Baby 2: Thirty Weeks

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How far along: 30 weeks and 2 days (There is something about making it to 30 that is so comforting.)

Sex of Baby W: Little Lady

Weight gain: I have gained a total of 9 pounds. Tom and I agree that I am officially bigger straight out than I was with George at the END of his pregnancy. With George the weight was really all over from hip to hip, and my whole stomach held the weight. DC is just a basketball straight out. I can still feel my hip bones this time around. So different.

Size of Baby W: Platypus (minus the tail) or a large cabbage

Maternity clothes: All the time. I am really hoping that the weather starts warming up so I can wear dresses more regularly. The weather is all over the place lately. (But then again, I would have to shave more often…)

Baby items: I did buy some little baseball moccasins. I’m trying really hard not to go broke with all the cute stuff out there. Easter comparison: Target online the other day had only a half page for boys Easter outfits, and there were TWO WHOLE PAGES for girls. Boys want to look snazzy too, and not all in the same polo and mint green bow tie. But now that I have all these choices for DC, it is hard not to go hog wild on getting stuff for her. Anyway, I am going to try really hard to hold out on clothes until her room is completely ready. We don’t really need many other big baby items since we are using a lot of things from George’s baby time. I am still going back and forth on a double stroller option. Suggestions? I want it to fit with our Britax infant seat, which seems to be my dilemma.

Belly button in or out:  I thought it was going to come completely out, but it is still mostly flush with the rest of my belly.

Sleep: Sleeping has been pretty awful. My legs cramp up a lot at night because I am afraid that I’ll move and I will end up on my back. I can’t really ever get comfortable either because I hate sleeping on my left side. My shoulder has been really tight because of it. I can’t remember the last night where I slept soundly. It’s like I am constantly in that half sleep mode. I also have to pee at least once during the night, if not a couple times. I guess this is my body’s way of preparing me for the newborn phase again.

Best moment the past few weeks: I just spent the weekend with my best two gal pals for a ladies only weekend. I will write about it here in the next few days hopefully. It was so good for my soul to see these two!

Worst moment the past few weeks: The week where the Whitener house came down with every variation of stomach issues. George is just now starting to poop normal again. It has been an exhausting and disgusting time in our house.

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Miss anything: Sleeping. Deli sandwiches. Gyros full of feta.

Cravings: Taco Bell chicken quesadillas. Commercials are hard to watch because I pretty much want anything I see.

Movement: She moves the most at night, but she seems to be moving more throughout the day. She loves to sit right near my belly button, and she pushes so hard. I don’t remember this much pushing with George. The other day it looked like I had a cone-head coming out of my body.

Symptoms/how I am feeling: I have had a lot of discomfort when I am sleeping like I said. The morning sickness has reared its ugly head again. I had one really bad day, and then it has hit me a couple other times but not as horrendous. My gums are bleeding a lot when I brush my teeth. I am super clumsy right now. I was clumsy before, but it is really bad now with my lack of balance. On the plus side, I do not have acne like I did with George. I have had very few blemishes at all in fact. Maybe DC is providing me more with the “glow” than George did. I am starting to waddle a little more and more. I was told twice last week that I looked uncomfortable…both by individuals who have never had children before. I am actually feeling really great for the most part so it kind of bothered me when they said this. Chalk it up to hormones.

Looking forward to: This month in general. We have a lot of stuff going on this month with Easter, baseball games, end of the year celebrations, and our baby shower. It will be busy, but it should be enjoyable.

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Here is George at 30 weeks.

George-22 Months

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Weight: 29 lbs. He hasn’t really gained a lot of weight, but I feel like he has gotten a lot taller.

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Health:  We continued the roller coaster of health issues these last two months. George got the worst case of Hand-Foot-Mouth that our doctor has ever seen. (Of course he did.) He has been over it for a few weeks, and you can still see scars from the blisters. It was awful. George seemed unaffected and was excited about the extra days at home that we had him quarantined. George underwent his first “surgery” last week and got tubes put in his ears. He did so great with being put under and didn’t even cry. Hopefully this will help keep the ear infections and other sickness at bay.

