Monday, January 30, 2012

New Year, New Mom!

Baby G, I have the worst kept secret in the world. I am currently a fat mommy.

My story begins around the age of 8-9 years old when various factors in my life sent me running for food whenever I was feeling sad or lonely. Mix in an addiction to junk food with a lack of proper boundaries when it came to portion sizes and sprinkle in hours and hours spent alone and you get a fat child, who turns into a fat teenager, who blossoms into a fat adult. I have been overweight for over 20 years and I'm only 31 years old.

My struggle with my weight has always been my "thorn in my side" because if there was ever one thing to magically change about myself, I always picked that. My weight kept me from doing things I wanted to do. I remember trying out for volleyball one year in junior high and failing to secure a position on the team. I wound up being the team manager instead. I tried out for drill team another year and I was cut in the first round. I also became the basketball manager because I knew my weight would keep me from doing well in try-outs so I didn't even try. Eventually, I knew the only real "team sport" I would be able to do was marching band. Thankfully there were no try-outs for that so they HAD to take me. *sarcasm*

I maintained my overweightedness (Made up a new word! You heard it here first!) throughout high school and really only varied my weight + or - about 10 lbs depending on the time of year (Marching band was actually good exercise so during Football season I was usually on the low end of my average weight). Looking back on that time I was actually fairly active physically, I just had issues with food and portion control. I wasn't really teased all that often about my weight in school, surprisingly. I attribute my awesome personality and my ability to be friends with nearly everyone to keeping me sheltered from a lot of the "fat hate" that kids experience in school. I was simply too nice to make fun of regularly, I guess. I had crushes, crushes were had on me, I had a lot of friends, dressed normally, and didn't really let my weight stand in the way of doing fun things.

The summer after my senior year of high school I took a waitressing job at a small greasy spoon German/American restaurant. The mixture of constant exposure to grease and oil along with the 10+ miles each day I would walk inside the restaurant turned me into a person who was exercising regularly and began to eschew greasy junk foods for fresh salads. I lost about 20 lbs over the course of the three months I worked there without even trying. I arrived at college thinner than I had been since junior high and with an exciting outlook for my future! I sought out the college Rec Center, began trying to run for the first time since childhood, and I felt AMAZING. Eventually several factors (including a 24-hour open kitchen, late night pizza/chinese food deliveries, a heavy course load, a sprained ankle, and a car accident) conspired against my new lifestyle and as time went by I began to put the weight I had lost back on and then put more on top of that. By the end of my Freshmen year, I had bypassed the Freshmen 15 and went straight for the Freshman 30. Each subsequent year saw me put more weight on top of the weight I had already amassed until, eventually, when I graduated college I weighed nearly 60 lbs more than I had in high school. 60 lbs in 4 years. Unbelievable!

You would think that would be enough of a wake-up call for me to get my ass in gear and lose the weight, right? Sort of. I dabbled in dieting over the next couple of years. I would lose 15 lbs, put 20 back on. Lose another 10, gain 5, lose that 5, then gain 10 more. When your dad and I met and got married I was back up to my post-college weight where I thought I was totally miserable. However, your dad and I both have some issues with food and portion control and together we gained even more weight. I hit my highest weight in June of 2009. I had troubles bending over to tie my shoes, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I was going to die, and I couldn't get pregnant. A visit to the doctor confirmed that years of eating poorly and a predisposition to metabolic issues meant that I had developed Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I knew that the only way to ever have a baby would be for me to drop the weight and reverse some of the symptoms of PCOS.

I decided to enroll in the Metabolic Research Center here in town. It was the best decision I could have made! Over the course of the next 9 months I was able to lose over 100 lbs and, eventually, become pregnant (surprise!). The diet at MRC was very strict and offered little in the way of wiggle room so upon finding out I was pregnant, I went a little nutso eating all of the things I hadn't been able to eat in such a long time. Over the course of my 9 month pregnancy, I gained back about 75-80 lbs of my 100 I had lost. Ugh. Imagine how pleased I was to lose about 40 lbs in 3 weeks after birth! I figured losing the baby weight would be no big deal. I was wrong. I quickly put that 40 lbs back on because I was still eating like I was pregnant. Thinking I needed to do something, I joined the Scaledown Challenge at work and succeeded in losing 20 lbs during the 9 week program. After the program ended, I put it all back on again. I was feeling pretty helpless.

This week I made the decision that the only way I'm ever going to get this weight off once and for all is to go back to the Metabolic Research Center, lose the weight, finish the program (without getting knocked up this time!) and finally conquer my food demons. I need this for my own health, but I need it even more so I don't become a terrible example to you, Baby G. I never want you to have the problems I had/continue to have. I want you to lead a healthy life full of awesome foods, physical activity, and a strong sense of self-worth. Pretty soon you will be old enough to realize you have a fat mommy. I hope for a day where you will look back at pictures of me right now and ask me why I looked so different back then. I want you to have a mommy who goes out on the playground with you instead of sitting on the bench. I want you to WANT to be just like me... and for me to be okay with that because I'm worth patterning after.

So, it begins. I'm back at MRC, did my initial weigh-in, and started eating on plan. I go into this knowing I can do it because I did it before. In fact, my before/after pictures from the first time are prominently displayed on the walls at the center as an extra personal "hey, look at how great you looked? Don't you want to get back to that???" I'm not looking forward to people recognizing those pictures are of me and then wondering why I got so big again, but for someone like me weight will always be a struggle and I will always have my ups and downs. I haven't truly lost unless I quit fighting and as long as I have you, Baby G, I simply cannot quit fighting.

Wave goodbye to fat mommy, Baby G. Healthy mommy is on her way!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Baby G, I swear you are changing every single day.

It hasn't even been two weeks since you decided it was time to stand freely and now you're walking upwards of 4-5 feet in one go! Sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back, or one step forward and a sideways stumble, or step.... step.... stepstepstepstepOMGFALLING, but no matter the result there is no one more proud of your accomplishments than YOU! I love watching your face light up when you do something you know is amazing. Your little squishy-faced grin, your hands clapping, your high pitched squeal... it's all so freakin' cute!

Sometimes I look at you and I'm blown away by all of the subtle changes you have going on right now. Your sense of humor is perfect. Your comedic timing rivals the best of the best. You think daddy and I are HILARIOUS at the most random times! You've started mimicking us and, I assume, the day care kids you're around because I have no idea how you learned to do the fishy face but it comes out all of the time now. Your "sniffy face" is one of the funniest things I've ever seen and the mischievous grin that follows it tells me you know you're the one who is making my sides split and you LOVE IT!

