Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Where We Stand

Hi Blog,

It's been a while.  So, this is where we stand.  Eliza is adorable and adventurous and so perfectly a toddler.  As of this moment she is in her crib where she is supposed to be napping, but she's not. Instead, she's kicking the wall behind her crib over and over.  It sounds pretty bad from out here, like something huge just fell.  But it makes me smile. And I'm supposed to be showering, nap time is the only chance I have for a shower. Eliza is curious and talkative. This morning there were patches of sunlight on the kitchen floor and she was amazed at them. She kept going from patch to patch and leaning down to inspect them and touch them and then go to the next one. Eliza loves Scooter. She loves to pat him and hug him and rest her head on him. Scooter tolerates it, but when I can see he's had enough I try to separate them before he gets impatient with her. Lately when he comes into whatever room we're in she squeals and runs as if to hide from him.

Eliza loves the Christmas Tree that we put up over the weekend.  So far she's just pointed to the ornaments, she hasn't really taken them off the tree yet. She's really delighted with the Little People Nativity we got this year.  She plays with it every day.  She'll bring me Baby Jesus and then give him a kiss before she hands him to me to kiss.  She loves the angel on top that sings songs, but also likes putting the pig on top of the stable. I frequently find other "little people" in the Nativity too, Mickey Mouse is a frequent visitor. Eliza loves to try to help Momma with whatever I'm doing, if it's putting ornaments on the tree or putting things in the trash can.  The other day I had a cold and she handed me a tissue to wipe my nose.  Then she took the tissue from me and ran and threw it away. She still loves shoes and is great at getting dressed.

Eliza is scared of Grandpa Hurdsman and needs a few minutes around large groups of people, but soon she is walking from person to person asking to be picked up, held, or to eat some of whatever treat they have. She says "Momma" and "Dada" regularly now and frequently together "Mommadada." She also says, light, down, go, ball, and NO! She says "bapa" which generally refers to a grandparent. She loves Sesame Street and Signing Time. She loves to read books and carry her Jessie doll around. She likes to empty drawers and boxes and baskets. She loves to help with laundry by unfolding whatever I just folded and throwing it on the ground. She loves my pajama drawer and the drawer that holds my workout clothes and I'll frequently find my sports bras strewn about the house. She likes to wear Momma's clothes and Dada's shoes.

Shawn is working hard as an Assistant Principal at an Elementary School.  He comes home exhausted and full of stories, but he loves it. He is so committed to education and I admire him for his hard work and dedication.

I am constantly figuring out how to be a Stay At Home Momma.  Every time I think I have the gig figured out something changes and I feel like I have to start at the beginning again. I've had another cold which has knocked me down again. There's nothing like having to take care of a baby to make it impossible to get over a cold. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to take care of Eliza AND clean my house AND make dinner AND take care of myself.  Usually I only accomplish two at a time.

Well, that's where we are lately. And it sounds like my plan to put Eliza down and have her fall asleep on her own isn't going to work, so I had better jump in that shower before it's too late.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Goal Accomplished!

I finally did it.  After a month and a half of having exactly one item on my to do list I finally accomplished said item.  I planned out dinners for the next two weeks.  I am absolutely horrible at planning meals. Horrible. And for the past several weeks/months we've been eating a late dinner after the baby is in bed that consists of whatever won't take too long to make. No more! For the next two weeks anyway. I've got a plan. I've got recipes, I've added the needed items to my shopping list, we WILL have dinner together as a family!

I use a google calendar to plan my meals. I can keep several calendars in one place and that way can see what we have going on and I can plan my meals accordingly. And since we only have two people who really eat the meals, most of what I make I can use as leftovers the next day, so I only plan 3-4 meals per week. We have plenty of "backup meals" like tuna helper in our food storage in case the day goes awry and the meal doesn't get cooked, or if we don't have the planned for leftovers. It makes it so much easier to only plan 3-4 dinners a week rather than 7.

I also started keeping a spreadsheet of meals I like to make.  I keep track of when we ate it last and where the recipe is kept.  That way I can take a quick look there to help plan my meals when I don't have time to hunt for recipes on Pinterest.

And can I just say thank goodness for Pinterest? When it comes to food I'm pretty visual, I like my recipes to have pictures. If I had to just browse my mostly pictureless cookbooks I would never decide what to eat. But thanks to pinterest and food bloggers, the internet is my cooking inspiration! What in the world did our moms do when it came time to feed all of us?!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This little piggie went to the fair. . . and this little piggie stayed home.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spreading Joy

On Sunday you toddle around going from person to person.  You climb on laps and get people to hand you keys and let you play with their programs. You love Sister Harris.  She is from Scotland and I love her accent too.  You sit on her lap and then you come back to Mommy and Daddy for a minute and then you go back to Sister Harris.  She whispers in your ear and you sit and listen to her. You come back to get books or sippy cups and take them to Sister Harris.  At the end of Sacrament I pick you up and Sister Harris tells me how you spread joy.  You spread happiness wherever you go. And I know it is true.

Monday, August 5, 2013

This Is 6:00

It's 6:00. Despite 30 minutes of furious cleaning my house still looks like a disaster zone. The baby wants to both be held and put down at the same time. The husband worked late to finish a project. The caffeine has worn off and I've had entirely too much chocolate cake for today. I'm done. Except I still have to figure out something for dinner, finish the laundry, unload the dishwasher so I can load the dishwasher, do something about the tornado cleanup, and put a baby to bed. And for some reason the baby now HATES her high chair. She won't let me go near it to put her in it. She screams and arches her back, and if I do manage to put her in it she gets hysterical and won't eat. So, I figured out if I put a video on my laptop she will magically watch it and let me put her in the high chair and feed her. Only, that's not a good long term solution nor a good precedent to set. 

