Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Pre-Baby Parenting Theories... And Now... (Project 52- 8 weeks)

When I first got pregnant, I had 'amazing' theories on how I wanted to raise my child... and while I still have an amazing child, I have cut down on my theories :)

When I first got pregnant, I was DEAD SET on quite a few things:

1. She was NOT co-sleeping whatsoever. She was napping in her crib/bassinet. She was sleeping in her crib/bassinet. There was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I refused to have a 3 year old that still slept in my bed (no offense if there are those of you out there that do this-- this was my take on parenting.. there is nothing wrong with this if it's what you desire, so please don't take me the wrong way here...)

2. I was breastfeeding for as long as I could. Simple as that! My daughter was getting the nutrients she needed and people that formula fed were selfish. (Once again, this was my RIDICULOUS theory on parenting.. I had no children.. this is simply what I THOUGHT.. read on before you send me a comment/message please, haha!)

3. No binkies. I wasn't going to be fretting about breaking my daughter of this habit when she was 1-year old. No way Jose! 

4. We weren't going to 'sit and watch TV.' EVER. (I know, she's 8 weeks old, but here me out! LOL)
5. She was crying it out at night time. Period. I wasn't going to go get her every time she whimpered. You kidding? She was going to suck it up, haha!

So, those are a few of the 'theories' I had going into parenting.

Now-- I have an 8 week old. And first let me fill you in on this little lady this week.

Tayler turned 8 weeks old on May 26th, 2011. Here's a picture of her:

She is now 12 pounds and is 23.5 inches long. My wittle chunker :) She is very close to doubling her birth weight! Go Tay, Go!

I finally got a video of Tayler rolling over this week! She rolled over 2 weeks ago (if you remember me posting about that!)... I've been trying to catch her since then, but it seemed like every time I got the camera out, she got lazy on me and gave up, haha!! So the other night I pulled the camera out when I thought she JUST MIGHT and sure enough... she did! Here's my little roller :

And oh my word---- she is SMILING!! Holy cow, she is! And screeeeching from laughteer :)

She also had her first trip to one of our favorite local restaurants :) the waitresses were eating her up ;) (not literally folks, haha)

She's attempting to mimic our words. It's so cute! She gets that tongue a goin' and watches our mouth. It's amazing to me how quickly babies learn and catch on to things!! :)

She is such a blessing and I fall further in love with her every single day! :)

Now.. onto those theories, right?

1. I was NOT co-sleeping and well guess what? I do and have! I have heard over and over again the 'effects' this has on children. I've been told it's unsafe, etc. We do not co-sleep all night long, but if she struggles with going to sleep in her crib, she snoozes with momma til she wakes up for her next feeding, THEN I put her in her crib (and then she typically sleeps on her own in there!) Naptime... she's cuddled up with me A LOT :) Sometimes her swing takes over when I have things to do, but you best believe-- she snoozes with her momma if she has to :)

2. I breastfed for as long as I could mentally and physically. I have chosen to no longer do this. I may have people that think it's ridiculous. I may have people who understand. I may have people who think I'm selfish-- but let me tell you, I have seen the view from BOTH sides and I will no longer criticize and critique those who do not choose to go this route. It is tough. It is physically demanding. I found myself just absolutely drained.. and I just didn't feel like a good mommy anymore. I was struggling with having to handle the feedings all by myself and I felt as though my milk just wasn't sticking with her. I was waking up every 1.5 hours with her to feed... and it was taking her at least 45 minutes to an hour to get enough to go to sleep. It seemed like a full, satisfied belly was non-existent, so now-- it's Similac Advanced and she loves it! She doesn't spit up. She only wakes up 1-2 times a night to feed. We are doing wonderful and I'm so glad that I made this decision. 

3. She takes her binky. I didn't want nipple confusion while breast-feeding, but the nurses assured me that as long as she latched on and was doing great, we were good to go! She loves her binkie. It soothes her when she needs that soothing at night time before bed. Yes, we MIGHT struggle with weaning her off of it in time, but who knows? Only time will tell.

4. We watch the Game Show Network. Oh, don't look at me like that, haha! I'm an addict. And yes, Tayler watches Family Feud and does a marvelous job! I even turn on Baby Einstein :) She watches... loves the colors.. loves the interaction. We will continue doing this. Not 24/7 obviously, but we will... we love that time!