Behold! The sniffy face!

You've also started coming up with your own words for things. A cat, in any form, is now known as a "nyah nyah." We often call cats "meow meows" in our house and "nyah nyah" is your way of saying that. I know this because you point at each and every form of cat in the house and proclaim loudly (and in a high pitched tone) "NYAH NYAH!!" Not only is that totally adorable, but it really impresses me that you understand a real cat is the "same thing" as a stuffed cat puppet or a kitty on TV or a kitty in one of your books. They're all "nyah nyahs" and you understand that. I guess I thought that sort of abstract understanding came later but as sure as can be, you'll greet the real kitty as "nyah nyah" and then go over to your cat puppet and ask for that "nyah nyah" too. BLOWS MY MIND!

It also impresses me that you're very willing to try new foods. Your dad and I have a rule when it comes to eating at restaurants. You eat what we eat. This means if we go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, you eat Mexican food. If we go out to Japanese, you eat Japanese. I'm not having my kid sit down at a perfectly delicious Chinese restaurant and order chicken strips! So far you've LOVED Mexican food (beans and rice and beef and guacamole, etc) and at least been willing to give Japanese food a try (you had some tofu and ate various parts of my cooked sushi roll with chopsticks, nonetheless! Yes, I was manning the chopsticks, not you, but you ate from them like it was no big deal! PROUD OF YOU!). You've had hummus and liked that, too. Oh my goodness, baby. There is a whole world of delicious foods out there that you will love! Your daddy and I are trying so hard to introduce you to things early on in hopes you won't become the same sort of picky eater we both were when we were kids. So far, so good. Keep up the good work!

All of a sudden you are discovering things and their purposes. You now know that flipping that small switch near your changing table will either bathe the room in bright light or make it so dark you cannot see anything. How fun! (P.S. It is not fun when I'm trying to change your diaper, by the way.) If you see a button, you simply MUST press it immediately. This is awesome when it comes to your toys! It is less awesome when you decide it's time to shut down the XBox or when I'm trying to pay for something and you try to push all of the buttons on the credit card scanner. To you the world is one big old button waiting to be pushed and there better DARN WELL be something awesome that happens when you push it. It is adorable and infuriating at the same time, as are many of the things you are learning to do!

Sometimes your changes are very welcome (I simply cannot WAIT to be done with formula! I'm so sorry I had to give that to you because it smells awful, tastes awful (yes, I tried it), and is CRAZY expensive! Believe me, milk is WAAAAY more tasty!), and sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by them (we totally need to baby proof this house RIGHT AWAY because you will not be happy to stay in the living room forever and you're already starting to make breaks for it every now and then). But with you in the house it is never a dull moment! You've made our lives so much fun and so full of excitement!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby G, you terrify me...

From the point of Baby G's conception (most likely on a trip to the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska... sorry, TMI!) up until this exact moment it has been about 20 months. 20 months ago we had no idea we were getting ready to head into the most exciting journey of our lives. 20 months ago we had no idea we would be planning a baby's first birthday party instead of my 31st birthday party. 20 months ago I had no idea what it meant to be truly terrified that something is wrong with your precious baby.

Baby G, you terrify me...

Motherhood has been the most amazing thing I've experienced so far in my life. I've been so lucky to experience highs that make Mt. Everest green with envy. I've also experienced moments of sheer terror where I thought either I had something terribly wrong or the fates were playing the saddest of ballads on my heartstrings. In the last 20 months I have experienced exactly 9 times where I thought my heart would burst free of my chest because of Baby G. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. Fear of miscarriage: Finding out I was pregnant was extremely exciting! My very first thought was, "MUST TELL EVERYONE!!" My very second thought was, "What if I have a miscarriage and I've already told everyone??" We found out when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, which is still in the very real danger zone of losing a pregnancy. I tried my best not to think about the possibilities, which meant going with my first thought of telling everyone, but it was always in the back of my mind. My mind eased after the passing of the first trimester, but when I read singer Lily Allen lost her baby at 6 months gestation, my fears of losing my precious baby girl ignited yet again. I never stopped worrying about losing her until the day she was born, which of course gave me a hundred other reasons to BEGIN worrying about her, but I'm getting ahead of myself...

2. Where is your heartbeat??: When we went in for our first OB/GYN visit I was about 8 weeks along. They actually don't see patients until they are 8 weeks along, which made me sad because I couldn't wait to hear the heartbeat! I felt like it would make it all seem more real if I could hear that little flutter. We waited anxiously in the waiting room surrounded by other mothers-to-be in various stages of pregnancy and soon found ourselves in a room with our OB and her small hand-held heart monitor device. She squirted cold and slimy goop on my belly and set to work trying to hear the heartbeat. She moved the wand this way and that way, up and down, here and there... nothing. My own heart dropped to the floor thinking, "This is it. We've lost the baby." Our OB ordered an ultrasound just to be sure I was actually pregnant with a live baby. I got gooped up again and nervously waited for the technician to find our tiny baby, which of course, she did! We got our first glimpse of our little bundle of joy and she looked like a gummibear! *Sigh of relief*
3. Stupid... so stupid: One of my favorite parts of being pregnant was feeling all of the fluttery movements early in the pregnancy. As Baby G got bigger, those fluttery movements turned into crazy alien-like rolls and kicks, but I still loved feeling all of it because it reminded me of the special parcel I was carrying. I tried being super careful while I was pregnant, as I am naturally a total klutz, not to bump my belly into things or fall or do anything that might jeopardize my kiddo. So, imagine how stupid I felt when, one night while playing Rock Band, I was being over-dramatic about not getting 100% on one of my vocal solos (totally robbed!) and flopped dramatically onto the couch. Looking back, it probably wasn't all that hard of a flop, but for someone who was trying so hard to be careful, it felt like a huge mistake and I instantly regretted doing it. As if to teach me a lesson, Baby G didn't make any movements for well over an hour after I did that. I spent that hour shimmying, shaking, poking, and prodding my belly to get her to move so I wouldn't keep worrying that I'd hurt her. When I finally felt her move, I was elated. No more drama-queen for me.

