Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Day Book

Monday espcaped me...so here we go.

Outside my window … the day is fading and the wind is blowing...so far the storms are staying to the southeast of us.

I am thinking … of how much I love Glee.

I am thankful for … Craig because he took Natalie downstairs so that I could watch Glee in peace.
I am hoping … that all of my friends who are due with beautiful babies in the near future have safe and successful births!

On my mind … going back to work and my mixed feelings about it.

Noticing that …Craig has taken more initiative lately in helping around the house.

A few plans for the week … lunch with a college friend tomorrow and then Natalie's first trip to the dog park on Thursday...and of course the Royal Wedding on Friday!!!

From the kitchen … I picked up some hot dogs and chili today at Target and we had chili dogs and tator tots for dinner.  Yum.

Around the house … Martha came yesterday so our house is pretty clean - we're just trying to make sure that nothing gets too damaged with all these high winds.

One of my favorite things … Miss Smiley Pants Natalie first thing in the morning when she is just cooing and smiling in her bassinet.
A picture I am sharing … Baby feet are pretty cute on their own, but they're even cuter in high tops.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reading List

Maybe it's a slight case of ADD, but I can't just sit there and nurse and rock Natalie to sleep at night - I have to have something to do and the quietest and most productive activity that I can think of to do during this time is reading.  I've always been a pretty voracious reader - I love Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club growing up and I also went through a pretty intense John Grisham stage my freshman year of high school but my tastes have evolved since then and I have a wide array of books I'm planning on reading during the remainder of my maternity leave and throughout my summer vacation.

 I am currently in the middle of this Jodi Picoult book that I got for Christmas from Craig's mother.  I had to wait until my pregnancy hormones subsided because it is an intense novel about a family with an Asperger's son who is accused of murdering his social skills teacher.

I've read another book by this author and although it was definitely considered "chick lit" it's at least on the more serious side and looks like it will have some sort of substance.  I think it will be a pretty easy and entertaining read to enjoy poolside this summer.

Anita Diamant is an incredibly unique writer and I've really enjoyed two of her other novels, The Red Tent and The Day After Night.  I bought this one a long time ago and lent it to my mother to read and she said that it was good...but "interesting."  

My mother lent me this book set in two different eras - one being World War II Paris and the other sixty years later as an American journalist is seeking information about the Jewish roundup that took place many years before.  

And then moving onto something a little more lighthearted.  If I could be one person for a week, it would be Chelsea Handler.  I love her, I love her books and I'm going to be seeing her on her next comedy tour when it comes to Dallas in June.

Ahh.  Another fluff book - this time set ten years after Elizabeth and Jessica have graduated high school and *gasp* are no longer friends, or even talking to each other!  It's like the ultimate ten year high school reunion.  I.  Can't.  Wait.

This book is on my list of things that Craig can give me for Mother's Day.  She's witty, she's smart and she helped to dissuade the American people from voting for the McCain-Palin ticket.  What more could I want in a woman?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on Educators and Lawmakers

A letter to the editor found in the Mineral Wells newspaper.

Dear Editor,

The age of accountability should be renamed the age of blame, when teachers wear the scarlet letter for the failings of a nation. We send teachers into pockets of poverty that our leaders can’t or won’t eradicate, and when those teachers fail to work miracles among devastated children, we stamp ‘unacceptable’ on their foreheads.

I ask you, where is the label for the lawmaker whose policies fail to clean up the poorest neighborhoods? Why do we not demand that our leaders make “Adequate Yearly Progress”? We have data about poverty, health care, crime, and drug abuse in every legislative district. We know that those factors directly impact our ability to teach kids. Why have we not established annual targets for our legislators to meet? Why do they not join us beneath these vinyl banners that read “exemplary” in the suburbs and “unacceptable” in the slums?

Let us label lawmakers like we label teachers, and we can eliminate 100 percent of poverty, crime, drug abuse, and preventable illness by 2014! It is easy for elected officials to tell teachers to “Race to the top” when no one has a stopwatch on them! Lace up your sneakers, Senators! Come race with us!

Teachers are surrounded by armchair quarterbacks who won’t lift a finger to help, only to point. Congressmen, come down out of those bleachers and strive with us against the pernicious ravages of poverty. We need more from you than blame. America’s education problem is actually a poverty problem.

If labels fix schools, let us use labels to fix our congresses! Let lawmakers show the courage of a teacher! Hold hands with us and let us march together into the teeth of this blame machine you have built. Let us hold this congressman up against that congressman and compare them just as we compare our schools. Congressmen, do not fear this accountability you have given us. Like us, you will learn to love it.

