Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Self Portrait

I jumped on the bandwagon of a lot of bloggers and decided to do monthly self portraits this year.  Tina convinced me that it would be a cool thing to have.  Basically, I just take a picture of myself once a month and then blog about it.  At the end of the year, it'll be really fun to look back at the photos I've taken and remember what I was thinking/feeling/doing that month. 

Now, most of the folks who I've seen blogging self portraits are photographers (like my sister), and that is something that I would never claim to be, so don't expect the quality of the upcoming photos to blow your mind or anything.  Ha ha, now that I threw that disclaimer in there, let's get started!

January is the month of my baby's birthday, therefore this past month has been filled with party planning.  I have been thinking of ideas and pinning things on pinterest for months, but January is when it all started coming together.  I made multiple trips to Michaels, Party City, and Target, and spent many hours in our den getting the details together.  And like the true procrastinator that I am, I was still working on projects at midnight the night before the party.  (That is pretty much the exact time the following photo was taken.)

This scene was a frequent one this past month: sweats on, spending my evenings/nap times crafting away in the den :)

The party was a huge success, and I need to send a special THANK YOU to Mike, Tina, and Jay for all of their help, especially the night before and the morning of the party.  It all came together so smoothly and went off without a hitch thanks to those three. 

As much as Mike made fun of me for all of the work I put into Addy's birthday party, he agrees that it turned out pretty cool.  Was it all necessary?  Of course not.  She won't remember a thing.  But it was our first baby's first birthday and that's a pretty big deal to us, so I wanted to create a party to remember.  And, with lots of help, I think I did.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Loss of a Legend

The past two days were sad ones for the worldwide Penn State community.  From the announcement that Joe Paterno was in serious condition on Saturday night, to the mistaken announcement that he had died, to the factual announcement of his death yesterday morning....it was an emotional time for all of us.

I feel a sadness for the loss of a legend, and a more personal sadness for his family.  That they'll never be able to enjoy time with Joe in his retirement.  That he never got his "retirement years".  But I suppose that is how he wanted it.  I mean, why else would he continue the stressful job of coaching a major college football team well into his 80's?  Because he loved it.  Because he couldn't imagine doing anything more fun.  Joe Paterno loved Penn State.  And he truly loved all of the students, not just his players.  As a former student there, I felt that.

When Mike and I were getting ready for bed on Saturday night I found myself becoming very emotional.  I said to Mike, "It makes me so sad to lay here knowing that at this very moment Joe Paterno is dying."  Mike gave me a hug and told me that Joe lived out his dream, and that all that we can pray for now is that he is comfortable and surrounded by family.  And so I did.  I prayed for Joe Paterno and I prayed for peace for his family.  And in doing so, I was praying for us all.

Rest in peace Joe.  You are a legend who will forever remain in the hearts of those who loved you.

First Steps!

She did it!  Addy took her first steps last week!  January 18th, to be exact.  She took two steps while my friend Jess was over at our house visiting.  Then two days later when Mike got home from work, she took six steps to get to him!  It was awesome!  I have not been able to get any pictures or videos yet, but that is on my "To-Do" list this week.  Before we know it she'll be running all over the place! 

Here are her weekly pics:

Addy loves her blocks... especially banging them together!

Making a phone call ;)

Of course, the TV remote is a hot commodity too :)

Tina is currently on her way down for a visit and we are so excited!  Addy's first birthday party is this coming weekend and it's gonna be party mania this week to get ready.  There will only be 12 people there (including us), because we wanted to keep her first birthday party small and intimate, with just family.  I am so excited for our families to come down here and celebrate with us!  I'll keep you posted on all of the details :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Milk: It Does a Body....Not Good?

Ever since Addy was born she's always had sensitive skin.  We were almost constantly battling with diaper rash, especially after she started eating solids.  But recently, she has developed an eczema type rash on her face and a little bit on her hands.  The rash on her face has been there for several weeks, although some days it looks worse than others.  We've been putting Aveno Baby Eczema cream on it, and hoping for the best.  We gave up on cloth diapers so that we could constantly slather Addy in diaper cream, because recently her diaper rash has never really seemed to go away.  Like the rash on her face, some days it looks worse than others.

