{five months old!}

Our baby is FIVE MONTHS OLD!

 

five whole months!!

five whole months!!

 

adorbs

adorbs

 

big girl

big girl

This is still her 0-3 month onesie from last month… still pretty baggy…


 

eighteen weeks old {july 19}

eighteen weeks old {july 19}

nineteen weeks old {july 26}

nineteen weeks old {july 26}

twenty weeks old {august 2}

twenty weeks old {august 2}

twenty-one weeks old {august 9}

twenty-one weeks old {august 9}


Here are a few highlights from her fifth month {july 15-august 15}

ON. THE. MOVE!  She can’t be stopped!! We lay her down on her play mat and BAM – she’s rolled across the room.  Like that.  This morning Derek laid her down, turned around, and she had made it across half the room.  She used to DESPISE tummy time, now she loves to flop over on her tum and lift her upper body up.  She moves her legs like a froggie, like she knows that will make her move, but she just doesn’t have the muscles for it.  Soon, baby girl… soon.

She has been eating foods since her 4 month appointment.  Our pediatrician said she could start around 4 months if everything else was going fine- which it was.  So we started her with rice cereal.  She loved it, duh.  We knew she would.  Then after a few weeks we gave her peas.  She loved those, too.  Then we hit the secondary milestone that comes with eating foods…. poop.  So. Gross.  And prior to the poops were a day or two of the smelliest toots ever.  I swear, if those toots had been colored, you would have been able to see the toot clouds lingering in the air around her for minutes.  MINUTES.   How can such an adorable baby be so smelly?  Now we understand the stereotype of the parent (usually the dad) going in to change a diaper in full HazMat gear.

peas, please {august 9}

peas, please {august 9}

Grabby Grabby.  Anything that you have in your hands, should be in Alice’s hand.  According to Alice.  Very curious child we have here.  In hands, inspected with eyes, then inspected with mouth.

Still a tiny little thing.  She’s still in size 1 diapers.  We just bought more today, so she’s not moving up yet anyway!

Remember from the 4 month post when I wrote this:

There has been lots of talk on various posts in the group about the dreaded period of “four month sleep regression.”  AKA: your kid was sleeping through the night, taking regular naps, becoming a predictable and wonderful sleeper then, BAM see ya later sleep.  I was DREADING this.  We even chose not to transition her to her crib yet because she was getting close to being four months and didn’t want to chance this being an issue (plus I don’t know if I am ready to have her leave our room).  About two weeks ago her sleep started getting off-track.  She wouldn’t take naps at her regular time, she would wake up at 3am (on the dot) every night to get changed and eat (and maybe play), she wouldn’t go to bed at her regular time (staying up until 11 or 11:30p)…  Then all of a sudden she stopped.  She became more predictable again, taking naps, going to bed at her normal time, sleeping through the night.  I don’t know if this was the sleep regression or because I went back to work and things were different for her, but either way, it wasn’t nearly as bad or tough as I had prepared myself for.  Although, I like to think I have a very flexible view/mindset about infant sleep, so that probably helped with how I perceived/handled things.

BAHAHAHA!  What a SAP.  Her sleep went RIGHT.DOWN.THE.DRAIN.  She wakes up all the time.  Sometimes she goes back to sleep, other times she’s up for two hours.  TWO HOURS, guys.  All this on top of me working every day and Derek breaking his thumb – leaving me as the primary baby-wrangler — on no sleep.  Oh, Alice… Sometimes, too, I’d go in there in the middle of the night when she wakes up and she is just WIDE AWAKE with a HUGE smile on her face.  So happy to see me.  Go to sleep, kid.  Your little smile melts my heart, but seriously, sleep.  She’s starting to get a little better, so we might be on an up-swing.  But be on the lookout for my retraction statement on next month’s update.  I’m sure it will be there.

On a positive sleep-note: she has been sleeping in her crib since the day after she turned 4 months.  The first night was rough – on both of us – and after 45 minutes she ended up back in her rock’n’play in our room.  The next night she did GREAT!  And since then the rock’n’play has been folded up in her room.  She’s a rockstar.  I thought that it would be much harder, and the first few nights definitely were, but after that I was so glad that we moved her.  Now I am looking forward to having a different house layout where her room isn’t pretty much in the middle of all our living space, so we don’t have to be so quiet at night and in the mornings.

