Saturday, July 31, 2010

Yo soy un gray blob

I just discovered that my picture does not show up on any of the blogs that I am currently following. It makes me a little sad. Especially since some people I know don't realize that my last name has changed since getting married. Instead, my name looks like this random stranger in a gray blobby profile that even I would personally be scared to know, let alone recognize. So friends, if you read this, know that I am not going to come and steal your children. (my own child keeps me busy enough as it is!) And while I may resemble that grey blobbiferous profile on my worst days, it's not me. I promise.

On a happier note, I baked some heavenly chocolate banana bread this morning while Eric was out on a photo shoot. My apartment now smells like chocolate magnificence, which has tempted me successfully to eat half of one of the spongy loaves. I should really stop taking advice from yummy chocolate goodness. It never ends well. For the chocolate, that is. ;)

Edit: figured out the problem. go me.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Brainy madness

I want my lost brain cells back. Period.

Unfortunately, my fellow Mom friends tell me that the cells won't replenish themselves until after Alexandria is weaned. They say it's because when you're a mom to little babies, all those extra brain cells would make you crazy. It's good to forget sometimes. All the crying and poop and more crying and no sleeping and more poop. That's why moms are so amazingly resilient and can deal with some of the toughest things day after day - like having a new baby and readjusting your life constantly because of it. They just don't take it all in.

Which must be why - within a 24 hour period - I put the chips away in the refrigerator (yes, because chips need to be cold), told someone that I'm 22 (am I in denial already?), thought I must have some rare disease due to the fist fulls of hair that were falling off my head (and at this rate, I will be bald by next week - thank you, hormones, yet again) and gave my name and phone number to a Jehova's Witness. Yes. You read that correctly. I gave my name and phone number to a Jehova's Witness. And you thought the chips in the fridge thing was bad. Ha.

It wasn't even because I was hoping to evangelize them to true christianity either. It was simply because the brain cells I should have, but lost due to my recent baby-growing condition, weren't there to tell me that I was being ridiculous. So now a Jehova's Witness lady is going to call me so that we can meet in the park and she can answer all of my questions about God and why He lets bad things happen to good people and heaven and all of that. Except, let's be honest, I would DIE if I had to wear a skirt and high heels every day, so that's not going to happen. And because I would rather choose my own clothing attire, I probably will just have to let her know I'm not interested. But come to think of it, maybe I can ask her where my lost brain cells went.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beach Day!

Alexandria and my adventure today was a trip to Foster beach! We left around 9:30 am with our friend Rachael and spent the morning wading in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan and lounging in the sand. It was a perfect morning for the beach - and we are fortunate to only live 3 miles away!

Lexi stayed cool and shady in her Monet umbrella tent. She was most likely dreaming of oil painted water lilies. I will also note that I was a very good mama and had the baby in the sun for maybe a total of 10 minutes (and she was slathered in sun screen as well). I will also note that although I have had a past of avoiding sunscreen like the plague and then turning into a lobster inevitably, I made healthy choices today and applied and re-applied my sunscreen several times while at the beach. I will now give myself a pat on my NOT-burned back. [insert pats here]

Lexi stayed "high and dry" while I waded in the water.

Yes, Dad. That IS a Cubs hat on my head. (Black is just not pleasant in the hot sun - I don't know what those south-siders were thinking...)

Beautiful morning. Now nap time calls...


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hospitals, Naps, Fried Eggs and Ice Cream

It's inevitable that the moment I sit down to write an entry, my daughter starts crying. In fact, the moment I try to do anything that doesn't involve her, she starts crying. But this entry isn't about me feeling sorry for myself. It's actually about two things. The hospital and my epic failure.

First of all, the hospital. If I was given a dollar for every time I have been to the hospital in the past year, I would be rich. In fact, I would use the money to pay off the bills that the hospital keeps sending me because of how much time I spend there. And this isn't even for emergency stuff! With all the prenatal, postnatal, PT, and baby check-ups, I spend more of my time at the hospital than any other place with the exception of my apartment. I know. It's pathetic. You would think that my social life was there or something. Which is partly true, since Dan (long time friend and patient transporter) and Jenny (friend and RN in labor and delivery) both work there...

Secondly, my epic failure. I read a book on babies earlier this week and concluded that Lexi is a little behind in the eating and napping department. Apparently by 8 weeks babies should be eating every four hours and be on a regular napping schedule. Lexi is 10 weeks and can barely make it to two hours with eating and naps erratically throughout the day, but sleeps 7-10 hours a night. Of course, since I would LOVE to have a more predictable schedule so I can plan my day accordingly and get some semblance of things done, I decided to train my baby.