We didn't think too much of all of this until two days ago when both the face and diaper rashes were flamingly red.  I mean, it was so bad that strangers at the mall asked me what was wrong with her face.  And changing her diaper that day was a nightmare.  I would dread it because her bottom was so raw and she was in so much pain that she would scream the whole time.  I wanted to break down and cry right along with her.  There is nothing worse than hearing your child cry in pain. 

Normally Addy is so tough with her diaper rash, and she acts like it doesn't bother her (other than itching).  She'll be happy as a clam, playing with toys while I change her little red tushy.  Not Wednesday.  That day was what made Mike and I really stop and think about it.

We had always chalked it up to thinking that babies just get diaper rash, and our little girl has some very sensitive skin.  But after Wednesday, we started thinking that there has to be something that is causing these severe flare ups.  And it's likely to be a reaction to some type of food that she is eating. 

So we talked about all of the new foods that she has had lately, and the list is long.  We recently decided to try to transition her to eating what we eat, so she's had a lot of new stuff.  Cow's milk, eggs, bread, etc.  Let me just mention that she has had all of this before, but in very small quantities.  A bite of our eggs, a sliver of our bread, etc.  And then she'd eat the pureed food that I made her.  Since we're trying to get away from the purees, she's started having things like scrambled eggs as her full breakfast, a cup of cow's milk as her drink, a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, etc.  In fact, that was her exact menu on Wednesday.

After researching the matter online, we found that the most likely culprit is the cow's milk.  Cow's milk is the most common food allergy in children.  And although Addy had been drinking it in small amounts for a little over a month, Wednesday was the first day that she finished an entire sippy cup of milk by lunchtime.  And I was so proud of her!  She is normally not very interested in drinking, and we need to constantly encourage her.

As you know, I have been weaning her off of nursing, and now that I only nurse her once a day, she really needs to start drinking more.  At this age, she is supposed to get a minimum of 16 oz of fluid a day, and I do not think she gets that.  So that is another thing that I have been concerned about lately.

But, back to the topic at hand.  So on Wednesday she drank an entire cup of milk and had yogurt for a snack (which she has every day).  And her face and diaper rashes were worse than ever, plus she had diarrhea.  Now, is the diaper rash from the diarrhea and the diarrhea from the cold that she had?  That is what I thought at first.  Or are the diarrhea and the rashes from a possible milk allergy/ intolerance?  It's so hard to tell.

I called the pediatrician and they suggested that I cut out cow's milk for a few days and give Addy soy milk instead.  So I went out and bought some soy milk on Thursday.  Have you ever tried soy milk?  Well, I hadn't, so I figured I ought to try it before I feed it to my baby.  Yuck :(  It is not for me.  But I gave Addy an ounce or so in a bottle and she downed it without a problem.  Then before bed, I mixed it in with some breast milk for her bedtime bottle and she drank that without any problem.  So luckily, she's fine with the taste of either soy or cow's milk.

But I am really hoping she's not allergic to cow's milk.  I know this is selfish, but what a pain that would be!  Always reading labels and trying to find soy based products.  Ugh.  At least a lot of kids outgrow cow's milk allergies by age five. 

Today marks day two of no cow's milk products, and though Addy's diaper rash looks much better, I haven't seen a dramatic improvement in her face.  And her diaper rash may be better simply because she doesn't have diarrhea anymore.  Who knows.  We're gonna give it a few more days and re-evaluate.  I'll keep you all posted :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winding Down

The end is finally near!  The end of nursing my first baby that is.  I remember before I even had Addy that I was determined to breastfeed, and I set a goal of six months for myself.  That seemed like an awfully long time.  Especially with all of the difficulties we had at the beginning.  I kept telling myself, "Just six months of your life.  You can do it."  There were so many tears and so much frustration when Addy was a newborn, that I wanted to quit, but was too stubborn to do so.  I had set a goal for myself and I was going to accomplish it, come hell or high water.  So we pushed on... through lactation appointments, and pain, and feeling like my body was not my own.  I hated it, and I hated that I hated it.  I heard all of these stories about how beautiful and bonding nursing is, and I'll tell you, I was not feeling those things.  The first two months of Addy's life were by far the hardest for me in that respect.

But slowly, as the months went by, nursing my baby became less of an all consuming thing in my life, and I truly didn't mind it any more.  I couldn't tell you when this happened, all I know is that when it did I thought, "Six months?  I might as well continue for a year and then I'll never have to buy formula."

