Monday, January 26, 2009

An Afternoon Out

This weekend, Gregg and I went out alone for the first time together since Colton was born. Gregg's company sponsored an employee outing to a men's college basketball game, and we dropped Colton off at my in-law's on our way. Before the game which was held at the newly built Prudential Center, home to the NJ Devils, we enjoyed a nice buffet lunch in a private VIP area. Not only did they provide lunch and the free tickets, they also gave each employee $20 to spend at the concession stand.

Just before 2pm we made our way down to our seats, only a few rows away from the court. I didn't pay much attention to the game, except for the last several minutes of the second half. It actually got pretty exciting towards the end, and Seton Hall ended up beating Georgetown 65 to 60. Even though I wanted to, I refrained from checking in on Colton until we got back to the car. He did really well the whole afternoon, which I was very happy about. I had been a little concerned because lately he doesn't want to be with anyone other than me or Gregg. My MIL said that he finished everything she gave him to eat, took two naps, and hardly cried. When we arrived at their house, I took him from my FIL right away and showered him with lots of kisses.

Even though I missed my Coltie, I'm really glad Gregg and I could enjoy a day out. We needed to spend some time alone and reconnect as a couple, without the baby's screams interrupting our conversations. I'm also glad I was able to meet so many of my husband's co-workers. He comes home every night and tells me all about his day and who did what, and it's nice to put faces to names. I also feel a little more included in his "world" now. Since I started staying home full-time, I've felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the working population.

Gregg is really happy with this new job, and after meeting the people he works with, including the VP and president of the company, I feel even more confident that this is a great place for him. The employee event they put on yesterday was so different than either of us are used to. We're familiar with the (sorry) cheapness of the two churches Gregg has recently worked for, who would hesitate to spend money on a new box of pens. Okay, I'm exaggerating of course. But the difference is quite staggering. At both Covenant and King Street, my husband had to share office space with another staff member. The fact that he might actually need his own office to do his job efficiently was an afterthought. Where he works now, they are completely redoing his office- they've cleaned the carpet, painted, and ordered new furniture. He was even asked what kind of artwork he wants hung up on the walls. Gregg finally feels valued and respected as an employee with a company who desires to do things the right way.

In Colton news, my little boy has become very interested in exploring the world around him. He stares at the dog while she's gnawing on a chew toy and then follows her with his eyes when she walks away. He gets all happy when she comes up close to him. He must think she's a giant stuffed animal. Colton also gets excited when the music starts playing on the car tray attached to his walker. He hasn't quite caught onto the fact that he can make the music go by pressing different buttons yet. He'll flail his arms and legs as if trying to dance and shriek very loudly. It's so cute (and ear piercing!)

He also likes when I sing to him, and it's not because I have such an incredible singing voice. Whether it's an old nursery rhyme or the latest pop song, he gets a kick out of my attempts to perform for him. I've usually found that whenever he's crying about something, a rendition or two of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" can distract him long enough for me to finish changing his diaper or preparing his bottle.

Here are some pictures (of course!) of Colton's daily activities:

Keeping a watchful eye on Tess

He fell asleep playing with a toy... it looks like he's praying here!

My little cutie- nice drool, huh? Don't worry, he usually does wear a bib.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hard Confessions

Lately, there is a wave of pregnancies in the blogosphere. Several fellow bloggers have either just recently announced a pregnancy or are getting ready to have their babies. Gregg and I have talked about trying for our second when Colton is about a year and a half old, so that our kids will be roughly 2 1/2 years apart.

Sometimes though, I honestly struggle with the idea of having another baby. I do want at least two kids and for Colton to have a brother or sister so he's not the only child. I'm just not sure I ever want to endure another C-section and all the emotional stuff I went through right after giving birth. The Cesarean was more painful and uncomfortable than I had anticipated it being, and there's a very high likelihood that I'll have to have another one since most doctors discourage VBACs.

