Five on Friday (9)

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a happy one indeed! I’m getting out of work early today (1:00) since I worked last weekend and will be going to lunch with Jerry and Caleb. Yay! It’ll be nice since we have a big weekend planned including Caleb’s baptism on Sunday. He’ll be rocking a one-piece silk outfit, complete with fake attached vest and silk shoes. Don’t worry… pictures will be forthcoming.

ONE. I finally had a good loss this week! Since my pregnancy, my weekly losses average around 0.4 pounds (hey, I’ll take it), BUT I lost 1.2 pounds this week! WOOHOO! I’m now down 26 pounds total from my pregnancy. I’ve got 40-50 to go still to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I’m proud of that number so far. I exercised A LOT last week (a couple runs, a couple walks with friends and Caleb on the canal), so clearly I need to keep that up if I want to keep up with the big losses.

TWO. My first Mother’s Day was really nice. As soon as I woke up, Jerry brought a beautiful bouquet and heartfelt card to me in bed. Then, we had breakfast pizza with my family, followed by Jerry taking me shopping at my favorite craft/antique co-op to pick out some primitive decor, which I’m obsessed with. It was a special treat for me since we don’t have a lot of extra money for me to do that anymore. I also picked out a few running t-shirts the day before at Wal-mart. After shopping, Jerry watched the baby while I took a nap and then he cooked me my favorite dinner (alfredo) while we watched some “Impractical Jokers.” I loved spending the day with my two best guys. For my own mother’s gift, we planned a big surprise. In March, we took Caleb and my nephew Nico to get a little photo shoot done. It was an ordeal that we had to keep secret for months! They had matching shirts, we made prints, a photo album, etc.

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Caleb and I on Mother’s Day, gifts from Jerry, one of the shots of the boys from March.

THREE. My aunt and I saw the musical “Kinky Boots” on Tuesday and it was AMAZING! It’s definitely up there in my top three now (“Rent” will always be my number one, followed by “Wicked”). Like my other two favorites, it’s the kind of musical that can make you laugh AND cry. I’m noticing that pattern there amongst my favorites… both funny and touching.

FOUR. I received my first ever paycheck from writing this week so that makes me feel like a legit writer now, though I’ve been writing since I was old enough to. I’ll share more details and links once my writing goes live, but I was thrilled to sign an awesome freelance writing contract a little while back, and hope this will open up even more opportunities for me in my writing career. If you have any freelancing tips or tricks, like where to find work, please send them my way!

FIVE. When I was pregnant with Caleb last summer, we saw a Zac Brown tribute band who was AWESOME! They had a show this weekend at a local festival so we decided to go so Caleb I could hear them again. We left after three songs though because it started to pour. So that was a bummer, but we went to Insomnia Cookies on our way home which definitely made up for it. Yup, starting my blog post with weight loss and ending it with cookies… warm, delicious cookies. That’s just how I roll, friends. That’s just how I roll.

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Bout of Books Readathon!

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I’m a former book blogger turned personal blogger. I gave up book blogging NOT because I don’t still love books and reading (I do), but because I burned out a bit after years of book reviews and deadlines and pressure. I also love creative writing, and crafting personal essays for my blog has enabled me to pursue that passion of mine. My blog will still have a bookish touch or post on occasion, but for the most part, it’s more about my life now. I still love to read as much as ever, but I now have a 3.5 month old son and am also a working mother. My reading time has taken a nose dive as I now have little to no time or energy anymore after working all day and taking care of my boy all night. I still make a point to read as much as possible, but let’s just say I’ve only finished five books so far this year… Yikes!

So that’s where Bout of Books comes in! I’ve debated joining for years but I finally decided to just go for it for the first time ever in an attempt to push myself to read more and after being inspired by Brandie and Sarah who always seem to be having a blast with it! My life just doesn’t feel the same since I’ve had to severely cut back on my reading time. Let’s be honest… when I’m exhausted and my baby is crying, it is so much easier to turn on the TV. This week though, I’m going to pick up a book more often instead… if I can!

This post will serve as my master post for the week and will include all my daily progress and challenges I decide to partake in. I Tweet, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads and all that jazz (see right sidebar for links), so let’s chat!

