever been a teenage girl then you will know that the following equation holds true: cute guy + teenage girl = attention seeking behaviour. Said guys were going on a March camping trip up into the mountains. Us girls were not invited and we were told that we would not be able to camp like that because it was too intense, cold, and rugged, etc. Being rather indignant, we got ourselves into a lot more than we had bargained for. We spouted of how we could survive anywhere, that we were capable of finding our own food, that we could sleep in the snow, and that we could do it better than them.

This all led to a bet. We would need to go camping in the wilderness on our own, kill our own animal, and eat it. We also had to videotape it for proof.

We held a girls meeting at my house. What on earth were we going to do? How were we going to kill an animal? We didn't want to do that. Miracle of all miracles, my friend Ally road her bike out to my house and came upon a dead squirrel on the road. She figured it might come in handy and brought it to my house.

Long story short, we knew there was no way we could kill any creature. We went camping and brought along our squirrel. We set up the squirrel in the bush, pretended to shoot it on video, skinned, cooked the squirrel (with some seasoning salt, I might add) and ate it. I threw up. This was all done dressed up as the Spice Girls. I was Posh Spice. I would pay big bucks for that video now. Sadly, no one knows where it is today. Doubtless someone is holding onto it on the off-chance one of us will be famous one day.

In the end, I didn't get the guy but I bet he never forgot me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Humbling Experience

You may recall me bragging in this post about how fit I was in high school and putting forward my goal to complete 20 pushups in a row. Well, I decided to start yesterday. I roped Mike into doing this as well. He has been wanting to improve his fitness, so I suggested we do the program together. It basically takes you from whatever fitness level you are at and trains you to do 100 pushups in a row. He was intrigued.

The first part of the program involves doing an initial test to determine your current level of fitness and to get a customized program. Mike went first. He eeked out 20 good-form pushups and we laughed about how few he had done. I knew I wasn't going to do very well and would probably manage far less.

Now before I tell you just how many I managed to complete, let me point out that I spend most of my day hauling around an 18 lb baby while completing various tasks. Just today, I held her while vacuuming the bedrooms. I guess this made me think that I had some upper body strength. Boy was I wrong.

Are you ready for it? I completed 0 pushups. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Goose eggs. Mike thought it was the funniest thing ever and to add insult to the injury (and my bruised ego), Laney thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen as well and had a giggling fit right in front of me on the floor as I kept trying again and again. I tried from the ground up. I tried up, going down. As much as I tried, I could not lower and lift myself up. In my defence, I think breastfeeding has caused my boobs to weigh at least 40 lbs, increasing the amount of work one pushup involves. However, since I can do zero pushups, I am going to start the program using the girly ones. Hopefully after a week or two I can graduate to real pushups. I think this is going to be harder than I initially thought.

In the spirit of being totally open with you, I am going to post some pictures of my upper body. I can only hope to have some better ones to post a couple of months down the road when I AM able to do 20 pushups in a row.

Finally, I'd like to challenge you to participate in this program with me. There's nothing to lose but some flabby arms! Come on now, it will be really fun. There is no fancy equipment required, it will only take a few minutes of your time, and you don't even have to leave your house. At least check the program here. I'm sure that will convince you if I've failed. If you would like to do this too, then let me know. Make a post about it and put the link to your post in my comments. Don't forget to take some before pictures.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Times Like These

What a wonderful weekend I've just had. We had one of those rare summer weekends with no plans and nowhere to hurry off to.

We spent some time in a local park, walking around.

We pushed Laney in a swing. She absolutely loved it.

We took her to the splash park, which she was a little more unsure of.

Then we set off for home with a happy baby.

Finally, I had some time of pure bliss on Sunday evening. I don't know about you, but I cherish time by myself every now and then, even more so after becoming a mother. Mike left to play basketball with some friends and Laney was down for the night (OK, a little more realistically, until the first feeding). I went out and sat on my deck and just sat in silence. I love evenings like that. The TV off. No music playing. No talking. I just took in the beautiful evening. I was alone with my thoughts. And it was wonderful.

Of course I couldn't resist a few dorky shots of myself taking it all in.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Her Father's Eyes

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. ~Enid Bagnold

There is something magical about watching a father with his baby. I see this magic in the moments when I sit back and watch Laney and Mike together. Laney saves her biggest smiles for her dad. She looks to him when she is playing on the floor, just to be sure he is watching. If his attention is turned elsewhere, she makes silly sounds and starts giggling, imploring him to look at her.