I had a system all worked out and was going to follow the book and do exactly what it said. But as fate would have it, I ended up setting myself up for complete and utter failure. In fact, I feel pretty good about placing the blame on everything else instead of thinking that it was my fault. And for good reason too.

On Tuesday night, the day before the training was to begin, I came down with a severe headache. Despite all of the pain meds I was gulping down, this headache persisted through Friday evening - only giving me occasional breaks here and there before it came blasting back to throb my skull.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were pretty much the hottest days of this summer. Wednesday and Thursday gearing us up for the fry-your-eggs-on-the-sidewalk Friday. YOU try training a baby with a headache and no air conditioning in an apartment that feels like its 90 degrees!

Wednesday was tough, but I was consistent in what I did with Alexandria - pushing her feedings to every 3 hours as well as laying her down in her crib for a nap while she is awake (so she learns to put herself to sleep). I was exhausted by the end of the day, but Lexi went to bed for the night at 8 o'clock and it made me hopeful that Thursday would be much better.
Wishful thinking.

Thursday was HOT. Lexi was with a babysitter in the morning while I was at the hospital for an appointment (go figure), so was completely off of her "schedule" for the rest of the day. Not to mention the fact that her bedroom/closet that she sleeps in felt like you could bake muffins in it, so I let her nap on the living room floor with a box fan blowing on her. By noon of Thursday, I was done trying to pretend that she was ready for a nap schedule and threw it out. Where it went, I don't know. It probably ended up with the book that claims Lexi should be taking 3 or 4 naps every day that are at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours long. Smart guy. I'm lucky if she sleeps 30 minutes. And the book never tells you how to teach the baby to extend her naps. They just assume your baby is as perfect as theirs. Seriously.

Anyway, although I didn't work on the naps anymore, I was still trying to only feed her every 3 hours. Eric wasn't a huge fan of this, since he had to hear her fussing, but he isn't the one nursing his life away.

Hottest day of the summer. Throbbing, nauseating headache. Fussy baby because of the heat. Also the day of Lexi's two month appointment (yes, at the hospital again) at which she received 5 shots. "She's going to be pretty fussy today and will have a low grade fever. Her legs will also be sore where she got the shots. Just so you know," says her Pediatrician. Wonderful.
If you were a fly on the wall of our living room yesterday, you would have seen us sitting on the couch under the ceiling fan with a box fan blowing on our legs. All day. I think I moved four times. Maybe. You probably didn't see more than that because Lily would have eaten you by that time. Thankfully, Lexi's body was so busy processing all that new stuff that she slept for most of the day in her swing with a fan blowing on her. Whenever she woke up and moved her legs, though, we got to hear the blood curdling Lexi scream. It was fun. Not to mention the fact that I threw the "every 3 hours" thing out the window with the other stuff and went back to every 2. Which as you moms know, is really every 1.5 hours.

But my life is not all bad, because last night, much to our happiness and physical relief, we had an air conditioning unit installed in our bedroom window!!! We spent the rest of the evening chillin' in the cool air and are much happier and better rested because of it! And my headache has finally left me for while. Plus, Eric made me an ice cream sundae. Which made life a whole lot happier.

And that is why I blame my failure on everything else other than me. (I know. Real mature.)

I still am in the dark as far as babies and their naps go, but at least there is ice cream in the freezer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

8 Weeks

Alexandria Elizabeth completed 8 weeks of life outside of my belly yesterday! She is getting chubbier by the day and has quite the personality!

Alexandria holds a steady gaze, is attracted to colorful objects, and can track anything that is within several feet of her. She found her toys last week (hanging above her bassinet) and LOVES looking at them, batting at them, and babbling to them - along with plenty of smiles and giggles! We are both pretty happy, since I can get stuff done while she entertains herself for up to 30 minutes at a time!

Lexi's favorite thing to do is to stand up while you are holding her. If you try to make her sit or lie down, she will fuss and cry until you let her stand up again. Seriously, she wants to go run around!
The best face ever. Gotta love that poochy lip right before she starts wailing! And yes, as you can see here, our baby has a serious case of the Chubs.

At this point, you might be wondering why my daughter never has any clothes on. Yes, she owns clothing. But hey, don't we all wish we could be nudists? (you would if you lived in our apartment in Chicago with zero air conditioning!) Besides, spit-up clean up is so much easier. Trust me.


Serious moment.

