Friday, September 30, 2011

My Favorite Day of the Year

Today is Ella's birthday.  It's just another day for nearly everyone else in the world, but it is so significant to me.  My life changed and became so much fuller on September 30th, 2010. 

I want to share more from our various birthday celebrations, but I'm swamped preparing for a big event tomorrow.  I promise I'll share more--including birthday cake pictures--soon.

I'm so incredibly blessed to be able to experience the joy of being a mom to my beautiful baby girl. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The End Is In Sight

The end of nursing, or at least pumping, that is.  Ella turns one on Friday (I still can't believe it!), at which point I will start to wean her, slowly but surely.

I have to say--I'm pretty proud of myself for going the whole year.  I remember six months ago when I was trying so hard to get to the six month mark of exclusively breastfeeding before starting solids.  I was getting up in the middle of the night--even after Ella started sleeping through the night--to pump so that I would be able to keep up both my internal and external supply.  Sometime over the summer, I realized that I had more milk in my freezer than food, so I let myself cut out the late-night pumping, but I was still pumping double-time at work (twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon, and fed her directly at lunch). 

Last week, I was down to about ten bags of milk in the freezer, and I started pumping just once in the morning and once in the afternoon at work, while still feeding her during my lunch break.  Her one-year appointment is on Monday, at which point I'll talk to her pediatrician about introducing milk.  My plan is to mix her sippy cups with half-breastmilk/half-milk until she totally transitions to milk.  At that point, I'll stop nursing her at lunch...then stop nursing first-thing in the morning...then cut out her bedtime nursing. 

I admit--I'm thrilled at the thought of no longer being hooked up to a pump.  At this point, it's become so routine that I no longer hate pumping the way I did at the beginning.  But I know that I'm really, really, really going to miss the nursing time.  I love my special time with her.  I really do.  I'm not going to "rush" her, but I now that the end of her reliance on me for this kind of nourishment is coming soon.

Today's blessing is seeing new life in a little plan at work.  I know this sounds totally corny, but there was a plant in our lobby at work that was dying over the summer.  I re-potted it a couple months ago now, and it now has three new leaves.  I love walking by it every day and seeing it continue to grow.  I know it sounds crazy, but it gives me hope.  Sometimes it's just the little things in life, right?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ella's Baptism

Ella was baptized on Sunday, and my parents and my mother-in-law were here to celebrate with us.  It was a very special moment for our whole family.  Ella did great, and the congregation got a good chuckle as she tried to pull apart the petals of the corsage they had given me.  Our pastor was wonderful--I'm sure he's always good in each baptism, but he and his wife also lost three babies before having their boys (now 6 and 9), so I know that he he knows just what a blessing it is to be able to pledge to raise a child to love Christ.

Since the grandparents were in town, we celebrated Ella's birthday party two weeks early, but I'll share more on that at a later time.  It was a wonderful blessing to have my parents here for a couple of days.  Ella adores her grandparents, and kept giving hugs and kisses as they were packing up and getting ready to leave.  My parents were a tremendous help, and I'm so blessed that they will drive through the night to see us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Long Day

You know it's gonna be a long day when you have poop on your shirt before you even get to work.

Unbeknownst to me, Ella was apparently working on a huge "surprise" for me this morning on the way in to daycare.  When we arrived, I got her out of her carseat and put her on my hip, just like I normally do.  As we were signing in, I smelled something a little funny, so figured that I would need to change her when we got into her room.

Little did I know that I would need a change as well.  Sure enough, I had her pool all over my hip.  Luckily, I'm wearing a black shirt today, so I could hide the evidence pretty well.  I got her cleaned up and into a new outfit, checked with another mom that I was clean, and headed to work.

When I got to work, I checked my email quickly before heading to the restroom--where I discovered more poop on my skirt!  And if there were poop on my skirt...that meant there was probably poop on my chair...and on the seat in the car.  They were both surprisingly clean, so I couldn't figure out where the mysterious poop was coming from, until I opened up the back car door and noticed a chunk in the door jam.  It must have fallen off of her when I picked her up, and I then must have brushed up against it as I was trying to clean her carseat.

I *think* (and hope and pray!) that I'm all cleaned up now...but I feel like I can still smell it somewhere here in my office.  What a beautiful way to start a morning, huh?  Actually, goopy poop aside, starting my day with Ella is indeed a beautiful way to start a morning. 

Today's blessing is knowing that  my parents are hitting the road tonight to visit.  We have Ella's baptism and birthday party on Sunday, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Heroic Daddy

My husband has totally redeemed himself from the pajama-mishap from the previous night. 

Like I mentioned yesterday, I had to work late again last night, so I got home right around 7:30 pm.  When I walked through the garage door, I could see that my husband and Ella were snuggled on the couch, but she was awake, and immediately did the sign for "Mommy" when I walked in the door, which totally warmed my heart.  But that joy quickly turned to panic when I saw a snake slithering towards them!

It was small, and I'd like to think that it was harmless (because the thought of having a harmful snake in my house freaks me out even more), but I really don't know what kind it was.  My husband initially couldn't see the snake from where he was sitting with Ella, so he handed her to me, and and got the broom and dustpan from the garage.  He pinned the snake to the carpet--but then didn't know what to do next.  He joked that he might just have to stay there all night in that position, but eventually asked for the needle-nosed pliers, and broke the snake's neck (do snakes have necks?). 

