5 Months

IMG_3782I thought for this post I would do kind of a Day In the Life post.  Our activities from day to day vary greatly, but we roughly follow the same routine each day.

We’ll start at 6am when you wake up.  You quietly hang out in your bed making little grunting, moaning, cooing, and raspberry sounds.  I only wake up because you have me programmed to.  I wait about 15-20 min before coming to get you.  This morning, you started to get fussy, so I fed you and put you back to bed.  Most mornings, however, you aren’t interested in eating and just want to get your day started, so I’ll bring you downstairs, change your diaper, and let you play while I make coffee.

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You rotate between your activity mat, which is basically you playing with a hanging object for five seconds before rolling onto your belly and grunting/drooling for 5, maybe 10, minutes before you start to get upset.  Then we move you to the bouncer if you’re up for it, and you keep yourself thoroughly entertained.  The chair is used mostly if I am playing with your sister and trying to include you in whatever we’re doing.  You work on grabbing and mouthing objects before throwing them aside.

Your sister wakes up between 6:45 and 7:30.  You take a cat nap around 7:30 and 8am, and I use that time to get myself and Ellis ready for the day.

Ellis has ISR lessons every morning, so we have to be out the door early every day.  Her lesson is only 10 minutes, so we usually have something planned to do afterward.  On Monday we did story time and Chick-Fil-A.  Tuesday we drove to Nocatee on an errand.  Ellis spotted a playground, so we had to stop and play, before jumping back in the car and heading to Brooks for a practice (that was a looong morning), Wednesday we went to the dollar movies to see Curious George (you had a poop explosion, and I had to change you right there in the theater.  So fun.), Thursday we went to Target, and Friday we had to take Alex to the vet.  I’m exhausted just thinking about all of that.  You usually take a nap somewhere in the middle of all of that.

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Dinosaur story time

Once home, it’s lunch time if we’ve not eaten yet (definitely lunch time for you!), and then/or nap time.  Depending on the day and time, you might go down before or after Ellis’ nap.  You are now napping in your crib consistently because you are too big and roll-y for the couch or bed.  I’ve even had to roll up blankets on either side of you in the crib to keep you from rolling over and getting stuck on your tummy – too many sleepless nights getting up and turning you back to your back!

Problem with nap time in your crib is that you consistently wake up at least every 30 minutes, and I have to nurse you back to sleep (I know, bad habit, but only thing that works).  In those instances, you wake up really unhappy, so I have to be quick to calm you so you don’t wake up your sister.  Your best feeds are in the middle of the night, and during your long nap.  I can’t figure out how to switch that around so that you’ll eat well during your wake time and stay asleep during your sleep time.

So, your midday nap is usually from 1-3:30, waking every 30 min.  Around 3:30 or 4, you and your sister are both up, so it’s play time again.  We hardly ever leave the house at this point, unless I want need to go to the gym.  Then, I drop you off at Kidzone, and your daddy picks you up.  You take another cat nap around 5:30 and are in bed for the night around 7:30 or 8pm.

 

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Number Hunt

This was another activity we did last fall as we were working with numbers.  Ellis could count 1-15, but those numbers didn’t have a value to her, and the only numbers she could consistently identify were 8 and 1.  And when she counted, she might count something more than once, or point to one unit and say, “5, 6, 7.”  Very typical at her age, but I wanted her to become familiar with the written numerals and at least understand that each number represents a different amount.

The numbers with the dots we already had from another day, where we used dot stampers to show how many of each number there are.  I took those number cards and laid them out across the living room floor, then I hid numbers from your puzzles around the living and dining rooms.  The game was for you so find the hidden numbers and then match them with the correct number card.  Of course we would identify and talk about what number you had as well while playing.  The numbers 6 & 9 were confusing because they are the exact same shape in both puzzles I used.

Another activity I tried several times with you was numbering 9 Solo cups and giving you pom balls, to put the coinciding amount in each cup.  Ellis liked playing with the cups and poms.  She would count with me and repeat the name of the number, but she didn’t like counting the poms into the cups.  She wanted to do her own thing and put ALL the poms in one cup, dump them out, pour them into another cup, etc.  Anything BUT counting them.  I might try this activity again with her now that she’s a little older.