So we plugged along, past the six month mark, heading toward a year.  And now I feel like I blinked my eyes and here we are.  Addy will be a year old in less than two weeks!  And she never had a drop of formula.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud of that.  It was not an easy road.... in fact it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I did it!  And those long, frustrating days in the beginning are becoming more and more blurry in my mind.

Once Addy started eating solids and I was slowly weaning her off of nursing, my life (obviously) became so much easier.  I remember once I had her down to just four times a day I thought, "This is easy.  I could do this for a long time."  And then we went down to three, and on Christmas, two times a day.  Only when she woke up and before she went to sleep at night.  Now that wean was by far the most life changing for me.  Just morning and night?  Nothing during the day?  That meant I could go out all day if I wanted to!  Something I haven't done since before Addy was born.  I felt like myself again and I loved it! 

I truly could have continued nursing her morning and night for longer than this, but Mike and I are going to Ireland for five days at the end of February, and that is my set date for having Addy completely weaned.  She will be just about 13 months old at that point.  No sense in having her be a week without it and then start it back up again. 

So two nights ago I cut out the before bed nursing session.  I was so excited as we were nearing bedtime.  Mike gives Addy her baths, but then I was always the one to take over from there and nurse her and then put her to bed.  There was never one night that I was home (not working) that I didn't put Addy to bed.  I thought,"Wow, once he takes her up for her bath, that's it for me!  I'm done for the night!"  But then as I was cleaning up the dishes and Mike was getting Addy ready for bed I started feeling twinges of sadness.  It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing that your nursing relationship with your baby is almost over.  Meaning your "baby" will no longer be a baby. 

So instead of taking the time for myself and relaxing while Mike put Addy to bed, I found myself upstairs standing secretly in the doorway watching and listening.  Hoping that she wouldn't cry, because that would make this process so much harder.  The first night we tried giving Addy whole milk in a cup before bed, but she didn't drink much, so last night we thawed one of my frozen bottles and gave her that (which she did drink).  I have about 7 more frozen bottles, so the plan is to mix it with more and more whole milk every night, until she is just drinking whole milk.  We'll see how it goes.

But there I was, standing outside the door watching as my baby girl no longer "needed" me to go to sleep.  It was both a happy and a sad moment. 

Mike gave her a bath, gave her a cup of milk, read her a book, and put her to bed.  And she was fine.  No crying, no emotional turmoil.  Right to sleep.  Thank goodness.  But I think the real test will be when I have to put her to bed without nursing  her.  Which might happen tonight depending on what time Mike gets home.  Addy is used to going to sleep without nursing when I am at work, but when I am home and putting her to bed myself?  I don't know how easy that will be.  I'm gonna cross my fingers and hope for the best!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pool Princess

Ever since we joined the Y last week, we have been chomping at the bit to get over there, but with Addy and I both feeling a little bit under the weather, we figured it would be best to wait until this week.  We decided that since Mike and I both had off today we'd head over and try out ..... the pool! 

Addy hasn't been in a pool since Aunt Sue and Uncle Lee's in July..... and we'll just say she wasn't a huge fan then.  Since I've been thinking about enrolling us in "Mom and Me" swim classes, I figured it would be best to test the waters (literally) before hopping in with a whole bunch of strangers. 

So off we went.  Let me just say that Addy did so much better than I expected her to do!  I expected crying, hysterics even, when we put her in the water, but she was a champ.  Was she scared?  I'm pretty sure she was terrified, but I think Mike and I both being there helped a lot.  And there were a lot of other kids swimming around, which helped to distract her from the fact that she was submerged in a bath tub bigger and colder than any she had ever seen. 

Trying it out on the ledge first

Just getting in....

It looks like she is about to cry, but she never did!  Not once! 

She even dunked her own head under once after we did!  That proved to terrify her as well, but she just remained wide eyed and stiff as a board.  Still no crying, so Mike and I took that as a good sign and kept plugging along.  We ended up staying in the water for 20 minutes, at which point we noted that she must have been getting chilly because she was turning slightly blue.  We took that as our cue that it was time to end our first swim session.  (Brilliant pickup huh?)  But only after a few more photos of course....

Who's excited??  I'll give you a clue.  Not Addy ;)

I'll say it again.  Our little nugget was such a champ today.  She even let us splash her face and pull her along in the pool so that she was "swimming"!  Did she love it?  Nope.  But she tolerated it, and that was more than I ever hoped for on our first try.