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Diet: His diet is the worst. He will eat whatever the sitter gives him, but refuses to eat anything but cheerios, yogurt, and smoothies at home. We can sometimes get him to eat chicken and pasta, but it is never predictable. He will drink so much liquids throughout the day. He sucks juice, water, tea, and milk down like it’s his job. He is obsessed with condiments/dipping sauces. He will dip anything into ketchup (like his mama).  It is very frustrating to feed him. Tonight I had given up feeding him actual meals after how lunch and breakfast had gone (very poorly), but then he ate more chicken enchiladas than I did. Toddler taste buds are a mystery.

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Clothes:  George is in 2T clothing for everything now. He is still in size 5 diapers, but we do size 6 at night. He is in a size 6 shoe. He is looking less babyish and more big kid.

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Sleeping:  He sleeps at night from 8pm-about 6:30 am. He sleeps through the night pretty regularly still. He goes down really easy at night. Naps are a little tricky. Sometimes he goes down easy for naps, but if we throw his schedule off even a little bit, he will play in his crib for hours before falling asleep. He just sits in there playing with his stuffed animals, jumping, or reading books. He has yet to climb out of his crib, but I am thinking those days are numbered.

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Likes: He loves the outdoors and Tom’s shop. He loves the UPS man. The other day he cried when he (UPS man) left the street, like big fat whopping tears. He is obsessed with legos and his fire truck. He loves taking his shoes and socks off in the car. He is still a big reader. He likes doing dishes with me. He pushes the chair over and actually tries scrubbing the dishes.

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Dislikes: He hates mornings right now. He throws the largest tantrums when he gets up and refuses to not be held. He is not happy when we tell him no and try to keep him from doing dangerous things. He is a sassy pants when he doesn’t get to do what he wants right then. He despises getting his teeth brushed. (It’s also my least favorite part of the day…) He hates the deep end at the pool. He doesn’t mind pools as long as he can touch the bottom on his own. He even went down the slide at the no entry side. But for me to hold him in the deep end during swim lessons, no bueno. He has a death grip on us the whole class period.

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Milestones: Gosh he talks a lot. Most of it is unrecognizable, but he is a chatty little guy. His new words are thank you, bite, good job, bubba (bubbles), juice, Grace, cheese, alright, green, blue, two, and mine. He knows a couple animal noises now. He can do a cow, sheep, and dog noises. It is so funny hearing him say bye to everyone. He screams it several times before leaving the house. He can get the milk and juice out of the fridge and put it on the counter. We started swim lessons, as a said above he does not appreciate this time. This last week he was a little better and tried blowing bubbles but he is definitely not a fan of this time. He is starting to really recognize folks that he hasn’t seen in awhile. We stopped potty training, which I guess is an un-milestone. He went on the potty for two weeks and then all of a sudden decided he would never do it again. So we pushed pause on it, and we have just gone back to asking if he needs to go and waiting for him to run to the bathroom. This is fine with us because the original plan wasn’t to start until well after he was 2, and to be honest closer to 3. He has “chores” now. He gets the dog food when the bowl is empty and helps load the washer and dryer with laundry. He takes these jobs very seriously. He smiles for the camera now, while saying cheese.

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Quirks: He is super shy and doesn’t like big crowds. However, when he warms up to you, he loves really hard. When he is sad, a sure fire way to get him out a funk is to play hide and seek. His tantrums are pretty ridiculous. We think it comes from the fact that he really wants to do things on his own and be independent, even if he shouldn’t be doing it on his own. He also isn’t the best at communicating, so sometimes all this frustration comes out in a throw himself on the floor tantrum. When he is really investigating something, he lays flat on the floor to get a really close-up look. He is a very hands-on guy who loves to see every detail. While there are a lot of mentions of tantrums in this post, for the most part if he is exploring he is the happiest guy out there. I just love watching his face light up. He warms my heart.

