Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ready for my Christmas Spirit to Kick In!

Its December 5th and my Christmas spirit hasn't yet kicked in. No, I'm not a Scrooge by no means. Just 5 days into the month and I've already been to one Christmas gathering and one Christmas parade, Hayley's school program Thursday, and who knows what else. I've almost always done my Christmas shopping early so that job is pretty much done. However, I keep wanting to delay all the other things. Decorate for Christmas, hmmmmm not yet. Had my Christmas cards made and ready to mail, hmmm negative. Started baking yummy goodies, hmmm not exactly. Brian and my brother-in-law think I am just horrible for not decorating yet and keep saying, "You're supposed to put up the tree right after Thanksgiving."

This week at school I have a presentation and 7 assignments due. The week after are exams but I'm not too worried about them. My focus is this week. If I can just get through this week then I can breathe. I have to set my priorities. Decorations or school. I just feel that if I stop to decorate then that is time away from working on all these projects. I probably shouldn't be typing this blog. I should be doing homework.

By next Saturday I will be illuminating with Christmas spirit. Brian and I will go get a live tree, haul out the decorations, perhaps buy some new decor, and make my home a coozy Christmas retreat. And of course I need to take Gretchen to see Santa. We are also taking Gretchen to Hollywild Zoo to see the lights and the animals. She is going to love it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Very Late Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving has came and gone. What a wonderful Thanksgiving it was? My family gathered for breakfast and then later we joined Brian's family and went out to eat. I can honestly say that my family's was so much better. It was almost picture perfect. My mom, oldest sister Kasey, and me all in the kitchen cooking. Making biscuits, and waffles, cooking bacon, eggs, and sausage, the works. Twenty-one people at the house, kids running around laughing and playing, and great conversation. A true holiday gathering. Afterwards we went home; Gretchen took a nap while the kids watched movies. Then around 4 pm Brian's family all traveled to Shelby to go out to eat. Not very festive, not picture perfect, no conversation what so ever. You see, the restaurant was crowded and wasn't able to put the tables together for us. Therefore the kids ate that the table with Brian and I, his parents at another table, and his sister and her husband at a separate table. Why don't they just stay at home and cook? I have absolutely no clue. Its almost fun just to go with the flow to see how things end up so that in the end I get to complain or gossip later with Brian. However, despite my Thanksgiving not being perfect I was very grateful. I'm grateful to be with a wonderful man who has given me a wonderful daughter and has allowed me to be a part of this other children's lives making us a family. I'm grateful for all my other family; for all the love and support through the years. And mostly I'm grateful to God who has blessed me so much.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh You Got to Stand For Something (or at least try)

Brian's family is a little slack when it comes to Holiday planning. This is something that I am not used too. I mean, my family figures out holiday plans months in advance. We usually plan Thanksgiving around September. Its just easier since there are so many of us now. Each sister has both our own family obligations as well as family obligations with the other sides of our families. This year we are getting together for a brunch on Thanksgiving. As I was saying Brian's family are total slackers waiting til the last minute to make plans. Last year instead of making dinner they decided to all go out to eat. This was all but fine with me. I love breaking traditions a little. However, Brian's mom didn't want to bother getting Brian's kids from his ex-wife. "No, its just too much trouble to get them." You have to understand that his mom is the messenger and peace keeper between him and his ex. I was confused, hurt, felt bad for Hayley and Jacob. My parents wouldn't do this to their grand kids and my grandparents never did this to me. A few months ago I stated to Brian that if they weren't invited this year then Gretchen and I wouldn't be going either. Yes, here I am Kari Crawford standing up for what I think is right and just. So, Brian's mom share with me the plans for Thanksgiving the other day. We will be going out to eat again. "Are we getting Hayley and Jacob?" I ask. "No,blah blah blah something.I got upset. When I got to speak with Brian privately I told him that Gretchen and I wouldn't be going and go into my rant about how wrong it is to not include them. Another idea that came to mind was to go behind her back and call his ex myself and arrange to pick them up and bring them myself. Oh, how great this was going to be for me to stand up for something and make a statement. However, by the next day Brian had already talked to his mom about this and got the matter all straightened out. Now they will be joining us for Thanksgiving. I was shocked how easy this was to fix, though I am a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to boycott the dinner to make a statement.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Potty Training Fun

So we have started to potty training Gretchen. For me this is getting in the habit of putting her on the potty often. So far everything is going good. She pees in the potty almost everytime I sit her on it. I'm not really in any hurry to potty train but Brian insisted that we start. I really want to start in the spring when she can wear little summer dresses so it will be easier. The funniest part is that I had to get the potty seat to go over the big toilet. The little potty that sat on the floor was being used by Gretchen as a hiding place for toys. Now if I can get here to go #2.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall is here Finally!

Isn't fall a great season? Time for hot chocolate, sweater wearing, candle burning, baking, and pumpkin searching.

Taking Gretchen to a pumpkin patch is something I had been looking forward to for a while. Last Halloween she was only 2 1/2 months old so the only thing she was interested in was eating and sleeping. My sister Kasey, Brian, and I took the kids to the Pumpkin Center which is about a mile from my grandparents house in Green Hill where my dad grew up. My dad actually worked there growing up. When Gretchen got out of the van we just let her go wild. She walked everywhere looking and climbing on the pumpkins. She loved it. We got so tickled when she would try to pick some of this huge pumpkins up. I really try to enjoy these moments because I know that sooner then later she won't care anymore about going pumpkin picking.

We gave Gretchen her first haircut the other day. Actually a bang cut. They were getting so bad and always in her face. The only other option was to put a bow in her hair all the time. I know my mom is going to have a hiss fit when she finds out we cut it. Just the other day she said "You will not cute her hair. You will take her to a professional." OK mom, but I'm not going to waste my time, gas, and money to take her to a professional just to do a 5 second bang cut. Brian and I did just fine with me holding her and Brian cutting.

School is going good so far. For a while there I was feeling overwhelmed and over loaded. I talked to my online teachers about the deadlines and they said as long as I have an assignment completed by the end of the semester I would be good. That reassured me a lot. I don't worry so much if I don't get everything done by Friday night anymore. But one thing I have found its that FACEBOOK is my biggest enemy. I am evidently a nosey person and would constantly be on there. So to fit my addiction I deleted a bunch of people. This wasn't out of meanness or anything. I just needed to get the distraction away from me. I still have a facebook but now it only has my immediate family, a few long distance friends, and friends that I talk to on a weekly basis. I'm on there a lot less and am getting stuff done again.

Exciting news! I am hosting a GERBER GENERATION CELEBRATION. Have you ever heard of HouseParty? Its a company that you register with and then you have the opportunity to host parties for difference companies. I had registered for other parties but wasn't selected so you can imagine how shocked and excited I was to get picked for this party. So, I invite friends that are expecting babies, or have babies up to preschool age. Gerber sends some party decor and free products for me to give the guest. I am so excited about this. To me it will be more like a huge play date for the kids.

The week of Halloween was full of events and parties. Halloween party at my house with The Munchkin Society (playgroup), Trunk or Treat at my moms church, Trick or Treat on Main Street Friday, a fall carnival at Brian's moms church and Gretchen went to a Halloween party with her Auntie Vivian. By Sunday she was exhausted. It was so much fun though dressing her up all week. She was a witch a few times and a little rock star the other times.

Everyday Gretchen get more verbal, more independent, more stubborn, and more of a daredevil. I am reading a book by Dr. Harvey Karp called The Happiest Toddler on the Block. His description of a toddler is so right on its crazy. He describes toddlers as cavemen or Neanderthals, primitive and uncivilized. I love that she is curious, I encourage it. I mostly just wish that she had a fear of heights. I let her climb but the biggest problem is the high chair and shopping carts. She can wiggle out of the buckle and will stand up. She doesn't realize that there is a thing called gravity and if she falls she won't float around in the air. She just knows that if she falls mommy will always catch her.

Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming soon so its time to plan, shop, and bake. I can't wait to see Gretchen on Christmas this year. A Christmas tree will be going up but I have a feeling that the ornaments will all be at the top of the tree out of reach of little curious hands.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a Great Week

This has really been a great week for my family and I. In a lot of ways it was a typical week but at the same time fun and interesting. One great thing is that Gretchen has went all week without her paci at home! That's My Girl! She is still using the paci at Nana's (my mom's) when she is there a couple times a week. But hey, its progress. You have to start somewhere, right?

Then there was the typical stuff like doing homework and going to class and to work. Went for my weekly library run and found some great books on saving money and check out Disney's Earth and a PBS special called "Is Wal-Mart Good For America." Both were really good and education. I loved the penguins. I think that people should walk like them and be able to slide on our bellies. And we got our Netflick movies Eurika Season 2 and Invictus. Brian didn't like the idea first of watching Eurika but now he looks forward to getting another in the mail. I am my father's child. Sci-Fi runs in these veins.