5. She doesn't cry it out. Breaks my heart. Now, I don't go in during EVERY whimper, but I do go in and check on her, soothe her, etc. when she cries. I feel like I'm abandoning her when she cries.. and cries.. and cries. Once she gets settled down, we're good to go. I just think it's my job-- I'm mommy... I'm here to rescue her :)

So, there you have it. A few of the theories I had before delivering Tayler... and 8 weeks later, how those theories are holding up. Do I think I'm a bad parent for changing my pre-conceived ideas/beliefs? Absolutely not. You learn when you become a parent. You have hopes... you have things you want to aim for.. you have all of these ideas and dreams of how they are going to go... and then, you have your sweet, precious baby and you begin finding what works for YOU.

I'm sorry for ever having thought badly about women who chose to follow ANY of the things I've talked about. How shameful of me. Yes, something might work GREAT for one woman, but it will be different for the next.... just like a pregnancy.. just like a delivery. 

Did you have 'theories' before having a baby? Did they change? Did they stay the same?

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Marriage: The Ultimate Classroom

I'm stubborn. Fine, I'll go ahead and admit that right now. It's not something I'm exactly proud of, but it's what I deal with in this thick-head of mine! I have a hard time admitting I'm wrong, I have a hard time compromising... oh, yes, I'm quite fun to have a relationship with ;)
I have struggled with this stubbornness all of my life, but it really reared it's ugly, ugly head when I got married. My parents had the final say in our comprises... in our arguments, etc. There was no arguing about that. But now, now that I'm married, I felt like I was on level playing ground.... E is my partner. We're equals. There's not one person who's 'allowed' to have the final say, so why not argue about how I feel about EVERYTHING right? Right.

Wrong. Wrong in the matter of-- I shouldn't feel the need to argue about everything. (Not wrong in the matter that we aren't 'partners.')

I'm basically writing the following blog to get my feelings out about marriage. To get my head on straight. To put my feelings out there. To see what others think, feel, etc.

I've been married to Ethan since December 28th, 2010 (so almost 5 months), but we've been living together for 13 months. We have spent the past year learning about one another.. our likes, our dislikes (what buttons to press... and oh yes, we have MASTERED that subject haha!) And I'll be honest. At the beginning of our 'living together,' I gave in about everything. Ethan was Mr. Popular. Absolutely adorable. I thought giving in was a sure fire way of keeping him around.. and who wouldn't want Mr. Popular on their hip, right? ;) But as time progressed and we got closer to one another, we fell into deeper love and I realized I no longer needed to agree to having 3 dirt bikes sitting in our kitchen since we didn't have a garage. I realized I no longer needed to agree that he NEEDED a motorcycle because 'everyone else had one.' That's right-- I finally came to the realization that he was in love with me and surely wasn't going anywhere, so why not voice my opinion right?

And I'm still stuck there, sadly. Please don't get me wrong, folks. I'm not saying women shouldn't have a say in the house, in the finances, etc. I'm saying--- PICK YOUR BATTLES. I'm guilty of becoming a nag here recently. And I'll smack any of you who repeat this to my husband, haha! But it's true. I nag him about EVERY purchase that he makes. And they're all 'subtle' nags (yes, I've gotten quite good at this game!) "Do you really need that?" "How much does that cost?" "What are you going to do with THAT?" "Oh, joy!"... and the list goes on! And no wonder my husband reacts the way he does. Why do I HAVE to nag him so much about things? If we have the money, why can't he splurge and buy a new pair of shoes? (Of course, if he's doing some excessive spending, I will still speak my mind...) But why should I 'nag' him so much, right? *Alyssa hammers that thought into her head* Note to self: I need to work on this!

Speaking of which: I know what pushes my husband's buttons. (And he of course knows what pushes mine... and utilizes that to his advantage at times, haha!) I know exactly what to say to fuel the fire. I know exactly what to say to grate his nerves. It's hilarious at times how well I know him, but not so funny that I use those weapons during fights. Let them go, Alyssa! Arguing would go 10x smoother if I let that stuff go, darn it!