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Nicknames:  Booger, Gdubs, Gman, Little man, Georgie, Georgieman, and Boogs.

We parents are:  Our schedules are a little wild right now, so things have been weird at our house with a lot of rearranging of schedules. We are also ready for a month where George isn’t sick since that is super stressful on so many levels. George has been very clingly lately and is definitely becoming a momma’s boy. I have a love/hate relationship with this kind of attention. While I am loving that he wants my comfort and he finds safety from me, it does make it hard to walk alone, get something out of the fridge with two hands, eat a meal where he isn’t sitting in my lap…it can just be exhausting at times for him to want to be on my hip 24/7. The death grip hugs are nice though. Like I said, he loves hard. We also are looking forward to the day where we can go to a restaurant where someone doesn’t have to go “walk” George during the meal.

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The dogs are: loving summer. George loves the dogs. He gets so excited to let them outside. He thinks trying to ride them is his job. Grace will let him do it, and is so patient with him. Crosby gets up and moves away the second George tries to get on him.

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Don’t mind me, I will be over here wiping up my tears knowing that he will be 2 in two months. I will take one of those hard hugs now Gman.

Oh Hey Friends

I am going to make a little confession.

I am not the greatest friend right now. I am not looking for pats on the back or comfort words that I am. I just want to share why it is hard for me to be/feel/expend energy on being a good friend.

It’s the reality. I really haven’t been putting my best foot forward in the friend department.

But in all fairness, I am trying to raise a little human being to not be an awful human being, which unfortunately takes all my attention and energy that otherwise use to be spent on friendships.

For me it is hard to be a good friend and to be a good parent to a toddler.

It may take me longer to answer texts or phone calls than the average person. It can be hard to talk on the phone while trying to keep George from eating ALL of the dog food. Or I see a text, but don’t have enough time to answer before George unlocks the front door and walks out to our yard naked. When he is asleep at 8:30, the last thing I want to do most days is to have a conversation, no offense. Being an introvert, that alone time after he goes to bed is extremely vital to my own sanity to make sure I am a good person. Plus I am at a point in life where calling people after 8 seems super late.

I am missing one of my dear friend’s weddings this weekend. I have cried over missing this, but it is the reality of being a parent of a toddler. It just is not feasible or practical for me to travel alone with George, nor really go alone for 3-4 days with Tom’s schedule. Our situation just doesn’t lend well to it right now. He was an angel baby when he was 7 months old driving across the country last year, but this year is a different tune. George thinks he is independent, but he is still at that age where I have to carry things for him and be his shadow to make sure he gets to where he needs to be. And being in a car for more than an hour is just not happening if I am driving solo. Then there is the cost and time of traveling with a toddler…I can be pretty low maintenance traveling and cut corners for myself, but George is high maintenance and will still expect snacks at certain times. As a parent, you are at their beckon call regardless if you are at home or staying in a swanky hotel.

When I have traveled with him lately, I don’t really focus on the company I am seeing. I am more worried about what George can get his little hands into. When a place isn’t baby proofed, I can’t relax and sit and enjoy a conversation because I am worried that he may break something of yours. This makes it easier just to stay home where I know he can’t reach any breakables and I know his limits on climbing furniture. It can be very stressful to take a very curious toddler into unknown terrain, because again I still have to be his shadow. Then there are the tantrums that I don’t normally have to deal with because I am constantly pulling him away from things and telling him no. I know his reach and we have created that buffer zone in our own home. Or I end up having to hold him the whole time. I am not asking that people create that in their spaces, but this makes it difficult to see the fun in traveling and taking George places. It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with you or find your place annoying, I just don’t want my kid to pull a glass figurine on his head or run into sharp corners. Personally I have found it hard to shake the toddler shenanigans and just sit. His safety is always on my mind. As much as it pains me to say, this isn’t my idea of a fun friend date.

And then there is this…

Even going out to dinner here in town is not an easy task. There is a reason that our Friday night’s are spent at a grocery store diner with our family. There are six grown ups (and one spirited 6 year old cousin) to tag team him, and it is social acceptable for him to walk around the store. Most restaurants are not super kid friendly for a roaming toddler. Trying to get a 20 month old to sit still for a couple hours just sounds like torture.

