Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Loan from God

Isabella was dedicated on Saturday! It was such a great day. She even had her first crib nap in months! (I've really been hoping to start her naps in the crib soon, but I had no choice on Saturday, and it worked great!)
We had so many special people here with us; both sets of grandparents, both my sisters and one brother-in-law, both of Isabella's cousins, Matt's sister, brother, and sister-in-law, and Matt's grandma, aunt, and uncle.

The dedication is on Saturday afternoon in the church chapel. It opened with a beautiful song (I just looked it up - Find Your Wings by Mark Harris). Pastor John then shared an explanation of the promises the parents had agreed to make in this dedication of our child. The promises were included in the program as well.

He emphasized that our children are on loan from God. I have thought about this a lot in Isabella's 6 months of life. My personality lends itself to being obsessive, and I am obsessive about things that seem to be wrong. I always want to fix it - if she's not sleeping well, I want to fix it. If she didn't gain much weight, I want to fix it. If she doesn't want anyone else to hold her, I want to fix it. When I come to the end of my rope and realize that everything can't be "fixed," I am so comforted in knowing that she belongs to God. She always has; she is on loan to us for a time, but she will always be His child. I am getting better at remembering this fact before I do my crazy thing.

After the message, each family was called up to be introduced and prayed over. We chose a verse for Isabella, and I spoke it over her. It was Psalm 73:23-24:

Yet I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand, you guide me with your counsel, and afterward, you will take me into glory."

Matt was asked how Isabella has changed our lives, and he talked about how having a baby helps up realize how selfish we are. It has also shown us a love unlike anything we have ever known. Then Pastor John prayed for our family. They presented us with a few gifts; a Bible, a teddy bear, a bib, and a tag blanket (looks like this). There was a red ribbon on the table, and everyone who came to the dedication wrote a special note to Isabella on the ribbon. The blanket has a Velcro section that can be opened, and the ribbons goes inside. Isabella will be able to carry this reminder of the love that surrounds her wherever she goes.

Following the dedication, they provided pizza for the family in the church cafe. We were introduced at the 5:30 p.m. service that day as well.

I have seen and been a part of many baby and child dedications, but what they do at Prairie Lakes Church is amazing and so special. I am thrilled that we had Isabella dedicated here. I will never forget this special day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

You Are So Beautiful to Me

I promised to post the article that I wrote about here. I'm finally getting around to it! This article was originally printed in The Message of the Open Bible September/October 2010 issue.

My daughter is beautiful. She is only 4 months old, but she is already so beautiful to me. I don’t know what others see when they look at her because I can only see her through my eyes. My view of her may be biased, but it is the only view I have.

The same is true for my view of myself; I can only see through my own eyes. Many women struggle to see themselves as beautiful because of the world’s increasing focus on physical beauty and sexuality. Beauty is subjective, but this culture has determined that beauty has a very narrow definition. Our television shows include makeovers that turn a woman from an “ugly duckling” to a “beautiful swan.” I believe it is a warped mentality that places a woman’s physical beauty far above her mental capabilities, social skills, and character qualities in determining her worth. Our culture’s obsession with a woman’s body has greatly impacted her ability to see the beauty God created in every facet of who she is. Our culture’s focus on women’s bodies has also affected a man’s ability to see a woman as God created her and not as the sum total of her body parts.

I believe that the lack of self-worth many women experience is compounded by the increased sexuality in media and our culture today. I can’t buy a gallon of milk without seeing a magazine cover with a provocatively dressed woman or a woman (or young girl) in the store dressed in the least amount of clothing possible. Many girls and women dress as provocatively as possible for the attention they receive from men. However, that attention is often fleeting and leaves them dealing with the pain of rejection until they can attract the next man to make them feel beautiful again.

What is a woman to do when faced with so much “propaganda” telling her what she should look like and what it means to be beautiful? Philippians 4:8 has a suggestion for us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV) I cannot change the fact that my eyes will come into contact with many images in a day. Some of the things I see threaten to remind me that I am not “good enough” to make a magazine cover. If I choose to let my thoughts stay there, it doesn’t take long for hopelessness and depression to find their way in as well. So I remind myself of Philippians 4:8 many times in a day. I can choose to focus on many things, and the time I spend focusing on what I am not is time that I can’t spend thinking about my family, my future, and the amazing blessings God has given me.

I can recount many statistics that illustrate how depraved our society has become. However, I would rather not place my focus on that today. These verses get to the root of the issue for me: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6, ESV) When women (and men) set their minds on the things of the flesh, the end result is death. Many spiritually and emotionally dead people have lost sight of the importance of where they set their minds.

