Saturday, September 24, 2011

Now It's Time To Say Goodbye

We are leaving on Saturday morning. We've booked our moving truck, set up installation for cable and internet and turned on the gas and electricity. I am looking forward to being near my family but there's definitely things about northern Michigan that I'll miss.

  • The quietness. The sounds of trains blowing their horns, car alarms going off in the middle of the night, ambulances, fire trucks, police sirens...we don't hear those kinds of things here.

  • The safety. This is a doors-left-unlocked kind of place. We don't generally have to worry about crime. And it's very unlikely that a serial killer would accidentally stumble upon our house at night because it's so dark around here you can't even see our house at night! P.S. Serial killers do accidentally stumble upon their victims. If you don't believe me watch this episode of Dateline. P.P.S. I should probably refill my Lexapro...and stop watching Dateline.

  • The stars. There are so many! Downstate we have like 5 on a clear night.

  • The fall colors. The pic in the background of this blog hasn't happened yet and we won't be here when it does. Leaves change color down there, too, except there aren't very many trees.

  • The sun setting in my backyard.

  • Being surrounded by Great Lakes.

  • Pizza from Nonna Lisa's. I can't figure out why, but it really is the best pizza ever.

  • Bloody Marys from Audie's. Olive-infused vodka, salt and pepper rim, pickle in the glass and a beer chaser! YUM!

  • Drying my clothes on a clothesline. That's such a country thing.

  • Our secret beach on Rte 2

  • The perennials that grow all over the yard.

  • The swing.

  • Ian's bright Peanuts-themed nursery. I wish there was a way to take it with us.

  • The Superman ice cream at Kilwin's. Even if it is ridiculously expensive, it's also ridiculously good! And their toasted coconut fudge is to-die!

  • My job and my coworkers, most of whom are pretty laid-back and likable, some are even lovable. I have worked with several mortal versions of satan in the past. Nobody here comes close to that.

  • My aunt's pool

  • My pediatrician and OBGYNs.

  • Seeing the hospital where Ian was born. Every time I drive by it I get a huge rush. I had the best experience there and I can't help but wonder if the "big city" hospitals are as good to their patients. I really doubt it.

  • The small population. Less people equals less traffic, less stoplights, less douchebags hogging the whole aisle at Walmart. Yes, I am definitely a fan of the small population!

  • And last but not least, I know all three of us will miss my aunt and cousins. I'm glad we got to spend the last year and half with them.
I know I complained about it endlessly last winter because it really does suck being bored, lonely and cold for 6 loooooooong months but this place has its charms and I've learned to appreciate them. And who knows, if neither of us end up finding a fantastic this-could-actually-be-a-career kind of job, we might be back up in May. Just as long as I'm far away before winter...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Traveling With Baby 101: A+

So the funniest thing happened. Brian and I both accidentally ended up with last Friday and Saturday off. Being the weekend before our anniversary and the first time since April that Brian had two days off in one week (except when Ian was born), Brian said the last thing he wanted to do was hang out at home. Then he mentioned that he'd never been to Chicago. In fact, he'd never been to a big city at all. Ever! And that's just unacceptable!

It all happened so fast. One minute it was just an idea and an hour later we were using my employee discount to book a room at Comfort Suites. Only $35 including a hot breakfast and a free shuttle service. I mean, with a deal like that how could we not go?

We left at 7am Friday and returned at 1am Sunday and in between was honestly some of the best hours of my whole life. I remember when I found out I was going to have a baby I thought my days of taking off on a moment's notice and flying by the seat of my pants would have to end. But I proved that to be false. We can fly together =)

Traveling with a baby isn't as hard as people think, especially since there's two of us. When he was hungry we found a place to sit down and feed him. When he needed a diaper change we found a bathroom. We had everything he could possibly need or want in the diaper bag. It was a piece of cake! Of course it helps a LOT that Ian is such a happy-go-lucky kind of guy!