Learning Letters

I started this post last November, and now here we are in July!  I’m finally lifting my head out of the sand after 4 months of adjusting to life with a preschooler and a new baby.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was so exhausted and run down, that I was just in permanent survival mode.  It didn’t help that Ellis or I were always sick (Hand Foot Mouth Disease, anyone?).  So my parenting to Ellis fell back on relying a little too much on Disney Jr., half-hearted play, and a babysitter for entertainment.  Ellis has been out of school for about a month now, and I’m really trying to make our time together count.  We do a lot of activities out of the house, but I wanted our time at home to be fun and memorable, too.  I started up Tot School with her again when I saw that she was counting (correctly) everything and identifying letters she knew everywhere.  For example, she would see the sign for Barnes & Noble, and she would say, “Look, Mommy, there’s an E for me!  Two E’s!”  Or she’ll count and recount her goldfish after each one she’s eaten.  She can do simple math, too, like if I say she can have five of something, and I’ve given her three, she’ll say she needs two more.

That all said, here are some activities I did with her last fall to help her with her letters.  I’ve been trying to teach her the name and phoneme (just one) of each letter, but I’m realizing that may be too much right now, so I’m stressing identification now.  I pair letters with things that are meaningful to Ellis to help them stick, so of course we started with E for Ellis, then M for Mama, D for Dada, and so on.

 

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Tactile learning. A tub of beans with letters D, E, and M “hiding” within. I took letters from around the house, puzzles, and games. After she found them, we sorted the letters.

 

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More bean fun. This time I just took all the letters out of the mat and put them in the tub. She would grab a letter and find its place on the mat.

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Focusing on the letters D, E, and M, I had Ellis identify each picture. I made the beginning sound, and we figured out which letter the picture went with. We had a little fun with glue, too!

 

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A few of Ellis’ favorite D things. D is for Dada… and dog, and duck, and donut.

 

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Be ready to expect a mess when you play with beans. Maybe don’t do this activity with a mobile baby on the loose.

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4 Months

IMG_3098I’m hoping now that Ellis is out of school for the summer, we can create a more consistent routine at home.  We mostly have a routine, there just isn’t any conscious effort to follow it.  It’s organic, I say with much sarcasm.

Stats

Height: 26.5 inches (94th percentile)

You’re wearing 6 month clothes and in between size 2 and 3 diapers.  To put that into perspective, Ellis was in size 4 diapers when she was potty trained at 2.5.

Weight: 15 lb. 7 oz (49th percentile)

You have your momma’s figure – tiny arms and big bottom.  You don’t push up with your arms yet, and I blame your lack of upper body strength on my genetics.  You have pretty squeezable thighs though.

Head: 17″ circumference (89th percentile)

I couldn’t get your onesie back over your head at your doctor’s appointment.  Doh.

EAT.

Technically at 4 months we can start introducing you to solids.  I held off until Ellis was about 5.5 months, and I will probably do the same with you.  Nursing is going well, but you don’t mind taking a bottle either.  I still have to be careful about the amount of dairy I consume.

PLAY.

You can grab objects with your hands, but you also pull your socks off your hands and your paci out of your mouth.  (The socks were initially on your hands to prevent you from scratching your sweet face, but then I also put them on you at nap time so you would stop pulling your paci out of your mouth.)  All floor time is tummy time these days.  You can roll from your back to your belly, and you do just about every time I put you on the floor.  The problem is you haven’t figured out how to return to your back even though the first day you were rolling over it was from your belly to your back.  I can’t leave you on your play mat now because I did that once to take a shower, and not too long into it I heard you screaming.  You were stuck on your belly and couldn’t roll over.  You’ve rolled over in your bed a couple of times, too, usually when you’re wide awake, so I check on you often at night to make sure you’re asleep on your back.  You don’t have the strength to roll over on a soft surface like the couch or our bed, so that’s where I lay you down for your naps.  (I hear all the old ladies right now saying, “It won’t be long!”)

You love to chat and be face-to-face.  You giggle when I pretend to eat your neck.

You like to play in your jungle bouncer, a favorite of Ellis’s, too.  You’re not quite tall enough for the lowest setting, so we stick a pillow under you and you sit and play in it.  You also hang out in the Bumbo and the Fisher-Price chair, and play with toys or listen to a story with your sister.

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Playing cars with your sister.

SLEEP.

