This Mommy Runs on Caffeine

This Mommy Runs on Caffeine

December 31, 2009

Out With the Old... Buh Bye '09!

It’s December 31st, and with only a few hours left until we kick off the New Year, I have to say that 2009 was a very good year- despite a few down moments, it was mostly a wonderful year. And since 2010 marks a brand new decade (I know, I know- technically next year- but there’s no more “O’s” so it’s a new one!) , I also have to reminisce fondly upon the past 10 years and be thankful for all of the blessings in my life; mostly the sweet and adorable person peacefully sleeping next to me as I write this.

Ten years ago- 1999- was the beginning of my life as I now know it. After a sudden break-up with a boyfriend (coincidentally it was our one year anniversary and the same day that I had my wisdom teeth removed- how pleasant!), my step-mom had gently urged me to place an on-line dating ad. So, I did- without a photo. I wish I could remember what my ad said, but whatever it was, it elicited enough responses that took my BFF and I three entertaining hours to read (and delete!). One of those responses came from the moniker Snobrdn1 on 9/11/99 … “likes snowboarding… movies, PIZZA…jogging… loves children and considers family to be one of the most important things in life. Gainfully employed, a fellow student, loyal, good sense of humor, loves to laugh… lookin’ for a relationship and a best friend.” Hmm… interesting- fast forward to a few weeks and we actually met on 10/ 15. Unfortunately, the start to our relationship was rocky: I was working at a job that I hated… and was having some self-esteem problems- this contributed to me being unhappy with myself and not able to invest emotionally in the relationship. Jason stuck by me though and was my biggest cheerleader through job hunting, a brief illness and college graduation in 2000. We eventually moved in together in an apartment near my school and closer to his work in 2000.

2001 was a year to remember with happiness and great sadness: we got engaged; we bought our first house; Jason graduated from college; I lost my grandmother and grandfather on my mom’s side, and a cousin on my dad’s side within a few months of each other, I got laid off from my job shortly after; spent the summer on unemployment and finishing up a math class (so not math minded!) and found a new job. That was also the year of 9/11- and a terrible tragedy that will never be forgotten. I heard about it on the radio as I was on my way to work and called Jason to tell him to watch the news. The industry that I was working in was affected directly by it and I was laid off from yet another job…. and just when we thought our first Christmas in our new house was going to be pretty dismal, I started a great new job on December 18th (I’ve been there since!).

In 2002- March 23rd- we tied the knot and spent the following day at a Kings/ Lakers game (we have rival teams!), honeymooned in Vega$, bought a new (to us) car; Jason started a new job as a Systems Administrator…. it was a good year! The following years were spent getting into the grove of being a married couple, figuring out the extended family dynamics, becoming DIY home fixer-uppers (I found out I love painting!), watching friends come and go, traveling…. and we began trying to start our own family in 2004.

In 2005, we moved into our current house (around our wedding anniversary!), I started my Pampered Chef business- we were happy and busy. Work was going well for both of us and our relationship was definitely on solid ground, but that piece was missing. Unfortunately, we also experienced our first heartbreaking miscarriage and thus began the start of our infertility issues. It was even more so as we watched friends and family begin their own families. I became deniably and silently hostile towards those women lucky enough to have children, anti-baby shower…. It was hard but I only became aware of that several months ago as I look back. And each month that I had a visit from Aunt Flo I became bitterer and more frustrated. Our marriage held together even though I tried to emotionally withdrawn from the experience. The one positive aspect was that we could pick up and go on trips and little adventures whenever we wanted. I knew deep in my heart that Jason really wanted to experience these with a family of his own; I pretended that I didn’t care as it hurt my heart too much. The question on everyone’s mind, “When are you two going to have kids?,” was just too much…. We hadn’t really let anyone know that we were having problems conceiving and staying pregnant, and unfortunately the ‘trying’ part was starting to not be any fun either- it was just too much stress to deal with. Anyone who has had fertility problems will understand; and if you haven’t, be thankful for that.