Dads push the limits during play in ways most mums do not. Mike is no exception. Laney flies, she twists, and she turns upside-down in her dad's arms. I have to restrain my words of caution while they play. She's goofy with her dad and she wants her dad's approval, even this young.

She loves it when Mike squishes her face.

Sharing a laugh after getting tossed in the air.
Taking a breather.
Her Daddy smile.
Playing 'high five.'
Oops. I didn't make myself up today.

I recently read "Bringing Up Girls" by Dr. James Dobson. One thing that really hit home was the important role that dads play in their daughters' lives. Sure mums are important, but there is something about fathers that cannot be replaced. As I read this book, I reflected on my own Dad. Sure, he was imperfect. He was often working, reading, on his computer and away from us. He could be stern, prone to rage, and hard on us. But, he was also gentle, wise, and loving. My dad's opinion meant the world to me. I often found myself avoiding trouble during the teen years with the thought of "what would my dad think if he found out?" I wanted him to be proud of me. I still want him to be proud of me. A harsh word from him consumed my thoughts. A complimentary word from him made me think I could do anything. And this influence continues. I love my dad.

I can only hope that Mike realizes the importance of his relationship with Laney. I hope he builds her up, picks her up when she falls, and
carries her when she needs it. I hope he takes the time to play with her when she is young and to talk with her when she is grown. I hope he tells her she is beautiful every time he gets the chance. Mike is the one who has to teach her that she is too good to sell herself out. She is too good to be with a no good boy. She can do anything she wants. And after watching him so far, I am sure he is up for the task.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Did My Baby Go?

Pretty much the first thing every mum will tell you when they find out you are expecting is that you need to cherish every moment because it goes by so fast. It is not always easy to do this when you are in and out of your bed during the night more times than you can count trying to console an inconsolable baby. But, at the risk of sounding really cheesy and cliche, I have to admit that they were right.

Laney is almost nine months and I can't believe how fast she is growing up. The early months seem like such a distant memory. Every time I see a little baby I can hardly believe that only a few short months ago, Laney was that small. I really miss the cuddles. She is too busy pulling herself up on everything and motoring around to give her poor mum some love. Now, she has to be pretty much passed out to let me snuggle her.

She is constantly at my feet when I'm in the kitchen. This is the first time she pulled up on Mike.

She moves so fast!

The baby carrier always works like magic when I want a cuddle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Midyear resolutions

So my New Year's Resolutions for 2010 didn't exactly pan out. Big surprise. I think next year my only New Year's Resolution is going to be not to make any. I think part of the reason that I haven't been able to keep resolutions is because I make my goals too general or too difficult to achieve. This blog is another example. I started it to totally transform myself from a chubby, procrastinating, frumpy, stressed out woman into a more stylish, fit, and joyful one. If I am going to have any success, or for that matter any way to measure success, I need some specific, attainable, and short-term goals. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Complete a sprint triathlon

In high school I was really fit. I exercised all the time. Not to brag (OK, maybe a little), but I did 1000 crunchies every night in grade 12. I took a course in high school called “Super Fit” and the final assignment was to do a sprint triathlon. For those of you wondering what this consists of, check out this site. I am so far from fit at this point in my life. I really would like to feel better about my body and have some more energy. Completing this was originally my goal for this summer; however, things were not so simple and figuring out how to take care of a baby and training just did not happen. My town runs a triathlon every year and I would like to be able to compete and finish it in the summer of 2011.

2. Do devotions most days

I tend to put my relationship with God on the backburner far too often. I would really like to spend more time reading the Bible and need to start setting aside some time everyday. When I went to Ethiopia a couple of years ago, I read the entire Bible in my evenings. It was so simple there finding the time to do this. Here in North America it is so easy to get distracted and not make time for things that are important. I made this goal stating "most days" because I know life sometimes gets in the way and it is not always possible to say every day. If I had made every day my goal, then I know that I am likely to quit trying after the first time I miss a day.

3. Floss my teeth most days.

I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those people who only floss after eating corn-on-the-cob or immediately before my next dentist appointment. I hope you aren’t too grossed out. I have a friend who is a dental assistant and she is always telling me how important it is to floss. This article backs her up and has succeeded in making flossing everyday a priority . I want to impress my dental hygienist next time I see her and I don’t want to hear anymore lectures from her. I need some validation from the dental hygienist.

