Thursday, March 26, 2015

Things I Do While the Baby is Napping

Spend several minutes staring in wonder at my child. Tear up at the miracle of life that I have created. Panic when he stirs, and exhale with relief when I realize he just had to fart and is still asleep.
Lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling, and wonder at the marvel of silence.
Explore feelings of guilt for not doing anything worthwhile with this stolen time. Wonder at all the strands of hair on the carpet. Is my hair falling out?
Debate making dinner, cleaning, or otherwise being productive, but decide instead to see what the Kardashians have been up to.
Call my mom to brag that the baby is napping, and to prove that I am not.
Consider exercising. Open the back bedroom closet and stare at my hand weights. Consider cleaning out the back bedroom closet. Close the door, pretend the encounter did not happen, and turn on Ellen.
Wander to the fridge. Sigh deeply upon realizing a pizza or pan of brownies has not magically appeared since I last checked. Return to the floor and lie there staring lovingly at the video monitor.
Go through photos on my phone from three years ago and wonder at how skinny and happy I look. Vow to work out tomorrow while the baby is napping.
Frantically use my phone to check social media, emails and text messages in an attempt to reconnect with reality.

Make a bullet pointed list on my phone about how to be a better, more productive mother tomorrow.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

When did it become so hard to get pregnant?

Guest Post by Cailin Bundrick

Women spend so much of their lives trying not to get pregnant, that you'd think it was as simple as one ravenous session in the sack to impregnate a woman. Afraid not. I myself have used birth control pills, condoms, a diaphragm and an IUD to prevent pregnancy.

Want to know all the things I've done to try and get pregnant in the past five months? I've tracked my cycle, peed on sticks DAILY to determine if I'm ovulating, consulted my doctor, considered drugs to force ovulation and, of course, had sex A LOT. We've done it with me on top, him on top, from behind... I'll spare you the gory details, but you name it, we've tried it. We've done it every other day (as doctor recommended), every day, when we're sick, when we're tired, when we're drunk, when we're bored, when we're horny, when we're fighting, whenever, wherever. And yet, once again, the test read 'not pregnant' this month.

Every time I see that one sad, lonely pink line, I want to scream. I want to cry, and usually do. I want to give up. I'm not sure how much more disappointment I can take.

Don't get me wrong. I know there are women who have struggled to get pregnant much longer than me. There are women who have put themselves through sheer torture, injecting themselves with fertilization drugs and enduring disappointment and let down for years to have children they can call their own.

I am fortunate to have a beautiful little girl already. She is my world, and I thank God for her everyday, even on the days that her 2-year-old attitude has pushed me to my limit. If I can't get pregnant again, at least I have known what it was like to give birth, to hold a brand new baby in my arms and on my breast, to rock her to sleep, to stay up all night listening to her scream, to give her sweet kisses and to receive slobbery ones back. I am a mom, the only job I ever REALLY wanted.

But it is because I've known these things that I am so desperate to have them again. I've wanted them for some time now. Before my husband was sure he wanted to do it all again. Which is why when he got on board, I was so eager to start trying. We've been at it for five months, but I've been wanting this for more like a year and five months.

I want my daughter to have a playmate before she is already in school. I want to have a baby before I reach that scary age of 35 when risks start increasing. I want another baby. I don't want to deal with the potential wait and heartbreak associated with adoption, especially after the disappointment of not being able to get pregnant on my own.

But adoption is an option. Originally, it was the plan. Have one, adopt one. Then I realized how expensive it was to adopt, and it seemed like if we could have children on our own, perhaps it made more financial sense to do that. I guess it's just the thought that I might not be able to make another baby that makes me feel like a failure. And the endless number of pregnant women around me doesn't help. I don't begrudge them their baby-baking experiences. I'm happy for them. But let's be honest, I'm jealous too.

Finding someone to talk to about this experience is almost as difficult as the experience itself. Everyone wants to offer advice and their two cents. They want to help. But instead, they just make it worse. What worked for you might not work for me. Every woman is different, just like every child is different. And the worst is when they can't relate at all because all they have to do is look at their significant other, and they get pregnant. Gag! My husband keeps reminding me of my own words: "Things will happen when they are meant to." I told him I wish I'd never uttered the words to him.

So if you are struggling to get pregnant, just know you're not alone. I promise not to offer advice about things you've likely already tried, or words of encouragement because if you are anything like me, they will fall on deaf ears. But you're not alone. Sometimes, that's all the comfort you need.

