Mom guilt

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Below is a list of the things I feel guilty about as a mom:

1. EVERYTHING!

Seriously, who knew?! There were a lot of things I was expecting and anticipating about becoming a mom, and the huge amount of guilt, worry, and doubt were not chief amongst them.

Now I know better.

I’ve been racked with guilt since the day he was born about a variety of things. The one that’s gotten me most as of late is being a working mom.

I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: I know that working motherhood is what’s best for me, Caleb, and my family. I know I need to do it so that I can provide for my family. For the most part, I even LIKE doing it. I don’t think I’m one of those moms who is meant to stay at home – I think I’d get a little stir crazy, honestly.

All that said, I still feel guilty about it sometimes.

On my average work day, I get to spend about four hours with Caleb: an hour in the morning before work, and three hours in the evening after work between when I get home and when he goes to bed. On these days, he spends just as much – if not more – time with Jerry and my mom than he does with me. He’s with Jerry in the mornings, then my mom in the afternoons. I’m really glad that he’s with people who love him and that I know he’s always in good hands.

But that doesn’t alleviate the mama guilt.

The guilt of whether I see him enough, of whether our short time together is quality time, of whether he’ll know that I’m his mom when I only see him four hours a day some days.

I feel guilty that maybe I’ll miss his first steps, his first time clapping, his first time dancing. I feel guilty when I get frustrated over his cries, as if I should be 100% my best all the time when I’m with him. I feel guilty that he won’t know how much I love him, and that he’ll think work is more important to me than he is.

When I am with him, I feel guilty when I’m doing something else like cleaning, blogging, watching TV. I know that I need to still be me and maintain my own identity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty about it sometimes.

I guess as a mother, you tend to feel guilty because no matter what you do, you feel like it’s never going to be good enough for your child. You want the absolute best for them, and you feel not good enough. You wonder how YOU could possibly be the best when you can hardly keep your house clean on a good day. I want everything in the world for this boy, and I guess that’s where the guilt comes in: I wonder how I could possibly do enough, be enough, give enough to this child who I love more than anything. No matter how good you are, it could never feel sufficient enough when it comes to your child who deserves the world and then some.

I know that ultimately, I’m doing exactly what I need to do for my child. Some days, it’s just harder than others to accept.

At the end of every single day though, I kiss his little cheek and tell him I love him. At the end of the day, that’s all we have and all that really matters.

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Caleb: Five Months!

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Caleb is five months old today!

He is around 19-20 pounds and a bit taller than 26 inches. His bottles are now six ounces and he goes anywhere from 2 hours to 3.5 hours in between bottles. He still fits into size 3 diapers, but I JUST put him into a size 4 about an hour ago. They’re a bit big still, but we used the last of his size 3 diapers today and I didn’t want to buy another package since he’ll likely be outgrowing them any day now. He still wears 9 month clothing, but has also been wearing 12 months comfortably. The 9 month stuff is getting to be snug, so he’ll mostly likely be wearing all 12 month clothing very soon.

He also started eating baby food this month! So far, he has eaten green beans and carrots. For the most part, he seems to like it, and he gets it once a day. Next up will be squash, then we’ll be moving onto fruits. His doctor advised we only introduce a new food every 3-4 days, and that we start with vegetables. He also sat in his high chair for the first time a week or so ago and it was hilarious.

caleb green beans resizedOn May 24th, we saw him roll for the first time on his video monitor while he was in his crib. He went from back to side, then got stuck on his arms. This is what he continues to do and hasn’t rolled from stomach to front yet. His doctor wasn’t concerned about that though because he said it’s actually harder to roll from the back which he’s doing, plus he already has good neck and head control.

He is very interested in his hands and feet! He’ll hold toys and inspect them very closely if I hand them to him, but he quickly drops them and becomes uninterested. We put him into his Baby Einstein exersaucer and his baby walker almost every day, but he’ll only tolerate them for a few minutes at a time. He still much prefers being held. Hopefully, he’ll become more interested in playing in the coming weeks.

