Gatlinburg

We stopped in Gatlingburg, TN on our way home. It was delightful. My parents have a membership or ownership (or something, I’m still not real sure how it works) to a club vacations thing. Basically, we got to stay in a real nice room in the middle of everything for $0. And when I say real nice room…

We had a GIANT whirlpool tub (which was frequented no less than 3 times by my husband in the 36 hours we were there), a kitchen with a range, oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, and fully stocked plate/glass/utensils situation, a room with a door where the gigantic king bed with TV was separated from the living room with huge tv and fireplace. Sadly, they turn the fireplace off in the summer, so we just had to suffer in the ludicrous air conditioning (not really, we had our own thermostat). So yeah, nice.

We got in late Friday, Hannah was a nightmare on the drive and then bouncing off the walls when we got there so very little sleeping occurred. BUT. Shelby had his first bath and was a lot less grumpy afterwards so that improved the situation enormously. Saturday I got a little later start than I wanted. I had hoped for some alone time in the fitness center, but instead spent time wandering back and forth from the car to the room getting miscellaneous odds and ends, trying to entertain the child, and getting lost more than once in the stairwells. The garage levels are below the lobby level, but the stairs only go to the lobby. Then you have to find another set of stairs to get to the garage. Or you know, take the elevator, but those are for wusses.

We had a pancake breakfast at one of the 40 billion pancake houses at which Hannah was the most delightful baby ever. She charmed everyone with her big blue (still blue) eyes and infectious giggle. She did pretty well for her first official time in a high chair too (I think). And then we walked the strip. It was just like walking a main street in Disney, if Disney had a location on the beach. There were lots of shops selling way overpriced t-shirts, henna tattoos, and carnival food. We meandered down the street until we got to the aquarium. My MIL had roused the girls from their beds at about 6 am so they could make the drive and meet us for the day, so she let them run around on their own and she tagged along with Hannah (let’s be honest, she likes her son but Hannah takes the cake). Thankfully. I think the girls (17) and the heat (1 gagillion) would have probably killed her. But instead, she got to chill in the air conditioned aquarium. Watching her watch Hannah see stuff swish in front of her face was pretty awesome. Everyone’s joy at new experiences.

We had lunch at a pretty nice Italian place on the strip and then MIL took the girls home. We went back to the room to cool down after lunch. Shelby took the opportunity to have another bath. I got Hannah dressed in her lil swimmers diapers and we hit the pool. We stayed in the indoor pool, not only because of the big kids in the outdoor pool, but also we forgot her sunscreen and had no other protection for her since her rash guard was in the laundry. Anyway, she had a great time splashing around. She is one brave little kid. I would seat her on the side wall and then count to three and drag her off into the water. It wasn’t long before she caught on and started leaning forward to fall off the wall herself. This one is gonna be a handful.

Another quick trek outside for dinner and a few souvenirs and then we headed back to the room for Hannah’s bath. She went down fantastically, and she slept all night. Glorious!

And then we drove home.  Blah.

Traveling With Baby

In my oh so short stint of motherhood, I have determined that you MUST absolutely ignore everything you know and/or think you’ve learned about scheduling when traveling with a baby. Let me explain.

Each summer we gather at my in-laws for a week in June. This is about a 6 hour car trip. I used to be able to complete a full day’s work, get home and have the car packed within the hour, and drive the entire thing on a Friday night. Enter babe.

We left the house around 7pm which was EPIC! It is so hard to do anything when watching Hannah, so considering we hadn’t even finished with packing the suitcases and making sure to gather all the necessities for baby, it was kind of an awesome start. She slept like a dream the entire trip. The transition to travel crib went as smoothly as could be expected and she slept in to a decent hour in the morning. Excellent. It took a couple of days for her to get used to her new sleeping arrangements and she cried longer than usual, but she always eventually settled and everything was fine.

Until Thursday.