My goal for tonight is to simply get the baby in bed and maybe sit on the couch watching The Bachelorette and perhaps fold the laundry that's been in the dryer for a week. And eat another slice of chocolate cake. And tomorrow I will start fresh, it will be a new day. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eliza and Ga

Eliza and Scooter getting acquainted.
Almost from the time we found out I was pregnant we worried about how Scooter (our 5 year old miniature schnauzer) would feel about the baby. Would he be protective? Would he be territorial? He didn't have a history of liking kids, but we hoped that he would feel differently about a baby in his own family.  For the first six months Scooter didn't really seem to like Eliza. He ignored her as much as possible, and as she grew to be aware of her surroundings she was more and more fascinated with Scooter. Scooter had a bad habit of waiting until Eliza was napping and then barking uncontrollably. He is usually quiet and lays in his spot on the couch, but if something gets him going, it's hard to get him to stop and it is loud and annoying.  Many a nap was interrupted by Scooter. We had heard that the baby will be used to sounds like dogs barking because she'll hear them while she's still in utero, but that didn't seem to help when Scooter got going.

Everything changed about the time we started to give Eliza solid foods.  Suddenly, she was interesting to the dog because she had food.  And she dropped food. And he could eat the dropped food. And that changed everything.  Instead of resenting Eliza or ignoring Eliza, Scooter became Eliza's best friend even when she didn't have food.  He was much more tolerant of her. She can play with him and he will play back in his own unique way. (He growls when he's playing, it makes other people nervous to watch, but we know it's his play mode.) He lets her grab his toys out of his mouth. He lets her hug him. The only time he gets frustrated with her is when he's in his kennel. And of course Eliza wants to be wherever Scooter is, so I'm trying to teach her that the kennel is Scooter's place and she needs to leave him alone when he's in there.

When we were in San Francisco recently Scooter went to stay with Shawn's brother who lives nearby. About halfway through the trip Eliza did the sign for dog (patting her leg) and then looked at us and said "Ga?" Ga is her word for Scooter. (She doesn't say Mama yet, but she has a word for the dog.) She wanted to know where Scooter was, and it melted our hearts.  When we came home from San Francisco Eliza chased Scooter all over the house yelling "Ga!" over and over again.  Our little family was reunited.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Big Trip

Dear Eliza,

We just got back from our first big vacation as a family of three, a trip to San Francisco! And there are certain thing I always want to remember. Like how you draw people to you.  People stopped us at the airport, walking down the sidewalk, just about everywhere we went to tell us how beautiful you were.  Your smile and wave naturally draws people to you, and I wonder how that will manifest itself in your future. We were on a bus stuck in traffic when you started to wave at the cars stuck next to us, and every single car you waved to waved back, from the minivan full of people to the macho guy texting, you got everyone to stop and wave at you and smile. You were such a trooper on this little trip, taking naps on trains and busses and in your carrier and stroller, being patient with Mommy and Daddy as we went shopping and messed with your schedule, and being great at flying, well, for the first flight.  The second flight was a different story. On the first flight the flight attendant was saying goodbye to a friend named Alina, and you called out to her and waved catching all of the flight attendant's attention.  They loved you. When Daddy was shopping you talked and talked and talked to the clerk until he asked Daddy what you were saying and Daddy had to say "I have no idea." You were pretty insistent about helping our bus driver give the tour as we drove home from seeing Muir Forest. You charmed other kids and adults alike. Everywhere we went we heard people commenting about you, "look at that cute baby, did you see the way she's sitting in her stroller?" You like to sit with one leg straight out in front of you. I was that Momma in the airport who let her baby walk barefooted in a public place, but you truly brought joy and smiles to countless people who watched you walk with glee from the gate to baggage claim! (And I didn't dare try to put shoes on you, you would start to scream if I made any move to stop you.)

Your Daddy and I love to travel, and traveling with your Daddy reminds me of why I love him.  I hope as you grow up you love to travel just as much as we do.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not Ready

Today my baby girl turns one. I keep reading that when they turn one they are no longer babies but are now toddlers overnight.  I am not ready for that.  This year has been fast and slow, amazing and difficult all at the same time, but I am not ready for it to be over. I think back to a year ago, to waiting and hoping that she would come any day now.  I remember going to the hospital to be induced, then having a c-section, and finally after 9 months of pregnancy, 10 days overdue, 12 hours of labor in the hospital they placed this beautiful baby in my arms and I was forever changed. They tell you time goes fast, they tell you so much changes, but it was just yesterday that she was born, wasn't it?

It was just yesterday that we brought her home, that my Mom came to visit and lost our dog.  It was just yesterday that we figured out breastfeeding, that she smiled for the first time.  It was just yesterday that we moved her from her cradle to her crib, that she started solid foods, that she rolled over and sat up and crawled and took her first step.

And now my little tiny baby girl is marching all over the house.  She has an opinion about where she wants to go, but will cry when I leave the room without her. She talks and talks to us telling us so many things that I wish I could understand.  She points to things, sometimes to things that we are talking about, but usually she points and talks and I wish I knew what she was thinking. She gives hugs to the dog (but not Momma or Daddy), she knows the signs for milk, more, food, dog. She smiles and giggles at Daddy more than anyone else, but she cuddles into Momma when she's tired, hungry, or around new people. She loves wearing shoes and hats, but also loves to take them off. Her world has exploded this past month meeting family from Alaska, Indiana and New Mexico. She loves her cousins and loves to watch them play.

What happened to the newborn? I was always so excited to see what she was going to do next, but I also really tried to appreciate every moment, every stage, but they all flew by. I am not ready. I am not ready to put my baby to bed and wake up my toddler in the morning. I am not ready for her independence.

I love you Baby Girl.  I love you fiercely, in a way I think you will only understand when you become a momma yourself. I will embrace every change, be excited about every new thing you do, wether it's stacking blocks, or learning to read, or dancing about the house. But you will always be my newborn, my baby. I will always cherish the moments I held you in my arms and rocked you to sleep. I will look at you and see all the moments of you life all at once.  I see my newborn and my strong independent almost 1-year old, and the beautiful little girl you are becoming. You will always be my baby and I will always be your Momma.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Last 6 Weeks. . .