Trying to find a time to “hang out” in between our work schedules and George’s sleep schedule is often a nightmare. We have been trying to find a time for friends of ours to come over for the last 9ish months. Why is this so hard?

I hate that we have had to say no a lot, but it’s the world I live in. George is my priority and that comes with certain sacrifices from our previous lifestyle. It may sound like I am complaining about being a parent, but I assure you this is the role I love most. There is a reason that I am choosing him first. I love hanging out with him, and I want to make the most of the precious time that we have together. I just want people to understand that I personally haven’t yet found that balance of being a good friend and a good parent. I love my kid though and I want to be there and present for him during this time. It can be hard when I have friends living their own life to find time to mesh all of our needs.

I am not trying to make excuses, I know there are things that I can do differently as a friend. I try to schedule a couple lunch dates each month, but that doesn’t help when you don’t live in town. I am not asking for praise that I am a mom and “trying to do it all” because let’s be honest does anyone really do it all? I write this because I am sad that I know some connections have waned because I became a mom and my priorities (rightfully so) shifted to George. And I wonder if other moms struggle with this, and how do we work out of this friend hole?

I ask for forgiveness if I haven’t sent you birthday cards in the past few years. I ask for understanding when I say we can’t make it to your life event, but also don’t want you to stop asking because sometimes we can make it work. I ask for flexibility when you make plans with us and know that my attention will be divided if we aren’t in our own home. I ask if we do invite you to our home, please know that this is a big deal because it means that I have probably taken the time to clean and put away laundry and mail which is a rare occurrence at our house.

I also hope that friends know I am always “here” for you. I still cheer and cry for you from afar. I still pray for you daily. I still cherish the bonds that we have. My seemingly neglectful style of friendship is in no way a representation of how I actually feel about you. I promise I will try to do better!

What I am saying is I would love to have visitors because I miss my friends, but I am also going to put my kid first because he is my world. (And toddlers are needy) I have a lot of peanut butter cheese crackers and wine to entice you for a visit.

I know there are parents out there who manage to be great parents and have a great social life. Please share your secrets. How do you balance wanting to be there for your kid and not missing anymore than you already are and maintaining friendships outside of your family? Is this just the season we are in right now?

Being a Positive Mom

I have the best mom.

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She has taught me so many things over the years, and still continues to be a role model for me to this day.

Growing up circumstance weren’t always perfect, but my mom tried to make things perfect for us.

She always picked us up with a smile and was intentional about making every moment with her count.

She taught us that even if things are not ideal to go at it with laughter and grace. When we played, she taught us to use our imagination whether we were making confetti eggs or making up songs in the car. She showed us what it meant to be positive ad humble.

It was like no matter what happened, she always had a smile on her face and pushed us to be positive people. She gave her all for us every moment even if it meant putting herself last.

She is a beacon in my life for sure, and I hope that I am half the mom that she has been to me and my brother.

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A couple weeks ago, a fellow blogger (whose baby is only a week younger than George) shared her personal experience about motherhood. She shared how she felt that being a mom was not as hard as she thought.

She was (always is) looking at the positives of her situation and how she loved being a mom. She was being thankful for what she had been given.

And people just wrecked her for it. Some comments posted to her page were spiteful and only meant to put her down and make her feel guilty about her situation and how she has chosen to live her life.

It made me think of two things.

One, I agree with her. Being a mom is much easier than I had originally thought.

Hold up before you get your panties in a bunch.

Being a mom is hard, and I won’t deny that. There are a lot of pressures of “Am I doing this right? or Am I messing my kid up by doing such and such thing?” There are moments when I feel like I am not good enough because he just wont stop crying. George is not always a happy baby, and those moments aren’t always easy. I also wonder when I am watching him sleep or watching him take the world in, if I am doing enough to help him grow.