My image of having the baby held close to my face in the OR right after he was delivered didn't happen. Instead, he was cleaned up, dressed, and went back to our room with Gregg who then handed him off to me after I was stitched up. I struggled with breastfeeding and felt like a failure when it didn't go right. After giving up and switching to formula exclusively, I continued to beat myself up about it for the next three months. There wasn't much physically I could do for Colton while I was still recovering from the surgery, and then I wasn't even able to do the one thing that would have been my sole responsibility. I felt like I was failing as a mother and disengaged from the baby that had grown inside me for the last nine months.

All this came as a complete shock to me because for as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a mom. I loved being pregnant and had a very easy pregnancy. Planning for Colton's arrival was one of the most special times of my life. I just assumed everything would fall into place naturally. When it didn't, I became depressed. The pain and discomfort from the C-section only made things worse. I'd like to think that after enough time passes, I'll forget all about what I went through and be eager to try for #2. Part of me also thinks that what I experienced was just the result of not being prepared, and now that I know what to expect things will be much better the second time around.

And even if they're not, I should be able to endure a week or so of crappiness for the sake of bringing another human being into this world. It's just one week compared to a whole lifetime. So many couples can't get pregnant and would give anything to have a baby naturally. There are those who have lost children. And here I am, contemplating throwing that choice and opportunity away. I have also thought about adopting our next child. There are thousands of kids out there who need a good home and loving parents. Why not provide this for a child who would otherwise grow up in an orphanage or in the foster system, if we have the means?

Don't get me wrong, I love Colton and being a mom is great. I enjoy watching my son grow and develop and interact with us. I post a ton of his pictures and brag on him every chance I get. I find it extremely difficult to write about this kind of thing because it makes me sound like I'm not grateful to be a mother or something. This isn't the sort of stuff A Baby Story is made of.

I know I don't have to decide what to do today. I also know that Gregg is fine with whatever decision I do make. He's all for adoption and has said before that there are so many kids already who need parents so why not adopt. Three of his cousins are adopted and they are just as much a part of his family as if they had been born in. Having and raising any child is a privilege.

I wish the days immediately after Colton's birth hadn't been so difficult and wonder all the time what, if anything, I could have done to make them better. I wish they weren't so difficult that I would even contemplate getting pregnant again just to avoid going through them a second time. Life doesn't always turn out the way we expect, though. Whether we conceive another child or adopt one, he or she will be very much loved and a part of our family.

Now that Colton is almost halfway through his first year, things are so much better than they were when he was a newborn. He was a total stranger to me those first few weeks, and I was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of taking care of him. If anything would make me want to have a second child, it's the one I already have. Seeing this beautiful little boy grow a bit more every day and knowing that he came from me is an amazing experience, one I'm looking forward to continuing on into his childhood and young adult years. That is the only thing that can make the pain and struggle worth it. Colton is a fantastic baby, and we'd be blessed to have another just like him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

5 Months Old!

My little boy is five months today. He's growing up so fast and adding new skills every day to his repertoire. Colton is at such a fun stage now, where he squeals out loud and eagerly grabs for the toys we put in front of him. He is experiencing something new all the time, whether he tries a new food, plays with a new toy, or I read him a new story.

I think he'll be sitting up on his own pretty soon! Colton doesn't need as much "propping up" when I put him in the hook-on chair we have at the kitchen table, and he can sit on my lap without me holding him for several seconds. He still protests tummy time. The only time he actually doesn't mind it is when he's laying on me. It's so much fun to put him on my tummy and make faces at him. I just have to watch for drool. :)

I think I fall more in love with him every day. How can you not love this adorable face??

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Fun Meme

A while ago, my blogging buddy Erin tagged me for the following meme. The rules are that you are to bold/change the color on each of the below that apply to you, then tag 4 more people and let me know when you've posted! Now, I copied this directly from Erin's blog and noticed that #11 is missing. Is it supposed to be? And do I get a prize for noticing that it's not there?

