Before and Afters

Here are some before and after videos of our new house!!!

They are quite lengthy, but we felt that in order to fully appreciate the after you need to know the before. =)

House Before Downstairs

House Before Upstairs

House After

Introduction to Solids...

Yup that's right - I said SOLIDS --- S-O-L-I-D-S ---

Our little miss has been eying us eating, eating like a mad woman, and teething and given all that we decided why not just follow our own instincts and see how she did with a little cereal. So far it has not curtailed her eating, which could be due to the move, our weekend away, or many other reasons. So for now I am feeding her a light meal and then offering some rice cereal mid morning.

She opened her mouth for the spoon and sucked it right off and though she only actually eats about a tablespoon total Caroline is on her way into the exciting world of solids...

Technically the pediatrician suggests waiting until she is 6 months for solids, but she just seemed ready and we decided to just go with it!

Here is some video of her enjoying her breakfast this morning.

Caroline breakfast

Caroline All Done

Making Friends

Caroline met her cousin (3rd?) Abigail this weekend at her cousin (2nd?) Maggie's Graduation Party. Abigail is just three weeks older than our Caroline and we are so excited for them to play on the beach together!

Coincidentally the graduate will be a-coming our way for college in the fall and we are just delighted! YAY!!!


We did it!!! We are officially in our new house!!!

Thanks to Auntie K we were able to get things a bit more organized over the last couple days. We had been moving boxes and belongings over slowly since the close and the movers relocated all the furniture and large items on Thursday morning - took them just 3 hours from start to finish! We love the paint and the space and of course the central air which was super handy given the hot days we have been having. The old condo is clean and all that remains are 4 bags for goodwill which I plan on bringing in this week.

The fam is now enjoying a relaxing weekend at the beach to celebrate the holiday.

Before and after photos coming soon... we think it looks great!



Caroline rolled from tummy to back just now on her activity mat. She was ultra calm after some fussiness - which means the football hold and the pacifier - I put her down slowly onto her tummy and she sat for a moment before rolling slowly onto her back --- No falling this time --- SHE ROLLED!!!!!!


Moving Madness

The insanity continues...
First the Move

I am knee deep in sweaters and winter clothes, which I am attempting to box up in some organized fashion. Caroline was great this morning allowing me to get 2 boxes done. More on her later...
The kitchen is completely moved with the exception of food, fridge contents worth saving, the Kitchenaid (moving today), the microwave, the toaster (moving today), 2 pans (moving today), and the silverware (moving today).
The living room is completely 100% gone.
The dining room is also gonzo.
Caroline's never ending closet is almost empty. All that remains are the clothes she has from now until next Thursday and a couple odds and ends. Oh Yeah and the cat's travel box... I think she thinks we are going to leave her here...
The bathroom - anything we can live without is already in the linen closet at the new house. Once I pick up a new shower curtain pole the bathroom can be set up thanks to Steve's thorough cleansing earlier in the week.
Our room. The bookcases are emptied. The linen closet is almost bare. We just have our clothes to organize and pack up.

When we get back from the weekend we will pack up everything that we don't absolutely 100% "need or I will die without" for the week.

This time next week I hope to be assisting Steve in orchestrating a seamless move of all the furniture and remaining boxes. SEAMLESS I tell you...

Caroline and the move

Until just a few minutes ago I thought there was not a nap to be had. She was yawning and giving me all those tired signs, but after the last week of being completely off any sort of routine and all the stress in general that she has been coping with, she was not to be put down for a nap. I must have missed the memo... I feel so so bad for her. We get to the house with all these grandiose plans of laundry (F-R-E-E!!!!), unpacking, cleaning, organizing, unloading of more stuff etc and she immediately takes the smell of ceiling paint and primer as her cue to commence screaming. She has been nursing more frequently and I have been happy to help out in that respect because I know that it will help soothe some of the stress she is feeling. It was especially difficult yesterday when I was unable to lock the garage door and get to our Moms group. Everytime I opened and closed it she was scared to tears LITERALLY and it just would NOT lock... I called Steve, who reminded me for ohhh about the upteenth time that "we don't live in Compton" (no offense to Compton!) and that as long as the door to get into the hosue is secured we are fine. FYI, he can lock the door like a champ, apparently I am a tiny little pansy...