Brian and I took the jet ski out. Brian worked on it and got it running. I was sort of scared to take it out. Brian said that we might be in the middle of the lake and the thing just die on us. Are you serious? I'm not getting strained in the middle of the lake and have to push the jet ski back to the van. We were actually able to do a little good for the environment when we stopped to walk around a little island in the middle of the lake. There was a bag of trash that some people had left that some animals had gotten into. Trash was everywhere. Of course we couldn't pick it all up but we could pick up the cans and crush them and put them in the little compartment on the jet ski. 49 cans we picked up and recycled from this one bag of trash.

On the domestic side of me I am in the middle of making an apron. On Tuesdays between my classes I go to my moms and we have a domestic lesson. First it was going to just be a sewing lesson but she is going to help me bake, sew, can , and what ever else I want her to teach me. Also I made apple cupcakes. In the family fun magazine I saw cupcakes made to look like apples. I figured I would try it out. The problem was is that I didn't realize that it took so much red food coloring to make icing red. I had used all the red and the icing was pink. I thought if I added a little Burgundy that it would darken it a little. Instead we have a purplish pink icing. Oh well, lesson learned. To make the stem you take a Tootsie roll mini and roll it a bit to make it a little longer and then take a green airhead and make a leaf. Viola! A purple apple.

One of the coolest things that happened was when Brian and his mom went to Goodwill Friday night he found a Dyson vacuum cleaner for only $6. He brought that bad boy home and got it running and now I have a super cleaner vacuum. This thing picks up so much more then my old cleaner did. I was kind of embarrassed when he vacuumed for the first time and I saw all that it had gotten up.

Saturday was crazy. I went into work early, then hopped over for a quick haircut, then hoped over to the Firefighters Challenge to Volunteer with my Education Class at the bouncy house and then get ready for party, party, home, Gretchen took a nap while cleaned house, Brian took his kids to play putt putt, they came home, we watched The Diary of a wimpy kid, and I feel asleep on the coach.

The only bad thing that happened was Gretchen getting a hold of my camera. Just when I actually had important pictures I wanted to share with everyone. Before I could chase her down to get it it was gone. I have looked everywhere. Under everything, in every bag, box, crack, and black hole. I'm not so much devastated on losing the camera but about losing the pictures on the camera. So for the next few months til Christmas I will be resorting on a disposable.

Here are some really neat websites to check out...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Talking About Reunions

Every year on the first Saturday in October at my Granny's house we have a John Flack Family Reunion. Usually around 100 people come. Most are family and then some are friends of the family that might as well be family. We haven't always don't a reunion every year. Several years ago people got tired of only getting together at funerals. My Granny came from a large family. She was the 11 child out of 12. Now only 5 are still living.

The Reunion is great. Lots of cousins getting together, kids running around, food, storytelling, picture taking, and banjo picking.

Brian mentioned the other day that one of his old school Mt.Vernon is going to do an All-Class Reunion. I believe Mt. Vernon used to be a High School as well as Elementary and Middle School. I would love for my Middle School to do a small reunion. Mostly I want to see the teachers. Of course I still run into some of them every now and then. Gretchen and I ran in to Mr.Terry my old P.E and Math teacher in Lowe's one day and Gretchen wouldn't let go of his finger. I see my 6th grade teacher Ms.Pellitier every Tuesday night at the college because she is one of my teachers for my Creative Activities class.

Most of the people I went to Middle School with I also went to High School with. Next year will be my 10 year Class Reunion. I wish they did reunions differently. When you are in HS you don't just associate with people your in class. You become friends with people in upper and lower grades. Instead I think we should invite classes from a few years before us and a few years after us. And I think its a great idea to invite some of the teachers that taught us. Of course if our principle Dr. Casebolt came he would have to go into a speech and then read "Oh the places you will Go" by Dr. Sues and then resite Someone has To by Shel Silverstein. Two things we heard a million times between Freshman and Senior year.

The thing that sucks about Reunions is that some people can't or won't come. A friend of mind recently had a 40th HS reunion and said that people that had never came to the reunions before finally came. I said " well, when you are younger and starting a family its harder to get away sometime." He said "No. What it is is that by the time you get to be my age you don't care anymore about impressing people, you're really just happy to still be alive." At my mom's HS reunion a clique rented out a separate room and and it was by invitation only for you to get in. I just pray my class doesn't do that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Paci Withdraw

Saturday of this week I decided to start weening Gretchen off the paci. The first day she did very well. We did the cool turkey approach and she did fine. I thought "Wow, my daughter is awesome and adjust to things perfectly." Then Sunday came and I was eating my words. Every time I laid her down for a nap she screamed and screamed til I couldn't take it anymore and out go get her up. My sweet little girl turned in to totally different child. I thought the devil had possessed her. I thought that since she had gotten up early and hadn't had a nap that she would go right off to sleep at bedtime. Nope. OK, on to plan #2. Plan 2 was to do what the dentist suggested. Take some scissors or nail clippers and cut a small hole on one side of the paci. So, I did that and gave it to her and she went right off to sleep. So, in a week or so I will cut another hole on the other side of the paci and keep cutting until eventually there will be no paci. The idea is to make the paci undesirable. I want to do what the dentist recommends and have her weened off of it by the time she is 18 months.

In this process of weening her off the paci I start to think about all the other goals I have for her for the next year. Its kind of neat that as parents we have the control to when our childs transitions to the next stage in something mostly because we as the parent have to either give them the tools to succeed or take something away to help them grow. One thing is to get her used to a bed so I can get rid of the crib. We have a bunk bed set up already and she can climb on and off of it but right now she thinks its a game. She would be up and down in and out of the bed all night if I let her sleep in it now. I also what to get rid of the high chair and have her either sit at a little table or in a boost at the table. I haven't decided about when I'm going to start potty training. We already have a potty seat and sometimes I sit her on it when I am using the bathroom. I also use the Pull-Up's already but this is mostly because they stay up better now that she is mobile. My biggest road block is Brian. He would probably keep her in a crib and high chair forever if he could. However, as I have said before I am claustrophobic and don't like clutter. Therefore, just like many other times I will have to sneak her high chair and crib out if the house when she is finished using them.

Also, lets talk about the Birthday Party thing. When I was pregnant Brian and I had a discussion about birthday parties. He told me a story about being invited to a party and then being the only one that showed up at the party. Then and there I made a promise that Gretchen would go to all parties that she was invited to unless there was a legitimate reason why she couldn't go. The reason is is that parents spend a lot of time and money to do a party. This month Gretchen has a party every weekend. One is at Bubba's FunPark and I am not too excited about it it cause I will have to crawl in the tunnels on my knees with Grethcen. This will be like going to McDonald's or KidzPlay with her. Its all I can do at times to keep up. She thinks she is a big kid. At KidzPlay the other day she was playing in the baby section and figured out where the exit was and escaped. But taking her down all the big slides was fun for both of us.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Different food habits

When cohabitating with someone you learn to compromise with certain things. For Brian and I our biggest compromise is the food factor. I actually compromise more then he does. One of the biggest problems is SALT. Brian puts salt on everything. I don't know how many times we have ordered a pizza and Brian has pre-salted it before I get my slice to eat. This also happens when we order a Chef Salad from the Grill to share. I'm not a big salt fan. I do salt foods but definately not everything nor do I salt it to the point where I feel I am drawning in an ocean of salt. I tell Brian don't to salt it until the food is on his own plate. At this point I think he does it on purpose to annoy me.

The other compromise is choosing a restuarant to eat at. Both of us like Chinese but picking a Chinese Restaurant turns into an arguement. I like Dragon Palace and he likes the Chinese place at Wal-Mart. I don't even bother knowing the name of it. Most times we end up at the one at Wal-Mart or we end up picking a different place. I think its just Brian's family in general. They all like crappy restaurants. I actually have told Brian that he is to never take me back to Ryan's again. It is a waste of money to pay $10 for a drink and buffet when all I will end up eating is Macaroni and Cheese.

