Thursday, July 4, 2013

A fun visit with Grammy and Grampy

Grammy and Grampy visited for several days in June, and we had fun going to a Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers AA affiliate) game and the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Harper showed them some of her new tricks--blowing raspberries, especially when she has a mouth full of food, kicking the bowl of food out of your hands (got ya, Grammy!), her speedy Army crawl, sitting up and how she can rock on her hands and knees (but not crawl). She continued telling anyone who would listen, "da da da da da da da."

Harper wasn't really interested in having a picture taken in front of the Bush Library.
Sweet snuggles on Grampy's shoulder
Little patriot

Loving on Grammy

Making big decisions in the oval office

Rooting on the RoughRiders

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Texas Bluebonnets

We were pretty excited for our little Texan to take her first bluebonnet pictures this year. I didn't know it when I moved here, but bluebonnets are a big deal to Texans. They will dangerously pull off any major interstate on a whim to throw their kid into the weeds and get a quick shot. We went the safe route, and threw our kid in the weeds at the JCP headquarters. I wouldn't want to work there (hello, constant layoffs) but they sure have a beautiful campus. Because we are all constantly sick these days, we had to wait about a week too long to take these, and the bluebonnets were past their peak, but we made do with what we could get. It was way too hot, Harper spiked a fever and we only got a few pics that were salvageable. I'm really sad the one with Aunt Libby didn't turn out. Maybe next year!

Ain't nobody got time for pictures, mom. 

Love this goofy grin!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Baby Must-Haves

Those people who tell you "babies don't need much" are crazy. There are just some things that we could not have survived without around here. Here's a top 10 list of things that got us through the first couple of months:

1. Gas drops-I didn't initially have these on hand, but we now have them in both of our diaper bags and at home. And a backup bottle. Harper screams when she toots, thinks about tooting, poops, thinks about pooping, eats...that little gastrointestinal tract just isn't developed yet and it's apparently a big ouchie. I don't know if these really work, or if it's just the shock of us squirting them in her cheek, but it's like instant peace and quiet. For the moment.

2. Swaddle pod-I feel like I have to defend our swaddling abilities on this one. We are amazing swaddlers. And the Aiden & Anais blankets are so awesome for swaddling. But for long-term sleeping, only the pod will hold back Houdini and her spaz hands. Otherwise, she gets free, startles herself, and wakes up. I've never seen one with a ruffle like this, but I wish I had. So cute!

3. Exercise ball-When she screams, I swaddle her, hold her on her left side (something to do with how the tummy is laid out), and the second my butt hits the bouncy ball, she quiets down. Blasting her with a little white noise helps, too. Which brings me to...

4. White noise app-We have Sleep Pillow, but there are tons out there. The blow dryer sound works really well.

5. Snuza Hero Mobile Baby Monitor-If she sleeps for more than five minutes, or is quiet, I am immediately checking to see if she's still alive. This little thing clips onto her diaper and monitors the breaths in and out. If her breathing is weak or falls to fewer than eight movements per minute, or if she doesn't move for 15 seconds, it vibrates. That rouses her. If it doesn't, the alarm goes off. Sometimes it happens accidentally if the Snuza slips off her diaper, and that's super scary, but this give us peace of mind over all.

6. Itzbeen Pocket Nanny-I don't know what day of the week it is, let alone what time Harper last ate, had a diaper change or slept. This little timer keeps track for me. My pre-baby self would never have thought this was necessary. My post-baby self knows that I am lost in a baby haze that defies time and space.

7. Bouncer-This was one of our first options for putting her down and having free hands. And there were a few nights when she still had nights and days mixed up that Josh put her to sleep in this and slept on the floor next to her.

8. Activity Mat-At first, two minutes on this thing was her max. But each day she tolerated it a little longer. Now she coos at the birds and kicks them with her feet. It's my go-to entertainment for her when I need a free second.

