29 January 2008

Tuesday fun!

Well, Renee, Ben, Kristy and Xander will be here soon to play. Lucy is snoozing right now, after a VERY good night of sleep!
I got up at 6 and had my own time. It was so nice. I paid all of the bills for next payday, did a bunch of online banking stuff, made out my to-do list for the day and everything! I think I'm going to make Chicken Quesadillas for dinner tonight. Andrew would like that a lot.
We ran out this morning and dropped the laundry with the laundry service. I'm just not going to have the time to do it this week!
Lucy and I have to run to Wal Mart for notebooks today. Andrew starts a new semester tonight. Ugh- he's doing grad accounting and grad finance. Poor kid. At least he won't be writing a million papers this semester. And he's really good at math, so I'm sure he'll fly through it. He's like a math robot.
Tomorrow Lucy and I are going to drive downstate to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa! Yay! We're going to leave in the early-ish morning. I'm going to stay until Friday morning, and then come back up here for our anniversary weekend. Lucy is going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's until Monday morning. I'm going to meet Mom in Frederick to pick her up sometime Monday. I think Andrew and I are going to spend the day in Deep Creek on Saturday, and we have the Super Bowl on Sunday! We're going to go to the Lang's to watch it. I'm so excited! It'll be fun to have a baby-free weekend, but I know we're both going to be going crazy without her. She's so easy to miss!


It's done! No more credit cards!!! WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!!

28 January 2008

Your Mom Misses Poker Night!

Our Poker People are playing tonight and we are miles and miles away...we miss you guys!

A Letter from Daddy

Dear Lucy,
You will undoubtedly read this beautiful blog that your mother works diligently on to document the daily joys you bring to our young family. As you peruse the posts, you will notice that my written communications are limited. As you grow, you will learn that I am exceedingly judicious with my choice of words and indeed when to speak/write at all. Please do not misinterpret this as a reflection of how strongly I feel about you.

Aside from your mother, nothing has brought me greater joy in my entire life. Your mother & you are at the cornerstone of why I leave the house while you & your mother as just getting up and frequently do not return until the sun is setting upon these striking Appalachian Mountains. Those minutes that I get to hug you while you are still sleepy & cuddly in the mornings are the highlight of each of my days. In fact, I have been late for work intentionally on days where you have slept in a little so that I could hold you. At work, pictures of your beautiful smiles adorn the office walls and computer background. Daily I find myself staring longingly at them wishing I was spending time at home having fun with the two of you. Moreover, your mother emails me pictures of your adorable accomplishments.

Your mother asked me the other day, “What is your favorite thing that she does right now?” You just started crawling a few weeks ago, so you have been doing some exceptionally hysterical things lately. After a considerable amount of thought, I responded the funny faces that you make as you smoosh your charming face on the mesh sides of the pack-n-play cribs scattered in each room of this apartment. Your mom snapped candid pictures of you doing this and they are just simply precious, like you. Running a close second is when you nap for hours at a time on our chests. Feeling your warm little body and little heartbeat is utterly breathtaking.

I promise to write again soon, perhaps upon celebrating your 365th day (which others, less interesting, would simply call your 1st birthday)! I can only imagine the festivities that your mother will plan (and has already began planning)!

Thank you for the joys you have brought thus far to our lives. You are a miracle. Our redheaded miracle.


Taking Mommy Steps!

Lucy and I were at the mall this morning and I thought, "I wish we had a Stroller Strides program here." And then I thought, "Fine, I'll start my own." The mall GM thought it was a fabulous idea and we're going to schedule a meeting to get it off the ground. She wants to tie it in with the kids club, get some merchants involved and start advertising. I'm pumped! She said she can't wait to "pick my brain" and get started. Yay! I feel like such a "doer!"

27 January 2008

I have to brag a little...

By the end of this week, we will have our entire credit card debt at $0, we will have another student loan paid off, we will have a small furniture loan paid off and we will have met our goal for our emergency fund. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Those were our financial goals for 2008! Yipppppeeeee!!

26 January 2008

The Idle 8-Month Old...