He continues to do pretty well in his crib and is going to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 most nights. He’s still getting up once a night though, a habit which he started shortly after transitioning to his crib. Prior to the crib, he would sleep 12 hours STRAIGHT, and man do I miss it. It’s for the best though, since he really needs to be in his crib. He wakes up any time between 3:30 and 6:30. I usually give him his binky and he goes back to sleep, and if he doesn’t, I bring him into his Rock and Play in my room where he’ll go back to sleep.

Recently, he’s started to pay attention when I read to him, which I’m loving. I try to read him a board book every day or two. He also loves looking at the TV, and will turn his head while I’m feeding him to watch it. Hopefully this isn’t a bad thing. I think he just likes the light and colors.

He still loves going outside and riding in his stroller, and he laughs and smiles a lot which I am crazy about. He loves when I sing to him, especially his current favorite song, “Budapest.”

I love Caleb at five months. I seriously think he keeps getting cuter and cuter and that his personality is really starting to shine through!

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Five on Friday (10)

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ONE. I’m really not all that skilled in the kitchen… yet. Combine that fact with my wicked sweet tooth and you have me, declaring to Jerry, that I’m going to learn to bake AND that I’m going to bake one new thing every weekend. Yikes! I started last weekend with these delicious from-scratch brownie cupcakes (my first EVER that weren’t from a box). They remind me a bit of Texas sheet cake and came out SO good and now I’m a little bit over-confident. Yeah, just ask Jerry… I’ve been gloating about it all week. Let’s hope that the cinnamon dessert Jerry picked out for me to bake on Sunday for Father’s Day comes out just as good! If you have any good “beginner’s” recipes, please send them my way! I even went and bought some cooling racks and cupcake pans the other day. I need supplies, am I right?!

TWO. My book club is meeting next week and our book for the month is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It was actually my pick, but I have to confess… my book club is BAD about reading our books. We made attempts the first few months, but now a lot of us don’t finish the books or even bother to start. We just chat, gossip, and eat usually. I have zero problems with this, but I really, really want to read this one, and I keep promising I’m going to be better about book club! Who has read this one? Word on the street is… buy tissues!

THREE. Sunday is Jerry’s first Father’s Day so I’m hoping to make it special! I’ll be baking, as mentioned above, and he decided on pizza for dinner. I also picked him out some nice gifts that I’m excited to give him. Do you have any plans for Father’s Day?

FOUR. Caleb is going to be five months old on Monday (!!!), and is now eating solids and sitting in a high chair! So far, he’s tried green beans and carrots (the Gerber baby food jars) and is doing well. I’m trying him on something new every 3-4 days, and starting with veggies, both per his doctor’s recommendation. Where is the time going?

FIVE. Within the first couple months of Caleb’s life, I had printed probably over a thousand photos of Caleb and most of them are still sitting around unsorted in their Shutterfly packages. Eventually, I’ll get them sorted and into albums, but I didn’t want to keep adding to the chaos. I’ve decided that from now on, I’ll be making and ordering the hardcover photo books from Shutterfly every few months instead of ordering thousands of individual prints. My first one arrived and I love it! It took me a couple of weeks to make and contains all of my Caleb photos from May. I made it scrapbook style and included quotes, songs, and milestones about Caleb’s developments. They’re kind of costly and time-consuming (but fun!), so I’ll probably make a new one every few months or so. I’m thinking the next one will be June-August.

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Mini reviews: parenting books

I’ve been reading parenting books since I was only about six weeks pregnant and continue to do so now. Some of the books have been informative while others have just been good for a laugh and to help me feel less alone. I know that parents have very limited time, so here are some mini-reviews of the ones I’ve read so far in order of when I read them. Also, I know I don’t really review a lot of books on here anymore, but I do post short reviews of everything I’m reading on Goodreads, so friend me if you want!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff – This one is often thought of as the classic “pregnancy bible” and I can certainly see why. I was gifted a copy of this book when I was about a month and a half pregnant and  expect resizedstarted reading it immediately. I read it through my whole pregnancy from start to finish, following along with each week. I always looked forward to hitting a new week and reading up about it in the book throughout my pregnancy. I really enjoyed it and felt that it covered pretty much everything you could ever want to know about pregnancy. Not only did I read it from cover to cover (which probably isn’t recommended… information overload!), I often found myself using the index in the back to also look up and read up on certain topics or questions I had at any given time as well. I liked the layout of the book, with each week of pregnancy being covered, and the extensive information included. I often found it comforting and found myself referencing it in some of my scarier moments early on in my pregnancy. While it isn’t perfect, and some of the information can be a bit overwhelming, in your face, scary, or seemingly judgmental, all in all I thought it was a very handy and thorough guide and one that I would recommend highly. 4.5/5