9. Freddie the Firefly-This is her favorite toy! She loves the crunchiness of the wings.

10. Shower Hug-I'm not going to get into the specifics, but this protects you from the shower water in those first couple of weeks of nursing. I'm sure you can live without it, but why would you want to?

Ok, I know I said top ten, but here's one more thing. I don't know how people do it without the hands-free bustier for pumping. I ordered it from the hospital the day after having Harper because I realized that having to hold those horn things the whole time is a joke.

I read tons of lists of things you need for babies before we had Harper, but these are the things that really came through for us. Take it for what it's worth!

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Misguided Understanding of Maternity Leave

I haven't posted a single thing to the blog since a month before the baby was born. This boils down to my grumpiness at an overdue pregnancy and my seriously misguided understanding of what maternity leave is like.

The Grumpy End of Pregnancy
My original due date was Oct. 25. At my first appointment, they moved it to Nov. 1. I was none too pleased that we were dragging this out, so I clung to my original due date with hope. No such luck. In the end, I was 18 days past my original due date (which I still claim is the real one) and 12 days past my  doctor-given due date. My feet and ankles were the size of Honey Boo Boo's mom's and I had horrific acid reflux.
I'm almost embarrassed to post this, but this was real life, yo.
I really did not want to be induced. I needed childbirth to sneak up on me, rather than having a countdown to doom. But that child just wasn't coming out on his or her own. Nugget finally had to be evicted from my womb on Nov. 13, 2012. My mom and dad drove through the night on the 12th to get here.
I'm over it. Mom made me pose for one last picture before we left to go to the hospital. 
I was scared to death of labor, but once I had the epidural, (shout out to my beloved Larry, the anesthesiologist) everything was great. I was in labor for about 10 hours, and pushed three times. Not too shabby! We were so excited to hear the doctor finally announce, "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" that we were temporarily speechless when she threw us for a loop by asking, "What is it, Dad?" Shoot, we didn't know there was a test involved here! Several awkward seconds later, we found our words and realized it was a girl, Harper Elizabeth! She was 7 pounds, 14 ounces, 20 inches, and was born at 6:34 p.m. She is precious.

Our first family photo!
Grammy and Grandpa were in the waiting room and were so excited to get the news. We were lucky that Grandpa stayed for a few days, and Grammy stayed for two weeks! It was wonderful having them here for this.

Grandpa and Harper have the same smile.
Grammy finally gets her grand baby.
Great Granddad came by the hospital on his way to South Texas for the winter.
We think she looks like Josh (left). I'm on the right.
But sometimes there are flashes of her looking like me.
My Misguided Understanding of Maternity Leave
Well eventually Grammy had to leave, and Daddy had to go back to work, and it was just me and Harper, all day, every day. You know how everyone says, "Sleep when the baby sleeps?" Ok, no problem, I thought. This is going to be so relaxing! We'll snuggle and play, and then we'll nap. Heck, I probably won't even want to nap as much as her, so I'll get all kinds of things done around the house, too.

Enter Harper, the baby who doesn't nap unless you're holding her. Throw in some colic or acid reflux (we're not sure) for good measure, and you've got a baby that screams bloody murder for a good percentage of the day. I couldn't put her down for more than a minute or two at a time without her screaming. She screamed when she ate. She screamed when she had gas. She screamed when she pooped. Tummy troubles, round the clock. We tried all of the "Happiest Baby on the Block" things, from becoming swaddle ninjas to mastering the "shush" and white noise. We discovered the magic of bouncing on an exercise ball with her--the only thing that would make her quit crying sometimes. I became a master of typing everything by thumb, since that's all I ever had free while holding a screaming baby. So yes, days have been rough. And long.

Great Grams came to stay for a week and help me out. It was so great that she and Harper got that time together.