So what is Bout of Books? Here’s a brief introduction, followed by my daily posts and goals!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.”

My Goals

  • Read for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Read at least 200 pages total.
  • Finish at least one of the books I’m currently reading.

My Plan of Attack!

I totally need one. Having a baby is hard, friends. This plan will help me fit in some reading time.

  • Read during breaks at work. I used to do this, but now social media basically always wins out. Time to get back to reading!
  • Read every night before bed. I try to do this anyway, but have been really struggling to do it every day since I’m pretty tired by bedtime.

Daily Progress

Monday
Total pages: 19 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I’m off to a good start, but not a great start. Good because I met my goal of 30 minutes, but not great because I didn’t exceed it. Honestly though, I did read more than I would have if I wasn’t doing the readathon because I read for a few minutes on a break at work which I haven’t done in forever, and I forced myself to stay up and read at night until I reached the 30 minute mark. Normally, I would have just gone right to sleep or played around on my phone longer since I was so tired.

Tuesday
Total pages: 25 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Meant to Be by Terri Osbourn and Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: A similar day as yesterday. I went to see “Kinky Boots” at night and when I got home, I was exhausted, but made myself read anyway!

Wednesday
Total pages: 22 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I can’t seem to get past that 30 minute mark! It’s okay though because I’ve just been so tired that I’ve made myself read 30 minutes each day to reach my goal. If I weren’t readathon-ing, I definitely wouldn’t have read for 30 minutes any of these days. It likely would have been ten minutes or not at all.

Thursday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 35 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Finally broke the 30 minute mark – woohoo! I’m going to struggle even more for the rest of the readathon though. Jerry works week nights, so weekends are our family time, plus Caleb’s baptism is on Sunday. I’m still going to try and squeeze in 30 minutes a day though… wish me luck!

Friday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 35 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Beat my goal again! Yay!

Saturday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 36 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Busy day today getting ready for Caleb’s baptism, but I managed to beat my goal again so I’m happy!

Sunday
Total pages: 27 pages
Total time: 33 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I’m happy I met my goal considering Caleb’s baptism and party took up most of the day. I was tired by the end of it all, but I still took the time to read and meet my goal!

Final Totals
Total pages: 177 pages
Total time: 229 minutes
Final thoughts: I met my goal to read for at least 30 minutes every day (woohoo!) but didn’t quite meet my other goals of reading a total of 200 pages and to finish a book. I know my totals probably look tiny to some people, but I’m really proud of myself. I used to spend a lot more time reading, but it’s been a challenge to do so as a new mom, especially as a working mom. I really did read a lot more this week than I normally would have since having my son, and redeveloped some good habits I used to have like reading on breaks at work, and reading every night without fail. If I hadn’t been doing this readathon, there would have been a lot of nights where I just went right to sleep, but I chose to read instead. I also wouldn’t have been reading during my breaks at work… I would have been on my phone the whole time instead of just some of the time like I did this week. I honestly probably would have read only a couple of days instead of all seven because of how tired I’ve been so I’m extremely happy with how I did. I hope to keep up these habits now and dedicate more time to reading again! I am very stubborn when I set a goal, which is how and why I’ve been successful with weight loss. That’s also the reason I successfully met my 30 minute goal each day. I would have forced myself to reach the 200 page goal too if I’d been keeping track of my total but I didn’t add up my pages until just now… Bummer! I know if I set my goal higher next time, I’ll force myself to reach it again…. so next time I plan on bumping my goal up to an hour a day. I plan on participating in a lot more of these readathons. I had a fantastic time!

Challenges

Bookish Survey

1. How do you organize your shelves? I have one shelf that contains my favorites, one that’s all cozy mysteries, one that’s all non-fiction, but then the rest of my shelves… there is no rhyme or reason. I’d LIKE them to be alphabetized by author, but I have too many at the moment. Great problem to have, I know.
2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres? My favorite genres are YA and chick lit/women’s fiction, so a favorite of mine that ISN’T in one of those two genres would be She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
3. What is the last 5 star book you read? The Sh!t No One Tells You by Dawn Dais.
4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon? Dance With the Devil by David Bagby. This is a true story about a very sad crime. I saw a documentary, Dear Zachary, on Netflix, and this book was written by the victim’s father. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile, but none of the 30+ libraries in my system owned it, so I had to do an Interlibrary Loan instead of a regular hold. This book came to me in New York all the way from Vermont!
5. What book do you recommend the most? Jen Lancaster’s books!

