Tuesday, February 5, 2013

i'm back!

It's been a while...i know :( I've stayed away for way too long, and it is going to take some time for me to get back in the swing of things. I really wanted this space to document Aj's first year of life...but i didn't realize how much work it required. I envy all these bloggy mommas who have the time to take care of their children, work full time jobs, AND Blog. I'm so tired at the end of the workday...and yet, my day is just beginning when i come home to Aj. It's been a crazy couple of months, but i wouldn't change it. I've been savoring every single minute with him...and for that, i am grateful. Especially after Sandy...we are so grateful to have each other and that is all that matters. Our neighborhood got hit pretty bad, and it was really sad to see it. Anywhos! Let's talk about something HAPPY!

I do want to share a few things...a few details...and i guess the best way is through photos.

Aj's Birthday was December 15th. I wanted a small intimate gathering with immediate family and friends...and that is what we did. The planning process was easy, since i knew i wanted something to show off his FIRST YEAR of life....and since i had taken a photo of him every month on his Month-Birthday....i knew i wanted to incorporate all the pictures. I googled and came up with the theme "One year in a flash".
 I purchased the cards on ETSY from a seller MamaMoonlights! She was awesome. She even custom designed the card to match my theme exactly. Here is the finished product.

I was pretty happy with the results! I printed them at Walmart.com and only spent 8.00!!! Between the invite and the printing i only spent $24, which was pretty good---considering it is a custom design.Walmart did an OK job with printing, but the real work was the actual invite...so i was ok with the print job. We didn't get it on photopaper, but on cardstock, which i recommend. Gives it a finished look. I would recommend going this route if you want something done to look pretty close to professional. It was a fast turn around too! I got the invites in the mail within 5 days...so it was pretty painless.

I wanted to keep things simple and plain, since it was going to be held at my Father's house. I didn't want to go over board with decorating, since it wasn't my home, and it turned out pretty fantastic.
I did however hire a photographer (i found on craigslist) to photograph the event...and honestly, it was the best money i've ever spent. She captured the party perfectly and I am so happy that i hired her!!
Here are some shots of the day/night:

Anywhos! What has everyone else been up to? I've been keeping up with my reading, just not updating. Please post a comment to let me know you are all still there (all 22 of you!).

Soon i'm going to be posting about my new hobby, photography! I will show you how i took Aj's valentines day photos for under $1! :)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

things i love, 8 month edition.

I was thinking of all the things that make me a happy Momma. Things that i can SO live without...and things, i know all of you new mom's can benefit from...so i'm going to write another list of things i love and things i didn't really care for so much.

Aj is doing so much. He's standing, eating, cruising (across furniture), crawling, talking, screaming, laughing, clapping...oh man, the past month in a half, he's really doing SO MUCH...and i'm a little sad. Sad that he's changing SO FAST...and i hope i am doing a good job to capture as much of this year as i can...it's just hard, being a working mommy...and trying to balance work, mommy, AND wife! Lots on my plate.

If any of you ladies are reading this-and your baby is less than 8 months, i would highly recommend you lower your crib, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If your baby is around 5 months...i would do it, even if they aren't sitting up yet...because before you know it...your baby will be standing...and it's scary!

I really didn't think having a video monitor was a such a big deal- i mean, i liked having one...but Aj didn't move...so every time i would look at it, he would be in the same position----all night. Now that Aj is standing, moving, etc....this is the best invention-EVER. I received mine as a gift, and i think it's seriously awesome. I heard now that you can get an adapter for your iphone---which is equally as cool, but this one works for me. I sometimes wake up and turn on the monitor (i don't sleep with it on, but i leave his end on all the time, so i can choose when to look in and when not)...and watch him playing with his toys in his crib, talking to himself. This is great...sometimes, they go back to sleep, or sometimes they just sit there for a good 15 minutes until they start calling you to come and get them...either way...this thing is awesome. I am now able to see that he is "OK" without wondering if his arm is stuck in the crib.  At first you might think this thing is stupid, but i love the fact that i can move the camera around the room, zoom, and even talk (like intercom). Sometimes, i'm down doing laundry and i can say "Aj, mommy will be right there"...and he will instantly stop after hearing my voice. I read a lot of reviews, and lots of people complained, but mine has worked perfectly from Day 1....and never had any reception issues......ADD THIS TO YOUR REGISTRY.....i promise, you wont be sorry. I like this one because the little monitor is cute and small and you can slip it in your pocket. You can also use batteries in the camera end-which is a PLUS.