The only minor inconvenience was the stroller. He isn't sitting up on his own yet and is still in the carseat/stroller contraption called a travel system which is like one size smaller than an average minivan. It doesn't go up stairs or escalators and Brian said he'd be damned if he was going to squeeze it through the doors of a bus or trolley. So we were a little limited on transportation options but still managed to get a lot accomplished on foot! On Saturday alone we walked from Willis Tower to the Hancock building and back, including stops at Millenium Park, Navy Pier and the Water Tower mall. It was like 6 miles of walking. And Ian was smiling the whole time! People were even stopping us on the street to tell us what a happy baby he is! He makes us so proud.

Not that the trip was without its disappointments. I told Brian before we got there that I had a tradition of buying a pair of jeans from Gap every time I was in Chicago. I don't spend $60 or $70 on jeans anymore but I thought maybe...if there was a clearance rack...and then we got there and *gulp* they don't carry my size anymore. Correction: They still carry the size, I just don't fit into it. I am totally going on a diet as soon as I'm laid off, I swear it!

Brian decided to carry on the tradition by buying Ian something from Gap instead. He found these pajamas without feet attached for 40% off. I told him not to. Even at 40% they were still like $14. But Brian insisted. And now I'm so glad he did because they are the softest pajamas EVER! Once we move and get settled in with a reliable income I am so ordering him a few more pairs! Pajamas are important, you know.

Another disappointment was the pee. Because we booked last minute the only room we could find in a Choice hotel was 12 miles away from downtown Chicago. On Friday night we took the subway into the city. We could only use subway stops that had elevators because of the stroller. Every elevator we got into smelled like urine. One actually had a puddle of pee on the ground. ICK!

As if that isn't bad enough, we went to Macy's Marketplace to feed and change Ian. I went into the bathroom, peeked into a stall, no good. Went to the next one, even worse. Peeked in another one, almost vomited. It was like someone had taken a hose filled with pee and put out a fire in the bathroom! This is Macy's, not Roses! Geez! I told Brian I'm going to call it Pee-cago from now on.

I know that as Ian gets older he'll become more and more of a handful and we probably won't be able to take last-minute trips like this with him. So I'm glad we had the chance to do it this once. I swear, it seems like the best trips are the ones that aren't planned. Here's some of my favorite pics from the weekend. FYI: no, we did not match our shirts on purpose! I didn't even notice until I uploaded the pics. We might call each other by pet names but we do NOT wear matching outfits.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Real World - Mackinaw City

Since there aren't any day care centers in MC and my mom was so excited to have her first grandchild she offered to stay with us, 300 miles from her home and her husband, to take care of Ian while we were at work.

What a little gem she was! She did more than babysit. She did Ian's laundry and washed his bottles everyday. She baked cakes, cookies and muffins which explains why I still have almost almost 30lbs of baby fat to lose. She cooked dinner. She did dishes. She woke up with Ian at 9am everyday so I could sleep in. She basically spoiled the crap out of both of us and, while it was nice, it's not real life. I'm not a celebrity. I'm not supposed to have a nanny! I'm supposed to be exhausted and emotionally drained. Instead I'm well-rested and deliriously happy 24 hours a day. Well, except for last night when I told a coworkers to Eff Off. Not even the strongest SSRI can help me tolerate a total dickwad but I can save up all that good stuff for another blog.

Even though having my mom here was a huge help to Ian, Brian and I, she couldn't stay forever and we had to take her back to her normal life on Monday. The drive downstate was our first overnight trip with Ian. I wasn't sure how many diapers he would need so I packed a whole separate bag with just diapers. Everything else was in his diaper bag. So here we are, having dinner at Olga's, everyone is just loving Ian as he dances on the table. Then we notice the back of his pants....he leaked...and it wasn't pee. No biggie though, I've got a change of clothes in the diaper bag. Except I don't have any DIAPERS because they're all in the other bag that I left at my dad's! OMG! So Brian leaves the restaurant to go to Walmart while I sit there trying not to touch his butt and make it worse. How embarrassing! My excuse: We're still learning. You can bet we won't be caught in public without a diaper ever again! But otherwise the trip went well. My dad bought a playpen to keep at his house and Ian went right to sleep in it and slept all night without so much as a stir.