I wish that I could point out some moments from 2005 through 2008 that were so wonderful that they overshadowed our problem. I can’t; we had fun and experienced a lot together but we wanted a baby. We started the process with our medical provider ten months before we got the results we wanted- it was a lot of classes, a lot of medical tests and medication, some humility but last year, we got our Christmas wish- on 12/27/2008, after two faulty pregnancy tests (mind you that we have spent a BUNCH of money on these!) the third one registered an answer- one that we were waiting for- two little lines. As exciting as it was, we had to wait three more weeks until our first ultrasound, and in January of this year, we got to see the strong little heartbeat of our child. It was amazing… but emotionally taxing to wait out the first trimester.

At 12 weeks- the odds of miscarriage drops significantly- we felt a bit more relief and finally delivered the news to our families. Each four weeks marked a new milestone and we became more excited over the prospect of FINALLY having our child. Fortunately, the pregnancy itself was uneventful, and when we found out on April 4th that we were having a girl, I was over the moon! So fast forward to August, and out pops little Kiera- and what a miracle and life changing event it has been. Our relationship has been tested through all of this and now we are rewarded and so much stronger for it- that is the silver lining that I can take out of the fertility experience. I also now have the gift of that experience and can be a shoulder to lean on for a very dear friend who is also going through the same thing right now… I would never understand the heartbreak had I not have gone through it myself. We also very much cherish every single moment that we have with Baby Kiera- she was worth the wait.

2009 marks the year that I had the best day of my life- August 18th to be exact. I am, though, looking forward to everything that the next year has in store for our family. We all have our health; we have jobs; despite the sharp drop in our equity, we have a home that we can afford and that finally does feel like home; we have food in our fridge and shoes on our feet; we get to share good times with great friends and family… we are blessed with what we need, and can even manage to afford what ‘want.’ It is a lot to be thankful for and to look forward to! Happy New Year Everyone…..

December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- "KIERAsmas Present- Baby's First Christmas"

Terrific Tuesday 12/29

If I only end up blogging on Tuesdays next year, at least there will be 52 regular posts- however, there will also be many milestones that Kiera will pass in the upcoming year so, that will add on another 12 or so.... phew, that makes me tired just thinking about it!  ( :

It's been a very loooooong week filled with ups and downs and everything else that holidays usually bring on; and I survived to blog about it yet another day.  I had high, high hopes about doing a Christmas day post about how Merry and Wonderul it is and to have a great day, but it was hectic enough without adding one more thing to the list!

On to another list: Terrific Tuesday
1) Baby Giggles:  is there not anything sweeter than hearing a small child laugh because of sheer joy?  We got to hear Kiera really giggle for the first time on Christmas Morning- talk about a great present!  *sniff, sniff*  She's been laughing for a while, but mostly just a little "heh, heh," and not one of those ear-to-ear belly laughs.  Don't know what it is about that fuzzy, wuzzy changing pad that she so loves!
2) Gift Cards:  So I'm not one of those that thinks that gift cards are the "easy way" to give gifts- I love them!  This coming from someone who had to do baby shower gift returns... gift cards are great, especially for post-holiday shopping at great sales; they don't require a gift reciept and better than cash, they can't be spent on bills.  If they are to a store that you know that the recipient actually shops at and loves, then more power to the giver.  (Trust me, I was thanking my dad and dear hubby when I only had to spend less than $10 out of pocket for a $80+ transaction at Bath & Body Works semi-annual sale on Sunday!)
3) Pedicures: when you're having a stressful week, there's nothing like a pedi/ mani with little sparkly designs, especially when you get to do so with a girlfriend or, in this case, your mom.  Even better?  Mom footed (ha, ha) the bill!
4) Vacation Days:  God bless paid vacation days!   Better yet- are paid vacation days in conjunction with paid holidays.... more quality time to spend with my wonderful little girl!
5) Fuzzy Socks:  No, I'm not lacking for something terrific- I think that there is something so cozy about slipping on a pair of soft-as-can-be socks after a long day!  That's why my drawer is overflowing with them (oh, honey don't get me started on the pajamas....)

and 5a) Holy increased blog traffic batman- I'm so excited about more traffic on here- thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to peer in our life. I hope that you'll come back soon!  ( :

December 22, 2009

It's Terrific Tuesday!