4. To everything, turn, turn, turn: On my very last OB/GYN appointment, we found out Baby G was STILL head-up in her comfy little womb. She never once went head down. At that appointment we found out she was potentially 9 lbs already and would probably never go head down on her own. For someone who wanted a natural birth (not even an epi!), this was sad news. It meant I would get a C-Section, my worst nightmare. She said we would need to decide right then if we wanted to have Baby G that night before she left for a one-week conference in Mexico and that we could try to turn her for one last shot at a natural birth. We weighed the pros and cons and decided to go for it. I was told there was a chance while turning Baby G that the placenta could tear, which would mean an immediate emergency C-Section so I wouldn't bleed out, but that it was rare. I gave it a shot and OMG worst decision EVER! It was a pain like no other pain and I instantly began to worry that I'd made a decision that could harm Baby G. Once we realized it wouldn't work, we went ahead and decided on the C-Section. I said some quiet apologies to Baby G for putting both of us through that.

5. What are we doing wrong???: On the night we brought Baby G home from the hospital we were sure that we knew what we were doing. Baby G had been SO good in the hospital and things were easy-peasy lemon-squeezy! We had the feeding schedule down, we were on top of diaper changes, Baby G would fall asleep nearly everywhere at anytime so that wasn't an issue. Then, later in the night things took a nose dive! Baby G wouldn't stop screaming no matter what we tried! She screamed and screamed and screamed until we figured something just HAD to be wrong with her! The volley of phone calls made during those tense hours taught my husband and I one very important lesson. "You're on your own, folks!" The hospital wouldn't help, the on-call Dr. at her office had no real suggestions other than, "babies can cry for a really long time sometimes." We were at our wits-end! Finally, one of us suggested we try to feed her more. We had been so indoctrinated into the hospital's feeding schedule that it seemed almost sacrilegious to go against it. Bingo! That was the problem. Baby G scarfed that bottle down like we'd never fed her. I was so terrified that something was wrong with her when all she wanted was some sustenance. Clearly, I had a lot to learn.

6. "Here, total stranger, take the most important thing in my life.": I had one month at home with Baby G before I had to head back to work. I was ready to go back, actually. *dodges all of the rotten tomatoes thrown her way* No, seriously, I needed some adult interactions! What I wasn't really ready to do was hand my precious baby over to a total stranger I had just "met" recently. Starting day care for Baby G was really difficult for me. I knew it had to be done and I was ready for some time back at work, but I was terrified to give her over to someone I barely knew. It didn't help that I started seeing news reports about bad things happening at day cares (which I'm sure were out there all along, but I noticed them a lot more after I had Baby G). Then, when we had to transfer Baby G to a new day care after the first one didn't work out, I was scared again! How will she respond? Is this a good fit? Will Baby G be happier here? Things have turned out great at this new day care and we are happy to say Baby G is happy there, too. Still, handing your baby over to someone for the first time is scary. It's like saying, "here, please take care of the only reason in this world my heart continues to beat" to someone you barely know. Excruciating!

Baby G LOOOOVES her buddies at Day Care!

7. Scary trip to the ER: I believe Baby G was about 5 months old when her nasty cold started turning into something even nastier. Over the course of her day at her first day care she started getting a temperature that grew and grew and grew until, finally, her care provider called me to let me know it was over 102 degrees. I rushed over to the day care to pick her up to take her to the doctor, but realized there was no way I could drive from one end of our town to the other end where her doctor was located in enough time before they closed. I took her to a Minor Med place, instead. There they told me she had an ear infection and prescribed some meds. I went home and tried to soothe my sad and sick baby but as the night wore on, her temperature got worse. Finally, after several calls to the on-call doctor and several temperature readings that were going up instead of down, we got one final temperature reading of over 103.5 degrees. We scooped up Baby G and rushed her to the ER. During our ER stay she was so amazed by all of the nurses and equipment that she smiled and barely fussed at all, which made us look like over-reacting idiot parents, of course! Still, she was fighting a major double ear infection so they gave her an anti-biotic shot, a boatload of ibuprofin and Tylenol, and tried to make her drink some Pedialyte (no-go). In the end, she was fine. But, I will never forget the horror of hugging your baby when she's screaming and her skin feels like it's on fire. No bueno.

8. Your mama is a dumbass: One day on my way out and about with Baby G I made a mistake. I opened the garage door and started the car. I was loading Baby G in the car, got her carseat locked into the base, and then spent a couple of minutes loading the car up with necessities, all the while leaving the car door open so Baby G wouldn't get too upset that the car wasn't actually moving yet. Finally, I was ready to go. I closed all of the car doors and we set off. We weren't a full block from the house when I looked back and saw Baby G asleep. I thought, "Wow, that was really fast even for you, Baby G!" Immediately, I remembered that even though the garage door was open at the time, I had left car doors open in a semi-enclosed environment with a running car and a baby. "OMG," I thought, "I've given my baby carbon-monoxide poisoning!!!" I started yelling out Baby G's name to get her to wake up and respond so I would know she was okay, but even my loudest yelling wasn't getting her to twitch an eye. I frantically pulled the car over, jumped out of the car, flung her car door open, and tried to get her to respond to me. Of course, she did. She was just really sleepy, apparently. I still wasn't satisfied. I turned the car around and went back to the house to fully rouse her so I would KNOW without a doubt that she was okay. She was fine. I didn't poison my baby with invisible gasses. Still, I felt dumb for all of it.

9. Fat-thighed Baby G: The other night as the hubby and I were putting Baby G to bed, we realized we could barely zip up her footie-jammies over her big ol' right thigh. It's been a joke around the house that Baby G has some chubby thighs and I'd even started stretching out some of her jammies to give her more thigh room if they felt too tight. This night, however, we started to notice that one of her thighs was actually significantly chubbier than the other one. We went ahead with the bedtime ritual and put her to bed, but as I was giving her the night-time bottle, I kept feeling her thighs and, yes, they were very different. After putting her to bed I jumped on my iPod and started Googling the hell out of anything I could find hoping to find out if this was normal or something worth being scared over. I instantly found 2 terrifying possibilities: hip dysplasia and hemi-hypertrophy. I worried. I fretted. I even got a lecture from my hubby who has been known to be an extreme hypochondriac in the past about the horrors of Googling symptoms, but I didn't care. I was terribly worried that I was about to find out something was very wrong with our perfect little baby. After talking to the on-call doctor I decided I was going to take her in to the doctor first thing the next morning. Next morning, I went in to wake Baby G. I put her on the changing table and went to work studying her thighs. Yeah, they were totally the same size again. They've been fine ever since then, too. The only thing I can figure is maybe we had her diaper too tight on that side or she had some odd localized swelling. We're still keeping an eye on it just in case, but I'm going to do my best not to Google her symptoms anymore. I assume I'll have zero luck sticking to that.