Events from Month 5

Cereal

We didn’t do a post about it (maybe we will in the future), but Derek was in a golf cart accident on July 19th.  A golf cart tipped on top of him (only minimal rough-housing was had) and he broke his left thumb and wrist.  Do you know what this does to a small family with a 4-5 month old?  It incapacitates them.  He couldn’t do anything related to Alice.  He couldn’t hold her, change a diaper, pick her up, watch her while I was at work, nothing.  Nothing.  And this happened right about the time I started working EVERY day and Alice stopped sleeping.  It was awful.  We are beyond thankful for his family and my family for all their help and support.  I honestly don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have family around us.   He’s still in a brace/cast but he can do so much more now.  I am thankful that stressful time in our lives is coming to a close.  It was awful.

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beat up

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all bandaged up

 


Here is a collection of cute Alice pictures from the last month:

 

i will not sit down...

i will not sit down…

 

outta here!

outta here!

 

yawwwwwn {july 16}

yawwwwwn {july 16}

 

look at my toes.  look.  {july 17}

look at my toes. look. {july 17}

 

this was probably the last day of wearing cupcake jams.  they are clearly too small.  we were clearly trying to pretend like she was still a little baby.  thanks, sarah, for letting us borrow you adorable clothes!! {july 19}

this was probably the last day of wearing cupcake jams. they are clearly too small. we were clearly trying to pretend like she was still a little baby. thanks, sarah, for letting us borrow you adorable clothes!! {july 19}

 

she loooves to play on the keyboard.  loves i.  {july 25}

she loooves to play on the keyboard. loves it. {july 25}

 

finally accepting that she loves aunt katie.  this was a successful visit!  {august 9}

finally accepting that she loves aunt katie. this was a successful visit! {august 9}

 

eating books.  {august 12}

eating books. {august 12}

 

so adorable {august 13}

so adorable {august 13}

 

she is a cuddly kid and likes to just hold my hand to fall asleep.  {july 19}

she is a cuddly kid and likes to just hold my hand to fall asleep. {july 19}

 

baby toes {july 19}

baby toes {july 19}

 

this was her adorable face after she puked in my eye.  motherhood.  {july 22}

this was her adorable face after she puked in my eye. motherhood. {july 22}

 

toy --> mouth  {august 1}

toy –> mouth {august 1}

 

arrrg {august 1}

arrrg {august 1}

 

rolling everywhere.  she's a lady on the move.  {august 8}

rolling everywhere. she’s a lady on the move. {august 8}

 

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this kid loves animals. she watched burt all the time and just wants to get her fingers in the cats’ fur. the cats aren’t as pleased but are so desperate for affection that they are taking what they can get at this point. {august 10}

 

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so grown up {august 14}

 

 

I know I didn’t post this until 2 weeks after her 5 month.  Yea yea.  I changed the timestamp so in the future I will look back and think that I was on top of things… until I get to the wayyyy bottom of this post.

milestone alert!

We had to reschedule her 4 month appointment for about 9 days after she turned 4 months old.  I am always looking forward to her doctor appointments because I love to see how much she weighs and because I love her doctor.  I feel like we get so much good information at her appointments and it really feels like everyone in the office cares about Alice.  Plus, I was EXTRA looking forward to this check-up because Dr. Alt had previously talked to us about starting foods at 4 months, so we were waiting for a “go-ahead” on trying foods – which we got – yay!

waiting for the doctor {july 24}

waiting for the doctor {july 24}

Here are her stats:

11lbs 4oz

23in

She is still in the <5th percentile.  I guess that’s OK, according to the doctor, because she has always been that small and hasn’t dropped on the growth curve.  She’s just a little baby.

After we left the appointment we stopped at Target to pick up some rice cereal because I was too excited and COULD. NOT. WAIT. to try foods.  I have been waiting for so long for this!  She LOVED IT!  Gobbled it all right up.  Made a huge mess but we all loved it.  What a fun milestone.

let the fun begin!! {july 24}

let the fun begin!! {july 24}

she has no idea that we are about to blow. her. mind. {july 24}

she has no idea that we are about to blow. her. mind. {july 24}

LOVING IT! {july 24}

LOVING IT! {july 24}

trying cereal day #2 {july 25}

trying cereal day #2 {july 25}

cuteness {july 25}

cuteness {july 25}

 

So adorable.  I just love this kid.