With the exception of growth spurts or developmental leaps, you only wake once to feed at night, usually around 2:30.  Then around 6 or 6:30, you’ll eat again and either hang out in your crib or sleep for another 30 minutes to an hour.  You still nap after every 1-1.5 hours of wake time.  With Ellis, I made an elaborate deal out of putting her down for a nap.  With you, I lay you in a soft, cozy, somewhat quiet spot (usually our bed in the morning while I’m getting ready and on the couch in the afternoon during Ellis’s nap), give you a paci, tuck a blanket over you, and let you do your thing.  If we’re out, you might sleep in your car seat in the car or in the Tula (baby carrier).  You take cat naps in the morning, but I think if we weren’t running around, or if you had a consistently quiet place, you’d sleep longer.

Yesterday, you had woken up and then fell back asleep.  I saw Ellis go upstairs, and I asked her what she was doing.  She said she was going to put her flashlight in her room.  I said, “Okay, but be quiet because your brother is still sleeping.”  “Okay, Mommy!”  Five minutes later I went to check on her, and she was in our bed playing with you.  I kind of love it when she gives you attention, so it was hard to be upset about it, and you didn’t seem bothered at all.

Our lives still revolve around your sister’s naps, so I aim to have us home by 1 pm.  I put her in her room and get you set up on the couch.  Some days you have trouble dozing off or staying asleep, and I get nothing done.  Other days, I can make all the noise in the world, and you sleep right through.  You and your sister usually wake from your naps at the same time, whether it be 3:30 or 4:45.  You might take one more cat nap before bedtime, which is around 8 pm.

You don’t use a swaddle, and you outgrew the Magic Merlin sleep suit (not so magical but kept you warm and cozy) in less than a month of having it.  So at night, you sleep in footie pajamas, socks on your hands (to prevent scratching and keep your hands warm), and your grandma’s blanket.

Nap time

Afternoon nap.

REPEAT.

 

 

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3 Months

Asher 3 monthsAsher, you amazing little baby, you!

You are just like all those babies everybody brags about.  You are literally why people like babies.  You are cute and sweet and easy to please.  And also just a reminder of what pure innocence looks like.  Not a lot has changed in a month, but we’ll talk about you anyway…

You are doing a great job keeping your head up, but you can still be pretty wobbly, so head support is still necessary.  In one week, you went from failing to killing it at tummy time.  I will admit, I didn’t make you do a ton of tummy time early on.  It was enough to get you to lay on your back; I wasn’t going to push it.

You still only bat toys mainly with your left hand.  I’m thinking it’s just that the left side of your brain needs to catch up with the right.

You are one of those mythical babies that can be put down “drowsy but not asleep.”  Heck, I can put you down wide awake, and you’ll put yourself to sleep.  I love you.

You are starting to wriggle from side to side and can turn yourself in a circle on your play mat.

Thank you for taking a paci.

Here’s a video of a baby being a typical baby with bonus footage of Ellis on her last day of her 2-year-old preschool class.

2 Months

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Reading back on Ellis’s 2 month update, I was really attuned to her development.  Sadly, I have less to say about Asher this go around.  He smiles.  He “talks.”  He is a huge flirt.  He is a pretty easy-going baby.  He sleeps a lot but for short stretches, unless we are out running around, and then he’ll usually sleep the whole time we’re out.  We put him to bed the same time of night as Ellis, and he’ll usually sleep until somewhere around 1am.  It usuaIMG_1763lly takes me an hour to get him fed, burped, changed, fed again, burped again, and back down.  Then, if I am lucky, he’ll sleep a 2-4 hour stretch, but then after that, around 4am, he wakes every hour.  Not sure what to do about that.  He’s usually gassy, but I’m so tired at that point that I don’t spend the requisite time bouncing, patting his back, and squishing his knee to his elbow to help relieve some of the discomfort.  So he’ll sleep and grunt and fuss and wake up in a continuous cycle until about 6:30, when he fully wakes.  Then I’ll feed him, entertain him, and try to get him to nap a little longer while I take care of feeding Ellis and get us going for the day.  He doesn’t have a regular routine because our days vary based on Ellis’s schedule.  He’s usually ready to sleep after 1-1.5 hours of wake time, and then he sleeps roughly 45 minutes depending.  Thankfully, he takes a pacifier (Ellis didn’t), and I can put him down “drowsy but awake” and he puts himself to sleep.  I used to think that was bs, but he prefers you just lay him down and leave him alone when he’s tired.

