Friday, September 30, 2011

Kicking the Habit

During college, I became a pretty big Diet Coke drinker. It was not uncommon to see two or three Diet Coke cans stacked up on my computer desk. This continued into my teaching career. When, on the first day of inservice during my first year of teaching, our principal announced that she would prefer that we not drink soda in the school, I about had a coronary. This led me to devise ways to get my fix both before and after school. One day, while I was on morning duty, one of my closest friends, who taught in the high school, brought me a coffee mug filled with Diet Coke (coffee, for some reason, was permissible, so I just pretended that's what I was drinking from my Mustang coffee mug).

During my second year of teaching, when we got a new principal, who didn't seem to mind if we drank soda, I became far more brazen about drinking my Diet Coke on school premises. I didn't drink it during class, and I tried not to drink it in front of the students, but I did drink it on my way to school, during my lunch break, during my planning period, and immediately after school. And, when I started working at my current school, where my office was separate from my classroom, it was not uncommon for me to drink five to six Diet Cokes in a day. (Although, not all of these were at school.)

When Craig and I went to my first prenatal appointment, my doctor went through the regular list of things to avoid -- alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, etc. Craig jumped in, "What about Diet Coke?" I shot him the look of death.

"There are certainly worse things you could do for your baby. If you drink one a day, that wouldn't be a problem," she said.

I smiled and thanked her, never admitting that, prior to becoming pregnant, I regularly consumed an entire six pack in one day. Limiting myself to one a day could be a stretch.

I stuck to the one-a-day rule pretty well, wanting to ensure that my baby was born healthy, and before returning to work after Liam was born, I did a pretty good job of sticking to that rule, as well. Once I returned to work, however, I eased back into my habit. It started pretty slowly. One day, when I stopped at the convenience store on my way to work, I noticed that six packs were on sale. When I realized that an entire six pack was only 20 cents more than the 20 ounce bottle I prepared to purchase, I immediately returned the bottle and grabbed the six pack. I stored the six pack in my desk drawer, cooling them one at a time.

When I started drinking them warm simply because they were there, I knew I had a problem on my hands. So, I started purchasing 12 packs, keeping them in the fridge at home, and taking two to work. Eventually, two wasn't enough, and this Tuesday, I found myself consuming four Diet Cokes during one work day.

On Wednesday, as I cracked open the last Diet Coke from my twelve pack, I opened up CNN.com and saw this article on the home page. I considered it a sign.

I'm hoping to kick the habit completely, substituting with green tea, so I can still get my caffeine without all the aspartame and caramel syrup. As I write this, I'm only about one day into my little experiment. We'll see how this works out. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blast from the Past: Mom's Favorite

At one point during my childhood, my mom read a book about birth order. She had been a middle child, and after reading the book, she became adamant that she would not allow my brother, the middle child, to feel neglected or forgotten. This led my sister and I to joke that he was the golden child--mom's favorite.


This weekend, when the latest issue of Time arrived in my mailbox, I was excited to see that the cover story was "Why Mom Liked You Best: The Science of Favoritism."

"Yes," I thought, "Finally, science to prove that Blake was Mom's favorite."

I started reading. "Overall, she concluded that 65% of mothers and 70% of fathers exhibited a preference for one child, usually the older one."

"What?" I wondered. "This can't be correct."

Then, just when I was ready to quit reading the article altogether, I stumbled upon it -- the reason my family spent many Saturdays at wrestling tournaments and summer afternoons at motorcycle enduros --"'If you have a child who is different for any reason, especially being the only girl or only boy,' says Salmon, 'that child is going to get extra attention and investment.'" Exactly.


Liam and I are both the oldest. Lord help him. On one hand, I always did pretty well in school and rarely got in trouble. On the other, I was am pretty bossy, can be a perfectionist, and I'm pretty uptight sometimes. I distinctly remember getting Dawn in my mouth in second grade because I called Blake a "little sh*t" when he attempted to change the channel on my Saturday morning cartoons.

The good news for Liam and his future sibling(s) is, I won't be playing favorites. And, don't worry Blake, I love you anyway.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Morning Routine

We start school at 7:00, so needless to say, I'm up pretty early in the morning. I usually get Liam up, feed him, and leave him in bed with Craig while I finish getting ready.

