Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Worth It

Why?  Why in the world would you put your body through those unmentionable atrocities of the previous post?  This whole blog is dedicated to how hard it is being a mom.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely. 

I’ve been a mom for 10 months now.  What’s it like being a mother?
You dream.  You wonder.  You visualize what that first quiet moment with your child is going to be like.  In one word?  Love.  You know in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ the Grinch’s heart grows?  It’s exactly like that.  In one breath your capacity to love has tripled.  This is one of my favorite pictures when I was in the hospital.  It was just me and Teddy and he was really snuggled up.  I couldn’t see him so I was using my phone to just stare at him.  Love at first sight is real.

I was amazingly blessed to get to stay at home for eight and a half months.  It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth it.  For the first three months they are pretty much a ball of goo and don’t do much.  I spent hours and hours and hours just staring at Teddy.  I’d prop him up on my knees and just stare at him.  I never got tired of it.  If someone told me that before I had a child I would make fun of them.  Now I totally get it. 

Speaking of staring at them while they are awake, just wait until they are sleeping.  Especially when they start crossing their legs and picking their favorite position to sleep.  It will melt your heart that’s three sizes bigger now.  Seriously.

Then, one day magically they wake up and have moved from the newborn phase to the baby phase.  The baby phase is super fun.  They giggle, they sit up, they are learning so fast.  In my staring at Teddy at all the time I would look for changes each day and find them.  Being a mother makes you deal with change in a way that you never considered before.


You start dreaming about what you want for your kid.  I absolutely want him to grow up playing in the woods like I did.  I want him to know his way around the land.  I want him to grow up going hunting with his dad, Papa, Uncle Richy, Nolan, and Mason.  I want family to be important to him.

Then, one day you’ll walk in after his nap and your heart will drop to your feet.  He’s figured out how to sit up and it’s time to lower the mattress.  On one hand, you are super proud of him and how happy he is with himself.  On the other hand, he’s growing up so fast and in a blink of eye he won’t be a baby anymore.

Adventures mean so much more to you after you have a kid.  There’s the excitement that you have for yourself, but more than that there’s the excitement of seeing things through your child’s eyes.  You catch a glimpse of the future.  His first time at the ranch, his first time seeing wind mills, his first time to go exploring on the land with his daddy.  Once again, your heart just melts.


You learn to find joy in the saddest of places.  When inevitabley the great plans you have for the weekend go up in smoke (or in a stomach bug as the case may be), you put your guns up and just enjoy the Tech win and the cute jersey.  It teaches you find the one piece of good news in your day and hold on to it with both hands, because some days are just plain hard.  Harder than you ever imagined, but in the end you pull yourself up by the bootstraps because you have to, you are a parent now.


Then, there’s the day that you go back to work (or leave them for a significant portion of the day).  Your heart will literally break in two.  No one will ever know how to take care of your child as well as you can.  No one.  Not his father, not his grandparents, not the nanny, or the daycare, but that’s okay.  You will adjust.  You will get frustrated when things aren’t done your way, but in the end the kid will be fine, and you will have new perspective.  Being a parent is so hard.

You will cry more than you ever though imaginable, but you will also laugh.  You will have a good laugh that goes down all the way to your soul.  So, is it worth yet?  Yes.  Am I ready to be pregnant again?  Sweet Lord, no.  No.  No.  No.


If you’re friends with TJ and I then you know that we LOVE theme parties.  I don’t know if it’s all of those years doing Young Life or what, but we never shy away from any opportunity to dress up.  Some may even say that we go a smidge over board (see picture evidence of said overboardness below):

Toga party (TJ went authentic greek – you can barely see me but I had a great Toga)
Roaring 20’s party for Whitney turning 30

Dressing up as tourists for a cruise…obviously normal.

The Hamburglar and Officer Big Mac for Halloween

Fourth of July brunch
 Housewife and  Milk Man

These are just the tip of the iceberg…
Naturally, we were really excited about Halloween and the opportunity to dress up Teddy. We floated several ideas around: Super Teddy, a duck, or Duck Dynasty.  Why pick just one?

Super Teddy
Little Duck
Duck Dynasty

It's not just us, our dear friends got into the act too: Hook, Rufio, and Peter Pan

Teddy kept throwing up the grass he was eating (keeping it real...)

Looks like Tinkerbell really likes Willie.

And of course the token pumpkin pic.








Sunday, October 28, 2012

Disclaimer: Sooo gross.