Or maybe lawmakers do such a wonderful job that we don’t need to hold them accountable?

Did you know that over the next five years, Texas lawmakers will send half a billion dollars to London, to line the pockets of Pearson’s stakeholders. That’s 15,000 teacher salaries, sacrificed at the altar of standardized testing. $500,000,000 for a test! I’m sure it’s a nice test, but it’s just a test. I’ve never seen a test change a kid’s life or dry a kid’s tear. Tests don’t show up at family funerals or junior high basketball games. They don’t chip in to buy a poor girl a prom dress. Only teachers do those things.

If times are desperate enough to slash local schools’ operating funds, then surely they are desperate enough to slash Pearson’s profits. Lawmakers, get your priorities straight. Put a moratorium on testing until we can afford it. Teachers are our treasure – let’s not lose the house just so we can keep our subscription to Pearson’s Test-of-the-Month Club. We have heard Texas senators often talk about the teacher-to-non-teacher ratio in our schools. Lawmakers, they are ALL non-teachers at Pearson. Don’t spend half a billion dollars that we don’t have on some test that is made in England.

Parents are so fed up with standardized testing that hundreds are now refusing to let their children test. They do not want their children run through this terrible punch press. They do not want standardized children. They want exceptional children!

Let me tell you Texas’s other dirty secret – some schools get three times the funding of other schools. Some schools get $12,000 per student, while others get $4,000. Did you know that every single child in Austin is worth $1,000 more than every single child in Fort Worth? Do you agree with that valuation? Congress does. They spend billions to fund this imbalance.

Now the architects of this inequity point at the salaries and staff sizes at the schools they have enriched to justify cuts at schools that have never been given enough. State Sen. Florence Shapiro, of Plano, says, essentially, yes, but we’re cutting the poor schools by less. Senator, you don’t take bread away from people in a soup line! Not even one crumb. And you should not take funds away from schools that you have already underfunded for years. It may be politically right to bring home the bacon, but ain’t right right.

Legislators, take the energy you spend shifting blame and apply it toward fixing the funding mechanisms. We elected you to solve the state’s problems, not merely to blame them on local government. After all, you have mandated local decision-making for years. Your FIRST rating system tells school boards that their district’s administrative cost ratio can be no higher than 0.2 percent. And over 95 percent of school districts in Texas are in compliance with the standard you have set. At my school, our administrative cost ratio is 0.06 percent – so could you please stop blaming me?

If 95 percent of schools are compliant with the administrative cost ratio indicator in the state’s financial rating system for schools, then why are state officials saying we have too much administration? We have the amount of administration they told us to have! Either they gave us bad guidance and we all followed it, or they gave us good guidance and just need someone other than themselves to blame for these cuts.

Is this the best we can do in Texas? I wish they would worry about students half as much as they worry about getting re-elected.

These same senators have a catchy new slogan: “Protect the Classroom.” I ask you, senators: who are we protecting the classroom from? You, that’s who. You are swinging the ax; don’t blame us for bleeding wrong.

They know that their cuts are so drastic that school boards will have no choice but to let teachers go, and I can prove it: while they give press conferences telling superintendents not to fire teachers, at the same time they pass laws making it easier for ... you guessed it ...administrators to fire teachers. Which is it, senators?

If we don’t truly need to cut teachers, then don’t pass the laws that reduce their employment protections. And if we truly do need to cut teachers, then go ahead and pass those laws but quit saying teacher cuts are the superintendents’ fault. Here’s the deal: I can accept cuts, but I cannot do anything but forcefully reject deceit.

Politicians, save your buck-passing for another day. We need leadership. Get to work, congressmen. Do your jobs, and find the revenue to fund my child’s education.


John Kuhn, father of three, Perrin

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Month Old!

Vital Stats:
9 pounds - 50th percentile
23.75 inches - 95th percentile

She rolled over from front to back.  Once.  On accident.  She was pretty pissed about tummy time.  I'm not expecting it to happen again anytime soon.

She likes to sit in her bouncer while we're eating and she will focus really hard on the hanging rattle and then reach up and swat at it.

She goes to bed around 9:00 or 10:00 at night and usually wakes up around 2:00 and then again around 5:00 or 6:00. 