One Saturday morning, I climbed back into bed with the two of them, and Craig had to educate me about Liam's morning routine.

"Um, Amber, I think you're throwing off his morning routine. You need to cover him up like this, and I don't think he's used to having two of us in bed with him."

A few days later, I couldn't resist snapping this picture.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Week of Firsts

Several weeks ago, I started noticing that Liam was fussier than usual. He also started chewing on his hands, fingers, blankets, and pretty much anything else he could get his hands on. When I started mentioning the fact that I thought he might be teething to several people, including our doctor at Liam's four month check-up, they would tell me they thought he was still pretty young. So, I just resided myself to believing that Liam was just going to be fussier than he used to be, and that perhaps I had one of those babies who "just wanted attention." Last Tuesday night, I noticed two nubs on Liam's lower gum. I immediately called Craig. He told me that Liam had bitten his finger that morning, and he was pretty sure those nubs were teeth.

You can kind of catch a glimpse of the right tooth in this picture.
I had originally planned to wait until Liam was six months old to start solids, but I figure since he's getting teeth and since he's kind of a skinny mini, we would go ahead and try rice cereal for one meal a day. I'm not sure if it was the teething or just because it was something new, but he cried almost the entire time I attempted to feed him on Sunday.

"What the heck are you doing to me here, Mama?"
The gag reflex kind of got the best of him here.

This is after he attempted to take his bib off and smeared rice cereal all. over. his. face. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkins, and jackets, and chili! Oh, my!

It was one of the most beautiful weekends we've experienced so far-- it's hard to believe we spent it at the Giant Pumpkin Festival, shopping for a fall jacket, and at a chili cookoff.

On Saturday, we went to the Giant Pumpkin Festival. The pumpkin weigh off started precisely in time for Liam's mid-morning nap. So, I took advantage and shopped around at the farmer's market and at a little antique/consignment shop that I love. (Is it a bad thing that the proprietor recognized me as soon as I walked in even though I haven't shopped there in over a year?) We made it back just in time to see the giant pumpkin get weighed--1,075 pounds! Apparently, it was a bad year for giant pumpkin growing. I certainly wouldn't have known the difference. I was pretty amazed with 1,075 pounds.

Poor kid--his hat's too small and his cheeks are red and swollen. Apparently teething is hard work (more on this tomorrow.)

Yep, this bad boy weighed in at 1,075 pounds.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I dreamed of having a little girl with whom I could enjoy mother-daughter shopping trips. Instead, I got a little boy who already hates shopping. But hey, it's good for the wallet. I got in and picked up these items for $13 in under a half-hour.


We finished off the weekend at the Buffalo Roundup Chili Cookoff and Arts Festival. Liam and I don't really like lines, so we didn't try out the chili, but we did squeeze in a few minutes with daddy and enjoyed walking around.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All He Wants to Do is Play, Play, Play

Today is the eighth annual Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play. Liam and I are probably going to celebrate by heading out to  the Giant Pumpkin Festival, but we may hit up a park for some play time, too.

Hearing about the Worldwide Day of Play made me think about how much Liam loves to play already and all of the benefits that come from playing. Here are a few of Liam's favorite activities so far:

-Airplane: Liam loves it when I lift him up on my feet (most of the time). He'll giggle and look around before I bring him back down.

-Blowing Bubbles: Liam is so intrigued by bubbles right now. He'll stare at them as I blow them, and he's still a little shocked when they pop. It's a really fun way to teach babies cause and effect.

-Walking: Liam loves being outside in general, but he especially loves to ride in the baby carrier as we walk around the lake. He's so content looking around at the birds, and the trees, and the squirrels, and the kids splashing around in the water.

-Swinging: This is a pretty new activity for Liam. Now that he's mastered the art of holding his head up, I can put him in one of the baby swings at the park and let him swing for awhile. We're certainly not doing underdogs yet, but he seems to enjoy it. I think this goes hand in hand with his love of being outside. 

-Object naming: Okay, this, by far, does not sound like the most exciting activity on this list, but it seems to keep Liam busy. I put a few household items in a shoe box (everything from one or two blocks to a pine cone to my silicone whisk) and pull them out one at a time, giving him some time to play with each object.



