Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nine Months Old

Dear Will,

Oh my gosh. This is so overdue. Upon this writing, you are nearly 10 months old. The primary reason for the delay: You. Are. So. Busy.

You can no longer be bothered to sit still. You are everywhere all the time, and you're not even really crawling yet! You have a pretty effective "army crawl" that will get you just about anywhere you need to be. You throw one arm and shoulder forward and push ahead with the opposite knee. You move pretty quickly already, so I can't imagine how I'll keep up with you when you figure out that you can move on your hands and knees.

In addition to (sort-of) crawling, you love to jump. You literally jump all day long. On Mama's lap, on the floor, in your exersaucer, in the jumper, wherever. If there's any sort of lull in activity, you fill that space with jumping. You love it. Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump.

You're eating a more balanced rainbow of colors now. New favorites for this month include beets and blueberries. But your tried and true favorites of bananas, pumpkin, squash, pears, apples, carrots, mangoes and spinach still persist. We introduced yogurt this month, which you also adore. You will eat an entire carton in one sitting and would easily eat more. You also enjoy your puffs and are getting quite good at feeding yourself. In fact, I think it's about time we introduce some additional finger foods.

You continue to love music. We sing and listen to music all day long. Miss Patricia's CD is among your favorites. We constantly have it playing in the car. Our music class at Lawrence University is always one of the highlights of our week. You love to see your little friends and play with the instruments Miss Patricia brings.

You stand quite well while holding on to things now, and you're just beginning to pull yourself up on furniture. Sometimes you have trouble gripping edges, but if we put our fingers where you need to grasp, you manage to hold on tight enough to pull yourself up. Sometimes your leg gets stuck underneath you and you can't quite figure out how to get up. But when you succeed, you are so proud of yourself. And we're so proud of you too.

Somewhere in the last month you morphed into an exceptional napper. Naps have never been your strong suit. Even when you started sleeping through the night, you only managed to take two 30 minute naps a day. But lately, I can count on you to nap for an hour or two straight. I don't even know what to do with all that free time!

This marks month three in your helmet. You're doing great in it, and we're seeing really good progress. We're nearing the end of treatment, which we're all really excited for. I can't wait to be able to kiss your sweet little baby head whenever I want.

You continue to light up my life. I love you so much.



Monday, May 30, 2011

I Love A Parade!

We had a great Memorial Day today! Will experienced his first parade and went swimming in the "wimmy pool" (kiddy pool) at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Of course I have photos of none of this, which I'm kicking myself for now. But it was a lovely weekend with friends and family. Welcome, summer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5 A Day Books: Week 4

5 a day books

We love the 5 A Day Books Challenge at the Imagination Tree! Posting a few days late, but here's what we're reading this week...

Bouncing rhyme and fun, colorful illustrations. One of Will's new favorites!

Silly copy and fun illustrations. Probably geared more toward toddlers,
but I'm trying to introduce new food-related books as Will starts eating more.

Will loves this nursery rhyme, and the illustrations are darling.

Classic Monet paintings set to bouncing rhyme. So cool!

We had so much fun with Sandra Boynton last week, that I wanted to give
another one of her books a try! This one is about dinosaurs and opposites.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oh, Hi There!

Sorry for my absence in the past week. I've been a little busy what with wrapping up my graduate class and buying a house. Not to mention the freelance assignments I just picked up. Because why would I ever want to just relax?

On the housing front, our home inspection went great. Slightly elevated levels of radon, which the seller will have to fix before closing. But the house is solid. And oh so cute. I can't wait to move in!

Too bad moving requires packing. I'm majorly dragging my feet on the packing front. But I only have four weeks to box up five years, three bedroom and two bathroom worth of stuff. So it's probably time to get started.

Any packing tips or moving tricks? We need all the help we can get.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The New York Times Well Blog recently ran a six-word "Momoir" contest, in which readers submitted their best six-word memoir to describe their mother or motherhood. Many are funny, others sad, but most are spot-on accurate. It got me thinking about what my own "momoir" would be... for myself and for my own mom.

For my mom: I couldn't do it without you.
For Will: You're the light of my life.

If you had to sum it up, what would your six-word "momoir" be?

Monday, May 16, 2011

5 A Day Books: Week 3

5 a day books

I love being part of the 5 A Day Books Challenge over at the Imagination Tree. You should check it out and link up too!

Getting to the library every week with Will has been awesome. We used to go to an early literacy program for pre-walkers (stories, songs and socialization), but it's on a 6 week hiatus until mid-June. So having another reason to get to the library is great. And I just love introducing new books into our reading rotation. I can literally recite Will's favorites by heart, so a change of pace is good for both of us.