We also have this problem with not walking away from one another when arguments are brewing. It'd be simple right? One go to the bedroom and relax for a few, the other chill in the living room listen to some music... come back when our heads are cleared. We know it works! There have been moments where I've been grocery shopping and he's been at home... we argued on the phone... said 'love you, goodbye' harshly.. hung up the phone... I drove 20 minutes home.. walked through the door... he wrapped his arms around me... we apologized.. and that was the end! Simple! Gosh, why can't we learn that either!! We can't walk away from one another at home. We hash it out.. and hash it out... and hash it out.. and it lasts.. and it lasts... and it lasts... when I'm sure walking away from the fight would have helped it resolve in under 20 minutes. Silly geese!

Another thing I have been battling with here recently: JEALOUSY. I don't even know why. Maybe it's because I just had a baby and I don't find myself looking my 'best.' I'm working on it, but I'm not quite there yet. Somehow I got stretchmarks. It was unbelievable. Even my doctor was shocked. At my last appointment (38 weeks, 4 days), he commented on how great my tummy looked-- no stretchmarks, no middle line! I was even shocked. The day after I delivered Tayler, I walked into the bathroom, undid my robe, and BAM-- stretchmarks AND a line. OH MY GOSH, WHAT HAPPENED! I even cried. E said 'I noticed it after you delivered her, but I didn't say anything.' Yes, I was devastated. I thought I avoided those love marks, but nope, they are there....... all around my lower tummy. Lovely. So, nope, no more bikini. And nope, no more confidence. I've been trying to work on feeling 'sexy' again, but mercy, it's hard. Ethan tells me all the time that he finds me more attractive now than before, but I just struggle with finding that extremely hard to believe. How? Before I weight 135 pounds, had abs, was tan... now: I'm pale, I'm 146 pounds, with pudge and stretchmarks. I know it was all out of an act of selflessness and love, but my self-confidence still struggles. ESPECIALLY when I see girls that look PERFECT. And then I always wonder... "Will E find someone more attractive one day? Will he eventually want to leave so he can be with someone with a tight tummy? What if he no longer finds 'this' attractive?" And I get jealous. And let me tell you-- jealousy will EAT your relationship alive. It's been hurting ours here lately, but I have no idea how to get over it. I have no idea how to find that confidence again. I suppose it will just take time. I keep telling myself that I just had a baby 7 weeks ago, but unfortunately, my heart doesn't hear that :( 

Another struggle: Resentment. Here's the deal- my husband can pick up and go whenever. I'm the momma. I'm home with Tayler quite often and the beauty of that is that he knows I'll be here taking care of her. He can go for a ride on his motorcycle. Hang out with friends. Grab a beer down the road. Run errands. But me? It takes me 45 minutes to just get ready to leave. If she is going to need to eat soon, I have to stay home to be sure that she gets fed prior to going on a road trip (since that's a little unsafe to do in the car ;)). I have to pack the items we need for the afternoon. Do I need to put milk in a bottle? Will I be somewhere she can be fed? Do I need to pack a jacket? What about a blanket? Since we live in Ohio, it can be 85 degrees in the AM and drop to 50 in the PM. You just never know. What car am I taking? What car seat is in there? Do I need the stroller? Where are my keys? Is my phone charged? Do I have an extra binky? How's her diaper before I head out the door? Does my diaper bag need 'reloaded?' Oh, I'm serious... these are the questions I ask myself before walking out the door! That's not including making sure she's dressed, dressing myself, putting on my make-up... And so, resentment hits my heart. Now, don't look at me like a bad mom. I LOVE being a mommy and I LOVE my daughter, but there are times I wish I could be as care free as E. I wish, sometimes, I could just run to meet friends real quick for a beer at the local bar & grill. (And I'm not saying I wish my daughter away.. hear me out here..) At times, I wish I could just go for a 20 minute drive without having to pack anything at all... But I don't get that like he does. And so, I resent him for it. I'll admit-- I get bitter. And once again, that KILLS a relationship. I'm working on it. He and I have talked about my heart and my feelings... We're working on it, but still... bitterness can poison a marriage if you allow it.