This post is not for the faint of heart.  Let me reiterate this.  If you are just the casual reader who likes to hear about my motherhood fails, then STOP reading now.  When people ask me why I started blogging, the answer is very simple.  I couldn’t believe how much pregnancy and the first few weeks of motherhood surprised me.  I was thirty years old, had several friends already have kids, and thought I knew what I was getting into.  I was wrong!  Wrong, I tell you!  Wrong!

There are several things that no one speaks of.  No one.  I don’t really blame them.  After all, it’s not exactly good dinner table conversation, but I feel that you should be warned.  Looking back, these things wouldn’t have been near as traumatizing if I had just known what to expect.
I am about to give you waaaaay too much information.  Again, I’m asking you to do yourself a favor and stop reading now unless you want the down and dirty truth of pregnancy, birth, and babies.  I can't guarantee you'll still look me in the eye after this post.


What are you still doing here?  Fine.  You asked for it:  Ellen’s 10 most traumatizing experiences ranked in order from freaked out to downright tears.  I would like to pre-apologize for my honesty here.  Don't judge me.

10.  Breastfeeding.  Oh, breastfeeding.  It seems so natural, peaceful, and rewarding.  The day my milk came in will be a day I can’t wait to forget.  Let’s just say that I’m pretty blessed in the boobie area.  Watching my already large boobs slowly grow over the pregnancy was a bit daunting.  I didn’t think they could get any bigger.  Honestly.  When my milk came in, I looked like a porn star.  I was devastated.  They were as hard as rocks, embarrassingly large, and engorged.  Many an hour was spent in the shower just crying over how bad they hurt.

9.  You see all of these amazing maternity outfits on t.v. and you can't wait to be the cute pregnant lady.  Once you give in and go buy some maternity clothes you are shocked beyond belief.  First, putting your pregnant body under department store lights = terror.  Then, you are out of breath and hot because the baby is sitting on your heart and lungs.  Finally, the really cute shirt that you are in love with at the Pea in the Pod, is about $80.  It's hard to justify that purchase when you are only going to be pregnant for another few weeks.

8.   I’ve heard people talk about the mesh underwear they give you, and I just laughed thinking they were joking.  Those things are the biggest, most ridiculous, heavenly sent item that you will receive during your stay at the hospital.  All of your normal “big underwear” is sadly too small after birth and those bad boys are so comfortable.  Seriously.

7.  Being sized up.  From the second you announce your pregnancy people begin analyzing your weight gain, the cute baby bump, and what you are eating.  I realized that I did it too, but it’s just because the miracle of birth is truly awe inspiring and you just take in how the pregnant lady’s body is changing.  You aren’t really judging…you are just noticing.  Being on the other side…it sucks.  Everyone gives you the up and down look.  Everyone.  You think you are being sly about it.  You aren’t.  Just wait until the first time you are in a bathing suit after giving birth.  People are looking.  Did she pop back into shape?  Check out those porn star boobs.  Her ass will never be the same… Stop it!  Since when is it sociably acceptable to judge a woman’s body.  Give the preggers a break.

6.  Have you seen ‘Big Trouble in Little China’?  It’s a hilarious movie and I suggest you rent it.  One of the bad guys puffs up and explodes.  I can relate to that.  First it was the wedding rings.  Then it was shoes.  After work I would put my feet up and could see the indents in my feet from the shoes.  Socks were tight.  This is just terribly uncomfortable and you feel like the Pillsbury dough boy.

5.  I would have given anything in the last few months of pregnancy to go #2.  Anything.  You might read that your bowels slow down due to all of the pregnancy hormones and blah blah blah, but I didn’t expect them to come to a screeching halt.  Imagine days and days and days…miralax will become your friend.  So gross.

4.  Right around the time I started announcing I was pregnant instead of fighting some horrible stomach bug (remember that I threw up all the time) my boobs felt like they were filled with bees.  Every time someone gave me a congratulatory hug my eyes would water from what they assumed were hormones and the overwhelming joy of growing a baby.  Nope, the bees were stinging.  (I could write a post of only boob related items…you seriously wouldn’t believe it…)

3.  It’s not like the movies.  We were so excited when we found out we were having a baby.  So excited.  I booked the first appointment to my obgyn they had and couldn’t wait to lift up my shirt, have them squirt the goo on my tummy, and see my little peanut.  FALSE!  I watched the lady with confusion as she got a wand (about the width of a spirit stick for you cheer leaders out there), rolled a little condom on it, and then lubed it up.  WHOA!  WHOA! WHOA! Instead of enjoying the confirmation of my pregnancy, I was too busy being violated by that wand.  I honestly asked TJ for a hug once she left the room.  My heart was not ready for that. 