I really, really need to make "blogging- regularly, religiously" part of my 2010 resolution....  I guess I just have to get over the thought that each post has to be something completely thought provoking or profound.  I mean, the title does say RANDOM, right???  I can't tell you how many posts that I have that are half written and never make it up because they aren't deep enough.... whatever..... do you know how many blogs I keep returning to because they are entertaining and not just philosphical???  (Okay, Socrates....)
So, in early preparation for the resolution: Terrific Tuesday is going to be something that I'm thankful for/ is totally cute (um, what's NOT cute about Kiera!!!)/ helpful to other people (do other people other than Jason, Kindle and Jennifer actually read this??? I would hope so! HA!) or I just really need to share:

So, here goes my first Terrific Tuesday post:
1) (Formerly) Pregnant Chick's Mommy is on the way over here for Christmas!  YAY!  Please, please white, fluffy snow let her over the pass....
2) I'm almost done decorating for Christmas (um, yeah, that's another entirely different post!)- just have to get some candles to set out and "wrap" the picture frames!
3) I've found regular daycare for Kiera- it's a stay-at-home-mom friend of mine and Jason and I are both so thrilled.  She could use the money, we want someone awesome watching Kiera on the non-Daddy days and if you can't trust another mom, then whom??? She comes highly recommended by another friend who used her for her first baby.  YAY!
4) Kiera is religiously sleeping through the night now!  BIG YAY- that's if she gets her last bottle around 11ish... thank you patron saint of 6+ consecutive hours of sleep!
and 5) How can your day NOT be perfect when this is what you get to come home to???:

December 10, 2009

I Stole From Target and Safeway

That one caught your attention! I didn’t really steal- just feel like I did after scoring some really awesome deals using coupons and ‘secret’ in-store sales. Just a warning: if you see me in the checkout line ahead of you at a grocery store or one of the box stores, you may want to change lines because I am one of "those" people- I use coupons!! Do you know that only 1% of America uses coupons? I don’t know if there is a stigma attached to being a ‘coupon-clipper’ but at this point, I really don’t care- I saved $36 at Target last night and nearly $25 at Safeway the night before that. Hmm…. What should we do with that $61???

My new role of “Mom” has also relegated me to be a frugalista. Not that I haven’t always loved a good deal- I try to never pay full price for anything- it just seems that my newest hobby is coupon clipping and I love the challenge of finding a good deal.

November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

It has been a good year. It’s a true blessing to be able to say that because at this same time last year, it didn’t seem like things were going to be going in the right direction.

My first round of Clomid after months of testing had me wondering if the efforts were futile; I had a run-in, literally, with a stone post in my driveway that was pretty costly; money was tight due to a job change for Jason and the first check not coming ‘til after the first of the year; I learned that they were relocating my office and laying off a very dear co-worker and my mom and step-dad separated after 27 years of marriage. There wasn’t a lot of “Happy” in that particular holiday season. Somehow Jason and I managed to stick together and make the best of the situation, and we enjoyed the spirit of the season.