My daughter is growing up in this over-sexualized, over-stimulated world. This is the world into which she was born. I will do my best to tell her every day that she is beautiful. She is beautiful to me. She is beautiful to God. I don’t want her to ever forget it.

Side note: I highly recommend Matt Chandler’s podcast “The Greatest Commandment Part 13: Canvas” for an excellent perspective on the life of the mind. It can be found in a PDF version at or the audio version at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Six Month Surprise

We took Isabella to her six month appointment on Friday. She is such a little peanut, so I was pretty curious to find out what she would weigh for this check up. She weighed in at 10 pounds, 15 ounces. For some reason, I had it in my head that she was 9 pounds, 4 ounces at the last appointment, but apparently that was the appointment prior to the last one. She weighed 11 pounds and a few ounces at the 4 month appointment, so she lost a few ounces. I was very surprised, but the doctor was not worried about it. She grew an inch in length and gained an inch in head circumference and is meeting all her milestones. By all those standards and by all appearances, she's a healthy little girl. She is as strong as can be; I can't believe how hard she can grab the toys on her Exersaucer, and she pulls my hair very well.

We scheduled a weight check in a month. She has yet to hit her 6-month growth spurt, so I imagine that will come sometime in the next few weeks. She has also been very distracted during nursing over the past few weeks (or more). Especially if I'm trying to do anything else at the same time; she is much more interested in what I'm doing than in eating. So I started taking her into her room and keeping distractions to a minimum.

So that's it.

Yeah, right.

As I thought about it after leaving the doctor's office and running some errands with her, it really upset me. I felt like a bad mother. 

How could I not know that she didn't gain any weight?
Is it my fault? Is it because I started Weight Watchers? 
Is there something wrong with my breastmilk?
And the eternal question...why would God put me through this? She's been doing fine, she seems just fine, and now all of a sudden I'm insanely worried about her and feeling like a terrible, horrible, unfit mother.

I really, really didn't want to tell anyone. I figured I could ignore it, but I knew that those who know me and know we went to the doctor would ask. So I decided to be tough and act like it's all fine.
Then I saw Melanie. And I knew she would understand. She would not judge me or think less of me.

So I cried. 

Then I felt better.

What I now realize is this: God loves Isabella. He loves her more than I do, and He gave her to me and Matt to raise and nurture. I have done my best with her, and she has done great for her first six months. She has always been small, and she will grow at her own pace. All I can do is to take care of her the best I know how and trust God to do the rest.

She belongs to Him, after all.

I knew this all along. I just let the worries and disappointment push it out of my mind this weekend. But I'm better today. And as long as I keep that in mind, we will all be just fine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Joyful in Hope

Isabella is being dedicated at our church in just a couple of weeks. I am excited at the thought and effort they put into child dedication. They sent us a packet of information when we signed up, and one of the pages included verse ideas for Parent/Child Dedication. (It's actually a Child Dedication/Parent Commitment Service.) They ask parents to choose a "promise verse" that will be prayed over the child at the service.

Last night, I was reading through the verse ideas to see if anything struck a chord with me. They list a passage from Romans 12, which is to me one of the most practical chapters in the Bible. I have always been drawn to it. The passage listed includes verse 12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)

Joyful in hope. Joyful in hope. I listen to a lot of Matt Chandler sermons, so I can't remember exactly where I heard this one. I think it was somewhere in the Luke series. He said that hope can only be present where something is lacking. If there is hope, that also means there is hurt, pain, something missing. That is obviously an overriding theme for the follower of Jesus - we are always longing for the day we will see Him. The pain of this world is a reminder that we are not home yet.

In many smaller ways, I hold onto hope every single day. I hope that God will bring healing where I have wounded. I hope for freedom and perseverance for those I love who are stuck in difficult situations. I hope to see God do amazing things in me, in my family, in my friends. Unfortunately, I can't always use the word joyful to describe my hope. How about...


That is not an impressive list of adjectives. I really need God to bring joy to my hope. I may have to wait a long time to see these hopes and many others be realized. 

God isn't as concerned with the "resolution" to my trials as He is with who I am becoming in the midst of them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's here!

I haven't mentioned anything about this because I wanted to wait to see it in person. And now I can post about it! Isabella and I are on the cover of a magazine! You won't find it on any newsstands, but it's pretty cool to me.

