Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10 months old!

(taking our month-to-month pictures is a lot harder these days...I had to use this one!)

Annie Louise -
We have officially entered the double digits! And there is NO turning back now! I can't believe how much you have changed this past month! We have entered a new stage...CRAWLING! You have officially taken off, and you are all over the place! I love watching you explore around the house, and you are getting into everything! Gone are the days when you would just sit and play in one place! We are loving this season in our life, and thanking God every day that we have a healthy, curious baby girl! Love you doodlebug!

No height or weight check-ups this month, but I think you have added some lbs - at least you feel like it!

Sleeping patterns:
Sleeping through the night, for the most part. You do wake yourself up a couple times during the night, but most of the time, you put yourself back to sleep. If you continue to cry, I will nurse you so you can go back to sleep.

Eating habits:
Still a growing, hungry girl! I nurse you 4-5 times a day...at the 3 main meals, before you go to bed and sometimes, I will nurse you in the late afternoon. You are eating more "table" food - you have recently discovered macaroni and cheese...and you devour it! You like to hold veggies and chew on them - really, you like to have anything that you can pick up and chew! Such a big girl!

Discoveries and accomplishments:
Lots of these this month....crawling, pulling up, squealing, giggling and many more! You love Gertie (our cat) - you love for me to call her (heeeeeeeeeere kitty kitty kitty!) and let her get in the bed with us! You love to give Turner your puffs from your highchair - or you like to throw them on the floor and watch him eat them. It's cute how you are such an animal lover. You are really waving now, too! Everywhere we go, you do this little "Miss America" wave - it's probably the cutest thing I have ever seen! We are still working on clapping...you'll be clapping before we know it!

Everything! I am LOVING every single second with you. I love your sweet smile when I go get you in the mornings. I love how you wave to us all the time. I love that you love to be outside - you love to go "ride" in your car or your wagon. You are a big helper - you love to watch mommy do laundry and clean up. You are just an absolute joy - every month, I don't think it can get any better, and you do something different, and it's so much fun! Can't wait to see what you're doing next month!

Friday, July 8, 2011

mama guilt.

I have had a really bad round with this thing called "mama guilt."

You see, B's job recently changed, and we kind of ran out of money. I've been working part-time since Annie Louise was born, and although I LOVE my job, we pretty much came to a point where we had to make the decision for LeeLee to go to work full-time.

A lot of factors play into this decision - B and I both work for small businesses, so we pay out of pocket for our health insurance. It's the worst insurance in the world, and we pay a lot of money for it. We have thousands of dollars in medical bills associated with my labor and delivery, as well as for Annie Louise's first 6 months of her life. Oh yeah, our insurance agent neglected to tell us that we had a SIX MONTH waiting period for newborns. Thankfully, health care reform made that waiting period nonexistent after December 31, 2010 - but Annie Louise was already nearly 4 months old.

Immunizations and well-baby check-ups are expensive, y'all.

Plus, babies cost of a lot of money.

Anyways, I interviewed for a new position in late April, early May. I went through 2 rounds of interviews and was offered the job. I will never forget getting in the car with my mom that day.

She said, "Well, did you get the job?!"

I immediately busted into sobs and tears. She thought I didn't get the job. I, in fact, did get the job. I was so upset because it was the final realization that I was indeed going to have to go back to work. Thinking about it makes me cry right now.

I know I need to do what's best for my family. And right now, that means I have to go back to work.

I have loved getting to spend lots and lots of time with my baby girl. And I'm so thankful for that. So many mamas have to go back to work after 6 weeks. I will have gotten to spend nearly 11 months with my doodlebug.

But why, oh why do I have all this mama guilt?

I feel like I'm failing my child. I feel absolutely worthless as a mama. I want to scream and yell at my poor hubby, and bless his heart, I have. He tells me that I am providing for Annie Louise in a different way now.

But y'all, no one can do it like mama can. Am I right?

I have heard all about this mama guilt - many mamas experience it. It's not just from going to work full-time. We feel guilty about every decision we make for our child. Did we breastfeed long enough? Did I start solids too soon? I'm just too tired to play right now. I just want a minute to myself. Now, I feel guilty about it. Why do we feel all of this pressure to be the absolute perfect mama? Where does it come from?

If someone could please give me the answer, I would so greatly appreciate it.

Am I excited about my new job?

Sure! It's an amazing new opportunity, I am going to learn so much new stuff. And I'm going to be working with a great group of people. The benefits are amazing, and I'm going to be making enough money that B and I will be able to actually pay all of our bills (plus some!) and save some money while we're at it!

That's what I have to keep reminding myself.

I got my very official email saying I had been approved to start August 1st.

August 1st.

It's like a ticking time-bomb.

What about our doodlebug? What will she be doing?

Annie Louise will have a week here at home with an amazing babysitter, absolutely love her. Then, the next week, she will start going to a 2-day-a-week "Wee School" at a local church. My mom will pick her up in the afternoons and keep her the other 2 days a weeks. I'm really blessed that my mom is so close and has a pretty flexible schedule so she can watch Annie Louise a lot for me. I'm working on finding someone for that one other day of the week - I think I have found someone, so once that is nailed down, I will finally be able to feel good about that situation!

I would really appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts that you can send my way. I totally know that the first week I start, I will be a blubbering mess. I'm totally leaning on God right now and hoping for only the peace and understanding that can come from Him. This is a season in my life, and I'm doing it all for my family.

Lots of prayers, y'all. Lots of prayers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

9 month photo session!

One of the best decisions I made after becoming a mama was to have Annie Louise's photos done every 3 months.

The second-best decision?

Letting the fabulous Joy Dement take said photos!

Yesterday, we had our 9 month session - we had to re-schedule a couple of times because of rain, but it was gorgeous yesterday! We went to a local park here in our town called, Cannonsburgh. They have lots of old barns, sheds and little houses around, so there were a lot of great backdrops. We usually come up with some sort of prop or something for our sessions, but I really couldn't think of anything this time. Plus, Annie Louise is SO stinkin' cute right now. She's crawling, pulling up, smiling big and making the cutest faces.

So, who needs props when you have the best subject in the world? I'm biased, you know...

Anyways, to say I'm thrilled with the sneak peek is an understatement.

Below, is one of the photos Joy posted on her blog. One word? ADORABLE.

Want to see more? Visit Joy's blog for the entire sneak peek!

Oh, and if you're looking for a great photographer, Joy is the BEST! Tell her Annie Louise sent you!