Ian started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks. I don't know why or how, I guess it was just time. There are all kinds of tricks and methods of getting a baby to sleep through the night but I never paid any attention. I never had a problem getting up with him in the middle of the night. It was the only time I had to be alone with him and he usually went back to sleep as soon as he was done eating so it was no big deal. He's always been a good sleeper and now he's gotten even better at it! He must take after his mommy.

Another update: He cries real tears now! It's kind of bittersweet. It means he's developing as he should and that's a good thing. But a sad face is sad enough. Add tears and it's just heart-breaking. It's a good thing he smiles and laughs at lot more than he cries!

Sorry I have to cut this short but I have a house to pack up. I'll try to keep my few readers up to date on all things Ian when I can!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Need A New Title

Remember that crapnugget of a day in March when the gas truck dropped off a $500 bill and the landlord came over and raised our rent $150 a month? I didn't mention it in my blog, but he also told us at that time that it would "work out well" for him if we moved out at the end of the season. He said he wanted to get in and do some remodeling. We figured it was for the best anyway. It was better to be forced to move on and face change than to get too comfortable and stay in a place where we're not completely happy.

I made it no secret how much I hated living here last winter so our plan was to save up money during the summer and move downstate in the fall to be near my family. We would use the savings to pre-pay a 6-month lease for an apartment while we looked for jobs. If we found some, great, we'd live happily ever after. If we didn't find decent jobs we'd move back up here in May. It's always been our intention to end up downstate eventually because I do want my parents to be close to their first grandchild, but I also really really did not want to be here for another cold, dreary, lonely, boring, poor miserable winter.

When I told my dad our plan he said it would be better to use our savings to buy a house rather than waste it on an apartment. Houses down there are super cheap right now. We thought we could pool our money together and get a "fixer-upper" and use it as an investment in the future. And, even though we had 5 months to do this, by the time we found a fixer-upper we liked we realized it needed to be fixed up before we moved in and we didn't have the time or the money to do the repairs that quickly.

That's when my dad found a house in immaculate condition that came fully furnished. It was like going to an estate sale and buying the entire estate for one low price. It has everything! All appliances, furniture, curtains, lamps, even the dishes in the cupboards! It's going to be like our very own episode of Storage Wars lol. The catch - it's not in the best neighborhood. The bright side - it's move-in ready! And my dad says the place is so spotless we could eat off the floor. Not that we would or anything...

So now we have a new plan. He's going to let us live there while he does some minor remodeling. We will continue to build our savings and keep looking for a cheap fixer-upper in a nicer neighborhood that we can make our own.

I guess I need to change the name of my blog since I won't be in Northern Michigan anymore. At least not for the winter. The first thought that came to mind was "Talkin Bout The Ghetto," but it's really not that bad. It's not a place where wealthy people live but it's mostly families who live by the you-leave-me-alone-I-leave-you-alone motto. And it's certainly better for us to save up money for a house than to throw our money away on another rental. People sometimes have to make sacrifices to get where they want. It's taking us a long time, but we'll eventually have our white-picket-fence life in the suburbs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bombshell Tonight!

Breaking news!

Ian is sleeping in his crib! In. His. Nursery!

I had a few teeth pulled on Thursday and was taking narcotics. It's not safe to sleep with a baby when under the influence of drugs so I really had no choice but to let him go. We got him to fall asleep in his crib with the help of his sleep bear and a pacifier. Luckily for me I was so doped up I fell asleep with no problem at all.

He woke up at 3am for a diaper change and a quick snack and, to my surprise, he fell asleep as soon as I put him back in the crib!

After his 6am feeding he was fussy. I figured the drugs had worn off so I took him to bed with me. But it was light out by then so I can still technically say that he slept in his crib for the whole night =)

Last night I guess I was super tired because Brian & I went into our room to watch Source Code and I was unconscious before the opening credits were over. I woke up to Ian crying from the nursery at 5am! He slept in there 5 hours! I gave him a bottle, put him back down, turned on the sleep bear and he fell asleep immediately. No pacifier needed.

The switch wasn't as hard as I thought it would be for either of us. The drugs were actually a blessing and came at the perfect time because they helped me relax just long enough to get used to the idea of sleeping without him. And he doesn't seem to care at all because he's sleeping just fine in there. I guess it's official - my baby has left the nest.

In other news...