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (orchestra)

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept in an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chicken pox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a lawsuit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

Now I'm going to tag Sarah, Libby, Amy, and Christina! Have fun. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Recap, or Just Another Lame Post Title

Gregg and I actually had our first real weekend together in a long time. By that I mean, it was like an actual weekend because it was a break for Gregg from work. He finished up his first week at the new job and is thrilled with it. I am so happy for him.

Our anniversary was pretty low key. We went to my in-laws' as planned for Sunday dinner and they had a cake and cards for us. Gregg is sick with a cold (he got it from me and Colton right before he left for Michigan) so he didn't feel up to celebrating much. We did get Colton off to bed early and were able to spend some alone time before falling asleep around 9:30! Wow, what party poopers. The day before we ventured out in the snow to the mall and had lunch at Panera. Not one of our more brilliant ideas, but we thought we could stay ahead of the weather. However, on our way home we started sliding on the road. Thankfully we didn't end up on the other side of the highway or in the trees somewhere.

Except for the snow and it being freezing, it was nice to get out of the house. We only have one car now so while Gregg's at work, I am stuck without a vehicle. We sold our other van, the one that was in the accident last February, before we moved back to New Jersey. It surprisingly held up pretty well all that time without any repairs. Anyway, I don't really have any burning desire to go out in this frigid weather with a baby anyhow. Our plan is to get a second car eventually with the money we're saving on rent.

Well, that was our extremely exciting weekend. You're all jealous, aren't you?? More pictures and a meme to follow...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Six Years and Counting

Gregg came home from his trip Wednesday night, a little later than expected because of the icy conditions here in Northern NJ. I was so glad to see him again. I hate when he goes away, but the reunion is always oh, so sweet. Gregg didn't have to be into the office until 1oam the next day, which was nice. He had a very good first day at work. I really hope this job is everything he wanted. He's had some bad experiences the past few years, and it made me wonder if he was ever going to get a break.

It was around this time last year that everything started to go south at King Street Church. They wanted my husband to put in more hours and work harder, meanwhile he was already working over 50 hours a week with no overtime, busting his butt and hardly getting to see me. How could he possibly give more than he was already giving? The day he returned to work after our Christmas vacation, the senior pastor gave him an ultimatum: do better and work more or turn in your resignation. There was really no choice at that point. Having just found out we were expecting Colton, there was no way Gregg could continue working all those hours and sacrificing family time. It was a major disappointment. The worship pastor he worked directly under threw him under the bus big time. He knew it, everyone knew it. But instead of making a big stink, Gregg just quietly walked away.

He took a pay cut to go work for a "friend" next just so he'd have something. But this so-called friend was running his business into the ground and losing money- fast. Towards the end he didn't have enough to even make payroll. More empty promises, more disappointment, more worrying about finances.

But- I'm not going to dwell on the past. What's done is done, and Gregg now has a fabulous job and we're back where we should be. Our anniversary is this Sunday. Six years, three moves, and one child later here we are. Our marriage has been tested over and over with the curve balls life has thrown us. We've grown apart, grown closer, fought, laughed, cried, and prayed.

I've been thinking lately how our relationship has changed now that we're parents. There's less time for romance and meaningful conversations. Activities and outings all revolve around Colton's schedule. We can't be as spontaneous as we used to be. During the time Gregg was in Michigan, we couldn't really talk until after Colton was down for the night because he'd start to scream in the middle of our phone call, and I'd have to go take care of whatever he wanted. We're no longer just husband and wife; we're also Mommy and Daddy.

I'm trying to find that balance between being a mom and being a wife. Meeting Colton's needs and Gregg's needs, while also giving myself some time in between is not easy. I'll be honest, I do miss it being just the two of us. I've resolved to put more effort into our relationship and plan more "alone time" so our marriage stays fun and fresh.