Do your kids like playing? What are your plans for the Worldwide Day of Play? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blast from the Past: Story Time


This is one of my favorite pictures of me with my Great Grandpa John. I truly cherished the time I was able to spend with him. I loved to visit and listen to him tell stories.

We live more than four hours away from my family now, and it's tough to make that trip, especially when Craig's busy at work--I usually have to go alone. We do try to make time to talk on Skype and try to share pictures as often as possible.  I hope that Liam values the time that he gets to spend with his Grandparents as much as I enjoyed spending time with mine. 

We like to call my Dad the "baby whisperer." He can lull almost any baby to sleep.

I hope that he enjoys time spent riding in the tractor, rides a sled down ski lift hill at least once, gets the chance to splash around in the free swimming pool, and that he finds a turtle to race at the annual Fourth of July Turtle Races. But, most of all, I hope that he enjoys listening to his Grandparents' stories and learns to understand and appreciate how I grew up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shame on You, Librarian

On Saturday, Liam and I stopped at the library to pick up a few books. We have a ton of books around the house. However,  I get bored pretty easily, so I thought it would be good to see what our small town library had to offer. I was pretty surprised about the selection, and we chose four books to take home. When we went to exchange them for more this afternoon. I encountered a librarian who stopped to talk to Liam and to let me know how cute he was. I always enjoy being told how cute my kid is, so I smiled and thanked her. As we moved toward the desk to check out our new books she said, "Oh, do you have another child?"

"Um, no," I responded.

"Oh, so you're just reading to him?" she replied.  She seemed so shocked that I would read to my baby.

"Yeah, he likes the Llama Llama books," I said, when what I really wanted to say was, "Seriously, they allow you to be a librarian?"I was completely dumbfounded.

I immediately came home and Googled "benefits of reading to babies" and 32,800,000 articles popped up in 0.19 seconds.

According to this article, "Research shows that the more words a baby is exposed to, the better prepared he is to eventually start reading on his own," among other benefits.

Quite frankly, I don't really care how crazy the librarian thinks I am, I am going to continue reading to Liam. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of reading with my mom. I wish for the same for Liam. I hope that he continues to love listening to me read, that he learns to love stories, and that he remembers fondly Saturday mornings spent reading Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Very DIY Wedding: Shoe Clips

I picked up my first wedding magazine this weekend--Real Simple Weddings. It has lots of checklists, which is exactly what I need. Unfortunately, the checklists start at 9-15 months out. How simple is that? I needed a magazine entitled "How to Plan a Wedding in Less than Four Months While Working and Raising an Almost-Five-Month-Old."

Some of the items on the checklist include:

Set up a wedding website.
Um, does complaining about wedding planning on this website count?

Select and purchase invitations, and hire a calligrapher.
Does trying to convince Craig to take pictures using the photo booth on my computer count?

Send save-the-date cards.
See above. We'll be lucky if we get invitations sent out. 

Start composing a day-of timeline.
Seriously? People start doing this six months out. I'm not sure I would have gotten that done back in my perfectionist days.

 Purchase shoes.
Ahh, yes, finally something I got done on time.

I was inspired by these shoes from Style Me Pretty.

 
And eventually came up with this:


I used this flower tutorial and used hot glue to attach my finished flowers to some shoe clips I purchased from Etsy. The flower tutorial is great, and I found that I could use different lengths and widths of fabric to create other items like these bobby pins.


Married mamas, do you have any wedding planning advice for me? What things did you save on? What did you splurge on?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shark Trouble!: A Shark Craft Gone Awry and Two Tales of the Sea

Every year, when I was in elementary school, my Grandma would patiently assist me with my sewing project for 4-H. I was not the most attentive child, and we often found ourselves ripping out seams and resewing them.

Earlier this summer I picked up a sewing machine from a garage sale for $3. I'd been looking at this shark hoodie tutorial over at See Kate Sew, and I thought it would be a great place to start.  Perhaps it's because it's been approximately 15 years since I've even attempted to sew anything, or because I was using a sewing machine that was circa 1974, or maybe it's just because I was never actually good at sewing, but the project quickly went south. The idea was super cute, but I gave up on sewing it after breaking my second needle and just hot glued the shark teeth to the gray hoodie.

He does the shark face pretty well. Don't you think?