About the Author
Cailin Bundrick is a stay at home mom to 2-year-old daughter Charlie. She lives in Maple Valley, Wash., with her husband, daughter and two dogs, Tinker and Brian. She has a journalism degree from Western Washington University, and worked as a reporter and editor for community newspapers in Kentucky, Florida and Illinois. She also worked in sales and property management before becoming a domestic goddess. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling and selling jewelry as an Independent Designer for Origami Owl. This is the first of what she hopes to be many guest blog posts for Life as Always.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Ryder... Ten Months

Dear Ryder,

Life has continued to fly by, and once again another month has passed.

It's hard to believe that now you have been outside in the world longer than you were ever inside with me. But every single day with you is better and better as you grow, change, and learn.

You are really on the move these days! Last month we had to put a gate at the top of the stairs so you wouldn't inadvertently go tumbling down. This month you learned how to climb UP the stairs, which means we had to put another gate at the bottom as well. It's kind of funny to watch you behind the gates, which you love to pull yourself up on... little monkey.

I also often find you standing up in your crib now when you wake up. It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago you couldn't even hold up your own head.

Now that you're on the go so much more you're starting to thin out a bit and lose some of that extra baby chub. I kind of miss your little baby thunder thighs. Your disinterest in nursing has continued, mostly because you're too excited and distracted by toys and activities to be bothered with it. Unless we do it in a quiet, calm place we're not very successful anymore. You jerk your head away at the slightest noise or movement -- so curious about the world!

Alternately, you absolutely love feeding yourself. Each meal is a new adventure as you navigate new flavors and textures. We've introduced quite a few new solids, and blueberries are your absolute favorite!

We did give you a taste of lemon while we were at brunch one morning, and I think you've finally forgiven us for that little adventure. Tee hee.

Possibly as payback, you've now learned to spit your food, which hasn't been the most fun game I've ever played...

And you seem to want to taste everything, whether it's edible or not.

You have three teeth now -- two on the bottom and one on the top. I keep waiting for that other front tooth to come through... In the meantime you kind of look like a baby hillbilly.

You have bazillions of toys, but of course the things that are most exciting to you are random household items. Deprived of the door stops and night lights, you've moved on to the lower shelves of closets and bottom drawers. And if I look away for a moment, it doesn't take long before you're into something you shouldn't be. We have to make sure and watch you very carefully!

When we do catch you in a mischievous act and remove the forbidden item from your reach, you'd think the entire world was ending. You have extremely strong objections to being told that something isn't yours, and you aren't afraid to express this verbally with reaching and shrieking, sobbing and tears. Luckily, you're pretty easily distracted.

You are fascinated by the world around you and how things work. One morning I watched as you opened and closed a door over and over again, marveling at your own ingenuity.

You continue to love music, and bop to the beat of almost any song or musical toy. And you sure do love Daddy's guitar!

Playing with Daddy continues to be one of your favorite pastimes. I'm not sure what the two of you do all day together, but you're in a great mood most days when I come home from work.

When you're not with Daddy and I'm working, you love playing at the neighbors' house for the day. You've learned to anticipate that when I pick up your striped bag it means we're heading next door, and you immediately start to smile and bounce in my arms. It sometimes makes me a little sad that you're so excited to be away from home, but it also gives my heart so much peace to know that you are happy and loved by someone else when I can't be there myself.

You love being outside, and we are lucky enough to have a 16-acre park right across the street from our house. We try to take you over there as often as the weather cooperates, and this month you were old enough to try swinging for the first time. It was love at first push...

And you were a big fan of some of the other toys as well.

You also went on your first bike ride using the trailer that Nana and Grandpa got you for Christmas.

We had a few big events this month...

Your first Valentine's Day!
You made Daddy a very special card, and also received your very first Valentine from Great Grandma Sally.

Daddy's Annual Firefighter Award Banquet
 You were such a good boy for this event -- out way past your bedtime, but behaved yourself like an absolute angel.

Your First Haircut! 
We took you to a kid's salon in Bellevue and you got to sit in a fire truck chair and play with toys while the nice lady cut your unruly locks into something a little more neat. 

You still aren't sleeping through the night, but we've decided that Crying It Out isn't an option for us, and instead we're working through it together. I just keep reminding myself that these years when you so desperately need me are going to fly by, and I need to cherish these secret midnight snuggles.

Luckily, you're napping on a consistent basis -- one morning and one afternoon nap that are each 1-2 hours. You're still taking naps in your swing, which will have to stop eventually, but it's still working great for the time being.

You pull at your eyelashes when you're tired, and usually fall quickly to sleep at bedtime and spend about half the night in your crib.

But most nights you usually end up in our bed at one point or another. We don't advocate co-sleeping per se, but as I mentioned, I honestly don't mind these middle of the night cuddles, because one day they'll be gone for good.