Well, Lucy has a new schedule! Mommy took the time to make a beautiful, colorful, Lucy-friendly schedule and menu last night. Mommy is so amazing. We've been having some sleep issues, some food issues, some mood issues, you name it! Lucy has had a hard time getting back to normal since her big plane trip, so I decided that she might benefit from a "Where is Lucy?" chart. I'm also going to buy her a wooden clock so that we can look at the "time" when we check out chart.
We're having a quiet day at home today. Lucy just woke up from a nearly 2.5 hour nap. She's having trouble napping in her crib during the day, and I'm torn on how to fix the problem. She'll sleep in her crib for an hour, and then she wakes up hysterical. Crying like she's scared. She wants me to hold her, so I pick her up. She cries herself back to sleep on my chest, on the couch, under what is now considered "the nap blanket." She wakes up an hour or two later, very happy and full of energy. If she doesn't get that "Mama nap," she's ok but it takes a LONG time to calm her down.
Now, I don't mind cuddling with her and giving her an extra hour or two on the couch. I'm not sure it's a behavioral issue because she sleeps fine in her bed all night long. She always gets in her crib happily and goes right to sleep. So I'm not sure this is actually a battle of the wills. If it is, I'd hate to keep giving in. However, an hour in her crib in the afternoon is a standard baby nap, I think. She's not going to be a 16 pound infant forever. Maybe this is God's way of telling me to slow down and give up my afternoons to a smaller cause. I can do my housework while she eats lunch, or after she goes to bed. She plays happily all day long and requires very little attention. I suppose an hour or two each day of my baby wanting to lie on me while I watch tv isn't too much to ask, now, is it? These days and weeks are flying by. I don't ever want to have regrets about the attention I give to my baby(ies). Life is far too short and unpredictable. There are mommies the world over who wish they could have had just one more snuggle. I can usually talk her out of the "Mama nap" and have a pretty happy Afternoon Lucy, but she's probably much happier with it.

25 January 2008

Whew, I need to update!

Lots going on around here! Namely, the YMCA Gym Crisis of 2008. See below:

Dear Mr. Thompson,
I am writing today with a very serious grievance.
I am a young, local mother with an 8-month-old daughter. In considering a gym, we wanted a place with childcare. We decided to sign up for a trial membership at the Riverside YMCA and found that it had everything we were looking for in a gym. Our daughter loves playing with the other children and I love the hour a day I can spend working out and getting a short break from the daily grind.
Before our two-week membership ended, I decided to test the babysitting service to make sure that our daughter was safe there. I sent a friend who does not use the babysitting service to pick her up without my permission. I asked her not to use our daughter's name and to pretend that she didn't know which diaper bag was ours. Imagine my surprise when my friend came back into the locker room with my daughter!! My friend walked right in, pointed to my daughter and picked her up- no questions asked! She was even given help finding the right diaper bag! Furthermore, she was given assistance in signing my daughter out with no problem at all.
I immediately went to management. I was told by the executive director, Greg Thompson, that he "really didn't know how they did things" in the babysitting room as far as security went. I left feeling disappointed and sick.
I later received a call from a second manager, Shelly Minnigh, who assured me that this probably happened because I wasn't a paying member, and that they had no "real process" for children of trial members. I was told that the best thing to do would be to leave my trial membership receipt with a care provider and get it back when I picked my child up. She told me that paying members' family pictures are put into a book, and the pictures are compared EVERY time a child is dropped off and picked up. I have seen many children dropped off and picked up, and have never seen such a book
I called two of my paying-member friends and was discouraged by their experiences as well. One friend knew of the book and hadn't seen it used "in a very long time" and another friend had never had a family picture taken, had never seen a book and said that she has forgotten to sign her child in or out on more than one occasion with no problem.
I am so glad I decided to test the security measures (or lack thereof) at the Riverside YMCA. I will not be purchasing a membership at this time. My daughter's safety is my number one priority, and I can't put her in any situation where I have to worry about her disappearing. Would I consider a membership, should security measures change? Absolutely. I've found the Y to be welcoming and wonderful for my entire family.
My husband and I want to see concrete action taken to see that the children's room is made a safer place for every single child who uses the room. Any parent should be happy to be asked to comply with stricter security measures. There are so many security measures that can be taken to protect the children of our community. There are card swipes, fingerprint devices, bracelets and "pick-up lists" to start. Any gym or care provider should make security its number one priority. A broken treadmill is so easy to repair in a day. A family who loses a child never heals.
In addition I am requesting a sincere reply to this letter and notification when the Riverside YMCA brings its security to a higher standard. Thank you very much.