I'm sure this is just the first 9 instances of roughly a million-billion different times Baby G will terrify me. I know this. I'm not going to pretend it won't happen again. It does, however, make me feel like I owe my parents an apology for all of the dumb things I did to worry THEM when I was little. Sorry mom. Sorry dad. I'll be good from now on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Milestones: Addendum

Just a very quick update to say that Baby G nailed another milestone yesterday by taking two steps from a very solid and safe area into the loving arms of her daddy! She did all of this roughly one hour before I was able to get off of work and see the glories of her first steps. Sigh...

STILL! Our Baby G got up to a personal best of 5 unaided steps yesterday before plowing into the ground using only her face. Once the crying stopped, we all clapped because she did great! Way to go, Baby G!

I'm so not ready for this. Time to get serious about baby-proofing this joint!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baby G: Motivation for good citizenry!

Back before Baby G was even born I started getting an "itch" to make some changes in our lives. Every time I threw something away that I knew was easily recyclable, I began feeling a twinge of guilt and shame for contributing to the undeniable problem of waste management on our planet. I knew it was time to make a commitment to do the right thing.

Let me back up a bit...

When I went to college (ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!) it was a cultural norm for those living in the Scholarship Halls to recycle. We had a really nice facility set up for ourselves in one of the storage areas and part of living in the halls naturally meant being conscious of how we managed our garbage. As one of the dinner cooks, it was simply part of cooking the meal to rinse out the gigantic #10 cans and put them in the recycling bin. Did you print out a paper and then discover a terrible spelling/grammar error? Put the old version in the recycling bin or re-use it for scratch paper. Done with a shampoo bottle? Rinse it out and march on down to the recycling bins.

Even after college when I got a job up on campus, we still utilized the campus recycling services for used paper, pop bottles, cans, cardboard, etc. All of this is to say, being a good citizen by recycling was not a foreign concept to me AT ALL. Yet, when it came to being a good citizen at home and continuing these principles I was failing big time. Finally, the guilt and shame goaded me into action. I set up a "recycling station" in our garage with big plastic tubs for each of the types of recycling. I began making an effort (and encouraging my hubby to make the effort, too) to start setting aside and sorting all of the things that could be recycled so we could take them to Walmart (clear across town... this fact will resurface later in the story).

We jumped into the recycling game full-force and quickly began realizing how much less trash we were putting by the curb. It was seriously amazing to go from a "several bags per week" household with only two people in it at the time to a "one mostly full bag" household in a matter of no time. I had dual feelings of pride and sadness at this realization. I was proud that we'd made the commitment to quit contributing as much to the problem, but I was sad that it had taken us this long to do so when the results were so instantly obvious. Another added bonus came when I realized the smaller number of trash bags we were using meant I didn't have to buy them as often and those things are pricey! Sweet!

The downside to our new-found adoration of recycling came when it was actually time to move it all out of our garage and take it to Walmart. Ugh. No fun. As it turns out, we usually got a bit lax in our sorting of the recyclables the longer they sat in the garage, and, the higher the piles got. Eventually, before succumbing to taking the whole mess out to Walmart, the piles sort of melded into each other and re-created the trash heap from Fraggle Rock, which roamed our garage at night.

The Trash Heap was still pretty hip, considering.

It never failed that I would have to re-sort the entire batch of recycling before driving CLEAR THE FREAK ACROSS TOWN. The other problem with recycling at Walmart? Sometimes I would show up and they were closed for some unknown reason or the bins were full. Then, I would have to trudge back home ALL THE WAY THE HELL ACROSS TOWN with some or all of my recycling still in my possession. Grr....

Then, we found out we were having our Baby G. Finding out we were going to have a baby resulted in two diametrically opposed (or so it seemed) philosophies on recycling. The first philosophy was, "Damn, we really have to get this recycling thing right because we're going to have a baby and it's important for her to learn early how to recycle so that it is something that is normal for her. It's important to show her how to help take care of the planet so she'll be a good citizen!" The second philosophy was, "How in the hell am I going to do all of the stuff I can barely get done NOW when I have a baby hanging off of me? Screw recycling. Let the trash people deal with all of this mess."

Eventually, I found a happy medium between good citizenry and laziness. I subscribed to curbside recycling with Deffenbaugh! Now, not only do we just throw nearly all of our recycling in one big bin (yay for not sorting!), we also just wheel that bin out to the curb on Wednesdays and my recycling disappears with barely any effort on my part (we will admit to forgetting to wheel the bin out from time to time, though).

We still have to trudge across town to Walmart for glass and plastic bag recycling, but I'm discovering that will probably happen about once every 9 months or so, which is FAR more acceptable to me. I am very pleased we found a work around that took into consideration our need to help teach our child important life lessons and how these important things don't have to be back-breaking and time-consuming to help the planet.

Our next goal as a family is one we've actually been working on for a while but seem to fail miserably when it comes time to implement it. We really really really want to quit using plastic bags when we do our shopping. We have a ton of reusable bags that either get forgotten in the car when we run in to do our shopping, or, we leave them in the garage at home because the last time we used them we didn't put them back in the car. We need to work this out because using reusable materials is another "good citizen" lesson I want to teach Baby G (which is TOTALLY why most of her clothes come from Goodwill and not because we're poor... Yep, not at all).

One thing I love about motherhood is how much better I become by trying to be a good example to my kiddo. I'm not saying I would be some total schmuck without her, but having her around reminds me that doing the right thing is ALWAYS more important than doing the easy thing because those little eyes are watching our every move.

OMG, cutest little eyes EVAR!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Milestones: Keeping up with the Baby Joneses

One of the greatest and most stressful things about being a new mom: your little one's milestones.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Baby G maneuver her way through her first year of life by hitting her really important milestones (I'm not going to lie, whenever she does something new I liken it to "leveling" her character in the real life version of her own MMORPG. I'm a nerd, remember? I secretly hope she spends her skill points very wisely because it's really hard to reallocate those once they've been spent, am I right guys??? Yeah...) It really is amazing how most tiny humans hit these milestones around the same time considering the millions of different ways they are parented. Humans are pretty darned amazing!