 Natalie and her best friend Angie.  In the past week Natalie has really started to notice Angie and I think she enjoys having her around.  Angie is Natalie's biggest fan - while Craig and I were cooking dinner on Friday night, Natalie was in her bouncer on the kitchen floor and Angie just sat right next to it...staring.  I guess she realized that Craig and I didn't have our full attention on the baby so Angie took it upon herself to babysit.  And for the time being...I'm okay with my dog babysitting my child.

 Craig's father passed away several years ago and I think that's been the hardest thing for him about bringing Natalie into our lives.  He would love to be able to share this experience with his dad.  But that cannot be the case so last Saturday night we met up with his Uncle Tim and Aunt Sheryl for a great dinner experience at Texas de Brazil in Fort Worth.  I don't know about Craig, but it was pretty emotional for me and my pregnancy hormones to watch Craig watch Uncle Tim hold Natalie for the first time.

 Although they are still a little baggy on her thin frame, Natalie has officially moved into her 0-3 month clothing!  I can already tell that buying clothes for her will be difficult because she is long enough to be in the bigger sizes, but her frame is so thin and delicate that the bigger clothes hang so baggy on her.  Here, she was all geared up to go to a going away party for one of my dear friends from work.

 Oh tummy time.  Sigh.  Not fun at this point in time.  Maybe someday.

 My middle brother Mike came in town a few weeks after she was born.  He lives in Maine - hence the lobster.  He is Natalie's godfather.  My favorite memory of my brother growing up is when I was sick around Christmas one year - I can distinctly see my little tree in my bedroom all lit up with colored lights.  I was having trouble going to sleep because of my congestion and fever and Mike's room was right across the hallway from mine.  He came in and sang "You Are So Beautiful" to me and helped me to relax and fall asleep.  This is the same brother that calls me Munchkin Butt.

This is Natalie's fairy godmother Kate and her husband Karl.  I chose Kate to be the godmother of my baby because I have known her since we were babies together and because Kate has alway had a delightfully different personality from me.  Where I am serious, she is lighthearted...where I am tough on myself, she rolls with the punches...where I am structured, she is carefree.  I have a very special relationship with my own godmother and I can't wait to have Natalie develop the same type of relationship with Kate.

Monday Day Book

My MONDAY Day Book

Outside my window … the trees in our front yard are a bit more manicured.  Craig trimmed them down yesterday afternoon.  Now people should be able to see our front door from the street.

I am thinking … that I might have underestimated this parenting thing.

I am thankful for … coffee.

I am hoping … that I can get a nap in sometime this afternoon.

On my mind … past lives, choices and independence.

Noticing that …I still have that stinky dog.

A few plans for the week … massage and lunch with my mother tomorrow followed by a baby shower at school, my doctor's appointment on Wednesday, lunch with a friend on Thursday and I'm going to try to make it up to the hospital to visit another friend sometime during the week.

From the kitchen … I made tilapia with onion oven baked potatoes and zucchini on Friday night.  Tonight will be garlic lemon broccoli and spaghetti.  One good thing that has come out of this maternity leave - I sure am eating at home a lot more. 

Around the house … there is always laundry to be done, dirt and grass to be swept and a disgusting green pool out back that will hopefully be fixed today!

One of my favorite things … coffee, coffee, coffee.

A picture I am sharing … Two of my favorite people in the world - my ya ya sisters, Heather and Amy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Five things about birthdays taken from Molly.

1. What are your feelings about celebrating birthdays, especially your own?
I always made a big deal out of my birthday when I was younger because I was the absolute YOUNGEST person of my friends because I have an August birthday.  It was always a feeling of "ugh..FINALLY I'm turning 16" because I had some friends that had been 16 (or whatever other age) for almost a full year by the time I blew the candles out on my cake.  I love celebrating people's birthdays and making them feel special.  This year I had a different feeling on my birthday - I was barely pregnant but I realized that my birthday wasn't just a celebration of ME on that day, but also a day to celebrate what my mom went through for nine months to give birth to me on that day.  Being the "mom" put a different perspective on celebrating a birthday - I made sure I called her on that day to tell her thanks for having me.  Ha!

2. Do you have any family traditions about birthdays?
Craig and I try to do birthday celebrations really big for each other.  My birthday always seems to coincide with our summer vacation (Vegas, Bahamas, Europe and Vegas again this summer) and there is always a Stars game on his birthday in December for which we rent a suite and invite all our friends and family to join us in the celebration.