Our true gift arrived in the form of two little blue lines on a pee-stick on the morning of December 27, 2008. The test showed that we were going to finally have a family together. God bless Clomid. As far as the other stress that we were dealing with: the car was repaired rather quickly and the co-pay was generously paid by Jason’s mom; relocating to Folsom meant meeting new people and becoming even better friends with

November 25, 2009

I just have to say that I HEART my iPhone
for endless hours of productivity and entertainment
and of course an at-hand opportunity to snap
limitless photos of sweet baby! 
And now a FREE Photoshop App? 
How cool- it's very basic, but fun none-the-less. 
Here's some random photos to kick off a
wonderful holiday season:

Warhol-esqe Baby Kiera:

A totally handsome tech guy and a cute little girl: chalk art style:

Artsy Baby (Blur Vignette Saturation w/ Border)

The 23rd

23 is a memorable number for me-  the great Michael Jordan wore #23; the earth is on a 23 degree angle; "W" is the 23rd letter of the alphabet (our last name); we both contributed 23 chromosomes to our darling daughter; and one of the main reasons that I quite often play that number in roulette is that March 23rd is our wedding anniversary.  It has nothing to do with the crappy movie starring Jim Carrey- ugh- 95 minutes of my life I will never get back.  And the 23rd is now going to be remembered as the first day that I had to rejoin the working world and leave my sweet baby girl all day.  Yes, hundreds of thousands of people do it every day.

But I had no idea that it would suck so much.  Not my job, but having to not be with Kiera all day.  I tried my best to not make it harder and counted down the minutes (not usually a clockwatcher!) until I got to leave and rush home to pick her up.  I held out as long as I could (early afternoon) to call and check on her; Jason didn't- he called in the morning.  The morning exit strategy is as painless for me as I could hope as Jason is dropping Kiera off at his mom's house this week.  That means that I'm still too busy getting ready so the sendoff is quick and without much fanfare.  I still cried....

Don't get me wrong- I'm thrilled that little Kiera is in such great hands for daycare during the upcoming weeks by spending time with all of her grandparents- how lucky is that?  But still, I'm totally jealous as I WANT to be with her.  (Do you think I can sneak her into the office discreetly tucked into my favorite Coach bag???)   I know that it is much harder for me than it is for her.  As long as she is fed her moo-juice and is being pampered (literally!) she's a happy camper.  Me, on the other hand is at work, wishing that I could change the Pampers.  In the early weeks, I couldn't wait to go back to work; and in all honesty I have to say that it is nice to get up, get dressed and go to work and feel accomplished.  But I miss that angelic little face smiling at me all day- I miss feeling needed by this incredible little person.  Such conflict! 

I know that it will get better and the three of us will adapt to a little routine and our lives will settle into some pattern of normalcy.  I'm looking forward to seeing what those normal days look like, but that certainly won't be until after we get through the holidays, I'm sure!  Now I just look forward to 4 o'clock-  when I can go home and see my baby girl.  She is a great reason to work and to have the opportunity to spoil her to no end.  She is my reason for everything.

At least I had a nice little surprise waiting for me when I got back:

(Thanks Erika!!!)   ( :

November 20, 2009

Video Friday: Go, Baby Go!!!

The first time that she did this, I seriously thought she was having a seizure (Rookie Mommy!).... she had a funny look on her face and was wriggling on the changing pad... when she finally let out a great big giggle (well.. what I assume is one for a 3 month old!) I knew that she had found a delightful toy!  Our changing pads have soft fuzzy covers on them that she just adores and even better yet, it makes diaper changes extremely easy! She will spend hours on this new "toy" and has the time of her little life- actually so do we!  It's hard to believe how fast that those little arms and legs can work.... no wonder she gets so hungry! Enjoy watching little Kiera play our little game we call, "Go, Baby, GO!!!"
Happy Friday!

November 17, 2009

It's a Special Day

Ten years ago, we celebrated your first birthday together- we were both ‘starving’ college students and I couldn’t afford much of a birthday present for you: I think I gave you a Monopoly game, a shirt and a card and then I ‘cooked’ you a take & bake pizza. I’m not sure if we ever cracked open that Monopoly game (we still have it though!), but the pizza is long gone! A lot has changed since then: college graduations and successful careers, the Rams took a complete nose dive from Super Bowl champions (but I still love you!), we’ve now been happily married for nearly eight years, we’re in our second house together, I cook a lot more than take & bake pizza and one of the best changes is that we finally have a beautiful daughter we’ve dreamt about for so long. In as much has changed, just as much has stayed the same: you’re still a die hard Rams/ Lakers/ Dodgers fan, you can still eat pizza 24/ 7, we still have our ‘starter kids’- Shyner and Dusty (plus two more!), we love hanging out together doing absolutely nothing and you still are my favorite team mate.