The biggest compromise is when Brian goes on a diet. Pretty much when he is on a diet I am on a diet. This is actually fine with me considering the amount of crap we end up eating when he is off a diet. Of course I don't have to be one a diet too but I try to be encouraging and limit the junk food so it doesn't tempt him. Now in my house we have tons of veggies and fruit, veggie burgers for me, Diet Mt. Dew for him, Sugar Free Lemonade, oatmeal, granola, greek yogurt, and other healthy foods. I love chocolate and my rule is that no man is going to come between me and my chocolate. So of course I keep a jar of Nutella. I really hope Brian sticks with his diet this time. I really want us to be a good example for Gretchen so she will eat healthy too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I got to cuddle with my baby

This morning was the first time in many many months that I had to get up with Gretchen. I think around 3 am she started crying in her crib. Its been so long I woke straight up in a panic thinking something was wrong. I though she had fallen out of the crib. She is a climber and I know it is just a matter of time when she will attempt to climb out of her crib. So this morning I though she has fallen out and hurt herself. I get up and I am a litte disoriented and end up turning every light between our room and her room on. When I get to her room she was crying because she had dropped her paci outside of the crib and needed it. So I grab the paci and cuddle Gretchen to calm her down. She was wet so I went ahead and changed her. Then we went to the living room and cuddled on the couch and went back to sleep. This was a rare moment for me. She hasn't let me hold her and go to sleep with her since she was like 3 months. Once I transitioned her from sleeping in the bassinet in our room to the crib in her room that was it. She was a big girl and didn't need mommy to rock her. So last night for about 2 hours I took the time to cuddle with my baby girl. Its different cuddling with a 1 year old compared to a new born. Grethcen is 10 1/2 inches longer then she was a year ago and doesn't curl up in a little ball with her knees in her chest anymore. And of course she is a lot heavier. When she was born she was 7 lbs 2 oz. At her one year check up on her birthday exactly a year later she weighted 21 lbs and 4 oz. After a while she woke up and wanted back in her bed. Well, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting into my new routine

I started back to school with a full load. So far so good. I have 3 online classes and 3 classes on campus. I'm only on campus 2 days a week so I can't really complain. The biggest thing was finding time around chasing Gretchen to do my homework. The best solution to this is to do it when she is asleep. I get up early and work and I work while she is taking naps. I am working on my Early Childhood Education. My goal is to do a program through Western Carolina and do my Birth-Kindergarten. It will take me a year before I will be ready for the WNC program. I really want to get into this program cause it will be better with Gretchen. I can take all my classes either online or at Isothermal and not have to travel. This is probably take me about 2 1/2 year to complete. I'm so excited about my classes. Two classes we do alot of craft and make books. I get to get creative. This will be fun.

Now that school has started I am ready for Fall. Not exactly looking forward to winter but Fall is great. Cooler days and chilly nights. Golden fall colors and time to pull out warm clothes. Season for soups and hearty foods. The thing is about the south is that its still going to be warm doing the day for a few more months but at least the nights will be cooler.

This is also the time of year for me to go through all of Gretchen's clothes and pull out what she has outgrown and what is going out of season. Trying to take an inventory of what she has and doesn't have for colder weather. Luckily she has gotten some great hand me downs play clothes from Kaylee. I really don't have room for anymore clothes but she still needs some more church clothes.

On of my projects is to make or buy Gretchen an outfit to wear to her Big Brother's football games on Saturday's. He plays for the Rutherfordton Raiders. So I need a black and white outfit. Shouldn't be hard to find. I think it will be so cute for here to go to a game in her brother's team colors.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lots going on!

First let me apologize for any grammar errors in my blog. I try to read back over it to catch mistakes that spellcheck won't but I miss sometimes.

A lot has been going on in the last few days. First there was Gretchen's Birthday party. The plan was to have water balloons and kiddie pools for the kids. Right when the party started at 4 pm it started raining. Of course, I plan a party and it rains. I'm not surprised. I had taken sidewalk chalk and wrote "Happy Birthday Gretchen" on the pavement just to have to rain wash it away. Guest started to arrive (around 40 people) and get settled and I was popping party games out of my head as fast as I could to keep the kids entertained. Luckily after a round of musical chair, Simon says, and dance freeze the rain let up. It was still sprinkling but we let the kids start the fun with the water activities. Let me just say, they had a ball. There was probably about 16 kids there and I don't know one that didn't have a good time. Gretchen played in the kiddie pool and then got covered in wet cut grass. Too cute! After that we ate hot dogs and cake. Gretchen destroyed her cake and had it all over her. We had some great friends and family at the party. My sister Kasey took pictures and they turned out great.I couldn't have asked for a better party. After presents and party clean up Gretchen was so tired. On the way home she didn't make a sound. She slept good that night though. Can't wait to plan next years party. I want to do something different every year.

Sunday and Monday passed and then Gretchen's actual birthday got her on Tuesday. We first celebrated with a trip to the doctor for her shots. OK, I've already heard that I am the worst mother for having her get her shots on her birthday. Well, all I can say is keep your opinion to your self please. Its over and done. After a good nap Brian and I took Gretchen out for a late lunch. I think it will be a great tradition to always take her out on her birthday. Tuesday was also my niece Mackenzie's birthday so we went to my sister where we celebrated Gretchen's, Mackenzie, and my nephew Patrick who had turned 8 that Sunday. Annie bought all a little cake of their own. Gretchen is such a lucky girl to get so many cakes. We sang three separate birthday songs and by the time we sang to Patrick, Gretchen started singing too her baby talk version of Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, we traveled to Asheville to take Gretchen to her first dentist appointment. I know what you might be thinking. You're taking your 1 year old to the dentist? Brian even made fun or me and asked if I was going to take her to get a mammogram. I'm not crazy just precautious. First of all Gretchen is 1 and has 12 teeth already. As I see it she is going to be having these teeth for the next several years and they need to stay healthy. If she only had 4 teeth I probably wouldn't have taken her yet. I took her to Smile Starters and so far I was pleased with them. We were in and out in 45 minutes. The dental hygienist went over somethings that I already know but some I didn't. Gretchen was already weened from a bottle to a sippy cup for a few months now, great, and I had been brushing her teeth since her first tooth came in, great. I didn't know that I need to be flossing her teeth. Since I like to ease my daughter into new routines I figured I would start flossing only a few times a week and get her used to it. She squirms so much not I don't know if I can do it everyday. They also talked to me about fluoride and gave me ideas on what I should to insure she is getting fluoride. Nursery water is probably going to be my best resort to this since we are on well water. We talked about when they would want her off her pacifier. The pediatrician said 2 years and the dentist said 18 months. I know that I have to do this but I'm dreading it. She just looks too cute with a pacy in her mouth. While there they did a fluoride treatment and put a varnish on her teeth. She squirmed a lot but I'm hoping she will get used to it.

School for me also starts this week so I have been running to the bookstore to get my books and materials. Already have 3 online assignments due today. Already have the papers wrote just have to type and send it.

I'm super excited today because I get to go pick up Gretchen's pictures from Beautiful You Photography. They are too cute.

Talk to Everyone Later!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letter to my Daughter on Her 1st Birthday

Girl, you are 1 year old today. Life with you as sure been an adventure..

6 weeks of morning sickness (week 6-12 of pregnancy)
20 weeks of you kicking my insides
uncountable weeks of you using my bladder as a trampoline
1 road trip out west at 5 months preggo
26 pounds gained
12 hours of labor
45 minutes of pushing
1 epsiotomy
1 week of you having jaundice
3 trips to the hospital for you to have your belirubin count taken due to jaundice
2 weeks of me having back pain and nausea due to my hormones from being pregnant
1 trip to Niagara Falls
7 weeks of breast feeding (plus my hair falling out after I stopped breast feeding)
3 months of getting up every two hours at night with you
1 Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years,Valentines, and Easter
uncountable bottles make and diapers changed
a mountain of baby clothes
learning to roll over, push up, sit up, crawl, stand up, walk, and talk
1 birthday party
and 12 teeth later here we are.

Having you in my life as been such a blessing and I wouldn't trade this year for nothing in the world. You are walking now and getting into everything. You can say "Momma", "Dada", "dog", "stop", "that", "wiggle",and sometime "Nana". You love to stand on your head and dance. You love the Wiggles. You are a totally foodie. You have such a great personality and always smile. In the morning when you wake up and I go get you out of your crib you just smile and giggle. You have a blue fleece blanket that you love and think that when you get out of the crib it has to come too. You think you are a big girl and you try to keep up with the big kids. You have learned to climb on stuff now and think it is funny to try to roll off of it. You sure do keep me on my toes for sure. You love to swing and swim and to be outside.

I love you my Gretchen Paige (aka Bugsy or Monkey)



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Busy Day Today! Gretchen's 1st Birthday Party! And to announce the Giveway Winner.

Today is my daughter 1st birthday party. Hopefully everything will go as planned. We are suppose to have water games and kiddie pool but here is a 60% chance of rain. If this occurs the party must still go on and it will moved inside.

As far as the party prep goes we have a few major things to do still. 1) Get Gretchen a birthday present. We have been racking our brain out on this one. What do you get a 1 year old that already has enough? More stuff I guess? 2)Balloons Balloons and more party favors 3) decorate 4) cook.

Yesterday my mom and I made and decorated cakes and cupcakes. Everything turned out pretty good. Probably made too many cupcakes. Oh well. Update later on the party.