I wore pants with a zipper and a button today! They are a size bigger than I used to wear. I bought them in January when I was 17 weeks pregnant so this isn't exactly a huge victory but it is a step in the right direction.

I am also proud to announce that Ian has his first set of fat rolls on his thighs! They are the cutest softest pinchable little chunks. He is growing up so fast! I've seen him laugh twice and he is starting to notice his toys and reach out for them. He holds onto his burp clothes and blankets so tightly that I can carry him around the house and he doesn't drop them. He's also started making noises. Innocent and sweet baby noises. Yesterday we laid in bed, eye to eye, and had a conversation for about 30 minutes that consisted mostly of goos and gaas. It's amazing to watch him get stronger and smarter everyday and I know he's only going to be more fun as he grows!

Here we are at Outback tonight. Look at his face. He always looks so curious.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Smiling On Demand

Ian turned 2 months old yesterday! I had to work but my mom, aunt and cousin brought Ian in to the restaurant. He enjoyed a bottle of white by the fireplace, lol.

When he was one month old he weighed barely over 7lbs and was in the 5th percentile which meant that 95% of babies his age weighed more than him. The pediatrician was concerned and tried to refer me to a nutritionist like I'm starving my kid or something. We weighed him yesterday and he's 10.4, right at the 25th percentile! I would give the dr and nutritionist the finger right now but that wouldn't be setting a good example.

Last month when he reached his one month birthday I realized I had never ordered a set of onesie stickers to mark the months so I decorated a onesie myself. I had so much fun doing it that I decided to make him a birthday onesie every month. I know I'm not all that skilled but it makes me feel good to make him something and it'll be fun to show him the onesies when he grows up. Here are the first two.

I got a little nervous on Friday when he reached the 8 week mark because I didn't feel like he was smiling at me on purpose and everything I've read said a baby should smile at his parents by two months of age. I started wondering if he was autistic. My mom told me to chill out, that he wasn't technically 2 months for 5 more days. Turns out she was right because all of a sudden he just started smiling on demand! I smile and he smiles back just about every time. The other night I smiled at him while he was eating. He couldn't smile back since he had a bottle in his mouth so he squinted his eyes at me in an "eye smile." I thought it was a fluke so I smiled again and he squinted again! I wish I had it on video, it was super sweet! I do have this on video, though.

I had my final check-up with my OB yesterday. In the waiting room they had me fill out a questionnaire to screen me for PPD. When they asked if I'm happy, if I laugh a lot, the answers were yes. I've honestly never been happier in my whole life!

But when they asked about worrying and anxiety...that's another story. I answered that I worry often. When the Dr asked what I worry about I told him SIDS, whooping cough, skin cancer from the sun, west nile virus from bug bites, I worry every time someone coughs, sneezes or when anyone other than family touches him. He asked if I thought I needed medication or if worrying is just part of who I am. I mean, I guess it's part of who I am but it's not a part that I like. I said no to the medication because it's not like I can't leave the house or anything. Though I might need to reconsider once Ian starts sleeping in his nursery.

The Dr also asked me if I needed birth control. I asked him when it would be ok for us to get pregnant again and he said we can try right now if we want! I know what he's probably thinking. Another pregnancy = another c-section = more money for him!

Oh, and speaking of c-sections, I'm pretty sure I'm 100% healed. I just wish the "swelling" would go away. I still can't get my wedding rings on. Of course, it might not be swelling at might just be that I'm fat-TER. I'm not gonna worry too much about it right now, though. I have tunnel vision for the rest of the season. I'm only concerned with my family and my job. Anything else can wait until November.

When I Have Kids, I Will Never...

I know every childless person has this list. Even if they never intended on having kids, they still have a list of all the things they would never do if they did.

It starts when they are little and their parents do something terrible to them, like take away their allowance because they didn't finish their chores. "When I have kids I will NEVER do that!" they scream, as they run into their bedroom and slam the door.

Once they get into high school and all of their friends start having kids the list gets longer. They sit back and observe all these parents make all these mistakes, all the while making a note on their mental checklist. Some of them go one step above and actually say it out loud. I don't think I was ever that obnoxious. But I did have a list.