I've been struggling a little bit lately with the "Homemaker" part of my new role as a stay at home mom.  I just can't seem to do everything I want to do.  Ideally I'd have a clean house, a meal on the table for my husband in the evenings, and an updated blog. But in real life the 30 minutes between Shawn texting me that he's on his way home and him showing up are the busiest 30 minutes of the day as I hurry to get dressed, make the bed, and quickly pick up the house.  And too many times none of that gets done and he walks into a mess and a wife who is still in her PJs.  And I feel like I've gotten nothing done the entire day.

I think back on my days and I'm busy! I pick up after a baby multiple times a day.  I still nurse her 6 times a day, I change her diaper, I feed her solids, we play together and read books.  I do laundry that might never get put away, but at least it's clean.  And that fills up my day.  Especially since lately I only have a baby who will sleep in my arms.

I did realize recently that I only have space for so much going on in my brain at once. I can only concentrate on one or two things that take effort at a time.  And lately those two things have been getting Eliza to nap and gain weight.  I simply can't worry about or focus on more than that or I might have a nervous break down.

Between Eliza's last two doctor visits she LOST weight.  That is the wrong way to be going on the scale, baby girl! I could tell she wasn't growing very fast, but had no idea that she was losing weight.  It was only a matter of ounces, not pounds, but still, it was the wrong direction.  So, the last six weeks we've been concentrating on getting her to gain weight through "power packing" her foods.  And then you need to add to that stress her getting sick and then getting the stomach flu, and not having any solids for a week.  So, we add butter or high fat yogurt to everything she eats.  I concentrate on proteins and dairy.  I have spent way too much time in the baby food aisle comparing calories between baby foods.  Pears have more calories than apples, and peas have more calories than green beans.  I bet you didn't know that. Three years ago I never would have thought I'd be standing in the yogurt aisle at Walmart at 10:00 on a Friday night trying to find the yogurt with the most calories and fat per serving. (Yoplait Baby yogurt and The Greek Gods Traditional Plain yogurt are the answers by the way.)

And then there's the napping situation. I've written about it before, so I won't go into it again, but let's just say, nothing has changed or gotten better and I'm just grateful when she gets a nap even if it means it's in my arms.

So, that's where all of my effort, concentration, stress has been going, and things like cleaning house, making dinner, blogging have all taken a back seat. Now that we've figured out more foods Eliza likes, and she's making headway on the eating I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder, the clouds have drifted apart somewhat, and I can start to see what else needs work.  Next week we visit the pediatrician for a weight check and will find out if our efforts have paid off.  But Eliza already feels heavier to me and Shawn thinks she's getting a little belly.  I'm certain we'll be keeping with the power packing for a while, but maybe now I'll be able to concentrate on me every once in a while.  Oh yeah, and dinner.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The past few months have been HARD! Sickness has hit the Walker house, and we just can't seem to get rid of it! First, it was me, sick for a good 6 weeks before I started to feel any real, consistent improvement. Then just as I healed Eliza came down with her first REAL sickness. It started with a fever (they don't put baby's first fever in the baby books, but man that feels like something to be remembered. Now I REALLY know what a fever feels like, scary!) then came the cough, the runny nose, the sore throat. Those were long days and longer nights. Thank goodness for Shawn's help trading off holding a sick baby every few hours at night. Without him there would have been no sleep.

Before Eliza got better Shawn went out of town for a conference. Eliza and I packed up and headed to Grandma's house where we both got the TLC we needed for a couple of days. And then, Shawn got Eliza's cold while still out of town. I think getting to sleep through the night in a hotel helped him, but having his flight coming home cancelled due to weather, putting him out of town an extra day didn't help either of us. Those were long hard days being a single mommy.

Then the bug hit Eliza again. This time just a mysterious fever. Poor little thing. But luckily I was more equipped to deal with it. I'm now a pro at taking her temperature and giving her ibuprofen all by myself. But before Eliza was better I got sick again! This time a 24 stomach flu. All Eliza wanted to do was nurse, but I had nothing for her, my reserves were low, I couldn't even sit up to nurse! Luckily Shawn was home to take care of both of us. I'm not sure what I would do without that man. I sure need him.

Eliza is on the mend but now it's a lovely rash that followed the fever that the pediatrician's office says is totally normal. Once the rash goes and the appetite comes back I'll declare Eliza well enough to leave the house, but until then we're hunkering down. Send chocolate!


Every day I hit this crossroad. Do I let Eliza nap peacefully in my arms, or do I attempt to put her in her crib? I know if I let her nap in my arms that she will get a good nap, but I'm also reinforcing that my arms are the only place to nap, and I'm not getting the nap time break I need to get anything done. But if I try to put her down there's a 89% chance she'll wake up, and the nap is over. Even if I leave her in her crib to cry and hopefully fall asleep, that has never happened at nap time and then I'm just stressed because my baby is crying and I lock myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes so I don't hear her cry and then I still am not getting anything done, baby is cranky and I'm stressed. But there is that 11% chance she'll stay asleep and I can eat lunch and get something done with both of my hands.

So, here I sit at my crossroads, a sleeping baby in my arms, typing away on my phone. I want my baby to nap on her own, with all my heart I do. But today I can't handle the crying and the cranky baby. I'm just not that strong usually. And she's been sick, so every nap, even in my arms, is a blessing these days. Maybe one day soon I'll work up the courage to let her cry at nap time. But today I choose sleep and peace.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Just Another Night

Shawn's been out of town so I've been single-mommying it for a week. His trip happened to be perfectly timed with Eliza's first cold.  At least he was here for the first couple of miserable days, but he left before she started to feel better.

