Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My two favorite people
Just a reminder to myself--be thankful. Every day.

I have so much to be thankful for--the love and companionship of a WONDERFUL husband, amazing father to our daughter, and my best friend. A healthy, happy baby girl who is meeting her milestones, sleeping well, eating, growing, playing, laughing, and generally wrapping us around her tiny fingers on a daily basis. Incredible family that loves us to pieces, unrivaled friends that make life fun.

After reading about big tragedies, like the tornado that hit Joplin, MO, or small (in comparison to the rest of the world, but I'm sure not to them) of a friend of a friend who had to let their newborn go on to heaven this week, I just need to remind myself to be thankful every single day.

I'm a lucky girl.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Approaching the Half

I feel like I have no time to do anything--work is insane and I spend all my free time playing and snuggling with the most adorable baby in the whole universe. Hence, the lack of updates here.

Izzy is quickly approaching her first half-birthday! I cannot even explain how fast it seems like the time has gone by. I struggle with going to work each day and missing things--she changes so much every day.

Today, when we got to school, Izzy's teachers mentioned that they might be moving her up into the next class with the bigger kids a little ahead of schedule (they usually wait until the 6-month mark and then evaluate whether the child is ready). I think they need to shuffle kids around to accomodate new babies, but it really took me by surprise. First, her teachers are amazing--we love how much they love our baby, and they give us great updates about her days. Second, how is she possibly old enough to move into the next class??? My tiny infant newborn!

So I had a rough morning of it, just thinking about whether she was ready for all of that! I think she is--socially, she will be fine, and she'll learn a ton from the older babies. I will just have to adjust a bit.

In other news--we are starting to hear her laugh more and more! She thinks we are pretty funny--daddy more than me. It's almost impossible to keep from smiling when you hear her little giggle. So here's an example of Izzy's adorable giggle:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day: Inauguration

Me and My Mom
Becoming a mother has felt a lot like joining a club. One where the other members aren't afraid to tell you the secrets, where it is okay to talk about things like relationships and bodily functions and sex like you have nothing to be ashamed of, and where, no matter what stage of motherhood you're in, there is someone who has been there and is willing to help you through whatever troubles you may encounter.

It's hard to explain--I have several girlfriends who I am comfortable enough with to talk about ANYTHING, but somehow with other moms, even ones I haven't met before, there is some sort of implicit trust and familiarity, and conversations start easily and flow naturally around subjects such as childbirth, breastfeeding, baby poop, fun toys, daycare, lack of sleep...the list goes on and on.

If motherhood is a club, Mother's Day is the official inauguration ceremony. I have been overwhelmed and surprised at the number of Happy Mother's Day wall posts, text messages, and in-person wishes I have received. It's almost more exciting than my birthday, because I realize I share this honor with so many other women, all on the same day.

There are so many things to learn upon becoming a mother. Some are things you learn by doing, and by spending time with your children, picking up their cues and habits, imparting tradition and ritual into their lives as you build your days. Some are things you learn by studying--like every new skill, I think the more research you can do, the better off you are, so books like Baby 411 or The Happiest Baby on the Block have given me lots of knowledge I can use on a daily basis.

Probably the best things I've learned have been things I've actually known for a long time, but didn't realize I knew them. These came from my own mother. Years and years of watching her, being taken care of by her, rebelling against her, and now becoming a member of her club have opened my eyes to so many things I didn't realize I knew. For example:

  • I remember waking up from a bad dream and tiptoeing in to stand at the side of my mom's bed. I was SO quiet, because I didn't want to wake her up, but I really wanted her awake to tell me my bad dream was just a dream. I would stand there staring at her for a few seconds, and without opening her eyes, she would say "What is it?" and I would tell her I had a bad dream. "Did you go to the bathroom?" she would say. "Did you get a drink of water?" I would say yes, and she would tell me to go back to bed. I was always amazed at how she could know I was there. NOW I realize, when you're a mom, you never really go all the way to sleep--you keep one ear open for the sounds of your child in need. THAT'S how she knew I was there.
  • I tried to be so sneaky, hiding candy or doing things I wasn't supposed to do, and somehow she would always catch me. I thought she must have some sixth sense, because she always knew what I was up to. NOW I realize that when you're a mom, you are hyper-vigilant, the mother bear protecting her cubs. She knew what I was doing because she was always watching over me.
  • Mom's hugs always felt so good when I needed them, and they still do, better than anyone else's hugs probably will. NOW I realize that you pour your whole soul into those hugs you give your children--how could they NOT be amazing?
  • I remember my mom kissing my face in public or at home, and thinking it was embarrassing or that I was too old for such silliness, but NOW I realize you just can't help but kiss your baby a thousand times a day, you love her so much.
  • My mom wears gloves to wash the dishes, and I used to think that was so silly--you can go much faster if you just do it bare-handed. NOW I realize that she must have washed so many bottles and pacifiers and toys in addition to the regular dishes that her hands were exhausted. I've got dish-pan hands now, too.
These are just a few of the things I've come to realize--things I knew, but couldn't understand until I became a mom myself. It's the best, hardest, scariest, most fun, most rewarding thing I've ever done, and I imagine it just gets more wonderful and more difficult as the years go by.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, and to all the moms out there. Thanks for letting me join your club. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011