parenting resizeParenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick – this is a pretty hilarious illustrated book about Dusick’s adventures in parenting two boys. She shares a lot of really funny stories on a variety of parenting topics, all accompanied by even funnier ilustrations. She’s blunt and straight forward, and never sugarcoats parenting. All in all, I appreciated her honesty in what parenting really entails and found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. You can see my full review here. 4/5

Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant by Nancy O’Dell – This book, though nothing spectacular, was at least worth the quick read that it was. It’s a short, concise book full of tips and information about pregnancy and early motherhood. The tips were seemingly random and in no particular order that I could ascertain, though the book is broken down into sections full resizeby trimester. I didn’t find all of the information to be relevant to your typical first time mom-to-be such as myself; the author is a Hollywood woman who hired a nurse to come to her house and help her with her baby, which I could never afford to do nor would I really choose to. However, a lot of the information was in fact something I could relate to. There were a few tips that I hadn’t considered and found to be useful, though a good deal of it was stuff I already knew. All in all though, I’d say this book was worth the little bit of time that it took to read it because it did have some interesting tips and some cute “mom” moments and would be a good choice for someone early on in their pregnancy. 3/5

Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler – This was a really enjoyable, fun, and quick read. It contains essays on a variety of topics pertaining to parenthood by Jill Smokler, a mother of three young confessions resizechildren. It was a very humorous and honest look at motherhood, although some of it did scare me a bit since I was reading it as a mom-to-be. But I digress. Motherhood isn’t always perfect, and I appreciate Smokler’s approach of looking at motherhood through a humorous lens and taking the good with the bad. This is not a warm and fuzzy book by any means, nor is it inspiring – it is meant for entertainment purposes only, and I did find it highly entertaining. I also really enjoyed all the “mom confessions” at the beginning of each chapter. These were anonymous confessions submitted to Smokler’s website from moms all over. Some were funny, some were sad, but all were very, very honest. I’d highly recommend this one for moms and moms-to-be who are NOT looking for parenting advice, but rather are looking to find the humor in motherhood! 4.5/5naturally resize

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) by Jill Smokler – This was a very funny read that was easy to relate to. I think I may have liked the first one, Confessions of a Scary Mommy, just a tad bit better, but I really enjoyed both of them because of their humor and honesty. Highly recommended! I’m hoping for another book from Jill Smokler!  4/5

Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy – I liked this one a lot and found McCarthy’s take on belly resizepregnancy to be humorous, honest, and even crude, but in a very good way! Unlike some celebrity memoirs, I found this one to be incredibly easy to relate to. In fact, I took pictures of several different passages while reading and sent them to my husband because I could relate to them SO much, and he found them to be funny and relatable as well. This is definitely one of my favorite pregnancy books I’ve read and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for some laughs – and total honesty – in your own pregnancy. I am definitely planning on reading more of her books because I enjoyed the tone and fast pace of this one. 5/5baby resize

Baby Laughs by Jenny McCarthy – This book about the first year of motherhood was a lot of fun, just like her first one, Belly Laughs (which was about pregnancy). It was funny, honest, and down to earth. I think I liked Belly Laughs just a smidge better, but they were both excellent, humorous, and worth the read. I’d definitely like to read Jenny’s other books now, and recommend both of these ones to pregnant women and mothers. 4.5/5

The Sh!t No One Tells You by Dawn Dais – Coming from a brand new mom, this is, HANDS DOWN, the best parenting book I’ve read so far. It is so completely honest, relatable, and no one tells resizefunny. I seriously felt like I could have written much of this book myself because I was nodding my head and thinking “me too!” throughout most of it. My favorite thing about this book is the author’s total honesty and fearless nature in that she touches on subjects that are often left out of parenting books such as baby blues / postpartum depression and a host of other difficulties new parents experience. A lot of things she discusses are things that I was afraid to admit as a new mom, so I really felt better after realizing I wasn’t the only one experiencing these things. This book seriously made me feel so much less alone and so much more normal. If I could recommend only one book to new mothers or expectant mothers, this would be it. For new moms, you will definitely relate and feel less alone, and for expectant moms, you’ll get an honest idea of what things will really be like after your baby arrives! 5/5