Haiku

Girl likes two brothers.
And yet I know who she’ll choose.
Typical romance.

Cover Color Challenge

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Cutting the (first) cord

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Within minutes of Caleb’s life, Jerry cut the first cord… the REAL cord. You know the one.

I had to cut MY first cord, so to speak, on Tuesday night. At 14.5 weeks old, it was time: time for Caleb to spend the night in his crib, in his own room, away from me for the night for the very first time.

Cue the emotional mama.

Since the day he came home from the hospital, he’s slept directly beside my bed in a Rock and Play, but he’s recently gotten too long for the thing. The steadfast plan was to have him in his crib by the time I went back to work five weeks ago, but there were always excuses, and we were always skirting around the real issue: mama didn’t want to cut that cord.

When Jerry finally set up his video monitor last weekend, the biggest excuse went out the door and I had no choice. I pushed it off until Tuesday since I would be off work on Wednesday and predicted a rough night of little to no sleep. Things were… okay? I felt like I was missing a limb to be honest, looking beside me and seeing Caleb’s empty little “bed.” I felt strange, lonely, like a piece of me was missing (but really just a few feet from me across the hall). I obsessively checked his ghostly looking image on the monitor. I went to check on him at least twice before going to bed. I had a hard time falling asleep and jumped out of bed at the first sign of crying.

He made it just over three hours before waking up and being brought back to his Rock and Play. He typically sleeps 11 hours straight through the night with no wake ups (since he was a month and a half old – yes, we’re lucky!), but considering this was his first night in a large, flat crib (much different from what he’s accustomed to), three hours wasn’t so bad.

We both slept better when he came back to my room.

Moving Caleb to his own room was harder than I initially expected. Cutting that first cord? Not easy… not easy at all.

I need to get used to it, though. Mothers have to cut the cord SO many times. When he goes off to school. When he doesn’t hold my hand anymore. When he falls in love. When he gets married. When he moves out. When he doesn’t need me (though don’t we always need our mothers?). I need to prepare myself to cut the cord again and again and again. Tomorrow, we buy a high chair and feed him rice cereal for the first time. Yet another little cord this mama has to cut. And for the record, last night, his third night in the crib… he made it through the whole night. He also managed to rotate himself 90 degrees. Hey, thanks for telling me you were mobile, little one… I had no idea! Yikes.

My boy is growing up too fast. Don’t they always? And as mothers, we are powerless to stop it, both thrilled and terrified at the prospect. Excited to see his personality take shape and his spirit evolve, thrilled to see him learn new skills, but so sad at the same time that this once tiny baby is no longer that little newborn who needs us for every last thing.

Elizabeth Stone is credited with saying that to have a child “is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I didn’t get it until now. He IS my heart, and one day soon he’ll be walking around the world, eventually even WITHOUT me… but he will have my heart with him. Always.

And all I can do is keep a pair of scissors handy and keep on cutting that cord.

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Slow and steady (baby weight)

When I first started losing weight in 2012, the weight felt like it was melting off. Most weeks, I’d lose somewhere around two pounds and even remember losing five pounds one week.

It was glorious. And those days are long gone.

I was able to lose 118 pounds in the span of a year and a half. It was fast and frantic. I felt great. I worked out six days a week for an hour or more. Now? Not so much.

“Mom” weight loss has been… slow and steady. It’s been hard. Since giving birth in late January, I’ve managed to lose 25 pounds… but I still have 45 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose. It’s a start though, and we all have to start somewhere.

These days, I manage to lose anywhere from 0.2 – 0.6 pounds a week. I’m only losing about a pound or two a MONTH, where I used to lose two pounds a WEEK. Is it frustrating? Kind of. Is it okay? Yes. My body, post-baby, is not what it once was (but it will be again in time!).

