First year reflections

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My son’s first birthday is just a week away, so of course I’m feeling pretty darn sentimental. As he attempts to tackle my laptop, I can’t help but to be amazed that the tiny 6.5 lb boy that I brought into this world, is now walking around the house attempting to dig goodies out of the trashcan and destroy as many books as possible.

As his first birthday draws nearer, I find myself holding him for a few minutes longer each night before putting him in his crib. I stare at his tiny little baby feet and his plump baby thighs and I think of all of the grand hopes that I have for his future.

I hope that my son loves. I don’t mean that I hope that he loves his mickey mouse doll or that he loves going to the park. I mean that I hope that he grows up with the ability to truly love another human being with all his heart, and I hope that he has the strength to walk away from those that don’t love him back the way that he deserves.

Ihope that he surrounds himself with the right people. Looking back at my life, I often find myself wondering what path I would have gone down had I had different friends. The quote “you are who you surround yourself with” always comes to mind. The quote has always bugged me a little because I would like to think of myself as an individual who makes my own choices, however one of those choices IS who you surround yourself with. I strongly believe that I made the worst choices in my life when I was surrounded by the wrong people, and I made my best decisions when I was surrounded by happy, successful, and supportive people. I hope that my son has the ability to recognize who the “right” people are, and that he chooses people that will encourage him to be a good person.

I hope that my son is a hard worker. My husband and I often talk about how we do not want our son to be lacking of anything. We want to provide him with the best education, to get him involved in sports and activities, and we want to show him the world. I feel that there is a very fine line between providing for your child and spoiling your child, and I hope that my husband and I can raise him in a way that he knows that he can have the world, but he is not entitled to it.

I hope that my son is respectful. I hope that he grows to be a man of admiration. I hope that he is emotionally strong and level headed. I hope that he learns from his mistakes. I hope that he is charismatic and I hope that he is polite.

Most of all, I hope that we can teach our son to be all of these things. My biggest fear about having children was always the fear of being a bad parent. My son is only one and I feel as though I have already been faced with so many decisions regarding how I want to raise him. There are thousands of parenting “methods” out there, but I am beginning to feel more and more each day that the only “right” method is your own. And so I go into each day doing my best to demonstrate all of the things that I want my son to be. Children learn by example, and the best I can do for my son is be the example that he needs me to be.

My son will be one next week, and I am so very proud of who he is already becoming.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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Rants of a stay at home mom.

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Being a stay at home mom is such a blessing, and I am so thankful that I can be at home with my son every day. As much as it is a blessing, it is also far more of a challenge than most give it credit for. I remember while pregnant, telling my husband “being a stay at home mom is going to be easy! The house will always be clean and I will have everything done, and dinner will be on the table as you walk in the door!”.

Riiiiiighhhhht…

The most “cleaning” that gets done during the day happens when I put two dishes in the dishwasher before my son notices and comes wobbling over in an attempt to crawl inside the dishwasher. And my son LOVES helping me fold laundry… as in.. he likes grabbing the newly folded piles and tossing them all over the floor. What about during naptime you say? Naptime is for showering, answering emails, kind of trying to make myself presentable looking, trying to make food without waking my son, and on especially exhausting days, nap time is well… for napping. My son is a little ball of  one year old energy and if I’m not playing with him, staring at him, or within reaching distance of him, there.. will.. be.. trouble.

Oh but it doesn’t end there. I also work from home. I take care of all new customer accounts, processing wholesale orders, and managing social media for Ulubulu Baby Products. If you’ve spent as much time at Target as I do, I’m sure you’ve seen our products in the baby aisles. It’s incredibly difficult sometimes to be a stay at home mom while also working from home, but I have been so blessed with this opportunity and I mean, you can never have too many free pacifiers, right?

It gets better! I’m also attending college! I’m taking 2-3 online classes per semester, slowly working my way towards a psychology degree. So somewhere in between being a mom, wife, and employee, I also have to find time to be a student. Need I explain why I usually wake up exhausted?

My life has become a giant balancing act between baby, work, play, school, family, and friends. It is stressful and chaotic, but it is also incredibly rewarding. At the end of the day I might have a few emails that will go unopened until tomorrow. I might have a sink full of dishes, and a couch full of laundry loads that I just could.not.bring myself to fold. I might be tired and overdue for a pedicure. I might take a few too many days to write a new blog post, and I might only skim read my school assignment. Dinner might be 30 minutes behind schedule and missing a main food group. But at the end of the day, my son is happy, my husband is happy, and I am happy. And that’s really all I need.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

He takes care of me: A Father’s Day post.