Mrs. Laura Cooke

More of my update letter. I hear that sweet wail coming from across the house...sigh. Naps are never long enough!

23 January 2008

I'm so WOW.

I filed our taxes today. By myself. Whist caring for an 8 month old. Booyah!

A Weekend At Grandma's!

These pics all got posted funny. They're all from last weekendm, but all jumbled up. I'm going to going caption them and leave well enough alone.
Lilly and Lucy at the Double T on Sunday morning.

Pancake Mania!

Lilly loves diners!

Saturday night dinner at the Cookes.

Andrew and Calvin snuggling.

Andrew, Calvin and Manik

A very candid moment between Andrew and Josh.

Katherine and Manik
Em being cute!

Manik and Calvin

Grandma Cooke, Lucy and Aunt Lisa

Mama and Lucy's happy reunion! We missed her so much!!

So many gorgeous women!

Her highness.

22 January 2008

Hitting My Stride...

I think I'm starting to actually come into my own as a stay-at-home wife and mother. It's taken over a year to figure out my "style," but I'm starting to get "my" life in order and really understand what my family needs.
When your baby is first born, they really don't have unique needs. Does that sound harsh? It's not meant to me. It's just that every baby needs the same thing for the first 6 months. Food, diapers, baths and cuddling. Easy peasy. You think to yourself, "A monkey could do this job. There is no WAY I can continue this." Same thing every single day. Terribly boring, and not at all challenging.
And then they start to DO things. All of a sudden, Lucy wants everything done a certain way, said a certain way, handled a certain way. She wants her diaper changed, but she only wants it changed the "right" way. She wants pancakes, but with a smidge of jelly, cut up just so. She wants to be tickled, but only two inches down from her armpit, and you have to use your teeth a little so she feels like you're nibbling her. She wants you to cuddle her for her naps, but only until she arches her back slightly. It's ridiculous.
And all of a sudden, I'm very, very, very busy. Gone is the sleeping and eating. Now she cruises through the kitchen for a bite of whatever fell off her tray during the previous meal. Now I have to double check that every door is closed. Now I crawl around on the living room floor making sure that all the "swallowable" items are picked up.
But, as she's demanding more, she's also demanding less. She plays by herself. She enjoys standing. Just standing. She's testing her hands and feet. She's picking at the linoleum. She's watching kiddie shows. She's chewing on the legs of her crib. She's licking the side of her toybox. So, so busy.
Our days are very full now. We get up at 6, cuddle, play and make a bottle. We send Daddy to work and Lucy eats breakfast. At 8:30 or 9, she naps for almost an hour. Then we get ready for the gym. At 10:45, we leave for the gym. Lucy plays in the kiddie room and I work out. We both have lots of fun until about 12 or 12:30. We run errands until about 1:30, have a long lunch and Lucy takes her afternoon nap at 2. She wakes up around 3 or 3:30, and then she's either up for the afternoon or she falls asleep on me for another 1.5 hours. Daddy gets home around 5 and we all eat dinner and play. One of us puts Lucy to bed at 7 and the other races around and either cleans or gets something done. Then we relax until about 10 and crash.
Naptimes are very productive for me. Since I have more energy in the afternoon after the gym, I clean the house or try to get a blog posted. Today I'm doing both. Some days we spend more time at the gym to swim. Some days we meet Daddy for lunch or go walking at the mall. No matter what we do, our days are much fuller now. We're almost completely out of time these days! I feel much more satisfied as Lucy's growing, knowing that Mama knows all of the "tricks" to keeping Lucy smiling. I have more purpose as a SAHM, because I know that no one else can handle her like I can. She needs me to help her "just right," and that's a very good purpose to have.

20 January 2008

Playtime with Lucy!

Lucy had a very crazy and busy week last week! I loved this picture of her hand holding her little Fuzzy Chick book.

A very sleepy Lucy trying to play at 6am!

Daddy and Lucy being silly!

Mommy and Lucy playing.
LOL, all of a sudden she was crying and we couldn't help but laugh- it just came out of nowhere!

These are my absolute FAVORITE pics!

Lucy and Suz being silly!

Things my camera can do.
The ice on sideling hill
I took this in the car, playing around. It's my neck!

