Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ella can roll...and now she won't stop!! My fault???

So we hit a milestone on March 23, 2013. Ella can now roll all the way over. And I actually caught her first roll on video! She struggled for a couple of days before to get all the way over, but she kept getting so close. Finally, she actually made it all the way over. Which is great! I am such a proud mommy. BUT now she seems to think it is the coolest thing ever. I lay her on her quilt, turn away, she immediately rolls over, waits a few minutes for me to notice, cries to get rolled back on her back, and then repeats the process. Over and over and over. It was super cute the first few times, but not as much now. LOL! It takes me twice as long to get the dishes washed and laundry folded because of how many times my genius baby wants to play her game.

Which leads me to the topic of today's post. Are we being too indulgent as parents?? I personally believe Ella is too young to be spoiled and know how to "get her way", but I realize a lot of parents believe that we (young, new-generation moms) are way too indulgent with our children. Everyone that knows me knows that I like to do things by the book. Literally. I research everything and then make what I feel is the best decision. And a lot of times this decision contradicts what the moms before me did. For example, Ella went through a period where she was pretty fussy when it was time to go to bed. A lot of people told me to just let her cry. She would eventually learn to go to sleep on her own. However, I couldn't do it. I am not a fan of the cry-it-out method, especially at such a young age. KT and I had many discussions about what we should do, but I really just could not bring myself to let her cry. Therefore, I decided to stick with my method of putting her to sleep, laying her down, and picking her up if she wakes up and cries. It may have been tiring for a while but now Ella goes to sleep just fine. I no longer have to nurse her to get her to sleep. When she falls asleep, I lay her in her pack-n-play and she sleeps through the night. Rarely, does she wake up before 6-7 a.m. the next morning. And she falls asleep usually by 10 at the latest every night. And the best part is she wakes up so happy. She calls for us (not by crying, but by actually yelling for us LOL), we peek over the side of her pack-n-play, and she has the biggest smile on her face. Every morning this is our routine and I love that she has complete faith that we will be there to get her. I never worry that she is unsure of whether or not we will respond to her cries.

This is not to say that I think that parents that choose different methods from mine are wrong. Every parent knows what is best for their children. I have simply chosen to parent with a more attachment parenting style. I do not plan on going full-blown attachment parenting (nursing at 5 years old?? Not gonna happen!), but I do believe in the reasons behind attachment parenting. So I am blending some of these techniques with some of my own choices. And so far I am happy with the results.

But I have definitely noticed that some older moms think that the attachment parenting style makes your children way too dependent. I literally have had older women that I do not even know try to tell me how to take care of my daughter, which is incredibly rude. I know my child better than anyone else (besides her daddy of course), so I do not need anyone else telling me what to do! And I really disagree that Ella will become too dependent on us. At this age, I love that she has a deeper connection with KT and I than she does with anyone else. I believe that her confidence in us and our love for her will allow her to become a more secure child, teen, and adult.

But what do you guys think? What is your parenting style? Do you believe that new-generation moms are too easy on their kids? Are we making them too dependent? I would love to hear your opinion (even if it disagrees with mine)!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Healthier Lifestyle

I have always been the person talking about changing how I eat, but I never seemed to actually make it happen. I was forever telling KT that we were going to be making some changes to what we were eating...and then I'd go get McDonalds. I know, I know. Poor KT. He would listen to me everytime I went on one of my long spills about how we ate such bad things, he would agree that we needed some modifications, and then he would just shake his head when I went right back to the old ways. Unfortunately, this happened a lot. I never wanted to try to lose weight, but I wanted to improve my health and avoid any future health problems. Well, it's a good thing I had Ella because I am (finally!) making some changes!!