I think part of the reason I managed to gain 70 pounds during my pregnancy was because my initial weight loss was not slow and steady at all. I thought it was at the time, but looking back, I realize now how fast it all was. I was very hard on myself, very unforgiving, forgoing experiences and dinners out in pursuit and in favor of a slim body. No more.

This time, I’m going the slow route. Yep, that means I’ll be stuck with this larger, post-baby body for a longer time, but I do believe that in the long run, I’ll be able to succeed and maintain my weight loss for a lifetime. I am easier on myself. I don’t pass up opportunities going out to eat with friends and family. I don’t say “no” to birthday cake anymore… it is to celebrate, after all.

It’s slow and steady this time around for a number of reasons, including not going hungry. I used to eat just 1,200 calories a day when I was starting out. I was pretty miserable and hungry. I still log my calories, which I credit for my weight loss, but I’m currently at 1,590 calories a day. This is much more manageable. As mentioned above, I’m also not quite so hard on myself. Life is for living, not for weight loss (though that is important to me). I also simply don’t have as much time and energy to work out like I once did, but I’m seizing any opportunity I can, and am about to head out on a brief 30 minute walk momentarily. Motherhood is tiring, friends!

Jerry and I still enjoy a weekly cheat day, as we always have, and I firmly believe this has contributed to our success. We can be “good” most of the week knowing that on Saturday, we can enjoy a day of treats without counting calories. Some people think cheat days are counter-productive, but Jerry and I are living proof that it works. I also allow myself to still eat the things I like even on non-cheat days, but I eat them in moderation and hold myself accountable for them by logging the calories. I am, at the moment, about halfway between my highest weight (270 pounds) and my lowest weight (152) at 207. I am working my way back down the scales. That number is a bit scary, but it’s not as scary as 270… yikes!

It’s going to be a long and difficult journey back to my pre-pregnancy weight… but that’s okay. I am making regular, consistent progress and I’m seeing the scale go down, no matter how slowly. Some days I don’t like what I see in the mirror, but I know I am perfect in my son’s eyes and that he loves me just the way I am. When he smiles at me, I know that’s what matters most. I will get healthy and fit again (AM getting healthy and fit again), and he is all the motivation I need.

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The best thing I’ve done

There are at least a million times in every day that I stare at my child and wonder how in the world something — someone — so perfect and amazing came from me. I wonder because Jerry and I… we are flawed; we are imperfect. And yet…

Caleb is nothing if not perfect. I know that to the world he may not be as perfect, as beautiful, as magnificent as he is to me, but still… I am amazed. His pouty lips, his gummy smiles, his silly laughs… there is nothing I would change.

You worry nonstop before your child is born. You hope and you pray that nothing will be wrong. You even get ultrasounds and tests done. Then they hand him to you, and all your fears disappear in an instant. Even though he is slimy, and screaming, and cone-headed… he is beautiful. He is perfect.

I swear, this child gets more beautiful by the day. He is the best thing I’ve done and my greatest accomplishment. I never thought I’d be more proud as I was the moment I crossed the finish line in my first half-marathon… until I held him in my arms and nothing could compare.

How in the world is he mine?

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Five on Friday (8)

Woohoo, it’s Friday! I used to work every weekend before I went out on maternity leave so Fridays weren’t all that thrilling. When I went back to work though, I went into the weekend rotation and only work 1-2 weekends a month now. I’m off this weekend, so Friday is looking really good this week! Here are some of my random Friday thoughts:

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ONE. Have you all heard that “Full House” is (kind of) coming back?! It’s probably my all time favorite show, so I’m really, really excited! It’s coming to Netflix and will be called “Fuller House.”

TWO. Life has been even crazier and more hectic since my return to work a couple of weeks ago, hence the slight slow down of posts here. I’m happy to say I’ve been able to post once a week since my return, but it is much less than my usual. This is my second post this week and is the first time since going back that I’ve been able to post a second time in one week so yay! Other working moms, how do you find the time to balance everything? It’s definitely a struggle!

THREE. Jerry and I saw “It Follows” recently and I LOVED it! Jerry wasn’t really a fan but I thought it was so creepy in a subtle way and it is definitely one of my new favorite horror movies. Anyone else see it yet? We’re hoping to see “Unfriended” this weekend. We’re definite horror movie buffs.

