Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Update

I have been really bad about keeping up with the blog recently.  With Stacey getting married this Saturday and her bachelorette party this past Saturday, I feel like we have been running and gunning for last 2 weeks.  Her bachelorette party was a success with the help of my mom and my mother-in-law (who so graciously let us (9 girls) and a lot of alcohol crash her house for the evening! ;-))  I had found exactly what I wanted to do for the Stacey’s bachelorette party cake and thought that I would be able to bake the cake Friday night and decorate it Saturday morning without any problems.  What I didn’t take into account was that I would have to feed Eli several times in the middle of that time and I also had to make the other side items for the party.  Luckily, my mom and Stacey were able to help me out.  I would never have been able to finish the cake or make it look as nice without Mom’s help.  I think this little corset cake turned out better than expected!  It was just a regular box cake and a boob pan I bought from Spencer’s.  I added the cherries to the tassels on the boobs for a more fun effect! Ha

I expect to have much more time to catch up on blogging after the wedding on Saturday, but until then here are a few pictures of Eli…

When I went to feed Eli one day he was in an especially good mood.  Here is the sequence of pictures I took that day.

 We have also been working on tummy time...


"Look at me holding my head up!"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chef Crystal

Ok, so those of you who know me at all know that this title is FAR from the truth.  I have never really enjoyed cooking.  I know many people and several of my family members that LOVE cooking and do an awesome job with creativity for every meal.  I, on the other hand, have struggled getting the motivation to get a meal on the table.  I think the main reason for this distaste (no pun intended…….or was it? Ha!) for cooking comes from my absolute hatred of grocery shopping.  Every time I step into a grocery store I feel overwhelmed with all the choices.  I usually go in without a plan and try to think of what foods to get in order to make a meal and end up walking out with a couple frozen pizzas, milk and cereal.  Yes I know, not exactly the healthiest options.   

Before becoming pregnant I was beginning to get in the hang of the cooking business.  The reason for my motivation you ask?  MONEY!  Yep, that simple, I went through Mark and I’s budget over a year ago and was overwhelmed by the cost of lunches and dinners.  I told Mark that we were going to start planning our meals and stop eating out so much.  So I went to town looking up easy to do recipes and planning out a grocery list.   Every week we would take a trip to the grocery store and things were working out pretty good.  So what happened you ask?  Well, my first trimester happened…no energy and no foods that sounded remotely worth eating.  I spent the entire first trimester on the couch after work; sleeping.  So we fell back into our frozen pizzas, milk and cereal routine.  In fact this routine continued for almost the entire 9 months I was pregnant.  We would mix it up every once in awhile but I seriously think Tombstone’s profit went up when I was pregnant. ;-)

Now that Eli is around, my free time has dwindled tremendously.  I was beginning to think that Mark and I would live off frozen pizzas for the rest of our lives!!  But, I am really trying to eat healthier and get back into the shape I was in before getting pregnant.  And since I am breast feeding, I really need to focus on my food intake.  I was spoiled the first several weeks after Eli was born due to all the food my mother-in-law provided and my Aunt Kellee cooked while we were on vacation.  I am now on my own and I need to make a change.  My grandma Taylor subscribed me to Healthy Cooking magazine a couple years ago and I have saved every copy in the cupboard.  I decided I was going to grab one down and pick out a few meals to cook this week.  Since the meals are always planned for about 4 to 6 people, Mark and I always have plenty of leftovers for either lunch or dinner the next day as well.  So I am testing out this method this week to see how it goes.

On Sunday I picked out 3 meals (this should last for 5 meals this week due to the leftovers we will have).  I sat down at my laptop while Eli napped and wrote out a grocery list and put it in order from where I would find it in the grocery store.  Since this trip to the store would be with Eli in tow, I needed to make it as efficient as possible.  Mark and I have been known to make a grocery list without considering this before and have taken over 2 hours just picking everything up!  That obviously was not going to work considering Eli eats every 2 hours.  So after Eli woke up from his nap and nursed we piled in the car and headed to Kroger.  I brought along our front facing baby carrier and strapped Eli onto my chest when we arrived at Kroger.  With list in hand, Mark and I darted around the grocery store and 45 minutes later we were strapping Eli’s happy little self back into his car seat.  It was a very successful grocery run and when I got back I made the enchilada casserole I had picked out.  So I can check that off this list….meal one= successful!  I should have taken a picture, it was a beautifully delicious looking casserole…next time I guess.  Only time will tell whether this meal planning will continue…more on that later. 