However, it still is not as hard as I thought. People for years say that you will never get sleep again. People say that your life is over once you have kids. People like to poke fun and make you feel like it is such a burden being a parent.

Have there been nights that I haven’t gotten as much sleep as I want? Yes. But there have also been nights that I had to wake up George because he was sleeping so soundly, and we all were able to get a beautiful 8-9 hours rest. (I also remember nights of little sleep in my early 20s too. Just saying it isn’t the first time I have seen 3am)

Is my life over now that I have a kid? Yes and no. My life as I knew it is over, but I chose to make this change. I love embracing this NEW life, and I am completely content saying goodbye to the life that was. However, I haven’t lost who I am as a person just because I am a mom. I still have 29 years of Stephanie that are still all mine. I just have a new part of my identity to explore and develop. I don’t lose me just because I birthed another human being. I have to say it has made me better. So is my life over? Well I am still here telling my tale so that would be a no.

Am I saying that there won’t be moments that I feel lost as a parent or that his needs will trump mine? I am not oblivious to the responsibility of raising a human being. I know I will feel hopeless without any direction at times. I know that there will be many challenging things ahead. Again, I do understand that being a parent is a big deal.

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BUT…

It’s not as hard as I thought because I love George so immensely that it makes being his parent easy:  Because I have the investment to be a good parent. Because I want to makes the whole process easier. The love that I have for George is so empowering it pushes me to be the best for him. And when you are invested, generally it is a not as hard.

The second thing her post (and subsequent backlash) made me think of is how we as moms treat each other . There is so much support out there for moms, but there is also a lot of negativity, comparison, and mom-shaming. I know I haven’t been a mom long, but I don’t understand why there needs to be so much judgement towards other moms. There is enough to worry about raising my own kid, I don’t also need to worry about raising yours. Are there things that other moms do that I may not do, absolutely. But who am I to judge their circumstances? I have no idea what led them to make those choices. As long as we do the best that we can for our kids and they are happy and healthy, that is really all that we can ask for in this world. We should be supporting and praising each other on this journey of parenting. It shouldn’t be a competition of who has the best schedule or is the crunchiest mom. It shouldn’t be jealously and envy spitting out hate when things aren’t perfect for your situation.

And what is perfect anyway?

This blog does a pretty good job of mocking the pristine images we see of parenting and making it normal that our lives do not look like a magazine or our favorite pins on Pinterest. I get giggles out of it every time.

Any way there should be more support for each other instead of all the side-eyes. We all know we have had those moments where our shirt is on inside out once we get to work. (I did this last week, and not only was it inside out but it was also backwards…) Can I get an amen on the mom bun?

Luke 6: 37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

We get to be parents. I think that is pretty awesome, and we should celebrate that together and give each other some much needed grace. I mean we have babies! Seriously what is better than a baby?

A baby and a dog, that’s what.

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All of this brings me back to my mom. I want to be a positive mom like she was and still is for me.

I want George to grow up enjoying things and embracing moments because there is always something positive to look at. I want to be happy so he sees and understands happy.

I want to be thankful for each day I get to spend with my little guy. I want to make his day better.

I can’t enjoy that time or make it enjoyable for him if I feel like it is a burden to have him.

I want to be a positive mom.

So in those late night struggles, I want to embrace the extra snuggles and cherish that George finds comfort in our arms.

When I get tears from breastfeeding not going well, I want to congratulate myself for making it as long as we have.

When I see another parent struggling, I want to tell them they are awesome because being a parent can be hard at times and sometime we just need to know we aren’t alone.

When I feel like I am not being a perfect parent, I want to remember that God knew what he was doing when he made me George’s mom and to trust Him in my imperfection.

When I look at other kids sitting nicely at a restaurant when George is inevitably trying to concoct some way to make a spaceship out of a straw, a pickle, and the pepper shaker with as much noise as humanly (and embarrassingly) possible, I want to thank God for that kid’s vast imagination and ability to keep himself entertained.

When things just seem impossible, I want to remind myself we found out we were pregnant at the fertility doctor and that George continued to make the impossible possible when he was born 3 weeks early.