We went to group, which gave us a moment of familiarity and comfiness. As I was getting ready to leave she demanded a marathon feeding session (great timing kiddo!) and when she was finished she was Gassy Girl, most pained child on the planet. I have only heard her scream this loudly a few times before. It was sad and horrible and enough to bring Dr. Smiley out to check up on us. Not my best Mom moment being unable to soothe my child, but I was calm, which I suppose was remarkable in itself. When her cries became whiny whimpers they helped me put her in a sling and she was silent, soothed, and happy... who knew a sling had these magical powers??? We took it home to see if it will work for us! This morning she nursed HANDS FREE in it while I packed boxes, it was a beautiful thing (something else bottle fed babies can't do!) and then I switched her to another position called the kanga where she faces out and sits in the sling indian style. She also loved this. When that became boring we played on the playmat and then when that got old she moved into her favorite, the Bjorn. All these little gadgets helped me get a lot accomplished and kept her quite happy until I attempted to get her to nap at 10... she has been asleep for about 10 minutes now, after almost an hour of tears... so sad....

I just keep telling her that it is almost over and it will all be better soon...
My car

Not sure if I posted this before, but someone hit my car in our parking lot. It sucked. It was the day before closing and just what we needed. The police here in our town have a crash investigation unit with four officers. Not only did they come out 5 minutes after I called, the officer followed up everyday, sometimes more than once a day to try to find the other car which conveniently had left the scene. Yesterday I got a call at 8 am and a note at our door that he had found the car after some info from us, info from the super, and some kind of super power that I can't even explain. This sweet 85 year old woman who only lives here in our complex when the weather at the beach is questionable came to my door today to apologize (she was near tears, I felt terrible!) and offered to pay for the damage to be repaired (YES PLEASE!!!). So now in my spare time I need to get an estimate and get the car repaired, but at least we won't be paying for it, which is quite a relief. I ask you, where else in the world would a police officer be this thorough in what quite clearly at first appeared to be sad situation where we would never be able to prove anything?!?!

Faith in humanity partially restored!

I am off to attempt one more box during this soon to be short lived nap... I see lots of car packing and unloading in my future...

We're almost there, we can see the finish line and it is a lovely pallette of pretty freshly painted perfect walls in soothing colors like Lenox Tan, Nantucket Fog, Concord Ivory, Weekend Getaway, Whythe Blue and Prescott Green... fresh walls for a fresh new life...

And just in case you were led to believe that Caroline is nothing but a frowner these days...

So much excitement!!!

We have been keeping quite busy these last few days and here is why! We closed on our first house this past Friday!!! There was much prep to be done, many boxes to be packed (many more STILL to be packed), and lots of fun stuff like demo and organizing.
Check out the photos from Month 4 to check out some photos of our weekend!
On Thursday we never thought Friday would come, but it did and it had been non-stop excitement ever since.
Nana and Granda came down to visit and help out and we learned that Granda moonlights as an electrician and can change out fixtures. We hightailed it to Home Depot on the spot to utilize his expertise and have two shiny new fixtures thanks to him~ THANKS!!! Nana did her part by entertaining Caroline while I ripped a floral border to shreds and freed the windows' souls of their hideous country curtains.
We won't officially be living there until Memorial Day weekend, but until then we are going to be part here and part there. It seems to be difficult on the baby, she is ok at times and absolutely beside herself at others. She must sense the excitement and stress of the move and is reacting to it in the only way she knows how.
The plans
The roof repair is already underway. The painter starts bright and early on Monday morning. We have already moved more than 30 boxes (almost all of the kitchen, the entire dining room, and most of the living room) into the basement. The dishes are already stacked on their newly cleaned shelves. The island is gone. A falling apart piece of fence is stacked up ready for removal. The carpet in the family room and on the stairs will be installed next Monday. The plan is to have everything at the new house, with the exception of the furniture, by next Wednesday, so that the official move will be seamless. Thankfully we will have some help from Auntie K on our actual move date - Thursday May 24th! With any luck we will be enjoying some holiday weekend sun at the beach on Saturday! (cross your fingers for us! We have a lot of work to do before we get there!)
One of the bumps in the road on Thursday was our laptop keyboard dying - just the keyboard. We are in the process of fixing it or getting an external one, but until then and given all that is going on in our life right now, posts will be somewhat sporadic.
I did a walking tour of our house on the video camera and will try to upload it. It is quite lengthy, but we will try to get it up asap for those interested.
Our current home seems so much larger without the 30 boxes all piled up in the living room... but we won't get used to that because the space is already earmarked for the 10 or so boxes already packed and ready to move.
Brett is coming down to help out this week too! We may put him to work at what I like to call adult Legos (IKEA) =)


Not herself, the pages of her Black and White Book...

