Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A year in pictures, 2011

I can't believe it's already the last day of January and the first month of a new year is already over. Time is flying by at an unreasonable rate. So much in our life has changed in the past year, and I'd like to share my favorite picture from each month of 2011, so I can take a moment to reminisce.

One of my best friends, Sarah, and I on new years. This is me at one of my finest, most fun moments. Slightly intoxicated (okay, maybe more then slightly) with a totally uninhibited smile on my face. Little did I know this would be my last big partying hurrah sans-baby. We were still in our home in England and this is hands down one of my most favorite nights while living there. And one of my favorite people of all time. Seriously, my life is pretty sad without her as we have so many similar interests and thoughts, I feel like my long lost twin has become lost once more.

My very first ultrasound of Boston. 5 weeks, 6 days and the most amazing flickering heartbeat which gave me the huge sigh of relief I needed. This photo changed our life. 
Stella managed to get into some charcoal outside, and wore the shame of the event right on her face. Stella is the most amazing dog on the planet. It's not an exaggeration. If you met her, you'd agree. She is so funny and energetic and loving and full of character and I could continue with one hell of a run on sentence but I won't. This photo still makes me laugh because it fits her to a T. I truly adore her.
I have to cheat and post 2 photos because April was a huge month for me. Above is my gender ultrasound and the day we found out we were expecting a boy. It was a great day, and I don't think I have ever seen my husband so excited. 

You may be wondering why I've posted some random photo of the Royal Wedding. Well my friend, this is not a random photo. This is my photo taken with my camera because I was there. I saw this with my own two eyes. History in the making. I was lucky enough to go to London for the royal wedding with a big group of girlfriends and my friend Sarah and I found one of the best spots on the parade field to witness the royal family go by in their carriages. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. 
This is a quilt Sarah made for Boston. Her first quilt ever and she made it especially for him. It's one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. Needless to say, I have some truly amazing friends.
I was 24 weeks pregnant here and it's the first photo where you can tell I'm pregnant. I was so excited to finally show and I felt great! Plus we had finally made it back to America!

This was at our baby shower. My sister-in-law planned the most perfect baby shower for us and everyone went above and beyond for it. Everything was beautiful and everyone pitched in whether it was set up or food or gifts. It was perfect and I loved seeing how excited everyone was for Boston to arrive and could feel so much love for him.
Silly, right? But anyone who knows me knows I'm a dessert girl and finally I had a legit reason to indulge in every single craving, even if it meant choosing 3 desserts off the menu in one night. I ate them all and they were all delicious.
Boston was born! This was our very first photo we texted and posted to introduce everyone to our little guy. The day is mostly a blur but the important parts shine and he is just so freaking amazing. Nothing in my life compares to this moment. Nothing.
My dad and grandparents came to meet Boston and spend time with us. My mom was already here and was there for his birth, but introducing him to my dad and grandparents, and officially making them grand and great-grands was a special moment. I loved sharing him with them and seeing them get to interact. We don't live near so visits will be far between, so these moments are precious.
In November, Steven's parents and little brother were able to come for a visit and meet Boston. They loved him just like my family did. And this photo is just adorable.
Boston meeting santa! Okay, it was kind of a lame Santa but Boston did so well. I was majorly excited for Christmas, especially with it being our first as a family and a Santa picture was a must.

So there you have it, my year in pictures. There are a few months that I wish I could post multiple photos and write paragraphs about but for blogging purposes I figured I better limit it. It was an eventful year for us though and of course Boston was our highlight.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What I'm diggin this January 2012

My friend Rose at happyhippierose.com posted her "What I'm into this month" list, and I'm kind of a bandwagoner so here's my list:

On my nightstand
I'm almost embarassed to admit, but Twilight (the first one) is what I'm reading. If this was December I'd be even more embaressed to say I'm not reading anything but Cosmo. Hell, if we're being real, I haven't read a damn thing since the baby was born except What to Expect the First Year.