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I would like to take a moment to talk about my husband.

It is no secret, we were not trying to have a baby. We also were not, not trying to have a baby either. When I delivered the news to my husband, he was the perfect level of excitement that I needed him to be in order to ease my nerves. As I sat there terrified at the thought of pushing a watermelon sized human out of my body, he sat there in complete and utter amazement that he had created a little life inside of me. And he promised that he would always take care of us. Always take care of me.

He went to every doctor appointment with me… even my pap smear. I realize that was a little ridiculous, but I was nervous and scared and so he went, no questions asked. He held my hand through each and every prick and poke, and he took care of me.

When I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks due to my incompetent cervix, he stayed with my every single night but one, curled up on a tiny little fold away chair/bed. When I was put on bed rest for months, he cleaned.. he cooked dinner.. he moved our entire apartment into a new place on his own.. he took care of my every craving.. he took care of me.

When my son was born, he did not leave my side once until it was time to take my son to the nursery. He changed the pads below me on the delivery bed. He got me ice. He let me squeeze (and almost break) his hand. He encouraged me. He took care of me.

When we brought my son home from the hospital, he made sure I had the rest I needed. He tended to my son so that I could sleep. He made bottles, he made me food. He helped me recover. He took care of me.

When I am too overwhelmed to make it through the day, he talks me through it. When I am stressed, or sad, or nervous, he takes care of me.

My husband works harder than any man his age, so that I can stay home to raise our son. He goes to work and comes home completely exhausted, yet still.. he takes care of us. I could not be prouder of the boy that I have quickly watched become a man. He is strong, he is proud, he is courageous, he is charismatic. He is a leader, he is a hard worker, he is a father, and he is a husband. He is mine, and he is everything I need.

Happy Father’s day Sweetie. Thank you.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

Family photos: tougher than they appear

Last weekend we finally had our family photos done! I have been planning these photos in my head for the last 7 months. Yeah yeah, don’t make fun of me. We are so very happy with how they turned out. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in our photographer, please let me know and I would be happy to send you her way. Going into these photos, I was so nervous that my son wouldn’t behave. What do you know… he didn’t! He was so amused by the surrounding area that he did not want us to hold him, even for a second. We had a great time playing with him outside, but leaving the session I was feeling like we didn’t quite get any of the images that I had envisioned in my head for months. Then she sent us our photos… and I was absolutely blown away. I couldn’t be happier with these, and I couldn’t be happier to share them with you!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Spoiled… And I’m not referring to the baby.

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I never realize JUST how spoiled I am until my husband is away on business. Trash? You mean I.. I..Have to take.. out.. the trash…?  And don’t get me started on the lack of relief. My husband normally gets home between 5:30 and 5:40, and I normally lose my shit around 5:35, so as he walks in the door, I pass our son off to him and take a few minutes to myself to regather my super mom abilities. Our system is like a perfectly oiled machine, keeping us each at the perfect level of “sane on the brink of mental patient” that every parent should be. Waking up every day for a week and knowing that there will be no relief or help of any kind at 5:35 can be quite a doozy.

Single moms and military wives: I don’t know how you do it.

Every Saturday my husband and I take our son to our community swimming pool. He carries my son and the ice chest, I carry the towels, beach bag, and floaty. Once we arrive, I hold our son while he sets up our “corner” in the shade. We then go in the pool, where I sit on the steps watching as my husband and son splash around the pool. My son eventually wants to play on the steps, and my husband and I take turns corralling him in so that he can’t make an escape for the scolding hot ground surrounding the pool. Needless to say, we have PERFECTED the art of taking an 11 month old to the pool.

Yesterday I decided I would conquer our pool with my son.. alone. I’ve done it enough time with my husband, that I figured going alone should be a piece of cake. I was feeling especially pumped for the day and could not have been more excited to have some one on one time with my little guy at the pool. We got ready and everything was going as planned.. until I realized that I only have two hands. It was time to make some sacrifices. I decided to part with the floaty and ice chest, and we were off! Things were going great.. until the second we got to the pool. I set my son down so that I could take my swim cover up off and BAM, he makes a break for the water. So there I am, swim cover up halfway off, one shoe on, chasing my son across the pool. Eventually we manage to get into the water, where we enjoy ourselves for all of… two minutes before he began to throw a fit because I wouldn’t let him play with someone else’s beach ball. The overly tan woman across the pool from us began to glare us down and within 10 minutes of arriving, we were leaving.