19 January 2008

Lucy's 1st Weekend Away

Well, Mommy and Daddy needed a weekend "off," so Lucy is spending the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. I miss her SOOOOOOO much! I even took pictures of her when we went out last night. I'm such a nerd. I just miss her sweet Lucy smell and her little laugh...I know it's good for us to have time away, but I'm a little sad too.
Here she is waving us away, all ready for her weekend of fun.

"See you Sunday!"

We're having fun, though. We went out to a nice dinner last night and saw a movie, and we got to sleep in! There is also an afternoon nap in the works and possibly a second movie out. We're doing everything we just can't do with an 8 month old!

17 January 2008

The Shape Of A Mother


I have always been very self-conscious. Deep down, I've always known that my body is fine, but it's never changed the fact that I scrutinize every little wrinkle and imperfection. Little did I know that my body was soooo much better pre-baby.

But was it really better? Andrew says that it's ten times better now. Anyone who knows Andrew knows that this may be totally sincere or he may just be really good at making me feel secure. Whatever.

It's sad to me that so many women hide their post-baby bodies. And I still don't have the courage to show mine off. Maybe I should be more brave. Yesterday I wore a two piece to the pool. I didn't care about who saw me. It was me, Suz, Lucy and a bunch of very old men. I was totally fine, because I knew that the people around me saw Lucy and could appreciate the fact that my body was a result of bringing her into the world.

That said, I had a very interesting workout yesterday. I'm really bad with cardio. I can't usually do more than 15 minutes. I get SO tired, and I have horrible shin splints. Yesterday I got on the elliptical, which I always make an honest try at and end up stopping. It makes my knees just throb. As I was there on the elliptical, I started to feel stronger and stronger. I went for 45 minutes without so much as a pant. About 5 minutes in, I thought, "Of course I can do this. My body is stronger than half the people here. I handled 40 hours of labor. I spend hours crawling around after Lucy. I'm sure I have enough adrenaline to get my body back." And I did. I just moved and moved and moved, and I felt better than I have in months.

Today, I'm a little sore and really proud of myself. My NEW New Year's resolution to feel good in my own skin this year. I want to wear a pair of jeans and not think about the way my stomach looks in them. My body may never be the same as it was. I'm ok with that, I think. I have to keep reminding myself of it, but I think I'll come to terms with the new me as time goes by. I'm strong, I'm healthy and I'm carrying a few extra pounds. But if you'd seen me on May 9th, 2007, you'd be proud of my "squish" too.

16 January 2008

She did it!

Well, Lucy slept through the night for the second time in 3 nights! Could my baby finally be starting to sleep through the night 8.5 months after birth?? I would be so happy to start wrapping up the night feedings and get a little sleep! I'll keep you updated!

Today we'll be picking Suz up after class and heading to the gym. We need to be there by 11:30 in order to get a workout in before babysitting closes. After that we night take Lucy in the pool. She loves the water! We just need to pick up some swim diapers before we go! Maybe Lucy and I should run to WalMart this morning...I don't know.

15 January 2008

Dear Lucy...

...my baby disappeared today. In her place, I have a giggling, trouble-making, silly little girl. How can a baby change overnight?
Today you learned to dance. It's cute, but only big girls dance.
Today you said "nana" and ate all your bananas like a big girl. You sat in your highchair and just smiled away, never making a baby sound.
Today you learned that when you stick out your tongue, I blow raspberries on it and make it fizzy. You laughed and laughed and laughed, so happy to have a new secret.
Today you made a huge connection between toys and I saw you learn. It was bittersweet, because only big girls learn like that.
Tonight you drank your bottle with Daddy and went to bed without a peep. Babies always fuss at bed time.
Today you took your hands off my knees and stood by yourself.

Slow down! I don't mind if you hang on a little longer.

Pumping Iron!

Well, we made our first trip to the gym last night! Lucy had SO much fun. She loved the other kids and her new babysitters. We happened to be walking by and saw a teary episode, but it looked like it wasa toy problem and nothing too serious. By the time we picked her up, she was beyond wired. She was kicking her feet and squealing and very happy to be such a "big kid" now. It looks like she'll do just fine with the gym childcare during our workouts.
The gym was super crowded last night, since it IS the dead of winter and all that. But, it was really nice to get a good workout! I think I'll try to get down there tonight when Andrew gets home, since it's snowing so hard today. Once the roads are plowed and Andrew can take his truck to work, Lucy and I will be going in the mornings so that we can take advantage of a less-crowded gym! There are a few classes I'd like to get into, if I can get there at the right time.
Today we're snowed in. We're supposed to get a lot more. I think I'll probably just try to clean the house and maybe nap when Lucy naps. And that looks like it's about to happen right....now.