3. Is it easy to remember friends' and family members' birthdays? If so, how do you do it?
I'm old school.  I have a planner.  Like the kind you write in...as in not on my iPhone calendar.  I just like to have everything written down.  I also have a massive Excel spreadsheet document with all my addresses and spouses and children and birthdays of all my friends.  And Facebook reminding me of their birthdays helps as well.  But there was the year that I forgot my mother's birthday.  Whoops. 

4. What was one of your favorite birthdays? (or your unhappiest?)
Craig has definitely made my adult birthdays very special - he is great at planning trips and surprises for me.  One of my favorite birthdays was actually not my own.  For my mother's 60th birthday my brother Stephen and I planned a small Mardi Gras themed dinner party with our family (minus Mike because he was in Maine) and a few of my mother's closest friends and their husbands.  Stephen and I had worked diligently to get decorations, Cajun food and we each even made "tributes" to our mom - mine in the form of a family scrapbook and Stephen's was a beautiful DVD of pictures of her growing up.  As I arrived at my parent's house the afternoon of the party, I walked into the house laden with gold, purple and green decor...I heard a familiar voice call out "Need help Munch?"  It could only have been one person - my middle brother Mike had flown in from Maine to join the festivities.  (And his nickname for me is Munchkin Butt...or Munch for short...don't ask.)  My mother was really touched by all the hard work that my brother's and I had put into her special day and it was probably one of my favorite family memories.

5. Post anything else you want to share about birthdays, including favorite foods, songs and/or pictures.

Craig and I about to go to dinner at the Wynn hotel in Vegas for my 25th birthday.
The cake he surprised me with at dinner.

Our little family celebrating my 26th birthday at our house.

My mint choolate chip ice cream cake with the picture of a sand volleyball court on the top.

My most recent and another of my favorite "birth" days...my Natalie.  Here is her birth announcement that we recently sent out to our friends and family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quick Post

While I've got Natalie occupied in her bouncer I figured I would give a quick update on three monumental things she has done in the past twenty-four hours.

1. Yesterday morning during tummy time I laid her on the mat with her head facing away from me and I started calling her name and telling her to turn her head to my voice.  Slowly but surely she picked up her little head and rotated it over to look at me. 

2. Our bedtime routine for her starts at 9:00 with a feeding, rocking and lullabies and usually ends between 9:30 and 10:00 with her asleep in her bassinet in the bedroom.  She typically wakes up somewhere around 2:00 and 5:00 for feedings and then waking up for the day around 8:00 when her daddy is leaving for work.  This morning I woke up at 7:00 very confused.  Had I really been so tired that I didn't remember feeding her at 5:00?  I checked my Baby Tracker app on my phone.  Nope.  No record of a feeding at 5:00 this morning.  The little munchkin just slept right on through it.  Good girl.  Hopefully this is the beginning of once a night feedings?!  I'm cautiously optimistic.

3. This morning as Craig was leaving for work and I was making my coffee we placed her in the bouncer seat in the kitchen and she was just hanging out and looking around.  After Craig left and I sat down at the computer with my coffee I heard a rattle.  I looked down and my little monkey had reached up and hit the rattle hanging down over her in the bouncer.  Okay.  I'll chalk up the first one to being an accident.  Then, after careful concentration...she did it again.  She's got a pretty sweet armswing if I do say so myself - a middle hitter/blocker perhaps?!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It is 2:45 in the morning of Tuesday, April 12th and I have a lot to be thankful for..

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of modern medicine and the dose of Zantac that seems to have calmed and soothed my daughter's digestive tract.

Thank you for my friend Michelle for reccommending Natalie's pediatrician to us - we love the atmosphere and the people...the doctor today was so patient when she had to deal with two very anxious, tired and worried parents.

Thank you for the ultrasound technician who was so patient and gentle with Natalie this afternoon.

Thank you for my husband who devoted his day off (which was supposed to be a fun and relaxing "family day") to attending two doctor's appointments with me so that we could find out together what is wrong with Natalie and how we can best treat her acid reflux.

Thank you for my mother who abandoned any of her personal plans on Sunday and instead came up to my house to help me get my life in order after a LONG and sleepless Saturday night.

Thank you for our four legged daughter Angie who through all the screaming that her sister did, stayed calm and tried to soothe me and Craig by lots of licks and cuddles.

I know that acid reflux in an infant is easily treatible and in the grand scheme of things...not something too terribly tragic.  But watching my daughter writhe in pain after vomiting up her entire meal and not being able to do anything about it was absolutely heartwrenching. 