I'm a night owl, AND I have a hard time falling asleep when Shawn's not home, so it's no surprise that I was up until 12:30am the other night.  What WAS a surprise was Eliza waking up at 1:00am.  I was pretty used to her 4:30am waking pattern.  And despite all of my best efforts, feeding her, walking, bouncing she was determined NOT to go back to sleep.  So, I pulled out the big guns, I grabbed Shawn's robe and held her and bounced her as he usually does. And it worked.  So, at 3:00am I found myself stumbling back into bed.  Only to be woken up at 4:30am with an upset belly!  I was confused, was I really sick?  I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but just kept waking up over and over.  Finally I trudged into the bathroom, and 30 minutes later, back in bed, feeling relieved and happy that the Pepto happened to be sitting on the bathroom counter. Then an hour later Shawn's alarm went off.  In my dizzy state I hit it and slapped at the alarm clock until it stopped.  10 minutes later I realized the beeping was NOT part of my dream and the darn thing was going off AGAIN! This time I put a little more effort into NOT hitting the snooze button, but still hit random buttons until it once again stopped.  Thankfully I accomplished my task. And then at 8:00 my living alarm clock (aka the baby) went off as well, and we were up for the day.

And you know, since becoming a parent, this is not such an unusual night.  Sure, Shawn's not always gone, he's usually around to help with the baby girl. And I don't usually get woken up by an upset belly.  But waking up three or four times a night is not that unusual anymore. And yes, we'll be doing some sleep training as soon as I can find a method I feel good about, but I also really love holding my sleeping baby in my arms in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Eight Months

Dear Eliza,

You are eight amazing months old!  Your Daddy and I say that you get more and more fun every day.  You are crawling all over the place and climbing into things and getting into all sorts of mischief!  We are in for some trouble as you get more and more mobile! You still LOVE your walker and go cruising around in it at such speeds! You love to chase after Scooter who sometimes has a hard time getting away from you.  You also follow me around in it and I have to hurry so you don't run over my feet!

You are hot and cold on solid foods.  Sometimes you are all about solids and eat and eat and eat, and then other days we can't coax you to open your mouth for anything.  You like just about everything except peas.  You really hate peas. And there's no hiding them in something else, or adding cereal to make you take another bite.  You just hate peas. I think we'll give up on feeding you peas for a few months. You love to feed yourself Gerber Puffs. And Scooter loves it too because sometimes you drop them.  Scooter hangs out next to your high chair when you are eating, and when you eat at Grandma's house you look for Scooter. You've just started to sign "milk."  You will sign it if we ask if you want some milk, but you will also sign it when you are eating solids or if you are very tired. You still love to nurse and sometimes prefer nursing to eating anything solid.

You still love being naked. You cry when I change your diaper until you realize that I'm going to take your clothes off and then you are happy.  Until I put your clothes back on.  You prefer Daddy to change your diaper because he makes you giggle and squeal.  Daddy is usually the one to give you a bath and the two of you laugh and laugh.

Your sleeping is still as unpredictable as ever.  And sometimes I wish you could tell me if you are teething, or having a growth spurt, or had a bad dream or what in the world woke you up and isn't letting you go back to sleep at 4am!

You love to play peek-a-boo with your Daddy, but not so much with me.  You follow me around the house now crawling, or if you go off on your own will look to see if I'm following.  You love to stand up next to couches, or holding on to me. You love to walk with Daddy or I, but not so much when other people try to walk with you. You are just starting to get nervous around people you don't know very well or see very often. You need to take your time to get used to a situation and get comfortable.  But once you do you are giggly and smiley and love to explore. You've just figured out how to open drawers at our house but sometimes they close and your fingers get trapped inside.  I love how you look at me with this "why?" look on your face, and I love coming in to swoop you into my arms and save you.

I am so in love with you.  You make me laugh and smile every day. You keep me on my toes.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

A reason to smile

It's a hard day.  A frustrating hard day.  My body is aching from the ballet class I took last night, the baby was up until 2am and back up at 6:30, then decided to skip her morning nap, and I really, really just need sleep.  Oh, what I would give for a nap right now.

But I can hear Eliza moving around in her playpen while I sit quietly out of view on the couch.  And then two little hands reach the top of the playpen and I know she's standing up trying to find me.  And then a tiny little head peeks out over the top of the playpen, she's looking around for me, but can't see me.  And then whomp, she falls down.  Over and over and over again.

How can I do anything but smile?


I've never done a traditional workout in a gym.  If you plopped me down in a gym I'd look around and have no idea what to do.  I'd probably walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes and call it good, but I don't really count that as a workout.  To me, a workout is a ballet class.  I started taking ballet classes when I was five years old and continued all throughout high school and college.  And now as an adult I still love to take a ballet class.  I love how a good ballet class isn't just about movement and getting a sweat, it's also so mental. It's a place where I can truly stop thinking about anything outside of the dance studio, I don't worry about if my baby is napping, what's for dinner, I'm totally focused on my body. I'm thinking about the combination and where my legs and arms are going.  I'm thinking about the music and the counts.  I'm thinking about my muscles, is my center tight, my tail tucked under, my knees pulled up? Am I turning out from my hips, beveling my feet? Am I using the floor? Even when I'm taking an "easy" class it just means more time to focus on my body, my technique, and it can still be a really good class. But I love a good advanced class, a class that makes me think about the combination, that pushes me to try for a double instead of a clean single pirouette.

It's been a long time since I've taken a ballet class.  I think the last class I took was about the same time I met Shawn, so three years.  But in January when the UVU Community Classes catalog came and I saw an Intermediate Adult Class listed I knew I had to take it! I knew that it was what I needed both mentally and physically, a good ballet class.