You are beginning to change from a baby into a big boy before our eyes, and it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Keep learning and growing, my sweet angel! 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Calling All Mommy Bloggers

Being a parent isn't as glamorous as I once thought it would be.

It's scary, disgusting, and overwhelming. And some days I wonder why the hell I ever went and got myself knocked up in the first place.

Being a mom might be the hardest job in the world. It's thankless and exhausting, and every day presents new challenges and opportunities to learn how to be a better parent.

So some days (in lieu of showering) I sit down in my spit up-covered yoga pants and reflect on this incredible journey.
And I know I'm not alone.
Mommies, I invite you to share your wisdom!
Some of my creepier followers loyal readers may have already noticed that I added a Parenting section to my blog a while back. Here you can find links to my favorite posts about pregnancy, and subsequent life with a tiny human.
Would you be interested in contributing your stories as well?
Maintaining a blog is a huge time suck (don't I know it!) but writing, sharing, and discussing the trials and tribulations of parenthood can be incredibly therapeutic.
So here's your chance!
Pregnancy // Childbirth // Baby Issues // Being A New Mom // Relationships // Confessions
Tell me all about it.
If you're interested in writing a Parenting guest post for Life As Always, please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to feature you.
I'm really looking forward to everything we can learn from each other. 
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Would You Do With An Extra $100?

I've become extremely frugal in my old age. At least when it comes to buying things for myself. Don't get me wrong -- I can drop several hundred dollars on trendy baby clothes at Carter's, and I've become a pro at ordering furniture and other household goods online. But that stuff is for us, not me.
When I choose to buy something special, like a pair of boots or new slacks for work, I obsess about it for weeks. I search the internet for sales and coupons, and continually come up with excuses as to why I don't really need said item. Because who cares if my bra has holes in it? It goes under my clothes. Eventually, I get up the nerve to ask Stew if I can purchase the item that I'm obsessing over, because you know -- it's our money. And of course he responds that he doesn't care, and to buy whatever I want. But the guilt, the guilt, of selfishly buying something for only myself makes it so that I can't even enjoy the shiny new item.
This past weekend I went to Target to stockpile some essentials (we try to buy in bulk), like shampoo, toothpaste, mouth wash, lotion, deodorant, and razors. And I realized that we are spending an obscene amount of money on these expensive, but necessary, hygiene items.
By switching over to a company like Dollar Shave Club, not only can I save myself that trip to Target (with a tiny, screaming human in tow), I can also save us a bundle of money. And maybe next time I won't feel so guilty about buying those boots... Dollar Shave Club has amazing razors that are shipped right to your doorstep for as low as $1 a month.
By making this simple change, I can save us about $100.
I am already brainstorming what I might buy with my savings...
Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret. Have you guys seen this thing? It's basically magic. I have always wanted to wear my hair curly sometimes, but I am a disaster with a curling iron so years ago I basically gave up. This would be my dream come true!
Some bareMinerals makeup. I've been dying to try this stuff for years, but I just can't bring myself to splurge when the drugstore stuff tends to do the job.
A leisurely mani/pedi. I can't remember the last time I had one. Maybe back toward the beginning of my maternity leave. Before we got married I used to go every month, but these days it just seems like a selfish indulgence.
A new pair of running shoes. Even though I'm only running on the treadmill in our garage right now, I just feel like a cute pair of shoes would inspire me to exercise more. And there are so many new cute styles and colors out these days!
How would you guys spend an extra hundred bucks?
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dear Ryder... Nine Months

Dear Ryder,

Once again it seems like just yesterday I was writing your last monthly update, but here we are again. 

You continue to grow and change on a daily basis, and this month you conquered quite a few physical challenges.

Shortly after New Years, Daddy and I both came down with a horrible case of the stomach flu. Thankfully, you were spared this misery, but I quickly learned that two sick parents attempting to recover and take care of a small child at the same time is not an optimal situation.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as we recovered from the flu we were stricken by a horrible cold and cough. You picked this one up as well -- first a dry cough that didn't seem to bother you, and then a horrible wracking one that woke you in the night. Luckily you remained in fairly high spirits, although you were a little fussy and refused to eat almost anything but breast milk.

But with Daddy and I sick as well, and you spending almost every night in our bed (which is where I let you sleep when you don't feel good), all three of us were keeping each other up with the coughing fits, and after a few increasingly sleep deprived weeks, I sent you to the doctor with Daddy. Although you weren't diagnosed with bronchitis like Daddy, the doctor did prescribe you some antibiotics, which I administered with slight trepidation. Thankfully, your condition rapidly improved, and we are finally all feeling healthy again.