{four months old!}

Our baby is FOUR MONTHS OLD!

 

i'm how old?!

i’m how old?!

ahhh!  so happy!

ahhh! so happy!

adorable baby girl

adorable baby girl

We had to get a new white long-sleeved onesie for these pictures.  This is a size 0-3 month.  It is so baggy on her… She’s just a tiny little thing.


 

fourteen weeks old {june 21}

fourteen weeks old {june 21}

fifteen weeks old {june 28}

fifteen weeks old {june 28}

sixteen weeks old {july 5}

sixteen weeks old {july 5}

seventeen weeks old {july 12}

seventeen weeks old {july 12}


Here are a few highlights from her fourth month {june 15-july 15}

TOES!  This kid LOVES her toes.  And EARS!  She’s figuring out that she has body parts and it’s adorable.  She grabs those toes and rolls around like a little bug on her back.  We’ve also started noticing that she grabs her ears when she’s hungry and tired.  At first we were worried that she had an ear infection, but I think we’d know if this kid was sick.  She would tell us… loud and clear.  So now we know that pulling on her ear = tired and hungry.

This kid is a playing fool!  She loves her keys, her oball, her blankie, anything that hangs from her play mat, and Spike the Unicorn.  I was OB-sessed with unicorns when I was younger (then transitioned into being even more obsessed with Hanson).  My WHOLE room was unicorns – unicorn wallpaper, unicorn Lisa Frank everything, unicorn figurines on every horizontal surface of my room…  I also just recently found a story that I wrote in elementary school about unicorns.  It was quality.  Why I didn’t pursue a career as an author of many unicorn themed novels is beyond me, and what I would consider a loss for readers everywhere.  So naturally we needed to start Alice early with her unicorn-love. My mom bought her a cute purple sparkly unicorn at Binder Park Zoo to help ignite her passion for these majestic creatures.

unicorn love {july 15}

unicorn love {july 15}

We started using her bumbo seat more often and she loves being able to sit up on her own.  I can’t wait until she actually does sit up on her own – it is so weird to think that my tiny little baby will soon be big enough to sit up by herself…  That’s crazy talk.   Buuuut it would be nice to give the back of her head a break so her hair can grow back because she definitely has a big bald spot back there.  Speaking of bald spots – you lose A. LOT. of hair after you have a baby.  Like tons.

This kid is tiny.  She’s in size 1 diapers.  Newborn jammies.  And 0-3 clothes.  She weighs something like 11 pounds.  She goes to the doctor on the 24th for her 4 month check up so we will see her official weight then, but she is sitting pretty securely in the 5th percentile.  That means that 95% of babies her age are bigger than her.  Wow.  We get comments all the time about how little she is.  It only bothers me because I feel like sometimes people are judging.  Especially when she was younger.  We went to Tulip Time when she was 7 weeks old.  We forgot to bring the stroller because we suck, so she was in the ring sling the whole time.  Someone said, “Wow, what a little baby.  How old?”  — “7 weeks.” — “Oh wow, I would have thought 7 days.”  Now come on.  I am not going to bring my week old baby to Tulip Time in the cold.  Seriously.  We are not crummy parents.  She’s just little.  And just naturally little.  Because, believe me, this kid eats.  Every two hours.  You could set a watch by her fussiness.  She starts to get a little fussy… oh, look, it’s been an hour and forty-five minutes since she ate.  Silly kid.

I went back to work more regularly during the last month.  It’s kinda sad that you get to be home full-time with you baby and as soon as she gets to a fun and interactive developmental stage – bam – you have to go back to work and miss everything.  It breaks my heart.  I love my job a lot, but I would also love to be independently wealthy and not have to work so I could stay home with her.