I was not planning on writing an article for this issue, but I had offered some information and expressed an interest in the topic. The editor emailed me a few weeks later and said that she was short on articles and could use another one if I would be willing to write. The timing was poor and I was not sure how to approach the topic, but I really wanted to do it. Because of the timing, I only ended up with one evening in which to write it. I sat down with no clear direction and started writing. By the end, I really felt that God had worked through me to write His message.

When I emailed the article, I also sent a couple of pictures of me and Isabella for the bio. I was really happy with the article and excited about the opportunity to write. The following week, the editor emailed me back. She asked if they could use one of the pictures of us for the cover! I was very surprised, and I made sure to ask Heth first since she took the picture. Everything fell into place, and I have been pretty excited for the day it would finally come in the mail.

And today was the day!

The article hasn't been posted online yet, but I retained the rights to it, so I will probably repost it here pretty soon.

P.S. Some days that have something really awesome in them also have something really crappy. I'm not sure why that is. It's putting a damper on my evening, and I'm not doing a very good job of focusing on the positive.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Our first "real" date was a trip to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin and dinner in Galena. We both love to travel, and we started out spending a LOT of time in the car for a new couple. I am so glad that we share this passion. We have enjoyed some incredible trips in our 5 years together. One of our favorites was a trip to California in 2007. All I have to say is, "Remember when we went to California?" And we both instantly sigh with great joy as we remember all the fun we shared on that trip.

I know my husands love of trains is pretty unique (especially for someone his age), but even I admit that we found some awesome spots for train watching ( called "railfanninng" if you're serious about it).
We also spent time in San Francisco and visited the Ghirardelli Factory. Yeah. Enough said.

The "railfanning" portion of our trip...oh, who am I kidding - it was all about trains in California. My husband plans to model the Donner Mountains in his model railroad someday, and it was really exciting to be with him the first time he visited Donner Pass.

The scenery was incredible. I did not realize that I have a pretty strong fear of heights, and I vividly remember crying on the way up the mountain. I wanted to be with him for this experience, but I was quite certain we would not live to see another day as we climbed higher and higher (in the car; we didn't really climb it, thank God). But I survived, he survived, and we have some very cool memories as a result of it.

I could go on about our California trip for hours. I could also reminisce about our trip to Chicago just days before I found out I was wonder I was so tired!

We have been to Boston, Minneapolis, Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City, and of course, Cancun! I love vacation with my husband. We have always talked about vacationing with our children as Matt has great memories of traveling with his family growing up. We have already taken a few short trips with Isabella. At her age, it is a combination of fun and stress with new surroundings and our uncertainty at how she will respond. But no matter what, it's an adventure. And we are in it together, my husband and me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy 5 months!

I've done this for the past few months, and it's a good opportunity for me to chronicle the milestones Isabella has reached and who she is at 5 months. Because, let's face it, the baby book hasn't been touched since I started back to work, and I don't see it happening any time soon. But this works! is the story of Isabella's life these days:

1. She rolls over so quickly! And she pushes up on her arms and lifts herself so high; it's so cute. She never liked tummy time, so I love seeing her have a little time on her tummy. And it is true; even without tummy time, she rolled over and has a very strong neck and head. So there! :-)

2. She is getting so much better at holding on to her toys and munching on them. This is her favorite toy right now:

She loves this little guy! I think she can grab and hang on to him easily, and he's soft to chew on. Last week on the way to church, we handed her this toy in the car seat. It was time for her nap, but she ended up playing with him the whole time and didn't go to sleep. Now if it's nap time during the car ride, I make sure he's not around.

3. She is still in her 0-3 month clothes for the most part. I've begun to work in the 3-6 month stuff. She has a lot of summer stuff that won't get worn if I don't! Actually, the onesie in the picture above is a newborn. The Target brand Circo seems to run huge! I can't believe a 5 month old can still wear a newborn size. I was so excited for some of the 6 month stuff to fit this week; she wore some outfits for the first time, including one of my absolute favorites:
I just love her in red. (I love red period, but my baby girl in red...I am all about it.) Honestly, it's nice that she fits in her clothes longer, but I'm getting sick of the 3 month stuff. I'm ready for something new! :-) Shocking, I know.

4. This week she started giggling more. I got laughs out of her 4 days in a row! I've been waiting for the laughing to really start. It is so incredible. I'll do anything to get that baby giggle! It's just priceless.

