Liam {11 Months}

11 months old. My baby is officially in his last month before he becomes a "toddler." But let's be honest, he'll always be my baby, and I refuse to stop referring to him as such until he's two. You heard it here first.

Each month seems to get better and better. He learns new skills and interests by the day, and it's such a joy to watch him learn. He's so curious, super smart, Mr. Independent and super sweet with a just enough sass. 

At one of our many doctor's visits this past month (damn cold season), Liam weighed in at 20lbs, 12oz, but we aren't sure on height. I think right now he's about 21 lbs, 29 inches. I find that now he's so active, he doesn't gain weight as easily as when he would pack on a few pounds a month!

Milestones & Skills
  • Standing -he doesn't do it often, but he can. He does it longest when he doesn't realize it
  • Talking more! He can say Mama, Dada, Puppy, Puffs, That, Book, Up and Vroom
  • Drinking out of a spouted sippy instead of straw
  • Walks well - and FAST - with assistance or holding on to furniture 
  • Sharing - so sweet!
  • Shakes head back and forth - it looks like he's saying no, but it's actually a dance move.
  • Clapping - he claps when he hears it in public or on the TV, and he claps for himself all the time :)
  • Opening/closing doors
  • Diving into pillows
  • Tricking you - he acts like he's giving you something - a toy or his pacifier, and then when you're about to take it he snatches it back! It's hilarious.
  • Chase - he loves when I sing "I'm gonna get you" and I chase him. He crawls away and I catch up to him and tickle him, while he giggles hysterically.
  • Looking out the window - every morning we look out on the street and say "Vroom vroom" at the cars and construction workers
  • Flirting - Liam is always so good when we go to eat with him (knock on wood). He is always such a flirt with the ladies, giving them big smiles and squeals!
  • Testing us - he loves crawling somewhere or trying to grab something/put it in his mouth, and then giving us a sideways glance to see what we'll say. We try to let him explore as much as possibly, and only say "No" or "No thank you" when he's doing something like pulling cords, trying to eat dog food, or turning on the bath when he's not in it :)
  • Dancing - He dances at any melody and it's the most adorable thing ever.
  • Haircut - He was born with so much hair, and I resisted cutting it forever. But it was starting to get super long in back and over his ears, so I caved. He did so good!
  • Halloween - Unfortunately, it was horrible weather here in Chicago (cold and rainy), so we didn't go trick or treating. Instead, we went to our friends' house in the suburbs, and I dressed Liam up as a monkey for my own entertainment. (And of course, for a photo opp.)
  • The changing table (still and always)
  • The Nose Frida - We've been sick a lot in the past couple of months and while the Nose Frida used to be funny, it is now viewed as a torture device.
  • Vacuums and hand dryers - Poor baby cries bloody murder!

Still eats 4-5 bottles each day, but lately doesn't drink as many ounces per bottle. He's also eating 3 meals/day and has some snacks, too! 
He's been a little more picky this month than normal, but we've found he loves waffles, almond butter & jelly sandwiches, quinoa anything, black beans, avocados, blueberries, raspberries, pizza and spaghetti.

It depends on the day, but typically Liam naps once in the morning around 9am, and again between 1-2pm. If his naps are shorter, he'll take a third catnap.

He still sleeps through the night, but in recent weeks, he's been waking up earlier and earlier. With the time change at Halloween, he went from waking at 730am to 630am, which we suspected. But we also assumed he'd just eventually get back to old sleeping patterns.

The past week or so he's been waking anywhere from 5am-6am! It ain't right. He's been battling a new mother-fricking cold (I swear he hasn't been healthy since mid-September), and I think that's playing a factor. Hoping he gets back to some normalcy (or at least waking up post 6am) soon, but until then, trying to enjoy the extra time we get together in the morning, rather than being super rushed!
The countdown to one is officially on! We aren't planning anything crazy for his first birthday. We'll be home in Iowa for the holidays and plan to have a get together with family and close friends. Just planning a low-key afternoon with pizza and a smash cake. And booze of course, because quite honestly, I feel like we deserve a party for us, too! We managed to keep another human alive for a year without a clue what we were doing. Here's to us!

See you at One, little man.


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To The: Huffington Post Edition

As many of you know, I recently had the privilege of becoming a blogger for the Huffington Post. What that means is, I have my own platform on the back-end where I can submit blogs for them to say "yay" or "nay." I've been lucky to have three blogs published so far, all of which were previously published here.

My most recent blog, "The Parenting Cliche I Cannot Stand," generated quite a conversation. I knew it would, but didn't anticipate the reach. The first time it was posted on Facebook, it got 3,421 likes, 759 shares and 237 comments. The second time, it was 328 likes, 83 shares and 25 comments. On the actual article, it got great engagement, too:

So, all in all, lots of likes, tons of shares, and lots of comments. Of which I read every single one.

And I've got to say - the comments were fascinating. Majority of people sharing and commenting on it were saying "THANK GOD SOMEONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS!" or "AMEN!" or "Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone." All sentiments that tie back to why I love to write.

But everyone else? What a bunch of miserable people, and parents. Seriously.