2.  Did you take the class? Hospitals have tons of classes you can take when you are pregnant.  Everything from tours to breastfeeding.  Did I take any of these classes?  Nope.  I was too busy trying to survive.  There was no time for classes.  Well…apparently I missed the fact that when it’s time to push, it feels exactly like you have to take that #2 you’ve been waiting months for.  EXACTLY.  I had a good ten minute conversation with the nurse, where I assured her that I was about to shit the bed, and she assured me that I was about to have a baby. 

1.  The cervical check, a.k.a. the “vagina punch.”  By the time it comes to checking if you are dialated or not, your body has been through the ringer and you have long since shed self consciousness you had grown accustomed to.  It’s now normal for your body to be poked and prodded.  You think you can’t be surprised.  Well, you are wrong.  WRONG!  I got the epideral strictly to avoid feeling the vagina punch.  Don’t fear birth. Fear the cervical check.

Friday, September 28, 2012

To video monitor or not? That is the question.

This was a huge source of contention in our household before little Teddy Bear got here.  I wanted the old school walkie talkies.  No frills.  No fuss.  What did TJ (the IT Consultant who loves every single digital gadget out there) want?  The video monitor with skype built in, 100 yard frequency, two way receiver, and blah blah blah (I stopped listening).

My very awesome accountant friends gave me a great baby shower and somehow the type of monitor got brought up.  Sidenote:  I swear I worked in Big Four accounting 2 years longer than I would have ever thought possible if it wasn’t for my specific team.  I love them.  Each one holds a very dear spot in my heart.  We would burn the midnight oil laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.  We have had heated debates over the finer points of bathroom etiquette, where to stand in the elevator, the proper pronunciation of words, grammar, and I can’t even begin the “would you rather” discussions.  Imagine 8+ of the world’s most opinionated know-it-alls sitting at a conference table for 55+ hours a week.  It’s amazing we ever finished an audit. 

I literally cringed when the topic of the baby monitor came up.  The second I knew their stance, I knew I was done for.  I respect their opinions and once they put their foot down on TJ's side, there was just no way I would ever fight that monster.  They spent a good thirty minutes blasting me for not even considering the video monitor.  Way to push the pregnant lady under the bus guys…

So, now we have the video monitor. We compromised on the mid-range model. What do I think of the dreaded video monitor?  I hate that mother-trucker. Teddy stayed in our room for about four weeks and then we moved him to his own room.  We hooked up the monitor, turned the volume to max, and proceeded to freak out at every peep.  Around 2 months old he slept for eight hours, I kid you not…I stared at the screen the whole time making sure I saw a foot twitch, his chest moving, or any other signs of life.

I compare the video monitor to being addicted to some form of illicit drug (not that I have that experience).  The first step is admitting that you have a problem.  Keep in mind that I do not live in a mansion.  It’s a very small 3/2.  If the baby is crying, there is no doubt you will hear it.  Did that stop me from doing the dishes with the video monitor right by the sink just so I could keep an eye on him?  No.  Did it stop TJ from attaching the monitor to his belt while we were cleaning up for a party?  No.  Problem one: Having the monitor on you at all times.

Problem two: Volume control.  We have a sound machine in his room and we opted for the crickets.  (I wanted something country since I’m afraid he’s missing his down home roots by not being raised in Georgia).  One night when I heard him getting fussy, I stumbled bleary eyed into his nursery and then it finally hit me, “Wait a minute.  The crickets aren’t even that loud in his room.  He’s not making a sound at all.”  Duh.  Again, there is no reason to ever have the volume turned up so high, but as a new exhausted parent I was terrified my darling baby would need me in the middle of the night and I would sleep through it.

Problem three: the actual video.  After we admitted that we had a problem and we turned the volume down, it was time to turn off the video.  It has a switch to where the screen will go black if he’s not crying, but if he starts to make any noise the screen will turn on.  This was the hardest phase.  We would check the screen constantly just to make sure it was still working.  We would turn the volume up to make sure we could hear the crickets and then turn it back down once we knew it was still working.  Also, not to mention it’s kind of hard to relax and sleep with this huge glowing orb on your bedside table. 