Since we haven't seen very much of each other this past week, I'm so glad it's the weekend and Gregg will be home with me and Colton for the next two days. We don't have anything fancy planned for Sunday. We'll go to my in-laws' after church like we usually do and enjoy a nice dinner. Maybe put Colton to bed early. So we can watch our wedding video and ponder the true meaning of marriage, of course. Why, what were YOU thinking?

No post would be complete without some pictures of our sweet little boy. Here you go:

Meeting Pooh Bear for the first time.

Hmmm, I wonder what he tastes like.

Mom, do I really need to eat this stuff??

All gone! I got more of it on my face than in my mouth, hee hee.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Little of This and That

Well, it's just the two of us. Okay, three if you count the dog. Gregg left at 5:30 this morning to catch his flight to Michigan for his new job, and he'll be back sometime Wednesday night. We've been home together now for over a month, so it's weird not to have him here with me. I think with all that togetherness, though, we were kinda getting on each other's nerves.

I know my husband is excited to start work, and I'm relieved that we'll have a steady income again. I still hate when he goes away overnight. I don't like being all alone at night in an empty house and sleeping by myself. But it's what we need to do, in order for Gregg to jump start his new career. And it's only two nights.

I had plenty to keep myself busy today, too. I did two loads of laundry, unpacked a few more boxes, dusted, and took care of Colton which always takes up a fair amount of time. It's not hard to take care of him; it's just so time consuming with all the feedings, diaper changes, and "general maintenance".

Now that I'm a SAHM, I need to make sure I still do stuff for myself once in a while. I'm so glad Gregg got me the Gilmore Girls Season 1 boxed set for Christmas so I can indulge in a little carefree, girlyness. The Gilmore Girls is one of my all time favorite shows. I started watching it in college when it first aired and have enjoyed watching the unfolding drama of Lorelai and Rory. I watched the first five episodes over the weekend. There are 21 in total!

I really am enjoying staying home with my son. I don't miss working outside the home. It just gets a bit lonely sometimes. Colton continues to be a pretty easy baby. He still sleeps through the night with no problem and is usually content to just sit in his bouncer or walker with a toy while I'm folding laundry or eating a meal. He only gets really cranky when he's hungry or when I put him down and he still wants to be held.

Colton now grabs EVERYTHING and tries to put it into his mouth. It's so funny watching him try to fit the entire Lamaze cube toy in his tiny little mouth. Then he gets frustrated, like why aren't you going in?? He'll grab a whole fistful of my hair several times a day, which is making me seriously consider cutting it all off. Now I know why most moms have short hair! He will also grab the tabs on his diaper while I'm changing him. It's cute, but it makes changing sessions more difficult because I have to pry one side of the diaper out of his hand and quick fasten it before he grabs ahold again.

He's started making that happy baby squeal, seemingly to nothing in particular, and usually when he is entertaining himself in the crib or bouncy seat. It's so precious to hear. He has also begun doing the tantrum-y cry, which is not so precious. A few times a day, he makes farty noises with his lips and it is hysterical to listen to. He started doing it during Sunday dinner at Gregg's parents and entertained us all!

We've started him on solids and so far, he seems to like the baby food he's tried. The first few times Colton made a face like he just tasted a lemon, but he got used to it pretty quickly. I was surprised when he actually ate an entire jar of sweet potatoes with no protesting. It made his poop orange, though. I can't wait until he has peas for the first time. :)

I've had to put more clothes away that he can't fit into anymore. Colton's already into size 3 diapers and wearing 6-9 month clothes. There are still some 3-6 month outfits that he hasn't outgrown yet. I don't understand the way they size different clothes, because he fits into some outfits in his age range no problem but others are either really tight or too short on him. Anyway, his hair is finally growing! After he lost his newborn hair, it took forever to come back in. It's now a lot lighter than it was when he was born. I wonder if he'll be a blondie like I was as a baby. He still has those beautiful blue eyes, and I hope they stay that way a little longer.