Ahh, summer has been great. I've enjoyed having Aj this age 6-9 months in the summer. He's definitely more enjoyable...and able to do fun things at this age. Eat, sit up, crawl, play, laugh...all the cute things! I've mentioned this in previous post, but Aj was a big spitter upper (lol, don't know if that's a word), but we used to have to change him 7-9 times a day...because his t-shirts were always covered in vomit.  THis month, he's definitely growing out of that stage (thank goodness!).  I always loved Carters brand clothing-so soft and i feel like the size's are true (sometimes). I wasn't a big fan of putting jeans on Aj so he pretty much lived in cute little soft carters shorts and t-shrits.  My all time favorite bodysuits for everyday (i call them onesies, but i know this is technically incorrect, because Gerber makes onesies) are the regular white ones. They usually come in a 4-6 pack and are always reasonably priced. I would say these are great---year round and for all ages (well, until 24 months-because they don't make them any bigger than that!).  I usually can find them on the Carter's website, and whenever they have a sale, they send me an email and i usually stock up. They do get stained pretty easily- but that's because AJ is a messy eater...and we allow him to explore textures and food with his hands. I don't mind...it's part of being a baby.  I purchased the tank top looking ones for the summer and i think they were really great. They wash awesome and the quality is A+. I am thinking of getting them for winter as well, to go underneath sweaters....i like the fact that they don't have arms....and they wont bunch up under clothes.  These are a MUST BUY...boys and girls...of all ages and sizes! 
A few months back, Aj started using sippy cups (i started him around 6 months, even though he didn't hold it yet). I tried the Dr.Brown's one first (after reading great reviews), but he didn't understand how to suck from it. He would just take the rubber spout and chew on it.  So i went out and got him the Nuby SoftFlex Natural Sipper (i got it free, with a $5.00 coupon i received in the mail earlier). They ALL say No-spill, but honestly...it's a BIG LIE! Every single Nuby product i've ever purchased SUCKED (LITERALLY!). I'm going to be honest though...this cup was 'ok' to just transition AJ from a bottle to a sippy....and it was fairly easy. Loved the fact that they had removable handles, which definitely helped him hold it.  At first too much water would come out, but then he would get it...and sip slower. I don't give Aj any juices...just water when he's eating, so i don't mind if he gets a little wet from water....at least it doesn't stain and/or leave him sticky. Now that he understands the sucking part, instead of chewing on the tip, he actually understands how to sip from the Dr.Brown's sippy cup, which-DOES NOT LEAK....and is a major improvement.  Again, i don't give Aj any juices so this is just used for water...but i like the fact that i can fill it with water and throw in my DB and it wont get all the other stuff soaked...and offer to him when we are at restaurants, etc. Also love that they both have caps!! I'm huge on having the nipples covered and not touching anything else in the diaper bag (or if it falls!)
I would advise you to try to introduce something a little more nipple shapped at first...and then introduce this sippy. Aj loves both cups...and we only have 2 (i hate clutter)! 

I also love the fact that Aj can sit with us at restaurants now. He sits in a highchair...and we all know how GROSS those things are. This was a hand me down from my sister in law, but it has come in handy. I don't know where she purchased it, but i think she got it at Marshalls for less than $15...and i use it, all the time. You don't have to get a specific brand...just something that covers your baby from touching, licking, and biting a high chair or shopping cart.  A+ in my book...and i might use it until he's 10..LOL, Just kidding (maybe).  Mine came with pillow inserts for smaller babies, but we don't use them anymore. It folds up nicely and it's in my trunk of my car.  I love it.