So, what’s a new parent to do?  Do you go with the walkie talkies?  Do you go with the video monitor?  Do you go with the one that monitors the number of breaths and movements?  I have absolutely no idea.  You’re going to worry no matter what.  Sorry.  Truth hurts.
My sweet little sleeping angel. We have the monitor mounted above the curtains. It originally was perched right above the crib. As with all of the other steps, moving it further back was another step in the withdrawal process. The screen got cracked in our luggage on a flight and it was ALL I could do to stop TJ from running to Buy Buy Baby to get the higher tech version.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Tips for Flying with a Baby 5 Months Old or Less

1.       It’s a heck of a lot colder in the airport and in the plane than you think.  Bundle up that kiddo in something warm and remember to pack a couple of blankets.

2.       Do not just buy the cheapest flight.  Pick the time of day to fly based on your baby’s schedule.  Teddy is happiest in the early mornings and takes a long nap in the late afternoon so we made sure to book our flights in the morning.

3.       Make sure your baby is eating during takeoff and landing.  The cabin pressure equalizes and it can really piss the kid off.  However, if they are sound asleep and it’s not time for them to eat so they aren’t hungry, just take a deep breath.  If he’s sucking on a pacifier he will be okay.  At least Teddy was.  Like an idiot, I woke him up, tried to get him to nurse, and he wasn’t having it.  I got flustered and was miserable.  On the way back, we just let him sleep and he never made a peep.  Lesson learned.

4.       Have your husband (or flying companion) order a beer.  It’s stressful flying and everyone just needs to take a deep breath and relax.

5.       Sit in the front of the plane.  Even if it was smooth sailing for you, once you land you are going to want off that plane as soon as possible.  Everyone is going to stare at you with either hate or sympathy and you are just going to want to bolt for that door. 

6.       Fly Southwest. They don’t let you board early like all other airlines which is fair but annoying, but what they do have is a great attitude.  The flight attendants are wonderful, and if the flight isn’t oversold they will let you keep the kid in the carseat which is just heaven on earth. Right when you get the gate, just ask if there are seats are available and they will be very happy to let you keep your carseat.

7.       I’m a huge fan of bringing your stroller and carseat and just gate checking them.  I’ve read that a lot of people are fine using a wrap and walking with their babies, but I have a bad back and anxiety so it just wasn’t worth it.  There are pros and cons to bringing a stroller. Ask and I will tell.

8.       Give yourself an hour and a half at least (preferably 2 hours) before takeoff to make it through security.  Even if you are a pro, shit happens.  There’s going to be long lines, a slow TSA Agent, dirty diapers, and you have to bring A LOT of stuff and the last thing you want to worry about is what time it is.

9.       Leave the cute outfit at home.  I’m a big fan of footie pajamas for travel.  The zipper is really easy for quick diaper changes, it is warm and snuggly, and they have some pretty cute ones.  You’re going to get a lot of attention and you want your baby to be real cute, but you are going to scream when you are changing their diaper and doing your best not to touch anything.

10.   Just get over efficient packing.  Bring anything that you think you’ll need for the first couple of trips.  You will get made fun of. You will feel like an idiot.  You will bring tons of things that you won’t need, but it’s a learning curve.  Give yourself a break.    
(There is a ridiculous story for each one of these ten items, and I promise I could keep going with my advice.  I'll stop now.  You got any tips for me?  I'm all ears.) 
This was the first trip.  I have no blanket, just his swaddle.  He woke up freezing.  It's funny how putting a picture in black and white can make a crazy moment look peaceful.
This was our second trip.  Notice the huge blanket, pacifier, and sleeping like an angel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hi, ho. Hi, ho. It's off to work I go.

I’ve touched on it briefly, but in no exaggeration…no, really…I had one of the worst pregnancies ever.  I was sick every.single.day for nine months.  Again, it’s too soon to go into too much detail; however, the gist of the story is I lost part of my maternity leave, didn’t get into a daycare in time, and wasn’t super duper happy with my job anyway.  Everything worked out perfectly for me to stay at home for a few extra months and start fresh with a new job.

It sure wasn't my original plan, but I wouldn’t trade these past 8 months for anything in the world.  It is unimaginable how quickly Teddy went from a ball of goo that wasn’t aware of anything, to the giggly, clapping, crawling little bull dozer that he is now.  I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to work for about a month now.  I only mentioned it to a couple of people.  Why?  Guilt, mostly.