So I have a new obsession...and it's a DORKY one.


Have you seen this Extreme Couponing show on TLC? WILD. These people are getting thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for tens of dollars. It is crazy to watch. (Also a little disturbing--during each episode the "Up Next - Hoarding" ad pops onto the screen...I can't imagine that is a coincidence. The folks at TLC must get a little giggle out of that.)

Now, I don't think I need to have a whole storage unit to stockpile things that I will never use (like 100 bottles of antacid), but I would like to be smarter about buying the things we need at our house on a weekly basis. Yesterday I used TWO coupons on ONE item (one store coupon and one manufacturer's coupon). Saved me $6 on a box of diapers!

This type of shopping requires more planning than I am used to. I like to make a list, but now I have to plan further ahead based on coupons I get (or don't get, and find them). I may even start taking the Sunday paper (what? In this day and age of technology?) so I can get more coupons. Aaron likes to tease me that you have to "spend money to save money," but I don't want to spend so much that it's really not worth it!

On a side note--what has my life come to that this is what I'm blogging about? Hilarious. I'm feeling like such a mom today.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Four Months Old!

Photo by Aaron Blythe on the iPhone
Izzy had her four month checkup today--here are the stats:
  • Weight: 12 pounds, 4 ounces (continuing right along her curve at the 25th percentile)
  • Height: 24 inches (Aaron says he thinks it looked more like 25 inches--either way, TALL)
  • Head: 15 3/4 inches (right in the middle of the growth chart for her age)
At four months, Izzy loves:
  • Kindermusik (we go every Saturday morning)
  • Putting everything in her mouth (including your fingers if you let her, and she's practicing biting!)
  • Playing with her whale on the play mat
  • Tummy time (kid can't get enough)
  • Reading books at bedtime (she is learning to turn the pages)
  • Standing (with help of course!)
  • Baths in the big tub
Izzy does NOT like:
  • Having shirts put over her head
  • Having her nose cleaned out
  • Staying up much past her bed time
That's about it. Every day at daycare they tell us her day was wonderful. She really only fusses if she is hungry or tired. Hearing the other kids cry doesn't seem to bother her at all, and she only cried for about 10 minutes today after her shots and then was happy all day. As I told Aaron the other day--we really do make a pretty great baby, the two of us.

Happy four months old, Izzy Bear! Here's a video of Izzy playing with her favorite toy (by the way, Izzy has a YouTube channel!):

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

9 to 5

Caution: a little bit of whining ahead. (Not from Dolly, from me.)

This is the 6th week I've been back to work after maternity leave. A month and a half. It feels at once like it has been so much longer and like it has only been a few days. (I think that is one of those phenomena of parenthood--as one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, puts it: "The days are long but the years are short.")

I am what is referred to as a "working mom," which if you ask me is nowhere near a decent description of what it feels like to be a parent who goes to a job outside the home every day. Being a parent is definitely the hardest (but also most rewarding) thing I've done ever in my life. In itself, parenthood is more than a full-time job. A full-time job is classified as 40 hours a week; being a parent takes every hour of every day of every week--when you are with your child, you are interacting with her and hoping you are giving her everything she needs to become an amazing person. When you're not with your child, you are missing her, worrying that she's missing you (or worrying that she ISN'T missing you), trying to get other things done so when you do see her you have quality time to spend with her, and when you're all sleeping, as a parent you aren't REALLY sleeping, because you keep one ear on the baby monitor to make sure she doesn't need you all night long. 