Last, but not least (for now) is my stroller. This thing is LITERALLY my best friend. I love it. I get compliments on it..and i just LOVE it. I loved it when i first got it---even without Aj, and now, i love it even more...with him, because it's just-THAT easy, lightweight...and awesome.
I live on the second floor in the 2 family house. I did a lot of research for my stroller---so i know the in's and outs of it. I really liked the CitySelect...but i didn't like the options it had. Britax was always a great name, and after reading review and review about how great their products are...i'm a huge believer.  I received the b-agile as a gift from my MIL, and the b-safe car seat from a friend.  I used the carseat up until this month and we just recently upgraded him to a bigger seat. (August 28th). THe stroller is only 15 lbs...and opens and closes with the click of a button...the only downside is the storage at the bottom...but i guess, that's not that big of a deal, when you can close a stroller with one hand. I would recommend it to anyone! Great stroller, easy to maneuver and just all around great. I got it in black, but they also have a red-but i believe this year they might be coming out with a bunch of other colors.  I liked the black because it was gender neutral, and if i have another baby---we can always use it!  i give it 4 1/2 stars because of the small basket.

that's it for now. Any of you have things that you liked for ages 6-9 months?  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

8 months, 21 days, 8 hours....

Not that i'm keeping track or anything...but that's just it....i think i may be coming to the end of breast feeding Aj.............................

and i'm "ok" with it.  It's been a beautiful (almost) 9 months...and i LOVED every single minute of it.  I think i might finish off the full 9 months...and go back to being, Me. Not that breast feeding wasn't me...but it was a very big responsibility...and i'm definitely happy i was able to go this long.  I think if my situation was different, and i was a SAHM, i might continue...but pumping at work---gets a little, annoying....and i think it might be time to change that.
 I loved everything about it....I loved how easy, and convenient it was...how i didn't have to wake up fully in the middle of the night to "make" a bottle. How i still, wake up, and pop aj on...and i can still get a few minutes of extra sleep.  I am a huge BF advocate. I really do believe that Breast is Best...and i would advise ALL of my friends and family members to do it. It's one of the BEST things, and Hardest (at the same time) things i've ever had to do
I'm not going to lie, the beginning was pretty scary/painful/exhausting....I didn't know how people actually did it, for the long run. I felt like i was doing it all wrong...because everyone told me...if it hurts, you're doing it wrong....
WRONG! Breast feeding HURTS. I don't care what you say. Aj was doing it RIGHT and it STILL hurt. It felt like razor blades were cutting off my nipples...and the SORENESS...followed by Clogged ducts...followed by waking up in the middle of the night, covered in your OWN milk....and the TEETH...oh man! I can go for hours....but then again, i think of all the great times. The times i've sat, and starred at my baby. The closeness....there is NOTHING better than that of watching your baby fall asleep in your arms, while breast feeding. And still, to this day...Aj...crawling up to me in bed, and pulling my shirt down to take a sip, like i'm some sort of sippy cup! The fun! The laughs, the tears....

I loved every minute of this experience, and i wouldn't change it for the world. Aj has still (knock on wood) never had a fever....and he's never had a cold, or been sick in any way. I do think it has to do with the breast feeding.  He's an amazing eater...and eats EVERYTHING...and ANYTHING...and i think it also has to do with the breast feeding. I think he might be a little advanced, with things he does-and i all think it ties into this....

I work 10 hour days, which means i have to pump at least twice a day....and the time, and the situation is just getting a little annoying. We don't have a designated pumping room-so i pump in the handicap stall in the ladies room.  It's funny, all the women know it's me in there now...i will be pumping and if they come in to use the bathroom, they always say "Hey Cole! How's it going in there!"...lol. But, i'm just getting a little Ugh...idk...annoyed at the situation. If i had Aj with me...i wouldn't mind. I would breast feed him ALL DAY LONG...but the pump, kinda gets to you, after a while...and i really do think this is one of the BIGGEST reasons I'm going to decide to stop. I am happy that this pump has allowed me to go this long...but i am going to be happy to not use my 20 minute break to sit in a stall, twice a day. 