I could say that my love for you hasn’t changed, but that actually isn’t true- I love you so much more than the day that we met at Starbuck’s for coffee (that you don’t drink!). We are just different enough to keep life interesting, yet we share so much that we naturally compliment each other. I could only hope that everyone else on the planet is lucky enough to meet someone like you; someone to stand on the sidelines and cheer them on; someone to pump them up before facing the challenging opponents, a team mate to block the tough tackles and someone to celebrate with after victories both large and small. It’s hard to imagine that I could love you more, but my heart fills with so much happiness and joy when I see you with Kiera. You are such a wonderful father to her even after just 13 short weeks; I so look forward to watching you enjoy her as she grows up. I’ve never seen you laugh so hard, smile so much or love so unconditionally as with your daughter and today on your birthday, it’s a gift that you give to me: memories that will never fade.

Thank you for being there for me through thick and thin these past 10 years, for making me a better person, for loving me, loving us and for just being Jason.   I hope that you enjoy your first birthday as a Daddy!  ( :

Go Team Waggoner!

Happy Birthday, honey!

November 15, 2009

Separation Anxiety

(The past week was so very, very busy…. I started writing a blog post on Monday and it still sits six days later. I’m not back to work yet, so I can only hope that this beloved blog doesn’t get too neglected.)

Monday marked a definite first for this new Mommy. I participated in a vendor fair for most of the day and left Baby Kiera to spend some quality time with Gramma Linda and Grampy Don. So, Mommy had the first taste of working and spent nearly eight whole hours without her baby. Separated for a lengthy amount of time- Traumatic, I say!

The event kept me busy all day so I didn’t really have time to think about anything but what I was doing at that particular moment. However, on the drive over to my Dad’s to pick up my daughter from her very first day of ‘daycare,’ I was so excited to see her and then it hit me how hard it is going to be when I return to the working world in just one short week. It will definitely be very hard but an unfortunate reality of the working mom.

I never had any interest in being a permanent ‘stay-at-home’ mom before having Kiera- I don’t know that I do even now. I’m not saying that either the working mom or stay-at-home mom is best or right. Every family has to do what is right for them both financially and emotionally. It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve started to really enjoy this ‘mom thing’ and I’ve been having a blast getting to know my precious little angel- especially the mornings as they are the best! (For any new mommies reading this- what you are experiencing this very moment is hard to comprehend, but savor the moment and enjoy it as much as you can. You’ll be like me and look back and think it wasn’t so bad- just very different.) So the thought of returning to work after 14 weeks is bittersweet. For me, the financial and emotional aren’t matching up at this exact time as we can’t afford to be a one-income family with our nice house payment! Not to mention, being a full-time stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is a very difficult job….. harder than my regular day job for sure. Anyone that thinks that SAHM’s sit around and watch TV all day has no idea that sitting generally isn’t part of the equation.

I’ve had the opportunity to not have to worry about the alarm clock while on leave, but any inkling of ‘sleeping in’ is based purely on Kiera’s time schedule and not mine- and also that is uninterrupted sleep thanks to early morning feedings. The TV is on more for background noise that for me to catch up on the steamy soap operas or afternoon talkshows. (There are so many hours of recordings of my fave programs baglogged on the DVR that it isn’t even funny.) Even catching up on laundry is challenging- did you know that a baby goes through a minimum of three outfits a day? Trust me- the cutest outfits are the perfect targets for a lava-like flow of moo-juice.