Asher’s in Size 2 diapers and 3-6 mos clothes.  He’s the same size Ellis was at 4 months.  His lower half seems to be growing faster than his top half because his head looks tiny on his body, though his head is in the 88th percentile or something like that.  He has long fingers and toes and because he still keeps them clenched most of the time, he keeps a lot of lint in there that I have to force his hands and toes open to clean out.  He hates really any physical exertion:  tummy time, pushing up on his legs, being awake too long.  He’s my kid through and through.

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Loves his big sister!

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His play mat is one of his favorite places to nap.

 

Asher’s One Month Update

10639379_871540274656_327798901379960777_nToday (or round about) is Asher’s 1 month birthday.  Ellis and I celebrated today by singing “Happy Birthday” to everybody in the house and baking Easter bunny cookies.  Life with a newborn is going fairly easy.  (Ha ha.  That was before spring break hit!)  He has to be my son because he loves to sleep and eat.  That’s all he does.  If he’s awake and his eyes are open it’s only because he is hungry or he has gas, and when that’s the case, grunting and fussiness are also present.  He outgrew his newborn clothes by his second week and was 9 lbs 11 oz and 22 in at his 2 week check up.  He wears size 0-3/3 months clothes and size 1 diapers.

He sleeps in either his rocker or bouncy chair during naps and at night, and he sleeps well in his car seat (as long as we’re moving) or the Baby Bjorn.  However, I feel like I’m suffocating him inside the Bjorn, and at the zoo the other week his arm turned purple because somehow he was losing circulation in it.  Scared me to death!

He has sensitive skin like me, and it’s taking some trial and error to figure out how best not to irritate his skin.  He wears sensitive diapers, and we use Water Wipes.  His skin is still red where his diaper is, but he doesn’t have a rash or breakouts anymore.

I am also trying a low/no-dairy diet because he seems unusually fussy after eating, more than I experienced with Ellis.

We have not been hermits.  Asher’s been out of the house just about every day of his life.  He’s been on a play date, to the mall, church, Pump It Up, the zoo, the grocery store and Target on multiple occasions, his sister’s preschool and swim school, to name a few.  Ellis was on lock down the first months of her life (pre-shots), but this time around I would go nuts staying cooped up in the house with two kids all day!

Ellis is on spring break this week, so it has been nearly impossible to try and get a good photo of Asher and update the blog.  but Day 4 is (hopefully) a charm!  Things are definitely more difficult when I have two little ones who need me simultaneously, and I obviously have no time for myself or anything else right now, but they’re beautiful, wonderful kids, so I’m not complaining!

Click here to read Ellis’s 1 Month Update

Asher’s Birth Story

AsherTwo weeks ago, my family and my heart got a little bigger.  We welcomed Asher Liam into the world, and though we are sleep deprived and living in a baby bubble, I can’t remember being any happier than I am now.

February 21st at midnight, I woke up and jumped out of bed.  I ran to the restroom as I felt my water break.  There was no denying what was happening.  It was gushing everywhere and just kept coming.  I woke up Trav and told him it was go time.  As I worked on changing and finishing packing, we called the Ob, our babysitter, and my mom.  Once we were packed and Chelsea arrived, we headed out.  Mom was still in Daytona, so it would take her a couple hours to get to our house to relieve Chelsea.  Ellis slept on with no clue.

We checked in through the ER and were escorted up to L&D.  Apparently about 5 women came in just before I did, so I was placed in the “spill over” room while they took my stats and swabbed for amniotic fluid.  I was then admitted and given a room.  I was told later that the other women had been sent home, so I had my nurse all to myself for the evening.  Another nurse was called in to place my IV.  I could tell she was rushing, and I wanted to tell her to slow down and do it right but I kept quiet.  My nurse checked on it later and I was bleeding all over my arm because the other nurse hadn’t inserted it correctly.  I hate blood and needles, so I was not happy about them having to mess with the IV again.