If you're working at a job (in corporate America in my case), you're not only busy trying to get your daily tasks done, but also keeping up with your colleagues, and worrying about your career advancement. You have to please your manager, keep up with team and corporate initiatives, interact with co-workers, and (on my team at least) manage a daily cycle of interruptions and struggling to come back to the task at hand. Now, since I'm also trying to breastfeed my kid, I'm taking breaks two to three times a day to pump. I'm also worrying about the fact that someone else is tending to my child (and possibly not doing it like I would if it were up to me all day). It's more than a little distracting in an already hectic workplace.

Oh yeah, and then there is the lack of sleep...

A few years ago one of my great friends (who also happened to do the same job as me and was on my team at work) told me she was leaving the job to stay home with her daughter. She told me that she felt like she was "doing a bad job at both being a parent and being a good employee." I scoffed at her when she told me this--she was clearly doing an awesome job at both things--she's a great parent and she did a wonderful job at work. But now I know what she means.

I know I'm doing a pretty good job at being a parent--I firmly believe that if you give your child all the love in your heart, try to make the choices that are best for her, stay informed on the things you need to keep her safe, help her grow and learn, and make sure she knows how awesome you think she is, she's going to turn out okay. I also know I'm doing a decent job at work.

My problem is that I've never been okay with doing "okay" or "pretty good." For my first job, I worked at a place called Discovery Zone. Sometimes I was assigned the snack bar, and it was my job to clean out the nacho cheese dispenser at the end of the day. A ridiculous job--but I'll be damned if I wasn't the best nacho cheese dispenser cleaner you ever saw. I've always taken pride in whatever job I have, and I want to do it to the very best of my ability. Having my focus split a million different ways in an already very disjointed daily schedule makes me feel like I'm NOT doing my job very well at all.

I've also wanted to be a mom as far back as I can remember. I was a babysitter (with certification from the Wilmington, NC public library babysitter course!) from way back. I always knew I wanted my own kids. And now that I HAVE a child (and maybe I'm biased, but she's pretty awesome), I can't think of anything I'd like to do more than spend every single moment of every day with her (or for her). It's next to impossible to think about anything but that little girl all day. I feel very distracted when I'm not with her.

I'm probably a typical working mother. I am probably not facing struggles any more difficult or intense than any other working mom out there. I should probably just realize that this is how life is going to be. It's just hard. Thanks for letting me vent, internet. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Photo Friend

All photos by Rachel Porter
Some of our friends got engaged last year, and one day on Facebook popped up the most ecellent photographs of the two of them--a sort of engagement photo shoot, and I just loved everything about them. For one thing, the subjects are two fun, wonderful, adorable people, so you just can't help but smile as you think about them together. The photos were also so unique and so personal--they really capture the couple's personalities, and I'd never seen anything quite like them.

When we found out we were pregnant, I knew I wanted to get some professional photos done of me and Aaron and the baby bump--just not some of those weird, awkward photos like those pictured here. (Seriously, click this link. Be prepared to laugh for a bit.) So I sent the aforementioned bride a message and asked about her photographer.

And so we happened upon Rachel Porter! We set up some time with Rachel in October of last year to capture some of the great fall colors and shots of us around Kansas City. I knew I was going to like this girl when she emailed me a few days before the scheduled shoot to tell me not to be alarmed when she showed up at our house--she was going to be sporting hair extensions and covered in temporary tattoos because she was headed to a Halloween party as Kat Von D later that evening.

Rachel took us to 17th and Summit, to Hi Hat Coffee, and to Loose Park. She made us feel SO comfortable even though both Aaron and I felt a little silly posing for photos--she kept us chatting and laughing, and kept coming up with interesting backgrounds and angles for us. We were kind of sad when the afternoon ended, but the pictures are PERFECT.

A major bonus has been getting to know Rachel as a friend--she's one of those people who is so cool and fun you can't help but want to spend more time with her. She's creative, friendly, and she exudes positivity. As we've been getting to know her we've learned that her sweet little family (she's married and has an adorable one year old little girl) is raising funds to adopt a baby, and using her photography services is helping them reach their goal! Please let me know if you'd like to connect with her for your very own photo shoot--she's reasonably priced and the results are amazing.

We decided to book more time with Rachel to capture newborn Izzy, and we've just loved them so much we want to keep getting them done as Izzy grows!

You can follow along with Rachel's little family on their adoption journey at the Love is Rising blog, and you can visit the Love is Rising Etsy Shop for some great accessories that also help the Porter family in their efforts.

We can't wait to see what she captures next, and we're anxious for her family to meet their fundraising goals and bring home that new baby!