And in ironies of all ironies, after two consecutive mostly sleepless nights with a very upset newborn...it's 2:45 and I can't sleep.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The Proust Questionnaire is ...a list of subjective questions that he felt would help reveal to people their true selves and the inner personalities of those around them.  What can you figure out about me from MY answers?

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? I think we all have our minimal fears - sharks, heights, etc. but then there are the GREAT fears, the ones you can't let your mind wander to for too terribly long.  There are about five people in my life (and one puppy dog) that if anything happened to them, I would be absolutely devastated.  And wouldn't you like to know who is on that list?

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND? Healthy.  Still slightly hormonal.  Sometimes frustrated.  Most of the time rational.  But always content.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION?(WAY OF SPENDING TIME) Right now it's just being with my baby - as I put her to bed last night I was a little sad because I knew that I was going to miss her face until I saw it again in the morning.  But when I'm not with my baby, I like to play sports, read books, have dinners with friends and in the summer...be by the pool!!

WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? Oh my.  The other night as I was holding a screaming infant, I tried to identify with Mary and realize even the mother of Jesus was probably at loss sometimes when she was holding a crying infant.


WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO? Scarlett O'Hara - sure, she was a little conniving and manipulative but she was smart and when it came down to it, she did what she had to do to survive.

WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES? Ah...the word "hero."  I think there are lots of heroes in my world  but one "hero" that has stood out to me in the past months is my coaching buddy Shemika.  As a single 27 year old woman, she recently took guardianship of her 4 year old nephew Trenton.  She put aside her own life to do something heroic, which in my world means doing something in the best interest of someone else.  I'm really proud of her for the life that she is providing for Trenton and I know that she is his personal hero.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Possession as in something that I own...probably my jewelry, but not because of it's financial value.  I have my engagement and wedding rings, the Tiffany bracelet that Craig gave to me on our wedding day and my necklace that has a cross blessed by Pope John Paul II given to me by my mother on my Confirmation and then a puzzle piece given to my by my mother-in-law at my wedding.

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST? I think there are lots of moments where I have been "happy" because happiness is fleeting and is based on external items - buying a new pair of running shoes makes me "happy" but doesn't fulfill my soul and make me content.  There are a few times when I have felt truly content in my life - the most recent being a night sometime in the past week when I was lying in bed listening to Natalie snort in her sleep in the bassinet next to my bed, I could feel my four legged furry daughter Angie curled up at the bottom of the bed next to my feet and I could reach out and curl my fingers into Craig's hand beside me.  I had all my favorite creatures close to me and they were all peaceful and happy.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC? I'm tall.  It's kind of been a theme in my life.  I think my height has more than just an obvious characteristic, but a defining characteristic as well.  Because of my height I was teased frequently growing up and it caused me a lot of anguish and strife, but without my height I would not be the talented athlete that I am.  Overcoming my awkwardness with my body and learning to love and appreciate the figure that God gave me has been a struggle in my life but hopefully I will be able to use my experiences to help Natalie one day because it's looking like she will have the same long and lean frame!

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF? I have a pretty wicked temper that sometimes gets the best of me and is sometimes accompanied by an insatiable need to obsess over things that people say or do that bothers me.  I wish that I could let things roll off my shoulders a little bit more.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS? There are things in this world that I am good at and there are things that I am bad at.  There are gifts that God has given me and there are some that he has given others.  But for all my talents and all my gifts...none of these things make me any better or worse than any other person on this Earth.  God loves me equally among all of his sons and daughters and it really bothers me when people believe that they are "better" than someone else because of what they wear, how they act or what they believe.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? As a couple, Craig and I like to travel...and we like to do it in style.  When we travel long distances, we pay the extra cash to fly first class and when we get to our destination, we are staying at a 5 star hotel.  This is why Craig works so hard at his basketball tournaments and why I don't mind supporting him - because I know the reward for all the work is a fantastic trip somewhere.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY? I think my own personal journey from where I was when I was finishing up college to where I am now has been a pretty incredible ride. 

WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? This might be a little bit conceited, but there really isn't anything that I would change.  Sometimes I wish my hair wasn't super straight and would curl a bit but that is a pretty minor "dislike."

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE? If a virtue wasn't important, it wouldn't be a virtue.  I don't think you pick apart something like that and just choose to follow the things you like and ignore the ones that don't necessarily fit into your life.

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? I am a terrible liar because I am honest to a fault.  I know that through teaching I am better at sugar coating the truth about my feelings towards a student.  A student isn't a "momma's boy" he is just "very well taken care of at home." 