More Bathtime - non nakedness

For the faint of heart --- bathtime continued with absolutely no nakedness...

Naked Baby Bod

The once hated and despised bath is now a much loved event... especially when it entails removing Caroline's diaper... what can we say, she loves to be naked =)

Is this rolling???

Here's Caroline participating in forced tummy time, hence the obnoxious vacuum noise in the background. She is much better already this week and will spend some time on her tummy without the assistance of household appliances. She just started falling/rolling off the blanket over and over... check it out for yourself and let me know if you think this counts as rolling or not?

What routine?

Miss Caroline is screaming in her crib - has been on and off for almost 45 minutes. She was sleepy I swear. How did I know this? She was rubbing her eyes, yawning and looking pretty disinterested in the world around her. So I wrapped her up into her bundle blanket, with one arm out as is the custom these days, sang her a quick little lullabye, started her mobile and sound machine, told her in such a soothing Mommy voice that it was time to go night night and stepped away. Instead of a happily slumbering baby, I have a screaming unhappy little girl who is absolutely pissed that someone had the cajones to try to tell her when to sleep. HOW DARE I! =) For the record, all signs pointed to tired - her signs mind you - so in a way putting her down for a nap was HER idea. Babies just don't get it =)

I was beginning to think that my own head was about to explode in response to the non stop scream-a-thon, but a little pacifier action and some gentle vibrations coaxed her down off her cliff. Now I think her little post cry breathing (you know - the three quick breaths in) may keep her awake. I think I may have finally got her =) And it only took 45 minutes!!!

I have been thinking a lot about how unpredictable our days are and trying to decide if we have ANYTHING close to a routine down at this point. Knowing that day care will be starting in the near future, I not only want to be able to fill out the form about her routine, but understand that her needs will be best met by the staff if they can anticipate them, which at this point is impossible. This fly by the seat of your pants gig might work with me, but not for 2 teachers caring for 7 other kids.

Until this week, I was putting her in her papasan so I could shower and turning on the hair dryer if she was not into that idea, which would almost always put her out. This week I have been attempting to get her to sleep in her crib for both her morning and afternoon nap and each night we are trying to do less rocking and singing and more reassuring without picking her up. Napping is taking more energy than I had anticipated, even when I follow her cues and try to do it when she's telling me she is tired. We'll get there, I just hope I have the strength to stick with it. Daycare won't have a papasan and hair dryer to force the nap. Bedtime is going ok though, only about 15-30 minutes before she is down for the count, which is actually better than when we did rock her if you can believe that, so that is what I am holding onto in hopes that napping will actually get better in time.

PS. Just kidding, this nap is not taking... screaming banshee again...

A typical day in the life of Caro

5:15-6:00 ....
Wake up call! Feed me NOW please =)

3o minutes to an hour later...
Feed me again please, after all that sleep the tummy is still pretty empty!

Between 8:30 and 9:00... Hungry again and then the tanks are full for a bit, so this is playtime, tummy time, bumbo time, ah-gooing and the like

9:00 - 10:00...
Nap attempt - usually successful after some serious convincing
Nap is typically 30-45 minutes, just long enough for a shower and blow dry

Feeding time again - though sometimes the nap is not happening and she decides that she is actually hungry then and would rather eat and no thank you I don't feel quite like sleeping, which means that I rush to get her into the carseat and out of the house as fast as I can after this meal so that for the love of GOD she will nap please!!!

Errands or Moms Group... If she hasn't slept she is out like a light in the car and allows some running around to be done. If she has slept she is pretty chill and will tolerate the errands for a bit.

12:30 - 1:00
Hungry again.