I’m southern for crying out loud.  My main forms of communication are flirting and the guilt trip.  It’s what we do.  We don’t even realize we’re doing it.  For example, my sister leaves the exact same phone message when I don’t answer my phone.  “Surprise surprise.  You didn’t answer your phone.  What if this was an emergency?  I don’t even know why you have a phone.”  However, when I do answer my phone, I’m greeted with, “Surprise surprise.  You answered the phone.  I can’t believe it.”  I’ve tried pointing out to her that I’m getting guilt tripped no matter, but here again once a Tuggle woman has planted her feet firmly in an opinion you might as well take a cue from Sisyphus and roll a stone uphill (like how I just dropped some Greek mythology on you?).

I digress. I thought I was well acquainted with guilt.  I was wrong.  You have no idea what guilt is until you’ve had a kid.  The second he was born, I was tethered to this huge responsibility.  He never leaves my mind.  Ever.  There is no break from being a mother.  Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t exist anymore.  There’s no break for parents and it’s not something you can understand until it happens to you.  Then, insert the guilt for wanting a break.  You see what I mean?    

Woo wee.  The guilt for deciding when to stop breast feeding.  The guilt for when he should go to his own room.  The guilt for wanting a nap on a cold rainy day but he’s wide awake.  The guilt for just wanting to eat at the table with your husband.  The guilt for wanting to just go to the pool without taking 2 hours to pack everything you need.  The guilt for the first time you are holding them and take a corner too fast and they hit the doorframe.  The guilt for the first time you spend the night away from them.  It's never ending.  (Don't worry, you kinda get used to it.)

Now, I’ve made the decision to go back to work.  Lord help me, the guilt factor which I thought I was maxed out on, just got multiplied by 10.  I start work on October 1st, and it’s like this ticking time bomb in the background of my life.  The second I signed my offer letter, I tip toed into his room, picked up a perfectly sleeping baby, held him in my arms, and cried. 

Any time I get excited about joining the workforce again (because who are we kidding, I will always be a worker bee), a HUGE wave of guilt cascades over me and I think I’m going to drown.  Am I a terrible mother for working?  Is Teddy going to forget me or something?

TJ looked at me, like I had lost my ever-loving mind when I finally voiced my concerns.  He cocked his head to the side like a questioning dog, and he asked, “Do you think you aren’t going to be his mom come October 1st?” Ugggh.  He just doesn’t understand.  Of course, I’ll still be his mother, I’m just afraid that my 8 month old son is going to judge me…wait, what?  Damn.  Maybe I am crazy.  I am 50% excited and 50% devastated.  He did tell me to just give it 3 months and if I think I've made the wrong decision then just quit.  I may have the most understanding husband in the world, but I'm a firm believer than men can never fully grasp a mother returning to work.
A quick look at my sabbatical from work:
January - First day home from the hospital
February - First trip to the lake

March - Picnic in the yard

April - Easter in Georgia

May - First time in the pool

June - First trip to the beach

July - Before West Nile 2012 ruined our outdoor play time

August - Supporting Nolan and team Georgia

September - First Dove Hunt

It's been amazing.  In fairness most of the pics occured on the weekend anyway, but I'm still pretty darn sentimental right now.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Want To See My Underwear?

If you are ever curious about what kind of undies I wear, just pop in unexpectedly and use the spare bathroom.   I take a bath every night (most nights with a glass of wine) to just calm down from my day.  I leave the clothes in the floor even though it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to pick them up when I walk back to our room.  My bathroom at my parents house has an awesome laundry shoot, so I’ve never had to take my dirty clothes any further than the bathroom (at least this is the excuse I give my husband every time someone knocks on the door and I go dashing into the spare bedroom to pick up my clothes). 
By the time you’d get out of the shower, mama would already have your bed made up (partly because she knew that I’d hop right back in that bad boy and go back to sleep).  She’s the mom that does not ever sit down.  Ever.  There are always dishes to be washed, clutter to be put away, a yard to mow.  I am very much Mary Tuggle’s daughter.  I LOVE things to be clean and in their place, but I’ve also got a touch of Johnny Tuggle which means I’m perfectly happy letting things slide and sitting and enjoying the party.  I think I have a good balance of things, but once again, this whole “having a baby” has thrown a wrench into my identity.  How much do I clean and how much do I just play with my little baby and make a mess?
For one reason or the other, I feel like the foot traffic at our house has nearly tripled since having the kiddo.  It’s easier for people to come over here at night so we don’t have to worry about a babysitter and people just want to come by and see his cute face when they are on errands. I’ve found myself keeping the house presentable way more as to limit the panic attacks when I get a text that says, “Is now a good time to pop in?”
One of the harder things to adjust to life at home was how much I clean.  When we both worked and it was just two of us, we’d clean at night, get up and go to work, come home, and the house was still perfect.  We’d just clean up the kitchen and our room, but the house stayed relatively clean.  Wooo.  How I miss those days.  It took me forever to figure out which rooms and when to clean with the baby.  It was a nightmare.  I empty the dishwasher at least twice a day, do a load of laundry a day, and I always have something in my hand transferring items from one room to the next. 
Does anyone have a nice clean house all the time?  Are we the only people that scramble to make the house look presentable when guests come over?  Don’t get me wrong, right before we go to sleep the house is immaculate, but I’m not trying to clean the house ALL day.  I straighten things up but as our day progresses from room to room there will be little things left, dishes hanging around, and dog toys all over the house. 
Like I’ve said before, I’ve no doubt got a touch of OCD so it’s very painful for me to have a cluttered and messy house.  Nothing does my heart more good than when I go to a friend’s house and see dishes in the sink, because that’s real life.  Dishes are dirty.  You can’t walk 10 steps without stepping on a dog toy.  Clothes are thrown all over the floor even though there is a nice empty laundry basket in the corner.  The mail you started sorting two days ago is spread out on the coffee table.  Books are strewn from one end of the nursery to the other. That’s real life. 
All that to be said, I’d still like you to give me the 15 minute warning that you are headed over so I can shove things under the bed and in the closet and pretend like I’ve got this whole mommy thing down.
This little mess maker is worth it though.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Driving with a Baby Around Town**