FOUR. I am really not a cook at all unless it’s a crockpot meal, but I cooked last weekend using the actual oven and stove! I made ranch pork chops and Jerry loved them as much as I did… so easy and delicious! Mix ranch dressing powder (just the powder) with a little seasoned salt and pepper, coat pork chops with it, then bake for 20 minutes at 450. Try it if you need something quick and easy. We love it!

FIVE. New York is not known for its weather, but we finally had some warm weather last week. Don’t worry, it’s back to being cold again, but we did take advantage of the nice weather last weekend. We took the baby down to the beach where we got frozen custard and started to walk on the pier. It got a bit too cold so the walk didn’t last long, but it was nice to get him out in the fresh air for once. I’ve been dying to get him outside in the stroller so it was really nice!caleb custard resized

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Caleb: Three Months!

3 monthsCaleb is three months old today! I cannot believe my baby is a quarter of a year old already. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were on our way to the hospital, but at the same time, it feels really long ago too. Time is a funny thing.

The best thing about the past month has been the frequency of Caleb’s smiles. He smiles quite a bit these days and it’s probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. He’s also started laughing recently too. He thinks my brother and my aunt are the funniest people in the world. He’s started “talking” too, which cracks me up. We have little conversations and I love it.

hat resizedHe’s a great sleeper now too! He goes to sleep between 9 and 10 each night, and wakes up around 8 each morning. Yup, that’s right, no more middle of the night feedings! This mama and daddy are happy campers. On the flip side though, he is the world’s worst napper. He very rarely naps during the day, and just takes a few cat naps here and there of about 5-10 minutes. The longest we usually get is around 30-45 minutes, and that’s if he’s feeling generous. I’d take a full night’s sleep any day though so I can’t complain much!

I returned to work this past month and things are going fine on that front too. He’s home with Jerry most of the day because he works evenings. Then, on his way to work, he drops him off to my mother’s and I pick him up after work. Caleb has had no problems adjusting, so neither have I. I do miss him during the day, but I think me being back at work is the best thing for all of us.

We think Caleb has recently started pre-teething or teething in the last week or two. He’s been drooling a lot, chewing on his hand, and has been a little bit on the fussy side. Some days he acts totally fine, but then other days he can get crabby. Baby Tylenol seems to help him a bit. I haven’t seen any teeth just yet, but I think they’re coming soon. He’s also been congested for a few weeks now. The doctor suggested a humidifier at night which we’ve been using, but he’s still stuffy… my poor guy!

He is still in 3-6 month clothing, but he has worn 6-9 a couple of times too. I think he’ll be in the 6-9 month clothes exclusively very soon. He’s currently still in size 2 diapers, but will likely be moving up to size 3 in the next week or so. My guess is that he’s somewhere around 16 pounds now. He’s a big baby, but he’s also very strong and has always had really good head and neck control. He’s currently sitting up in his little seat. Today is his first day sitting in it for an extended period of time and he’s doing really well! I think we’ll get him an exersaucer or a Baby Einstein bouncy soon. He still hates tummy time, but I try for a couple of minutes each day because I want him to learn how to roll over.

All in all, Caleb is a really good and happy baby. He is growing well and thriving. I can’t wait to discover what his next milestones may be!

Caleb on his one month, two month, and three month birthdays. The changes are incredible!

Caleb on his one month, two month, and three month birthdays. The changes are incredible!

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What working motherhood is…

Gifts and treats from coworkers on my first day back, including a homemade frame with his photo.

Gifts and treats from coworkers on my first day back, including a homemade frame with his photo.

I now have nearly two weeks under my belt as a working mom. I was both eager to get back and sad to leave my boy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry and stare at my sleeping baby the Sunday night before I went back, but the dramatics proved to be unnecessary. It was a challenge walking out of my house last Monday morning knowing I wouldn’t see my little guy for over eight hours, but it wasn’t so bad once I arrived.