Now to announce the winner of the 2 in 1 Harness Buddy. And the winner is......

the auther of the blog LivingoutLoud! I had two people become follower/leave comments on my blog this week. One was my big sister Kasey so by default she wouldn't be qualified to win. However, I am glad that LivingOutLoad won. She became a follower, left a comment, and emailed me with some great blogging advice. So Ms. LivingOutLoud, email me your address at and I will mail you your HarnessBuddy.

Thanks again!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giveaway Scout

Just learned about Giveaway Scout, A fellow blogger helped me out and gave me this pointer. I went to the site to add my blog and it simply ask that I write a few sentences about them. I am absolutely so excited about this site and hopefully it will help lure readers into my blog. I have my first giveaway up right now. I am starting to get tons of other giveaway ideas for the future. So, go to and check it out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My First Giveaway! Enter Enter Enter

For a while now I have been saying to myself how Gretchen needs a leash. She is a go go go girl and wants to explore everything. I had seem kids before with harnesses on but never really paid much mind to it since it wasn't my child having to keep up with. I had been debating where or not to try one until I saw a little girl at the grocery store with one on. I asked the parents what they thought about it. They said that they loved it and their daughter always wanted to wear it.

So I bought this 2 in 1 Harness Buddy from Goldbug. Actually I bought 2. One for Gretchen and one as my 1st Giveaway.

To Enter:

1)Simply Become a follower on my blog. For my friends who don't know what this is when you get to my page click on the Follow button and simply follow the directions.

2) If you are already a follower you can enter by leaving a comment about what you think of kid leashes or any critics about the site.

Entries must be in by Friday August 13 at 11:59 p.m.

I will announce the winner Saturday morning her on My MOMoirs.

Enter Enter Enter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Giselle Bundchen

It you haven't read or heard about this on television or the Internet supermodel Giselle Bundchen made a statement that women should be force to breastfeed their children. WHAT? Excuse me?

I'm not against Giselle. I mean, she's pretty and I wish I was tall and had great hair like her but maybe she should keep somethings to herself. I breastfeed for 7 weeks and I commend anyone out there who breastfeed, even if it was just for a day. Breastfeeding has its pros and cons. Pro its cheaper, con its time consuming. Pro, it claims that it will help you lose your baby weight faster, no con to that. Some research claim beastfeed babies have higher IQ's and the antibodies will help them from getting sick. However, this isn't going to guarantee your child will be a genius ( and let me just say being a genius has its problems as well) or change its DNA to avoid any inherited disease like cancer.

Why can't mothers just be supportive of each other. Instead we think that we are experts in parenting, even with only one child, and have the right to tell people how to raise their children.

I get these ridiculous images in my head of what would happen if breastfeeding was a law. I image it would be a lot like Prohibition. Women would be making formula in their basements to sell to people. Women would be selling and buying breast milk from each other at ridiculous prices. It would be a hard thing to control. Can you image reading in a newspaper women getting arrested for feeding their babies formula? As my mom said, there are far too many more important issues that need to be addressed in this world other then breastfeeding.

I think that if you feel strongly about a cause then advocate for it. Instead what Giselle has done is make everyone feel that she is ridiculous and uneducated. She could easily be a spokeswoman and share information about breastfeeding. Perhaps even suggest to those women that produce enough milk to feed multiple babies to freeze and donate some of their milk.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If I could go back...

Being a new parent and having your first baby is a big learning experience. By your second, third, or 19th (like the Duggar's) you know what works, what doesn't, your parenting style, and whatnots. If Brian and I have another child (if we win the lottery that is) I would do just one thing differently. I regret not trying to use cloth diapers. I don't know if it was a fear of mine to use them but I should have tried. I could have easily traded most of my diapers that I got at our babyshower and bought cloth diapers or had just told people that I wanted to use cloth diapers. I still would have used disposable diapers when we were out in town to illiminate having to carry around poopy diaper though. Think about how many diapers I am putting in our landfills everyday. I really need a pop on the hand "No More" ,"Don't do that again." My question is now , can I start using cloth diapers now even though she is a year old?

Quicky Blog

Here is a quick one while I am multi-taskiing this morning.

For all of you that don't know I am starting back to school this fall. (Cheers! Applause! HIP HIP HOORAY!) Hopefully now that I am older and a mother I can settle down and finish a degree.

I was totally shocked yesterday when I realized that I was signed up for 6 classes totalling 19 credit hours. When I pre-registered I signed up for 4 classes and was on the waiting list for 2 more. I really didn't think I was going to get into the other classes but now that I did I was almost in a panic. Two classes are mostly doing crafts and puppets. So hopefully that will be easy. But I also need these classes and who knows wheren they will be offered again, right? So in a few weeks I will be a FULL FULL time student. Here we go.

Also, I have got my IDEA for my first contest. I need to go to the store and get it first though. But I'm totally excited about it. Can't wait! Contest soon!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My tribute to OTR truck drivers

Though all truck drivers play a big role delivering all our goods and materials to factories, warehouses, and stores I really want to focus on OTR driver. Over the Road drivers are one that drive 48 states and are gone for days or weeks from home. A truck drivers life is so different then a regular job. You sleep in the back of a truck, you eat out of a cooler or at a restaurant all the time, and your away from home for weeks. When you are home you are only home for a short while, maybe only a day or two. You have deadlines to meet, federal regulations to obide, driving hours to calculate, mileage to figure. At time you are super busy getting loads to where they need to go. Other time you may sit at a truck stop for a few days waiting on a load close to the area you in to take.

When I was 5 months pregnant with Gretchen I went on the road with Brian for two weeks. After a day or two you get used to the booping around in the truck. Being on the road made me come to appreciate and understand the life of a trucker. It can be exciting sometime. You get to visit different places and see different things. However at time all you see is interstate. Going through some states is so boring. All you see is fields and barns. Brian liked to start work early. You see a trucker can drive up to 11 hrs a day and ever so many days they have to take a break of like 35 hrs I think. So if we started around 6 am and stopped a few times to break then we could stop around 6 pm. This is the perfect time to find a spot at a truck stop. If you stop much later you might not find an empty spot and then you are parking on the side of the road for the night. But really a truck drivers life is crazy. For one thing if you want to take a shower at a truck stop its going to cost you $10. Brian even had a camping shower in his truck. Some towns out west don't have truck stops so we resorted to a cold shower in the truck. Eating at a truck stop can be expensive and the food isn't that great. The worst part of trucking is that up north most states won't let you idle your truck. This means that you won't have any air in your truck when its 100 degree weather outside. Some truck stops have these things you hook up to your truck called idle air that provides air and heat so you don't have to idle your truck but this is very expensive.

Finding a good trucking job with a good company isn't always easy. Because of cost of insurance most want experience. Some require different things. For example some need you to tarp your truck, maybe unload it, or deal with sales. For Brian the hardest thing was being away home. Now he has a job with Truck Services. He took a position working around 3 to 4 days a week. Yes he has to be gone but he is home on weekends to be with me and the kids and he gets more then 36 hrs off. There are trucking companies that 36 hrs is all you get to be home a week and then you are back on the road.

I love my truck driver. Everyone should appreciate truck drivers more. So next time you so buy a soda think about how a truck driver picked up those empty cans in Wyoming and drove 3 days across county to South Carolina to a soda factory where they put the soda in the cans so that you could have a refreshing drink.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Blog

So what is my blog REALLY about? Partly about my daughter who is just pure awesomeness. I would really like to start adding some "how to" kid crafts and activities. I have a subscription to FamilyFun magazine. My mom got it for me for Christmas cause I kept stealing the magazines at the doctors offices. I couldn't help it, they have tons of really great crafts and activities to do. I now have a notebook full of possible projects. I want to do the projects and give parents a real critique. For example, cost of project, time, and difficulty. I would like to eventually do product promotions and reviews as well as contest. And of course I will add my motherly opinion about different topics. Believe me this blogging thing has been a work in progress. Eventually once I learn the "how to" I will get my site just the way I want it and it will be awesome.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cupcakes are COOL!

Just read, OK skimmed, an article on Yahoo! about how the cupcake "trend" is going away. I didn't know that the cupcake was a "trend." I thought it was a birthday party staple. I can see some of the other things going out of style like Tuna Tartare or Communal Tables but not cupcakes. My mom has a great cupcake book that isn't old at all where you make a cupcake look like different kinds of dogs and food. A cupcake can be artfood. A cupcake is like your classic black dress or your set of pearls. It is never going to go out of style. As long as there are mothers' out there then there will be cupcakes! To the person out there who thinks he/she can say what is cool and trendy let me just say to you, Let them eat CUPCAKES!