Taking ballet again has made me so appreciative of my ballet training. I'm grateful for the big, beautiful studio where I learned to dance.  I'm grateful for the sprung wooden floors.  Most of all I'm grateful for the instruction. I had two wonderful and very different ballet teachers. Stacey was straightforward with her instruction.  She was clear and precise. And after taking ballet from her for around a decade I could just about predict what she was going to say next, but that's not to say her classes were every boring.  Julie was completely different.  She was brillant, challenging, and might just change the exercise in the middle of a combination. You might not do the same exercise on both sides, but her choreography was amazing and it always made me feel beautiful. When Stacey and Julie worked together they brought out the best in us.  Stacey would clarify any confusion in Julie's instruction, and Julie would find the step, the movement that didn't feel quite right and fix it.  I loved dancing for them.

I'm grateful now for such quality training. I'm grateful for those years and that working with two teachers who were so different made it easy to understand new teachers I'm not familiar with. I'm grateful that I can pick up combinations easily, that though I may not have the technique, that my extension is gone, and my flexibility is laughable, I remember the steps, the names, the moves, and I can still do it.  It might not be pretty, but I can still do it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

If You Can't Beat Them. . .

Shawn's method of putting Eliza down for a nap, join in!
I dread nap time.  Every day when it nears the two hour mark since Eliza's woken up, I start to think about nap time and how much I don't want to go through the nap time routine.  There's nothing about the routine specifically that I don't like.  And naps are good, I love naps.  And it's not that I want to keep my baby awake to play with me.  It's just that. . . I don't have a good napper.  I've read the books, I've followed the advice, and yet. . . Eliza has no nap time consistency. One day she'll take two good solid naps, the next day it's only a morning nap, and the following day it's only an afternoon nap, and the next day no naps at all.  Add to that the pressure of the experts telling me that my baby should be napping for 2-3 hours twice a day, and the fact that I feel lucky if I can just get her to take a 30 minute nap makes me feel a bit like a failing mom. We've got the lovie, the sound machine, the pre-nap time routine, the only thing missing is the nap.  And to make it even worse. . . now she will only fall asleep for naps while I'm nursing her.  Which any Mom will tell you is a no-no.  The baby is supposed to be put down "drowsy but awake." But Eliza doesn't have that stage.  It's either awake or asleep.  And then there's the dreaded part when I have to actually put her in her crib.  I think that's the part of nap time I fear the most.  It's a big gamble, will she stay asleep?  Will the act of putting her down wake her up? Because once she wakes up that's it, the nap is over.  There's no gently coaxing this one back to sleep!

So, after MONTHS of struggle, countless articles read, talking to friends and family about nap time, I've decided, if you can't beat them, join them.  If she closes her eyes and all she does is sleep for 20 minutes in my arms, well, at least she got 20 minutes.  I'll try again in another 2 hours and see if she will take a better nap.  And if I get more than 20 minutes, if I successfully put her down in her crib and she stays asleep for an hour, it's time to celebrate!  But if she wakes up just a few minutes after I put her down, we've instituted quiet time.  She gets to play in her crib, and I get to shower, or eat lunch, or whatever is at the top of my agenda.  It's only been an attitude adjustment on my part, and it's only been a week, but it's already made a difference.  Not on Eliza's napping, that is still as strange as ever.  But giving in, not struggling to get her to take two good naps every day, not worrying that she's not getting enough sleep has made it so much easier on me. I'll still try every day.  I'll still watch her after she's been awake for 2 hours, and try to catch those first signs of drowsiness.  But I'm no longer going to feel like a failure if she only sleeps for a 30 minutes instead of 3 hours.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Favorite Things when I'm Sick

I'm still sick.  One entire month later.  I haven't cooked dinner or done any sort of house cleaning for a month.  I've turned to multiple people to watch Eliza to let me sleep or rest or go to the doctor.  I've taken drugs, tried natural remedies and spent a lot of time online trying to figure out what to do next. And at today's doctor visit it was decided that I have allergies. These are the worst allergies I've ever had, but I'm willing to give the inhaler, nasal spray and OTC allergy medicine a try if it can give me some rest from the cough, sore throat and runny nose that's been accompanying me for a month. And here's hoping that Shawn, Eliza, and I can all get some sleep tonight, because we were ALL kept awake last night by my cough.

Here are the things I can't live without when I'm sick (besides my Mom who we all want when we are sick, and she has certainly saved the day MULTIPLE times this time around!)

1. Halls Vitamin C Drops  I don't like cough drops, I can't stand them.  I think it's the menthol in them, but even when I have my worst cough I can't keep a cough drop in my mouth for more than a few minutes.  Then one day I discovered Halls Vitamin C Drops.  It's got 100% of your Vitamin C for the day, which you are supposed to take when you are sick anyway, and this is a much more attractive way to take Vitamin C than taking a pill with a glass of water.  Plus, it does a great job of shushing my cough or soothing my sore throat.  When I'm sick the first thing I do is make sure I have a package of these on my night stand.

2. Hot Orange Juice My Dad wasn't the parent who would take time off to take care of his sick kids when I was little, so it wasn't until I was a teenager and he was semi-retired that he shared this sore throat secret with me, a nice tall glass of hot orange juice.  I balked when he told me, orange juice on a sore throat?  It sounds like lemon juice on a paper cut, but I'm telling you this actually works!  And not only does the heat make it easy to swallow, the entire thing soothes your throat for hours.  I think I'll go pour myself a nice tall glass of hot OJ right now.

3. Puffs Plus Lotion with Vicks When Shawn and I were dating he got sick and I brought him a little get well package of Halls Vitamin C drops, a bottle of orange juice (with instructions to heat it) and a box of Puffs Plus Lotion with Vicks tissues.  A week later I was at his house, the OJ was still sitting unopened in the fridge, the Vitamin C Drops had been put away, also unopened, and the Puffs were sitting out where just anybody could use them! I told him, you can't just leave the Puffs out!  Those things are GOLD for a sick nose, you have to protect them, put them away for next time, don't just waste them or let them get used up!  These tissues are truly MAGIC when you are sick, the lotion part soothing the nose, and the Vicks part easing the congestion.  Sadly, Shawn and I have been searching for months for these beautiful tissues, but they don't seem to be sold in our area. But according to the website they still exist!  So, if you have some in your area, hoard them!  You don't know when you'll need them!  (Oh, and if you could send me a box, my nose and I would really appreciate it!)