Milestones can be insanely frightening to a new mom who desperately wants her baby to be anywhere on the milestone scale from "perfectly normal" to "ZOMG super-mega baby genius." There have been plenty of times during this first year I have wondered if Baby G is "making the grade" when other babies we know start doing things she hasn't shown interest in trying yet. There have also been times where Baby G has knocked it out of the park by doing AMAZING things that even baffled her doctors. Basically, my baby is all over the milestone scale and it has taken the better part of this year for me to realize, "You know what... it's okay. I can live with this."

I knew Baby G was going to be a scrappy little prizefighter around 5 months of pregnancy. This kid could KICK. HARD. I would look at those cute little feet during her ultrasounds and wonder how such tiny little footsies could send me running to the bathroom with one solid roundhouse to my bladder. It doesn't matter how it happened, though. It happened. I also swear I could feel her reaching out and grabbing anything she could get her hands on, but figured I was just loopy from preggo-exhaustion. Immediately after she was born, I began to think I wasn't quite as insane as I had thought.

Baby G was born via Cesarean Section, which I assume was a rather rude awakening for her. As soon as they pulled her out and put her slimy, naked, purple butt on the table she started lifting her head up off of the surface of the table and grabbed for whatever wires she could get her tiny little hands around. Yep, my Baby G hit her first milestone (lifting her head) right in the delivery room. YESSSSSS!

One point for Gryffindor!

I figured this quick burst out of the gate meant that my baby was destined for Mensa and a black belt in AWESOME! My smug feelings were reinforced when, on her second month birthday, she spent several minutes ooo-ing and ahh-ing at me when I ooo-ed and ahh-ed at her. Our first real conversation!!! She nailed it!

Pardon my perfect storm of self-satisfaction.

I was riding high on my child's first accomplishments (livin' the dream!), but as time went by I noticed she wasn't quite rolling over as well as I thought she should. Hmmm... Should I call the doctor? Is this a problem? Is she developmentally behind now? Was it something I did? I totally worried about her lack of interest in doing this thing she was supposed to be doing. Of course, I worried for nothing. Eventually she was rolling this way and that way, back and forth, here and there. I had nothing to worry about. She just "decided" one day that being mobile via rolling was what all the cool kids were doing and she did it. Just like that.

Then, on the 4th of July (when Baby G was nearly 6 months old) we were over at my mom's house for a BBQ. I was holding Baby G in the living room and my mom walked into the room and said, "Hi" to Baby G. Baby G turned, looked at my mom, and said, "Hi" right back to her. Seriously. This was confirmed by a room full of adults who all fell silent with equally shocked looks on their faces. YESSSSSS!!!!

Uh.. yeah... it's a Mitchell and Webb Look thing. Funny show. Very British.

So, I got to put in the baby book that my Baby G spoke her first word at the svelte age of 6 months. Clearly, we rock as parents!

I waited until about this time to start giving her solid foods because I had read that babies who are formula-fed have a higher risk of obesity if they begin solids before the age of 6 months. Well, my husband and I are not what you would call "thin" so I already knew Baby G had an uphill battle. Several "other moms" had questioned why she wasn't eating solids yet, which got me to wondering if I was making a huge mistake. I spoke to Baby G's doctor who told me it was totally up to me and I wasn't harming my kiddo by holding off on the rice gruel. All of this is to say, her solid foods milestone wasn't hit until 6 months, but it wasn't due to any hesitancy on her part. Once we started solids, she was in it to win it. She's been a great eater with relatively few instances of straight up rejection when it comes to trying new foods. We'll call that milestone a draw (started late, but stuck the landing on the first try).

Crawling, on the other hand, was not something Baby G thought she needed to do. Several of her other baby friends were already crawling (some up to a month younger than Baby G) and she showed roughly "negative one billion percent" interest in joining them. We would put her up on her hands and knees, she would plop back down and roll away. We would actually activate her arms and legs for her (dad on arms, mom on legs, Baby G in her starring roll as our marionette), she would get cranky, plop back down and roll away. I was completely sure our kid was going to skip crawling and move straight to walking (just like her mom did oh-so-many years ago). Then, the other baby at her day care started crawling. SUCCESS! Peer pressure did as it has done for thousands of years... it pushed one tiny human to do the very same thing as all the other tiny humans around her. For the first of relatively few times in her short childhood, peer pressure was actually welcomed. Baby G now crawls like a NASCAR race car.

I wanna go fast! (FYI: not Baby G. She wouldn't be caught dead in that get-up. Not enough glitter.)

I, of course, worried constantly about her disinterest in crawling up until she actually did it. I had heard babies who don't crawl have poor hand-eye coordination (which I was willing to believe as I have terrible hand-eye coordination and I skipped crawling). In the end, it was a non-issue. I worried for nothing... again. She nailed it straight out of the gate... again. She went from not crawling AT ALL to crawling like she'd done it for months in roughly 3 days. Baby G was quickly becoming like my own little Buddha, teaching me patience.

Now, we rejoin the present time where my biggest concern is her lack of interest in holding her own bottle. She flat-out doesn't want to do it. I know she can because I've seen her do it for short periods of time before she drops it, looks at me like, "Uh... laying down on the job, are we?" and refuses to drink it, opting to play with it instead. At this point (at nearly 11 months of age) I'm sort of not going to worry about it too much. She already holds a sippy cut fairly well (and has done so for over a month now) and, frankly, I've sort of learned over this past year that my kid is really great at deciding when she's ready to do things. She's not behind at all, developmentally. It will seem like she isn't ready to do something one day, then the next day she just does it like it isn't any big thing. Plus, I really love that there are certain times of the day where my super-wiggle baby lets me just sit and hold her while I feed her a bottle. Some days that is the only snuggle-time I get.

She's been pulling herself up to standing for a couple of weeks now. Last night she got a little more bold. She pulled herself up to standing with both hands on the Exersaucer, let go with one hand, then let go with the other hand. Instead of immediately plopping down on her butt, she stayed standing for nearly 10 seconds. Nailed it! YESSSSS!!!

Also not Baby G, but shares Baby G's spirit of "completely owning at everything you do."