When I first came in, I had been having contractions but they weren’t very strong, and I only felt them after the monitor already picked them up, so my nurse didn’t believe me when I said I was ready for an epidural as soon as I could get one.  Because of her, I decided to hold off as long as I could because I didn’t want to seem like a wimp, but the contractions were coming every 5-6 minutes and getting more and more painful.  The positive was that they didn’t last that long, but I wasn’t getting any rest, and I knew this could be a long labor.  Around 4:30-5am, I said, screw this, and ordered an epidural.  I was a little dehydrated, so my nurse made me wait until I had emptied my IV bag.  By 5:30, the epidural was in place and starting to take effect. Before I could rest, though, one of the monitors started buzzing and I began feeling light headed and nauseated.  My blood pressure was low, so I was given another drug (don’t remember the name right now), and they had to monitor my blood pressure every five minutes until it started to stabilize.  Finally, I was able to get some sleep around 7, but I was awake around 8 and anxious to get this labor going.

I had been progressing about 1-1.5 cm an hour, so I was only at a 5 when my new nurse came to check on me.  She asked if I wanted to kick things in gear with Pitocin, and I said yes, please.  With Ellis, they had given it to me almost immediately, but my first nurse had chosen to hold off because I was making some progression (however slow).  I got to say, I liked Nurse #2 a whole lot better.  I told Travase to go home, shower, and check on Ellis, because I assumed it was going to be a while since it took so long with Ellis.  About 20-30 minutes after getting Pitocin, the nurse checked me, and I was dilated at 8.5.  I called Travase but he was in the shower, so I called my mom and told her to tell Travase to get back ASAP.  I was a bit worried he might miss the birth of his son!  Soon after, I could feel pressure down below, like possibly a head getting ready to come out.  I called my nurse to come check me again, and she in turn called the doctor who was about to head into the OR for a c-section.  Sorry to that mom who had to wait, but this baby wasn’t waiting any longer.

Trav made it just in time to get my legs in the stirrups and help me push.  It took 3 contractions (3 pushes each), and Asher was here!  I got to hold him immediately and kept him in my arms while they worked on him (and me).  And the rest is history!

Asher came four days early.  He was 8 lbs. 10 oz. and 21 inches long.  He was born at 10:21 am, which also happens to be Trav’s and my anniversary (10/21).

The One and Only Pregnancy Update

Well, today marks exactly one month until my due date, so I guess I should write something about my pregnancy.  I realize my first time around I wrote an update every couple of weeks and included belly bump pics, but this pregnancy has been different for me in just about every way possible.  This pregnancy has been no fun from the very beginning; it’s just been rough – not in a medical, “you’re on bed rest til the baby comes” way (man, I wish) because all of my “ailments” are typical pregnancy symptoms according to my 7ish? doctors.  So, I’ll just list out all the ways this pregnancy has been a big ball of suck compared to my first. (Sorry, Baby #2).

1. I blew up like a whale from the very beginning, and my bladder completely failed me from the start.

I was so hungry my first trimester.  I could not eat enough or sleep enough.  I ate everything in sight, and at night, I ate even more.  So I gained a lot of weight very quickly, and it didn’t take long before I had outgrown my clothes and was already pulling out my maternity bins.  My leaky bladder also got worse and made it basically impossible to teach my Sh’bam classes anymore, so I had to give those up which did not help with the weight gain.  My first few Ob appointments I was given warnings about too much weight gain, and I wanted to punch the Ob in the face and cry at the same time.  I tried switching to yoga/pilates/flow types of classes to maintain my physical health as I could no longer do any of my high-cardio classes, but there are no prenatal classes in my area, and I grew tired of having to make up my own options for half the class.  It didn’t take long before I was wearing my 3rd trimester clothes (and underwear – hello, giant ass), and by the start of my 3rd trimester I practically weighed the same as I did at the end of my first.  In fact, I think I have now surpassed that number, and I still have a month to go.  I never had the cute bump profile because I gained weight everywhere, not just in my belly.  Now that my bump is so large, I look more proportionate, but I’m to the point that I can’t imagine how I ever fit into my regular clothes and doubt I’ll ever return to fitting in them again.