With such problems as child obesity (1 in 3 children are obese!), foods full of preservatives, foods covered in pesticides, fast food joints on every corner, and so many more, I decided that Ella needs and deserves a better future than what she was going to get if we kept eating the way we were. So to Google I went! Research is my best friend, so I was determined to learn as much about healthy eating as I could. First thing, no more fast food! My heart still breaks a little to think about this, but I am staying strong! We also agreed to not eat out for a while. I started creating weekly meal plans, and so far, we have not ate one thing outside of our own kitchen. Granted it has only been about two weeks, but still! That is definitely an accomplishment for me! Weekly meal plans have also helped us save money. I plan out every meal for each day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks), and then we go grocery shopping just for the items we need. According to KT, he can see the money-saving already. We try to have a good breakfast, light lunch, and a filling dinner. I have also been looking for some good recipes to try out. Got any?? And for those of you that don't know me, just the fact that I am asking for recipes to cook is a huge deal! I am not exactly domesticated! But since I have been staying home with Ella, I have been working on my Susie Homemaker skills. I think I am getting better! :)

One thing that we agreed to have every single day is a green smoothie. Before you make that face, give it a shot! If you haven't ever had one, you should really try it out. I promise that with the fruit in it you can't even taste the greens. Seriously! And I am probably the pickiest person I know! Bland is usually my favorite flavor. Well, besides salt, but I am trying to work on that too! The base recipe calls for 1cup spinach and 1cup kale (kale is like a superfood, so good for you!!), 2cups of choice fresh or frozen fruit (sometimes more) (btw, I have read that citrus doesn't usually do well in these), 2 bananas, and about 2 cups of water. We mix ours up a bit by adding in some lowfat vanilla yogurt, soy milk, and a few tablespoons of flax seed (full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids so really good for your heart) I think the best fruit to have is a bag of frozen mixed berries (they also turn the smoothie purple if the color is what holds you back). We recently tried apples, but it did not go so well. We didn't peel the apple, so that may have had something to do with it. The texture was pretty hard to get down. We also usually only use one banana because KT doesn't like a strong banana flavor, and bananas can be very overpowering. But if you like bananas (like me!), then go for two! Overall, green smoothies are such a great way to get in your servings in greens without even thinking about it. Most of us do not get even half the amount of greens we are supposed to have in a day, so a green smoothie is a great way to get those greens in!

The next challenge we are taking on is to start decreasing the amount of meat we eat. This is really going to be a hard one for us. We are both really big meat people. Honestly, is there anything better than a thick, juicy, rare steak?!?! If there is, I haven't found it (other than deer jerky, but that's a blog post all its own)! I suggested cutting out meat for one day a week. KT looked at me like I was crazy. LOL. He said how about one MEAL at a time. I laughed and agreed. This challenge starts this week, so wish us luck!

Do you have any healthy eating recommendations?? Any changes you have made to improve your health and eating habits? How about some recipes? Please share! I need all the help I can get! :)


XOXO,
Dani

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The baby girl who stole my heart

While reading the blog post I posted about earlier (if you haven't read it, you can find it here), I realized just how incredibly blessed I am to have the most amazing little girl in my life. And I get to call her my daughter. I can't even describe how being Ella's mommy makes me feel. Unconditional love doesn't even cover it. She literally holds my heart in her tiny palm, and I am perfectly okay with that. Before becoming a parent, I had no idea that you could love one person (especially someone so tiny!!) this much. I saw other parents and they obviously loved their children, but I assumed it was the same kind of love you had for anyone else in your life. I was wrong. The type of love you have for your child is so different from anything you will ever feel for another human being. That is not to say that your love for someone else is not as great but love for a child is just on a completely different level.

While this post may not have much relevance for anyone besides me, I will do it anyways. Many parents go through heartbreak that I cannot even imagine. And I know that I have been blessed with Ella, so I am choosing to celebrate my precious baby and the love I have for her. So for no other reason than just because I love her, this post is solely dedicated to Ella and how amazing, brilliant, beautiful, and loving she is every single day.  :)     You can call me cheesy now if you want!



These are some of the 4 month pictures I promised!


The flash makes her eyes big. So funny!