Now that I'm no longer childless I have started a new list. It's called "All The Things I Swore I'd Never Do That I Ended Up Doing." I know the list will grow but this is what I have so far.

1. I will never spit on my kid's face.

I believe it was day 3 when I broke this rule. Ian had something on his face so I licked my finger and wiped it off. I felt bad when I realized what I'd done. I always hated this when I was younger. I'm going to try really hard to use face wipes instead!

2. I will never use baby talk.

I know that babies learn to speak by listening to others and I know they will copy the sounds they hear so I understand how important it is that they learn to speak properly. Besides that, baby talk is super annoying. But I have caught myself telling him I wuv him a few times.

3. I will never have one of those babies who have to be held all the time.

I'm not sure if I made a mistake here or if he was just born this way, but he likes attention. He will sit in his bouncer, swing or on a blanket for maybe 5 minutes before he starts to scream. And all it takes to stop the screaming is to pick him up and love on him. So that's what I do. People tell me he is spoiled but I don't care. I didn't try to conceive for 2 years, go through 37 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy including 8 weeks of bedrest just to have a baby so I could sit here and watch him cry! WTH? And what is the point of that anyway? Am I supposed to be teaching him a lesson that the world is cruel and he's on his own? No way. Spoiled or not, my baby is never going to feel alone and unloved as long as I can help it.

4. I will never sleep with my baby.

This one is definitely my mistake. I'm ashamed of myself because I actually know someone who rolled over and smothered her baby and I have always gotten on my friends' cases for doing this. It didn't start off this way. He started off in a bassinet on Brian's side of the bed because it didn't fit on my side. When he woke up in the middle of the night I would change him, feed him, and put him back in the bassinet. I would stand there and stare at him for a few minutes to make sure he was sleeping, all the while wondering if I would literally pass out and hoping that if I did I would fall into the bed and not into the mirror on the wall. Once I thought he was in a deep sleep I'd get back into bed and try to get comfortable which is no easy task for someone who just had abdominal surgery and I swear as soon as I was comfortable he was awake and crying again. I tried swaddling and that worked well until summer finally kicked in up here. Even though I have the lightest swaddling blankets they are still too heavy when it's 95 and we have no air conditioning! We tried the sleep machine and that helped put him to sleep but didn't help keep him asleep. So after a few weeks of exhaustion I gave up and took the easy way out. I put him in bed next to me and he slept for 5.5 hours straight. I woke up, saw that it was light outside, and panicked thinking I'd killed him but no, there he was, his cute little face smiling at me in his sleep...and I was hooked. People say this is a hard habit to break the babies of but I think it's harder to break the parents. I woke up this morning and Ian was lying next to me ON HIS STOMACH! I flipped out. Babies can die from that. So I know I need to move him to the crib because it's a firmer mattress and Brian is going to move the crib into our room. I just can't imagine having him in his crib in the nursery at the other end of the house. I would seriously have a panic attack.

P.S. I did some research on safe co-sleeping and we take every precaution to keep him safe. I would also like to point out that the risk of SIDS is NOT higher when babies are in bed with parents. SIDS is when babies die from an unknown reason. A baby being smothered by parents or bedding is not an unknown reason.

Here's the remnants of the previous list. It'll be interesting to see how many of them get broken.

* I will never take my child in public in only his underwear (this includes diapers)
* I will NOT under any circumstances have a "screamer." I understand screaming at the playground or Chuck E Cheese but random screaming every 5 minutes WILL NOT HAPPEN!
* My child will not drink soda except on very special occasions.
* I will not ever appear drunk in front of my children.
* When we go out to eat I will bring my own entertainment for my kids, not expect the server to provide it and then complain to them that the kids are getting restless because they are starving and the food is taking so long. If the kids are restless that is YOUR fault, not mine! And if you wanted fast food you should have gone to a fast food restaurant! Oh, sorry, didn't mean for that to turn into a rant, lol.
* My kids will not use pacifiers past 6 months of age. BTW, Ian doesn't use a pacifier yet. I'm thinking about giving him one at night because it's safer but one thing I can't stand is seeing a toddler walking and talking and sucking on a pacifier.

Oh, and for all who don't see pics of Ian on FB almost he is!