I’ve been a Project Manager at a major real estate company- a job that I love- for almost eight years. I am also very, very fortunate to have a job in today’s economy. It would be nice to have the best of both worlds and spend my mornings with Kiera and then go to work say around noonish! Conflicted for sure, but good in the long run. I don’t want to feel guilty for going to work every day- I’m good at what I do, enjoy it very much and want to be able to provide for my family. If we were in a situation where I didn't have to work I don’t even know if I would jump on the opportunity to stay home all of the time. I think that working families have great relationships- it just takes some juggling to ensure that life goes as smoothly as possible.

It will be good for me to get on a schedule and go back to work. A big emphasis on schedule. I kind of miss having a to-do list that has something else added to it besides 1) Change Diaper 2) Feed Baby 3) Rinse and Repeat. Especially now that I am starting to get the hang of all of the nuances of motherhood and can actually multi-task again! (I’m going to keep this in mind when I have one of those crazy-ass days at work!)

On Wednesday, I had to try to conform to a schedule as I had to work again for a few hours to teach a class. Fortunately it was a holiday for Jason so that we didn’t have to worry about daycare (which was also kind of a bummer- he was off and I had to work!) It was nice to get back to something that was very controllable and familiar (not like parenting- all bets are off). I was euphoric driving home, excited about a great day at work, but certainly looking forward to seeing my daughter that I missed so much. (And you bet that I took the opportunity to show her off during my class- what proud Mommy wouldn’t?) Being away made me appreciate her so much more; and you have no idea how wonderful that it was to have a two-way adult conversation. We’ll see what I think of this in a few weeks…. it will be interesting to see how well I can adjust to the challenge of being a working mom. Now I just get to add another title to my working one: Taxi-Driver/ Chief-Bottle-Washer/ Laundress/ Maid/ Pillow and of course, my favorite honor: Mommy!

November 6, 2009

Friday Bonus: Kiera Video

I treasure my mornings with Kiera (even though this particular Mommy is NOT a morning person!)  She is always in a good mood (read: after bottle) and loves to kick and play and now tell me all about her plans.  A picture doesn't do her sweet nature justice, but a video can certianly try!  Enjoy- I did!

(She is talking to her kitty Dusty)

They Call Me:

Imelda. Imelda Waggoner. For baby clothes that is. I must go now to a 12-step program to deal with my addiction. (Well… you could say as much for shoes too… I have 19 pairs of flip flops… the shoes? I’m not going there.) My obsession started early; back in late March before we had even confirmed the gender; I couldn’t pass up the “My First Chucks” onesie and pink Chuck Taylor Converse! (Which are still too big!) at a yard sale. I tried not to go too crazy with the purchases but this Mommy had good taste….and like I said- I just had that Mommy’s intuition that the baby was definitely a girl! But seriously, my lovely little daughter has a crazy wardrobe! I can’t help myself from buying clothes for her- even today- knowing full well that she probably really doesn’t need another sleep and play, but there are panda bears on the feet and it was on clearance. Mommy loves picking out her outfits (even matching socks!) and takes time selecting the perfect one. There’s such indecision knowing that the outfit should be presentable for daily photo ops!

Last week after spending far too much time trying to find something that fits, I actually organized the wardrobe by size and packed away anything that was 6 months or larger. That cuts down the selection time to only 15 minutes (as for me- I just grab something clean and somewhat presentable out of my closet!) and then trying to find ‘today’s favorite.’ I love so many of them and this is the problem….  