T.V Shows Worth Watching
Hell's Kitchen. I know there isn't a new season going on right now but the husband and I are backtracking and I can't get enough of it. Chef Ramsay is freakin nuts and I love it.
Modern Family is one of our favorite sitcoms to watch together.
Teen Mom 2 and Kourtney and Kim Take NY (by the way, was anyone else so disappointed in the finale? It's such a trainwreck and I can't stop watching)
Grey's Anatomy
How I Met Your Mother saved my sanity this month. After many hours of soothing a fussy baby or being pent up in the house because it's just too much work to get him out, I need a good laugh sometimes and this show is absolutely hilarious. I need to get caught up on the current season. I literally feel like something is missing from my life right now because I have no  more episodes to watch.

Movies I've Seen
The Crazies was so...crazy! And terrifying. Probably not for normal people but I can't stand horror movies and only did so because the husband really wanted to watch it but I've been regretting it these past couple days that I've been scared to go to sleep or look out the window. And the whole containment issue has me all mixed up, like I understand it's necessary but it's also so heartless and cruel and wrong. I just can't even think about the possibility.
Final Destination 5 was clearly another pick of the husband. Not scary, kind of funny really.
That's pretty much it. I don't really have time to sit and watch an entire movie without stopping a million times which I don't like to do.

In My Kitchen
Yogurt parfaits are my go-to breakfast. Yogurt, strawberries and granola usually. I've also brought back the waffle with peanut butter. Smoked salmon when I'm craving meat. And these delicious Weight Watchers chocolate dipped strawberry bars I discovered.

I'm kind of on a diet though it isn't a very strict one so I've been mostly eliminating all liquid calories and as much junk as possible and red meat. Not much cooking going on the past few days, I feel very uninspired at the moment.

In My Ears
Mostly just local radio. I've kind of gone back into an Eminem Recovery album phase, something about it makes me feel awesome and bad ass. Like the ultimate destroyer. It's my go-to gym music.

Other Things
POP Pilates is a favorite right now and I did a little yoga which I really enjoyed. Blogging obviously, I haven't in a very long time so I decided to start fresh with a whole new blog. Football!!! We're really stoked for the Superbowl, especially being New England fans. A new playgroup I have discovered in our local area, we go about once a week right now but will probably do more in the summer.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
I am looking forward to continuing to eat healthier and get in shape. I've managed to get below my pre-pregnancy weight which is huge and exciting and now my next mini goal is to fit in my favorite jeans. Which isn't a far out desire, I am pretty close but there is work to be done. I'm also looking forward to more playdates and getting out with other moms. Valentines day of course because although I never need an excuse to eat chocolate, it's always nice to have a semi valid reason and with this diet going on I need the excuse.

Dino blanket and the Mondays

Ever find yourself sitting there cuddling your adorable sleeping baby thinking they are just the most precious thing life could have to offer, and then the second they stir, you get a sudden "Oh shit! Please don't!" moment? That has been my day. Little one is super angry with the world today and I am feeling his wrath. Writing this blog entry is the first time all day other then trips to the bathroom where I was more then a foot away from him. The majority of the day was spent in recliner prison trying to feed myself anything I can handle with one hand and afraid to move the other one even just to regain feeling in it, as to not wake the beast.

I also did get to push him around in Walmart and listen to him squeal in pure delight over the goofiest baby steering wheel toy and watch him cheer strangers up with his giant gummy smiles. So it was worth it as it always is. But today has been one of those really rough, feeling like I am in over my head and will never make the baby happy kind of days. I did get some bad ass dinosaur fabric though and managed to make him a no-sew fleece blanket while he was napping.

The bad ass dino blanket I made. It may look like baby is playing happily on it but he's not, he's yelling at me to stop the photo op and pick him up yet again. 
We also tried bubbles for the first time. Obviously he can't blow bubbles yet (well, spit bubbles maybe but not the cool kind you buy) so I did for him and he watched. He was unimpressed. I thought kids loved bubbles. I thought they went nuts over them, isn't that what they said on Knocked Up? I got the bubbles going for him fully expecting big belly laughs and smiles, and instead I got blank stares. This kid is hard to impress.