1:00- 3:00
Playtime, second nap attempted usually at this point, though it hasn't ever really been successful. So this time is more play, perhaps more tummy time, ahgooing, and usually some tears

Hungry again

3:30 - 5:00
Second nap attemped again, usually somewhat successful for a quick little cat nap between 15-30 minutes

4:00 - 5:00
Steve comes home (yay!)

5:00 - 5:30
Hungry again, daily bottle feeding from Dad

The other people who happen to live in the house with Caroline shove food as fast as humanly possible into their faces, cut each other's meat if the child will not cooperate, and try to amuse the baby on the activity mat which is good for anywhere from 0 - 20 minutes

6:30 - 7:00
Bathtime every other day, otherwise winding down time, quiet play with Dad, jammies

7:00 - 7:30
Last meal of the day, really fuels up for the long night ahead

Bedtime, quiet music, Green Eggs and Ham, a short lullabye, some pacifier action if she wants it, and then mobile with ocean sounds, gentle vibrations if needed, shhing

and then 8-10 blissful hours later it all begins again

So looking at this, I suppose we SORT OF have a routine, but I would really call it more of a guideline. What more can I expect from a three month old? We will just keep working on those naps. She will learn over time to take them by herself in her crib without the hairdryer and her little growing body will thank me for them.

No matter what we do as mothers, I am sure all of us feel like we could be or should be doing more than we are... Right now I am focused on napping and getting herself to sleep, next week it will just be something else that I am clearly failing at. Caroline is fine and doing wonderfully, I just need to believe it when I say it.

Three months already?

Before I update all the goings on, allow me a moment to share the blog of my sister-in-law and Caroline's Auntie K. Her writing is smart, witty, and freakin' hysterical... if you enjoy reading here, you will ADORE reading her insightful, purposeful, and sometimes silly musings... The latest entry is about the loss of a beloved sidekick --- her cellphone...

check it out!

Hey! There's the link over in the links section too - how convenient!!!

Caroline is three months old today!

It is incredibly hard to believe, but as we looked at her adorable little naked baby bod last night after bath time, we had one of those "can you believe how different she is" moments. Check out the photos in the picasa link above. Compare them to the bath part of the video from month 1 and you will see what we mean.

In just three months here in the world Caroline...

... learned to eat, very well, and from a bottle to boot!

... found her hands, which are often in her mouth

... can hold her head up nice and steady

... will tolerate some tummy time

... looked into our eyes

... smiled at us

... squealed in excitement

... discovered the cat

... said ah-goo back to us when prompted and most recently by herself without any prompting at all

... began to actually enjoy bathtime (no playing in her tubby yet)

... reached for an object

... grasped said object

... promptly attempted to eat said object =)

... sort of rolled/fell off the rolled up blanket from tummy to back

... went to the beach

... slept quietly through several meals at restaurants

... took quite a few road trips

... celebrated her very first Easter, Auntie K's birthday, and Granda's too

... met her wonderful adoring extended family

... played with some of her parent's friends

... stole her parent's hearts away forever

What else is new?

Yesterday our baby girl did FORTY FIVE minutes of tummy/bumbo time. The vacuum was blaring in the background the entire time, but she did it. While on her belly on top of a rolled up blanket, she suddenly straightened her leg and began to roll right off the blanket and onto her back (don't worry I caught her head for safe landing). She did this over and over again and somehow I caught it all on video. This morning we were not quite as successful, but we did read a book in the Bumbo and play with a rattle =)

Caroline had her first taste of formula after some errands during her mid-afternoon feeding yesterday afternoon. I have been debating this for awhile, more because I am curious than anything else. With the Red Sox game just a few weeks away, I have been thinking a lot about how to make the day as enjoyable as possible ie not filled with a million questions like did I leave her enough to eat? Is she starving? So we had a little talk about how I loved her and if she didn't like it I would feed her and just because I was feeding her this now did not mean she would never eat breastmilk again - what a sight I must have been. Clearly this was all about me and my concerns rather than reassuring her because she hesitated for a nano second when she tasted it and then just continued eating. She drank the entire 2 oz I had prepared and wanted more, so I made up another 2 oz and she drank that too. UNREAL!!! So now I can rest easy that whatever milk I am able to bring up to MA for the game will be enough and if she needs a little something more, a bottle of formula will tide her over until I can get to her. =) Visions of screaming starving baby can now go away.

