Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Day

A year ago today, I found out when I would get to meet my son for the first time. I had a routine appointment at the doctor's office and the nurse-midwife confirmed that what had been the case two weeks prior was still true- that Colton was breech. She explained that I had two options, either have her attempt to turn the baby or go ahead and schedule a C-section. A trial of labor was not discussed, though I'm not sure I would have been on board with that knowing the risks involved. Not feeling comfortable with the whole turn the baby thing, I opted for the Cesarean and it was scheduled for the week before my due date. For the past eight months, August 21 had been burned in my mind as the most likely day when my little boy would make his grand entrance into the world. But now I had a new date: August 14.

I spent the next two weeks leading up to his birth day trying to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, preparing to go on maternity leave, and attempting to stay off my feet as much as possible. During this time, I watched the final episodes of So You Think You Can Dance (this season isn't nearly as good as last, IMO) and they had brought back the couple that danced the waltz to "A New Day" by Celine Dion. It was one of my favorite dances during the season, and when I saw it performed again I sobbed the whole time thinking of how my world would be changed so incredibly by the birth of my own son very soon. I could not imagine a better day than the 14th of August for him to have been born.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Well, the thirty part is correct. The funny thing is, I don't feel 30. Age isn't anything but a number I guess.

I had a great time celebrating my birthday with family over the weekend. My mom invited us over for lunch, cake, and presents on Saturday. My sister and her husband were there, along with my stepsister and her kids. Then on Sunday, Gregg's family had us for lunch and whatnot. Monday, my actual birthday, turned out to be a nice day even though thunderstorms had been forecasted. Gregg bought me sunflowers (my favorite flower) and took me out to the Macaroni Grill. We brought Colton with us to dinner, and he was really good until about the last 20 minutes of our meal when he started getting cranky. I fed him shortly before we left the house and packed plenty of toys, juice, and snacks so he wouldn't have a meltdown in the middle of the restaurant. Our waiter mistook Colton for a girl, even though he was wearing a blue shirt, a blue bib, and had a blue pacifier in his mouth!

So turning another year and really another decade older aside, life is going pretty well. I am dealing with the daily challenges of caring for an almost-toddler. The temper tantrums have begun. Granted, they're still short lived and don't involve throwing himself dramatically on the floor at this point, but it's definitely a precursor of what is to come. And I'm not looking forward to it. Colton is testing his boundaries and enjoying the new freedom that comes with being able to crawl at lightning speed. He frequently goes for one of the dog's toys, her food/water dishes, the air conditioning vent in the living room, or the end table drawers in which he finds all sorts of interesting treasures. We finally locked up all the kitchen cabinets so that's some sort of relief.

Colton's down to only one bottle a day now, in the morning right after he wakes up. I've been mixing in a little bit of whole milk with his formula to get him used to the taste and will gradually add more until he's completely on regular milk. He seems to be doing well with it so far. We're still planning on throwing his birthday party August 16, but we are having a difficult time figuring out where to have it. Our condo is really too small to accommodate the 20 guests we're inviting, and we don't have our own backyard here. We basically share a piece of grass with three other neighbors. We've considered holding the party at our development's clubhouse, but aren't sure we want to pay what they charge to rent it out. And since we're now at the mercy of the condo association's rules, I had to call and ask them if we were allowed to do 50 different things just to have a simple child's b-day party!

Now we have less than three weeks to decide where we're having this, so yesterday I started calling up several parks in the area to ask if they reserve picnic shelters. I also went to some websites and was able to get more information that way. I searched in three different counties, and actually came across a state park nearby that has a reservable picnic shelter and doesn't charge an entrance fee. We're going to check out the spot this Saturday, and hopefully it's nice and we can book it and just be done with this whole thing already!! I didn't think it would be this much work finding a place to hold a 1 year old's birthday. Oy vey.

Much like what I did with my park search, I looked up a list of churches in our county and cut & pasted their names into Yahoo's search engine to see if they had a website. Then I compiled my own list on our computer with each place, their service times, address, and website. So come this Sunday, we can (I hate saying this) start checking churches off the list. It seems crazy to me that for the last year and a half, we've been without a place to worship. It also seems crazy that I've come to the point where I'm essentially tracking down churches to visit in an effort to find one where we'll want to belong. They should really do more advertising! They are in the business of rescuing souls, after all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time For Ourselves

Gregg and I really enjoyed our self-made three day weekend. Saturday we didn't do much except run some errands and travel around a little to see more of the area we moved to. It turns out there is so much more to this area than we thought, including a lot of family-friendly places. On Sunday, we got ready for church by 9am and were really early for the service so we drove around a little bit to kill time. We ended up seeing a sign for another church that looked appealing so Gregg pulled into a parking lot and brought up their website on his Blackberry. We decided to attend this church instead of the one we went to last week, but since the service didn't start until 11 and Colton needed a nap, we drove around even more. He slept while we explored.