We call this her "baby bird" pose. She pops that little head up and looks around with those huge, blue eyes.
Great Grams with her first great grand baby
After Grams left, I was so lucky that my sister was on winter break from school and could help save me. She came to stay with us and we had 29 blissful days of togetherness. Well the days were more blissful for me than being alone; I'm not sure how blissful they felt for Libby. But it was awesome that she got to spend so much time with her niece. Plus, we plowed through the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. I could not have survived without her.

Harper and Aunt Libby
Aunt Libby coined some awesome Harper phrases during her visit:

gum-blockin'-I want my bitey, but I'm going to clamp down my gummy chops and prevent you from inserting it.
spaz hands-I can't sleep unless you swaddle me so tight, because my spaz hands are always flying, waking me up.
hangry-I'm so hungry that I'm angry.
fangry-you can figure this one out yourself.

At Christmas, Harper started sleeping through the night, so I can't complain too much. She is an awesome night sleeper. And I think she's starting to turn a corner on feeling better. She plays for longer stretches in her bouncer or on her jungle gym floor mat, giving me time to actually brush my teeth or eat lunch. And she laughs and coos, which totally makes you forget about all of the screaming. Once in awhile, she'll even take a nap. In her bed. So we're making progress! I was able to type this over a stretch of three attempts at getting her to nap, but now the third attempt has officially failed. She's broken free of her swaddle like Houdini, and I need to go get her before she really cranks up the anger level!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Work Besties Shower

I am really lucky to have some great friends at work, who wanted to throw us a shower and were patient enough to wait until Oct. 5 when my mom would be here. 

Mallory, Jennifer and Supriya--my work besties

They know my love of matching! Absolutely everything, right down to the yellow punch, coordinated with the colors of Nugget's room--gray and yellow. The cake was from a new bakery we discovered at Josh's birthday, and it is probably the most delicious cake I've ever had. The chalkboard is a cute idea for tracking Nugget's growth in monthly pictures. 
We played fun games. First, we had napkins where people had to finish sentences in the way they thought I would finish them. Josh and our intern, Cristina, tied. Then we played a game about old wives' tales and predicting gender, based on how my pregnancy has gone. What's funny is it came down to a split. Might be a girl, might be a boy!
Josh was being funny. He especially enjoyed the nipple cream and gel packs for nursing.
Reagan got a kick out of it, too.  
Lots of laughter. 
And the hilarity continued. 

It was a great turnout, with lots of my favorite people.

Connie Wright made this beautiful afghan that matches the nursery! And Corrina Unal knitted a super cute hat I can't wait to put on Nugget and take newborn pictures with! Lots of talented crafty-types in Marketing.
The pretty gift table, before we tore into it.  
This baby is so loved already!
I looked forward to this shower for months, and enjoyed every minute of it. Mallory, Supriya and Jennifer put so much work into making it the perfect shower, and it totally was. From the decorations to the food to the games, it was all so thoughtfully "me." The only down side? I looked forward to this for so long, and now all I have to look forward to is Nugget's arrival. Hurry up, Nugget!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Have you had that baby yet?

People say some of the craziest things to you when you are pregnant. Like this conversation I had with someone at work today:

Girl: WOW. Peanut is REALLY SHOWING.
Me: Well, I only have 3.5 weeks to go...
Girl: Oh, is that all? In that case, you look GOOD.

My favorite comment/piece of advice(?) was from Rebecca. It wasn't one of the crazy things people say--I think it's probably better classified as words to live by. She said someone told her that there will come a point where you think you can't last one more day...and the baby comes two weeks after that. I hope this isn't the case for me, but I think that's pretty funny. And I think my "can't last one more day" feeling is settling in.

There are also people like my mom, who direct their energy toward taking stealth mode photos. The kind that say, nonverbally, "You are pretty huge, and I enjoy capturing this memory."