Yesterday, we had Ella's four month well baby check-up. She is doing amazing! She is a healthy 14lb 1oz and 24 1/2 inches long. She did so great with the doctors too! She laughed and smiled at them while they did their physical check of her. She thought the leg stretches, tummy time, and getting picked up and put on her feet were all games, so she played right along! Both of the doctors were impressed with how well she holds her head up, keeps her back rigid, and can push up with her arms while on her tummy. They said she is really close to sitting up by herself and rolling all the way over. The doctor also said her bottom teetth will come first, but we are about a month away from the first ones popping out. KT and I sat and watched her getting examined and showing off her skills like such proud parents! It felt like we were watching her first real "baby challenge" and she passed with flying colors! She made us so happy! She even did well with her second round of immunizations. She cried when they did it of course, but after it was over she went back to just being her normal happy self. Just like with the first round, she didn't even get a fever! Another reason I am happy we have been able to breastfeed! The benefits are so widespread!


video
Ella loves to play on her playmat! She REALLY loves when I pretend to kiss her cute little feet! Sorry for the kissing sounds! LOL



Another quick update, Ella loves bananas in her rice cereal! I tried that today because she was eating the rice cereal a little bit, but she wasn't enthused about it. I want her to enjoy eating, so I mushed a small piece of a banana and mixed it in and she loved it!


These are from our trip to the park to celebrate her four month birthday! Ella loves her Daddy!





My adorable little family! 




I love this little girl more than anything in the entire world!



XOXO,
Dani






An inspirational blog post I came across today.

A truly inspiring and heartbreaking story of a mothers never-ending love for her precious baby boy.

"EB"ing a Mommy: One Year...: Today cannot be real.   I wish it were a bad dream.   Today was the day that I never actually thought would get here.  It's a day...

Monday, March 11, 2013

How can we not be selfish?? Not even just a little??

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first thoughts I had was I'm too selfish to be a mom! I know, even that thought was pretty selfish, huh? But I vowed to be brutally honest in this blog, so it's true. I had just graduated college a little over a year before and I was still looking for a my dream job. How was I supposed to have it all with a baby? This fear is something I wrestled with throughout my entire pregnancy. And to be honest, I still have this fear to some degree. Every decision I make comes back to 'am I doing this because it really is the best thing for Ella or because I can't fully let go of the dreams I had pre-baby?'

 Although I can't imagine having anything come before Ella now, my entire life I had plans to put my career before having a family. I have a degree in political science, so I knew that I would have to work pretty hard to actually become successful in the male-dominated field of government. And I knew I would have to get out of Alabama. I was mentally prepared to take on this task. (I had even found apartments in North Carolina, which is where I wanted to live.) Therefore, I knew I had to become settled with a great career and be financially comfortable before even thinking of starting a family. This was just my mentality. Obviously, that didn't happpen the way I planned. So I have had to adjust accordingly. (Being a stay-at-home mom like I have been for the past four months never even crossed my mind when I saw my future!)

I have had to make myself understand that just because Ella was born, it doesn't mean that all of my old dreams just went away. This is okay. Moms have so much pressure on them to do it all. Be a great mom, have a great career while never missing a recital or baseball game, keep an immaculate house, and still try to have somewhat of a social life. All of this pressure makes us think we are being selfish just for wanting that great career or a night out with the girls. Most of the people I confided my fears told me that my dreams would change when I had a baby. This is true...somewhat. Every time I look into the future now, the first thing I see is Ella. But I still see some of those old dreams trying to pop out too. Again, this is okay! We don't have to change ALL of our plans because we have babies. Our babies just get to tag along now. I still want a great career that will satisfy me professionally. And now I have Ella to take care of everything outside of work. I think it's the best outcome possible, especially since KT is supportive of me still having the career of my dreams.

One great thing that started happening after I graduated college and then especially when I became pregnant was that I started thinking about what I really wanted out of life. Even though I had a baby coming (well actually, especially because I had a baby coming), I knew that my passion and not just a career needed to be something I started really thinking about. I really realized that I wanted a career that was rewarding mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, even if it didn't bring the most money. I finally acknowledged my love of reading and writing. So now in my future I see (in this order): Ella and KT, owning a bookstore, and writing (be that books, reviews, articles, freelance, blogs, whatever). I would be a liar if I said that I don't miss the freedom I had before having a baby because I still have days where I daydream about my "old daydreams", but then I look at Ella and new dreams (coupled with my old dreams) have arisen. And trust me, I still worry I make may a decison out of selfishness sometimes. Let's just hope KT will call me on it!