Now I’m getting back into the swing of things at work, and to be honest, working again makes me feel a bit more like myself. I’ve always seen my job, whatever it has been, as a large part of my identity. Jerry and I both need to work for financial reasons, but I also don’t think I’m meant to be at a stay at home mom, even if given the option. While I don’t like missing out on anything with the baby, and being a mom is the most important thing ever, working has always been important to me. It makes me feel good about myself and fills me with a sense of pride. There are some days that I envy those who are fortunate enough to be able to stay home, but at the end of the day, I don’t know if it would be right for me. I am in NO WAY bashing stay at home mothers, as they too have their own unique set of challenges… I am simply sharing my own experiences.

Here are some of the things that I’ve discovered about what working motherhood is…

…it is rewarding. I get to be a mom, a wife, and have a career. I play a lot of roles in my life, all of which are important (though none quite as important as the mama role!), and I like that.

…it is tiring. I work all day then take care of the baby all evening. Once he goes to sleep, I try to take care of the house and then have some “me” time which usually includes reading, blogging, or TV. Sometimes though, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all so I do my best. We’re a liiiittle behind on laundry, but I did make a small dent in it today! I’m also behind in my reading (and blogging!), but what can you do?

…it is empowering. I feel proud that I help provide for my family. I feel confident that I will be a good role model to my son and that I will push him to succeed and set his own goals. I feel good knowing that I am doing what I need to for my family, and that Caleb will know his parents worked hard to provide for him. Jerry and I have to make a lot of sacrifices, with me working days and him working evenings, but we know this is what we need to do for our family and our son.

…it is waking up early and staying up late, just to get things done. It is blogging in bed at 11 at night, and reading until way past my old “bedtime,” because nights are the only time I get to read now.

…it is seeing my son smile at me when I walk through the door, and my heart immediately melting.

My life as a working mom is so different than my working life before having a baby. It can be hectic and overwhelming, but the challenges are worth it to me. Being a mom is the most important thing in my life, and the best job anyone could ever hope to have… but it’s always been important for me to maintain my own identity too. Continuing to work has played a huge role in that for me. Yes, I miss my baby, but I have pictures of his sweet little face all over my desk. When I miss him, all I have to do is look at that smiling, silly face of his and realize that I want to work even harder for him. He inspires me and motivates me to be better and do more, in all aspects of my life. I want to teach him what it means to have a good work ethic and pride. I want him to grow up knowing that Jerry and I work hard to give him everything he needs and to provide for him. I want him to know that the hardest things in life are often the most rewarding, and that most good things in life come only from hard work and determination.

I’m a working mom not only because I have to be, but also because I want to be. I hope that one day my son will be proud of me.

That face is all the motivation I need... // With Caleb before leaving on my first day back.

That face is all the motivation I need… // With Caleb before leaving on my first day back.

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It takes a village.

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“It takes a village to raise a child.”

I am learning just how true that statement is, and I’ve been learning it since the day my son was born.

I remember in the very early days, when Caleb was just five days old and I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling like we were completely in over our heads, I was at my doctor’s office and he said some of the most important words I have heard yet as a mother. I told him we had been receiving a lot of help with the baby, particularly from my mother who had been staying overnight to help, and I wondered if this was an okay thing, or if we really needed to be more independent and try to do it all on our own. My doctor, usually a man of very few words and lacking compassion a lot of days, told me of his own experience when his first child was born. He said for the first month of her life, they had overnight help; first, his mother stayed for two weeks, then his mother in law stayed for two weeks. He told me to accept all the help I could get, and said, “don’t you find it odd that the U.S. is one of the only countries where entire families don’t live together?” I have taken his words to heart every single day since, and I have not been afraid to ask for help when we need it. His words carried me through the first few weeks when I felt like a failure of a mother for not being able to do it all on our own.

Now that I am finally getting the swing of things, and feeling like a real mom (at last), I still realize we could never do it on our own, and I am so grateful for the “village” that has been behind us since the day our son was born.

My parents have been our strongest support system and when I say we couldn’t have done it without them… I truly mean it. My mother has dedicated countless hours to helping us in our times of need (which occur a lot), and is madly in love with her grandson. From bringing us dinner, to comforting both the baby and I during our crying sessions, to teaching us to bathe him, to being his babysitter now that I’m back to work, and to everything else in between… my mother has been our rock. My father has been supportive as well and has been understanding of the times my mother needed to be rushed over for a “baby emergency.” He too has spent countless nights having dinner with us and just keeping us company after Jerry goes to work for the evening.

