Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Wasn't Sleeping, I Swear!

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In 13 months, I have only had to wake Riley from sleeping one time.  It's a cardinal rule, isn't it?  Not to wake a sleeping baby? 

She is a consistent 12-hour-a-night sleeper, so by having her in bed and asleep by 7pm last night, I felt confident that she would wake up around 7am this morning.  By 7:10am I was completely ready for work, had everything she and I needed in the car, and even had the car started so it would be warm for our drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house. 

At 7:35am I told Kevin that I was going to have to wake her - I needed to get to work and didn't want her to be off schedule too badly today.  She is somewhat of a more sensitive sleeper, so I assumed she'd wake up as she heard us enter her room.  But she didn't.  Then I was sure that the sound of the zipper on her crib tent would wake her.  But it didn't.  So then Kevin and I started to gently rub her back.  She was so perfectly precious, lying on her belly, hugging her blankie tight.  And then ...  And then her eyes shot open and in one swift motion she grabbed blankie, pulled in her legs, and was standing straight at the edge of her crib with wide eyes, as if saying "I wasn't sleeping, I swear!  I'm late for school!".  It was definitely the type of comic relief I needed on a morning before work.  What a cutie.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Toilet paper, please!!

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Isn't it amazing what a change in energy can be made over just a couple of days?  For example, it's almost comical that a weekend that started out like this ...

... could end up in one like this:

Yes, that is a view into one of our bathrooms.  Everyone is fine ... the door is the true victim in the end.  Long story short, I was out for the night and Riley shut herself in the bathroom at lightening speed and pulled open a vanity drawer that kept the door from being able to be opened.  Thankfully, Kevin was smart in how he reacted, first drilling a 'peep hole' into the lower portion of the door (knowing where Riley was by the sounds of what she was doing, of course, and knowing he wouldn't harm her) so that he could keep tabs on her as he broke through the top portion of the door.

I am thrilled that I am able to chuckle at the smashed door, realizing how convenient it is to holler for toilet paper now.  "Toilet paper, please!"  This could have been a very different post and I thank the Lord that isn't the case.  I am also happy I haven't pushed so hard for those solid wood doors ... yet.  =)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Little Climber

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One of my birthday gifts from Kevin back in November was a membership to Gymboree for Riley and I. It was such a perfect, thoughtful gift. We love to take her to her weekly class and open gym times and watch her explore, play and climb around. She is very social with everyone and loves to jibber jabber to anyone who will listen. It's amazing to watch her begin to learn the routine and structure of the classes. She knows when she hears a tambourine rattle that the teacher is about to start a new activity. She knows that the large parachute means that it's bubble time. She heads for the same slide each week. The minute we enter the facility, she knows exactly where to go to enter the play area and reaches at the door. It's such a joy for Kevin and I each week.

Her climbing skills have accelerated at a ridiculous speed over this past month. It was the difference of night and day between two open gym sessions there. It was December 30th when I took her to open gym and was shocked at how well and quickly she was climbing up steep wedges and inclines - she had never done that as well before! Not only are her climbing skills moving at rapid speed at Gymboree, but also at home. Thus the reason I had to move at warp speed myself to get onto Amazon.com and order a crib tent for her room. Riley - at 13 months old - is trying to climb out of her crib. Her mattress is at the lowest setting. She wears at sleepsack. She simply has incredible arm strength that allows her to pull herself up high enough on the rail of her crib and then get her belly balanced on there so that her feet are no longer touching her mattress and her arms are reaching out in front of her. She is basically a human teeter-totter. We know this because it was around midnight Sunday night/Monday morning as I watched in horror over the video monitor before Kevin and I whisped into her room and got her before an accident occured.

Here's a picture of the assembled tent on her crib:

I don't think that this is a bad thing - I just think it is something that is coming very early in the game. She certainly isn't old enough or big enough - in our opinion - to transition to a toddler bed yet, so the crib tent was actually our only other option. She actually hasn't even really noticed any difference - at least nothing that has interupted her sleep patterns or made bedtimes difficult. She's adapted faster than I have and I am thankful for that.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Organization Schmorganization ...

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I have always prided myself on my strong organizational skills. Being unorganized made me stressed and unable to relax, so I organized everything. Coupons. Receipts. Cars. Cabinets. My desk. Even my DVD collection is in alphabetical order. My closet is color coded and separated by sleeve length. OCD about organization? Absolutely.

People would laugh and tell me how that would all change once I had a baby, but I refused to cave to that. I convinced myself that I'd stay organized no matter what. However soon after Riley's birth, I noticed some of my skills were lacking. The checkbook wasn't being balanced as frequently as I cared for. Bills were scattered throughout the house. The car started getting littered with toys and blankets and other new baby items. "As soon as I get past this sleep deprivation, things will get back to being organized", I told myself.