Returning home, I was disappointed with the experience to say the least. I decided I would not sulk however, and began getting us ready to go grab some lunch and run some errands. I put my son in his car seat and go to start the car… and what.do.you.know….my car battery is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Mind you.. we live in the desert. It was exactly 108 degrees outside, my husband is gone, and my car won’t start?!? Just my luck.

Fortunately my husband left his car keys at home while he was away, and I was able to transfer into his car and somewhat salvage the day. Although the day did not go as planned, when all was said and done, I did get to spend some quality one on one time with my little guy and somehow found the time to make an awesome dinner for the both of us. As difficult as my son can be, he is my little buddy. He’s just a whole lot easier of a little buddy when I’ve got some help!

Long story short, I am completely spoiled by my husband. I was once so independent, yet I  have become so accustomed to being spoiled and always having assistance with every little task. My husband will return home tomorrow, just in time for me to return the spoiling to him on Father’s Day. In the mean time, I’ve got a bag of trash to take out and a big glass of wine to sip on.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Camping with a baby: No. Just No.

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See that photo of the Zion coffee cup? Minutes later, this same **hot** cup of coffee was spilled all over my lap by my 11 month old. See that photo of my family happily smiling for the camera? Seconds later my 11 month old was in full blown tantrum mode because he couldn’t put leaves in his mouth. You’d never know it from these lovely photos but this. trip. sucked.

Ok, so I’m being slightly dramatic, it wasn’t entirely bad. There were parts of our trip to Zion National Park that were absolutely wonderful. But camping with a baby is a whole lot tougher than it sounds. I thought I was prepared for ANYTHING. I spent days and days before this trip making anal lists and packing bags. I thought of every possible situation that could arise and made sure that I would have a solution for it.

First situation to arise: I forgot the baby formula. Realizing this 2 hours into the trip, we were able to pull over at a grocery store and buy him a new box of formula, but of course only AFTER I spent a good 30 minutes beating myself up about it. Since formula is something that we were using up until the last minute, I left it on the counter. Note to future daring camping parents: buy an extra pack of formula and pack it up with everything else.

Second situation: I didnt….bring…my baby’s…BAG. Yeah thats right. I brought my bag, my husbands bag, our food, our games, our everything on the planet… except for my baby’s duffel bag. Worst mom award, right over here. As if I wasn’t feeling terrible enough about not packing my baby’s formula. Luckily I had packed a separate bag of diapers, toys, wipes, bottles, and one spare outfit; however his pajamas.. clothes.. everything else he might need.. were all left behind.

Third situation: turns out that babies don’t like tents. I take that back.. babies LOVE tents. So much so, that they refuse to sleep in them. In my fantasy situation of how the weekend would go, we would spend a great day playing in the great outdoors with our son, put him to bed, and have a great evening to ourselves around the campfire. Oh boy was I wrong. My son is an excellent sleeper.. at home. He typically falls asleep within 5 minutes with minimal assistance. I headed into the tend to put him to bed in his pack n play, and the second he’d finished his bottle he popped up and began to pounce around the tent. 20 minutes later my husband came it to relieve me. 20 minutes after that I went back in to relieve him. 20 minutes after that, my friend went in to relieve me. 20 minutes after that my husband came in to relieve me. And the story continues until 2 hours later my husband and I resorted to taking him for a drive. Within 2 minutes he was passed out. Oh but the story is not over yet. Three thirty AM…. the boy wakes. He spent the next 2 hours pouncing around the tent before finally passing back out on our blow up mattress. Seven AM… the boy rises. He continues to pounce until he removes the lid from a water jug and dumps it all over the bottom of the tent. Rise and shine.

Fourth situation: in case you weren’t sure.. there are no clean floors while camping. It sounds so logical, but when there is nowhere to set your baby, you’re limited as to what you can do. Babies as young as mine do not yet understand that they cannot eat that rock or lick that bird poop encrusted table. While I knew this going into the trip, I thought between the group of us, we could pass him around and entertain him enough that it wouldn’t matter. The problem is, babies don’t want to be held in the great outdoors…they want to explore it. This was entirely my fault, not his, but regardless, it presented quite the problem.

All of that being said.. we cut the trip short and came home after the first night.

I’m not telling EVERYBODY not to take their children camping. I’m sure some families could make it work. But you have been warned.. it is harder than you think. My best advice is to wait until your kids are older or rent an RV.

We did have some great times. We went for a lovely hike along the Virgin river, played in the water, and ate at some great little spots in town. But let’s just say, our next family trip will definitely take place in a hotel.

Cheers,

T.W.C.