Because Lexi is constantly kicking her legs and wiggling around, she spends a good portion of her awake time on her tummy. She rolls over constantly, holds her head up all the time now, and lifts up her entire body by straightening her legs and pushing up on her toes. She scoots around some because she kicks so much and we won't be surprised if she is running around and kicking the soccer ball with us in the park next week. (And I thought she would be born and act more like a baby. Good grief.)

Alexandria is one happy baby after her morning milk!

Feel free to laugh. I seriously can't keep a straight face with this picture.

Baby laughs! Happy to be alive.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Higher Ground

“From the ends of the earth I call to you,

I call as my heart grows faint;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,

A strong tower against the foe.”

Psalm 61:2-3

“My salvation and my honor depend on God;

He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

Pour out your hearts to him,

For God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:7-8

If I could rename the month of July for this year, it would be “The month of bills.” I know, not terribly creative, but very literal and true for our family. With hospital bills, doctor fees, student loans, rent and utilities plus groceries all piling up this month (why it all had to come within the same two weeks, I have no idea), we are being challenged to trust God for his provision now more than ever. Even though for our entire two years of marriage God has provided for us in very tangible ways in our daily living, I tended to take it for granted that we have been able to live and eat and not be homeless. Why? Because Eric and I both worked.

Now, with a daughter, I am playing the part of a stay-at-home-mom. I love it – don’t get me wrong – but it does challenge me to rely fully on God to provide for us for a lot more now than I did before. Eric has been blessed with a lot of video projects right now, which is wonderful, and we were approved for Medicaid for Alexandria (praise the Lord!!!) but I am still struggling to see the any light at the end of our financial tunnel.

These Psalms seem to speak to my heart this morning – leading me to the Rock that is higher than I – telling me to trust my Savior and Creator at ALL times – and calling me to pour out my heart to Him. For He has been our refuge. He is our refuge. And He will continue to be our refuge. It amazes me that we are but a blip of existence in this incredible universe that God has created, and yet He loves and cares for us infinitely more than all that we could ask for or imagine. And so all of our needs, of whatever nature (whether it be a struggling relationship, a financial burden, emotional unrest, health, etc.) are important to God. And He WANTS to care for us. But I must give Him the freedom and the trust for Him to be able to do so. And if we live in this freedom, I believe we will be able to experience His blessings with more joy and thanksgiving in the knowledge that God will provide as He has provided and is providing even now.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Test your Integrity with a Doughnut

An excerpt from The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (by Alexander McCall Smith) where Mma Ramotswe thinks about doughnuts and reminded me of my doughnut-lover friend Marian. :)

That testimonial, for example, that she had been asked to check a few months ago where the writing was almost illegible and where the final sentence said, I have never heard this person use strong language, even to himself. Did anybody seriously imagine that real testimonials said things like that? Obviously somebody did think that. What might she write - in that style - of Mma Makutsi, if she had to write her a testimonial? She divides the office doughnuts with complete impartiality. That would be a good recommendation, she thought; how a person divided a shared doughnut was a real test of integrity. A good person would cut the doughnut into two equal pieces. A shifty, selfish person would divide it into two pieces, but one would be bigger than the other and he would take that one himself. She had seen that happen (pp 40-41).

June Jiggles

Originally, I had planned to make a list of the highlights of the past month or so and have a picture to accompany each listing. Being a mom got the better of me though, and in between feedings, changing diapers, and trying to soothe a crabby baby, the last thing that I wanted to do was to spend hours jogging my brain (which is still working on regenerating all those cells I lost while pregnant) for all those funny details. So instead I merely uploaded some fun photos from the month of June and will let the captions tell the rest. ;) [note: photos start at the most recent and backtrack from there]

World Cup game - Mexico vs. Argentina!!!! From the look of Lexi's face here, we are pretty sure that she knew what the outcome of the game would be.... Baby premonition. We should have listened.... Booooooooooo Argentina!

Two of my sisters, Katie (12) and Abby (11), spent two weeks with us this June after my family returned to Mexico. They helped me out around the apartment and with the baby a lot while they were here - Thank you girls!!! We really enjoyed having them here!