And, now, for two sea-themed books:


How I Became A Pirate has 108 five-star reviews on Amazon for a reason. It's a great book. And, of course, it has a lot of opportunities for funny voices ("Shiver me timbers!", "landlubber", "scurvy dog", and "aargh"), so Liam likes it. Unfortunately, Liam inherited his mother's attention span, so he gets kind of bored in the middle, but I'm usually able to bring him back in with the voices. (I'm certainly not ready for Broadway, but I am getting pretty good at funny voices, if I do say so myself.)

We picked up Shark Trouble! in the 99 cent bin at a used book store in a nearby town. I thought it was funny that the book had the tag line, "Originally Published as Yummy Yummy! Food for My Tummy!". It was definitely in the 99 cent bin for a reason. It's not destined to become a classic that Liam will read to his children, but he does giggle when I read the chorus, "Yummy, yummy! Food for my tummy!" in my shark voice. Overall, it's not a bad book for 99 cents.
















Thursday, September 15, 2011

Winter. WTF?

On May 19, when I took Liam to his two-week follow-up appointment, it snowed. In fact it snowed so much that the road leading up to the lodge where Craig works was closed. After he went to work.

If that was not annoying enough, today, on September 15, it is raining and 37 degrees outside. A few people at work had tales of seeing snowflakes as they drove to work. Seriously, Mother Nature? This is how you're going to do me. Forget those balmy fall days and skip straight to snowflakes.

And all this before my baby can grow into his fall clothes. Yesterday, I got to daycare to pick him up and he was dressed in Old Navy shortalls, an argyle sweater vest and a long sleeved onesie. Apparently his two pairs of pants that fit were both in the laundry. Awesome. (P.S. I love his dad's sense of style. Let's layer this argyle sweater vest under a pair of shortalls.)

I am definitely not ready for nine months of you, winter. Please, please please. Bring back those 70 degree days.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Farmer's Market Shopping Spree

I went a little overboard at the Farmer's Market this weekend, filling the basket under my stroller so full I eventually had to sit the eggplant with Liam. He looked so proud sitting there with his eggplant. It inspired me to do a little photo shoot with our finds.




The eggplant eventually became eggplant fries--probably not the healthiest way to cook it, but it was still pretty tasty. Thank you Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Letter To Liam

Dear Liam,

It's almost been four and a half months since you were born, and I have to say, you've grown way too quickly. I was just thinking about the fact that your cousin was four and a half months old at my baby shower before you were born, and that seems like only yesterday. Now, she's nearly a year old, crawling up and down stairs, and pulling herself up on chairs. Pretty soon, that will be you, and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that.

There are so many things that I don't want to forget. Things like that face you give me in the mornings when I wake you up to feed you before I go to work. It says, "WTF, Mama?" so well, which makes me giggle.

Speaking of giggling, I love how much you giggle. You giggle when I read to you. You giggle at the old ladies at the grocery store. You giggle when your daddy and I play with you. I love that, and I hope it never changes.

Another thing that I hope never changes is how much you love being outside. You look around at the birds and the trees and the clouds, and you just look so content. And I can't help but love that serious face you give me right before you start babbling. It's like you want to let me know that you have something really important to say.  I don't ever want to forget that face.

Yet, there are so many things I can't wait to do with you. I love to watch you grow, explore, and change, and I can't wait to see more. I can't wait until you're able to read me bedtime stories. I hope you're creative, and I can't wait until you're old enough to do projects. I always knew I'd be the type of mom who would perpetually find myself scrubbing finger paint off my walls. (But, please, don't hold me to that.) I can't wait until we can turn you into Rocket Man and make this cereal box guitar. Always remember that your imagination can take you anywhere.

In the meantime, take your time growing up, and always remember that mommy and daddy love you.

Love,

Mom

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stuff Liam Loves: Froggy Blanket

We live in a pretty family-friendly neighborhood, so I was not surprised when Liam and I encountered an inquisitive four-year-old while we were on one of our nightly walks this weekend. She needed to know what his name was, how old he was, how big he was, and if we were at the football game on Friday night. When we were all done answering those questions, she said, "He's cute. AND he has a nice blanket." I'd have to agree with both of those points.