My best friends have not only NOT left my side (even though they aren’t yet parents) but love my child as if he were their own. I wouldn’t want to do life without these people, and I am so grateful that they choose to spend a lot of their nights and weekends hanging out with my son and I, even though there are a million other things they could be doing.

My family and friends who have come to meet Caleb, who brought us dinners because we were exhausted, who watch the baby when we need to get errands done or want to go to book club, who give us advice, who answer our frantic texts with parenting questions, who spend time with us, just to keep us company… we are really so lucky, and so is Caleb to know and love these people.

So many people have done so much for us, and continue to do so much. I am really just grateful, above all else, that Caleb has so many people that love him… that is truly one thing he will never be in short supply of, and one thing you can never have too much of.

Yes, it really does take a village, and man do I love my village!

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There are A LOT more people who are special to us too, but I don’t have photos of everyone with Caleb yet!

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Five on Friday (7)

My smiley guy in his sweater and hat knit by my grandma.

My smiley guy in his sweater and hat knit by my grandma.

ONE. Caleb had his two month doctor’s appointment on Monday. He now weighs just over 15 pounds (!) which is the 96th percentile, and is 24 inches long. My baby boy is BIG! He did pretty well with his shots, and just cried for a couple of minutes. I was a proud mama! Also… Caleb has his own jam these days. Every single time he hears “Love Me Like You Do,” he instantly stops crying. He is also entranced by the music video. Appropriate? Probably not.

TWO. The weather has finally turned a bit this week. It was around 60 degrees out yesterday which was by and far our warmest day of the year so far, so I’ve been enjoying going for walks and getting some fresh air finally. I even went for an hour long walk with a girlfriend on Wednesday which was really nice. I’m waiting for it to warm up just a touch more, and then I’ll be out walking with Caleb in the stroller… can’t wait!

THREE. I’m going back to work on Monday. This has been the quickest 12 weeks of my life, and I can’t believe my maternity leave is just about over. I’m going to miss my little man, but I also feel that it will be good for me to get back out into the world. I’ve kind of been feeling like I’ve been in my own little bubble since Cal was born. Mamas, how did you deal with going back to work?

FOUR. I’ve been getting into a lot of TV shows since I’ve been out on maternity leave. Most recently, I started watching “Dancing With the Stars” for the first time ever because CHRIS SOULES. Seriously, I was such a huge fan of “The Bachelor” that I decided to watch DWTS even though I’ve never had any interest. I have to say, I’m actually starting to enjoy it! I want him to win, but I really don’t think that’s going to happen. Rumer, Riker, and Willow are definitely the most talented I’d have to say. Jerry and I also took the plunge and signed up for Amazon Prime the other day when I was frantically searching for a humidifier for Caleb (he’s congested) and wanted it delivered in two days. There’s a whole slew of shows on there too that I want to watch now… not to mention my Netflix queue. Too many shows, too little time!

FIVE. I’ve been able to read a decent amount again finally! Last week, I finished my first book since Caleb was born 10 weeks ago. Right before he was born, I started The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch, and I finally finished it. It was pretty cute! Now I’m reading a really awesome parenting book called The Sh!t No One Tells You by Dawn Dais. It’s hilarious, honest, candid, and she touches on subjects that most people are afraid to talk about when it comes to parenting. I’ve been reading every night again because Caleb is finally sleeping well (fingers crossed that doesn’t change). He typically goes to sleep between 9 and 10, and sleeps until around 8! It’s been amazing; I know what sleep is again! I usually stay up for a couple of hours after he goes to bed because it’s my “me time” where I get to read, catch up on blogs, etc.

Happy weekend, everyone! I can’t believe this is my last one before returning to work… better make it count! Luckily, Jerry is going in early and getting out early today (he usually works until 2 AM) so I finally get to spend a weeknight with my hubby! We’re also excited for Caleb’s first Easter and will be spending the day with family. Do you have any plans?

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