Also, July is National Ice Cream Month. I know the month is almost over so enjoy some ice cream before its over. Just the other day Some friends and I had ice cream with pound cake, strawberries, and peaches in it. It was DELICIOUS!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Product Review

This is the Snack Catcher by Munchkin. Its a container to put snacks in such as Cherrios, and it has a lid that is designed so kids can reach their hands in a pull out the snack and not spill the whole container of food. Yes, this product does what it says. However, think about a child. This isn't going to keep your child from throwing the snacks that they pulled out on to the floor. One day Gretchen walked around the living room pulling out snacks and throwing them right on to the floor. I had a trail of Cherrios from the living room to her room and back.Anyone need an experienced Flower Girl? My baby can do the job!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeps on Growing

Its so amazing how fast a baby grows and changes. Its as if they are a different person every few weeks. The same as they were before but more developed, more confident, more modile, more personality. Gretchen isn't a baby baby anymore. She is a toddler. She is fully mobile and jabbers a mile a minute. Most of the time I have no clue what she is saying but she says it like she is carrying on a conversation with you. She knows what a phone is and that you hold it up to your ear. She has a play phone but sometimes she even uses her hairbrush as a phone. So cute.

Brian and I have "Earworms." Earworm are those songs that get stuck in your head. Gretchen likes the Wiggles so most of there songs are now stuck in my head. There is a Wiggles movie called Space Dancing and we go around singing "Whats this button for... Whats this button for..." And they have little aliens that speak English and say "How do you do? We come as friends. You have beautiful eyyyess." I think it is so cute and hilarious that I say it all the time to Brian while I stare into his hazel eyes.

Then there is Songdrops by Bryant Oden ( These are cute little songs like "The Duck song" or "CBA Song." I really think Gretchen gets a kick out of seeing Brian and I sing them. She dances and bobs her head. She is awesome.

So, Birthday planning is underway. Planning to send out invitation Saturday. I finally figured that I can do the photo invitation through Wal-Mart for like 35 cents a piece. I had resorted into Mighty Dollar invitation that I hated cause they looked so cheap but now she can have nice invitation that I can still afford. The only problem in doing this was taking a good picture of Gretchen. Now she will not be still long enough for me to take a picture. My mom would laugh at this cause I was the same way as a baby. If you look at baby pictures of me you will notice my moms hand on my leg holding me down so they could take a picture. She is having pictures made for her birthday curtisy of Brian's mom and sister. I am starting to think that this is going to be a bad idea cause I know she is not going to sit still.

It took months for me to decide where to have her party. We though that having it at Crowe's Park would be a good idea. However we decided to have it at my Mom's. Our house just isn't equiped for a birthday party. At least at my parent's there will be clean bathroom and I won't have to haul a ton of stuff somewhere to unload and reload. Since her birthday is in August in the South where it is hot and humid and 100 degrees we will have kiddie pools and water games and sprinklers to help keep everyone cooled off.

I know this blog isn't nice to look at since it doesn't have many pictures but give me time and I will load tons of them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Anti-SpongeBob Mommy

When it comes to television I'm one of those very picky moms. I do think that some television can be beneficial. However, I'm not going to plop my daughter in front of the tv all day by no means. For about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the after noon I let Gretchen watch tv. The only thing she will watch now is the Wiggles. She will actually sit on the floor and watch for a few minutes and stand up a dance sometimes. The rest of the time she is off somewhere else doing her thing. Which mean is really only watches half the show. Cartoons like Spongebob and Chowder are out of the question at my house. If she is at someone else's house and watches it I'm not going to have a hissy fit or anything though. I don't know what it is about Spongebob that I can't stand. Maybe its the annoying laugh or the fear that my daughter will pick on bad habits from watching him. Luckily my mom doesn't allow Spongebob in her house either. I'm glad because Gretchen will be staying there while I'm in class this fall. I want Gretchen to watch education programs and programs that promote good behavior. Strawberry Shortcake, Dora the Explorer, The Wiggles, TeleTubbies, Little Eisteins,and My Little Ponies are all fine programs . I really wish that some of these programs were like the ones that I grew up with. I like the old Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Ponies, and Carebears better. The animation today is sort of creepy looking.

One thing I am trying to do is collect old movies that I used to watch for Gretchen. I have some of the Carebear Movies and a Strawberry Shortcake. There are two My Little Pony movies that I want. However one is now considered a collectors item and is really expensive. For a 30 minute movie it cost $50-$100. Sorry Baby mommy just doesn't have that type of money to through around.

This week has been crazy running around. I helped out with VBS this week in the crafts and I had a Premier Design Jewelry Party. My cousin became a Premier consultant and I hosted a show for her. It seems that everyone is doing direct sells these days. I am even hosting a Pampered Chef party next week. Hosting a show hopefully will help then make money and promote their little businesses. In return they did a catalog show with Usborne Books. Around here not many people have heard of Usborne Books. Trying to get your name out there with a product is harder then it looks. Everyday I do something with my little business to let people know about it. I honestly believe that my hard work will pay off eventually. Brian doesn't understand that now I have to "network" both online and in the community so people will get to know me and learn about my products. Before I was the type to live in my own little bubble. However, that doesn't really work when you are in business. I need a crash course in advertising and marketing. Oh Lord!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Favorite Baby Product Reward!

Gretchen is now almost a year old. In the past year I have went through a ton of baby products. Of course some products you just can't get around without having like diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, bottle, etc. Most other products really depend on you and your baby's lifestyle and personality. For me big bulky products made me clostrophobic. Of course I have had the big bulky products like a swing and saucer. A saucer is great to entertain and contain your baby so you can get other things done. But these are things that I got rid of as soon as I could cause they just took up sooo much room. There is one product that I absolutely love. It wasn't expensive and has worked wonders in getting Gretchen to go to sleep on her own. So, the winner of MY FAVORITE BABY PRODUCT REWARD is....

Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Take Along Projector Soother

This product can project 2 images. One is simplier and one is more detailed. It plays about 10 minutes of either lullaby music or ocean waves. My biggest thing that sold me on this product was that you didn't put it in the crib. I personally didn't want anything in the crib for her to play with. I keep this on the dresser and play it when I lay her down for naps and bedtime. Gretchen has gotten a little dependent on it but when I think about it its just music. Its not a pacifier that I will have to ween her off of.

Second place will have to go to my Jeep stroller. This thing is very light weight stroller with out being an umbrella stroller. It still has a basket on the bottom and a cup holder. My sister loved it too. She wishes she had had one instead of her huge heavy stroller when her kids were little.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Little Projects

It seems like I have a ton of little projects going on right now. First is my Usborne Books. I started selling these books about 2 months ago. Now it seems like I'm mostly getting the word out about the books. sooner or later business will pick up and people will start buying the books. Everyday i try to accomplish something wtih the company; mail out fliers, email people,make a promotion board for book fairs, stuff like that. Eventually my work will pay off.

Then there is Gretchen's room. I am taking down the SpongeBob border and going to repaint it. This is a process. I absolutely can't stand SpondgeBob, he must come down and be destroyed. You see very time I turn around I have to stop to get Gretchen out of something she isn't supposed to be into or stop completely during her nap time. I have neen working on this now for two weeks. I don't have a time line but i want to have it complete by her birthday or at least by the time I start back to school.

Oh, her birthday! I am also in the middle of planning my little girls first birthday party. Every week I'm buying up decorations and food. I already over analize everything so freaking out about invitations is normal for me. I have been searching for weeks online for dirt cheap invitations and a banner. I wanted everything to match or somewhat match. The cheapest invitations I found that were personalized that I wouldn't have to write in were $1 each plus a cute banner for $16.00. So when you figure out cost and shipping it was still going to be about $40. I'm on an extreme budget. I only work 15 hrs a week so I can't be spending my whole months salary on her birthday. If I could believe me I would. I love my daughter and want to spoil the crap out of her. So, I finally talked myself out of buying the personalized invites and found dirt cheap but cute invitations to write in and got materials to make a banner. So far I have spent less then $40 and have gotten the invitations, decorations,favors, candy, and whatnot. Still need to buy food , balloons, and the activities and games.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Day At the Park

Today Gretchen joined a play group. Through an old friend of mine I found out about this group that gets together at the park and such. So this morning we went to play. There was one other baby there Gretchen's age and some other mommy's to talk to . This was great for me to be able to socialize but also for Gretchen to be a participant in a community. So for almost 2 hrs us mommy's talked about mommy stuff. They even do mommy nights out on occasions.