We arrived on Friday late night slash Saturday early morning.By Monday, Hannah was pretty well worked out. Thursday, it all went to crap. She woke up Wednesday night around 3, but we were able to get her settled in about 30 minutes. Thursday however, when she woke up in the middle of the night, we were unable to settle her. We sang, she shrieked. We gently vibrated her crib. She wailed. We gave in and picked her up to sway with her, she would not relent. She screamed when we tried bouncing and rocking. I had been drinking on the porch with the boys, so I didn’t want to nurse her, but nothing else would work. Finally, we gave in and made her a bottle which she downed in short order. And then demanded more. Very loudly. So she slept in the bed with us. 😦

Friday, we headed 2 hours up the road for a weekend in the mountains on our way home. We had such success with leaving at 7 the week before so we aimed for a 7pm departure again. We did not have any success this time. She would not settle in her seat. When she finally slept, she only slept for about 30 minutes before she woke up angrily. Then she fell asleep hard just before we pulled into our destination. Once we got her to the room, she awoke happily and cheerfully, and stayed that way until almost 1 in the morning. And then woke up at 6. Are you kidding me kid???

I’m sad to say we leave tomorrow. We’ve got a 5 hour drive ahead of us and we must check out by 10. I don’t know how she will handle the drive, but I doubt she’ll be super happy about it. Then again, neither will her dad.

I’m not excited to get back to the grind for my own sake, but I will be glad to get back for hers. She’s a trooper, but you can tell she’s out of sorts. Other than the car and those 2 nights of horrific sleeping, she has been pretty awesome travel wise. She shows some hesitancy with new environments, but it doesn’t take her long to take over and make it hers. She dominates. But her nap times are all wonky .Her feedings are getting messed up. And we’ve already talked about her nighttime sleeps. Poor thing.

I’ll be sure to talk more about the actual trip and not just the drives. But for now, I’m exhusted and need to get some rest before the long drive tomorrow.

Wait, What?

It’s a good townhouse. It served me well as a single woman finding her feet. My first big girl house. It welcomed Shelby wholeheartedly when he moved in, seeming to grow in size to neatly accommodate all his stuff. We entertained guests comfortably, we were conveniently located to work and theatre. But I was unhappy. It felt small. The cathedral ceilings and open floorplan did nothing to relieve my feelings of being cramped. I wanted a yard. I wanted my own walls. I wanted space. And then Hannah was coming and we needed more. But it is a good townhouse.

We decided to try holding onto it. Long term, it could be a place for Hannah if she decided to stay in the area for school, a way for us to recoup some of the expenses we put into it. We got it all brushed up and listed for rent. There was a lot of activity, but no real leads. We had one application put in but the renter (who seemed so promising) turned out to be real sketchy on the background check so we declined to move forward. We had a lot of folks say they were going to put in an application “it’s a nice place”, but no one else ever did. So we finally decided to cut our losses and list the place for sale.

An hour after it was listed, we had our first scheduled viewing. Before close of business, we had an offer on the table. That was Thursday.

We countered the offer on Friday morning but didn’t hear from the buyers the rest of the day. In the meantime, more viewings were scheduled. By the end of Friday, a second offer came through.

Are you kidding me? 6 months of trying to rent with no real interest and 2 offers to buy within 24 hours of being put on the market??

After a little back and forth and a few tense hours, we are officially under contract. If everything goes according to plan, the townhouse will be sold by the end of this month. From never ending mortgage payments to sold in 21 days.

 

Walgging

That title eh? Bet you can’t wait to read everything my stupid little fingers can type.

I can’t break 170. I don’t know what the problem is. It is the weird cycle of losing 2 pounds, then gaining half a pound, then losing .2 pounds (what the even heck) and gaining 1.5 pounds before losing 1 pound. It’s the stupidest roller coaster of weight loss ever. So I’ve started up something I thought I would never ever do again. I’m jogging.

Weeeeeeeellllll. Jogging is kind of exaggerating. I’m more sprinting for about 500 feet, and then jogging slower than I can walk before I just give in and walk fast for a few minutes, then wait for that car to pass or that person to look the other way before I start jogging again so I can be all like “dude, I was totally jogging that whole time”. I hate this so very much.