I got the Carter's Just One You Frog Receiving Blanket as a baby shower gift. When Liam was younger, its stretchy knit fabric made for a great swaddle, and the same lightweight fabric has made it great to throw over his legs when we go for walks on these late summer nights. We also got the matching bibs and onesies, and the frog print is really cute. It's small enough that it's easy to fold up and carry along with me when we go on shopping trips, and Liam seems to love how soft it is. Overall, it's been a great blanket that's held up well over the past few months.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sacrifice

When I first heard about planes hitting the Twin Towers on the radio while I was curling my hair and putting on make-up in preparation for school on September 11, 2001, I don't think I really understood the gravity of the situation. I lived in the Midwest and felt so far removed from it. As a result, I didn't think I would write a post about the 10 year anniversary of that day. I just didn't think I could write anything as profound as some of the other posts I've read recently. But, as I was reading a story on People.com (of all places) about nine-year-olds who have never met their fathers because they died as a direct result of the attacks, it made me think about the sheer number of sacrifices that have been made in the events that occurred on that day and that have transpired since those attacks.

In the Summer of 2006, when my brother enlisted in the Nebraska National Guard, I have to admit, I was somewhat apprehensive.  We were three years into the War in Iraq, and I didn't really see any end in sight.  Next April, he'll be deploying to Kuwait to help move US Military equipment out of the region. For many of the men and women in his unit, this is not the first time they've had to leave their families to deploy overseas. Blake will leave behind a one-year-old daughter, Harlee. While the technology in that area has improved significantly and we can Skype to keep in touch, he most likely will not be there to help us celebrate Liam's first birthday, the Fourth of July, Harlee's second birthday, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. I truly respect Blake, the other members of his Unit, and members of the United States Armed Forces for the sacrifices they have made.

On the day Liam was born, May 1st, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. In his statement, he said, "And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.  I know that it has, at times, frayed.  Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people." I hope that we never forget that sense of unity and that we remain forever grateful for the sacrifices countless people have made in the name of our national security.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Y3W: Weight Loss Success

I'm ashamed to admit this is the only picture I took of my baby bump, and I only took it under pressure. This is me at 36 weeks pregnant. I was huge. And miserable.  In total, I gained 40 pounds. Ugh. 

For most of my maternity leave I lounged around the house in sweats and pajama pants. But, on June 13, I found myself squeezing into a pair of two-sizes-larger-than-I-normally-wear pants and heading back to work. Before I go any further, I should explain that work entails afternoons filled with teaching teenage girls.

When the girls saw me, they began to pepper me with questions about the baby. 

"How big was he?" 

"What did you name him?" 

"Is he cute?" 

"You still look pregnant."

A silent "Oh, no she didn't" fell over the room.

"Well, you know, that happens to most ladies after they have a baby. It happened to my aunt. She still had that little baby pooch. You're not as big as you were before you left," the girl stammered trying to get herself out of the hole she dug.

I've taught middle and high school-aged students for just over five years now, so I wasn't offended or angry. I've certainly been told worse. In fact, it was the kick in the butt I needed to do what I needed to do to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes.

I'm going to brag a little bit now. This week, I was so proud when I was able to wear a pair of jeans that were a size smaller than I wore before I was pregnant. (Let's be honest I could have stood to shed a few pounds before I was pregnant, too.)

Here are a few things that led to my weight loss success:

1) Liam loves being outside, and walking is the perfect way to calm him down.
2) I actually like green tea. I recently read about the benefits of green tea for weight loss. I'm one of the fortunate few who actually enjoys drinking green tea. Plain. Without any sweeteners. This summer I drank iced green tea, and I hope to continue drinking it this winter.
3) I had my baby in May. It meant fresh fruit & veggies were just starting to be in season. I've found that fruit is the best way to fulfill that craving for sweet stuff.
4) Finally, I don't deny myself. If I'm craving Hershey's Drops, I get them. Otherwise, I'll break down and gorge later on.

My biggest fear is this winter. We won't be able to go outside as often as we did this summer, and fresh fruit won't be in season. Do you have any good winter weight loss tips?


Today I'm linking up with Jenni from the Blog for Your Three Words. The idea is to sum up your week in three words. Sorry it took me so many more than that. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baby's First Halloween

The crisp air the past few days has me in the mood for fall-- leaf pile photo ops, hot chocolate, and Baby's First Halloween. I was a pretty boring trick-or-treater. I'm pretty sure I went as a black cat several years in a row.


