Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buh-Bye 2011

Looking back, I'm not sure how the past year has gone so fast!  A LOT has happened within our family over the past 365 days.  Last New Year's Eve, I was hugely pregnant with six weeks until the arrival of our baby girl.  We took a trip to Target to spend some baby shower gift cards, and purchased our stroller and carseat.  Mark spent the evening putting it together, then we watched movies and cuddled on the couch - which is pretty much what we do every year.  This year we attempted a family get together....but had to leave at 8:30 since my BABY WILL NOT SLEEP ANYWHERE THAT ISN'T HER BEDROOM.  Ugh.  So - here we are, snuggled up on the couch, as per our usual tradition.  Truth be told - I like it. :)

I normally look back at the past year with nostalgia and reverence and fondness.  2011 has not been our year.  We are both more than happy to push it right out the door, and ready to embrace 2012.  Of course, Natalie's birth and learning to be a momma was life-changing and wonderful and lovely and I will always hold this year in my heart as a special one.  But the stress, sadness, worry, and burdens of the past year have taken us to our limit.

Mark's eye injury and subsequent 7 surgeries took a toll on all of us this year.  After a recent appointment, Mark found out that due to the location of his scar tissue, he cannot have the final surgery to replace his lens and restore any vision.  He will be legally blind in that eye for life, and the appearance of his eye is obviously permanent as well.  Although this news was disappointing, Mark was relieved to have some closure after almost a year of pain, surgeries, eye appointments, and time off work.

Additionally we had various home "emergencies" this year (such as a termite invasion, plumbing problems, car break-down, etc.) - add that to the huge medical bills we incurred from an unexpected 8-day stay in the hospital with Natalie's birth - and 2011 dealt us a nice chunk of debt.  Our biggest "resolution" (if you want to call it that) is to become debt-free in 2012.  We have started the Dave Ramsey plan, and are looking forward to losing the stress and worry raincloud that has followed us around this year. 

I have struggled with returning to work and learning to balance work and mommy-hood and being a good wife.  I have not felt like I have done any of them well to say the least.  Guilt has been my new companion.  Second-guessing and anxiety and always feeling as though I'm not measuring up.  I will say good-bye to those feelings in the new year.  I am trying to put more faith in God, to put less pressure on myself, and trust in what His plan is for me and my family.

I feel that 2012 is a fresh start, and there is something rejuvenating about that.  Starting over, beginning again, striving to make it better than the year before.  I am SO READY to say good-bye to the bad memories of 2011, and take the good ones with me into the next year.  Welcome, 2012!  I'm glad you're here!

Some of the GOOD highlights from 2011:

January -  Snow days, finishing Natalie's room.

February - Our lovely daughter arrives.

March - Baby's first bath!

April - Natalie learns to sleep through the night. :)  First family Easter.

May - Celebrated Mother's Day with my momma and sisters...a really nice girls' day!

June - Mark's first Father's Day.  Our 3rd wedding anniversary. 
July - Celebrating our Freedom.

August - Natalie turns half a year!

September - Solid food. :) Whisper Walk.

October - Pumpkin Patch

November - Thanksgiving.  Crawling!

December - First Christmas

Thankful for these moments...looking forward to many more in the next year.  Happy New Year to you and yours!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas...Part Two

Our Christmas morning was wonderful.  We woke up to a sweet little baby babbling in her bed.  Went in to say good morning and Merry Christmas to a sleepy-eyed, smiley-faced little girl.  Sadly, she had soaked through her Christmas jammies (learned my lesson on that one....put special jammies on ON Christmas morning).  However, she was in good spirits - so after a quick sponge bath and clothing change, we were ready for our first Christmas morning as a family of three.

Natalie was really into ripping the paper off of her presents, and she wanted to play with each item as it was opened.  Santa brought a cute little pink car walker.
Beep! Beep!

Daddy made breakfast, and we ate and played and snuggled.  By mid-morning, our little Christmas baby was tuckered out a ready for a little snooze.  Such a fun, relaxed, joyful morning.

Attempted Christmas morning :)  Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas....Part One

Wow, I have A LOT to share about our Christmas!  Thought I'd quickly post today about a couple of things.

I was intent on her having a special outfit to wear....I know, seems silly.  But I do love to sew, and I wanted to find some time to make her something for her first Christmas.  I set out for the fabric store as soon as I was off work for winter break - but I couldn't find any traditional red and green fabric that I liked.  I did find this beautiful turquoise fabric with pink poinsettas on it - perfect!  I love these colors together.

I got the pattern for the pants here.  They were so easy - and the measurements were perfect for Natalie's size.  I didn't have to adjust anything.  I had envisioned ruffle pants all along, and when I saw the pattern I had to have it!  I was able to make my own pattern for the top....I took her measurements and made it first with some plain white fabric that I had.  I wanted to make sure I had it right before using the fabric I bought.  I only purchased the bare minimum.  I made this outfit with 1 3/4 yards of fabric -- about $8 worth!

Of course, I finished sewing the buttons on it ON Christmas Day.  I am the queen of last-minute project these days.  Including this one...
Natalie's stocking.  I actually had good intentions of finishing this a long time ago.  I ordered it November 1st, and thought that would be PLENTY of time to get it done.  When I was a baby, my mom made me a felt applique stocking - I still have it and hang it up every Christmas.  I wanted to make one for Natalie, too.  I got in a little over my head - this darn thing took me about 40 hours of hand sewing and beading!  I "finished" it on Christmas Eve. :)  I say "finished" because it's actually not completely done.  The snowman is supposed to be holding a lollipop in each hand, and there is also supposed to be a large candy cane hanging from the top with Natalie's name on it.  I am hoping to get those done next before next Christmas.  But, this was "done enough"...
(Natalie with her new toothbrush that was in her stocking -- one of her favorite gifts I think...)