The church we attended was extremely friendly and welcoming (maybe a little too friendly), and pretty small because it was a recent plant. They didn't have their own building yet so they were meeting in a middle school and the auditorium was hot & stuffy. Colton was the only infant in nursery, so I'm not sure you could even call it a nursery. There were a few older kids in there with him, maybe three to five years old? After our experience, we felt that it just wasn't the right fit for us. I'm kind of bummed, because I so want to find a good church home, but it has to fit our needs as a family. We're going to check out yet another church this Sunday.

We came home and had lunch, and by that time Colton was getting pretty crabby since he didn't have a proper nap in the morning. I put him down to sleep so he could get in at least an hour nap before Dave & Teresa were supposed to arrive. They showed up about 3 and we hung out here for a while before going out for dinner. Gregg wanted them to experience an authentic Jersey diner so that's where we took them. Colton did great at the restaurant, happily playing with some toys and eating a few bites of my hamburger and bun. After dinner, the Arnold's went back to their hotel and we tried to make it an early night since we needed to leave at 8:30 the next morning.

Monday we left a little later than planned, but still got to my in-laws' at 9:30 to drop Colton off for the day. From there, we went to Hoboken first since Teresa wanted to visit Carlo's Bakery where the Cake Boss on TLC has his bake shop. She wanted to meet the guy, Buddy, but was told that he doesn't come in on Mondays. We had tried to tell her beforehand that there was probably a very slim chance she would actually get to meet him- after all, he's on Jersey time and well, Teresa is very much on Pennsylvania time! She still bought some pastries and cookies, and I tried one of the Neapolitan "rainbow cookies" which was pretty tasty.

On our way to the ferry that we had to catch for Ellis Island, Gregg stopped at his work and gave us the grand tour. Up until then, I had only seen the outside of the building. It was nice to finally see his office. We spent a few hours on Ellis Island touring and had a late lunch there before heading to the Statue of Liberty. We never even made it into New York City, but we still had a great time. We caught the ferry back to New Jersey at 5:45 and were driving back to pick up Colton by 6:30. Then we sat in traffic and didn't make it to Gregg's parents' until almost 8!

My MIL said Coltie was great for her and only started getting whiny at about 5. He fell asleep on the way home for a short while, but woke up screaming when we stopped for gas. When we finally got home, I changed him into his jammies, gave him a bottle, and held him for a little bit. As soon as I laid Colton down in the crib, he started crying and continued after I closed the door behind me. It was that kind of awful cry when he thinks I'm leaving him, which always breaks my heart. Gregg went in to get him while I went to the bathroom, and I ended up rocking him until he fell asleep. I hate doing that since I don't want him to rely on me rocking him to go to sleep, but we had Dave & Teresa over for something to eat before they went back to their hotel and I couldn't let him cry like that for the next 30 minutes. It was nearly 10pm when he finally went down for the night.

I was really glad to have a baby-free day with my husband, enjoying the company of good friends. I love my little boy to pieces, but it was SO nice not to have to worry about stopping to feed or change or soothe him while we were out and actually walk hand in hand with my hubby. It was also really nice to be held from behind while we we waited on lines, like Gregg always used to do. He asked later on that evening if he should take more days off like that and have grandma watch Colton so we can spend time together just the two of us. It was so needed to rejuvenate some life back into our marriage. Not that we're on the road to Splitsville or anything, but we were both just... surviving, going through the motions of every day life. It was so nice to break out of our regular routine. It sounds cheesy, but I think I fell in love with my husband all over again on Monday.

So now I'm back to being a desperate housewife. :) This coming Monday is my 30th birthday. I don't feel near that old yet. I mean, I'm married and have a baby like all responsible thirty-somethings, but I still look like I'm about 22. In less than a week, I will enter another decade and chapter of my life. Then Colton turns one just 18 days after that!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Friday at last! With Colton having learned how to crawl just less than a week ago, I've been busier than usual chasing after him and snatching him up right before he can dig his little hands into the dog's food dish. We ordered safety latches for the kitchen and bathroom cabinets so I can stop constantly putting back the stuff that Colton's taken out of them and worrying that he's either going to break something or swallow something he shouldn't.

I am happy in a way that he's learned how to crawl finally. He was so frustrated that he couldn't just go across the room to get whatever he wanted and would rock back & forth on his knees all the time to no avail, then flop down exasperated on his tummy. It means a lot to me as a mom to have him achieve this milestone because it definitely gives him so much more independence, but boy does it make my life harder!