4. Netti Pot My lovely former roommate was kind enough to share her grandmother with me.  Grandma Durham was full of wisdom and funny stories.  She was generous and charming and if nothing else Laura always came home with an amusing Grandma Durham anecdote. One day Grandma Durham found out Laura had been feeling under the weather and sent her home with a Netti Pot.  We all declared it was crazy, gross and we would never, ever use a netti pot.  We were all wrong.  I'm not sure exactly what led to me actually using this contraption, but I'm telling you, it works.  It helps with my seasonal allergies and with my colds.  It's still working this time around, but this cold + allergy misery seems to be besting even the netti pot.

5. Mom Blanket Of course the best thing when I am sick, the thing that can never be matched is my Mom.  But, while my Mom has been incredible the past month, sadly, she still has to go home after a few hours of her magic, and sadly, I can't live on her couch anymore.  So, the next best thing to my Mom is a blanket she made for me when I was 8.  It's worn and needs to be mended, but my "Mom Blanket" has led me through many sicknesses, be it a broken heart or jaw surgery or your average cold.  Wrapping up in my red, white and blue comforter is almost as good as being wrapped in her arms.  It has the magic ability to keep you not too hot and not too cold, it's perfect in both weight and softness.  I may have had it for 20+ years, but I predict it will be around for another 20 years.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why I Blog. . .

When I returned to my office after my honeymoon there was a lovely basket sitting on my desk and in the work refrigerator there was a bag labeled "Annie W." and I didn't know who Annie W. was.  After I got married I suddenly had this identity crisis, who was Annie Walker?  And that is why I started this blog, to figure out who I was as a married person.  Shawn and I have been married just over two years now, and while I certainly feel more like my self now as Annie Walker, having a baby has added to that identity crisis.  Becoming Annie Walker is more than just figuring out who I am as a married person, now I add who am I as a mother, as a homemaker? Who am I now that I don't have a job outside the house?

Being a mother, being a stay at home mother, it's hard.  It's isolating at times. It gets boring, frustrating. What I miss most about working is having a community.  Having people to talk to about life. And that's why I blog now, to create my own community, to have a place to talk about life, my life now as a mother, as a wife, as a woman.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

19 days and counting. . .

Playing next to a sick Momma on the floor is still fun.
I have been sick.  For weeks.  For over half of the month of February I have been fighting a stupid cold.  I had the "I need to stay in bed" type of cold for about 10 days and have had the "I feel OK getting out of bed, but my head still hurts, I'm still coughing, and my nose won't stop running" type of cold for about a week now. I'm really sick of being sick. But I have a few observations to share with you.

One of the worst "side effects" of being sick is that I've lost my voice, and consequentially can't sing.  Which ordinarily wouldn't affect me, but it means I can't sing to my baby, which makes our bedtime and nap time routine a little off.  I miss singing lullabies to Eliza.

My husband likes making the bed.  A lot.  There were several days I stayed in bed and Shawn stayed home to take care of Eliza and I.  I would get up to use the bathroom or get something to eat and return to find that Shawn had made the bed.  Which is awesome, I love a made bed too, except when I'm getting right back into it because I'm sick.

Scooter loves tissues.  He loves to eat tissues.  Only used tissues.  And when I'm in bed for a week sometimes the tissues don't make it to the garbage can (which we keep in the closet on top of Scooter's kennel so he can't get into it) immediately after use.  And Scooter would lie in wait for me to get out of bed for a minute so he could steal the tissues off of my nightstand and eat them.  Gross!  Even now when I'm trying to be so diligent about putting the tissues right in the trash can he manages to find them, take them to our bedroom and eat them on my side of the bed. I'm constantly finding little bits of partially eaten tissues.

Well, March will be here by the end of this week, so here's to a healthier March!  (And a hopefully less snowy one as well!)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lately. . . Food

Lately I've been trying a lot of things on Pinterest.  Like this Roasted Cauliflower.  So good I made it two nights in a row.

And tonight I made this Chicken Salad with greek yogurt instead of mayo. Yummy! (Oh, and sunflower seeds instead of almonds of course.)

Oh, and this Chicken Cordon Bleu is AMAZING! Probably the best recipe I've tried on Pinterest.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seven Months!

Dear Eliza,

You are seven months old!  You are amazing and growing by leaps and bounds!  Just this last week you started crawling!  You've been doing the belly scoot and roll thing for a while but now you are hands and knees crawling everywhere! You are also so good at getting around in your walker.  You used to just stay in the kitchen, but now you go everywhere.  Lately your favorite place to explore is the hallway, and you'll follow Scooter wherever he goes. You haven't quite figured out how to pull yourself up to sitting or standing.

You love solid foods.  You love your cereal, sweet potatoes and yams.  You tolerate bananas.  You hate peas.  I think today we might try carrots.  We've given you a few of those baby puffs to try to eat, and while you can pick them up, and you know they go in your mouth, you haven't figured out how to put them from your hand into your mouth.  You grab the puff with your whole hand and lift it to your mouth, but won't open your fingers.  You'll catch on soon I'm sure. The first time we gave you puffs you picked them all up one at a time and dropped them in the highchair next to you.  You still love to nurse and have a great appetite as long as Daddy and Scooter don't distract you. You love your sippy cup filled with water, but haven't figured out that once you get the water in your mouth you are supposed to swallow it.  You prefer to just gnaw on the cup.