She loves watching screens.  I know.  Terrible parents here.  But seriously, she loves them.  Sometimes the only way we can get her to fall asleep at night is if she sits on Derek’s lap while he plays games on the computer.  He’s really sacrificing, I know.

loungin' {july 14}

loungin’ {july 14}

captivated {july 14}

captivated {july 14}

Her favorite thing to watch is Baby Van Gogh.  Who.  Makes.  These.  Things??!  Have any of you watched them??!  I am CONVINCED that a 7th grader in a graphic design/film class made this with weird stock clips from the internet.  It is AWFUL.  Awful.  But Alice is mesmerized by it.  Here it is for you all to see in case you were wondering.  But, I guess it’s better than having to watch Yo Gabba Gabba like other parents I know …  Although it doesn’t have the catchy, yet informative/educational, songs like, “Don’t Bite Your Friends” that Yo Gabba Gabba has…

THIS month has been my favorite so far.  I know I said that last month, but I lied.  I like this month.  Lots.  She’s so stinking adorable, playful, sweet, cuddly, and wonderful.  I just can’t get enough.

She loves to stand up.  It’s super cute.  She has a fun routine with me that after every diaper change I stand her up on the changing pad and she gets to bounce around for a while.  She laughs and giggles.  She’s seriously the best.

So I am a part of this amazingly helpful mom’s group on facebook.  I added a lot of you because it’s a fabulous group with wonderfully supportive moms.  There has been lots of talk on various posts in the group about the dreaded period of “four month sleep regression.”  AKA: your kid was sleeping through the night, taking regular naps, becoming a predictable and wonderful sleeper then, BAM see ya later sleep.  I was DREADING this.  We even chose not to transition her to her crib yet because she was getting close to being four months and didn’t want to chance this being an issue (plus I don’t know if I am ready to have her leave our room).  About two weeks ago her sleep started getting off-track.  She wouldn’t take naps at her regular time, she would wake up at 3am (on the dot) every night to get changed and eat (and maybe play), she wouldn’t go to bed at her regular time (staying up until 11 or 11:30p)…  Then all of a sudden she stopped.  She became more predictable again, taking naps, going to bed at her normal time, sleeping through the night.  I don’t know if this was the sleep regression or because I went back to work and things were different for her, but either way, it wasn’t nearly as bad or tough as I had prepared myself for.  Although, I like to think I have a very flexible view/mindset about infant sleep, so that probably helped with how I perceived/handled things.

Events from Month 3

Growing up

Geez… I guess I haven’t updated much this last month… whoops.

4th of July!  We didn’t do much except spend some time with Derek’s family.  Burt was terrified of the fireworks that were going off in the neighborhood, but Alice couldn’t care less.

PhotoGrid_1404497992350

happy 4th!


Here is a collection of cute Alice pictures from the last month:

loving on that baby {june 18}

loving on that baby {june 18}

Alice and her baby! {june 18}

Alice and her baby! {june 18}

We were out running errands and Alice was SCREAMING in the back because those darn rings WOULD NOT fit in her mouth.  then she passed out. {june 20}

We were out running errands and Alice was SCREAMING in the back because those darn rings WOULD NOT fit in her mouth. then she passed out. {june 20}

the only way Derek loses in bags is if he is holding Alice {june 21}

the only way Derek loses in bags is if he is holding Alice {june 21}

she has an expensive baby carrier but loves to look forward so we had to borrow a forward-facing one so she would be content ... for about 2 mintues {june 23}

she has an expensive baby carrier but loves to look forward so we had to borrow a forward-facing one so she would be content … for about 2 mintues {june 23}

"best friends share their toys" - Harper {june 24}

“best friends share their toys” – Harper {june 24}

amazing ladies {june 24}

amazing ladies {june 24}

look at this cute girl.  look at her! {june 26}

look at this cute girl. look at her! {june 26}

ahhh!  adorable hat - thanks Connie!! {june 26}

ahhh! adorable hat – thanks Connie!! {june 26}

soooo mad but soooo cute {june 27}

soooo mad but soooo cute {june 27}

snuggles with her mama {june 28}

snuggles with her mama {june 28}

cute little monster after a bath {july 1}

cute little monster after a bath {july 1}

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couch naps {july 1}

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sleepy {july 1}

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get in my mouth toy {july 3}

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beautiful {july 4}

20140705_144649

these newborn pants were HUGE on her when she was born. we couldn’t find preemie-sized pants so we had to make do. now they are way too small. she’s getting so big. {july 5}