Then Riley started getting mobile. My time that would have been spent getting that organization back in order was spent chasing her around the house, making sure she didn't get herself into any dangerous situations or spots, etc. I couldn't possibly organize at night because after dinner and bedtime routines were through, I needed to wind down and get sleep to do it all over again the next day. "As soon as I get into more of a routine, things will get back to being organized", I told myself.

What I should have been saying all along was, "Once I get an iPhone, things will get back to being organized". I hate to use this forum as an iPhone pitch, but I can't help myself. This thing is fantastic. I feel SO organized. And everything I could possibly need or want is at my fingertips. In case you're an iPhone user looking for some new apps ... or if you plan to be an owner in the future, I just have to share what I feel are my top four "Mommy-Helper Apps". I have more to add, but will limit it to four at this time ...

Checkbook - Remember that checkbook that I told you wasn't getting balanced anymore? I couldn't stand the thought of not knowing exactly what we had in the bank - and by this I mean down to the very penny. This app has saved my sanity and (seriously) made it easier for me to sleep at night. It is simple - just a checkbook registry app that allows you to track your bank balance. But I can also set certain debits or credits to be recurring ones. So each month I don't have to remember to record my mortgage payment that is auto-pay. This app simply enters it into my register on the selected date each month. It even tracks and analyzes spending for me. Basically, this is Quicken for the iPhone ... however now I can deduct something from my "checkbook" immediately as I make a purchase. No more needing to collect receipts and enter information later, from my laptop at home. This is the best $1.99 I've spent ... and you can bet that I immediately recorded that debit in it.

Keeper - Never again will I have to dig to the depths of my brain to remember what username and password I selected for my gas company's website so I can pay my bill (and then record it in the checkbook app). Keeper allows you to enter information about any of your accounts. It requires a password in itself, so there is no risk for someone getting your personal log-on information. It allows you to enter you username, password, and any additional notes that you need. This has allowed me to remove all those little post-it notes off of my desk telling me what information to sign in to what site with. What's better? It's a FREE app!

Cardstar - I don't know about you, but my wallet has been ready to explode for months. Unfortunately, it isn't because I have loads of cash in there - it's because of all the loyalty and membership cards I tote around with me everywhere I go to get those discounts and rewards we all want. This FREE app allows you to enter in your membership card number and it translates it into a barcode. The barcode can be scanned from your phone just as it could be from your membership card - but now you can do away with the cards! This app is ingenious. I have been able to remove eleven cards from my wallet! I have cards that range from my CVS card to PetSmart to AAA to my local library! This is a 'must have' in my opinion.

Wheels on the Bus - Gone are the days (for now) that I have to worry about a wiggly, screaming baby while waiting in a long grocery line or at the doctor's office. This adorable application is modeled after the well-known Wheels on the Bus song. It has fabulous artwork, music and interactivity - all tailored to little kiddos. This app was created by parents, for parents. You can climb on board the bus to spin it's wheels as they go 'round and round', swish the wipers, pop some bubbles and more! You can listen to the song in five different languages and can even record yourself or your child singing it! "Your little one will be able to touch, explor and discover fun surprises in the captivating, interactive illustrations". Your sanity in a long line, on a car ride, and many other places is just $0.99 away!

And p.s. ... through the sleep deprivation and chasing of a toddler, I am proud to say my DVD collection has always remained in alphabetical order. If you remove one, please put it back in the spot you pulled it from. Or I won't sleep. ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Amazingly Incredible Dad

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Last night was a repeat of what is starting to become 'the norm' in our household. Riley wakes up just after the point that we go to bed and cries ... and then screams. We rock her, reassure her ... make sure she isn't hungry ... make sure she has a fresh diaper ... and then soothe her back to sleep and lay her back in her crib. The second any part of her feels the crib mattress, or even the descent into the crib, she begins to kick and scream and the whole process starts over. Vicious cycle. Having a baby who has been a wonderful sleeper overall, this rocks our world a tad. It's only happened three times in the past four nights, but that means we're sailing at a 75% chance of a restless night ... not a percentage I like. Kevin and I can survive it, but I sit in the rocking chair and just feel so badly for my baby. If this is indeed attributed to the two new upper teeth she is slowly sprouting, I just want to take the pain for her. And regardless, I want her to sleep peacefully - she needs it.

So last night, as Kevin finally retreated to the living room couch at 1:30am to try to get some sleep himself while holding on to Riley so that I could get some sleep in our bed, I thought to myself for probably the thousandth time ... "My husband is an amazing dad. An incredible dad. An amazingly incredible dad."