Now it is time to make some more laundry detergent. About 5 or 6 months ago Brian and I made homemade laundry detergent. It really cheap to make and last a long time. We spent about $10 on the ingredient but can probably make about 3 runs of this stuff. Our first run has lasted almost 6 months so I guess that would be around .50 cents/month. Not bad.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

4 cups Hot Tap Water 1 Fels-Naptha Bar Soap
1 cup Washing Soda 1/2 cup Borax

Grate the bar of soap and add to a sauce pan wtih the 4 cups of water. Stir continually over med heat until soap dissolves and melts.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water. Add the melted soap, washing soda, and borax, Stir well until all the powder is dissolved. Finish filling the bucket with hot water. Stir, cover and let sit over night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Constant Change

Since the last blog Gretchen is finally WALKING! I thought she was never going to take off. I mean, around 9 months she started taking a step or two but that was it. I don't consider a step or two as walking. So for a month in a half it was step step fall. Finally a month in a half later she is actually walking. But now she won't stop walking. The only good thing about her walking is the fact that it wares her out more and takes more naps and sleeps longer in the morning.

Oh, yeah. My almost 11 month old has 10 teeth. This is crazy. She is like a super-teether. Everyone elses kid her age only has like 2 teeth.

Well, my little girl turns ONE in a little over a month now. I can't believe this. I wish she was still that tiny little thing I brought home from the hospital. If I had a ton of money I would probably have more babies just so I can have a little one all the time. I ordered her cake pan for her birthday cake. Its going to be a pink ladybug. I have also, after hours of searching have found invitations that won't break the bank and a bannner that I am going to order. The banner is a splurge but oh well. I really want it for my baby. I can put it up for her to keep forever. Basically everything else for the party besides the food is going to come from the Mighty Dollar (ie. cups, plates, favors..). Now I just need to decide what to serve. For her birthday I am redoing her bedroom and getting rid of the Spongebob border. This is definately a work in progress. I swear I've been taking down wall paper for a week now. My main thing is that Gretchen is always in the way. And when its nap time I can't do anything in there cause it will wake her up. Other than that she probably will only get a few other small presents from us. I know I over analyze everything thing but I don't want to get a bunch of toys that she will outgrow in a few months unless I get it super cheap at a yard sale. Right?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life continues

First a quick update on my life. Well Gretchen is still trying to walk. She can stand on her own without any support and take about 5 steps and then on her bottom she goes. You can tell when she is taking her time walking and when she gets in a big hurry cause at those times she takes only 2 steps before falling.

Sometimes when I start typing I start preaching and raving about people that have upset me and made me mad. But I stop myself and delete whatever I have typed. I am not going to use this blog to be mean to anyone. However, if anyone out there wants to give me advice on how to deal with a judgemental mother in law please do. I would love your advice.

Gretchen is also going through a hollering stage. Not crying or whinning but hollering. She gets really loud and at times I need to be separated from it to beable to think.

So, now I want to sort of go over my philosophy of parenting. Today lets talk about Clothes and Babies!

I am a big believer in hand me downs, thift shops, and consignment for kids clothes. Yes, I do buy Gretchen new clothes but the majority is used. As fast as she grows I feel I don't get my moneies worth from buying a lot of new clothes. Gretchen plays alot so her clothes need to be something she can get messy in and me not freak out if that stain won't come out. I'm also not one to go to a sale and buy too many cute dresses just cause they are on sale. Think about it. In a months time Gretchen will need to be dressed up about 4 times for church or other events. In a spring and summer season that would be about 24 times. If I want to actually get some use and my money worth out of a dress then she needs to wear it at least 4 times, equaling 6 dresses. I don't know how many dresses Brian's sister sold at a yard sale that still had the tags on them that were never worn. Ok, you got it for a good deal but since it was never worn and you had to sell it at a yard sale for cheap then any idiot would know that you lost money.

Another trick I have found was that I bought clothes a tad bigger so she can grow into then and they can last longer. When Gretchen was around 6 months she needed more winter clothes. It was almost spring so I bought just enough to last the rest of winter. When it came time to buy summer clothes she was in a 9 months. Instead of buying everything in 9 months and then having to buy 12 months later I just bought 12 months. This saved me a lot of money cause she will get more used out of the clothes before she out grows it. So, for a few months her clothes were a tad big but I saved in the long run.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back to Work I go

So I got a new job and finally get to start it. I'm doing Direct Care work part-time. This will be good cause it fits around my school schedule this fall and I still get to spend alot of time with Gretchen during the day. Its sort of like what I was doing at the group home but with only one client.

Back when Gigi was about 6 weeks old and I was here alone I went to the library often. I would check out books about learning to be a mommy and things to that nature. Two books come to mine now. One was a book about transitioning from working woman to stay at home mom. It really tried to sell the stay at home mom job to you. It made you feel that it was your duty as a parent to stay at home with them. The other book was written by a mother urging parents to go to work to save there sanity. Both books I can totally agree with even though they are complete opposites. Staying at home for most families just makes more sense finacially. When you think about the extra time you spend getting you and baby ready, cost of daycare, cost of gas to and from daycare and work, worry of baby getting sick and having to leave work, it really is worth staying at home. On the other hand being at home all day with a screaming baby, no other human contact most days, and a sense of failure, and financial worry can be depressing.

Despite out finances right now I am grateful that I got to stay at home with Gigi for the first year. Come fall between school and work I will be working full time. However I will still get to spend a lot of time with my girl. Putting her in daycare would have limited her. I went to a daycare and in the babyroom all you saw was crib, crib, crib, swing, swing, swing, bouncer, bouncer. I totally understand the workers needing this stuff however there was no floor space for a baby to get down and explore. At home Gigi is pretty much free. The majority of the day she is on the floor playing and exploring.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finally to the Present time

I know the past few post have been brief and not in much detail but it is what it is. I felt that I needed to go ahead and get caught up to the present time or I never would.

Now I want to talk about my wonderful baby girl Gretchen. Lets just say that she is AWESOME! I couldn't have asked for a better baby. She wakes up in the morning smiling and kicking ready to go. She loves meeting other people and is already a little dare devil like her daddy.

One of my biggest worries is that Gretchen will be a "brat" when she is away from me or when around new people. So far she has always been an angel. The other day for instance Gretchen and I went to a yard sale at Round Hill Baptist Church. She had never been around any of those ladies but was very well behaved sitting and playing in Miranda and Melissa's lap while I shopped. I even had to walk up the hill to my car and she didn't cry a bit when I was walking away.

She loves to swing, and ride the three wheeler or dirt bike with her daddy, and to swim in the pool. She has gotten so confident on the dirt bike that now she will ride with no hand and wave as she passes by me. It freaks me out and I'm yelling " Hold on Baby"!!

Month 8 and 9

Gretchen at this point is crawling and pulling up and standing alot. She got one new tooth at 8 months and one at 9 months. A total of 8 teeth. Everyone looks at her and is amazed at how many teeth she has. She has more teeth then Gracelynn and she is 4 1/2 months older than her. I pretty much let her eat almost anything at this point. At this point she has taken a told of 6 steps. All that in one day. Since then she stands for a really long time but then eventually sits back down. We bribed her with a cracker to get her to walk but that doesn't work anymore.

Around mid April I quit the group home. Probably not the best decision but.... Gretchen was home sick and I needed to be home with her. I need a job where it isn't an act of Congress to leave work and go home when you have to.

Month 6 and 7

Gretchen is trying to crawl. How she did it would change ever couple of days until she perfected it and it actually looked like a crawl. At one point she looked like she was a catapillar doing an inch worm crawl and then later looked like a frog hopping. She got two more teeth at 6 months and two more at 7 months. Sometime around the end of 7 months Gretchen started standing up. I told Brian that he needed to lower her crib before she started doing this. A week later she pulled up for the first time and did it three other times that day. And I missed it. I was at work and Brian was at home with her. Oh I hate to work and miss my baby.

Month 5

I feel like I don't remember a whole lot, so my blogs are getting shorter. Oh well.

So month 5. At this point Gretchen is sleeping through the night, starting to beable to go to sleep on her own without being rocked, and her two front teeth just popped through. She had her 4 month appointment and will go back at 6 months. She is getting more mobile. Rolling over and scooting and trying to push up on her arms.

Sometime around here or 6 months Brian found a local job. I was so relieved and glad that he was going to be home every evening. It really helped me cause I could leave her with him on the weekends that I had to work at the group home or at least depend on him to get her from my parents and him have her in bed by the time I got home.

However, with Brian being home came a few adjustments. I had to get used to not being alone anymore, sharing the tv, more clutter in the house. Always something.

Month 4

Gretchen turned 4 months on December 17th. Getting ready for her first Christmas wasn't a big deal. I'm waiting for the day when Christmas is exciting to her. She got tons of stuff but I decided to only have "Santa" bring her one big toy. Everything else was from Mommy and Daddy. The reason was that I want her to understand the real reason for Christmas. Also, I don't see the point in going over board and her expect a huge Christmas every year. What if we just can afford a big Christmas? But also, there are kids out there that don't get a whole lot at Christmas. I'm sure those kids wonder why Santa only brought then a few crappy toys while the kid down the street in the mansion got like 20 toys. I will explain to Gretchen someday that I asked Santa to only bring her one toy so that a needy boy or girl can get something nice. She got tons of other stuff from everyone else though. She got clothes, books, bath toys, a huge stuffed sea turtle. So even with out Santa she scored big.