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hanging out with dad {july 5}

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making sure dad puts the bumbo toys together properly {july 9}

20140710_140752

ahhh loving the new toys! {july 10}

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one cute baby {july 10}

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grandma and grandpa came to visit and couldn’t get enough of her {july 12}

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played too hard and passed out {june 30}

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nakey baby {july 1}

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bahahah grins {july 12}

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goof {july 12}

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hello world {july 13}

 

growing up

Today we officially retired her first pair of baby jeggings… They were starting to lean a little too far to the legging end instead of the jean end of the spectrum – and becoming more like capris… This actually makes me really sad.  Goodbye adorable jeggings. Goodbye newborn sized baby Alice.

image

{three months old!}

Our baby is THREE MONTHS OLD!

 

so big

so big

adorable girl

adorable girl

2014-06-15 18.27.25

 

Interesting facts about these pictures:

1. This is the same white onesie that she has been wearing in all the monthly pictures.  It’s getting pretty snug, so this will probably be its last appearance – which makes me really sad, actually.

2. She puked ALL OVER this onesie just minutes before taking these pictures – then started crying… It wouldn’t have been a huge deal but this is her only white long-sleeve onesie and I wanted to get this post up TODAY… soooo, the show must go on, people…

 


 

nine weeks old {may 18}

nine weeks old {may 18}

ten weeks old {may 24}

ten weeks old {may 24}

eleven weeks old {may 31}

eleven weeks old {may 31}

twelve weeks old {june 7}

twelve weeks old {june 7}

thirteen weeks old {june 14}  finally in size 1 diapers!!

thirteen weeks old {june 14} finally in size 1 diapers!!


Here are a few highlights from her third month:

We have reached the put-everything-in-my-mouth part of childhood.  I know it might start to get frustrating later when she is picking things up off the ground and putting them in her mouth, but right now it’s adorable.

In the last few weeks of her third month, she started to actually play – not just look at things, but really play.  Her favorite toy is her oball rattle.  This kid LOVES that thing.  Loves it.  It has been really amazing to watch her learn how to grab and hold on to things, and the oball was really how she learned.  In the beginning we would have to open her hand and close it on toys for her to grasp it.  She would keep her fist tight, the toy would stay in her grip and she would shake her hand, but she wasn’t really playing, yet.  After a while she would reach out and swat at toys hanging from her play mat but couldn’t really grab them.  Then she went through this awful 48-72 hr fussy period just before we left for Wisconsin (where she was a BEAR!!!) and after that she was reaching out, grabbing things, shaking them, and actually playing.  I know these are all normal developmental milestones, but it is so cool to be able to see your kid clearly starting to figure out the world.  So now she is playing, and that oball is the.most.amazing.toy.ever – according to Alice.  She could play with that things all day.  They only downside – it refuses to fit in her mouth – no matter how hard she tries.

tries so hard {june 12}

tries so hard {june 12}

 

WHAT?!?! She’s no longer wearing newborn-sized diapers?! You mean my 3 month old baby can wear regular sized diapers now?!  The ones that family stocked up on while I was pregnant.  So we don’t have to keep buying diapers every few days (because they don’t sell newborn sizes in bulk…)?!  YAY YAY YAY!  Although, she is still wearing newborn-sized clothes (and slowly entering no man’s land where she is too big for newborn size and too small for 0-3m…).  That’s OK though, because we don’t go through 15 of those in a day.

Alice went on her first out-of-state trip.  I wouldn’t really call it a vacation, just a trip.  Derek had a conference in Wisconsin for work so Alice and I tagged along.  You can read about it here: (coming soon – I promise!!).  It was on this trip that we used our LAST newborn diaper.  So many milestones.

This kid is a TALKING MACHINE.  Once she gets started, she just talks and talks and talks and talks.  She had been making more and more noises at the start of this month, but after her fussy few days (aka: growth spurt) she became a nonstop talker.  It is by far the most adorable thing ever.  Ever.  You CAN NOT get any cuter.  Check out the video page for some adorableness.  Just be careful – you might reach cuteness overload and explode.