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Time flies by

resized FacebookSo, this came up on my Facebook memories today. The date is ingrained in my memory, and I’ve commemorated it in some little way every year since… but it managed to escape my mind this year until this little reminder. It’s easy to forget things when your time and energy are generally consumed by a little person. These days, I’m a bit forgetful, but it’s okay… I guess these Facebook memories serve a purpose.

I remember that day – and the details – quite vividly. I was down 50 pounds at the time, but still quite overweight, and I went shopping with my sister-in-law at Lane Bryant the week before to pick out an outfit to meet him in. Eventually, the clothes became too big but I couldn’t bear to part with the shirt. Too many memories. Too much nostalgia. Luckily, my grandma was able to take it in for me so that I can wear it again. I’ll always treasure it.

I worked that day, and I remember feeling so antsy at my desk, with endless knots in my stomach all day long. His flight was a late arrival, and I remember lying on the couch watching “The Glee Project” all evening in an attempt to pass the time and distract myself, but nothing really worked. Finally, it was time to go. My brother and sister-in-law drove me to the airport. I saw him come in… and the rest is history.

The day after we met.

The day after we met.

We didn’t know what would happen or what our future would hold. All we had was that moment, that day, that week, with a return ticket for Jerry at the end of it. Almost instantly, we knew it would be nearly impossible for him to leave. So he didn’t.

In those three years, we’ve done a whole lot of living. We met, fell in love, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, continued to lose weight, ran races, bought a house, found a new job for Jerry, and, of course, had a baby. We did a lot of growing up, and we did it together.

I never could have predicted, on that night in the airport three years ago, just where we’d be today.

But I’m glad, SO glad, we are here.

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Where we are.

 

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In defense of “boy moms”

I’m a little bit fired up at the moment.

Let me start by saying: there are a lot of ideas and assumptions regarding what being a “boy mom” is all about. Boys are dirty, messy, obnoxious, and loud. They wrestle, they’re rowdy, they’re muddy. Right? WRONG (possibly).

Last night, I read a piece called “10 Things Never to Say to a Mom Expecting Another Boy.” I loved it and thought it was spot on. No, I’m not at present expecting another boy (or expecting at all yet), but I do have a son and I love him fiercely. I also know that some people pity the pooooor boy moms. Oh how sad, right? How sad to have a little miracle, a tiny person to love and raise. Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?

What pissed me right off was not this article, but some of the ignorant comments I had the (dis)pleasure of subjecting my poor eyes to on Facebook. The one that fired me up was something along the lines of: “I feel so bad when I see moms of boys. I’m so glad I only have girls. Boys are dirty, messy, obnoxious, etc.”

Um, what?

Excuse me?

Hold up, lady.

First and foremost, those are a whole lot of generalizations about a species that happens to make up half of the human population. Secondly, sorry, but I don’t think gender dictates everything about a person. I think a lot of a child’s behavior is based on their environment and how they’re raised. I’ve seen plenty of messy, obnoxious girls, just as I’ve seen plenty of sweet-natured, quiet boys.

Secondly, WHY are mothers always pitted against one another? Why can’t we all just be MOMS? Why does it always have to be a fight, a competition?

Working moms vs. stay at home moms

Breastfeeders vs. bottle feeders

Co-sleepers vs. crib sleepers

Boy moms vs. girl moms

Please! Can we give it a rest and all just accept each other as mothers and move on? Why do we have to be defined as certain types of mothers?

At the end of the day, we all want what is best for our children. As mothers, we all share that common end goal. Can’t that be enough? Does it constantly have to be a competition? Must we always judge each other? I can’t even tell you the number of threads and comments I’ve read wherein breastfeeders bash bottle feeders. Don’t even get me started on that one. Only YOU know what is best for your child, just like I know what is best for MINE so let’s just leave it at that, shall we? Stop judging. Stop telling other mothers how to raise their children. Stop making assumptions.