4. Lose 30 lbs

This goal hopefully will be met when I complete some of my other goals, such as the triathlon. I never had weight issues growing up. I started to gain weight through post-secondary when I didn’t really make eating healthy and exercising a priority. To help me achieve this goal, I am going to use SparkPeople again. I had begun to lose some weight two years ago using this website. If you have some pounds to drop, I strongly suggest checking it out. You can set a goal weight and the date you want to meet your goal and they will give you personalized nutrition plans. You can also just use it to track your food and they will count all the calories, etc. for you.

5. Eat healthy foods

I really want to be a good example for Laney. I do not want to see her grow up struggling with her weight. Mike also seems to struggle with being fairly intolerant to excess sodium. I had a gestational diabetes scare (almost had it) during my pregnancy. Besides wanting to avoid any repeats in subsequent pregnancies, I do not want to get Type II diabetes down the road. I have begun to make most foods from scratch and we barely eat any processed foods at all. I now need to focus on more balanced meals and getting in more veggies and less carbs.

6. Start my own business

This is a lofty goal for me. I am not aiming so high that I need a business that will make a living, but more something I can do on the side to make a little extra for my family. I would love to be able to do something out of my home. Unfortunately, being scientifically minded, I am not the most creative. Also, considering how my skills are in the laboratory, there aren’t many legal businesses I can run from home. If you have any legitimate suggestions or ideas that don’t consist of me talking dirty on the phone to sweaty old men please share.

7. Keep my house clean

I have been checking out this site almost daily and have finally taken the plunge into following some of the methods. I’ve used a few tips to organize my life and not have cleaning take over. It is so nice to plan out my days and as a bonus it gives me some structure, which is something I miss about my job.

8. Go on a great vacation

Mike and I are always planning vacations to exotic locations. Tahiti, Zanzibar, and South Africa are just a few of the places we would love to see. We have not been on a proper vacation since our honeymoon to Jamaica five years ago. We have been on a few trips to visit family, and while nice, isn’t always relaxing like a vacation should be. Hopefully goal number 6 will help me make a little extra to save up for a good one.

9. Save money and pay off some debt

Mike and I both have student loans, parental loan, a mortgage, and vehicle payments. We would really love to have no debt in the long term and only our mortgage in the next several years. We have to start budgeting, as much as I hate that word. We have gotten so used to just spending without any planning or saving that our money always seems to disappear without us having noticed. I would love to find some great tools that would help us in this area.

10. Complete 20 pushups in a row

I mean real pushups. Not the girly ones. I found this website that gives a training regimen to finish 100 consecutive pushups. I am going to try this and see if I can get to 20. The sky is the limit after that. Also, just so you know the only real reason this goal is on here is because I felt like nine goals just didn't sound right.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wimpy Me

I feel like a bad mum today.

I have held Laney basically anytime she cries. I never used the cry-it-out method even though she used to be a terrible sleeper. I followed the "No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley and finally started getting some sleep when Laney was about six months. The only time I let her cry is when she kind of whines a bit before going to sleep in her crib. It isn't really a cry though.

So now that she has two bottom teeth things have changed. She has bitten me a few times while feeding her. It hurts. Today she bit me and I said "ouch" pretty loud and then told her "no, we don't bite." She burst into tears. It made me feel so bad. I know that I need to discipline her and that we kind of have to start saying "no" especially now that she is mobile.

I have no idea if I am supposed to comfort her when she cries after I've told her no. Is that erasing the significance of saying no? Do I let her cry a minute after saying no? She just looked so sad and I ended up hugging her. I knew this wasn't going to be easy. What I didn't know was that I am not as tough as I thought I was. I am a huge pushover.

Oh yeah, did I mention that this is what she looks like when she's crying?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Viva Espana!

Well, if you read my blog post from two days ago, you would be right in concluding that I am a happy girl today. Now to decide what movie I want to watch with my hubby. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The World Cup party was really fun. We had three couples here with their children and a good time was had by all (except Mike being disappointed in the outcome of the game). These are the cookies I made before the game. I am glad they are fairly accurate. My four year old neice asked me why the orange team was sad and why the red team was happy. She then proceeded to tell me that she was cheering for the yellow team, go figure. If you are in awe of my domestic greatness at these creations, don't worry, I really am not that clever. I got the idea to do the soccer cookies from my cousin who made some to cheer on Team England.