 I was further organizing the nursery (don’t look under the crib!) in preparation for my return to work in 17 days (but who’s counting) and trying to avoid becoming a character on an episode of Hoarders, that weeding out any Preemie and NB sizes would be a good idea. I’ve managed to sort the small clothes into two stacks- definitely going, and my favorites that I’ve yet to decide what to do with- take pictures/ make a quilt/ put them on the 126 stuffed animals? I’m open for suggestions! Aaaagh- I didn’t think that letting go of onesies would be so hard! (Um, you cried when you did the first load of baby laundry when you were pregnant- what do you expect!?!) I have to figure something out as this pile is going to grow as quickly as she does. (My absolute favorite onesies? I bought another set in the larger size… yeah- we’ll discuss this again when she outgrows those too!) You know how it is: there’s the outfit that she wore home from the hospital; or the one that she wore meeting the grandparents and event the outfit that she wore when she ate three whole ounces at a sitting- I’m sentimental what can I say? I’m sure as she gets older, I won’t have such a strong attachment to cute little pieces of fabric…. I shudder to think of what it will be like when it’s actually Kiera that will be moving along in about 6,570 days. Or maybe it’s just too much for this Rookie Mommy to process in one day…. Organizing AND trying to move her into the crib for naps (Day 2 and so far, so good!) That’s not saying too much though- she can sleep almost anywhere; anytime; with any amount of noise. They say babies are pretty resilient to change; of course- it’s the parents that have the hard time!

November 5, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words....

Aside from being Kiera’s 11 week birthday, today was what you could call an ordinary day. Nothing monumental happened; but it certainly wasn’t ordinary. (Wait, I take that back- I was looking for the last possible place that I thought my wedding ring might have disappeared to- behind or under the couch- and I found it! It was tucked under the arm and cushion of the couch… I knew it was somewhere in the house… I’m so relieved!) Nothing about life in our house has been ordinary since August 18th- technically since December 27th- since we brought our little miracle home from the hospital. We’ll say ordinary just for lack of a better word at this point. I’m trying to spend the last few weeks of maternity leave relishing every second that I get to spend with Kie. And I must say that every second is becoming more and more fun…. Especially since my days are filled with baby smiles.

The first few weeks of her life, the most exciting part of the day was when she had her eyes open…. As you well know, newborns sleep a ton and when they’re awake, it’s likely that they are eating and that’s about it. The relationship is extremely one-sided; not much give and pretty much all take. You wait impatiently for waking moments- make that daylight waking moments for your sole reward of getting to gaze into the little ones eyes for just a bit, or to listen to her “purr” during feedings as a small gesture of gratitude. The hope of seeing a smile was rare- unless of course, she was sleeping! The waking periods were unpredictable- she was eight weeks old before Jason’s mom actually got to see her awake; and the waiting can also be exhausting. I was certainly looking forward to when there would be much more joy in this particular bundle! And I haven’t been disappointed.

In stage two, we went from waiting for her to be awake to looking for that slightest hint of a smile….when she wasn’t sleeping! Here’s my joy- the first waking smiles were priceless, although elusive to catch on film! I would patiently hover over the poor child with camera in hand shooting picture after picture hoping to record one for posterity-- unfortunately she would also stare back wondering what the heck I was doing and not smile.  Jason thinks I'm wacky since I always have a camera at the ready to capture priceless moments.  I'm quite fanatical about capturing a perfect moment and I've been dubbed the "mom-arazzi."  (At least now Kiera is quite a ham for the camera and breaks into full-blown smile!)

Coincidentally, Kiera’s regular smiles began around the same time that she began holding her head up on her own at nearly eight weeks. Within the past week, she has started showering us with smiles so frequently that it doesn’t feel quite so much like an Easter Egg hunt- but it is still exciting and contagious. My particular favorite smile is during feeding time when she spits out the nipple and then smiles up at you- it’s just too darn cute for words and makes me laugh every time. You can’t help but also smile right on back when she flashes that ear-to-ear toothless grin! She has this adorable Elvis-esque smile- she squints an eye and lifts up one side of her lip and then breaks into a full-blown grin, usually with her whole body as she excitedly circles her arms in the air and kicks her feet. I can now tell when she is going to smile because the eyes smile first- she gets that from her Daddy! I hope that she also has her Daddy’s infectious laugh; waiting for that is going to be stage three and even more priceless than Kiera’s miles of smiles. These wonderful baby smiles… they’re so rewarding.