In other news, I am still giving it a shot but so far the No Cry Sleep Solution  is not working out so hot for us. In order for the method to work, I have to get the husband 100% on board which he is trying to be but he is also dead tired and stressed from lack of sleep, and I am having a hard time staying focused on the task at hand which is set a routine and stickstickstick to it for 10 days. The first night I was all for it. And then I spent that night getting up every 15 minutes to soothe my baby calmly without putting him in our bed and after about 4 hours of that I gave up because it was obviously not working. Day 2 was husband's night and although I gave him strict directions to not put the baby in the bed, and instead soothe him and keep him in his crib, I awoke to a baby in my bed. Guess it didn't work for him either. I am on day 3 and right now my son is sleeping peacefully in our bed next to his father in only a diaper and he didn't even get a bedtime story first. This goes against every aspect of our newly imposed routine but I don't even give a crap because at the moment, he is sleeping. I guess you have to be more dedicated to make the no cry sleep solution work...but I'm too tired to be dedicated. And in reality even though the baby isn't crying while I am calmly soothing him, he is still awake which means I'm awake, which means I'm crying... which means it isn't really the "no cry" sleep solution now is it?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sleepless in New England

A few days ago we discovered Boston can no longer be swaddled for bed because he can now roll to his stomach but can't roll back onto his back with the swaddler on. This finding is making our lives incredibly difficult right now because we also have a notorious sleep fighter on our hands. So after a couple pretty sleepless nights, I checked out The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley from our library after a friend recommended it. I've kind of skimmed through it and right now I feel pretty indifferent; a lot of what I read seems like common sense but maybe once I actually read it and piece it all together the puzzle will come together and we'll all be sleeping like babies again! Until then, my strong-willed 4 month old will have to cope with us. As of now, if he falls asleep anywhere, anyhow, then it's okay with us. He is currently taking a nap in his car seat next to me and I don't dare try to move him. I hope you've got what I need, Ms. Pantley.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our baby necessities

One of the things I struggled with prior to Boston’s arrival, and really his first few months was what the heck we needed to buy for him and how to prepare. I, like a lot of new moms, consulted with my mom friends and scoured the internet for a list of necessities. It really stressed me out! What if we needed something in the middle of the night and we didn’t have it? What if I didn’t try the one thing that would soothe him or make him happy? Although it can be a little alarming to see the amount of baby products available nowadays, our needs were really minimal. At first I thought we needed all the gear, special toys, fancy crib bedding, learning tools, etc. but really he’s content with diapers, clothes, a blanket and a teething ring. We did however find a few very important buys for us and a few things not so necessary for the first few months. Here are a few of our favorites:

Boppy Infant Lounger
This is an item that didn’t last for very long because he simply outgrew it quickly, but for the initial 6-8 weeks we used this daily. The first couple of months Boston spent the majority of his time in someone’s arms but on the rare occasion we did put him down, we needed somewhere comfy and safe to do so. Laying him in his pack n’ play didn’t always work because at that age he wanted to feel cuddled. His swing would be great except it’s extremely difficult to strap a sleeping infant safely into a swing without waking him. Obviously we couldn’t just sit him on the couch or anything. This is where the lounger comes it. It’s a firm but comfy pillow designed to hug his body and help keep him positioned so he won’t fall off. Of course it isn’t something to lay him on and just disappear but even at a measly 8 lbs, babies get heavy! So when your arms are tired of hugging little one, this is a great place to lay him safely.

Halo Swaddler
We’re still using our swaddler. We actually didn’t start using it until he was about a month old and previously we swaddled him with a blanket. But as he got stronger it was harder to keep his arms in the blanket and I also feared he would loosen the blanket and get his little face under it. Not swaddling is not an option for us at this point in time. When left unrestricted, Boston’s hands get in his way of sleep. He is a chronic eye rubber and also startles very easily so in order for him to get good sleep, he needs to be swaddled. Thanks to the Halo swaddleme wrap, we can safely secure his arms at his sides, snug and warm. It also helps because a lot of babies want to feel that constriction as if they are still safe in mama’s womb, so it’s a comfort for them. I honestly don’t know how we’d get any rest without this.

Little Tummy’s Gripe Water
Boston can get a little gassy and fussy, and as much as I try to burp him and bicycle his little legs and watch my diet, he still inevitably gets bubbles in his stomach. I didn’t feel like we got very good results from gas drops, which I also don’t personally feel comfortable giving to him multiple times a day. I had heard raves about gripe water and a lot of mom’s I know swear by it so we finally gave it a shot. The relief was instant! I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure that it’s because it’s causing those bubbles to disappear right away. I think he enjoys the taste, but I can hear a few burps and other gas exits shortly after giving him gripe water so I do know it helps. So when we find ourselves with an overly fussy baby even after all of our other efforts, our go-to is his gripe water and 95% of the time he settles down as soon as he has it.  