I was sharing with the moms (kiki and nana) that it was definitely more difficult on me to give her the formula because I have been working so hard to feed her myself and it seemed as though she was indiscriminate about her food source. "Formula, Mom's milk, what's the difference?" I don't plan on making formula an everyday occurence, at least not for now, but it is good to know that if I cannot be there and there is no milk she will be ok. We may need it when I get back to work who knows? Nursing continues to be very important to me and I want to keep it up as long as I am able to.

Here are my own personal notes on bottle feeding. If I had the choice I seriously wouldn't do it exclusively and here is why.

The Prep

All this measuring and mixing, all while holding a screaming hungry baby? no thanks! Mix it too?? Jeez!!! I often take for granted just how easy nursing is. When she is hungry I grab a magazine or book, a bottle of water and away we go. I am sure I would get better with it over time and I know it is even easier these days with bottled water etc, but nursing just seems so much simpler.

Talk about feeling isolated

When she eats from a bottle she needs constant attention because you are holding her food source and don't you dare take it from her. =) When I nurse her I can flip the pages of a book, talk on the phone (I have even spoken to HR reps about jobs while feeding her), write a to do list, grocery list, or notes from a call about a job, rinse dishes for the dishwasher, sort laundry, eat lunch, amid a myriad of other tasks. She generally gives me a limited amount of eye contact and then those baby blues close and she is not all that interested in bonding through eye contact anymore, so in the remaining minutes I get a lot done. Feeding her the formula yesterday made me feel bad for the Moms who need to rely on a bottle.

Just my two cents. I am incredibly grateful that Caroline is such a good eater and that we have been able to make this work thus far.

The psuedo birthday girl is sitting in her swing fast asleep. I am going to hop into the shower while the moment exists. We have plans to run to BJs for diapers later this morning (what size diaper do you buy when your baby is 11 pounds and size 1 goes to 12 pounds - especially when buying in bulk?) and if she is in a good mood we are off to find a park or maybe take a walk on the "beach" on this stunningly beautiful day. Be on the look out for her 3 month photo with the bear coming soon to picasa.

When did you know?

Following my Caroline-less post yesterday, I feel as if I owe this blog some baby-related information.


Caroline slept for (wait for it) TEN GLORIOUS FANTASTIC DREAM INDUCING HOURS last night --- let's just reiterate this again--- the child slept peacefully for TEN HOURS!!! She had her bath at about 7 and then it was jammies, story, song, and to bed and though she didn't go right down to zzzzzz, she was pretty much out cold within a half hour of being put down into her crib. Steve feared that being asleep at "8ish" would lead to an early morning wake up call for food, but alas, the little miss is growing as she is now well into her 12 week growth spurt and growing babies are excellent sleepers. I know it is not likely to last very long, but we will enjoy it while it lasts. Steve had a bit more time this morning so we did do some early morning snuggling with her which we all very much enjoy doing every now and again.

When did you know?

As in "when did you know you were ready for a baby?" I feel like we are asked this question pretty often by people from all facets of our life. I am sure Steve might have a different answer than I do, but here it is... this is how I knew I was ready for a baby.

I had been in my position as a hospice social worker for almost 6 months when I really began to do an awful lot of soul searching about life and death, my beliefs, my questions, and my fears too. Steve and I always knew we wanted a family because family is so important to each of us and well, we thought we would be pretty awesome parents too =) If we could have so much love for each other, wouldn't it be amazing to see how much love we could have for a child??

I am pretty open about my PCOS diagnosis and will tell anyone who asks me about it just about everything I know on the subject. (For general info I had been diagnosed in June of 2005 and I was devastated, more because my physician handed me a book about infertility than anything else. So enough about that. My physician gave me a Rx for metformin (akaglucophage, which is for Type II diabetes) and told me to wait 6 months and give it a try. I waited and in the interim started drinking herbal teas and altered my diet and nothing was really changing, but we weren't exactly in the market for a shiny new baby quite yet. I started the medication in December more because I wanted to see if this magic pill could correct what was happening and by February everything seemed to be sorted out. When I saw my doctor again in May 2006 she asked me if I was pregnant yet and I told her were hadn't gotten that far because I wanted to make sure things were in working order. She told me that it seemed as though things were in shape and we could try anytime we wanted, but that it may still take some time given my history.