This has been my favorite month with her so far.  I know that it probably won’t be my favorite overall, but it definitely is so far.  She is so much more fun.  She smiles and giggles.  She watches us and is interested in looking at things around her.  She loves to play and can lay on her play mat kicking toys and talking forever.  She still snuggles and loves to fall asleep in our arms.  She wakes up with THE BIGGEST smiles in the mornings.  She can hold her head up really well and is starting to be able to sit in a bumbo seat.  She is generally in a happy and smiley mood (which is quite a big change from when she was just a little baby and was Queen Fussy Face).  I just love it.  Love it.  Love it.  Love it.

Also, cuteness alert: she loves smiling at the cute baby in the mirror.  Melts my heart every time.  When we were in Wisconsin, she was reaching out to touch the mirror baby.  ADORABLE.  Adorable.

"oh, hello adorable baby!"

“oh, hello adorable baby!”

 

Events from Month 3

Stomp Out Stigma walk

Derek went back to work

Wisconsin Trip (coming soon)

Father’s Day


Here is a collection of cute Alice pictures from the last month: get ready, there are lots this time.

cutest faces {may 17}

cutest faces {may 17}

beans is less than pleased at the addition of this baby into our lives {may 18}

beans is less than pleased at the addition of this baby into our lives {may 18}

went for a walk in the park, alice loved the tula and burt loved sniffing out bunnies {may 19}

went for a walk in the park, alice loved the tula and burt loved sniffing out bunnies {may 19}

dangerously adorable pouty lip {may 19}

dangerously adorable pouty lip {may 19}

babies in sunhats, anyone?? yes, please {may 20}

babies in sunhats, anyone?? yes, please {may 20}

love it {may 20}

love it {may 20}

i eat this? {may 24}

i eat this? {may 24}

aunt katie visited! {may 26}

aunt katie visited! {may 26}

hating tummy time.  hating it {may 28}

hating tummy time. hating it {may 28}

she took a FOUR HOUR nap this day.  four. hours. {may 29}

she took a FOUR HOUR nap this day. four. hours. {may 29}

loving on sophie {may 30}

loving on sophie {may 30}

playing... how do i look so pale next to a kid that has literally been in the sun for 10 minutes in her whole life?!  {may 30}

playing… how do i look so pale next to a kid that has literally been in the sun for 10 minutes in her whole life?! {may 30}

unhappily snuggling with the seahorse {may 31}

unhappily snuggling with the seahorse {may 31}

burt laid next to her and she starting feeling his ear.  how cute?!?! {june 1}

burt laid next to her and she starting feeling his ear. how cute?!?! {june 1}

this is her face when you turn on the forward facing camera so she can see herself. {june 2}

this is her face when you turn on the forward facing camera so she can see herself. {june 2}

amazed by her own face {june 2}

amazed by her own face {june 2}

hanging out in the yard with her puppy {june 8}

hanging out in the yard with her puppy {june 8}

i must eat this {june 14}

i must eat this {june 14}

loves to play before bed {june 15}

loves to play before bed {june 15}

playing with burt {may 28}

playing with burt {may 28}

i eat this, too {may 31}

i eat this, too {may 31}

happy faces in the morning {june 9}

happy faces in the morning {june 9}

she was so fussy even grandpa was no match for her {june 6}

she was so fussy even grandpa was no match for her {june 6}

 

my first father’s day

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So this is exciting. I get another holiday every year that I get to consider ‘mine’. It’s almost like another birthday. I’ve never really been a major birthday celebrator. I used to use it as an excuse to buy myself something, or have a bowling party at the casino club. Hell, this year I turned 30 and no one even knew it was my birthday (Thanks, Alice). For those of you that forgot my birthday, it was February 20th and you can mail gifts to our home. Please contact me if you need our address. For gifts I enjoy most product lines by Budweiser, Microsoft, or Titleist.

Father’s Day. Is it really another holiday that I get to consider mine? Is it a holiday for me, or is it a holiday for my father, or my grandfather? I don’t really think so. I think it’s more so a day that we stop and think about what it means to be a father, and stop and think about how thankful we are to our fathers. What I’ve thought about the most today is how being a dad has changed my life.