We put it in a zip-lock bag for closer inspection.  Around this time, my dad happened to call, and mentioned that venomous snakes typically have a pointy head so that they can unhinge their jaw.  I admit that I haven't looked very closely at many snakes, so I don't have many comparisons, but it sure seemed to have a pointy head, and it seemed like it's jaw was unhinged (on it's last, dying breath).  We couldn't detect any fangs through the plastic bag, and we definitely did not see a rattle, but perhaps it was a different type of poisonous snake, or maybe it was just too little to develop a rattle.  Either way, I'm completely freaked out that we had a snake in our house.  I just feel so vulnerable.

I recognize that we live in the desert, and that snakes are part of the terrain.  After almost stepping on a snake on our front porch a couple of years ago, I'm always so extremely careful to always look outside before I go out.  But I never thought that we would ever have to worry about them getting into our house!  I think it came through our front door.  We've known all along that there was a little gap, but perhaps it's gotten bigger than we realized as the house has settled.  Needless to say, my husband has planned a trip to the hardware store this weekend to fix the gap (and we have a dishrag stuffed under there for now).  I admit that now I'm worried that perhaps another snake got into the house when we didn't know it, and it is now chilling in a closet somewhere, getting bigger and bigger.  Ugh...I don't want to think about it.  (Please pray that we don't have any snakes living in our house!)

And I don't want to think about what could have happened if Ella had been playing on the ground and had reached for it!  That just freaks me out!  And it makes me sad that we will have to raise her to be cautious when she is playing outside as she grows up (as long as we live here in Arizona).  I want her to be adventurous, but I also want her to be safe.  How do you teach a curious child to explore the desert when you're worried that they might reach for something that is potentially life-threatening?

What a blessing to have worked late, and to come home at a time when I would see the snake.  On any other day, I would have been cleaning up dinner or giving Ella a bath or chasing her around on hands-and-knees.  Praise God that He put me in a position to notice the snake before it could do any harm. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silly Daddy

I was scheduled to work late last night, but ended up working even later than expected.  Our original plan was that my husband would feed her dinner and give her a bath, and I would be home in time to nurse her and put her to bed.  But when we ran into "technical difficulties" at work, my husband defrosted some milk, fed her a bottle, and put her to bed. 

It broke my heart to not get some snuggle time with her, but that quickly turned to laughter.  Before I had left the house yesterday morning, I had pulled out a diaper and her pajamas and laid them on the chair in our living room, where we always get her dressed after her bath.  When I noticed them still laying there, I asked him what pajamas she was wearing--knowing full well that all the other sets were in the laundry hamper.  His response:  "Oh...I guess I forgot them".  Silly Daddy!  Sure enough, she was zonked out in her crib, sporting just a diaper, with a blanket draped over her.  But she slept great, all through the night--so who needs pajamas anyway?  I have to work late again tonight, but I'm hoping that we don't run into the same problems again, so I should be able to make it home in time to nurse her and make sure that she's properly clothed before she goes down.

Today's blessing is recognizing that although it was sad to have Ella fall asleep before I get home, I have to recognize that this is the very first night that I have had to work this late in nearly a year.  Although I work full-time and miss out on eight hours of her day, everyday, I really am blessed to work in a position where I can spend quality time with her each evening.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

At This Time Last Year...

At this time last year, I was washing the tiniest newborn apparel, and wondering how anything could ever be that small.  Now, I'm starting to buy 18-month items and wondering how my baby got to be so big!

At this time last year, I was rejoicing at every little kick her little feet gave me from the inside, and marveling at how I could actually see limbs moving across my belly.  Now, I'm rejoicing with her every time she plants her little feet on the ground and stands up by herself, unassisted, and marvel at how her balance is getting better and better each day.

At this time last year, I was eating just about everything in sight, taking advantage of the "eating for two" excuse for a return-trip to the desert bar at the buffet.  Now, she must be in some sort of growth spurt, because she is eating absolutely everything within reach, and signing "more" and "eat" and "milk" in between meals.

At this time last year, I was feeling as beautiful as I have ever felt in my entire life, radiating "the glow", but also knowing that God was doing something beautiful inside me too.  Now, I just look at her and am amazed that someone so precious and beautiful is somehow a reflection of me.

At this time last year, I was planning for a big day, coordinating with my parents and my in-laws how we would celebrate her arrival.  Now, I'm planning for a baptism and first-year birthday party, still trying to figure out how we are going to balance two sets of grandparents in one house.

At this time last year, I was thinking "I'm going to have a baby this month!".  Now, I'm still in shock that I can say "I'm going to have a one-year old at the end of the month!".

Ella's birthday isn't until the 30th, but wow--what a year it has been!  More on her upcoming baptism and (early) birthday party in the days to come.

Today's blessing is knowing that we have tomorrow off.  Granted, I'm planning on spending the whole day working on various chores around the house, but it will still be nice to be able to spend the day at home with my husband and Ella.