5. She is such a good sleeper. She's been sleeping through the night for quite a while with minimal night wakings (once or twice a week). She also goes to bed pretty early. Well, early for an adult, but little baby girl needs her rest! She's in bed between 5 and 6 p.m., depending on the ending time of her last nap. It's so awesome because I can wait and make dinner after she's in bed. I can also make evening plans without worrying that she will wake up or need to eat. I always have milk in the fridge just in case, but it hasn't happened yet. The only downside is that Matt and I can't  go out together unless we ask someone to come here and "watch" her, which would be a very easy job, but we haven't done it yet. I'm sure we will, though. It does make it hard on the nights when Matt doesn't get home until after she's in bed, but he sees her most days at lunch as well. The funny thing is that I'm always relieved when she goes to bed and I can get a few things done, but after a few hours, I can't wait for her to wake up so I can hold her again. I peek in on her just to see her cuteness and the funny positions she works herself into, but I refuse to take pictures. It's not worth waking her up. :-)

6. We will take our biggest vacation so far in just a couple of weeks. It's been over a month since we went out of town or stayed anywhere else overnight. We will see how she does! Especially since we have been sleep training since that time. I haven't decided if I'll keep her out later than usual or if I will try to get her in bed early if possible. Either way, we'll get her back on her schedule when we get home.

7. We bought an Exersaucer this month. She loves it! She is so adorable in it. I stuff a blanket around her as she's still a little wobbly, but she yanks on those toys so hard - it amazes me!

8. I wanted to mention solid foods. I really (really, really) want to wait until (at least) 6 months before starting solids. I'm just not sure if I'll be able to put her off for another month. She is showing so much interest in our food and drink. I know she's interested in pretty much everything we have, so I can't tell if she is really ready for solids or not. Even if we do start a little solid food here and there, breast milk is still supposed to provide the bulk of her nutrition until a year of age, so I will definitely stick to that recommendation. But I am looking forward to seeing her try new foods (sort of) and to making some baby food for her. Either way, I will most likely skip the cereal and go straight to vegetables and fruits. I've done a lot of reading, and I like that plan best. Fun stuff!

This is certainly going by quickly. I enjoy being her mom so much. It is really challenging at times, but she is so wonderful. And there is so much still to come!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pinching Pennies and Such

I've always been obsessed with shopping sales and clearance, but I have recently discovered a few websites that have helped me in my quest to get the best possible price. I have been regularly frequenting a few new sites - Penny Pinchin Mom and Mrs. Moneysaver are two of my favorites. They often have the same deals listed, but occasionally I find something different. I don't get the Sunday newspaper, so I haven't been a practicing coupon clipper for a while. I did collect coupons whenever possible, but these sites have recently encouraged me to start printing coupons. I have been to the grocery store several times in the last month or two where my coupons have totaled $10+ (including store coupons).

I never realized that you can often combine a store coupon (like a coupon from the Hy-Vee ad) with a manufacturer's coupon. Last week, I found an amazing deal. I don't want to bore you with the details, but I ended up with a box of 96 diapers, 2 small baby food jars, 320 baby wipes, 4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 boxes of Wheat Thins, a bottle of barbecue sauce, 2 air fresheners, and a 3-pack of Kleenex boxes for $25 total. I was SO excited! I would have gone back and done the whole thing twice, but the truth is that I have found so many incredible diaper deals lately that I have over 400 size 2 diapers and over 500 size 3 diapers. I also have...well, a LOT of baby wipes. So I decided not to totally freak my husband out and just got the deal once.

It's been lots of fun trying to see how many coupons I can get. Some of the other deals I love are photo gifts and prints. Shutterfly has this deal for 3 personalized photo 5x7 greeting cards for $1 shipped. Okay, it was $1.01. You can choose from a bunch of different designs - the wedding designs are gorgeous! I've opened two new accounts just so I could do this a few extra times. I may do another one or two before it ends on September 1. I know plenty of grandmas and grandpas who would love a thank you card with a picture of the grandbaby on the front! :-)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I am amazed at how many milestone there are in a baby's life! In 4 and a half months, we've had the first smile, recognizing Mom and Dad, the first laugh, rolling over, head control, grabbing, holding a toy...they just keep coming. I have anticipated each milestone with great excitement. 

The early days of newborn-ness were hard. I looked forward to getting some response, some feedback from the baby I was working so hard to care for every day. As each milestone has arrived, I have enjoyed seeing her change and grow. I have also found myself sadly realizing that she will  never again be a brand new baby who can do nothing for herself. She's not changing her own diaper or anything. But with every milestone, she is a different baby and will never be the same again. I'm torn with each new stage between being excited to see her growth and being sad that the previous stage has ended so suddenly.

Now that you know I am ridiculously sentimental...I still do look forward to what's coming next. I plan to wait until she is 6 months old to start her on solids, but I am definitely excited about (parts of) it. I can't wait to see her face when she tastes food for the first time. I look forward to her reactions to the different flavors. I definitely don't look forward to cleaning up after her, but that's all a part of it, I guess.