You love getting out and exploring new places and meeting new people, but you also need to take your time and look around for a while.  But once you are done looking around and get comfortable you are full of smiles and giggles.  You have started clapping!  You will clap in response to anyone who claps for you!

You had your first real illness, a sore throat.  But you are still a happy little girl and the only way we knew you were sick is because you woke up in the middle of the night screaming and tugging your ears.  Momma and Daddy decided to take you to the pediatrician who said your ears were fine, but you had a sore throat.

You like books and reading with Momma.  You like to try to change the pages.  You like tearing apart magazines.  You love your stacking cups and try hard to stack them like Momma, but usually just knock them down. You love exploring the house more than playing with toys, unless it's Momma's phone, which you'll play with happily for half an hour.

Lately you hate napping.  Momma has to trick you into taking a nap, but if you know it's coming you cry and cry. You're also not a fan of having your diaper changed, unless it's Daddy doing it, and then he sings to you and makes you laugh and squeal.

We love you and can't wait to see what's next!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Lady Edith or Lady Mary?

Let's discuss last night's episode of Downton Abbey, shall we?  Oh, you haven't watched it yet?  Ok, well, get on that, it's a good one.  And by good I mean heart wrenching. Ugh. So, we won't discuss the show, but there's one aspect, one small scene I want to discuss.  I won't give away what happens in the show, but Lady Edith says to Lady Mary, basically, "Can we finally be friends?" And Lady Mary responds, "Oh, I doubt it." And that's when I realized that I am a Lady Edith.  Probably not completely.  I didn't get left at the altar.  And she's certainly done some horrible things to Lady Mary. But I am definitely the type of person who wants to mend disagreements and try to be friends again.  Sometimes long past the friendship expiration date.  I can think of a couple of specific instances in college where I hung on to friendships long after the other party had moved on, and one job I should have left but stayed more because I mistakenly thought more of the friends I had there than the horrible working conditions I was under.

I think there's some value in being a Lady Edith.  I value my friendships and work to maintain them.  But I think there's some value in being a Lady Mary too.  She lets things go when they need to, and is realistic about wether or not a friendship is going to work.

Now we could also say something about the fact that they are family, not just friends.  I do think that family relationships deserve the work required.  Lady Edith and Lady Mary should both put aside their differences and work on becoming friends as well as sisters, but I don't see that happening.  And if they were nice to each other would that change the dynamic of Downton Abbey too much?

OK, so who are you?  Are you a Lady Edith who hangs on to friendships too long or a Lady Mary who moves on too easily?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Six Months!

Dear Eliza,

You are six months old (in Januray) and the word of the month is curiosity! You are such a curious baby! This month you have been exploring in your walker and you love going all over the kitchen.  If we open the fridge or the dishwasher you come right over to find out what's inside.  You have figured out how to open one of the drawers in the kitchen, but haven't figured out how to take anything out. . . yet. You aren't quite crawling, but I'm sure you will any day now.  You are rolling and scooting anywhere you want to go.  I've given up putting a blanket down for you to play one because you'll just roll right off of it. You love your friend the baby in the mirror and will play quite happily with her for half an hour. Your favorite toy is the water bottle that Momma filled with dried peas.  You love to roll it around or pick it up and listen to the peas rattle around inside.

You are still nursing exclusively but soon it will be time to try out solids.  You love to watch Daddy and I eat and follow our food from our plates to our mouths with real interest and will always reach out and try to grab the food off of our plates.

You are not particularly fond of your carseat or going places.  You don't mind getting in your carseat, but once you've been there for 20 minutes you are done and want out right now! When we drove to visit Grandma and Grandpa Walker in Wyoming you cried half the way there and wanted Momma sitting right next to you holding your hand or playing with you.

You love playing with Momma or Daddy's phones or the remote control for the TV.  You'll eat anything you can get your hands on.

You still love taking baths and being naked.  You love to splash and play with toys in the bathtub. You always try to drink the water or eat the washcloths.  You even pulled yourself up to standing in the bathtub and almost gave Momma a heart attack!

You are talking and your favorite word is "dadadadada." You used to say "mamama" but now it's all about dada. You'll also sometimes say "baba" or "ka." You wake up happy and will lay in your crib and talk to yourself when you wake up.  You love to talk in church especially, and will get quite loud as you give your opinion during the lesson. Daddy says you are just singing.

You have started to roll over to Momma and try to climb on her lap when you are tired. You are a good nighttime sleeper, but naps are still a little challenging.  Sometimes you are a great daytime napper and sometimes a nap is nowhere to be found!



Saturday, January 5, 2013

As I have become a mother my feelings towards my own mother have changed so much and my love for her has grown.  I am the youngest of six kids, so I have often felt left out, like they had all the fun before I came around.  I felt sometimes that my Mom used all of her fun Mom energy before I was there and by the time I came around having a baby and taking care of me was just routine.  But I also want to note that this thought has never bothered me, I just accepted it as the sixth child.  And I certainly know that I had a lot of benefits being the last.

But, now that I have my own baby I can picture my Mother with me, shushing the older children as she takes me into her bedroom where the crib is.  She wraps me up in a blanket, maybe grabs a special, loved, stuffed animal or toy.  She sits quietly with me and sings a song or reads a book and then she holds me close as she rocks me until I fall asleep.  She strokes her cheek on my soft downy baby head and smells the back of my neck where the baby smell seems to linger and she soaks in the moment, just as I do with Eliza.  Just as her mother did with her.  And by becoming a mother myself I am linked to all of the women that came before me.  And I can't help but love them more because now I understand how much love my Mom has for me.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cute Baby Photo Friday

I love the little tongue sticking out.  
She's always such a happy giggly baby in the mornings!