Be back soon with more!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 Months

Our little sugar bean is 10 months old!

She's been sick a lot in the past month, but not many other changes otherwise.  Still on the same nap and bedtime schedule.  Eating at the same times....2 bottles, nursing twice, 3 solid meals a day.  She has taken really well to lots of new foods this month.  She's eaten chili, biscuits & gravy, waffles, spaghetti, scrambled eggs, chicken noodle soup, and meatballs.  This girl will eat anything (like her daddy)!  I'm thankful that she doesn't seem to be picky yet.  When we are eating something - like when I grab a handful of Cheez-its to snack on - she makes a beeline for the food and grunts until you give her a bite.  Girl likes to eat! 

She is SO not interested in toys these days.  Her favorite things lately are ripping up magazines and pushing cardboard diaper boxes around the house.  She does love looking at books.  She's learned to turn the pages on her own....and she babbles while she looks at each page.  Such a busy little girl.

Her new tricks this month include walking along furniture or while holding onto our hands, waving, and repeating mama and dada when we say them to her (if she's in the right mood).  Her two top teeth are in now....she has a cute little toothy grin. :)

This girl is determined.  When she sets her mind to having something, she wants it.  As in now.  She will push my hands away if she doesn't like what I'm doing, or arch her back and throw her head back.  A bit of a drama queen, this one.  All of a sudden, in the past few weeks, she has decided that she hates taking baths.  Our girl who has loved water from day one has a total melt-down when we put her in the tub.  We do it right before bed, and I don't know if she's just too tired or what....I am going to try giving it to her in the mornings while I'm off work for the next few days and see if that makes a difference.
She LOVES to laugh!  She giggles when we tickle her, when we make funny faces, or when we sing to her.  She also cracks up when we play peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake.  Even my worst days can be turned around in a second when I see this sweet, happy face.

 Yelling at me for taking too many pictures, I think....
She continues to get endless compliments about her beautiful blue eyes.  We can't see to go anywhere without a complete stranger commenting about her baby blues.  I feel so blessed everytime someone tells me how pretty she is (as if I didn't know!).  I am so thankful to have a happy, healthy, beautiful baby.   

I'm so looking forward to these last couple of months before the big o-n-e.  Somehow I feel that after 12 months, she's not a baby anymore.  How can time have gone by so fast?? 
Beautiful, perfect, sweet, little angel baby.  I love you. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Progress

So....remember when I posted that I was going to get all organized with Christmas this year, and get done early so I could enjoy the month of December??  HA!  Well, that did NOT happen.  I sure had good intentions.  In a somewhat last-minute decision (5 weeks ago) to make many of my gifts and save money, I dug my own grave.  6 weeks is NOT an adequate amount of time to hand make 75% of  your Christmas gifts...

I am happy to report that *most* of my gifts are done.  I have pictures to share of all my creations...but many of the recipients read this blog!  I will probably have to wait until after Christmas to post some of the big gifts - but maybe it will give you an idea for next Christmas (I guess I need to start in JULY next year), or maybe give you a birthday/anniversary/wedding/shower gift inspiration.  Here a just a couple of little things that I've worked on (and already gifted away!)....

I got this cute subway art from Pinterest (they have TONS if you search for it!), and plopped it in a floating frame that I already had.  Cheap, quick, easy....and turned out cute!  Made two of these to give to co-workers.

Whipped up a batch of puppy chow (did you know they call it "muddy buddies" on the box?  what's up with that?!?) and stuck it in a $4 jar from Target.  Made a tag and tied it on with some polkadot ribbon.  Gave this to Natalie's daycare provider this morning.  I'd like to give her more - because she is wonderful with my sweet little girl.  But according to my calculations, I will pay her approximately $10,000 in a year's puppy chow it is. :)

I made these magnets and post-it note holders for the ladies I teach with. :)  Cute to use at school, or at home if they wish.  The inspiration for these from Pinterest as's addictive, people.  Seriously.

So, gifts are in production....most of the wrapping is done (with the exception of the unfinished gifts, of course!), finally got my Christmas cards mailed today, and I am now done with school so I can FOCUS on getting everything finished.  Oh, how I wish I would have stuck to my resolution of getting done early.  Honestly, I'm starting in the summer next year...

In my defense, I've had things like this consuming my time:

My Uncle was Santa this year -- so we had to take a trip to sit on his lap. :)  Natalie was not thrilled...

Oh, and a mysterious illness always makes it easy to get things done...

I'm considering hibernating next winter.....
Merry Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sick Baby

My poor little sweet pea is sick. :(  She has been battling runny diapers for 3 days, and I figured it was those pesky top teeth (that have decided to both come in at the same time).  This morning, I went in to wake her up as I always do.  As I settled in to nurse her, she felt warm to me.  I didn't think much of it at first because I kind of bundle her up at night, and she's always warm & toasty when I get her out of bed.  While I was changing her diaper, her tummy felt really hot to me, so took her temperature. 100.6. 

So began the 15 minute back-and-forth about who can afford to miss a day of work.....I lost.  Even though things are very busy at work.  But I'm glad I'm with her today, because she NEEDS me!  A baby with a fever is just completely pitiful.  It is the saddest thing.  She doesn't want to play or eat.  Her little hot body has been glued to me all day, and when I put her down she whines "mamamama" until I pick her up again.  Tylenol hasn't made a difference yet, so I hope the fever breaks soon. 

I made a comfy spot for her on the floor with pillows and blankets, and thought maybe she'd lay there for a bit while I made some lunch.  She laid there with her blankie for an hour watching Sesame Street (she looked comfy, so I didn't want to move her).....then fell asleep right there in the middle of the living room.

Poor little angel.
Say prayers for my sweet girl's recovery!!