Almost every day I try to take a few moments and just enjoy who she is right now. She gives me the best smiles right after she has finished eating. I love those big smiles. She is very active; she has completed some barrel rolls that surprise me. On the days when I wish she could just TELL me what to do to make her happy, I remind myself that, one of these days, I will wish she could just STOP TELLING ME what to do to make her happy. 

One of these days.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Matt and I saw "Inception" last week. We don't watch TV, so I had only heard of the movie through Facebook posts. I looked it up at Plugged In and we both thought it would be worth seeing.

I don't like giving away the plot of a movie, but I have to explain a little of it in order to expand on my thoughts. In the movie, dreams can be manipulated and people can enter into the dreams of others. It's quite fascinating, and it held my interest very well. (I get bored with movies pretty easily.)

I am ever the realist, so during the movie I reflected on my own belief that one person cannot enter the dreams of another. It makes for an interesting movie plot, but I cannot reconcile it with reality. I don't put much thought into what happens in my dreams. Unless it is an incredibly vivid dream, I leave it behind once the voice an infant rouses me from that dream world. I rarely have time to revisit it in the course of my day.

I have other dreams; dreams that are not simply confined to my sleeping hours. Dreams that are held deep within my heart. I have shared some dreams with those closest to me. Sometimes we share the same dreams, the same hopes for a shared future. I am not sure if those dreams will ever become reality. Sometimes I wonder if God gives us dreams so that we keep hoping for the future. I believe, however, that some dreams are planted deep within us so we will hang on tightly and not let them go no matter how much life tries to wrangle them from our grasp.

I hang on to my dreams. I will keep hoping that one day God will bring them to pass in amazing, mind-blowing ways.

You've heard it all before...

So I'm obsessed with Target. It's old news. Today's deals were again all 75% off.

Again...I cannot resist posting a picture of them. The plastic cups/bowls were all 50 cents for 4. I bought a bunch so we can have some extras for the RV (whenever it is completed). The pool was $3. The toys were all 75 cents. The super cute round tray with handles was $3.74.

And the big red tub. Ah, I'm in love with the big red tub.

I have wanted this tub to come home with me since the first time I laid eyes on it. It's so...big. I can picture it full of ice and icy cold beverages. I couldn't really justify the $20 price tag, so I wandered past it on occasion and hoped it might still be around when the price was, well, lower.

And today was that magical day. At a price of $4.99, I am the happy new owner of a huge red metal tub.

I'm also excited about the toys and the pool that will be stashed away for use next summer by what will then be my...toddler! (Yikes.)

P.S. Everything in the picture (tub included) totaled right around $25. For a little more than the original cost of the tub, I brought home the tub full of fun stuff!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy 4 months!

Isabella is 4 months old! It is certainly going by quickly. Her appointment is tomorrow. Matt will be coming along so I can step into the hall for the next set of immunizations. I think he's getting immune to her screaming these days, anyway.

On to the latest developments in the life of Isabella...

In bullet point form, of course.

1. She LOVES to lay on her playmat. She was in a bouncy seat phase, and now she's in a playmat phase. I lay her down so she can see herself in the mirror above. She talks to herself in the mirror, sticks her hands in her mouth, and rolls from side to side. It's so adorable.

2. She is rolling over now! I wrote down the date of her "first" rollover from tummy to back and back to tummy, but it was in the past 2 weeks or so. Today she rolled from her back to her tummy, got her bottom arm free, and rolled again onto her tummy. I'm in trouble when this girl really figures out how to move.

3. Her hands are constantly in her mouth. This is not a very recent development; it seems like she's had them there forever. She still isn't sucking her thumb, so I don't know if she will get that figured out soon or not. (The picture above is classic Boo - hands in mouth, smiling, loving her changing table. She's usually dressed, though. :-)

4. I don't think she is necessarily teething yet, but she is drooling like nobody's business. I changed her twice today because her outfit was drenched with drool. Not that I mind the changing outfits. She has to wear all those clothes sometime before she grows out of them.

5. She holds her head up really well. Her back isn't very steady yet, but I can hold her on my hip now. She's just so tiny. It feels funny to have such a tiny baby on my hip.

6. We are working on sleep training this week (training her to get to sleep by herself). It's very hard, but on the advice of many amazing moms, I believe we need to do it and now is the time for us. She is strong-willed and can scream like there's no tomorrow. Tonight was the best night so far, though. I have hope! And I have part of my evening back, which is a wonderful feeling. I was very depressed spending 2-4 hours a night putting her to sleep.