Middle of the Night

Last night was one of those nights that every parent has experienced.  Eliza woke us up at her usual time (which I won't write down because Shawn doesn't like knowing what time it is when he gets up in the middle of the night) and I was strangely in a deep sleep.  I didn't know that I could sleep that deeply any more.  Shawn got up and changed her diaper, and it took me a few minutes for my body and mind to come together so that I could get up, walk down the hall, and take Eliza to nurse her.  She was crying by the time I took her from Shawn, she was hungry.  But she latched on quickly and quieted down and snuggled herself into my body.  I held her warm body close and rocked her.  Her small hand was cold and was restless, one minute hitting my cheek, the next fumbling with the cloth of my pajamas. I held her hand in mine to warm it up and to calm her down.  She finished eating and was wide awake, just looking around, so I sat her on my lap and sang our lullaby. I sat with her on my lap and she seemed the calm for a few minutes and then would talk and giggle and wiggle.  Where did this energy come from in the middle of the night? Usually she only nurses on one side in the middle of the night, but I put her on the other side as well, hoping it would calm her down, help her to fall asleep.  I put her lovey in her hand so it wouldn't explore like her hand on the first side.  It seemed to work, she fell asleep. But as if she was reading my thoughts as soon as I decided to move her to her crib, that she was asleep enough that she wouldn't wake and cry, she turned her head, looked at me and smiled, as if to say, "Ha! I fooled you! Silly Mommy!" And then she started to giggle and talk.  Oh, my sweet, adorable girl.

But, Mommy was tired and needing to get back to sleep.  I looked at the clock, we had been at this for well over an hour, I wanted to go get Shawn, to tag out, to tell him it was his turn.  But I waited and rocked, and held her hands and stroked her head with my cheek.  But she was still awake, still giggling, talking, looking around, happy.  I looked at the clock again and decided that I would give it 13 more minutes, and if she wasn't sleepy in 13 minutes I would tag Shawn in.  I stood up and started to do my best Momma bounce, the one that works to put her down for a nap every day.  And she didn't like it.  She started to get fussy, upset.  And five minutes later, with eight minutes to go, Shawn came to get her.  And we wordlessly passed her between us. Eliza loves her Daddy, I didn't hear another peep from her, she calmed down as soon as I put her in his arms. I handed him her lovey and softly closed the door behind me.  It had been 90 minutes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Things I was Wrong About

I'm what they call a picky eater.  I think I have a good reason for being a picky eater, being allergic to nuts and all.  If food is unfamiliar I need to ask questions about it and inspect it to ensure it won't send me on a trip to the hospital.  So, I've always been a picky eater.  But in some ways I've taken that picky status a bit too far, and now as an adult, I'm trying to amend that.  I'm working on liking vegetables more and on trying new food. Here are a few foods that I was wrong about:


This is the first Thanksgiving that stuffing has graced my plate.  I've always been turned off by stuffing. I think it was the olives in my Mom's homemade stuffing.  And then a few weeks ago I had the realization that stuffing is basically bread and herbs.  I love bread.  I love herbs.  Why wouldn't I love stuffing?  So, I tried some that Shawn made and guess what, I loved it!  Sure, it was the cheap stuff that comes from a box, but my eyes were opened.  I was wrong about stuffing.


Technically pickles may need stay on my list of things I don't like because there's only one kind of pickles I like and that's the kind I make myself.  I've always been dubious of pickles.  I think it's because on hamburgers they are flimsy and taste bad and ew, gross.  But my sister in law, Barb, makes her own pickles, and in an effort to, I don't know, impress my new family, or not be so weird to them, I ate some of Barb's pickles.  And surprisingly I liked them!  So, when Shawn suggested we make our own pickles the first year we were married I was on board as long as it was Barb's recipe.  (Funny story, we made pickles and ice cream the same weekend, and no I wasn't pregnant yet, but it sure did spark rumors when I shared it on facebook.) I still don't like store bought pickles, and especially don't like the pickles that come on hamburgers.  And don't ask me if the ones we make are dill or sweet, I don't know the difference.  But I like my homemade pickles and I was wrong about them.

Chocolate Cereal

I'm not kidding when I say that Shawn has 10 boxes of chocolate cereal in his food storage. And when we first got married he offered me a bowl of "Cocoa Dyno-mites!" and I said, "Ew, gross, no, chocolate cereal is disgusting." And I have to confess, I made that assumption without every trying chocolate cereal.  It's something my Mom told me every time I asked for a box in the grocery store as a kid, and it stuck.  But then one day we ran out of non chocolate cereal in the cupboard, and I was feeling both particularly lazy not wanting to go downstairs to get more cereal, and having a chocolate craving, so I dipped into the Cocoa Dyno-mites and guess what, it was delicious!  I was wrong about chocolate cereal, and I actually had to tell my husband "You were right and I was wrong."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Debating Resolutions

Do you make New Years Resolutions?  I don't always make resolutions.  And sometimes when I make them I just know that I'm not going to keep them, so I only do it half-heartedly.  One year in high school I made a resolution to not eat candy for an entire year.  And I actually made it!

This year I'm debating some resolutions, and maybe I'm just resolving to do better?  I want to take better care of myself.  To me that means taking better care of my skin, taking better care of my teeth, and moving more.  Part of me would love to make resolution to work out, but I know that in order to really make that happen I need to truly commit, and right now, this year, I'm not ready to commit I guess.  I want to be more focused on Eliza.  I don't want to get distracted by facebook and the internet when I am with her.  I want to do something unique with her every day, maybe read books, or find a way to play together every day.  I want to record our life this year. I want to write down what life is like with her in this first year.  I want to record her firsts. Maybe I'll do that on the blog, maybe I'll write in a journal, maybe I'll take pictures.

Sometimes I have grand ideas about blogging more.  Part of me thought "I'll blog every day in January and since it's just one month it will be easy."  But here it is the second of January and I've already missed a day.  Oh well.

What about you?  Do you have New Years Resolutions?  Or New Years ideas? What do you want to change, fix, do better?