This week we're reading...

Barnyard animals have a square dance. Simple, silly and fun.
We read Goodnight, Moon every night, so I thought we'd give another book
by Margaret Wise Brown a try. This one chronicles how the world wakes up
before the children rise and shine. Unique language (not the stuff you usually
get in a children's book) and stunning illustrations.
 I'm a sucker for any Daddy books. Simple, repetitive text and "expressionist"
animal illustrations. Very sweet and affirming content.

Will had so much fun with Quack, Quack last week that I wanted to pick up
another book in the Begin Smart series. This one plays peek-a-boo.

Can you tell Will's into peek-a-boo right now? Karen Katz does playful,
colorful illustrations and each page has a peek-a-boo flap forbaby to discover and play.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'm so, so, so happy to report that Ben and I got the house we wanted!

If I could make out with a house, it would be this one.

Things were looking a bit dicey there for a while... the seller's were playing hard ball and there was another buyer potentially in the mix. We're paying slightly more than we wanted to for it, but it's a great house in the perfect location. It's basically move in ready, minus needing a fence for Stella and paint in Will's room (currently pink). The decor is a little bland right now, but as a dear friend put it, "I can't wait to see you Sam that place up!" Right on.

Here's a few shots from the MLS site. Sorry they're such low resolution. Hopefully I can snap some better shots at the home inspection next week.

Dining room. They have a chair in there, which we think is weird.
But we love the fire place! The chairs you see in the foreground
are for the kitchen island.
Kitchen. We'll eventually upgrade to black or stainless appliances,
maybe new countertops and a tile back splash.
Living room. Does the fireplace look familiar? It's a two way fireplace
between the dining room and the living room. Love!

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Helmet Design

I'm part of this awesome Facebook support group for moms of kids with plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. One of my fellow group members has her own vinyl design business and has started offering helmet stickers since her kiddo began cranial remolding.

Although I still have a design to use from Bling Your Band, I just couldn't wait to get these on Will. Super cute!

Dinosaurs and dino prints... love!
The back reads "Brachy-saurus"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Food For Thought

‎"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankrolls smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for." (Anonymous)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So Busy

Will's an incredibly busy boy, and he's not even fully crawling yet! He definitely can't be bothered to sit still for photo shoots anymore.

Oh, you want to take a picture of me in this darling ensemble?

Wait, what's this over here?

Bye bye!

Monday, May 9, 2011

5 A Day Books: Week 2

5 a day books

Last week, I joined the 5 A Day Books Challenge at the Imagination Tree. I'm so excited about this project for so many reasons. I love any early literacy opportunities I can provide for Will, and it's a great excuse to get us to the library every week. You're never too young to love books!

Here's what we're reading this week...

Sweet illustrations and short, charming rhymes. 
Colorful illustrations and lively bouncing rhyme.
A nod to Will's Grandpa (he's a train engineer).
Photographs of babies from around the world with simple, cheerful text.
Photographs of children as they play, explore and learn with their hands.
Bright illustrations with corresponding animal sounds.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My very first Mother's Day

Wow! I must say that Mother's Day is simply awesome. Ben spoiled me rotten with breakfast in bed and a beautiful card. I got lots of baby snuggles and didn't have to change a diaper all day. Now that's a gift!

I know this is Mother's Day, but I made it a point to tell Ben that I would not be a good mother without a good father. While it's nice to have the spotlight for a day, we are a team and I could not walk this road without him.

I found myself reflecting quite a bit today. On my first year as a mother, my own mom, and what I want for my child. Not that we should need a special day to do that, but life gets in the way sometimes. It's good just to slow down and take a moment to appreciate what really matters.

Much love to my incredible family. And thank you for a memorable first Mother's Day!

Breakfast (and baby toys) in bed. If you look closely, you can see my
Mother's Day flowers on the left!
Yep, that's Will and I on the card. Awwww!
We had a beautiful day!
Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Yippee! We accepted an offer on our house today. So excited!

We were only on the market for about a month, so we're thrilled to have sold so quickly. We close on our current property on June 30, which is a bit of a bummer since it means we'll have to leave our Door County vacation a few days early. But in real estate, you gotta do what you gotta do. Besides we're so pumped to move on and get a new place!

We have about 7 weeks until closing, and no new house picked out yet. Time to get looking!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Unsolicited Advice (Sorry, Amy)

My friend Amy is in her third trimester and the poor dear keeps getting tons of unsolicited advice from me. Amy, I'm so sorry. It's just that I've been on this baby island alone for so long, I feel the need to impart my wisdom anywhere and everywhere I can.

So when I came across this post by Laura at My Thoughts - Uninterrupted, I just had to share. Her insights are spot on. I will, however, add the following...