I was thinking of continuing the morning and night feedings, but i heard it's a little difficult, especially with so much time apart...have any of you ladies successfully done this?  Any of you girls pump at work? Do you always feel a little guilty leaving this part of your life behind? :(

Monday, August 27, 2012

An OFF day.

I've come to the conclusion, that I’m not perfect. I never want to be, and that is ok.
Aj has taught me to accept this. That sometimes, things don't exactly go as we planned. That sometimes, it has to rain-so that you can appreciate all the beautiful days.
I want Aj to understand that we all come in different shades, different personalities, that there are no 2 people alike in the world...and that's what makes it so beautiful.

I am going to make mistakes as a parent...i accept this. And i embrace it. I want Aj to know that I am trying my best, that i am going to give him 100%, although sometimes I’m going to have my off days.
Yesterday, was an off Day...and Today (although, i'm at work), is another one of those, "OFF" days.
I'm ok with having a few of these days...I need them. I am ENTITLED to them.
They are making me stronger...and making me better. A better mother for Aj, and a better wife.

Yesterday, while attempting to clean the house, Aj decided he didn't want to take a nap...ALL DAY LONG. The kid was up for 17 hours STRAIGHT- No nap...and pure crankiness. I would move an inch, and he would start crying. And did i mention, he's crawling, everywhere now!?! I'm standing there doing the dishes, and he's grabbing my pants, hysterical crying-for NO REASON.  I thought i was about to EXPLODE, i was tired, irritated and cranky and I WANTED A NAP!!!!!!!!! (this reminds me of the scene of Charlotte in Sex and the City Movie where she's crying in the pantry).  I just needed a few minutes of NO CRYING baby---to just---regenerate...to just, breathe. I called my husband in tears. I needed a "mommy break". So he came home, and picked him up and went to a friend’s house for a bbq (that i was invited to, i just didn't go because i had a day). I sat there, for about 2 hours...playing with my phone, in my pj's. I didn't want to move. I just wanted to sit there...and just---BE.
I think it's ok to be in a funk once in a while. Yesterday (and today) are those FREE PASSES we- as mothers, wives, and daughters-are entitled to. 
I love my boy so much, but Mommy needed a break. God bless all you single mothers out there...being a Mommy is hard!  Not to mention, being a wife and Daughter all at the same time.

End rant.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BS Shopping.

That's exactly what i like to call it, BS Shopping!! Because, it's BS! Ugh...It's that time of year again---where we have to shead all those awesome layers of clothes (love my long comfy sweatshirts and sweaters that hide the post pardum pooch)...and actually show people what we look like...underneath it all! Not looking forward to Aj's first swimming lesson next week....where i will expose it all!! I have been to a few places...trying to find a "Mom appropriate" bathing suit...and it's freaken HARD! My mind is playing tricks on me. I actually found myself going into the dressing room at Old Navy with a size SMALL...WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING.????????????????..I busted out in tears...the thing barely even came up one leg!!! I have come to the conclusion that my body is just not the same anymore...and i'm fine with that---the problem is...my mind doesn't believe it yet. Like i see a pair of pants, and i'll pick up the size 4...thinking---oh these are so cute, they will totally fit...and then---i'm sadly dissapointed in the dressing room! :(
My husband gave me the side eye the other day when i said "i think i need to get a one piece".  But, here me out...1 pieces can be sexy too.........right????!!!

Ladies, i need your help! I have exactly 5 days till Aj's first swim lesson and i'm at a standstill...

I need a flattering bathing suit---that doesn't make me look like i had twins...yesterday.
See here is the thing, i also got some major stretch marks...not on my stomach, but on my butt and upper thighs (Backside). The entire pregnancy i was like "HORRAY, NO STRETCH MARKS!"...BUT THEY WERE HIDING UNDER MY GYNORMOUS REAR END!! Once i could actually SEE what i looked like from behind, i was mortified!!!! Omg!! =(

I want to be a sexy Mom...yet, modest. SO, I started my google search "Modest bathing suits"....and here is what i get:

just, No.
Say NO to prints. I mean, I already Look large and in charge, but prints? Really? That's just screaming..."HEY EVERYONE, LOOK AT ME!"..