Since his bedroom is now literally right across the hall from the bathroom, I was leaving Colton down on his floor with a myriad of toys to keep him occupied while leaving the bathroom door open as I, you know, went to the bathroom. Well today, Colton comes wandering into the bathroom to find me and I'm not done yet. He started taking out the magazines we have in a basket by the shower and throwing them on the floor. It was pretty funny, but also annoying to have to clean up yet another mess.

I'm very glad it's the weekend. Our friends Dave and Teresa from Pennsylvania are coming to visit us and they're always so much fun to hang out with. They're driving up on Sunday morning and spending the day with us. Then on Monday Gregg took the day off from work so we could all go into NYC while my mother-in-law watches Colton for us. I'm really looking forward to our day trip. I haven't gone into the city since my mom took me to see a show for my birthday four years ago. It should be a lot of fun.

In other news, we visited a new church this past Sunday just ten minutes from our condo. We originally weren't going to put Colton in nursery, but as we were driving into the parking lot Gregg asked me if we should try it. I said yes since I figured he would be pretty distracting during the service. We ended up being very impressed with their nursery- Coltie got one-on-one attention the whole time and was immediately given a name tag. The lady in charge made us feel very comfortable from the start and had me fill out a registration form, then showed us the room where Colton would be. Oh, and the pager actually worked!

I felt engaged during the worship and sermon and liked the contemporary feel, but we were both disappointed that nobody greeted us as we were entering the building or afterwards in the "reception area". We were kinda expecting a lot since the friendly atmosphere was highly touted on their website, which was very well done. The church wasn't unfriendly; it just wasn't exactly... welcoming. We're not ready to write it off yet, however. We'd like to go back this Sunday and give it another try. I'm sold on the nursery though, which is extremely important.

Well Gregg should be leaving from work soon, and Colton just finished his snack and is getting a little restless so I need to wrap up this post! Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

11 Months

My baby entered the last month of his first year today. It's kind of bittersweet. The final countdown to one has started!

This past month I've found myself having to say "no" a lot due to Colton's endless curiosity with all of our household items. He can really move around fast now. He finally learned how to crawl forwards, so I've had to repeatedly stop what I'm doing and remove him from something. And on Sunday morning, I found him sitting up in his crib for the first time! He can easily get into a sitting position now from being on all fours. Colton is practicing standing too, holding onto me or a piece of furniture. He doesn't have the confidence yet to take a few steps and can't get back down on his own, but his balance has gotten so much better.

My little boy has discovered the fascination of opening and closing whatever he can get his hands on- doors, cabinets, drawers- and promptly pulling out their contents. Time to get safety latches! He loves finding the pots & pans and playing with them on the kitchen floor. He also enjoys reaching into his push toy and taking out all the blocks one by one.

It sounds like Colton is trying to deliberately imitate specific words, like dog. When I say "doggie" to him, he'll try to say it back and start to say something like it whenever he sees Tess enter the room. He's also begun saying "mama", but I don't know if he really associates this word with me or not. It could just be one of those syllables he repeats over and over.

Colton is on all table food now. He flat out refuses to eat baby food, although he'll let me feed him oatmeal as long as there are a few pieces of fruit on his highchair tray to pick up and feed himself. The other night I actually decided to make a soup from some of the leftover jars, figuring if he won't eat it at least me and Gregg will! I added some noodles and ended up giving the pasta and peas that were already in the jar to Colton, and he ate it right up. This past month he's tried a wide variety of foods including banana chunks, avocado, zucchini, pancakes, french toast, macaroni & cheese, cantaloupe, pork and chicken. So far there's been nothing that he absolutely refuses to eat. Hopefully he won't turn into a picky eater later on.

A few weeks ago, I started the process of weaning him from the bottle. He's down to two bottles a day from four. He drinks formula in his sippy at lunchtime and dinnertime now. I'm working on cutting out the bottle when he wakes up from his afternoon nap next. I think the hardest one to replace will be the morning bottle, but we'll see. Since he eats three meals a day plus two snacks, I've also been slightly reducing the amount of formula he gets. I'd like to have him at least try whole milk before his first birthday, but we won't be switching exclusively to milk until he's one.

It seems like Colton continues to get a little heavier almost every day. People still tell me all the time how big he is for his age. It gets annoying after a while. It's not like I'm feeding him cheeseburgers and fries!! His hair is growing like a weed, well past his ears and curling up at the ends. He's starting to look like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused.