I love my son more than the moon and the stars and everything in between. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I used to dream, all starry-eyed, about one day going wedding dress shopping with my daughter, and sharing with her my favorite “girly” books from childhood. But my son? My supposedly rowdy, obnoxious, messy son is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Now that he’s here and I’m smitten, I couldn’t imagine if he’d been a daughter instead. I wouldn’t want any other kid than the one that was given to me. Plain and simple, he is everything.

And yet… I also would have felt the exact same way had he a been a girl instead, and I guess that’s my point. It really doesn’t matter what your child is, does it? As long as they are yours.

So maybe one day I’ll have a daughter… but then again, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have another son and I will love him just the same. In fact, I’d be lucky to have either, however messy and loud they become, whatever their gender may be. I’d love to have a daughter, but I’d also love to have another son just as much. I’ve learned rather quickly that it doesn’t much matter who or what your child is; what matters is only that they are yours for eternity.

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My beautiful, non-messy boy

 

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The juggle struggle

Things seemed impossibly difficult to manage from the moment I arrived home with my baby in January.

For more than two weeks, my mom did all of our laundry and dishes while Jerry and I struggled along and tried our best just to SURVIVE. Life with a newborn… yikes. My days back then consisted of being so exhausted I could barely function, and feeding the baby. Lots and lots of feeding. Not much else in between.

Now that the newborn days are long past us, I’m facing a whole new struggle, particularly since returning to work in April. I’m no longer a total zombie, but I am going through what I’d call the “juggle struggle.” Life has become a huge balancing act full of responsibilities and figuring out priorities and trying to do it all but knowing I simply cannot.

It’s a lot like juggling, trying to keep all the objects in the air, but some inevitably falling down and crashing to the ground at some point. You can’t really give 100% to 100 different things. Some things become priorities while other things do not. It means letting go of what’s not important and giving more to what is.

I’m realizing that I simply can’t do it all. I am not Superwoman or Supermom, though I’d like to be. I’m just ME, and that has to be enough. I want to be everything to everyone and be everywhere all at once, but I can’t. Who can?

At any given time, there are a million and one things that need to be done. I usually try and get two to three done at once, and even THAT’S overwhelming.

And exhausting.

I’ve had my Shutterfly book waiting to be finished and ordered for over a week now. I’ve had my coupons and ads to sort through since Sunday, and they’re still sitting there untouched. My DVR is always dangerously close to that 100% full mark. I have a bin of books that I’d LOVE to sort through that’s been calling my name from the living room floor since Saturday. I’m pretty sure I can hear crickets chirping around my blog here lately. I haven’t been to the gym since I can’t even remember when (I used to go 6 days a week!). As always, there are mountains of laundry and my husband needs clean socks.

The to-do list is never ending. In fact, it just keeps growing. I simply cannot keep all the objects in the air at all times. I need to drop some to the ground and BE OKAY with it. It’s a balancing act and I cannot balance it all, try as I might.

I know what is most important: my son, my husband, my family. They are number one and I need to remind myself of that when things get hard and I am being pulled in a million different directions all at once.

Some days I am so exhausted by the end of it that I simply choose to crash instead of picking up my book or writing a new post. I work, then I come home and take care of Caleb. It’s like working two shifts without a break in between. And it’s worth it, every single second, it’s worth it… but then the guilt sets in that I’m not doing enough. So then there are nights after Caleb’s gone to bed that I stay up way later than I should just to get stuff done. Then I am exhausted the next day and the cycle repeats itself.

I know this is all just part of motherhood and it’s a huge learning curve for me – growing pains, if you will. I know that one day, I may have it all figured out, or most of it at least. I’ll have discovered ways to balance it all, to keep my cool, to curb the anxiety and stress. Life will never be the same as before, but it’ll be a little easier than it is right this very second.

Motherhood! I’ll tell ya… it’s one hell of a ride. A chaotic, anxious, beautiful ride.

caleb and mama

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It’s goin’ down, down

I really don’t have anything compelling to say today. I have plenty of drafts started and things I want to say and write about, but am currently lacking the time and energy to see them to completion. It’s been a tiring couple of weeks, with Caleb waking up between 5 and 6:30 in his crib since last week, then coming back to our room to sleep a bit more. It’s no big deal, but I’m tired because I’m finding it hard to fall back asleep before having to get up and ready for work.