I was hesitant to use a pacifier because of all the babble about how hard it is to break them of the habit, confusion with bottles and breast feeding, and orthodontic problems but we learned in a very short time that a pacifier would be a necessity for us. Boston needed something to suck on soothe. So we waited 2 weeks and made sure feeding was established and then gave him a Soothie pacifier. He had a hard time keeping those in his mouth though so we switched to Avent. It has been a lifesaver for us. It helps calm him down and helps him sleep. Our house would be a lot more rambunctious without that pacifier. I also am glad to know that pacifiers are actually encouraged to prevent SIDS, which is one of my top fears for him so we use it to get him to sleep and it’s done wonders for us. As for eventually breaking the habit, we'll worry about that when the time comes but right now pacifiers are of huge value to us.

Diaper Bag
I know what you’re thinking, don’t all mom’s use diaper bags? Probably. I’ve met a few that try to skate by just using their purse. Not us, we need all the space we can get. My little guy has a habit of spitting up and peeing on every outfit, going through a million diapers, and getting gassy and fussy everytime we leave the house. Add a couple toys, extra pacifier, a cover blanket to nurse, jacket, hat and socks because we live in chilly New England, and of course wipes and you’ve taken up more space then you’d like to admit. So our diaper bag is a big messenger bag style and it is pretty much always full.

So there you have it. Those are the Kat family basic tools of baby survival.

4 Month Checkup and the Battle of the Mamas

Boston had his 4 month check up today, complete with shots. I had been dreading this appointment basically since his last appointment, but even more so in the past few weeks. I've worried he wasn't gaining enough weight for a little while now and I didn't want the pediatrician to say he was underweight or suggest we supplement formula or anything. I've been obsessively weighing him at home everyday hoping to see he's gaining but I haven't seen a climb on that scale in weeks. 

At first I wasn't really sure why I was so concerned because I can easily look at my son and see he's healthy. He's bright-eyed, intelligent, active and happy. He's a little slim, he's one of the few babies that could use a belt, but he's healthy! So why was I so worried?

I'm going to chalk it to the battle of the mamas; the constant unspoken battle between moms and their children. Who's baby is reaching milestones faster, growing quickest, which mama is the do-all supermom. Facebook is the real demon for me. I see my friends who have children around the same age as Boston posting their kid's stats and instantly I find myself comparing it to where he is. A friend posted her 2 month old is 12 1/2 pounds and I realize Boston is barely 6 ounces more then that and he's twice as old! But does that matter? I can look over at him and see he's fine so why am I concerned? 

Other babies in Boston's age bracket are starting solids and rice cereal. We aren't there yet. Originally I was against solids before 6 months because of the articles I've read on food allergies but yet I see another 3 month old scarfing down sweet potatoes and I worry we're not keeping up. 

In the end, I brought up my concerns with his pediatrician and he said Boston is healthy and perfect and to stop worrying about it. No need to start solids if we aren't ready and that we should just read Boston's cues and decide for ourselves when we're ready for that. 

And I realized I needed to get a grip. I have a beautiful, healthy baby who is thriving. Who gives a crap what other kids are doing? Boston is an individual and no one knows him better then my husband or I do and yet I continually question my mothering abilities and the choices we're making. But I guess that's a good thing because I care that much. It's difficult having this little being you love more then anything else and being responsible for making every single decision for them, especially while still dealing with the communication barrier that obviously comes with having an infant. I have to speak for him, and I have to hope the things I'm choosing for him are the right things and that's enough pressure to crack anyone I suppose. And you know, I'm sure that's what all my mama friends are doing too. We're all just trying to make the best choices we can on behalf of our little ones with whatever knowledge we have at hand. 

So what were Boston's stats in the end, you ask? 
Height : Tall enough
Weight : Who cares, he's adorable. End of story. 

Look at this face and tell me how you think he's doing.


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