Gotta go get ready for bed... I mean, I have to go get Colton ready for bed now.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy 2009!

Wow, where did 2008 go? It seems like just yesterday I was blogging about being newly pregnant and anticipating the year ahead that would bring my baby's arrival. I didn't stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop, as I was experiencing first trimester exhaustion.

What did I do this year to ring in 2009? It was really exciting, let me tell you. It included consoling a sick baby and watching the Next Food Network Star marathon. I know, you are all so jealous. I did actually manage to stay up 'til 12:00am though. Gregg fell asleep around 11pm, then at 11:59 he woke up, turned the tv off, and rolled over to say "Happy New Year" and give me a kiss. 11:59!! We didn't see the stupid ball drop, but I heard it wasn't all that great anyway.

So yup, Colton has another cold. He has been feeling crummy since Saturday night, coughing and sniffling. His temperature was slightly higher than normal for a couple of days also. He's getting better, but now I'm sick. Good times.

I'll be honest, I've been feeling the "Christmas Letdown" for about a week. You know, after preparing for the holidays, along with anticipating gifts and time shared with family, all of a sudden it's over and it's life as usual again. Then you have three long months of winter to look forward to. Yay. It's a lot like how I felt shortly after Colton was born; nine months of waiting and planning, and then suddenly all the responsibilities of taking care of a new baby crashed down on top of me.

I know we'll have a lot to enjoy and celebrate in the coming months, I do. Gregg starts his new job on Monday and that's exciting. We celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary next Sunday. Colton will be turning 1 in August. I'll be 30! Hopefully we can finally stop stressing over finances.

This new year I'm sure will bring it's fair share of joys, sadness, disappointments, and laughter. I'm happy to share it with my husband and baby boy. Speaking of my baby, here are some of my favorite recent pictures of him. Enjoy!

I love this one! It's like he's gazing out the window at the snow.

Look at those chubby legs!

My little reader

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 In Review

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Had major surgery

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
What resolutions??

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Um, me!!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness!

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More quality time with God, financial stability

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 19 (my sister's wedding), August 14 (my son's birth)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a mother

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not always being the loving wife I should be. Not working hard to lose the last 20 of my pregnancy pounds.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, I was pretty healthy this past year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our minivan and new camera, and all the stuff for the baby. :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband- he was so incredibly helpful when Colton was born and he put up with all of my crazy preggo hormones all those months.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My mom's. She refused to throw me a baby shower, because she didn't want relatives to feel obligated to give me something when they were already spending oodles of $ on my sister's wedding. What?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Things for our newborn son

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The ultrasound where we found out what we were having

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
"No Air" by Chris Brown and Jordyn Sparks

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? poorer, monetarily

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spent more time with friends, gone on more dates with hubby

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Working and worrying

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With our families in New Jersey

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Yes, with my beautiful son

22. What was your favorite TV program?
So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, The Office, Law & Order, Chuck, Bones

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, I can't say I hate anyone

24. What was the best book you read?
What to Expect When You're Expecting. Okay, it was the only book I read.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Wow, I really don't think I had any type of musical discovery

26. What did you want and get?
A precious, healthy baby boy and to become a SAHM

27. What did you want and not get?
A "normal" delivery, for Gregg to get a job in North Carolina (actually, I'm glad this last one didn't pan out)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Get Smart

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went out for lunch with Gregg, turned 29

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I honestly can’t think of anything

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Can I fit my expanding pregnant belly into it?

32. What kept you sane?
Blogging and listening to music

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
They weren't really celebrities, but I was enthralled with all of the dancers' talent on So You Think You Can Dance.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Most of Obama's political views... in a negative way. I didn't vote for him.

35. Who did you miss?
My friends back in New Jersey and Florida

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Colton Patrick

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
That the grass isn't greener on the other side; just a different shade of green.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this."