I am really bad at long distance running. Something about the epic journeyness of it just makes me dread every second. Plus, I’m not exactly what you’d call the world’s smoothest or most attractive runner. I turn beat red almost instantly, I can’t breathe, I have a pretty consistent stitch in my left side so the whole clutching at my chest thing probably isn’t invoking much confidence in my ability to stay alive. I am given a wide berth.

I don’t like running for the sake of running. If I’m gonna run, let it be toward a ball that needs kicking, or a player that needs tackling, or perhaps chasing a dog that escaped (Virgil I’m looking at you). But running just to say “look! I was over there, and now I’m over here. And I got here sorta fast but could probably have gotten here faster if I just did what normal people do and WALKED.” Lamest sauce. I don’t even understand how I have marathon running siblings.

I have a Dr. appointment Friday. Finally. I got checked a lot when I was pregnant and dang near constantly for 3 days after Hannah was born so I rationalized that I didn’t need to go to a GP until she was at least a year old right? Right? But then this silly weight thing and stupid genetics and I have Summer Sisters looming over me, so I started walgging and and am going to have my thyroid checked.

Oh yeah, and I started going back to yoga too. That feels really nice. 1 hour on Saturday mornings for me to stretch and bend and retrain my body.  I am surprised at my strength. I can still hold poses for a really long time without tiring. This past weekend I could even do side plank, something I don’t think I could do before I got pregnant. I guess lugging around a twenty pound human does something for the arms and legs. My trunk or core, however, could use a lot of work.

Of course, I am not so surprised at my inflexibility. I had to work hard at that the first time around, I expect I’ll have similar difficulties this go round. I can’t fold my legs into the correct sitting positions anymore, I hold a lot of tension in my back so I don’t twist very well. Even getting the soles of my feet to touch while I am sitting up is pretty difficult. That said, I can do down dog with my heels actually touching the floor. I am sure that I could push further, make it prettier, but by golly my heels are on the floor and I consider that a bloomin miracle.

So that’s the update on some things exercisery. Thrilling. Hopefully the Dr. will tell me my thyroid just needs a massage and a margarita and then all the extra pounds will sluff right off. Yeah right.

She Sleeps

It worked. It totally worked.

I started reading a lot of articles, blogs, and random ramblings for all stages of pregnancy and parenthood trying to soak in all the advice I could get as soon as that stupid stick turned pink. Some things are instinctual, like not leaving a baby who can’t hold herself up in a bathtub full of water, but some things were/are still mystical to me. Like sleep training. I’d seen all kinds of advice columns and references to this method or that method, so I feel like I pulled a lot of bits from a lot of places, including common sense I had from my own experiences, but whatever dude, it totally worked. So here is what we did.

Shelby and I have never been one for strict routine in the evenings. We went for a long time without cable so we had no programs to watch, we were almost always on different meal schedules so sometimes dinner would be at 6 and other times it would be closer to 9. And then Hannah came and time disappeared into a sea of “couch time” and “Rocking chair time”. She was a sleepy baby at first, she slept everywhere. Then she was a fussy baby for a bit, just all the time. Then we started to see very clear patterns of happy fun giggle baby turned eye rubbing whiny monster child. And then of course, there was the sleeping in our bed thing.

We have cable now. I don’t know how long that will last, but we have it now and it helps to “structure” the evening a bit for us. We watch Jeopardy. Jeopardy starts at 7. We can and do pause and fast forward through commercials (because OMG) so sometimes this means we finish up at 7:35, sometimes it means closer to 8 or 8:15. Once Jeopardy is over, I buckle Hannah into her seat and offer her some solid food. She eats until the serving is finished or she stops opening her mouth and I let her play in her chair for a bit while I clean up (because OMG). Depending on the time and her general attitude, I let her play for a while outside of her seat as well; in the kitchen while I do dishes, in the downstairs nursery while I sit on the floor trying to extract sticky fingers from the tiny hairs at the nape of my neck. No later than 8:40, we head up the stairs for a bath.