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE? "Does that make sense?"  I use that one all the time and Craig finally called me on it and asked me why I use it so much.  I think it's because it's my way of getting validation for my feelings when I'm afraid that I'm reacting the wrong way.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE? See above - I think I need to be stronger and more confident in who and what I feel and not apologize for my feelings.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?  My first inclination would be to say "my daughter," but I don't think just making and having a baby is a single great achievement.  I think raising a child is a lot of little achievements that add up to a great achievement upon one's death - the great achievement being...did I raise a productive and contributing member of society that touched people's lives and lived for the glory of God?  So, I don't think I have gotten to that "greatest achievement" stage yet, but I know that I've already started her journey towards that ultimate goal.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE? Craig and I have a wonderful home which is currently the perfect size for two adults, a baby and a four-legged fur baby.  But as much as we love our little community, I think we both would like to have a little bit more land and be a little bit more isolated from our direct neighbors but we would stay in the general area of our current location because we love our careers and the schools that we work at.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN? Honesty and dedication.  I know without a doubt that Craig will do everything in his power to make sure that Natalie, Angie and I have absolutely everything that we need in order to be happy and safe in our life.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A WOMAN? Confidence.  If there is anything that I hope to instill in my athletes it is this: understand who you are and own it.  There is nothing more unattractive to the world than a woman who does not have confidence in herself.

WHAT IS IT YOU MOST DISLIKE? Cold weather - if it could be spring and summer year round, I would be a very happy camper.  And mushrooms - I think it's the texture that bothers me.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? Honesty - don't always tell me what I want to hear, sometimes you have to tell me what I need to hear.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE? Peacefully, surrounded by family.

IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE? I would come back as Angie because she is probably the most spoiled puppy dog that I know.  If I were to come back as her, I would be very well taken care of.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE AN OBJECT TO COME BACK AS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE? I don't think I would want to come back as an object - where is the fun in that?!

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)? I don't know if I have "motto" that I live by, but I do find myself repeating the same phrases to myself quite frequently.  "It is what it is" and "do the best you can" are probably the phrases that most frequently come out of my mouth - especially to my students so I guess you could say that I try to live by both of those.

WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? My first automatic response would be to say my mother and she definitely has been a great influence on who I have become up until this point, but I think that Natalie will now have an even greater impact on the type of mother I am because I want to raise her to be a confident, contributing, compassionate person and therefore I feel that I have to more carefully inspect my own behavior and decisions.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My MONDAY Day Book

Stolen once again from my friend Molly - someone who put up with me as a teen and is proud of the adult I've grown up to be.

Outside my window … there is the remnant water puddles from last night's much needed thunderstorm.

I am thinking … that Natalie had a pretty good night last night - asleep by 10:00, up at 1:30 and 5:30 and sleeping well in between.

I am thankful for … the community that I live in - one of my students' families brought us a delicious dinner on Friday night and then we ran into three of my favorite 8th grade girls as they were fishing at our neighborhood park while we took a walk.  Kind of felt like I was living in a Norman Rockwell painting...and that means life is good.

I am hoping … that  my sister-in-law Meredith and I are able to successfully figure out the breast pump this morning so that I can have some of the "feeding" burden taken off my shoulders.

On my mind … a dream about his father that Craig had the other night - there are some things I can't fix in his life and so I pray for more emotional resolution for him.

Noticing that …I have a stinky dog...and after taking hot bluebonnet pictures yesterday afternoon, a stinky baby.

A few plans for the week … Meredith and Ford visit today, Natalie's ONE MONTH (holy cow) check up on Thursday and maybe a play date with my friend Jill and her baby Joley.

From the kitchen … I am going to brave the grocery store sometime this week with my munchkin in her sling so that I can get some food for dinners.

Around the house … is put together and organized - my favorite room in the house is Natalie's room because it's so magical, yet relaxing in there.

One of my favorite things … the fact that it's 9:00 in the morning on a Monday and I've got a sleeping baby in her bassinet, a sleeping puppy dog at my feet and I'm getting to blog and drink a delicious cup of coffee.

A picture I am sharing … well, I would love to show a picture, but blogger is saying "server rejected" to any photo I try to upload from my computer.  If anyone knows what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, please let me know!!

Friday, April 1, 2011


*I started writing this post a few days after we brought her home...I'm just now finishing it up.*

Some of my most memorable moments so far...