Here are a few of my favorite ideas for Liam so far:

I'm really into the lawn gnome idea. Unfortunately, it only comes in 12-18 months. I don't think our skinny little boy, who's currently in the 50th percentile for weight, will fit into a 12-18 month costume at six months old. I'm pretty sure I could buy a plaid shirt, use regular jeans, make the beard, and I found this awesome tutorial for making suspenders on Make It and Love It.  We'll see if I have the time and patience to learn how to sew suspenders.

I love this, but it's $45. I'm not really in the business of buying a $45 costume that he'll be able to wear one night. Again I'm pretty sure I could make this, but I'm not sure if I have the patience to sew all of those potatoes.

I love this owl costume, but Craig wasn't really sure about dressing our child in tights for his first Halloween. I'm pretty sure we could substitute with some sweats. I'm still a little concerned that this tutorial may be beyond my limited sewing ability, but it's still adorable.

When I told Craig about these ideas, he said, "Maybe we should dress him up as a pumpkin." I say bo-ring.

What do you think? Which one's your favorite? What was your baby's first Halloween costume?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And the winner is...

LOVE MELISSA:) said...
I follow you on here and twitter. And I follow the nerdy Katie(love her). I hope I win:)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So Lucky

I'm fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Yet, all too often I take it for granted.  However, there are those occasions when I realize how lucky I am.




Monday, September 5, 2011

Current Family Favorite

This is Gus.


After we had Gus for about two months, we got his brother, Ollie. It took Gus awhile to get used to having Ollie around, but they soon became inseparable.


This is Liam's Current Family Favorite onesie.

This is the onesie after Gus got a hold of it. Apparently somebody's still a little jealous.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It All Started With Mother Teresa

Between March 4, 2008 and July 18, 2009, my friends and I came up with 428 reasons why we love(d) living in Kyle. Reasons number 258-260 are as follows:

258. The Mother Teresa Book Club coming to fruition
259. Annotating my MTBC book (Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink) with TS, TT, TW, IW, etc.
260. Dreaming about future book clubs even when we are flung to the far corners

Unfortunately, I don't read Amazon product descriptions well, and my Mother Teresa book was a childrens' book (and I still didn't read it), but I've read (almost) every book since. We've done Abraham Lincoln, we've done banned books (Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers), we've done Blink by Malcom Gladwell, and now we're doing The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramango.

The Elephant's Journey is the kind of book I wish I had more time to devote to. It's only 205 pages long, and as Jenny says it has big words (large font). However, there are definitely parts I wish I had time to reread, but I keep plugging along in an attempt to get done in time to return my copy to the library. Since the Kyle Girls are literally flung to different parts of the country (we're living in three different time zones now), it's difficult to come up with times we can all meet, so we're keeping a Google Doc that we can all add notes to. I haven't contributed as much as I'd like (at all), but it's nice to read other peoples' notes. It makes me feel at ease knowing that the other ladies are also wondering why he isn't capitalizing proper nouns or that they're confused by certain passages, too.

When we do have the time to meet, it's a great way to reconnect with others. We're using the video chat feature on Google+. By no means am I a luddite, but I'm usually a little slow to catch on to new technology. I'm amazed by the chat feature in Google+. It allows multiple users to connect via video chat (we discovered that we needed to pay in order to do this on Skype), and it figures out who's talking and makes them the larger picture.


Not to be left out, Liam and I have also been reading a book about elephants the past few nights. He seems to like Splash! by Flora McDonnell, but only when I say words like splash and splosh in funny voices. It's a pretty short board book that we bought used from Better World Books, and it seems to keep his attention. It doesn't hurt that it's about a baby elephant who goes down to the water hole on a hot day, so there are quite a few opportunities to say words like splash and splosh in funny voices.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Go Big Red!!!



My brother bought Liam this sleeper when he was born. Craig gave him until football season to outgrow it. Craig's from Florida and a big fan of the Florida State Seminoles. Liam should feel fortunate that his picture recently replaced Bobby Bowden's as the wallpaper on Craig's work computer. I'm pleased to report that it's game day, and the sleeper still fits. (Although I'm sure it won't be long before Craig will have Liam dressed in garnet and gold each Saturday.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Four Months: Finally Getting Around to Sharing the Birth Story

I was a little late hopping into the world of mom blogging, and I just realized I never actually shared the story of Liam's birth. This is going to be a long one. Sorry.