I know I was tempted for the majority of this year to gauge Baby G's successes on the successes of those in her age group but I think it's time to realize that my pig-headed Baby G is just going to do her thing at her own time and not stress out about it too much. She's done things way before and way after her peers and that's okay. We will continue to give her the tools, resources, and support to get her to where she needs to be but, ultimately, it is up to her to figure these things out for herself. As her mom, there's no better feeling than seeing the light-bulb go off in her cute little noggin' as she realizes she is capable of something new and exciting. I love it when she looks at me with a huge smile after she's done something new and claps her little hands as if to say, "Oh my gosh!! Did you just see that???"

Hell yeah I did, Baby G. You're made of pure awesome!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back-story: How your parents met, dated, fell in love, got married, and had you!

Hmmm... how do I fit several years of information into one blog post?

I guess I should start by saying I think it's really important that Baby G knows who her parents are (are? were?) outside of being parents. I remember growing up thinking the adults around me were all-knowing demi-gods who never made mistakes and always had the right answer for any question instantly. I can't really remember the exact moment I realized that adults were just older versions of myself (with the same decision-making struggles who also had to bear the brunt of the consequences of their actions), but over time I realized that the adults in my life were once working towards the very same things I was working toward and made many of the same mistakes in the process. I want Baby G to respect us as parents, but I also feel like it would be good for her to know our faults and who we were before we became her awesome parents.

My husband and I will likely post separate entries about our own personal back-stories (before meeting each other) but I wanted to take a minute to post some of the basics about how we met, dated, fell in love, got married, and had our beautiful Baby G.

I first met my husband back in the early 2000s. I can't really remember exactly when it happened, but I can guess it was probably sometime during 2003 (the year I graduated from KU). My best friend (Uncle J) and I decided suddenly we wanted to invest our time and energy into playing Magic: The Gathering...

*pause for effect* Yes. Your mom is a nerd and so is Uncle J. Don't worry, though... your dad is a huge nerd, too. This is actually how we met the first time.

Mom and Uncle J: Being totally annoying nerds together since 1998.

At the time, the best place in town to play M:tG was Mass Street Comics. Uncle J and I would stroll down there from time to time to pick up booster packs of cards to build our decks. (It's actually sort of painful to type this out) I kept noticing the handsome shop-keeper when we would go in but always sort of felt like he thought Uncle J and I were total weirdos.

*pause for effect* Yeah, he was right. Anyway...

We went in several times over the year or so we focused on playing M:tG (before moving on to something else just as pointless and time consuming/expensive, probably) and I was always a little excited to go hoping I would see this handsome shop-keeper. Eventually, we stopped going in and even more eventually, the shop closed down.

I actually saw that handsome shop-keep one more time after the store closed before we met for the second time. He was pumping gas at a gas station on the corner of 23rd and Harper. I tried to catch his eye to wave at him nonchalantly (like I was cool, or something) to see if he looked like he recognized me. He didn't look my direction and I decided not to embarrass myself.

Fast forward past a couple of failed dates/online chats with loser guys/general disdain for the whole "dating" process, etc. In the fall of 2005 I was HUGE into Myspace...

*pause for effect* Yeah, Myspace was this thing that people used to use before Facebook, which is probably ALSO antiquated by the time Baby G is reading this. Or, maybe Zuckerberg has taken over the world and Baby G knows him only as "Lord Zuckerberg" or something. Who knows?

Anyway. I had a profile on Myspace and one day in the fall of 2005, I got a random message from some guy who didn't even have a proper profile picture and went by the name "Doc Ock" which meant absolutely nothing to me despite being a nerd. I wasn't in the habit of responding to people I didn't know, so I thought about ignoring it. Instead, I checked out his profile. Hey... this dude was pretty funny. Ok, fine. Let's do this. I responded. One response after another became a whirlwind online romance full of disgustingly adorable flirting. I couldn't really get him to show me a picture of himself (I was wondering if he had a hunchback or something) until I finally pestered him enough that he, likely, sent me a picture to shut me up. My thought processes went something like this, "Hey... that guy looks like... no... it can't be? Isn't that the shop-keep guy from Mass Street Comics? It sure looks like him... hmmmm..." I, of course, played it cool and didn't let on that I knew him and the flirting continued. Eventually, I let on that I knew who he was and told him, sheepishly, who I was thinking he wouldn't remember me. But, he did remember me! He thought I was cute! (WIN!) He didn't approach me at the time because he was in a relationship and figured Uncle J and I were, too as we always came in together.

We finally met up in person (again) and our first date was actually at a wedding reception (loaded first date, no?) We moved very quickly (as in "he moved in with me pretty much immediately because I lived with Uncle J at the time, but Uncle J was in Iraq because he was a Marine and I was super lonely and bored and head over heals for this new guy I had just re-met"). Uh... anyway... so he moved in and when Uncle J came back he got a job in Leavenworth and moved out, leaving us two lovebirds to build our first nest together.

*pause for effect* D'AWWWW!!! *kissy faces*

Mom and Dad: datin' and lookin' super cute!

Fast forward to the fall of 2006 (November 25th, 2006): We spent a lovely evening on the Plaza complete with delicious dinner (OMG chocolate lava cake NOM!), an "interesting" carriage ride (with a driver who regaled us with super inappropriate and un-romantic stories the entire time despite having dropped big bucks for a romantic ride), and a sweet proposal of marriage by a fountain (instead of the carriage ride like he had planned) via a comic book! I, of course, said YES!

One year later (November 10, 2007) we were married at Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of Kansas in front of all of our friends and family! We had our wedding, then we had our reception (at the Knights of Columbus), then we had a kickass after-wedding jamboree at The Jackpot Saloon where we partied until the wee hours of the morning!

Secret identity: Total Rockstars!

Fast forward to the summer of 2010 (around late May, to be exact). I had just spent the last year and a half losing a TON of weight (over 100 lbs) and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I had kicked a lot of bad habits and instilled new and healthy habits into my life. That's why I couldn't understand why, all of a sudden for the last several days, I had an extreme craving for high-sugar coffee drinks (I haven't really ever been a coffee drinker). On day 3 of feeling like I would shank a dude for a caramel macchiato, I began to put two and two together. I did the math ("Oh crap, has it really been that long since my last cycle??"). I freaked out for the next several hours at work until I could go home and take the pregnancy test I had sitting in the downstairs bathroom (there were several other times I thought I might be pregnant, but wasn't and I had an extra one laying around). I rushed home, way more excited about the prospect of peeing on a stick than I had ever been, and took the test. I had barely put the cap back on the stick and sat it down on the counter when I saw the double lines. Preggo, for reals.