On to Eli news….Eli has really started developing his neck muscles and can hold his head up quite well now.  While on our Kroger run we saw they were selling the Bumbo Seat and decided to pick one up and see how well he did.  We plopped it on the kitchen table and sat him in it while we ate dinner.  It worked out perfect…he got to sit with us without fussing which meant that Mark and I got to eat dinner at the same time.  This, although it sounds trivial, was an amazing accomplishment.  He looks like such a big boy sitting up on his own like that.  Here are a couple videos I took.  (Please ignore my annoying voice in the background, try to just focus on the baby..ha!   The second video of Eli in his Bumbo chair was right before Mark came home from the gym.  The picture immediately following is the big smile Eli gave Mark as soon as he walked in! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting in the Swing of Things

When I first started this blog it was intended to be a means to give updates to friends and family about Eli since we are not exactly close to any of our family here in Warner Robins, GA.  As I gather the pictures and side notes I want to share in the blog each week I have begun to realize that the real use of this blog is a means for me to express the joys and struggles of parenthood as a new mom.  The more I learn the more I want to share and I hope that my posts reach people that are either going through the same experiences, will be going through similar experiences, or have gone through them and wish to give me advice.  I have found that my last post about my distress over going back to work struck a chord to many people and because of that I was overwhelmed with love and support.  Thank you for that…it was greatly appreciated.

Monday morning was one of the hardest things I have had to do.   I had to treat it like ripping off a band-aid, I had to do the drop and run.  I put his bottles in the fridge, kissed his little forehead and dashed out of that room and into the truck as fast as possible.  I tried to keep my mind off of it as much as possible and by the time I pulled into my parking spot all of my tears had dried.  I teared up several more times during the day and constantly had my mind on him and how he was doing.  Luckily I am able to take my lunches to go feed Eli myself.  I call this my “mommy” time.  I look forward to it every day.  I get to go into a private room and nurse him in the rocking chair and love on him.  If he doesn’t fall asleep I even get to share a few smiles!

The rest of the week went much smoother.  I was able to give him kisses before I left without crying.  I know he is in good hands, I wish they were my hands but I get to go pick him up every afternoon and spend the rest of the day and night with him.  The only thing Eli has had trouble adjusting to is sleeping in daycare.  The room is not exactly warm and very bright with high squeals and occasional screams from 7 other infants.  Eli is the youngest of the bunch by about 4 months.  The oldest is just under a year.  Eli has never slept well flat on his back in a crib without being swaddled and the daycare is not allowed to swaddle.  So he has yet to be able to sleep in the crib.  The first day of daycare he didn’t sleep more than 5 minutes!  This is a far cry from the 4 hours of napping he was getting with me.  Needless to say he passed out in the truck on the way home and slept for 3.5 hours until I woke him up to eat and bathe.  I put him back in bed and he slept for 7 hours!!  It was a good night for mommy and daddy!  Every day he sleeps a little more…he is learning to sleep in a little bouncy seat that the caregivers can bounce while attending to other children.  If anything this experience is teaching him to soothe himself...I may have spoiled him just a bit as I picked him up at every cry of distress. ;-) 

I am beginning to develop my routine for getting him and his bottles and what not ready each day and I will eventually share my ritual as soon as I have it perfected, so more on that later.

Hard to believe Eli will be 10 weeks tomorrow!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Last Week :-(

I have been dreading having to go back to work since the day after Eli was born...literally.  The day after Eli was born I laid in bed and cried and cried.  Mark kept asking "What is wrong?"...I really was not sure exactly why I was bawling my eyes out (can you say hormones?) and all I could think was that I never wanted to leave this little boy...EVER!  Mark laughed and tried to comfort me by saying "You have 9 weeks before you have to think about that!"  I knew that the 9 weeks were going to go WAY TOO fast and they did.