Bottom line: Marriage opened my eyes so much. In my head, I thought I was this perfect little wifey. I thought I had it all down pat-- cook a meal, clean the house. Whoo-hoo! We got this. But it's SO much more than that. It's compromise. It's letting go of some things. It's being selfless. It's saying you're sorry. It's hugging when you want to scream. It's kissing when you want to walk away. It's knowing that the good times are worth having to go through the bad times (and trust me, they'll come--- financially, emotionally, etc.) Marriage is time consuming, but having your best friend by your side is priceless.

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Project for Pap and Gigi :)

Tayler and I sat down Thursday and worked on a project for Papaw and Gigi. We wanted to do something sentimental for them, so we had this nifty idea to get a photo album and fill it with pictures and a story. Prepare yourself for Tayler's poem to her grandparents :)

Page 1: Gigi and Papaw, you were there when I came into the world.

Page 2: And Now I'm becoming such a big girl.

Page 3: I love coming to your house and spending time with you

Page 4: I love how you make me smile with the silly things you do!

Page 5: I'm so glad that you are together after all these years...

Page 6: ... so that mommy and daddy could see true love, the smiles and the tears

Page 7: We hope you love your party, we hope it was a surprise!

Page 8: I've been trying not to tell you... and mommy and daddy are telling lies!

Page 9: Mommy got me ready in a really pretty dress...

Page 10: .. she hopes that in it I don't make a really big mess.

Page 11: Uncle Corey and Aunt Marie worked really hard on this shindig...

Page 12: And all of the family said they were excited to see me: I'm getting big!

 (I missed a page when taking pictures.. :()
Page 13: And how much it means to us that you're always there

Page 14: So Happy Anniversary to my Gigi and Papaw

Page 15: I wish you 24 more years of happiness and awe...

Page 16: I love you guys so much, you don't even have a clue!

Page 17: thank you, thank you, thank you, for all that you do!!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

24th Anniversary Party

As some of you read on my post the other day, my parent's 24th wedding anniversary was May 19th. So, my brother Corey, his fiancee Marie, Ethan, and myself decided to plan a little surprise anniversary breakfast for them Saturday morning! We had a plan all set... we were nervous, but we were hoping it would all go off without a hitch.

Corey and Marie hit the road about 7AM and we hit the road about 830AM to be at the location to start setting up. I was so excited (mostly for them to see the project Tayler and I had been working on, hahaha!)

We got there, started decorating, and then Ethan, Tayler, and myself went to Bob Evans to sit and wait for my parents. Here was our plan: We told them we wanted to have breakfast with them for their anniversary at Bob Evans at 10AM. Ethan, Tayler, and myself was going to go and sit and watch for them. When we saw them passing the gas station, we were going to text Corey, who was then going to call and tell them that his car broke down up the road (where everyone would be waiting to yell 'Surprise!') Well, everything was going as planned until mom did some kind of ninja maneuver and pulled in beside of us WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE.. SEPARATE FROM MY DAD!) Gah. So, we hurried up and texted Corey who then called my mom and told her that his car was broke down... Well, we knew my mom would then say 'Well, I'll just stay here with Ethan, Alyssa, and Tayler and we'll get a table.." So, we quickly said, "We'll just follow you guys... Tayler loves car rides" hahahaha! They bought it for some reason, we followed them, and they had no idea when they walked through the door that they were walking into their anniversary party!!

Thank you to everyone who helped make it a huge success! We had so much fun! Are you ready for some pictures of it??

Here are the decorations. Marie did such a good job with it :)

And here's where the food was being served:

And here's the sweet couple :) My mommy and daddy!

And our family :) My mom, dad, Corey, Marie, Brad, Ethan, Tayler, and me!! We love you mom and dad!

I love these guys sooo much! 

We had so much fun! We played 'Brian & Gidget Facts" Bingo where you had to answer questions like: When did they get married? Find that on your BINGO card and mark it! We also played "Guess Who Said It" where Marie read off different quotes such as 'Chicken!' and you had to guess who usually says that..... which is my dad... when he's trying to get you to do something you don't want to do! LOL 

Mom and Dad were completely surprised!! It was a beautiful day! We all enjoyed Belgian Waffles, sausages, orange juice, fruit salad, coffee, and orange juice!

We love you mom and dad!!

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