13 January 2008

Ahhhh....Sunday night.

Well, Lucy is recvering nicely from her pneumonia, and we decided that tonight was the night to let her try putting herself to sleep after a MONTH of sleeping with Mommy and Daddy. It only took 30 minutes, and the mood around her is so happy and relaxed, knowing she still knows how to do it alone. We were a little nervous to try it, but she handled it well. I'm so relieved!

We've had a GREAT weekend.

On Wednesday, Mom sensed how completely messed up my little head was, with a sick baby, just home from vacation and totally frazzled. She came up right away and saved the entire place. She fed us, cleaned us up and gave us our sanity back. It was heavenly. I was starting to really feel the exhaustion of being sick and worried and all traveled out. She saved us! It was so nice getting our time that we missed after Christmas. I miss her lots living up here, and it's nice to get Laura and Mom time when we can! The boys were complete angels and we had a blast with them. My favorite part of the week was taking them to the mall and walking around while Mom got her hair cut. They're the funniest kids! John is turning into such a nice guy, and Brendan is such a sensitive sweetie. Paul, well...he just lights up everyone.
They left Saturday, and we had the Langs, LB, Montana and Suz over to play games and eat junk food. They stayed for about 5 hours and we had a blast. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
Today, Andrew, Lucy and I slept all day! We took a little break to go shopping at Walmart, but otherwise, we just napped and watched TV and relaxed. Lucy and I got two two-hour naps and had so much fun playing!

She said her first word yesterday! She was sitting in her highchair, and she looked at me and said, "Mama. Mama," plain as day! The boys and I got very excited and started yelling and screaming. They were very excited to have witnessed her very first word. She was pretty proud of herself!
In other news, she is no longer eating baby food. Gerber is not for Lucy anymore. Lucy now eats only table food. I'm hoping she'll go back to Gerber, but for now, she'll only eat muffins. Turns out you can cram lots of stuff into muffins! Tomorrow she'll be having banana-sweet potato-carrot muffins. I do what little I can. If she refuses to eat anything but bread, she'll be eating everything baked right into it. Turkey.

Finally Blogging Again - Our Washington Trip!

Well, I can't find my Olympus USB cord, so I'm going to start with the Wednesday of our trip, which is kind of when our trip "really" started, since we were all trying to recover from the stomach flu for the first couple days. We got there Saturday, rested Sunday, did breakfast with the Goat Gals on Monday. Tuesday....what did we do on Tuesday???

Well, here's Wednesday. We went into town early in the day and Andrew decided that we should buy our coveted Nikon D40! Yay!! The pics you will see are all Nikon pics from here on out. It's an amazing camera! We 're very much in love.

Later in the afternoon, Katie, Seth and Nathan came out to visit! Nathan is adorable and was very excited about meeting Lucy. So excited that he couldn't keep his hands AND teeth off of her. She was a little surprised when his mouth got her ear, but they both recovered and had fun together. He's very sweet little boy- and boy does he look like a Davis!

Andrew and Nate

Nathan and Lucy

Lucy and Nathan

Lucy after a run-in with Nathan- I believe this was a smack in the face.

Lucy trying to understand boys.

Grandpa, Grandma and Andrew

Nathan and Lucy playing nicely!

You can see in this pic how much bigger Nathan is than Lucy!

"Mama! Save me!"

Katie and Nathan

Very proud of her standing skills.


Watching old Woodchuck videos.

Nathan and a horse!

Grandpa and Andrew got into Madden '08 throughout the week and had lots of fun. Grandma and I tried to stay far, far away.

Grandma had a little buddy all over her all week!

While we were out West, Lucy tried her first graham cracker and loved it! We now do about three baths a day, trying to keep the cracker slime to a minimum.

I loved this pic. Oh Nikon, you've stolen my heart!

Really, you have.

On Thursday, we took a nice drive out to the water and got Lucy to sleep for a nice long hour.

Andrew enjoyed using the new camera and seeing what it could do.

Here's the old gas pump at Joyce General Store. Cute!

Lucy with a puff stuck to her nose!

"More Puffs, NOW!!!"

Lucy and Grandma having a little snuggle time.

Bath time!