Now i'm also wondering---will my "mom boobs" (6 months of bf-ing) look nice in a halter? Pre pregnancy---and pre Mom boobs, i loved halters because they enhanced my bust---not that i had any (i was barely an A)...but i loved that they did...somehow squish my non existant boobies together-to somehow create an illusion of cleavage! Now that i am a FULL C---pushing D..maybe i don't want to enhance anything. Any breastfeeding (or not) mom's have any issues with halters? I need hellllllllp!

This girl is flat chested---so does that mean that my C/D cup will look bad in this ?? Is it still a sexy suit? Or does it scream "HERE COMES MOM!??"

Or, should i just let it all hang out...and go 2 piece? I mean, i'm not HUGE! I'm a size 8 (this is actually very dissapointing, i used to be a 2/4 my entire life!).  I still want to be mommy friendly...and modest.

I'm liking the high waist suit....maybe that will help with the extra pudge i have around that area?

OR!!---a tankini??

Or ....1 piece?

Also, ladies---what are some colors that you would get? Again, don't want to attract TOO much attention to me!...the only good thing about this---i can always put the cute baby in front, and no one pretty much looks in my direction! LOL

So that's it.... only 5 days away from Swim class....

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aj's "Preppy" Baptism Lunch

So this post is really old, but i thought i'd share it with you anyways...since i have a few minutes to spare.
A little *FUN (if you want to call it that) Fact* about me before we get started: My family (Mom's side) are Jehovah's Witnesses. I was born and raised one, until about 19 years old. When i moved on my own (20 years old), my decision was to not really have a religion. I DO believe in God, and i DO pray every single night...but i do not label myself as anything. Maybe right now isn't really the time to get deep into this discussion...let's just say: I have faith, and i believe that there is a higher power, but i do not affiliate myself with any one religion. With that being said, My husband was born and raised Catholic. He was an alter boy as a child. He doesn't really attend church-but he does have faith...(Very much like me). When we got married, i really wanted to have a civil ceremony, due to the fact that my family would probably NOT attend if if i had any other type of ceremony. I also did it for myself. I wouldn't feel comfortable  having someone marry me...that wasn't a judge. It's the way i was raised, and it's ingrained in me.  I was very happy with that decision, and i was very happy that my husband supported me. This was very important to me.

We had made the decision to get married by a judge, but my husband had asked me that when we had children, he would like them to be Baptised Catholic.  He respected my wishes and i respected his.  It's something we had decided a long time before, so it just so happened to have worked out for us.  I didn't include my family (the JW's) in the celebration of Aj's Baptism---simply because they probably wouldn't have attended. It's as simple as that. I didn't even let them know, because i would rather not get into that discussion with them. It's a personal choice.
OK, so the celebration was very small. Only 23 people were invited...and i am very happy all of Aj's closest friends and some family were there to celebrate this special day with Aj and Us!  
I wanted to go with a preppy theme. Green and Navy. I put this party together in less than 9 days, and i think it actually came out pretty cute, considering.  We held it at a local pizzeria/restaurant.

What do you think?
Excuse the photo quality, I'm still learning how to use my DSLR!

I purchased Burlap at Joanne's Fabric for 1.49 a yard. Ironed it and used some stitch witchery to mend the ends...so they weren't frayed.

Purchased wine bottle labels off ETSY...and they were a *BIG* hit. The restaurant allowed us to bring our own bottles, which saved us $$!

My centerpieces doubled as favors. Basil plants, which i purchased at Lowe's 2 days before the event on sale for $1.50!!!

The labels for the plants were also purchased on ETSY!

We ordered a cake from our local bakery, and they pretty much nailed it with the color BLUE/GREEN! Wasn't crazy about the design...but the cake was so yummy...it didn't really matter!

on everyone's plate, they got a HERSHEY bar (Also purchased from ETSY)....and they were SOOO CUTE! They went PERFECT with the decor!

Those are all the pics i have right now on my comp! Hubby and i matched the party with our preppy outfits!

What do you guys think?!