Coltie is still generally so sweet and event tempered, but he definitely has a mischievous side. And he has moments of pure stubbornness, usually during diaper changes. He all of a sudden decided that he hates getting changed and kicks his legs when I'm trying to put a new diaper on him. I've gotten kicked in the chest, stomach and arm which let me tell you hurts. I try to be very firm with him and tell him no in my best parenting voice, and sometimes he listens and other times he doesn't. I know that he is starting to understand what "no" means, but sometimes when I say it he just laughs like he thinks it's a game. Then I want to laugh too, but I try to maintain a straight face, one that conveys I'm not happy with his behavior.

Colton will also pitch a fit if he's in his hook-on chair too long. I used to be able to leave him in there with a few toys while I cooked dinner or checked email or something, but those days are over. He's associated his chair with eating, so when he's finished he wants OUT. He wants to be crawling around exploring, not confined! When he decides he no longer wants to be at the table, he'll get red faced, ball up his fists and whine until there's no tomorrow. Real cute, huh?

His laughter is infectious though, and can make up for all the times when I'm at my wits end with his screaming. Tickling, funny faces & sounds, and peekaboo always get the giggling started. I love his laugh and gummy smile (still no teeth yet!)

Well, here are some pictures. The next milestones post will be the biggie!

Playing with Mommy's pots and pans

Grinning after lunch

Having a blast in his cousin Kate's swing

Thursday, July 09, 2009

One of Those Weekend Reviews

Thought I would give a quick update. We had a nice Fourth of July weekend, enjoying the usual picnic fare. On the 5th, we went back to my BIL and SIL's in the afternoon for leftovers and tried to get the condo a little more organized when we came home. In the evening we went to Walmart to buy some necessities.

We are very happy with our new place. Gregg moved a lot of stuff into storage, so now we can finally see the living room! On Monday I unpacked the living room boxes and arranged everything the way I wanted. The rest of this week I worked on cleaning. There's still some stuff that isn't put away yet, but it finally feels like home.

Colton's doing really well. I cannot believe the little guy will be 11 months old on Tuesday!! Only five more weeks until he officially becomes a toddler. He's already starting to let that toddler temper show- oy. We've decided to have his birthday party on the 16th of August, which is a Sunday, and just send Evites to everyone. There's no specific theme planned, but I'd like to get a Winnie the Pooh character cake since that's what his room is decorated with. We hope to be able to have the party outside if it's not too ridiculously hot and doesn't rain.

It just blows my mind that Colton is this old already. At this time last year, I was hugely pregnant and very uncomfortable, tyring to beat the heat by drinking 52 oz. of water a day. I was also stressed about everything we had to do and buy for the baby, but so eager for his arrival. I did my best to prepare for what would be my biggest life altering change to date. Once he was born, I quickly realized I was completely and totally unprepared for him. This past year has definitely been the most challenging and character-building as I've tried to find my way as a new mom. I'll post more of my reflections on Colton's first twelve months as it gets closer to his birthday, but for now here are a few pictures from our July 4th weekend:

Coltie with his cousin Katelyn

Having fun in Kate's swing

Two peas in a pod

Friday, July 03, 2009

We're Here!

We are in our new place and almost completely unpacked. The move went very well; we were done loading up the truck and our car by about 1pm Saturday and finally finished unloading everything by 6 that evening. It was a really, really long day. Both Gregg & I were exhausted, and said that whenever we move again we're definitely hiring professional movers!!

Colton was fantastic throughout the whole day. I'm so grateful my MIL came to help out with him. He didn't seem to mind too much that his schedule had been thrown off and fell asleep in my arms that night before I could put him in the crib. I really love his new room, and he doesn't seem to miss his old one. Colton is very content just playing on the floor with all of his toys.

We are starting to get settled in. There are still boxes and things to put in storage downstairs which are currently taking up the living room, but otherwise everything is in its proper place. I finally caught up on laundry yesterday too, so that's a load off my mind. I was so stressed by Sunday with all that had to be unpacked, but I was determined to get it done by this weekend. Monday afternoon I took a break and went for a stroll with Colton to check out the pool & clubhouse. Then Wednesday night after dinner, we all went for a walk around the development and enjoyed the cool summer air.

So far I really like the condo, and the fact that I can get out once in a while for walks. I'm so glad I don't have to go up and down the stairs to the basement to do laundry anymore. I am looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend. Tomorrow for the 4th of July, we are going to Liz & Jeff's for a BBQ. On Sunday, we plan to do some grocery shopping and get other items we need for our new place.

Here are some pictures from moving day and a couple of Colton standing. Happy 4th!!

Colton watching out the window his daddy load the moving truck.

My dad in the truck once it arrived at the condo.

Coltie holding onto his crib!