Mike and I make bets like this fairly often. They never include money, I guess because we only have a joint banking account. Do any of you ever make fun bets?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Being a good wife

Am I the only one who, after having a baby, tends to put my husband's needs in low priority?

My husband (Mike) is a huge soccer fan. He played in college and has played every season since he was a child, until this year. So with World Cup fever running high, he asked me if we could host a world cup party. I said yes.

Because of this, I spent the evening prepping food and fixing up the house. Mike helped tons. I really appreciate this about him. He is always (almost) willing to help me when I ask him to do something. I really need to work on doing the same for him.

I am cheering for Spain tomorrow and he is cheering for the Netherlands. To encourage a little fun rivalry, I made sugar cookies with gingerbread man cutouts and kitted them up! I couldn't resist giving the Netherlands team sad faces and the Spanish team happy faces.

We also have a bet between us. If Spain wins, I get an evening where he will give me a good back massage and we will watch any movie I choose. If the Netherlands wins, he gets me cooking his favorite meal, chicken lasagne rollups, and a back massage. I really hope I win. I am going to pick the girliest movie that I can!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stuck in a rut

I don't know about you, but I sometimes become a slave to routine. I've noticed that since being at home with Laney, I tend to do the same predictable things over and over. I really want to get out with her and do different things, but for some reason the day just escapes me after I've finished changing diapers, getting her dressed, feeding her, putting her down for naps and then repeating the whole process. I am about to go crazy thinking about how repetitive I've become.

As another aside, I think I have been struggling a lot with anxiety since having Laney. I used to bite my nails and hadn't in a long time. I started again after having Laney. I am going to put a huge effort into quitting. I don't know that the anxiety is serious enough to warrant a discussion with my doctor, but I get so paranoid and upset thinking of everything that could happen to Laney. I have come across a few sad stories of babies dying or getting very sick and it reduces me to tears just thinking about how devastating it must be for those mothers and fathers. I think I may need to avoid them for now as it just gets me too worked up.

I really need to put more of an effort into getting out with her. To that end, I will be forcing myself to plan something for this afternoon. It is beautiful outside. I think a walk in the park is in order.

Stay in tune for some photos when we get back.

OK. We're back. That was exactly what I needed. We both enjoyed it so much. There is nothing like getting outside to bring some joy into your life. I think everyone should have a garden. Even if you only have 1 square foot and you just have room for one little pot. Even if you have the thumb-of-plant-death instead of a green thumb.

We first went to the splash park and I let Laney play around in the water. Then we sat down and had lunch. After this, we went for a walk around the pond and it was simply beautiful. The birds were chirping and it was just lovely. Laney loves it outside too and she is much more content than when she is indoors.

She picked up her sippy cup for the first time and drank out of it

I tried to get a picture of me while Laney was making me laugh, but missed and then the memory card was full.I let her do some exploring on the grass and she kept trying to eat it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keeping up with this and chasing a crawler

Considering how I started this blog about two months ago and only have one post, one thing is quite clear: I need to continue with what I start. I have no follow-through. I am the queen of multi-tasking. I always held a job throughout my 8 years of postsecondary schooling. I also managed to have Laney during my last semester of university. Just because I keep a lot of different things on the go does not mean that I do them all well, however.

Here's Laney and I before my graduation.

The problem with having so many different interests and with always needing to have different things on the go is that I have the tendency to start a project almost every day and many of these projects get dropped just as quickly. In the past I have decided to paint, knit, blog, write stories, exercise, sew, etc. I move on to new things constantly. If I want to get good at something then I need to stick with it.

Just to highlight one example, here is my last attempt at painting. This is a field in the Isle of Man where I spent a few days two years ago. I realize I am no Picasso, but I figure I could at least improve my skills if I would practice more often than once or twice a year.

So with that being said, what is new in my world? Well Laney has been crawling since about seven and a half months. She has really taken off though since eight months. This means that my attention is even more so focused on her. I need to prevent her from slamming her fingers in drawers and getting ahold of dangerous items, and  to kiss her injuries.

Here is a recent pic of my little troublemaker.

She is also going through a somewhat clingy phase. She wants me and only me to hold her much of the time. I was going to go deposit a couple of cheques and do some grocery shopping. She had a minor meltdown in the grocery store and after managing to finish up shopping with her on my hip, I decided to head straight home rather than finishing my errands.

I really need to get some things done and I am going to have to figure out how to do them while still focusing all my attention on Laney.
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