1) No stage lasts forever. I know it feels like you will never sleep again and the baby will never, ever stop fussing. But trust me, they grow out of it. Even Will, who was seriously sleep challenged and unbelievably colicky, has transformed into an excellent sleeper with a sweet and silly disposition. So do the best you can to weather each storm as it comes. This too shall pass.

2) Breastfeeding is hard. This was easily the most shocking part of new motherhood for me. Breastfeeding is really hard! No one old me that my nipples would be so sore that it would hurt to wear a bra, or that without the right latch they would crack and bleed, or that nursing could take up to an hour. I wholeheartedly believe in breastfeeding. In fact, I wish Will and I could have done it longer. But if you want to breastfeed, make sure you have a ton of support - from your partner, your friends, a lactation consultant, a local La Leche League group, wherever. Just get people behind you that are sympathetic to the challenges and want you to succeed.

3) Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is way easier said than done, I know, but seriously. You need to sleep when the baby sleeps. At least in the beginning. Laundry and dishes and vacuuming can wait. Just lay down in your bed when the baby is sleeping. Even if you're reading a magazine or watching TV. Just physically lay down and let yourself rest. The baby will be up at 3:00 AM before you know it, and you'll be glad you took moments to rest during the day.

4) Join a group for new moms. For the same reason you need breastfeeding support, you also need new mom support. And while your friends with kids know what you're going through, it's super important to make friends who are actually going through it with you. I attended a moms club at a local hospital after Will was born. Not only did it give me somewhere to be during the week (bonus!), but it also allowed me to make friends with moms who had kids around Will's age. Because though your friend/sister/cousin/co-worker with kids gets it, you need people in your life who are actually living the same stage as you.

5) It's OK to need a breather. At the height of Will's colic our pediatrician told me, "Babies don't cry to death. When it's getting to be too much, it's OK to put him down and take a breather." I only had to do this once, but it was nice to know that it was an option. When you can't take it anymore, put the baby somewhere safe (crib, bassinet, pack and play, etc) and take 5 minutes to just breathe. The baby will be fine while you pull yourself together. Cry, blast music on your iPod, take a quick shower, whatever. Just know it's OK to need a break, even if that means the baby cries (safely) for a few minutes.

6) Don't get obsessed with developmental milestones. I read the following by an early-childhood education expert... "Children are like popcorn. They all pop, just at different times." Every kid is unique. An average is an average because there are kids on both sides of the spectrum. I actually got rid of my What To Expect the First Year book. Will was often late on many of their milestone dates, which led me to panic about his development. Yes, you need to be aware of where your child is so you can intervene early if there are problems. And yes, you should discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. But don't freak if your kid doesn't meet milestones exactly when the book says they will. You know your child better than a book. Let them develop at their own pace.

That's my two cents. How 'bout it mamas? Any other recommendations you'd like to share?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No, actually. But your insensitivity is mind-boggling.

You may remember this post from earlier this year, in which someone told me that Will's flat head was my fault and I cried in the car. Yeah, that sucked.

There are a lot of misconceptions about brachycephaly, including that it's caused by parental neglect. People assume that this condition happens because parents don't hold their children enough, restrict them to a swing/car seat, etc. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Most people are awesome about Will's helmet. They comment on how cute he is (naturally), how much he seems to like it (he's a champ), and that he must be a Badger fan (well, yeah). Some people avert their eyes or tell their children not to stare. And others are just plain rude. Thankfully, those experiences have been few and far between. But unfortunately I had another one this week.

We were checking out at Walgreen's yesterday when the little girl behind us asked her mother, "why does that baby have that?"

To which the mother replied, "because his parents didn't hold him enough."

Now I've come a long way since the initial incident at the grocery store. Both in terms of my own acceptance and understanding of Will's condition. So I took it upon myself to educate this horribly rude woman, right there in line at Walgreen's.

"Hi, this is Will," I said as I turned around with a smile. "He's almost nine months old."

Then I looked at the mother and said, "He's a beautiful, curious, busy little boy. I am a good parent and an attentive mother. I didn't do anything to cause this. Just like you, I want the world for my child."

She fumbled with her words, clearly embarrassed that I had overheard her (but duh, we were literally two feet from her). So I said to the little girl, "It looks like you have a nice round head. Baby Will's head is too flat, so he's wearing this helmet to make his head look round like yours."

To which she replied, "does it hurt?"

"No," I said. "It doesn't hurt."

"Does he have hair?" she asked.

"A little," I said with a smile. "He gets more every day."

"That's good. Hair's really important."

"That's true!" I said with a laugh. "You have beautiful hair."