When he just makes me frustrated down the road and I feel that I have no patience left, I want to remember these moments.

But he won’t make me frustrated because he is perfect.

And Just Like That

And just like that, I am a working mom.

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I am well into week two of being back on the working circuit. (Not that type of working girl, goodness.)

Last week was rough. It was my first full week at a job since the beginning of August. It was my first full week full time in about a year and half.

It was my first time leaving George for more than an hour at a time.

With a stranger.

Rough and exhausting.

But it was good at the same time. We really did have a great first week.

I was truly fortunate to find a sitter for George relatively easily. The timing just really worked out for us here. And to find in-home care was just awesome.

She is a woman who watches 4-5 kids depending on the day. She was about half the price of any daycare in the area. And her house is just over 5 minutes away from my office.

Win, win, win.

I met with the sitter for about an hour and watched her interact with the other kids. The two little girls fell in love with George right away. (Literally, one girl exclaimed within minutes of meeting him, “I just love Baby George, and I can’t wait till he is here all the time.”)

Let’s just say this woman is a Godsend. She really makes these kids her whole world. I knew practically instantly that George would be in good hands with her.

She is so kind and warm-hearted. Pretty much perfect.

This past week she put up Christmas decorations, and George now has a stocking of his very own there. (I don’t even know where our Christmas boxes are right now, let alone having bought anything for G-man.)

She is very patient with his acid reflux and need to be held all the time. Although the first two days I thought George liked her more than me because he didn’t poop or throw up on her at all. Then when he got home he would work out EVERYTHING he had saved up from the whole day all down my shirt. On day three though, he initiated her into the clean-up George’s functions club.

She handles my new mom questions like a pro when I pick him up each night to get a progress report.

Leaving him that first day was hard. I had to fight back tears as I left him in her arms. Luckily last week I was in training meetings for most of the day, so I could keep my mind off the fact that I wasn’t singing songs or attempting to like tummy time with him.

There is so much trust you have to have to leave your kid with anyone, let alone someone you have only had a ONE hour encounter with. You have to let go of a lot of control. One of the many lessons of parenthood…

Every morning, I am a little awkward dropping him off because I try to do it as quickly as possible so I don’t get myself in a tizzy by leaving him. Other times, I realize I am lingering and just staring at this sweet face…

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Move on and make some money Mom.

I feel really fortunate as well that my office is full of babies. My boss just had his first kid two weeks before I started. The other woman in the office has a two and four year old. They have been super supportive knowing what it’s like being a parent and working. This has made for an easy transition because they both understand. Plus, we are gushing over baby pictures practically every chance we get. And who doesn’t mind looking at baby pictures? We also win for the office with the least amount of sleep. How we are accomplishing anything is beyond me.

It is hard leaving him and knowing that I spend a good chunk of time without him now. But as some friends mentioned recently, he will be getting the best of me because I will be fulfilled with my job professionally. I know I am meant to be a mom and an educator. I know that having both will make me better at both. (And my job is AWESOME, but that is a discussion for another day.)

I have to remind myself that it is good for both of us. I truly cherish the time we get together because it is limited now more than before. Like this morning, I got a ready with 10 minutes to spare so I just snuggled him a little extra before bundling him in the car. George benefits by interacting with other kids, but also by seeing his mom and dad work and being excited about their careers. I hope that he will see Tom and I loving our jobs and be motivated in his own career path to feel the way that we do. It is also good knowing that he has a community of people who are going to love and support him, and I don’t have to feel the pressure to be his whole and only world. (Even though selfishly at times, I want to be just that.)

This little man deserves the best, so his dad and I are doing what we can to make that for him.

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I don’t really have a lot of advice when trying to find childcare. We went totally off recommendations, so if you know someone in the area with kids I would start with their suggestions. The rest was a gut feeling. Sometimes you just know who you can trust and who you can’t.

While it is not easy leaving him in the care of someone else, it is getting easier as we adjust.

And you really can’t beat coming home to that face everyday!