1. I cried on the operating table after she was born.  I had tears streaming down my face as I listened to her cry for the first time.  They weren't tears of happiness or of sadness...but I think more of a unique combination of the two.  I was happy that she was crying because it meant that she was healthy but I was also feeling incredibly helpless as I lie on the table completely unable to move and therefore missing out on her first moments of life.  I cried because I was disappointed in the manner in which she had to be brought into the world, but also out of sheer joy and relief that she was here and healthy.  I pride myself on being a pretty strong and tough person with a "get it done" type of attitude but I think at that moment, I just needed a release of ALL emotions - the good and the bad.  But I did have a smile on my face when Craig told me that she was 21 inches long...and then we high-fived. 

2. I really enjoyed the care that both Natalie and I received at the hospital - the nurses were always very prompt in their response to any of my calls and both the momma nurses and the baby nurses routinely checked in on us to make sure that we were doing well.  As much as I appreciated the personal attention as well as our frequent visitors, I relished in the few quiet moments I got alone with Natalie.  Every night I sent her to the nursery so that I could try to get some sort of sleep and the nurses would bring her back to me about every three hours to feed.  Usually they brought her back around 6:00 in the morning and I didn't send her back because I knew that Craig would be on his way up to the hospital by 7:30 or 8:00.  So the time in between was my quiet time with Natalie.  After feeding her, I would wrap her up close to my chest and we were skin to skin under the covers with the morning light gently shining in the window.  It was serene and peaceful and I felt so perfectly isolated from the rest of the world.

3. During labor when I was given a dose of Pitocin it caused Natalie's heart rate to drop dramatically which resulted in me having an oxygen mask placed on my face and I just remember being told to take deep breaths.  I know that there was a lot of commotion in the room between the nurses, my family and the doctors rushing in, but all I was focused on was the little machine that sat next to my bed and continually monitored Natalie's heart rate.  As I took a deep breath in, I could hear her heart rate on the monitor get faster and then slow down when I exhaled.  I ignored everything else going on in my room and zeroed in on that heart rate and taking big, deep breaths so that I got her heart rate back up to where it was supposed to be.  I think this focus allowed my attention to be drawn from the terrifying discussion my doctor and Craig were having right over my bed which surely would have caused me more anxiety and therefore would not have been beneficial for Natalie. 

The above three memories were from her birth and subsequent stay in the hospital.  The following are from our time at home in the past three weeks.

4. I had been doing so well keeping the house in order, staying on top of the laundry and taking good care of my baby and myself both physically and emotionally.  I was pretty proud of myself for somehow managing to avoid the post baby tears that so many women experience after bringing a baby home from the hospital.  And then Craig had to go back to work.  And I broke down.  I was a hot mess of tears and smeared mascara.  I was terrified of taking care of this baby all by myself and I was emotionally exhausted from breastfeeding her for what seemed like every hour on the hour for the entire day.  Much to my initial chagrin, but to my eventual pleasure, Craig called in the reinforcement and shortly thereafter my mother showed up in the doorway of my bedroom with her overnight bag and a sympathetic smile on her face.  I have a feeling she had had her bag packed and ready to go for this moment for quite some time.  There wasn't any specific moment during the evening that really stuck out to me as memorable, but it was the feeling I had the next morning that was more important.  I woke up feeling like "okay, I got that out of my system...lets move on and get adjusted to the new routine." 

5. The last few days have been rough for Craig because he has had track meets directly after school and hasn't been able to spend any quality time with Natalie.  Last night (Thursday) when Craig came home from the track meet, Natalie was still awake and after he ate his dinner I handed him the baby and directed him to go upstairs, change her diaper and put her in her pajamas and swaddle - I would meet him in her room with a bottle.  He curled up in the glider with his baby girl cradled in his arm and began to feed her.  It took a little bit for her to get adjusted to the new person feeding her as well as the new manner in which she was being fed, but they soon figured out a rhythm.  The picture I will keep in my mind forever is Natalie all wrapped up in pink staring up at her daddy with her forehead creased...and her daddy staring back down at her with that same crease in his own forehead.  I turned on the U2 lullaby CD and quietly exited the room to give them their bonding time...and to properly wash my face and brush my teeth and curl up in my own bed to watch a little Chelsea Lately before bedtime.