2.  I changed doctors and have been less than enthusiastic about their care.

I decided to switch doctors because we moved last year, and I wanted to be able to deliver at a closer hospital.  My old ob has an office a block away from my house, but in order to have a sonogram, I’d have to drive to their downtown office, and to deliver, I’d have to go downtown as well.  So, I asked around and decided to see a practice that was in the same group as my other Ob but would allow me to deliver at a closer hospital, and their offices are next door to it.  I went from having four doctors that I saw regularly to more than I could count.  I’m 36 weeks and still haven’t seen every one, have never seen one doctor more than once, and have seen the RNP at least 4x more than them.  I don’t know any of their names, and I wouldn’t recognize them if I passed them on the street, especially since my typical meetings with each lasted on average less than 2 minutes, and most of them had dud personalities from what I could tell.  With my first pregnancy, my Ob appointments made the whole pregnancy seem more real and special.  We had a sonogram done nearly every visit (hence, not wanting to drive downtown for every visit this time around) and a good amount of time with the ob who monitored the heart and measured the belly.  Usually my husband attended, too, so it was an event.

This time, my husband has come with me to exactly one appointment – the anatomy scan where we learned of the baby’s gender (another underwhelming experience because the sonographer spent most of the time trying to capture all 4 heart chambers and zero time showing us all ten tiny fingers and toes.  The pictures she took sucked, too).  I know it’s most common to only have two sonograms, but I was used to having them done at almost every visit, that this was a huge change.  I know basically nothing about the baby growing inside of me, and with Ellis, I knew she was going to have a head full of hair and the cutest nose.  Additionally, it’s the nurse who monitors the heart at the appointments, and the doctor basically takes a two second measurement of the belly, asks if I have any questions or concerns, and then says, “Okay, peace out.”  There has been nothing magical or special about this pregnancy, and I leave every appointment disappointed.  Sure, I could have found a new practice or gone back to my old doctors, but I am so lazy busy and tired, that I just didn’t want to have to deal with either finding someone who delivers at my hospital of choice or dealing with hassle of the downtown hospital for all of my visits (hard to find parking and a train that passes right by adding to the congestion and travel time).

3.  I have a toddler.  And stairs.

Ellis weighs around 25+ pounds now, and she still wants to be carried everywhere.  She is also obviously very high energy, so there is no time to relax during the day, with the exception of sweet, sweet nap time.  We also have stairs in our house where we didn’t with my first pregnancy.  My trips up and down are strategically planned to avoid any extra ascents.  I’m to the point now that I don’t carry anything up with me.  It all is placed at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my husband to carry it up for me.  And I try to get Ellis to hold my hand as much as possible on the stairs because she often prefers I carry her.  Every time I go down the stairs, I have to be careful because I always have a moment where I feel off-balance and get the feeling that I’m going to topple forward.  Thankfully, I’ve avoided tripping or falling down or up the stairs.

4.  I’m not getting any younger.

Really, I’m not.  My body hurts in more ways than I thought imaginable.  Sitting hurts.  Standing is exhausting.  Laying down is uncomfortable.  Walking is painful.  My pelvis feels crushed every time I stand up.  I always feel like I have to pee.  It’s even worse when I have to carry a toddler around.  My last pregnancy, I had some round ligament pain and some discomfort with my sciatic nerve, but the pain this time around is on a whole new level.  About 2 months ago, I moved to our guest bedroom because it has a much firmer mattress.  I wake up less often with round ligament pain on it, and when I do, it’s easier to get up and massage it out than our pillowy-soft mattress that I sink into and struggle to get out of.  But the farther along I’ve gotten, it gets harder to lay comfortably without pain, and I still have to get up every couple of hours to pee.  I always have to have a pillow behind my back when I sit down or else I have to sit straight up on the edge.  The other day we went shopping for a new recliner, and I left the store wobbling in pain from all the sitting and pulling myself out of the chairs.  I think if I had stuck with yoga and pilates I would be in much less pain, but I just can’t make myself get back to the gym.

5.  We still don’t have name for this kid.

We had Ellis’s name picked out not even a full week after we found out we were having a girl.  This time around, we are still trying to come up with a list of possible considerations.  I have favorites.  Trav has favorites.  Our favorites don’t mesh, and neither of us loves the other’s choices.  It’s possible we’ll just end up letting the nurses name him.

Goals for 2016

NYE 2016 Sassafras Mountains

So long 2015. Looking ahead to a year with great potential.