My second nephew was born in the early hours of the morning today. His name is Lucas James, and he marks the third little fella in our family! These boys will have a lot of fun together in a few years. I keep picturing Caleb and his two boy cousins running around at family functions and having a blast. I’m hoping to go meet him later today, or maybe tomorrow if his parents aren’t quite up to visitors yet.

There are a couple of other things that have been consuming my mind lately and they are: weight and finances. My weight is going down, our debt is going down, and I am feeling good and positive about both.

We’ve been dreaming of a major kitchen overhaul since moving into our home and we’re trying to make that a reality. I am NOT a fan of credit cards, but we did use one a teeny bit towards the end of my maternity leave. We also have a small Lowe’s balance from when we had to get a new refrigerator last year. I am focusing big time on getting those paid off in the next couple of months so that we can then pursue a kitchen remodel. I refuse to do it until we get those debts paid off plus Jerry’s car which will be paid off in July. After these debts are gone, I’ll feel more comfortable financing a new kitchen.

We have the “usual” debts that people have: a mortgage, student loans, and auto loans (mine will be the only one left after July when Jerry’s is paid for!), but I hate the thought of debt at all. I’ve just started reading some of Dave Ramsey’s work about becoming debt-free, but it’s not completely feasible for us. We simply don’t make enough to pay off the student loans and mortgage in full, but I am focusing in on our smaller loans by using his “snowball effect” of paying small debts first.

So. Our debt is goin’ down. Little by little, but we’re making progress.

My weight, too, has been going down. That’s also been slow and steady, but I’m seeing progress and that’s what matters. So far, I’ve lost 28.2 pounds of the 70 I gained during pregnancy. Honestly, it’s probably going to be another year before I’m back to where I started, but I’m working hard at it and seeing progress. It’s crazy to think I’ve been in weight loss mode for over three years now (since January 2012), with the only break being during my pregnancy.

It’s a lifelong battle; I’ve been learning that all along and I’ll just keep on keeping on.

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Caleb: Four Months!

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Caleb turned four months old yesterday!

He’s still a very big boy and we get a lot of shocked looks when people hear his age. My guess is that he’s around 18-19 pounds now. He wears size 3 diapers and is in 6-9 month clothing. He still gets five ounce bottles approximately every two hours, but none overnight.

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Caleb transitioned to his crib this month (May 5th) which proved to be a lot easier than expected. We were anticipating it taking awhile for him to adjust, but he only struggled the first two nights with a couple of wake ups, then his third night he started sleeping the whole night through. He did better than I did! The first night, it was so emotional and sad for me to look next to me and see his empty Rock and Play. We do use the video monitor though, and it helps. He usually sleeps from around 9:00 PM to 7:30 AM (he actually used to sleep in later before going to the crib). Just this past week though, he’s been waking up anywhere from 4:30-6:30 and I have to bring him in my room where he goes back to sleep for a couple more hours in his Rock and Play. This is odd since he WAS sleeping the whole night in his crib for weeks. I think it’s the famed “four month sleep regression,” and I’m hoping he’ll be back to his normal schedule sooner rather than later! He does manage to rotate himself exactly 90 degrees, in the same direction, every single night. I have no idea how/why but it cracks me up every morning when I go in there.

Crib boy after his nightly rotation!

Crib boy after his nightly rotation!

He also tried rice cereal for the first time this month (May 9th) and it didn’t go over too well. The doctor wanted us to spoon feed him and he basically screamed both times we tried. We’ll try it again soon but I don’t think he was ready just yet.

On May 10th, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with Caleb, and on May 17th, he was baptized. His godparents are my brother, Nick, and my best friend, Taylor. He did pretty well for the one hour mass prior to the ceremony but cried through a lot of the actual baptism. Pretty sure he wasn’t overly fond of his silk one piece suit on such a warm day. Ah, well. The other big event of the month that turned out to be a non-event was his first concert (Zac Brown tribute band) that got rained out after we heard only a song or two. Totally lame. I saw them when I was pregnant with Caleb, so thought it would be only fitting that it be his first concert.