I don’t get to go places on time anymore.
I can’t count on a full night’s sleep.
I smell like sour milk.
I can’t make a tee time without checking my wife’s schedule.
When I go places, people are more excited to see my kid than me.
I can’t rock out to my favorite Meat Loaf cassette in my car.

But being a dad, I don’t mind these things. It’s all worth it when I come home from work and see my daughter. Usually she’s not smiling, but it makes my day. I never used to leave work on time. Maybe one day a week I left on time. Now I can’t get out the door soon enough to get home and see my baby girl. I really, really, really love this girl.

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Being a dad also makes me that much more thankful for my dad. I’m sure that he went through all of these things as well, but instead of Meat Loaf I think he was more so missing The Temptations, The Mama’s and the Papas, and Isaac Hayes (Yes, my father was a huge Isaac Hayes fan and I don’t think anyone will believe that, but it’s true). My dad is into his sixties now, and every time I see him I am thankful he’s in our lives. I’m thankful for the influences he’s had on my life. I’ve never really thought of what my dad has taught me, but I’ll make a brief list in my, and his, normal smart ass commentary.

Speak less often. Fewer words will carry more meaning. And fewer people will bother you about shit.
Be responsible. If you said you’re going to do something, follow through on it.
Family is important. You might not like that person, and neither do I, but hey, they’re family.
Respect your boss. They can make your life hell if they want to.
Be nice to strangers. People respect you more when they think you know everyone.
Work hard. If you do what you need to do, there’s more time for beer later.
Don’t hug people. This is self explanatory.
Fix things that you don’t know how to fix. If you try and can’t fix it, take it to someone that can but don’t tell them you tried already.
Don’t start a fight. You can fight, but Doughty’s don’t start fights, they end them.
Take care of your pets. If you got sick, wouldn’t you want me to take you to the doctor too?
Pick your battles. If you’re not going to make your own dinner, just eat the casserole and don’t say anything.
Appreciate what you’ve been given. There are plenty of people out there that have less than you.

I’m thankful for what my dad has taught me over my lifetime. I’m also thankful every day that I still have him. When I reflect on this I hope that some day Alice can say the same things. Maybe she’ll be a better child and not be a smart ass about it. I hope that I can teach her all that my dad has taught me and more. I hope that she’ll get to spend plenty of years with me as well.

she really doesn't cry all the time! I swear!!

she really doesn’t cry all the time! I swear!!

the working world

Derek and I each were lucky enough to have a ton of time off after Alice was born.  I went back to seeing clients in Kalamazoo when Alice was about 5-6 weeks old, but that doesn’t really count because I was only gone for a few hours each time – no big deal.  I have a great boss at Pine Rest and she let me come up with a plan for my leave that worked best for my crazy hours (half days on Thursdays/Fridays and every other weekend).  I went back to Pine Rest on the weekend before Memorial Day but I don’t do the weekday hours until July.  I wasn’t too terribly concerned about going back on the weekends at Pine Rest because my partner is my amazing friend and weekends are pretty relaxed.  Derek went back full-time the day after Memorial Day.  I was a little nervous about him going back because that meant that I was home with Alice full-time, which was a huge transition.  At this point, he has been back for a week and a half and I am glad to say that being home with Alice has been amazing.  We have a good routine and I feel really confident that I’ve got this thing down.  If you had asked me to be home full-time with her 6-8 weeks ago, I would have cried.  I would have done it.  I would have survived.  But I would have cried.  We are so lucky and thankful that our jobs allowed us each to take 10 solid weeks off.  I hope that we have this same opportunity for each of our children, but I am beyond thankful that we could do this with our first baby.  I think that it not only helped Derek build a relationship and bond with Alice, but it definitely helped me.  I don’t know that I would have coped well if we had been a typical new family where the dad went back to work after a few days.  I truly believe that because Derek and I were both home together we each were able to take the time we needed to adjust to such a huge change.

If you’ve spoken to me at all since Alice has been born, you’ve probably heard me say this at least once:

In theory we all know that having a baby means you have to mold your life around them, but in practice it’s really difficult.