Auntie Kate bonding with her niece

Me and Alexandria having a morning chat during some tummy time

The Staswick Family! A beautiful day at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

Grandpa and Grandma Staswick come to visit (below)

"Papi" and "GG" with Alexandria (those would be my parents...:) They love babies (hence the having 7 kids thing)...and kept trying to sneak Lexi home with them.
Aunt Helen and Mimi (my dad's mom) came to visit from Kansas and Colorado

The month of June (as you can see) was full of fun, laughter, family, and LOTS of people in our tiny one bedroom apartment! We enjoyed every minute of it (well, ok, maybe not every minute, but most of them anyway!) and had SO much fun that Eric and I have decided that the Crino family needs to move close by. ;)

After over 6 weeks of constant visitors (and recovery for me), we are now adjusting to life as a three-some in our sticky hot apartment. In between tickling Lexi's belly to make her smile and giggle (she's 7 weeks now), I am finally able to exercise and play soccer with our friends again (YAY!!!) and have been painting while Lexi naps (except for the current nap, which I used to write this blog...).

On an ending note, Alexandria is still sleeping in her swing and looks like a chubby naked Buddha baby. I think we'll keep her.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Angus Lordie's poem "on the subject of maps"

Although they are useful sources
Of information we cannot do without,
Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines
Reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear
On the location of Australia, and the Outer Hebrides;
Such maps abound; more precious, though,
Are the unpublished maps we make ourselves,
Of our city, our place, our daily world, our life;
Those maps of our private world
We use every day; here I was happy, in that place
I left my coat behind after a party,
That is where I met my love; I cried there once,
I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner
Once I say the hills of Fife across the Forth,
Things of that sort, our personal memories,
That make the private tapestry of our lives.
Old maps have personified winds,
Gusty figures from whose bulging cheeks
Trade winds would blow; now we know
That wind is simply a matter of isobars;
Science has made such things mundane,
But love - that, at least, remains a mystery,
Why it is, and how it comes about
That love's transforming breath, that gentle wind,
Should blow its healing way across our lives.

- Love Over Scotland, Alexander McCall Smith

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fatty pants

I find it rather pleasant that I don't own a bathroom scale. If I did, I imagine that I would be constantly weighing myself...constantly preoccupied with my image...and probably constantly trying to stop eating dark chocolate (which would be quite a feat if I ever did manage to give that up, I must admit!). For these reasons, and for laziness of not ever going out and actually remembering to buy one, I don't have one anywhere near my current place of residence. If I gain weight, my clothes will tell me (obviously), and if I lose it, my jeans will fall off. And that's how I know roughly how much I weigh. It's a good system. I like it. Unfortunately, my midwife didn't find this method very praiseworthy today. In fact, I got scolded. Literally. And I love my midwife. But I definitely felt like I was 8 years old and my mom had just figured out that I had been hiding my veggies instead of actually eating them.

Apparently, getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight by 6 weeks post-partum is quite a feat. And according to the scale in the office this afternoon, I actually managed to go a whole pound under my pre-pregnancy weight in 6 weeks. I thought it was pretty great. I mean, my jeans fit again and it's not like I have been trying to lose any weight since the baby was born. Pretty much I have just been laying around and making milk and changing diapers and jiggling a baby for the past 6 weeks. Katie was here for two weeks, which means that along with the above agenda, I was also eating somewhere around a pound of butter and sugar a day, with all the cookies and cinnamon rolls and brownies and muffins that kept pouring out of our oven. Not including my stash of dark chocolate that I go back to several times during the day. And really, I don't have a scale, so I am feeling this entire time that I am a complete FATTY and need to exercise and diet and do crunches and stuff. But I never did any of it. Maybe the thoughts of exercise were burning all the calories or something.

Anyway, I was scolded for not eating enough, since I look so good (guess she missed the flabby belly and stretch marks...) and was told to eat even MORE than I was eating during my pregnancy. Good Lord. I could barely keep up with it then, and now I am so busy with my ever demanding daughter that who really even has time to eat, much less cook??? And honestly, it's not like I don't eat! Ask Eric - I'm eating all the time - and healthy food too! Also, my midwife reminded me probably a total of 7 times during my visit to eat more or I would "wither away" since I am breastfeeding and burning a lot of calories in that process. Understood. I will. Fine. Because obviously the fruits and vegetables are not cutting it. And apparently I'm supposed to be a fatty mom.

So I ate more.
On my way home from my appointment, I made sure to stop at Starbucks and purchase a giant chocolate chunk cookie and a smoothie. When I arrived home, I ate an ice cream Popsicle. For dinner I downed two bowls of rice and stir fry, and for dessert I ate a slab of chocolate chip cheese cake that I'm sure weighed at least a pound. So there. Hope you're happy.

Fortunately for my daughter (and my heart!), my gluttonous eating rampage has subsided somewhat and I'm fairly sure it will be back to the fruits and veggies tomorrow. The good news? I won't be required to stand on a scale again until next May. :)