*pause for effect* OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG........

I ran over to my mom's house to share the exciting news (there were tears, some were even mine!) then ran out to Walgreens to buy two more tests to be TRIPLE sure I was really pregnant. After two more positive tests I knew it was time to tell the hubby... who happened to be out playing kickball with about 50 other people... across town. I booked it over to the field, found him in the crowd, pulled him aside, took a deep breath and said, "Um... I'm pregnant!"

*pause for effect* I really wish I could describe his face. It was priceless!

The rest of the kickball game was spent spreading the news to the other 50 or so people present. Joel got high-fives from the dudes, I got giddy squealing from the ladies. It was a blast! I am going to devote another entire post to my pregnancy and all the fun and not-so-fun things associated with it, but...

Fast forward to February 11, 2011: Welcome to our family, Baby G! Now that Baby G is caught up and remembers everything from this date forward (right?) I will save the rest of the memories for other posts.

Dude, I have a baby. Also, I'm exhausted!

Our lives were fun and full of adventure before Baby G, but the addition of Baby G has added a completely different level of adventure we didn't think possible. I guess I should thank Magic: the Gathering for bringing my hubby and I together and, ultimately, leading to Baby G's birth, but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's far too nerdy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Parenting Baby G: Dos and Don'ts (Originally written 8/9/2011)

Because my husband and I talk EVERYTHING out ahead of time, we already knew how we planned to raise our Baby G before we even knew about Baby G's existence. I decided I wanted to jot it down as sort of a "promise note" to Baby G because it's harder to break your promises once they're out there for everyone to see. I wrote this list when Baby G was about 6 months old.

I got to thinking recently about all of the things I want to do and not do as a parent. I'm sure my list will grow as time goes by, but I had to jot down a few things that popped into my head before they fell out and rolled under the furniture I don't have time to clean under anymore.

Baby G, here are things I WILL DO my best at as a parent:

*First and foremost, I will love you fully and wholly no matter what you do, don't do, say, or don't say. There may be times that I am frustrated with you or times that I am disappointed in the choices you make, but I will never EVER fail to love you with every fiber of my being.

*I will absolutely discipline you. I will warn you the first time you do something uncitizen-like, and if it happens again I will chose a discipline that is appropriate for the transgression which warranted the discipline. I will do this with consistency and regularity and you will learn to respect your surroundings and the people who reside in your surroundings. I want you to be the kind of child people enjoy being around and I want to model proper behaviors for you so you can take those skills with you as you move through life. I want you to learn early and often that I will tell you NO when it serves to protect you from something and when it protects something from you. I will never raise a hand to you because I won't need to if I do my job correctly. I will not hit you or spank you to prove my point, but you WILL respect me.

*I will bring praises down upon you freely and openly for good decisions you make. I will do my best to let you know often the things you are doing that make me proud. I will encourage your curiosity and your creativity and help you focus those desires into things that will make you proud of yourself and boost your self-esteem. I will do whatever I can to help you foster your talents and interests and be open to helping you pursue things that interest you even if it isn't something I necessarily wanted you to do. (That being said, learning to play piano/guitar and doing a martial art is still non-negotiable!)

*I will involve myself in your education. I will know when things are assigned and when those things are due because I will ask you. I will do what I can to assist you with school work, but I will not do the work for you. I will help guide you to the tools to discover the answers on your own. I will also let you fail an assignment if you are unwilling to put the effort into your work. You need to learn the consequences of your actions. I will celebrate successes and help you re-assess the things that do not turn out as well as you want. While I am willing to let you fail on an assignment here and there to teach you a lesson, I will watch you closely to determine if something else is going on other than laziness and get you the help you need to resolve those problems before it is too late. I will always encourage you to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone if you feel strongly in doing so. I want you to tackle controversial topics in school and take harder classes. I want you to learn the curriculum, but apply your own critical thinking to what you've learned. I will answer your questions to the best of my abilities and if that isn't good enough, I will get you to someone who CAN answer those questions. I will always answer your questions honestly so you trust me enough to come to me at a later date.

Baby G, here are things I WILL NOT DO as a parent:

*As I stated previously, I will not raise my hand to you. I don’t want to teach you that resorting to acting out physically in response to frustration is an acceptable way to deal with your emotions. Having not been spanked more than a handful of times, I still feel (some 20+ years later) that some of the things I was spanked for were not warranted. I was spanked out of anger when words or other forms of discipline would have been much more effective. I will not use words that are hurtful when I discipline you. I will explain how your actions have consequences in a way that you are able to understand at your current age. I will take things away from you as a means of punishment if you are unable to respect those items or listen to me when I tell you something. I will come up with creative ways of getting my point across that NEVER result in laying my hands upon you in anger.

*I will not laugh at your frustration or pain. This may sound obvious, but I remember many times as a child being frustrated with something and having the adults around me laugh. Yes, children do have a funny way of dealing with things at the time, but I remember how it felt to have the people who were supposed to help me, who I was supposed to trust, laughing while I struggled. It’s a very sad feeling and I do not ever want to betray your trust in me. If you are struggling, I will help you in seriousness.

*This goes along with discipline, but I feel that it needs to be said separately. I will NOT allow you to act up in public. We will absolutely leave if you are unable to control yourself or if you do not allow us to help you control yourself. Tantrums will not be tolerated. Conversely, if you get so wound up and overly-excited that you attempt to run hog wild you will also be reined in and expected to calm down. If you do not do so, you will be punished.

To be continued….

Some thoughts on "Other Moms" (Originally written 11/4/2011)

This post isn't really about Baby G, but it was something I wrote after reading a friend's post (over at and wanted to put it in my own blog someday. I have a couple of these "thoughts" to post along with my other memories of Baby G's first year. Bear with me as I spew them out for all to see!

A mother's natural predator: Other Moms

After reading a friend’s blog this morning I feel compelled to post some unsolicited advice for my expecting friends. I’m sure you have a lot of feelings right now (including excitement, fear, anxiety, impatience, etc) and you’re probably thinking that your biggest fears surrounding the arrival of your baby revolve around the actual birth and how you’re going to possibly care for your little bundle of joy once he/she arrives. The truth is, your instincts kick in LIGHTNING-FAST once your kiddo gets here. As it turns out, we humans are pretty amazing at raising our progeny right out of the gate. Yes, there is a learning curve, but you’d be surprised how you (someone who may not have ever actually been around kids prior to having one) suddenly jump into it head first and stick the landing. Wow, you’re pretty awesome! Go you, for real! Just when you think there’s really not much to be scared of you meet… “other moms.”