The mother still hadn't managed to form any sort of coherent sentence to me, so I wished the little girl a nice day, paid the cashier and left.

This woman's insensitivity is still mind-boggling to me. But it affirms how important it is for Ben and I to model appropriate behaviors for Will. He's learning from us every day, so we have to be the people we want him to be. We have to show kindness, compassion and respect. We have to reserve judgement and give others the benefit of the doubt. We have to stand up for ourselves, and not let the actions of others tear us down.

We have to be the best we can be. Perhaps even better than we thought was possible. It's a tall order, but Will's the ultimate motivator.

Monday, May 2, 2011

5 A Day Books: Week 1

5 a day books

I recently came across the 5-A-Day Books Challenge from the Imagination Tree. I love this idea for so many reasons. Not only does it promote early literacy, but the link list at the bottom of the host blog allows me to get book ideas from other moms/teachers. Win/win!

We read a lot of the same books every day (Goodnight Moon, Flip Flap Fly, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Bear Snores On, among others), so I'm going to try and use the 5-A-Day Challenge for new books not generally in our rotation. This week we're reading...

Very sweet book about opposites and unconditional love

Bright, simple pictures with English words and their Spanish counterparts

Each monster has patches of different textures to touch and feel

The bird in the center is a finger puppet!

Fun take on peek-a-boo with simple text and bright illustrations

I'd love your suggestions on any books we should be reading. We'll be taking weekly trips to the library to support this endeavor and would greatly appreciate some inspiration!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Day in the Life

I love posts from other moms about what their days with babies look like. So here's a look at a typical day at our house...

Will - 8 Months Old

6:30 AM: Will wakes up. I usually let him babble in his crib for a bit, then swoop in for a good morning kiss.

6:45 AM: Bottle. Will takes 6-8 oz a feeding. This is usually his quickest bottle, since he hasn't eaten in about 12 hours.

7:00 AM: Diaper change. Will loves to watch his plane mobile above his changing table and put his toes into his mouth. While we're up in his room, we usually read a few books before heading back downstairs.

7:15 AM: Playtime! Will loves to be musical in the morning, so we typically play with his jingle ball, drum and shaker. We sing lots of songs from music class and play with finger puppets.

8:00 AM: Breakfast. Will starts with puffs, then usually has 2 tablespoons of oatmeal and 3-4 tablespoons of fruit. If he's really hungry, he'll have another couple tablespoons of fruit after he finishes his first bowl.

8:30 AM: Playtime in the high chair. I clean him up and give him a toy, while I tidy up the kitchen.

8:45 AM: Reading and singing. Before nap time, we always wind down with a few books and a couple of soft songs.

9:00 AM: Nap time. Ah, bliss. Mama enjoys her coffee while Will snoozes. This is his longest nap of the day, and usually the easiest to get him down for.

10:30 AM: Wake up and eat. Will takes another 6-8 oz bottle after he wakes up.

11:00 AM: Get dressed. Will gets a diaper change after his bottle and we both get dressed for the day.

11:30 AM: Playtime! Now that the weather is nicer, we'll usually take a walk or play outside at this time. Will loves the stroller, and Mama likes to get out of the house for a bit, so it's a win/win.

12:30 PM: Lunch. More puffs and purees. Mama usually also eats around this time, while Will plays in his high chair.

1:30 PM: Another nap. This one is hit or miss. He usually goes down eventually, but it can take some coaxing to convince him that he's tired (trust me, he is). We usually read books and sing songs in his room to help him settle down.

2:30 PM: Bottle. This one's usually a little lighter, around 6 oz.

3:00 PM: More playtime! This usually includes a lot of books.

4:30 PM: Snack. Usually puffs and finger foods. Maybe a couple bites of applesauce or fruit.

5:00 PM: Daddy gets home! Will and Daddy play on the floor while Mama starts dinner. If the weather is still nice, we'll all take Stella for a walk. I love walking the four of us around our neighborhood!

6:30 PM: Last bottle of the day. We try and get him to take 8 oz, but sometimes he only wants 6 oz. Will dropped his middle of the night feeding on his own several months ago, so this is his last bottle until he wakes up in the morning.

7:00 PM: Start bedtime routine. At our house, it goes: bath, jammies, book, lullaby, bed. We read "Goodnight Moon" every night, and I sing "Beautiful Boy" and "Hush Little Baby" before I lay him down. He still likes a pacifier to fall asleep, and has a bedtime blanket that he's very fond of.

7:30 PM: Will's in bed and (hopefully) sleeping. He isn't really fussy at bedtime anymore, but sometimes he babbles and rolls around in his crib for awhile.

That's a day in our life! What does your day with a little one look like?