It was a beautiful spring day the first time I drove with Teddy in the car.  I got him loaded up for just a quick drive to Sonic for a watermelon slush.  I’d gotten the all clear from the doc to drive again (have a mentioned what a pain a c-section is?), was off the pain meds, and TJ was back at work.  I put my big sunglasses on, opened the sunroof, rolled down all the windows, turned up the radio and started singing along to my old school mix of Jay-Z’s, “99 Problems,” and I was off.  I backed out of the driveway and was a happy camper.  I had driven maybe 30 seconds and peaked in my rear view mirror.  I damn near swerved into oncoming traffic!  His blanket was flapping in the wind, he was in full sunshine, and I was officially the worst mother on the planet.  I immediately turned off the radio, rolled up all the windows, and closed the sunroof.  I spent the next 3 minutes of the drive to Sonic apologizing to Teddy but promising one day he will understand how great it is to drive with the windows down. 

I learned my lesson pretty fast and got used to windows up, radio down driving.  We continued this way without incident for a few weeks.  This spring was glorious and I spent most days at the park with several friends.  We were trying out a different park and it had stairs so I was going to leave my stroller and car seat and just carry him.  I made sure to pick a shady spot because my black car with black leather seats heats up pretty quickly.  Mental high five for being one step ahead.  We had a great time and a few hours later it was time to pack ole Teddy Bear up and get ready for the nap.  Ut oh.  He fell asleep in my arms on the walk back to the car.  Ut oh.  The sun had moved and my car was sitting there baking.  Ut oh.  My back was already hurting from the long walk and lugging my little chubby fat fat baby.  Panic.
I opened the door and felt the heat wave wash over me.  I immediately cranked the car and blasted the air conditioning.  Do I leave the cranked car to walk back to my friends? There’s no shade for me to sit and wait.  It’s either roast the baby standing in the parking lot or roast the baby in the warm car.  I decide to walk back to my friends and just let him sleep on me, when I look back and see them packing up too.  Crap.  Fine, I’m going to risk it in the car.  I check the buckles and they weren’t hot so I loaded him up.  I don’t know what was more dangerous: the fact that I had a baby in a warm backseat or the fact that I was driving 50 mph on back roads. Mother of the year – I am not.  I arrived at our house and jumped out to check on him.  News articles of babies dying from being left in the heat are running through my head and I can feel my heart beating.  Did I just kill my baby?  I swing open the door and there is sweet little Teddy, sound asleep, peaceful, and happy (albeit a smidge sweaty).  It was a balmy 75 degrees and I just knew that I roasted the baby.  It’s official.  I’m a crazy person.

Fast forward several months to last week and we are on a nice Sunday drive.  Teddy is 7 months old and we are in TJ’s truck.  Teddy is babbling in the backseat and TJ has to swerve kind of quickly to miss some debris in the road and Teddy literally starts yelling.  It’s the cutest thing we have ever heard.  He can now reach the shade on the car seat so he plays with it and just has a fun ole time.  TJ turns a little too quickly to see what Teddy would do (enough for me to give him a look and him to say he was sorry).  Teddy braced himself for the rest of the ride home but was laughing the whole time.  I think we might have a racecar driver on our hands after all. 
Here a couple of pics from the day TJ was driving.  Seriously, the kid is hanging on for dear laugh.  I wish I had recorded his giggles.