Hannah stands by the porcelain tub while I fill her toddler tub with water. She likes to play with the soap bottle and watch me drop her rubber ducky into the bubbles. Then, into her room to get de-robed. She has recently discovered she super enjoys being a naked baby, so we let her crawl around for a minute with no diaper, but only a minute because I have no interest in learning how to get carrot poop out of the carpet. Then we take her in for her bath. This consists largely of her sucking on the beak of her rubber duck while we try to get a washcloth into all the folds of blubber around her thighs and neck. We let her splash and play some more if she seems to be enjoying herself.

After the bath, she starts to get anxious. She becomes a lot more clingy and sad. She doesn’t like to be set on the changing table so the start of Cry It Out really happens when we have no intention of leaving her. We struggle to get her diapered and into pajamas and then hold her for a minute before she gives kisses good night to daddy. Then daddy leaves and I rock her and feed her while I sing lullabies and read books.

When she is pretty sleepy (no longer actively sucking but still reaches for me when I pull away) I get ready to put her in the crib. I put everything away, hold her on my chest with her head on my shoulder and sing to her. I feel her tense and her breath change when I turn out the light and turn on her white noise. And then I put her into the crib while still singing, still touching her. I squeeze her arms and legs, hold my hand heavy on her belly, make sure she can feel her lovey, and then I finish my song and leave.

The first few nights she cried. A lot. I went in at set intervals to soothe her, but never picked her up. I repeated the process of laying her down, squeezing her body, holding my hands solidly on her, and then leaving her to work it out on her own. If she escalated her cries and it was “too early” for me to go in, I would sing to her from the hallway where she couldn’t see me. At first I went back to soothe every 5 minutes. Then I extended it to 10, then 20. The first night, it took her almost an hour to finally fall asleep. There were times her cries would soften, I could hear more breathing than crying, so I let her sit in those moments even if it was “time” for me to return to check on her. If she started wailing again, I would go in, repeat the process of touching, singing, leaving. By night 3, she was asleep in 5 minutes.

About the first week of training, she still woke up once a night, usually at 3:30. I would hear her cry and stick with my timeline of 5 or 10 minutes. Usually she would be back asleep before I went in, but I still checked on her. (When she wakes up, she forces herself into the seated position. The effort of this is like something out of an old movie. It’s as if she is alone in the desert with no food or water, about to take her last breath when she finds a canteen only 15 feet away and she reaches deep into her very core to find the strength for going after it. Watching her sit up while still mostly asleep and cranky as all get out is amazing. But then she usually falls back asleep in the seated position. I mean folded in half with her face planted firmly in the mattress directly between her feet. So I go in once it has been quiet for a few minutes and situate her in a normal sleeping position because once again, OMG.)

We seem to have more good nights than bad. She seems to go down pretty quickly. She still cries every night, always gets anxious after bath time, but when we actually leave her alone in her crib she only cries for about 2 minutes before she’s conked. She has only woken once on one night in the last week, but that I’m sure had to do with company staying over and flushing the toilet in the middle of the night. She sleeps pretty soundly.

And at the risk of jinxing it and basically setting myself up for a horrible regression, she sleeps 10 – 12 hours. 9ish PM – 7:30ish AM. On the weekends when I’m not putzing around getting ready for work, she’ll sleep closer to 8:30/9. Uh. Maze. Ing.

And there you have it. No books. No strict adherence to any one method. Just working with my baby, powering through, and listening to her cues. When she’s upset, she cries big belly cries with her tongue rolling and hissing. When she is tired crying and about to give in, she bites on her lovey which muffles the sound. I can generally tell pretty quickly if I should sit upstairs with my phone and timer, or if she’s gonna be asleep before I get out of the room. I can also tell if she’s dead to the world, or only on the edges of sleep and how to avoid upsetting her if that is the case. We’re figuring it out.

Now, if we could just figure out a new work week morning routine that fit all of us, that would be delightful.