I am SO excited to find out her stats at the doctor's office tomorrow! I always look forward to seeing how much she has grown and knowing that I am the one who has nourished her to this point. I do not plan to start solids until 6 months or a little after. I am in no hurry, and I realize that eating will take a LOT longer and be a LOT messier when we get to that point. I'll take a few more months of exclusively nursing, thank you. (That's not the only reason, of course. I have done my research and believe it is in her best interests and prefer to wait until her digestive system is more developed.)

Pretty soon I want to blog about something other than my daughter. But sometimes the things I really want to say are much harder to get out. Blogging about her is very easy. :-)

Friday, July 09, 2010

No Rest for the Weary

My daughter sleeps well. She rarely wakes up in the middle of the night anymore. She goes down for naps in the swing pretty well. The thing we struggle with (and by we, I mean SHE) is bedtime.

I try to do the bedtime routine of pajamas, swaddle, nurse when she seems to be getting tired. It's generally between 7:00 and 8:00. She nurses fine and appears to be sleeping to me. However, when I get up to lay her down (or actually do lay her down), she immediately starts getting fussy and going crazy. She stretches out her body and starts whining. She's all of a sudden wide awake. I walk her, rock her, sing, bounce...all the things that usually work to help her get to sleep. Nothing works. I undo her swaddle and she still freaks out.

I think she's starting to teethe, so I gave her a little Tylenol tonight to see if that would help with the pain. It didn't make a bit of difference. I started putting her to bed at 7:30 and she didn't go to sleep until 9:30. I'm at my wit's end. The rest of our day great. I don't understand why it takes so long to get her to bed. I woke her up from her afternoon nap at 4:40, hoping that not letting her sleep to late would help. (She napped until 5:30-6 the past 2 nights.) That didn't make a difference, either. I've tried putting her down earlier. I've tried keeping her up later. The end result is almost always a 2+ hour bedtime routine. I let her cry for 5 minutes tonight, and then Matt went to rock her. It took her forever to calm down from that.

I dread night time. I'm so frustrated, but I feel like it's too early to begin sleep training. Most books I read suggest 6-9 months. I don't know if anyone has any suggestions, but I figured it might be a little therapeutic to write about it at least. I'm open to anything. Except crying it out. I don't think I'm ready for that yet. :-) Come on, veteran me out! Or at least tell me that it's too early to expect anything more (she'll be 4 months next week).

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Poem for Moms

I've heard this poem before, but I don't remember most of it. The last two lines have always stuck in my head. I have said them over and over to myself since Isabella was born.

"I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep." Tears me up even now.


Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo;
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust, go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3 months old!

Last week, Isabella turned 3 months old! It certainly has flown by. True to form, Heather took some amazing pictures for us! I could not have been happier with them. We ordered an 11x14 to put in a HUGE frame that we bought a few years ago. It looks amazing! My baby is now plastered all over the living room. I love it!

So three months...I figured she would still be mostly newborn-ish, but she seems so different already. She smiles a ton! I love that I can make her smile. On Friday, she started jabbering a bunch more! It's been so much fun to hear her figure out her voice. We love it. She has even started grabbing her toys, although she doesn't have a great deal of control over what she does with them yet. And, of course, everything goes in her mouth.

Last night she was nursing on my lap before bed, and I thought about how small she is. She fits nicely across my lap while she's nursing, and one of these days, she won't fit on my lap like that anymore. I get so anxious to see her reach some of the exciting milestones ahead, but when I reflect on how quickly it's going by, I remind myself to s - l - o - w d - o - w - n. I can tear up just thinking about the day when she won't be a "baby" anymore.

Isabella now screams in my face, and she is LOUD! (I can't imagine how she came to inherit that trait.) She still takes forever to go to sleep most nights. (But she sleeps for 10+ hours, so it's hard to complain.) She throws fits in the car at times that just drive me bonkers. (Other times she sleeps like an angel.) She is my baby girl, and I am enjoying every amazing and every trying moment. They are passing all too quickly.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I love Target!

The title of my blog is not a surprise to anyone who knows me. But I was SO excited about my shopping trip to Target on Monday.

First of all, Isabella was such a stinker for a good portion of the car ride to and from Chicago, so I was a little nervous to take her to Cedar Falls. But she was fabulous; slept the whole way down, wonderful for almost the entire time at Target, and slept the whole way back as well. Yeah, baby Bella!