2015 was a year full of great changes for my family.  We moved to a bigger house in a better, more family-friendly neighborhood.  That in itself changed our lives dramatically and for the positive.  With the move, we also had to tighten our purse strings as our cost of living increased.  My mom, and for a short time my grandmother, moved to be close to us; so, for the first time in over a decade, I finally had family living in the same town state part of the country as me.  I spent over two-thirds of the year pregnant and had to give up teaching Sh’bam, for now at least.  Ellis gave up some activities and started new ones (swimming and preschool).    We also found a new church that we’ve been going to regularly, took a Dave Ramsey course over the summer, and started attending marriage classes.

With all the wonderful things that happened in 2015, I’m looking forward to what this new year has in store for us.  Obviously the biggest change will be a new baby, and he is sure to rock our world.  We’ve gotten into a rhythm; things have been easy for the most part, and in a few short weeks that’s all going to change.  Hopefully we will have a better handle on things and more realistic expectations on what bringing home a newborn entails.  My first goal is to chill (to the best of my capabilities).  I read all the books and listened to all the advice, and I was a ball of stress for at least the first six months of my daughter’s life.  This time, I plan to TRY to be more easy-going (especially about sleep – I’m just going to assume this one is never going to sleep either.  That way, I’ll be pleasantly surprised when he does.)  Though there will still be things that I will be a stickler about (wash your friggin hands before holding the baby – better yet, just don’t touch him until he’s had his first set of vaccs).

My second goal is to stress less.  I know.  Basically the same thing as chilling.  Stress is obviously a huge problem in my life right now (and for the longest time).  I tend to lose my sh*t when things don’t go as planned.  I make a list of to-dos and things I want to accomplish every day, and nine out of ten times I can barely make a dent in my plans.  Lately, I focus on what I’ve been able to accomplish for the day instead of what I wasn’t able to get done, and I feel more satisfied with myself.  So instead of focusing on the fact that, for the fifth day in a row, I’ve still not been able to make it to the bank, I look at what I was able to do even if it was just I took a shower and fed my kid today; yay, me!

One thing that stresses me out more than anything is being disorganized, so my third goal is to get organized.  I’ve had this problem long before having a baby.  It was one of the hardest things about teaching because if I wasn’t organized, I couldn’t do my job well.  I am one of those people who takes in so many ideas and wants to do it all that I just over-complicate things that should be very simple.  I do that in my own home and personal life, too.  I blame Pinterest for a lot of it these days.  I waste so much time on trying to perfect a system that I forget the point of the system in the first place – to make life easier and become more efficient with daily tasks.  I feel like I can’t get anything accomplished until my house is completely functional.  I am slowly attacking every area of our house, simplifying, decluttering, and organizing little by little.

Stick to our budget.  Since completing the Dave Ramsey course last July, we’ve been struggling to stick to the budget we set for ourselves every month.  Old habits die hard I guess.  I’ve been trying different methods from tracking our spending and receipts both manually and using budgeting apps, to using cash only, and everything in between, but we haven’t found a system that works for us yet.  It’s a work in progress, but we’re at least talking about our spending and are more conscious of it.  So my goal is to find a system that really works for us and helps us stay on track to pinch those pennies without feeling oppressed.

I want to become more of a positive force in my family.  I feel like I’m doing a good job as a mom, but I have room for improvement.  I want to say yes more often (like 99% of the time) when Ellis asks if I’ll play with her.  As a wife, I need to really raise my game.  I want to be more conscious of showing my husband love and appreciation using his love language.  We spent last fall discussing Andy Stanley’s iMarriage in our marriage class, and I am working on doing more for Trav and looking at him as the gift that he is to my life as opposed to taking him for granted.  I always want to find joy in the small things of every day and not treat my responsibilities as a burden.  I have a pretty good life, but sometimes I act like my problems are so huge when really I’m the problem.

Finally, I want to get chairs for our kitchen table.  About two years ago, we bought a new kitchen table.  It’s a high top, and we bought two chairs to go with it.  When Ellis came along, she scooted up in her high chair.  Now we have a larger kitchen, and the two bar chairs are cozied up to the kitchen island.  Our kitchen table has been reduced to a dump for all our clutter.  When we have meals, we eat at the island, and someone is left standing because Ellis hasn’t used her high chair in almost a year.  Once in a while we sit together at the dining table, but that’s usually reserved for when we have guests.

And that’s that.  My goals for 2016.  Of course, once baby gets here, I’m going to scratch all this, and my new goal will be:  survive.