I woke up on April 30 feeling just like I had every other Saturday during the last month of my pregnancy--pretty crappy. (I had a pretty easy pregnancy, and I shouldn't even complain about that last month. But, I was pretty miserable by my standards.) I waddled upstairs and caught the end of a rerun of the royal wedding and eventually fell asleep watching Eat, Pray, Love. (Don't worry. I'm well aware of how lame I am.)

At this point,  I'm going to make a confession. I slept through my childbirth class. I was tired, in my eighth month of pregnancy, and I didn't really feel like going.

So, when I woke up from Eat, Pray, Love, I started having what I thought were more Braxton-Hicks Contractions. I hopped in and took a shower, but they didn't go away. I started to notice that they were getting closer together.

It was opening weekend at the lodge, and they were hosting a wedding. So, I didn't want to call and alert Craig if this wasn't the real deal. So, I tried to keep myself occupied. I threw in a load of clothes, bounced on my exercise ball while I talked to a few friends, and tried to choke down some noodles with pesto.

By six 'o clock, I was convinced I was definitely in labor, so I tried to call Craig, but he was down at the wedding. So, I sent him a text: "Call me. ASAP." Boy, that was subtle. Craig called me back.

"Is it time?" He said.

"I think so." I responded.

We left for  the nearby town where we had to deliver since our local hospital doesn't deliver babies. Before going to the hospital, we stopped and picked up some Sonic. We finally made it to Labor and Delivery around 8:30. After monitoring me for about a half-hour, the nurse came in and told me she didn't think the contractions were as consistent as I had thought. She told me they'd let me walk for an hour to see if I made any progress.

I wandered the halls, holding back tears,  thinking I was the biggest hypochondriac in the world. "Can't you just get them to give you the juice," Craig joked as we walked. Behind his facade, I could tell he was really disappointed. I finally walked up to the nurse's station and told our nurse that the contractions weren't getting any stronger. She took that to mean that they had gone away. She told me she'd check me one more time, but they'd probably be sending me home.

She checked me, called the on call OB, and came back in to offer me a sleeping pill before sending me home. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I took it.

"Really, Amber, we drove all this way for a sleeping pill," Craig said as we drove home. "I just don't understand why you convince yourself you're in labor based on what you read on WebMD."

To be fair, I had gone to our local walk-in clinic on more than one occasion based on what I had read in What to Expect When You're Expecting, on WebMD, or because of some story a coworker had told me, and I'm fairly certain I would have been a whole lot meaner had I been in his position. I choked back tears as I tried to explain that I had tested positive for GBS, and that I just didn't want anything to go wrong.We arrived home around 11 p.m. and crashed into bed.

Disclaimer: From this point forward, keep in mind that I had taken a sleeping pill and was functioning on less than two hours of sleep.


I woke up around 1 a.m. in extreme pain. I kept going into the bathroom. I would try to go to the bathroom, but I didn't really need to go. Then I'd lay on the tile thinking the cool tile would calm the pain. Finally, we decided we should go to our local hospital.


My family doctor was on call. She knew my history, and immediately instructed the nurses to get me equipped  for an IV since I was positive for GBS. She turned to Craig and told him that it was highly likely that my water would break on the drive to the regional hospital and asked if he was okay taking me. He said he was. Before we left, she checked me one more time. I was fully dilated. At that point,  she decided it was best that I ride in the ambulance. 

She told me that at this point, I could have some pain medication, but she didn't think it would make much difference. In my hormonal, sleep-deprived state, I responded, "I'll take the drugs."

She called in another doctor to cover her on call shift, and she hopped into the ambulance with me. I am forever grateful for that. I think it really calmed me down. If I did deliver this baby on the way to the hospital, at least she'd be there to deliver him. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

Liam was born at 4:27 a.m. on May 1st. He was the first baby born in May at the hospital. (Four other moms delivered that day, including at least one who had been there the first time we came in.) In spite of all the craziness, I feel like I was blessed with a pretty easy labor. My mom was in labor with me for more than 24 hours. When we talked about my having to ride in the ambulance, my Dad responded, "Hell, we could have walked to the hospital with all three of you." I was fairly certain that karma was going to get me. It's funny how things work out sometimes.