When we got home, we put Addy down for a nap, and over two hours later she was still sleeping!!

I said to Mike, "Man, swimming must really wear her out!"

His response: "Yup, either that, or being terrified for 20 minutes really wears her out."

Hmmmm.....  You are looking at the Parents of the Year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

50 Weeks

Last Saturday it was so warm out that we threw on a T-shirt and jeans and headed outside to play!

Accidentally touched the grass... and not so sure about that.

"Ten Little Ladybugs" is Addy's favorite book these days.  It was given to her at my baby shower by Great - Grandma Mary :)

The many faces of Addy Marie..

Addy is getting old enough to play with Daisy and they both love it.  It's really amazing to see how gentle Daisy is with Addy.  When I play ball with Daisy, she has a death grip on it and I can't get her to "drop it" for anything.  But when she's playing with Addy, she holds on very lightly and drops it as soon as Addy tries to get it.  It's really pretty awesome to watch!

"Here, I'll play with you Daisy."

Don't worry, I am always standing just a foot away, and yes, I washed Addy's hands when we were done ;)

Sunday morning the three of us went to church and Addy played in the nursery with some other kids for the first time.  I think she had a lot of fun!

Then Sunday afternoon we went on a hike to get some fresh air and let Daisy run around a little bit.  We all had a great time, especially this girl...

After the hike a bunch of our friends came over to watch the Steelers game and then I headed off to work that night.  It was a busy, but very fun day!

For a couple of weeks now, Addy has been able to stand on her own for a few seconds without holding onto anything, so I tried to capture a video during the Steeler game.  She was wobbly at best, but she did it!

Weekly photos of course :)

Don't mind Addy's snotty nose. I took her to the doctor yesterday because I was worried that she might have an ear infection, but luckily, she doesn't.  Just a cold.  Her and I both, ugh.

Because we were both feeling a little bit under the weather, I made us some chicken noodle soup for dinner last night.  It was one of the first times that Addy's entire meal consisted of "big people" food and she loved it!  She kept pointing to the soup bowl and squealing.  It was hilarious!

"Hmmmm, what is this new thing on my tray???"

"Looks good!"

"It WAS good!  It WAS good!"

We also snagged another video of Addy standing yesterday, and she's a little bit steadier than she was in the last one.  She can stand for even longer than she displayed in this video, but it was the best we could get at that time :)

So there was a little look at what has been going on in our world over the past week.  Just some of the simple pleasures of having an (almost) one-year old around :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fun With Friends!

Last Thursday Regina and Carley came over for a play date and the girls had so much fun!  It's been way too long since we've done this!

How cute are they in their black and pink?

I'm sure Carley is wondering what Addy is doing here.  Just taking a little rest.  No big deal ;)

Standing at the front door like this is one of Addy's new favorite things to do.

Then on Tuesday I took Addy to the mall for a play date with Carley, Reese, and Rylee.  We did our usual routine, which is to meet in the food court for lunch and then head to the play area afterwards.  It's so crazy to see how different they all are from last time.  All three babies are mobile now, so it consisted of us chasing after them while they tried to crawl away.  But it was so fun!

All of the girls in the food court

It proved to be impossible to get a picture where all three babies were looking at the camera.

 Addy trying to take Carley's microphone

And they're off!

Man, getting just Addy to sit still for a picture is hard.... getting all three babies to sit still and look at the camera = impossible.

We all had a lot of fun that afternoon, and I can't wait to do it again!

On a different note, the morning after the mall play date Addy and I both woke up with runny noses.  Mine progressed into a full blown cold, and I'm worried that Addy might have an ear infection.  She has been holding her right ear a lot and putting her head down.  Plus she has been waking up crying a few times at night.  So I'm going to call the doctor this morning.

After our trip to the Y yesterday, Mike agreed to join, and I am so excited!  I was raring to go and had picked out which class to take today and everything.  But then I remembered that Addy and I are both sick.  Me working out and Addy hanging out in the nursery with a snotty nose.... neither are probably a great idea today.  So we'll rest and recover this weekend and start our new routine next week!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year!

OK, so I may be a little bit late, but better late than never! 

My excuse for the fact that I have been slacking on my blog posts lately is that I have been trying to get my life organized in the new year.  I had two quite time consuming things on my "To-Do" list that I finally completed yesterday!