He loves Riley with every ounce of his body and soul and I couldn't ask for anything more than that. I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have him. Sometimes he asks me to wait back about 15 seconds when we go to pick her up after work so that she can run into his arms for a moment. Sure, I wouldn't complain to always be the one whose arms she is running to, but I'm lucky to have a husband who wants his daughter to run into his arms. I'm lucky to have a husband who wants to be the one to give her the bedtime bottle and read her book to her. I'm lucky to have a husband who sports swimming trunks into the bathroom so that he can play in the tub with her from time to time.

I'm lucky that a frequent morning bicker between the two of us is who is going to get the pleasure of carrying Riley into Grandma and Grandpa's house ... not who has to carry her in.  I am lucky that I have a daughter who is loved equally by her daddy and myself. I'm lucky. I'm blessed. I'm so in love.

Sure - there are times that I grow frustrated.  Maybe he isn't sure where something of Riley's is that I ask for; maybe he dresses her in something that isn't season-appropriate.  Sometimes I've been frustrated at bedtime as I am re-diapering Riley because a regular diaper was put on her instead of the extra protection diaper ... but last night, as I laid in bed and listened to her cries turn to soft jibber jabber as they both fell to sleep, I thought about those re-diaperings. And I smiled to myself. I'm lucky to have a husband who even changes diapers. And dresses his daughter.  And is an active parent.  Period. 

My husband is an amazing dad. An incredible dad. An amazingly incredible dad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas at the Balaban's

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I say it every year ... so if I didn't say it this year, I'd basically disappoint myself.

I can't believe the holidays are over. 

There.  I said it.  Every year they seem to go by faster and faster.  Christmas of 2008 is a major blur.  This is most likely due to the fact that Riley was only 20 days old on Christmas and I was incredibly sleep-deprived and too tired to enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer.  But I was certainly awake and alert for Christmas 2009.  This year was so fun and magical and memorable.  This was the first year that Kevin and I truly got to play Santa Claus.  Sure, Riley is still too young to know exactly what happened through the night as Christmas Eve gave way to Christmas Day.  But she certainly did know one thing happened: she woke up to a LOT more loot one morning and had a day full of fun opening gifts and playing with new toys.

This was also the first year - EVER - that I was able to be with Kevin and his parents as well as my parents and my Grandma for Christmas.  That is probably what made it the most memorable and emotional to me.  Prior to being married, Kevin and I would spend Christmas Day apart.  I couldn't stand the thought of spending the morning away from my parents - I just wasn't ready yet - and he felt the same in regards to his own family.  So we would part ways a day or two before Christmas and reunite that night or the following day.  Then, after we were married, we spent one year back home with my parents for the holiday, and have spent the other years up here with the Balaban family.  During those years we would spend Thanksgiving with my family as a trade-off, but it still hurt on Christmas morning when I wasn't able to see them and hug them.

This year was incredible.  They arrived on Christmas Eve and we were able to go to mass together - Balabans and Nichols' - and then back to our house for our traditional Christmas Eve gathering.  They were able to see Riley open her gifts on Christmas morning.  I was able to physically hug them and wish them a very Merry Christmas.  It was perfect.

As for the Little Miss (more recently deemed "Little Boss" due to her rippening personality), she was a joy on Christmas, as you can see in the pictures below.

Please pass the Pledge ... my blog is dusty.

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I'm falling behind.  Horribly.  The amount of dust lying on this blog is almost embarrassing.  That is why it is among my top 5 New Year's Resolutions.  I am typically against resolutions.  Not against them, but just not all about them.  Why have to wait until the New Year to make a valiant effort to do something more or less or better ... why not do that at any point in the year?  And - if I'm being honest - I have to admit that I was never a fan of putting something 'out there' that I wanted to do in the New Year, then fail on delivery year after year.

But this year is different.  Because after some of the events at the end of 2009, I really do feel that the New Year is a great time for a fresh start.  So here are my five New Year's Resolutions.  They're rather simple, but that is how I would like life to be right now.  Simple.

  1. Read the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelations.
  2. Handwrite more letters to those without email: Grandma, Aunt Carol ... and even those with email.  A nice, handwritten letter can be a real treat to the recipient.
  3. Stop biting my nails.  (I started this last night with a simple, home manicure)
  4. Blog more frequently - a minimum of once a week.  (Baby steps, people ... baby steps)
  5. Lose 5 more pounds (did you really think there'd be a resolution list free of a weight loss resolution??)
So how about you?  What are YOUR top five resolutions for twenty-ten?