Had to cram Nug into my Cards hoodie for the playoffs. You can't tell, but I am watching the game on my phone while they ring me up at Buy Buy Baby.
This is pretty lovely all around. We had been at Buy Buy Baby for more than two hours and had lapped the store three times, buying everything left on our registry, and I was about done. This was my, "It's past my 9 p.m. bedtime" face.
I had such a great weekend with my mom in town, even if she was the pregnancy paparazzi. If this baby is a girl, I really hope she can keep up with us when it comes to shopping, because we are hardcore.

And until Nugget gets here, here's a convenient way for you to monitor my progress: Have you had that baby yet? 

A baby shower without any babies or showers

I was lucky enough to marry in to the nicest group of friends on the face of the earth. We're the last ones in the group to have kids, and they are really excited to meet Young Nug, although slightly annoyed at not knowing the gender yet. On Saturday, they threw us a shower at Carraba's, which is apparently "our place" for baby showers. It's tradition.

Braxton, James, Stephanie, me, Emma and Alix (front), Josh, Ang, Sara, Tamara, Mia, Justin, Luka and Zach. I bet this is one of those pictures we look back on in 30 years and think, dang, we looked young. Well, at least the kids will think that. 
Ang made some really cute cards for everyone to predict to the gender, birthdate, birth time and name for Nugget.

This picture of her cute cards doesn't really do it justice because the lighting was weird when I took it. They were so cute!

Look how beautiful these flowers are! And I love that the cake said Nugget. It was delicious. 
Here are the predictions, in order of birthdate:

  • Mia is thinking girl, named Ariel, born at 3 a.m. on Oct. 8. Sorry, Mia, this one didn't work out! I appreciated the positive thoughts on a speedy delivery, though!
  • Luka predicted a boy, named Dominick, to be born at 11 p.m. on Oct. 17. I have a hair appointment earlier that evening, so if this happens, at least I'll look good in the photos.
  • Stephanie guessed a boy, Josh Jr., to be born at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 28. Josh Jr. is a bit of a scary thought, but I bet it's a Josh Jr. even if it's not that in name. 
  • Tamara thinks boy, Liam or Graham, born at 12:45 a.m. on Oct. 29. Liam is a name we considered, so great guess!
  • James predicted a boy, named William (to tie into Willis), born at 6:35 p.m. on Halloween. I do want a Halloween baby, so this would be fun. It's also the last prediction where I would have the baby on time.
  • Sara predicted a girl, Ava or Sophie (both names I love) born at 3:05 a.m. on Nov. 2. Thanks for pushing me past my due date, Sara! :)
  • Ang guessed a boy, Max or Charlie, born at 4:16 p.m. on Nov. 3. I love the name Max!
  • Close on the heels of Ang's date/time, Justin predicted a girl, Alberta, born at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 3. While I did promise Albert Pujols my first unborn child if he'd stay in St. Louis, he let me down. So no namesake for Jose Alberta.
  • Alix thinks it's going to be a boy, Baren or Byan (Bryan), born at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 4.
  • Zach is going with a boy, Conner, born at 3:24 p.m. on Nov. 7. My doctor only lets me go a week past my due date, so this is the last guess that would be me going into labor on my own.
  • Emma guessed girl, Lulu, born at 1 a.m. on Nov. 10. This might tie with Ariel for the most creative name. Well, if you exclude Alberta.
It was really fun seeing everyone's guesses! Three girl guesses to eight boy guesses--looks like the group is predicting a boy like everyone else! It sure will be surprising for a minute if Nugget is a girl.

The kids helped us open presents.
Braxton was really excited about them and would squeal as we opened them.

I used this as a chance to trick him into snuggling with me. 
Family photo opp. It was really nice that they scheduled the shower when my mom was visiting so she could be a part of it.
Wonderful gifts!
Luka was a little concerned that the shower ended before the baby even got there. He was also confused before the shower about who was going to wash all of us. I guess we don't realize how misleading the term "baby shower" can be. No showers and no babies at a baby shower?! The poor guy was confused.

It was just such a nice day that I felt like crying a few times. Maybe that's the hormones, but I think it's that I'm so grateful for this amazing group of friends!