#1  Put all of my pics from the past year on my computer and onto CD's.  I had that completed until July, but Aug-Dec pics were all still on my camera!  You can imagine the sheer volume of pictures I've taken this past year with our first baby, so this took me awhile to do.  I am also not the most technologically savvy person in the world, and when the computer kept rearranging the order of my pics (Grrrrrr!!),  I would have to spend hours trying to figure out how to fix it.  Sooooo annoying, and that seems to happen to me all of the time, which is why I kept procrastinating for months and months.  But, number one on my "To-Do" list is officially complete!

#2 Create our family calendar for 2012.  Yup, a little late on this one too, since by the time the calendar arrives, January will be more than halfway over.  I really like it though, and am excited to get it!  I made the calendar on Shutterfly, and the theme is "The Hetricks: The Best Year in Review".  Basically each month is filled with pics that were taken in that same month last year.  It's fun because you get to see Addy grow up right before your eyes.  Of course, since I am so particular, this task took me a good 6 hours.  But, number two can also be checked off my "To-Do" list! 

I tried to link to Shutterfly to show you all my masterpiece (I use that word very, very loosely ;)), but I was having big time problems with it, so no go on that.  Maybe once it arrives I'll take some photos of it and post them.  Can you tell that I'm proud of my calendar creations?

Last year was the first year that I made a calendar, and the theme for that one was "The Hetricks: By the Numbers". I really liked this idea, and basically I took each month's numerical equivalent and related it to something personally meaningful in our lives. Like I said, I loved this one, but let me tell you, it took FOREVER to create! First I had to think of ideas for every month, which took days in and of itself. Then I had to go back through ten years worth of pictures to make it. Whew! If you thought the six hours that this year's calendar took was a long time, I shudder to think of what you'd think of the time it took to create last year's. I'd say at least 24 hours off and on.  Easily.  Maybe I'll take some pics of that calendar too and post them, so that my hard work can be remembered forever. ;)

Anyway, those were two of the projects that have been taking up my time over the past week or two.  I have one big project left that I hope to accomplish before Addy's first birthday: her baby book.  I've only done it through month 4 or so.  Yikes!  But I'm really glad that I have this blog, because looking back on it will help jog my memory. 

Now, as far as New Year's resolutions, I made one this year, and it is to get Addy and I more involved in some activities.  It's just her and I all day every day (unless Mike is off, of course), and sometimes days go by when we don't even leave the house.  She is getting so much more interactive and she loves playing with other kids, but she barely ever sees any.  So I am working that. 

Mike and I are going to check out the YMCA today, and they have a great child care nursery where she could play with other kids while Mike and I work out.  I also am looking into different play groups, "Mom and Me" swimming lessons, and "Music Together" music classes.  There are also story hours at the library and gym type classes at "The Little Gym" and "Gymboree". 

Now, I am not by any means saying that I plan on doing all of this, but these are some of the things that I've looked into, and my goal is to get involved in a few things this year.  I think it would be beneficial to both Addy and me.  She could have some fun things to do and play with other kids, and I could meet some other moms to hang out with.  Much needed for both of us!

I'll let you know which activities we settle on.  We're off to the Y!

Monday, January 9, 2012

47, 48, and 49 Weeks

I just realized that I have been a little bit behind in posting Addy's weekly pics, but I have been taking them every week without fail.  Only 3 more to go until she is one year old!    So here are the last few weeks in review:

OK, as I am now looking back on these pics on the big screen and not on my little camera screen, I am thinking that Addy looks a little sickly in the last two weeks, no?  Especially in week 49.  But she really isn't sick.  I must've taken these pics right after she woke up from a nap or something.  Mental note: wait until Addy looks a little bit more alive before snapping photos ;)

See that rash on each cheek in week 49?  She's had that for about a week now, and I'm not really sure why.  It looks like eczema to me, and it has been dry and cold (relatively speaking) down here, which doesn't help.  And since she has become a big time thumb sucker lately, her poor little left thumb is also all red and dry.  And don't even get me started on her diaper rash.  Our little lady inherited Daddy's sensitive skin, that's for sure.

Mike and I actually threw in the towel on the cloth diapers for awhile, maybe permanently.  Her skin just hasn't been tolerating them.  Now that we have had her in disposables for a few days with some diaper rash cream, things are looking up in that department.

OK, I have rambled on enough about things that I'm sure only Mike and I care about ;)

Hope everyone has a great week!