I suppose me writing that only goes to support their arguments that if I don't want to hear what other people have to say, I shouldn't have a blog or "post my shit on Facebook." 

But, honestly - why does parenthood have to be so polarizing? Why do people feel like their way is the right way? Or feel like it's OK to put other people down? Or just be plain mean? And judgmental?

I don't get it.

As much I would have liked to tell many of the commenters to "Fuck off" directly, I figured that'd be poor form. So I'm going to passive aggressively tell them to fuck off here, where they likely won't see it.  

To this genius:
"35 weeks? How about your child is almost 3 years old."
I'm not the best at math, but I'm pretty sure there are about 52 weeks in a year. I hope you don't have to use math or simple, every day knowledge to get through each day.

To this insightful lad: 
"I feel like this author needs more sleep. Geez." 
Ummm, yep. Pretty much the gist.

To this dumbass: 
"This is just plain stupid and obviously written by a first time mom of a still a baby. My daughter was such a hard baby. She woke up every hour screaming at me for an hour then would make me bleed. She didn't sleep through the night until 1 year. And age 3 was the worst. And my boys were 18 months apart. My middle son was colic. Now my daughter is 11 and my middle son is starting kindergarten. And I know with a blink of an eye they will all be adults. I wonder where the time went and if I could do it all over again even without the sleep. I would love to snuggle my crying baby girl at night again. I would in a heartbeat. And imagine a mom of all grown children reading this or one who has lost a child. So I agree with the comment not this ridiculous petty blog post from someone with little experience. What a bad attitude on parenthood. Sheesh."
So many things. The first being, I'm willing to bet that when you were in the thick of those experiences - YOUR experiences - you were not enjoying it all. It's easy to look back on those times now that your kids are older and say you'd "snuggle at night again in a heartbeat." That's the way hindsight and perspective works. But at the time I wrote this, I wasn't there. If I get there on my own journey as a parent, I'll let you know. But your feelings/experiences are yours, and mine are mine. 

As for the bit about imagining a mom of grown children reading or one who has lost a child - first, many mothers of grown children did read this and comment and agree. So there's that. And for the women who read who had lost a child - I'm so very sorry for their loss. But that loss and experience is not the same and can't be compared to what I was experiencing at the time I wrote this.

Finally: I have a bad attitude on parenthood? Did you read your comment, or? 

To this moron: 
"Get a life- there are people in the world with real problems." 
Why don't you get a life, and spend your time doing something better and more productive than writing nasty comments on a blog, you troll! 

To this kind mama: 
"I wish I could dissolve the negative comments and tell you that your post really hit home. I shared it on my wall and it was doubly irritating when the people who commented clearly missed the point. We love our children with every ounce of our being. But it doesn't mean we love musical beds at night, especially when we have to function the next day and the days after that. I squeeze all the hugs I can get now. I bring them into bed with us just so I can spend more time with them even if it means while we sleep. I will miss so many things, their smell, their laugh, their cuddles, etc. The poop running down my leg, the over tired toddler who slaps me in the face, the baby who dips his hand in the food only to immediately grab my newly washed hair (ok that one maybe a little), the crying fits in the car when we all just want to reach our destination, etc....... I will gladly look in the rear view mirror on those. Thank you for writing this and letting me know I'm not alone. Hugs to you!
Thank you for this. You are the kind of person I hoped I would reach, and the kind of feedback I hoped I would get. You hit the nail on the head, and thank you for your support.

To this ass-hat: 
"Sounds like your in need of counseling, if not for you then for your Baby!"
Thank you for the laugh! I needed it.

To you, my friend:
"Thank you for writing this. I too cried as I read the final lines because you have described motherhood exactly as it is."
I cried when I read your comment because it made me feel so good!

To you, Negative Nancy:
"Maybe you shouldn't post shit about your kid on Facebook. No one wants to read it anyways. Problem solved."
Which part of a FB status that reads "For Lent I'm giving up sleep, #newmom" references anything about my child? What's that? It doesn't? It only talks about my own lack of sleep? K, thanks, bye!

To you, Mommy War advocate:
"Babies can't manipulate you our use you as a pacifier. That's a cliché. And a myth. Put forth since formula feeding became a norm."
You're the reason that "mommy wars" exist. I didn't say a word about being manipulated, and the bit about using my boob as a pacifier? You bet your ass that my baby would at times only sleep if my boob was in his mouth. He was not eating. So, sorry, but to me, that's the same effect as a pacifier. Take your judgement and move along.

To the most miserable person ever:
"Another in an endless tirade of victimhood by parents who take offense at every interaction that they themselves haven't pre-approved or scripted. Why write a blog if you don't want people to comment? Go through life and grade every social interaction as not good enough and be miserable all of the time. That's your choice."
I love this comment so much. I don't really have much to say in response, except that the post and it's entirety went completely over this person's head, and if that's what she picked up, then I'm guessing it's a reflection of her own feelings of parenthood.