During the weeks that we were ill, my sleep deprivation got so intense that I became slightly worried for my own sanity. Nana to the rescue! As soon as she learned how much we were struggling, she came and whisked you away to her house overnight so Daddy and I could get some rest. She is an angel and someday I'll have to thank her for saving our marriage.

You sit up well by yourself now, and can finally get into a sitting position on your own from both your back and stomach. It shocked me the first time I found you sitting like that in your crib waiting for me. You began pushing yourself in kind of a backward crawl toward the beginning of the month, and within a few weeks (on 1/26/15 to be exact) you had figured out how to legitimately crawl. I squealed with delight the first time I saw it. This meant it was time to start childproofing, and out came the gate for the top of the stairs. You also use just about anything to pull yourself up into a standing position whenever you get the chance.

Door stops are pretty much your favorite thing in the entire house. You love to bat at them, yank on them, and pull the plastic caps off the ends -- which happen to be the exact same size and shape of your wind pipe. As a result of this discovery, all door stops were subsequently removed.

As soon as you were on the move, you honed in on everything dangerous within your reach. We had some baby proofing to do...

You are ridiculously strong and fast, grabbing anything and everything that's within your reach. Even beer. Go figure.

You have discovered your genitals, and enjoy yanking on them as hard as you can whenever you find yourself in your birthday suit. I'm a little worried that your pain receptors aren't working properly. 

You absolutely hate being put on your back for a diaper change. This is a fairly new development, and we have no idea why -- you used to love getting your diaper changed! I think perhaps you associate it with getting ready for bed, because you seem to hate sleep with a passion. Crazy kid.

We have a nightly bedtime routine that consists of changing into jammies, reading a book, having a bottle or nursing, and rocking to a background mix of songs that Daddy made for you. Typically you're asleep in my arms by around 7:00 p.m. and although I place you on your back to sleep, you prefer to roll over and sleep on your belly. You still sleep with a pacifier.

Before we all got sick you were really getting into a rhythm with your sleep patterns, but now all our hard work has gone out the window, and it seems we'll need to start from scratch. I just keep reminding myself to cherish these moments when you call for me to cuddle you in the middle of the night, because each day that passes, you need me a little less. That breaks my heart a bit, and I hold you a little closer in the dark.

Although I am still pumping and we nurse when I am home, breastfeeding has become challenging because you are just so dang distracted by the world. It's no longer possible to nurse you anywhere but a dim, quiet room. As for food, you definitely have your preferences. You basically flat out refuse any green vegetables in their pureed, jarred format (not that I blame you). We've come to realize that you seem to enjoy feeding yourself better than us spooning goo into your mouth, so we give you chunks of things like avocado, pear, broccoli, whole wheat bread, Cheerios, sweet potatoes or bananas on the tray of your high chair. It makes a mess, but you're slowly learning how to get more pieces into your mouth than down your front.

You also love eating socks.

You have entered a period of severe separation anxiety, bursting into tears when Daddy or I leave the room or you can't see us. You've also developed apprehension of strangers. These behaviors are simultaneously flattering and annoying.

At your checkup this month you weighed 20 pounds 1 ounce, and you are 27.76 inches tall.

Even though we weren't feeling great, we still took you on your first ski trip to White Pass. We love snowboarding, and Daddy was excited to take you on your first run in the front pack (even though it was just down the bunny hill). We also went on a snowshoe hike around a frozen lake.

Not feeling great, but still enjoying your first time snowshoeing.

Tragically, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl in one of the most heartbreaking game enders in the history of football. But you have been a 12 since before you were born, and we're excited to hit the ground running again next year.

Go Hawks!

Grandpa, Nana, and Auntie Nancy came up to watch you so Daddy and I could attend the Seahawks payoff games. You seemed to be good luck, my little Seahawk! At least until the end...

Our favorite Friday afternoon visitors, Cailin and Charlie, came to hang out again. The two of you continue to get along famously.

We got you a couple of new toys -- a basketball hoop game that you absolutely love, and an activity table that encourages you to pull up and "cruise." It's so much fun to watch you play!

I love to squish your chubby little hands, feet, and cheeks. I love to blow on your belly and make you squeal. I love to brush your hair off your forehead and plant a kiss between your clear blue eyes.

Your laughter is the most amazing sound I have ever heard.

Lately I find myself desperate to scoop you up, cuddle you, and kiss you at every opportunity. Maybe because as you become more and more mobile you also become less and less dependent on me, and it makes me crave your attention.

Don't grow up too fast, little boy! 

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