Buying Brian's kids Christmas was alot harder though. With me being out of work I could really only afford to buy Gretchen Christmas. I told Brian over and over when he was home that he needed to go ahead and get Hayley and Jacobs stuff. No, he waits til the day before Christmas when there is nothing left in the stores. We will not make that mistake again.

But really her first Christmas was very special. I just hope I can get better and better at it by the time she starts to get into it.

New Year Brian was back on the road and I was home with Gretchen and babysitting Kaylee. Kaylee was gone by midnight and Gretchen was asleep. I stayed up to see the ball drop but its better to celebrate with someone special.

The rest of the time Gretchen was ill. She was starting to teeth. At this point I have her and Gracelynn teething. Oh Lord!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Month 3

Month 3 I guess was right around Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Around this time I started putting her in her crib. I started during the day and kept her in there are along as she would stay until finally she would stay the whole length of a regular nap. This was great for me since I had been falling asleep on the couch with her or depending on the baby swing.

For some reason I didn't want to sleep in my bed while Brian was gone. Being at the house alone with Gretchen scared me at night. I kept thinking that I needed to sleep in the living room so I could be closer to her if something happened. After a while my body was really feeling the pain of sleeping on the couch. I ached all the time in my back and neck. Once back in my own bed my pain went away and the fear of something bad happening slowly went away.

At this time she was trying to roll over. She would get half way over and get so mad and just scream. Finally at my friend Chelsey's babyshower she rolled over twice. I called Brian immediately. I was so excited, it was like her first big achievment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Month 2 of motherhood.

So, Brian had went back on the road and I am moving out of my parents and in officially with Brian. What a job that was?

Brian's place was more of a bachelor pad. He's closets were cluttered and the kids bedroom with no much of a bed room but a storage room. I spent about 2 weeks cleaning and hauling stuff off to either storage or the dump so that I could move me and Gretchen's things in. Doing this with Gretchen was hard at times. It was a big adjustment now having to try to take care of her and do house work and move all this stuff. I had to do the majority of my work when she was asleep. This was hard because that would have been the perfect time for me to rest since I was up every couple hours at night with her by myself instead of getting to take turns with Brian.

My plan during pregnancy was to go back to work after 6 weeks. But since my plans changed and I was doing this alone wit out my parents help I told Brian that I just wasn't ready to go back. I needed more time to adjust and get used to how I was going to do this alone. If I had went back to work I would never had gotten any rest. Not as if I was getting any to begin with but if I had to go to work to I would have died.

Instead of going to an outside job every day we lined up a couple of kids for me to keep at home. The first kid was Brian's neice Gracelynn and the other was a girl named Kaylee. This was an adjustment getting used to having another kid around, and they had to get used to me. I still worked at the group home PRN for the time being.

Nights were the worst at this point with her getting all the time. But I started relying on a babyswing to help me. I could get up and feed her and then put her in the swing to rock her back to sleep while I drifted back off for another 2 hrs.

By week 7 I stopped pumping breast milk. I was drying up and only making about 6 oz a day so she was receiving alot more formula then she was milk anyways.

Remember that I said Hayley liked playing with the babystuff. Well we got Gretchen a little puppy . So one weekend Hayley first wraps the pup in one of Gretchen's blankets, put the pup in the car seat, and tried to feed the pup a bottle with Gretchen's bottle. Oh my gosh, so now I have 4 kids and only one I actually gave birth too and one is a grown adult.

Gretchen's first true holiday was Halloween. I was so excited but totally disappointed that Brian didn't make it home. But she dressed up like a flower and we went to visit Haley and Isla ( who is exactly one month younger).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Month One

So I had Gretchen. My mom and sisters were taking pics on there phone and calling everyone. Brian had called several times to enquire how I was doing. Mom sent him a picture and he said that she looked angry. Well she had just been born and was still yucky. I was surprised how swollen she was the first time I saw her. But by the next morning that had went down and she looked less like a sumo wrestler.

Staying at Rutherford Hospital was not fun. I mean they bugged that crap out of me. After I had Gretchen I was so tired. I had been up 32 hrs at that point and just wanted to get comfy and sleep. Instead every little bit they came in and even asked if I wanted my baby. Well of course I want her but I'm tired. I decided to keep her in the room with me that night. She stayed in the room with me and wouldn't go to sleep unless I kept the light now. Ok little girl you are only 12 hrs old, your too young to start being picky. Seriously, I would feed her and get her to sleep, put her down, crawl in bed, turn the light off and just a few moments later she would start crying. When I finally kept the light on she ended up sleeping for 2 hours.

Moving on

So now it was Wednesday morning and time to check out. Brian got there when the nurse was going over all my paper work. I was so happy he was home.

Gretchen had developed jaundice and we had to take her back to the hospital 3 times to have her bilirubic count done. I hated to see my little girl get pricked.
The poor thing had to be kept in the sun to help clear it up. She was so yellow,even the whites of her eyes were yellow. We would strip her down to just her diaper and lay her in the sunniest part of the house. I was so afraid that she would get sun burned but instead she got a nice tan. She was red for months. Gretchen and I stayed at my parents for a few day and then moved to Brian's. I know this made my mom mad but Brian is her dad and he is only home for a short while. There is no point in staying at my parents when he has a house 20 minutes away. Brian took good care of me and he taught me alot in the 4 weeks he was home.

One of the biggest adjustments was getting Hayley and Jacob used to having her around. They both loved having a new little sister but keeping Hayley out of the baby stuff was a job.

Gretchen was a typical newborn. Up every few hrs, peed, pooped, and sleeped. I tried to breast feed but then I got really sick . My back hurt a lot and I was throwing up. I called the doctors, went to the doctors,and finally went to the ER. The only explaination they could give me was that my pregnancy hormones were still really high and they were trying to get back to normal. Theoretically your hormomes go back to normal the second after you deliver. The ER doctor though I was pregnant again. Are you serious? She is a week old. I mean, I'm still bleeding, I'm still healing from an episotomy, I'm not pregnant. Since I didn't feel like nursing and really didn't feel like pumping while I was sick G stopped laching. I didn't have any choice but to pump, but pumping makes your milk dry up.

When Gretchen was 3 weeks old we went on our first family vacation. Brian and I had talked about going somewhere while he would be home. I figured that we would go to Gatlingburg TN, instead we went to Niagara Falls. Brian wanted to go to Las Vegas. Excuse me! I am not going to Vegas with a 3 week old and while I am breast feeding. But Niagara Falls was great, and taking Gretchen wasn't that hard except for the fact that my car is too small for a bunch of louges, camping equipment (that we didn't use), and a bulky stroller. It was so cramped. At the Falls we did everything and it was very affordable. For $35 a person you could watch a movie, go to the Cave of the Winds, ride the Maids of the Mist, ride the trollie, go to an aquariam that had seals perform, and go to the look out desks. The park was very clean and beautiful. We even got to see a wedding being performed. Our plan is to go back next year and go to the Canadian side. Everyone said that it is much better and you can see the falls better from that side since the majority of the falls are on this side and its hard to see it at an angle. The only thing that Gretchen couldn't do was go on the Cave of the Winds. The stairs were really wet and they wouldn't let us take the stroller. Carrying her would have been too scary for me so Brian and I took turns. He went first and then I went. While I was waiting for Brian there was a couple from Asia with a videocamera that stopped to look at Gretchen and asked me how old she was. When I told them three weeks they went " Oh, you Superwomen" while they were video taping us. So somewhere on youtube a bunch of Asians are looking at me and my 3 week old amd making comments about how us Americans raise our kids. Im sure they are going "Look at that crazy woman, she should be at home in bed. Not draggin her newborn 12 hrs from home just to see a big waterfall."

We continued our road trip and went down to Hershey PA and then to Laray VA. I remember when we went to the cavans in Leray we had to carry the stroller down the stairs and back up and Brian tripped and hit me in the back of the leg and I had a huge bruise.