To this ignorant ass:
"What did she think before she became a mother...that the baby was just going to be this cute little person that lies around in a onesie all day? Boo hoo she loses some sleep - she is supposed to be molding and a life...losing a little sleep should be the least of her problems."
While I admit my version of being a mom was slightly romanticized, I was not naive enough to think that I would be getting a lot of sleep at the outset. I certainly underestimated how hard it was going to be though. Good news for you, asshole, I am molding a life and doing so while getting a full night's rest these days. Fuck off.

To this jackass:
"Get over it. Stop writing a blog. You are not the first woman to have a baby."
WHAATTT!?? Stop it. I don't believe you.

To Peggy:
I think if there are 'many days and nights' where you are breaking down and crying you should ask those around you for help. It should not be this terrible. Good Luck
You must not remember the complete hormonal imbalance that your body goes through after having a baby. I won't apologize for being supremely emotional in those early weeks of being a new mom, and being overwhelmed with happiness, responsibility and with love. Sometimes my "break downs" were crying out of pure joy. Other times it was because I was clueless. Never because it was terrible. I have a tribe of help around me that I go to when I need it.

To Miserable Melvin:
You made them, deal with it. In a few years that kid won't be able to stand the sound of YOUR voice. By the time they are teens, you will be the dumbest most worrisome person on Earth. 
So what you're saying is, your kids really like you, huh? Worry about your your own relationships with your children, and don't prophesize what mine will be like.

But mostly, to this woman:
"I think it is time we all stop judging ourselves based on other's opinions of how motherhood should look. If you are loving your child, caring for your child, providing for all of your child's needs, and doing your best to contribute positively to their life, then you are doing exactly what a parent should. I am sure there are and will be some who comment negatively and often downright nastily, just let those go. Your words are true for you and so many others and it is refreshing to read them."
Thank you. That is perspective that I can appreciate, that is support, which is what so many other comments were not.

Ahh, hate mail. Gotta love it.
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New Look: Revealed!

So, I haven't written for a while because as you can see, I've made some changes around here. I didn't want to draw attention (or traffic) to the blog until I'd finished making the updates. But, since it's taking a little longer than I expected and I want to get back to writing, I'm just gonna show you guys around now!

It's been a few years since I updated the look of my blog, and I was itching for a change. While I loved the color and feel of my last blog, I was craving something a little more sophisticated and clean.

I ended up just buying a template from Etsy, which I've never done before. Usually I have someone custom design it for me. But I loved this template when I saw it, and it was more cost effective so I decided to go for it!

I love the cleaner, more mature look. But yet, not too stuffy. The grey, black and gold palette is a nice departure from my last color scheme. While I would love a soft pink addition somewhere, that will come in the next iteration.

The navigation is easy - you can still find all the ways to follow me on the side, and search the archives easily. A new addition is the labels on the right rail - you can click any of those to see related posts. Plus, at the top, you can navigate to some popular categories (which will be filled out more thoroughly eventually...a work in progress while I update labels now that they are a search function).

I'm also going to update the tagline, and make some adjustments so the photos on the home page are not so huge.

What do you guys think?

Liam turns 11 months old next week (WTF), and I've been having a LOT of emotions about him turning 1 in just 5 weeks. Expect lots of deep-dive mommy revelations as I cope with this HUGE milestone.

Wishing you safe and fun-filled weekend!

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Slow Down

At the end of each day, after I've kissed my sweet baby good night, have cleaned up the toys, and settled in for what is finally a full night's sleep, I often marvel over how we got this far.

Generally speaking, parents have no clue what they are doing. Especially the first time around. It's amazing our abilities to intuitively know what to do, and figure things out as we go.

I've made no qualms about the fact that I thought the first 3-4 months were a bear. Those months were more intense than anything I could have anticipated, or could accurately describe to anyone who hasn't been there.

In those difficult moments, I wished time away. I wished for moments to vanish. I wished for milestones to come and go. I wished for days, and often nights, to pass more quickly.

Now that we've gotten to know our little man, and he us, we've settled into such an enjoyable groove. It feels like we've only just gotten to a point of pure enjoyment. A time where we can laugh through (most of) the hard moments, because we know it will all be fine. We're know we're going to blink and this time with our boy will be gone.

The other night, I was holding Liam's hand while we rocked before bed. I rubbed his ring finger on his left hand, thinking about how one day, there would be a ring there, a symbol of promise to be the keeper of his heart. And it wouldn't be me.

I pat his little bottom after bath time and watch him giggle, thinking how in just a few short years, loving pats on the bottom will be met with an eye roll and, "Mooomm!"

He makes hilarious noises and sounds to communicate, and I wonder what his little voice will sound like when he learns to talk. How he'll blush when I tell everyone how roaring was his communication method of choice.

He snuggles into my chest when we're rocking before bed, his little head a perfect fit in the space between my jaw and my shoulder, and he feels so small, so yet so big, in my arms.

I read him stories, the same ones over and over and over again, knowing that one day, sooner than I expect, repeating myself will be one of my least favorite past times.

Time is a thief, stealing moments and hours. Time lies, making me think there is more of it in a day, weekend, month. Sometimes, time feels like my enemy, seeking revenge for the times I wished it away, by making the best moments pass faster than the not-so-great ones.

So, I apologize, Time, for wishing you away. I promise never to do it again if you could just slow down.
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