Before I go much further, I need to differentiate between “many moms” and “other moms.” Many moms are completely amazing. You will get a lot of help, awesome advice, and camaraderie from many moms after the birth of your child. They will help you figure out all sorts of puzzles that come your way and many moms will help you feel better when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed and confused. Other moms are pure evil. Other moms feel like their way is the only way to raise a child. If you are doing something differently from how they would do it, they have no problems letting you know how wrong you are. It is usually done in the most saccharine tone of voice possible. Who knew passive aggression could be so sweetly veiled?

Once you decide to emerge from your home with your new bundle of joy (OMG do we really need to pack up half of our house to go to Dillons???? Yep. Turns out you do), other moms will see your stroller and, as if a homing beacon discreetly installed in child’s binky suddenly went off, they will flock to you from miles around. They will spend the first few moments Ooooh-ing and Ahhh-ing your precious little baby. You will beam with pride because, hell yeah… you made one beautiful baby! Then, all of a sudden the questions from the other mom get sort of… personal. You’ll feel compelled to answer these questions because the other mom heaped so much praise on your little one, but it’s more sinister than that. As it turns out, the other mom released a cloud of honesty-toxin into the air piggy-backed on the praises you were enjoying just moments earlier. You are now frozen in place and unable to stop telling this perfect stranger the most intimate details of your new life as a mom. Some other moms may even reach right in to your baby’s personal space and TOUCH THEM without asking you. Seriously! They will touch your baby (the same baby who just spent the last 2 hours raging because they were overtired and refused to submit to sleep until FINALLY they did go to sleep and now some total bitch just TOUCHED him/her!!! WTF??)

So, how do you know if you’re dealing with an “other mom?” Some examples of personal questions/responses posed by the other mom may include:

Are you breastfeeding your baby?
You aren’t? Did you even try? Your supply was low? Your baby didn’t latch? That isn’t true. You just didn’t try hard enough. Did you consult with La Leche League? Have you tried fenugreek or pumping for 10 hours straight or meditating or *insert really strange thing here*?? Well, don’t you know formula is poison? Breast is best! Ok, so you’re using formula… are you at least using the really expensive organically-certified stuff? YOU’RE USING THE WALMART BRAND??? Do you even love your baby?

Are you going back to work?
You were only off for *insert reasonable amount of time here* for maternity leave? Gosh, that’s such a short period of time! Don’t you miss your baby horribly when you’re at work? I totally quit my job the instant I found out we were expecting and I haven’t regretted the decision AT ALL! Granted, my husband is a neurosurgeon so we have AMAZING health insurance and we’re totally loaded, but wow… you actually went back to work, huh? You must be miserable without your baby all day long. You know kids get sick/ignored/picked on/etc. at day care, right? How do you know if your day care provider isn’t harming your child? I’d be SO worried if a stranger watched my kid! They have so many other kids to watch, how do you know your child won’t just cry for you all day long? What does YOUR husband do for a living? *Raised eyebrow of judgment* Do you hate your baby?

Are you using cloth diapers?
You’re not? But they’re so much better for baby’s skin, and the environment, and your pocket book, and they’re SOOO cute! You’re using disposable diapers because they’re convenient? Do you hate the planet? Also, do you hate your baby? I’m beginning to think you really hate your baby, you dirty baby-hater. Ok, baby-hater, I’ll give you a pass as long as you use the most expensive disposable diapers known to man. Seriously, Walmart again? What the hell is wrong with you? You’re dumb and all of your decisions are poorly thought out and dumb.

You’re using a binky?
Why on earth would you give your child a binky? What about all of the dental problems?? You’re the worst mom in the history of moms. Is your name Joan Crawford? You make me sick.

Other moms will make you feel one inch tall. Other moms are the bullies we all thought we left behind in high school. Other moms have to do this to feel better about their own decisions. The truth is you are totally capable of producing a viable citizen with the decisions you make. You know your baby better than anyone else and you know what situation you are in (financially and otherwise) and you are going to make the best decisions based off of innumerable variables, which will pop up one right after another. Your instincts will guide you if you let them.

This is not to say that advice is totally unnecessary. One of the best things I did was cultivate some mom-friendships with other moms who totally “get it.” Those moms help validate me when I’m feeling crazy and are great sounding-boards for when my baby “does something weird.” They help reassure me that I’m totally awesome and doing an amazing job and they fawn over my baby without any underlying passive aggression. We’re there for each other.

In summary, don’t let other moms get to you. They’re everywhere and they will flock to you like moths to the flame. Do what you feel is right for you and your family and you’ll be just fine. Congrats! You’re starting one hell of a journey and it’s completely awesome!

Welcome to The Giggly Girl Diaries!

Hello and welcome to The Giggly Girl Diaries (hereby known as GGD because my fingers are lazy)!

Our Baby G was born February 11th of 2011 and I'm just now starting a legit blog to capture my thoughts and feelings. Why so late? Raising a child is CRAAAAAYZEEEEE busy work! In reality, I've spent most of this last year (OMG, really? Has it REALLY almost been a whole year?) coming up with life-long traditions to thrust up on my child as she grows up into the amazing woman she will become. I had a great plan to blog about my experiences raising her, but regular life just sort of got in the way. Well, I'm not going to let her entire childhood fly by without committing to a narrative of our life experiences so my new motto is: Better Late Than Never, Right?


I called this blog Giggly Girl Diaries because Baby G is a broken record of giggles, which usually send her daddy and I into giggle fits of our own. She has the most awesome, contagious, hilarious laugh I've ever heard! I'll do my best to get a recording of it to post on the blog sometime.

This blog will spend part of the time focusing on the things that are happening "in the now" and part of the time will be spent retrospectively as I remember back on the first year of Baby G's life. If things look like they are bouncing out of order, check the title of each entry. I will try to make it as clear as possible.

Thank you for checking out our blog! I can't wait to start this process and meet fun and exciting families in the process!

Oh... and I suppose I should put up a picture of Baby G, right? Behold! The cuteness!