*We just drove four hours for some Labor Day fun and that post will be coming soon... "Driving With a Baby Damn Near Caused a Nervous Breakdown"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Boy or Girl?

I have a lot of respect for people that wait to find out the sex of their baby until he or she is born.  We have best friends that waited and it was so much fun sitting in the waiting room, everyone guessing, and having the dad come in and tell us.  However, that was never going to be an option for us.  No way.  Waiting until Teddy was born to find out his sex would be like a cruel joke (for me personally).  I need to plan.  I need to prepare.  I need to decorate damn it.
First, let me say that I was absolutely TERRIFIED of having a girl.  Most, if not all, of pregnant women will you give you the token line of, “I don’t care what we have as long as they are healthy and happy.”  Umm…surprise surprise.  I had a preference.  I’m sorry.  I know how selfish and ridiculous it sounds, but it’s the truth.

Before the pregnancy from hell, both of us thought we’d have 3 or 4 kids.  I’m from a large family and I love having two sisters and lots of cousins.  TJ always said he didn’t care how many we had as long as it was more than one.  He’s an only child and said he would never do that to Teddy.  (Every time Teddy wakes up in the middle of the night, I ask him if he wants brothers or sisters because if so, he would go back to sleep).
I’d be fine having a girl, but I just wanted a boy first. Hear me out though, we all know by now that TJ has a huge heart.  A little girl will have him wrapped around her little finger from the second she makes her debut.  Not to mention that my parents and sister are dying for a girl to spoil, so all I could picture was this little girl running around in a princess dress and wand that wouldn’t listen to me.  (I just shuttered). The first time our little girl came home with a broken heart, TJ would have to take a week off of work because he was so sad and I would come home to find them on the couch eating ice cream and watching romantic comedies.  (I just shuttered again). 

We knew we didn’t want to find out the sex in the doctor’s office.  It just seemed like a really intimate moment that we didn’t want to share.  Also, I really didn't want to explain why I burst into tears if they said it was a girl.  (Keep in mind how sick I was and at this point I just really needed something to go my way).  Now that you have the background, let me tell you a little story about how we found out the sex of our sweet little baby.
It was a typical morning.  I’d thrown up a few times already, and had taken the morning off of work because our appointment was the first available.  We arrived eager and anxious.  We told the lady that we didn’t want to find out the sex, but would she please type it on the sonogram and put it in a card that we brought.  We were going to open it later that night, after work, over a nice dinner. 
She puts the icky goo on my stomach and we see our baby.  He went from a blob on the first sonogram to a baby.  I was just shocked.  What did TJ do?  You guessed it, he began sobbing.  He kept saying, “it’s a baby.  A real baby.”  I’m laughing hysterically because honestly, what did he think we were having?  Our doctor peaks her head and in and asks, “Well, what is it?!?!”  I explain to her that we don’t even know yet, but TJ just can’t believe it looks like a baby.  She comes in and gives TJ a huge hug.  She'd never seen a dad get that excited.
Fast forward 15 minutes to the parking lot.  We both look at each other and can’t stand that the answer to this burning question is in a little envelope.  I HAVE to know right then.  He agrees, but first he wanted to pray.  So in the parking lot of the hospital, TJ launches into the longest prayer of his life.  He’s still crying and thanking God for this precious gift of a healthy baby, and asking to be good parents, and yada yada yada.  He says amen and looks up to see me holding the open envelope.  I couldn’t wait.  I promise you it was at least a 10 minute prayer and I just couldn’t stand it any longer, Lord forgive me.  He starts laughing and yelling at me for not waiting for him, but then he can’t stand it and I tell him.  It’s a boy.  

Here are some pics of how we announced we were pregnant and how we announced that he was a boy:

 My favorite florist (who also did my wedding - [The Bloom Closet in Augusta *cough*cough*]) delivered the flowers to my parents and sister that I was pregnant.  She snapped pics of the reactions.  This is why I love being from a small town.  We did the same to tell them we were having a boy.  My poor mom nearly drove to up to the florist because she couldn't stand waiting the extra 10 minutes to find out.

And Andrea's reaction...