The week before we left for Missouri, Eli and I went to childcare orientation.  We met his childcare teacher and stayed for a while just talking.  Everything seemed pretty good but the longer I stayed the more I began to realize that I was going to be leaving my baby.  As soon as we got into the car I broke down in tears for the entire ride home.  That was 3 weeks ago and I feel no different about the situation.  This is my last week at home with Eli and every morning I realize I am one more day closer to leaving him for work.  I am pretty sure that next week will be a VERY emotional week for me.  I just pray that he enjoys daycare and that I am able to stop crying.

I have been pretty nervous about being able to get up and out the door in decent time.  So this morning I woke up at 5:10am, took a shower, got dressed and then woke Eli up to get him dressed and ready.  I was able to nurse him right before I left and I arrived at the daycare center on base at about 6:45am.  This will work good so that I will be at work by 7am.  Eli and I spent about 3 hours at the daycare center.  The women there were very nice and very good with the babies.  I know Eli will be in good hands but that does not make it any easier.  I still sat at the daycare and cried just thinking of leaving him there for a whole day.  The women there kept telling me that he will be ok and that it will be hard for me but that it will get easier.  I hope so.

To make it an even more emotional day, today was Eli's 2 month doctor's appointment.  And along with his 2 month appointment came his first vaccinations.  I held his little hands and tried to comfort  him as tears rolled down both our cheeks while he was given his shots.  I hated to see him cry in pain like that but the crying did not last long.  Eli is now 23" long and 10 lb 4 oz.  He is in the 50% for his height and 25% for his weight.  The doctor told me that everything looked good and that he was perfect!

Please pray that I will be able to make it through my first week at work.  I am going to miss this little boy like CrAzy!

Monday, August 1, 2011


So our whirlwind of the mid-west (ok, so only Missouri and Iowa) has come to an end.  Eli and I packed up our things 17 days ago and finally made it back to good old Warner Robins, GA late last night.  Thank God, Chase came back with us to spend a couple days at our house and was able to pacify Eli on the way back home.  Since Eli is only a mere 8 weeks old, that makes a quarter of his life spent in Missouri.  ha!  It was such a great trip and although I missed home and missed my hubby that last week...I would not trade the trip and the good time we had with friends and family for the world. 

Eli has officially met ALL of his Great and Great Great Grandparents.  Yep, that's right I said Great Great.  We got got the opportunity to take a drive to Iowa and visit my Great Grandmother with my dad and my grandmother.  There were 5 generations in one room.

Unfortunately Eli was not in the mood to have his picture taken!

Doesn't Eli look thrilled!!

Eli finally settled down and he got hugs and kisses from his Great Great Grandma!

During our visit in Missouri my cousin gave birth to her 3rd baby, Noah.  Noah is only 6 weeks apart from Eli.  We were so lucky to have been able to meet him while we were in town.  Noah was 3 oz heavier than Eli when he was born and an inch and 3/4 shorter.  This side by side comparison of the two really show how much Eli has grown in the first 6 weeks!

We spent a majority of our time in Missouri at my Grandma and Grandpa Condra's condo on the lake of the Ozarks.  I was able to get out and about on the jet skies and boat while my Grandma Condra became Eli's first babysitter.  I would pump a bottle's worth of milk and be able to enjoy a couple of hours without having to worry about being back in time for Eli to eat.  Grandma says she could see Eli growing before her eyes...and based on how his clothes were fitting when we left and when we came back I am pretty sure she is right.  When we left 17 days ago, Eli was just becoming aware of his surroundings but wasn't smiling yet.  I don't count the gas smiles we would notice every once in awhile.  ;-)   Towards the end of the trip Eli was beginning to interact with us and smiling away!!  His Great Grandpa had a hold of him the day before we left and I was able to capture the smirks he was giving us. 

On a separate note....crisis averted on the cat pee situation.  Stacey had taken my comforter to the laundry mat and dumped a box of baking soda in the wash with it and it came out smelling fine.  The mattress was saved using a true "miracle" product!  So for those of you who ever find themselves in a similar situation...try this!