By Saturday I was ready to come back home. Instead our trip got extended and we drove to Concord NC to go to the Great Wolf Lodge with Brians other kids and family. No offense I love Brians kids but I was ready to go home. We had been gone all week. But to make everyone happy we went. My opinion about the Great Wolf Lodge is that it is way over priced for what you get. The food got nastier the longer we stayed. Brian and I played with the kids in the water park area until closing the first night but by the second day we just rested waiting for the best time to bolt. I have decided that I will not boycott the GWL but simply go for the day and do a day pass. Its just not worth the money to stay over night. And besides my daughter was only 3 weeks old. She couldnt swim, all she did was sleep. I'm going to wait until she is big enough to enjoy the whole park. Also, the park is too big to keep up with your kids. Wait til you feel comfortable letting yor kids out of your site. Perhaps when they are about 12 or so. Jacob ran ahead of us and it took 4 adults almost an hour to find him. For younger kids I would suggest Ray's Splash Planet in Charlotte. It is smaller, cheaper, just as fun, and you can stand in one place and keep an eye on all your kids.

After a month Brian had to go back to work. I took him to the bus station and he was off. I didn't know when I would see him again.

My plan was to move back in with my parents. Brian said that I could move to his house but I thought that I wouldn't beable to do it alone and that I would need help.

Lets just say, 24 hrs after being at my parents, I went back to Brian's house.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End of the Pregnancy Race

The thing about being pregnant is that you are like a ticking time bomb without a timer. I mean, you are given a "due date" which in my case ment nothing.

I was at almost 37 weeks when I went to my last doctors appointment. It was suppose to be the doctors appt before I had to start going every week. That following week I was suppose to make out my birth plan.

I measured at 3 cm and 80% thinned. I was exstatic. But every told me that it could still take weeks for me to go into labor. The next day at work I worked from 7 am to 2 pm then they had a babyshower for me. After that I went to my neices birthday party. By the end of the day I was so ready to get home and get off my feet. My this point in my pregnancy I was hurting. My back and feet were sore, I had gained 6 lbs in two weeks, and Gretchen was still kicking the crap out of me. I was ready to have her but at the same time not ready.

Brian wasn't at home. I still had 3 weeks to go and he wouldn't be home for 2 weeks. Our awesome plan was for him to be home a week before my due date and be home for a month. I knew that there would be a chance that he would miss the birth but what if he had come home and then I end up being 2 weeks late? Then he would be on the road and miss it anyways.

So obviously plan one didn't work so on to plan 2. Instead of having Brian my mom and two sisters were in the room. Which for the most part was ok. Now years later we can look back and tell Gretchen how 3 amazing women helped deliver her.

I went into the labor the following Sunday night after my last doctors appointment. I was in bed trying to sleep but keep feeling this pain in my left side. I called Brian and told him that I thought it was time. He convinced me that I needed to get to the hospital immediately so I could get an epideral. Haha I will never listen to a man again on that part. I mean, they don't know what labor is like. But I had to go wake my parents up to take me. I was afraid to wake them, what if it was a false alarm. I kept going in and out of there room waiting to get my nerve up to wake them. Finally woke them up and then it was caos. It was caos on my part because I didn't have a bag ready. Ha ha, normally I am ready for everything but not this. Maybe it was my way of being in deniel that I was even ever going to go into labor. Instead I would just be pregnant forever.

So, long story short. I get to the hospital, they hook me up, give me an epideral at some point,break my water, then my labor stops. What the.... I knew it could happen but seriously this wasn't a good time for it to just stop right. For a second I thought this was great. I could go home and go to bed, cause at this point I had been up over 24 hrs and was exhausted, and then Brian could come home and just try this again later. Well, my sister laughed and had to remind me that they had give me an epideral and broke my water so I had no choice but to stay and have a baby. So they started my labor back up with pitosin but then it started to effect her heart rate so they stopped it again, but a monitor on her head inside of me, and they started it back but did it every slowly. I didn't really notice anything, I was feeling fine except being tired.

Finally hours later I felt alot of pressure on me. I thought I needed to do a #2 or something. I wanted to get up and go to the bathroom. Well I need to poop then. My sis Annie went and got the nurse and she came in and checked me. I was completely dialated and thinned. Oh so it was a baby trying to get out of me that caused the pressure, that makes sense.

So I start the pushing process, Dr Sobalavic finally comes in. He came in twice actually, the first time he forgot his glasses. Hell, is he that blind that he can't see a 7 lbs baby coming out of my you know what. At that point I started crying and told my mom that he wasn't taking this seriouslly and that he was going to leave her in me. Shit I was hurting. I had stopped pressing my epideral button. Hell I had other things on my mind and they told me it would help me feel my contractions. So anyways, I push, have an episiotomy, and Bamm. In a split second I went fromm being pregnant to not pregnant ; from being a nobody to being the greatest thing in the world, a Mom. 37 weeks of pregnancy, 12 hrs of labor, 45 minutes of pushing, and I got a beautiful baby girl.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finding out I was Preggo

Where does this story begin? I guess at conception, whenever that was. I'm guessing somewhere in the first half of December of 2008. No I won't go in to details on how she was concieved. But it had to be before December 15 be Brian left going on the road with his new trucking job. He was going to be gone for 6 weeks. I had been staying with him at his house so when he left I went back to my parents to stay.

Around the beginning of January I started feeling exhausted all the time. I filling in at work on third shift for someone so I though it was my body not being used to the change. I also figured that perhaps I was anemic and was about to start my period. Well, my period never came. I went to Wal-Mart to get a pregnancy test just to make sure. I literally thought that it would come up negative and then I would start my period the next day. Wrong! The first test I didn't really know what it said. It was like a combo of positive and negative. Thats what I get from buying a cheapo at Wal-Mart. I called my sister Annie freaking out. We went back to Wal-Mart and got another test. This time it came up positive.

Woohoo I'm pregnant. But Brian was God knows where in the middle of the USA and wouldn't be back for 2 more weeks. He already know I was late so I couldn't keep it from him. How romantic, telling your boyfriend that you are pregnant over the phone.

I hated having to go to the health department and gettng on medicaid. I always said that I wouldn't be on welfare and look. On the bright side I am grateful cause it has kept me out of serious medical debt but going to the health department is just horrible. If I ever have another baby I will find a mid wife with a nice comfy office that reminds me of home.

Ok, maybe the health dept is horrible. I mean, the women there were for the most parent every helpful and caring. It was the atmosphere that makes you hate it. You go to this crowded office with tons of other preggers and alot of yelling kids. Maybe its a way of getting used to what is about to come. But I hate going to the doctor and spending hours of my time waiting just to see the doctor for 10 minutes.

It took me two weeks to tell my parents. We'll I didn't exactly tell them. They already knew. I got up early one morning when my dad was getting ready for work. There we were standing in the kitchen and I looked at him and started crying. He hugged me and said that he knew. You knew? How did you know? I guess since they are my parents and can just sense something. My mom said that since I was sleeping almost all the time and being all quiet and secretive that she could tell. Fortunately my parents were so excited. Woohoo grandbaby #7.

Moving on...

So, at 9 weeks Brian was home and he went with me to have an ultrasound to determine my true due day since I couldn't remember when my last period was and they were saying that I was 6 weeks further along then I actually was.

Seeing my little baby and hearing the heart beat was so surreal. I mean, it made the pregnancy real. I could see and hear this little thing that was growing inside of me. At 9 weeks she looked like a peanut with arms and legs. I got so tickled cause I could see her kicking her little legs. I look at the pictures now and just melt knowing that that was my precious little girl.

I had morning sickness from 6 weeks until 12 weeks. I couldn't take my prenatals or brush my teeth without getting sick. I lost 6 lbs due to that and the fact that I was scared to eat cause I knew I would get sick. The over the counter med , enulose I think its called helped some and switching me from the large minerally prenatals to flintstone vitamins helped the most.

For the most part my pregnancy was average. I'm saying this cause I knew it could have been alot worse. I went to the doctor every month and always got terrific reports. I didn't have blood pressure problems or gestatioanl diabets. I was gaining weight but not too much so I was the right size. They told me I needed to gain about 25 lbs. I thought that since I had lost 6 lbs that this would play to my advantage cause I would beable to get back to my normal size quicker after dilivery. Oh no, they also was you to gain that back as well plus the 25 lbs. I have always obcessed about my weight so gaining weight tortured me.

I experience everything that the book What to expect when your expecting said i would. Nausea, constipation, constant urge to pee, the works. It seemed to me that while you are pregnant you can experience every illment known to man. When someone at work or in my family would comment about their health I would say "Oh yeah? Are you pregnant?"

Around April I found out what I was having. Brian was home for my original appointment but it got canceled due to the techician having a death in the family. I was devestated. I wanted him there so much. I hated to fact that I was going to have to tell him over the phone cause I knew I wouldn't beable to keep it a secret from him for a month til he came back home. Everyone in my famiy offered to go with me. But I still wanted Brian to be the first other than me to know what it was.

For some reason I swore I was having a boy. Boy Boy Boy! Thats all I could think about. When the technician told me she was a girl I was surprise and kept asking if she was sure. Dr. Sobalivic guarnteed me that he was 99.9% sure she was a girl.

Oh Girl!