In the next couple of months KT and I have some big decisions to make about where we want to move and start our lives. Hopefully, my "selfishness" won't get in the way. :)

XOXO
Dani

P.S. For those of you who read yesterdays post and were expecting some pictures of Ella, what can I say? I have a million things to do in a day and it just didn't happen. Or could it be because KT is awesome and let me sleep in until 2 p.m. so nothing got accomplished today??? :) Either way, tomorrow it is!! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ella's Four Months Today!!!

It is March 10, which means my pretty baby is 4 months old! Crazy that time has flown by so fast. We celebrated by enjoying the great weather we had by going to the park. Ella hated it, but we tried. LOL! Really it was just super windy, and she did not like the wind blowing on her. Once the wind calmed down she spent her time watching everyone go by. We have such a curious baby. But her curiousity can actually be a negative thing sometimes because she makes herself stay awake to watch everything. That results in one cranky baby, which we experienced when we got home. Thankfully, she finally gave in and went to sleep.

She has definitely been making some strides to be a big girl lately. She started attempting to eat her rice cereal. (By the way, any recommendations on the best brand of rice cereal? We have her on Beech Nut because it is supposed to be easier on the tummy, but I'd love to hear your opinion!) She also started using her baby shampoo, which is a step up from just using infant head-to-toe wash. I know, I know, but I was excited about it! Her hair smells so yummy now! :) She also is becoming so mobile! We put her on her playmat and she never stays in the same position anymore. She pedals herself around until she is facing the complete opposite direction. Hopefully, she will be fully rolling over soon. Right now she is just getting on her side. But I can tell she is getting close for sure!

The biggest accomplishment so far has been that today she said her first "mama" sounds! It lit up my heart! Before you all tell me that she isn't actually addressing me as "mama", I know this! However, I choose to believe in my mind that she spoke directly TO me as she said the magic words! And nothing you say will take that away from me! :)

Unfortunately, Ella fell asleep before I could do her four month pictures. Guess those will have to wait until tomorrow. She should look the same right?? :) Pictures to come tomorrow!

XOXO
Dani

Taking my "me time" today

I have been working on the pages of my blog, so this is my first blog post. I debated for a while about what I should write about. Then I decided it should be about one of the most important things new mommies should always get. Their "me time."

It's 12:22 a.m., and I am indulging in some "me time". KT and Ella are both asleep (and have been since 8 p.m.), so I get some time to myself. I took a long, hot shower. I made myself a cup of decaf, hazelnut coffee. I settled in on the couch to read my new Cosmopolitan. I cooked a nice dinner. I ate. And now I am working on my new blog.

Although I have only been a mommy for four months, I realized pretty early on that something was going to have to give. I have not gone back to work yet, so I am at home with Ella everyday. And I love it. But I quickly learned that you can only take so much of taking care of a baby before you have to start taking care of yourself too. Taking care of Ella is the best part of my day, and I truly mean that. But having some time for myself definitely allows me to rejuvenate...in a baby-free zone. Tonight that means sitting on the couch with Cosmo and coffee. Some days that means leaving for a few hours to go to Books-a-Million to read a good book. It sounds silly but not being able to read whenever I choose has actually been something that I have had to adjust to. I was so used to being able to finish a book in one setting that having to put a book down because Ella needs something was a big adjustment. But I have made that adjustment by getting a few hours every now and then to do whatever I please, like read that book that is suddenly taking me a week to finish. :)

I have been pretty lucky with getting my "me time" because KT actually pushes me to make sure I get some time for myself. The very first time I left, which was just for an hour to get dinner with a friend, was so difficult for me. KT really encouraged me to get out of the house or I was going to go insane. He was right. We all need time to just breathe for a little while. "Me time" is something that I will blog about pretty frequently because I feel it really is important not to lose ourselves in motherhood. Our babies need us to be at the top of our game all the time, so why shouldn't we indulge in ourselves a bit? Becoming burnt out is the last thing we, our babies, or our partners want or need, so avoid that by taking a time out every once in a while!

 At about 6 a.m. when Ella wakes up to eat I may regret letting my "me time" run so late, but we live and we learn, right??

Don't be afraid to take some "me time". It can really help you be an even better mommy to your precious little one.

XOXO
Dani