I have a Masters in psychology and have worked with kids and teens for years and years.  I know that having kids is a significant change.  I know that their needs come first most of the time.  I know that I won’t be able to do things or go places whenever I want.  I know that when babies cry it’s because they need something or something is wrong.  I know all these things.  Duh.  But when it really came down to it, it took me a while to realize what that meant for me, what that meant in practice and not just in theory.  I have to be 100% honest and say that the first few weeks were really hard, and I think that a lot of the difficulty was because I struggled with being able to step back and remind myself of the theory of it all.  The intelligent, adult, functional part of me knew that when she was crying it was because she needed us and not because she was trying to break me.  If I had been watching from the outside and saw someone else in the same situation, I would easily have been able to think of what she might need or ways to calm her – but in the situation all I could think was “stop crying.”  I had a hard time remembering that she was just a little baby, a human being, that needed me.  I had a hard time with having sympathy and empathy toward her and not just toward myself.  My biggest obstacle with becoming a mom was to stop being stubborn, whether intentional or not.  If she just ate 45 minutes ago but was crying and couldn’t be soothed I was stubborn to the idea that she needed/wanted to eat again.  When she was two weeks old, Derek went to bowling for the evening and I was home alone with her for a few hours.  She cried the entire time he was gone.  the. entire. time.  So naturally I cried for pretty much that whole time, too.  Usually every week after bowling he would stop at Little Ceasars across the street from the bowling alley and get me crazy bread because on Tuesdays it was only a dollar.  That night I called him crying, so desperate for him to come home as soon as possible that I couldn’t even fathom him spending the extra 5 minutes getting delicious crazy bread.   Looking back at this, I feel incredibly guilty and almost embarrassed at how I struggled with coping and having a new perspective on my changes – even though I knew they were coming.  That is why I believe that having Derek home with us for so long was such a blessing for all of us.  It allowed us to be able to be the “outsider” in situations and give the other one ideas of what might be upsetting her or how to handle it. It also let us take breaks.  There were times when I needed to be alone.  I needed it and I’m sure he did too sometimes.  I think that if I had been alone during those first few weeks I wouldn’t have been able to take the time that I needed to figure out the whole parenting thing.  I think that I would have been resentful at the fact that I was home alone all day while he got to leave and that resentment would have destroyed me, my relationship with Alice, and my relationship with Derek.

It has been really important for me to be honest about how I have coped with this transition.  However, being honest is very different from complaining.  I do not and will not complain about being a parent.  I wanted this and I love this.  I truly, 100%, with every ounce of me love this.  But sometimes it’s hard – and sometimes I struggle – and sometimes I need time to change my perspective.  And talking about that is not complaining.  It is honesty.  I find so much strength in talking with my friends that are parents.  Having kids can be really emotional, isolating, and stressful.  Lots of times it feels like you have to put on a face like you’ve got everything under control and know just what to do, even if that’s not the case.  I don’t like that feeling.  I am thankful that I have  such great relationships my husband, friends, and family where we can be honest and seek help/advice/support without feeling bad.

stomp out stigma

For the last 4 or 5 years Derek and I have done the Stomp Out Stigma walk.  The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan puts on this walk every year to help “stomp out” the stigma of mental health.  Last year Derek and I became co-captains for the Pine Rest team.  Before we were captains, the Pine Rest team was always pretty small (5-10 walkers).  When we took over last year, there were over 100 walkers for our team!  This year we had over 200 people sign up, but unfortunately not many actually showed up because it was unseasonably cold on Saturday morning – I’m talking like 45*.  Freezing.

Our little group (Derek, Alice, Justin, my parents, and me) didn’t end up doing the actual walk, though, because of timing with Alice needing to eat and my sister being done with her race and wanting to visit.  She did the Hit & Run 5K which looked like the coolest race ever – basically like the show Wipeout.  How cool?!

Regardless, it was a fun morning and we are thankful for all the people from the Pine Rest team that participated despite the cold weather.  Last year we got a huge panoramic shot of the whole group and we tried to do it again this year.  It is very difficult to gather that many people for a photo, apparently… Most of the group was all gathered and ready and it was pretty clear that I was the one taking the picture.  I went to round up a few stragglers and turned around to see the whole group disbanding.  Apparently someone had come up with a camera, took a few pictures, and the group thought that was it.  Seriously?!  Geez.  I had to track the guy down to ask him to email the pictures to me…

 

Pine Rest 2

 

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