Second, everything in the picture above (except the blue and yellow dress on the left) was $1.00 each. Yes, ONE DOLLAR! The dress was only two dollars, too! I totally scored; it was hard not to buy every single one dollar onesie and top since I know so many baby girls now. But alas, my budget does not allow me to clothe all of them. The black & white little container is hot pink inside; PERFECT for her room!

I also got a few great deals at Kohl's over the weekend and was able to buy a couple things for Isabella at H&M (my first time there since she was born; actually, first time since I knew I was going to have a baby!). I have to blog about our awesome eating out experience, too, but I'll save that for next time.

Yeah, Target! I hate your return policies, but I cannot resist your clearance. Thanks for making my weekend.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Things I Love About Isabella

My typing is now mostly done one-handed while nursing, so I thought a list might be easier to compose under these circumstances.

Here are some of the things I love about Isabella:
  1. The noises she makes while eating. They are SO adorable!
  2. Her cute waking up cry. It's not really a cry; more of a squawk.
  3. Sometimes she forgets to swallow and almost chokes on her milk. Obviously, choking is not cute, but once she's done coughing and ready to go again, I think it's cute that she doesn't know choking should be scary. She is so calm about it. For some reason I think it's really cute.
  4. She loves loud music. My daughter doesn't fall asleep to lullabies; it's loud, fast, get-your-blood-pumping music for her. I totally love that.
  5. I love her jerky hand and arm movements. I know she will grow out of it, and I will miss it.
  6. She BARELY opens her mouth to eat. It frustrates me to no end because, well, it hurts. But at the same time her tiny mouth is so stinkin cute. I'm working on being more patient and making her open wider before latching.
  7. Most of the time when she's eating, she has her hand up by the side of her face in the cutest little, I'm-thinking-really-hard or I'm-so-perplexed kind of way. I can't find a picture of it, and I can't take one that would be appropriate for posting in a public forum, so you'll just have to imagine it as best you can.
  8. I love watching her get more expressive and active. It's so fun to discover her new faces and sounds.
  9. I love dressing her! Holy cow. It's so much more fun than I even anticipated it would be. She's cute in everything she wears. She's cute in nothing, too! (Not that I've seen it much since, well, I like dressing her so much.)
  10. She gets attention wherever we go! I suppose every baby does, but it makes me feel like I have the cutest baby ever. Oh, wait. I do.
She's getting fussy, so I'd better stop. Thanks for reading the ramblings of a lovestruck mommy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm a Mom!

This is my first post-baby blog! So much pressure...where to start? Well, I don't even know if I have time to go into the whole birth story. I'm trying to squeeze this in while she's napping, and I have no idea how long that will last. If you're really interested, Matt and I recorded our versions of the birth story on DVD so we have it for posterity. SO glad we did. But it's way too long to post online, so I can burn you a copy if you want to hear it.

Isabella will be 4 weeks old tomorrow. It has been a long 4 weeks, but it's also flown by. Matt stayed home with us the first week, and we had a great time together. My Mom came the next week, and it was great to have her help. Now we've had 2 weeks at home "by ourselves." She still has yet settle into any kind of routine; some nights she'll sleep 3, 4, or 5 hours at a shot, and other nights she'll wake up every 1.5-2 hours. I never know what I'm going to get. The lesson of the first 4 weeks is...go with the flow. :-) I'm still alive, and so is she. So we must be doing all right.

I am dying to know what she weighs. It's been almost 2 weeks since we went to the doctor, and she was 6 pounds, 3 ounces then. I put on a newborn onesie today and it was still HUGE. Seriously. Huge. So maybe she'll grow into them in the next few weeks. I'm going to be hosed with all this winter clothing that will fit her...oh, sometime this summer. :-)

We have actually gone out 2 times without Bella already. The first time I didn't leave any milk, but the second time we left a little bit and she took it (yeah!). Tonight we're planning to go out again, and I have 2 2 oz. bottles to leave. Yeah again! It's so nice to have a good pump and to be able to get away. Although, after we're gone about an hour, I'm ready to see her again. It's this funny, you-drive-me-crazy-sometimes-but-I'm-your-Mom-and-I-love-you-and-miss-you-already thing.

We've also planned our first road trip with Bella (not including Waterloo/Cedar Falls). We are going to Des Moines for Mother's Day weekend. She finally gets to meet Aunt Steph, Uncle Jim, and cousin Hannah! Yeah! I'm scared to death that she'll scream the entire 2 hour drive, but I'm praying about it. Lord, please help us.

These are the ramblings of a sleep-deprived new mom. I probably should get something else done while she's napping.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Come on, Baby Bella!