In the meantime, in the real world, I was going through my meaning of life questions phase - think more bedtime philosophical grumblings - as in "Goodnight Ker" "Steve, what happens when we die?" - and I had at least sorted one thing out - I wanted to spend as much time on this Earth as possible with these mythical little children we were planning in our heads. Through my professional work I had seen again and again how short and precious time is here and I wanted every second to count. We were settling down even more then, putting together the funds and paperwork to purchase our condo, thinking about trying soon, maybe in the fall? Then Steve got promoted and our life seemed to change in so many ways virtually overnight. After getting the go ahead from the doctor and knowing that it was likely going to be a few months at least for baby cash to enter the picture at all, we decided to throw caution to the wind and throw the dice and poof, just like that... after all our worries that we would never have a family and months of pills and charts, here was the most miraculous and beautiful thing - a baby... our baby...

I could cry now even remembering that morning when things were starting to add up in my head that perhaps this twosome would become a family.

So when do you know? You know. You need to want it enough, just enough, to let go. You know when you can let go of the planning (if January then October, works for my schedule, how about yours?), the money issue (babies are expensive this is true, but you will never feel 100% financially ready ever), and most importantly you need to be ready to open your heart to someone who will steal it the instant you see that line on that stick. You never really know. You don't wake up one morning and say, "something is different, I think today is the day that I am ready to start a family." The more we discussed it the more we realized how ready we were and though it is a scary proposition, life as you know it will never be the same again, trust me when I say this, there is never a more incredible feeling than being a parent. Knowing isn't the knowledge that you are ready, it is the feeling deep down in your gut that keeps tapping you on your shoulder saying "what are you waiting for???" until one day you stop having a mile long list of reasons to answer back with... when you can answer back, "yeah! what am I waiting for?!?!?!"

An Inconvenient Truth

Warning Ramblings to Follow...

Steve and I watched An Inconvenient Truth this past weekend - anyone else? So besides once and for all convincing us that there is such a thing as Global Warming it also effectively scared the everliving bejesus out of me.

I was left with questions like -

How much worse can the terrible devastating weather we have been seeing possibly get?
Why do people still dispute whether or not there is such a thing as global warming?
What is preventing more people from seeing this movie? (if Al Gore is your excuse - get over it!)
April 22nd is not only my birthday, but also Earth Day and I have always felt like as such I should be more of a "green" person than I am. Moving to CT forced us to really REALLY recycle for the first time. They are super strict in our complex and I would estimate that we recycle about 200% more than we previously did (which was bottles and cans only!!!). Sure, it can be a pain, but if a truck will come and take it away for us every week is it really that big of a deal to rinse out the cans and milk jugs?

Now we have a world to worry about not just for us, but also for Miss Caroline and her kids and her kids kids and so forth... but the scary part of this is not what the world might be like for them, but that it might not even be there for them... I won't get preachy I promise... I am headed in a totally different direction altogether, trust me.

So what upset me most about this flick?

After a day of contemplation, poor Steve was once again subjected to what I will henceforth refer to as my bedtime philosophical grumblings. In An Inconvenient Truth there is a slide that shows the history of the world going back like 600,000 years or some other ridiculous number like that. In this graph Gore notes all previous ice ages... yes, PREVIOUS ice ages. So basically, the Earth will get as hot as Hades, melt everything and then after many many many years go back into an ice age where the process will start all over again. Sound scary yet?

What about the people that lived during the time between those ice ages? Were there even people? If you believe in evolution you could argue that species development could be completely different after each ice age and that perhaps there never were humans like us before. If there were people what did they look like? Did they speak similar languages? Did they advance way beyond what we will or did they live like cave people? yada yada yada There is ovbiously no record of them or their history or their accomplishments. So what does that mean for us? When we do hit another ice age our entire planet will be erased like a big whiteboard ready to be rewritten. That means us too, we and all our own personal histories, will be gone. It is scary enough to think that in a few generations no one will remember anything about us, but to completely obliterate us from the history of the universe?? This is very unsettling to me and seems really unfair. We will be just another dip in the chart of the history of the world, a time between ice ages, and no one will have any way of knowing what we did, what we were like, who we were...

That is enough to keep me up at night...