We had a modified "stork" announce that we were pregnant to our friends and family.  Scott and TJ drove all over Dallas.  Keeping it classy.  It's says, "It's a baby bitches.  See you in January.  Love, Baby Hurt"
TJ's reaction to having a son.  This was halfway home, on 75.  He had already calmed down and then just spontaneously broke down again. In hindsight, it was VERY dangerous to have him drive home.

We have a running dinner party each week and we announced it to our friends at Taco Thursday.  We baked a fruit pizza and underneath the plate it said, "It's a boy!"  It was so much fun watching them stare at it and see if we had hidden the message in the fruit. Once they figured out it was underneath the fruit pizza they just lifted that bad boy up. 

In fairness, this is what the first sonogram looked like. It's like the Friends episode, "Where's the baby?"

This is the sonogram where TJ freaked out, and said, "It's a baby." No shit, TJ.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sun Burned

Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved being in the sun.  We were raised old school.  We had to go outside to play even if it was in the oppressive Georgia heat.  Over the years I’ve traded my SPF 4, for sunglasses, a hat, and SPF 15, but 9 times out of 10 if you invite me to the pool/beach/river my answer is yes.  Again, we swore we wouldn't let having a baby change who we were so that meant when we were in Georgia for my cousin's wedding we were going to go to the beach.

Keep in mind that I've ALWAYS thought bringing a baby to the beach was ridiculous.  I’ve never understood the big hats, tents, surfer shirts, and swim booties for a kid that is just going to sit there.  It’s one thing when they can toddle around and play in the sand and water, but a baby that can't even sit up...what's the point?  There’s no way they are comfortable and the families never look that happy.  It just seemed like common sense to me to not waste a beach trip by taking a baby.
So, like most things since I’ve had a child, I’ve turned into the person that I used to make fun of.  In June, my 5 month old had his first trip to the beach.  As we were lugging the tent, the coolers, the diaper bag, the beach blankets, the sun block, the cameras, the bouncy seat, and the kitchen sink, all I was thinking was, “All of this for a stupid beach picture.”

It took an hour to get everything packed up, because by God we were going to stay a while to make it worth it, but that meant we needed lunch, drinks, and snacks for 4 adults, and one 5 year old.  I began going through the list:
·         Tent
·         Beach chairs
·         Beach blanket
·         Cooler with diet cokes for Andrea and Mama, Capri Suns for Mason, beer and water for me and TJ.  Three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, five ham and cheese sandwiches, two different kinds of chips (seriously, who likes Salt and Vinegar chips?)
·         Diaper bag with a change of clothes, diapers, swim diapers, lotion, butt cream, pacifier just in case, extra blanket, and a bottle/formula.
·         3 beach bags with a  towel for everybody, Mason’s goggles and bucket, the bouncy seat so Teddy can sit up if we wants, sunscreen, and camera. 
I can do this, right?  Everything was set up.  Tent was great.  Beach blankets laid out.  Sunscreen applied.  Mason had his goggles and bucket.  Teddy was sitting happily in his bouncy seat.  Andrea and I had successfully dolled out every one's sandwiches, drinks, and chips.  I took a deep breath.  Smiled.  Cracked open my ice cold bud light and took that first magical sip.  I gave myself a mental high five.  I'm getting better at this whole motherhood crap.
I turned around just in time to see Teddy get so excited he bounced himself out of his seat and was contorted in a horrific position with his gigantic head face down in the blanket, but with his torso still buckled nice and tight into the seat.  I scream, throw my beer, and launch myself at my baby.  Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the disapproving glance from an older couple power walking by.  I spend the next hour trying not to cry.  I can't even wipe the tears from my eyes because I'm covered in sand and as I much as I love the beach I HATE sand. 
We were there only for about an hour and a half before it was time to pack up (another hour adventure), and head back for the condo. Gone are the days when all I had was a small beach bag. Gone are the days when I would just sit in the beach chair, have a beer, and read a magazine.  My biggest worry used to be just don't get sunburned.  Now, I’m the asshole with the wagon, the stressed look on her face, and the baby that has no idea what’s going on. Life will never be the same.

I desperately wanted a great pic of us at the beach as a family, so of course my forehead looks gigantic, TJ looks like he's dipping, and Teddy refuses to look.

Aunt Andi got the best pic.  Jerk.

Nap time on the beach.

Of course he pooped.  Look at him smirking.  He knows he made me walk half a mile to the trash can on the burning sand right after we got everything set up.

Notice the heinous bruise on my leg from toting the beach chairs.

Teddy look at the camera.  Forget it.

Woo hoo!  We survived our trek to the beach!  Who wants to go to the pool tomorrow?