I will be 37 weeks tomorrow! It has totally flown by, and I’m checking all my lists, but I think we are pretty much ready for Isabella to be here! At least, we have all the “stuff” to take care of her and to make taking care of her a little easier on her first-time mommy. I’m not sure I will ever be completely ready, but thank God that I only have to deal with one day at a time.

So, let’s see…here’s the update as of today:

1. The nursery is painted! I am so glad her room is finally ready to be set up. It's hard to tell, but we went with a light gray and I love it.

2. The crib is here, but I can’t put it together by myself (in fact, I’m not sure I’ll be much help at all). Hopefully I can convince Matt to work on it one night this week. I know a cookie recipe that might serve as a decent bribe…

3. The dresser is on its way and should be here sometime between the end of this week and the middle of next. Hopefully sooner!!

4. All her newborn and 0-3 month clothes are washed and ready to be placed in the dresser.

5. The changing table is here and in the room! Mom covered some foam for a changing table pad. It looks so great – I was so excited when I found it for $40 on craigslist (cherry baby furniture is hard to find used!), and I love it even more in person.

6. The rocking chair is here and ready to move into the room. Just one small task Matt has to finish before it can get moved in. He took a nice long nap in it yesterday, so I think it’s sufficiently broken in. I may have played some games on my iPod on it yesterday, too.

7. Mom and I installed the car seat bases in both cars on Saturday. I’m keeping the car seat in the house for now, but I may put it in the Denali next week.

8. Have I mentioned that I’m completely in love with her stroller and car seat? Mom found it on craigslist (another great deal), and it’s so incredibly nice. We went with the Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30. It’s similar to the color of the Adventure but a prettier, closer to lime shade of green (it's a discontinued pattern). I’m just thrilled with it. Yes, we checked the expiration date before buying and it’s fine. :-)

9. I put together her swing last week, so it’s ready!

10. I ordered the bunting bag (car seat cover) and bouncy seat last week, so they should be here by the end of this week, too. I decided it’s just too cold and windy to deal with covering her with a blanket, and who knows how long this winter will last at this point!

The list goes on, but I guess this is most of the main stuff. Wow…I am amazed that it all came together. There were moments I wasn’t sure what we would get and when we would get it, but we had some pretty great deals and great baby shower gifts, too. My bags are pretty much packed, and this morning I decided to throw in my makeup and glasses each morning in case I need to grab stuff in a hurry. I can’t forget those! There are a few other things that don’t fit in the bags, but my lists are ready for reference, too.

My Mom has been amazing. I didn’t know how much I would depend on her through the pregnancy, and I’m sure it will continue once Bella is here. I’m so grateful that she’s encouraging and supportive and helpful. My sisters are awesome, too – I wish they lived closer! It’s been fun to share the experience of pregnancy with Beth, and Steph has tons of great advice since she did so much research on stuff for Hannah. I can’t wait until Bella can meet them and both of her cousins, too!

Matt has been so great, too. What a ride it’s been! He has worked SO hard to get the bathroom done and has made some seriously amazing progress. In addition, having laundry has been, well, just fabulous. Don’t make fun of me until you spend 4 years doing laundry at the laundromat/other people’s homes! Nothing compares to walking downstairs and throwing in a load, especially in winter with a big pregnant belly. I know it’s been a stressful time for him, but he has dealt with it so well, and he has been incredibly supportive and loving. I am so grateful that we get to share the experience of first-time parenthood. There is no one else I would rather share it with. (I know that sentence ends with a preposition, but at 37 weeks, I’m less inclined to care. It’s just a blog, right?) I love you so much, baby, and I know you will be the best daddy Bella could ever want.

So…here we go! I don’t know when she will decide to make her appearance, but I am pretty ready at this point. As ready as I’ll ever be, anyway. So, Miss Bella, keep growing until you’re ready. But you can stop kicking me so much any day now. You are already one tough cookie!

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Bella

You are so active today! It’s not much different than normal, but I am enjoying it. At the same time, I am very anxious to meet you. You are almost 31 weeks, and 9 more weeks just feels like forever to me. I want to know what it is like to hold you in my arms. I want to touch your soft skin and see your beautiful face. I want to see your daddy hold you. I want to feel the love that fills my heart the first moment I hold you. It seems so close yet so far away. I already love you – I love feeling you and your gymnastic-like movements. I love reading and talking to you. I love thinking about how you will look and touching your tiny fingers and toes. I love imagining how you’ll look in all the adorable clothes I have for you. Some days the anticipation is so great, and today is one of those days. I hope the time goes by fast until we meet you, Bella.

Your Mommy