6. I have two nephews from my eldest brother Stephen and his wife Meredith.  Alexander is seven years old and very intelligent and sensitive.  Ford is four years old and quite the comedian with a penchant for destruction.  They are very different, but equally as lovable.  It's been very interesting to watch how the two boys react to their new baby cousin.  On Sunday night we were all over at my parent's house having dinner because my middle brother Mike was in town from Maine to meet his new niece and goddaughter.  At one point, Natalie was fussing and Alexander brought over her wind up giraffe and held it by her head so gently and began cooing at her so softly, trying to calm her down.  He was so gentle and loving with her.  Ford on the other hand was not too interested in Natalie until...she pooped.  Stephen was sitting on the couch holding Natalie when he felt and heard the explosion.  In fact, the explosion was so loud and sudden that it actually made Craig jump!  Stephen signaled me that we had a blowout and I needed to retrieve my daughter from his arms.  Of course, at the news of poop Ford was immediately interested and accompanied me to the back bedroom to investigate baby poop.  He did not want to be directly involved in the changing, but he thought the whole thing was disgusting, hilarious and fascinating...all at the same time.

Baby Loves

There are definite items that we purchased or put on our registry that I can't live without for Natalie.  Such as...

- The pack n play by Graco in the (now discontinued) Hamilton pattern.
We have the pack n play put together as seen above in the picture with the changing station, the diaper and wipes holder and the bassinet all installed.  It is sitting right next to my side of the bed and at night, using the light from the nightlight, I am able to get her out of the bassinet, nurse her or change her, and put her right back without having to go to far or turn on any major lights that might wake her up.  I also love that it has the hanging little mat right underneath the changing table and bassinet because that is where I store all my nursing supplies (creams, pads and etc.) as well as any toys or blankets that we're using at a particular time.

- Summer Infant Swaddling Blankets:
Obviously this is not my child in the picture because my baby is MUCH cuter than this.  After being recommended the Happiest Baby on the Block book by my friend Beri which teaches the principles of swaddling, I chose to try this method of getting Natalie to sleep at night (and nap during the day).  There are swaddling blankets out there that you can use to wrap a baby up in, but Natalie is a little Houdini and somehow manages to get her arms up and out of even the tightest of swaddles.  She also seems to scream and cry a lot more when being swaddled in a blanket compared to being put in one of these Summer blankets.  The Summer swaddles are easy to use because you just put the baby's feet in the bottom and then wrap and velcro one sleeve, then the other sleeve while making sure the baby's arms are tightly contained.  I love them because they are easy to redo at night if I have to take her out of the swaddle to change her diaper.

- Stuffed Musical Giraffe:
We have a stuffed giraffe that plays the ABC song that is similar to, but not exactly like the giraffe above.  It is a magical giraffe because it helps lull Natalie to sleep.  In the middle of the night when I'm putting her back to sleep after eating or being changed, a few times winding up and letting the giraffe play its music will gently get her back to sleep...thus letting ME get back to sleep.  I love this giraffe.

- Sleep and Play Full Bodysuits:
These little bodysuits are Natalie's "pajamas" and every night before bedtime we change her into an outfit like this (she has several) and we begin our bedtime routine.  They are great because, again, in the middle of the night when I am changing diapers, all I have to do is unzip or unbutton her, do a quick change and then close it back up and it's back to sleep!  Sadly, she is already outgrowing her newborn pajamas because her body is so long that she is getting to "tall" for them!

- Boppy:
Up until yesterday the Boppy pillow had been used strictly for nursing purposes.  I've had to supplement the Boppy with another pillow from our bed underneath just because my torso is so long that I need to boost Natalie up higher in order to save my back and not be aching while I'm nursing.  Yesterday though, the Boppy found a new use!  Natalie is big enough and has gained just enough muscle control that I can put a blanket over the Boppy and she can lay on it and just kind of...hang out and be happy!  This made for a VERY happy momma yesterday morning when I was able to put her on the bathroom rug on her Boppy while I straightened my hair and put on make-up.  Hurray!

- Angie:
Now this last item is a limited quantity item and is most certainly one of a kind.  You'd be hard pressed to find anything like it in any other location other than my house.  She has been such a blessing to me - she is up with me at night keeping me company and she is my little watchdog when Natalie is sleeping and I'm downstairs trying to sneak in some laundry or a snack...if her ears perk up and she takes off up the stairs, I know my little munchkin is awake.  Angie likes to "give kisses" by licking people incessantly and her licking gets even worse when Natalie is fussing and I'm trying to calm her down.  I think it's Angie's way of trying to calm ME down so that I can focus and take care of Natalie.  Craig and I and our families joke about Angie taking care of HER baby Natalie, but I am so proud of how well she has adjusted and how fiercely she has accepted Natalie as part of her pack.

*I tried to upload a picture of her, but Blogger's picture uploader thingy wasn't working properly.*