All of these pictures make my heart EXPLODE.

All of these pictures make my heart EXPLODE.

He’s been sitting up really well in his little baby chair, is starting to hold things pretty well, laughs like a maniac, loves being pant-less, and enjoys walks in his stroller. He still basically refuses to nap, but all in all… our baby is awesome. :)

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Guest Post & Giveaway: “Happily Ever After?” by Glynis Astie

I’m super excited to be hosting author Glynis Astie today! I don’t host a lot of guest posts on the blog, but I was thrilled to have Glynis share her own personal romance story since I could relate to it so much: whirlwind romance with a guy from far away? People thinking you’re crazy? Wondering yourself if you’re crazy (but never really doubting it)? Yup! Sounds a lot like Jerry and myself! Glynis also wrote an amazing trilogy of novels based on her romance. When you read it, you’ll know just why I asked her to share her love story here today!

Last year, I reviewed the first two books (French Twist and French Toast), and am looking forward to reviewing the final one (French Fry) soon since it just came out this week! If you’d like a chance to read the series yourself OR win a gift card, be sure to enter the giveaway below; you won’t regret it!

Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Glynis!

Happily Ever After?

Everybody loves a good love story, right? I have been lucky enough to have my very own whirlwind romance. The kind that makes your heart swell, your pulse race and your entire body swoon at the fantasy I have been able to live. (Or make you want to smack me across my beaming face, which I completely understand.) My husband and I have such a great story, I simply had to write a series of books about our adventures together. I often tell him that the books in my French Twist series are a kind of love letter to him, but I don’t think he believes me. Very few men have the capacity to appreciate such a romantic gesture. (And far fewer of them would admit it if they did.)

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But my future didn’t always seem so rosy. I began life as a wallflower and then proceeded to have the worst dating track record of anyone I know. While my friends were dating great guys, I worked my way through a series of jerks. (Cheating, indifference, strange…desires; take your pick!) Consequently, at the grand old age of twenty-seven, I decided I was destined to be a spinster. I even adopted my first cat! Enter my husband–the most charming Frenchman you’ll ever meet. He was (and still is) gorgeous, intelligent, funny and completely genuine. His sexy accent certainly didn’t hurt! He immediately swept me off my feet and we were married six months later.

The first year was particularly scary, since we were still getting to know each other. We had been living together (gasp!) for four months before we got married, so the initial stage of the stupid fights had passed. (You forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste! Yeah? Well, you left your towel on the floor! You know the drill.) However, the speed with which we were married had everything to do with his sudden unemployment, so we had severe financial pressure to add to the mix. Not to mention the rampant green card rumors.

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Throughout these early days of marriage, I experienced twinges of doubt. There were moments when I thought I had made a hasty decision and there were definitely moments when I thought our relationship would never work, but I couldn’t bring myself to give up. The love we shared–no matter how new–was too strong for me to let him go. None of it was easy. We drove each other crazy as we tried to bend the other to our will. In fact, there were a number of juvenile moments which I will keep to myself because I cannot take the embarrassment of your reading them.

Despite all this, we found our romantic moments. We pushed through the difficult times and came out stronger. We somehow managed to be there for each other, even when we didn’t agree, and learned to compromise. Each time we diffused another time bomb I would think, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I knew my Intro to Philosophy class would come in handy! You gotta love Friedrich Nietzsche. (Although, I must admit, whenever I think of this brilliant quote, I hear Olympia Dukakis’ southern accent as she delivers this line in Steel Magnolias. Don’t tell anyone!)

The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from my whirlwind romance is this: Happily ever after isn’t all moonlight and roses. It’s hard work. It’s taking the other person for better or worse–no matter how difficult the worse can be. It’s biting your tongue, learning to be patient and doing your best to embrace someone else’s point of view. It’s being willing to say, “I’m sorry” without resentment and being able to put someone else’s needs before your own. Will you experience your share of misery? Absolutely. But it’s worth it! Finding the love of your life is one of the greatest journeys you will ever take.

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About

Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, Author Shot 2she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Giveaway

Three lucky people will be winners! Please enter the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will close on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM and is open to US only.

1. $25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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