November 1, 2009

Day 75: Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween!!!! This is my absolute favorite holiday. Yes, I know that it doesn’t officially qualify as a “holiday” (but you tell me how much work you really do get done on Halloween??) but I still love it anyways. It possibly stems from my childhood and growing up in a community where I was one of just a handful of kids and my treat bag was usually filled with full size candy bars, homemade treats (I’m dating myself, surely, but this was in the time before you actually had to worried about packaged candy that needed to have your candy x-rayed) and occasionally money. Or maybe it’s because I just love October and it’s the first ‘official’ holiday that Jason and I celebrated together- we were a nurse and doctor!

I have to admit that I am fully in love with the complete commercialism of this day and not the secular origins. I love the Jack O Lanterns, bags of delightful candy in every flavor imaginable, carnivals, pumpkin patches, caramel apples and popcorn balls and décor, namely haunted houses. Where I grew up it was mostly just carved pumpkins, spider webs, toilet paper ghosts and paper cutouts of black cats and witches; today homes are quite extravagantly decorated. My dad usually gets in the spirit with his own little haunted house and spends hours working on it (Perhaps the Halloween obsession is genetic!). And his décor this year, although scaled down due to time constraints, was just enough to be enthusiastic but not scare off the little ones. (Kiera was fascinated by the blinking lights…. Let’s see how she does next year!)

My creative juices flow in deciding my annual disguise and my costumes have landed on all ends of the spectrum- odd but clever (Happy Camper, Raining Cats & Dogs, Cereal Killer) or fun couples costumes (Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth; Scooby & Shaggy) …. And of course the standard ghost (mom said that I was a ghost three years running…) or witch. I was thinking of being Octomom this year….. but remove seven kids from the equation and it’s not much of a costume- ha ha. Actually, I didn’t really make much of an effort for my costume this year because we were just so busy with Baby Kiera and all of my focus was on her. I know it’s not like she is going to remember her first Halloween but we certainly will!

I can’t remember the last time that Halloween fell on a Saturday- and it meant that it was even a more hectic day than usual! We followed our usual weekend rituals and piled family celebrations on top of it- which made for one tired baby and even more tired parents. (I’m hanging by a thread finishing this…. Thank goodness for the one extra hour of sleep tonight for Daylight Savings Time!). I never got around to a costume for us- which is a first (not counting Wednesday’s office party)! We also never got around to actually carving the six pumpkins sitting on the table, but oh well- we weren’t really home for trick-or-treaters anyways. What we did do was spend quality time with family and it was wonderful!

We went to the pumpkin patch with Jason’s side of the family- including Kiera’s two cousins and it made for some pretty great pictures! (I look forward to making this an annual tradition, along with the Halloween Eve pumpkin carving that was somehow also an afterthought.) Then it was off to dinner to celebrate Grandpa Ernie’s 91st birthday and then to my dad’s house. Kiera was a real trooper and put up with several wardrobe changes today- from her Halloween themed jammies, to the tutu and of course for the final curtain call- her Minnie Mouse costume. And despite my promises of a pony, she was a wee bit grumpy so it didn’t stay on too long. Jason and I were going to go as Mousketeers (“Mommy” and “Daddy”) but that never materialized. Oh well- I have a full year to plot out next year’s family costumes! I’m sure that’s also how long it will take us to eat all of the leftover candy; we had one trick-or-treater who didn’t make an effort to dress up (as strict as I usually am about my “no costume/ no candy” rule) so he got a huge handful of candy. I was thinking about going to drop off a ton to Grayson but I know Leah would do the same to Kie next year and we’ll be pulling her off the ceiling come Thanksgiving, so I guess I have to eat it. And that is why we buy candy that you actually like. (Screw the diet, that’s what winter sweaters are for!) With that I’m going to see how quietly I can enjoy this Reese’s PB Cup….. and try to figure out where to hide the rest from my dear-husband-who-has-no-willpower-for-treats! Hope you had a spook-tacular day!

October 31, 2009

Lessons of a Rookie Mommy

How long does it take to go from rookie mommy to rockstar mom? Perhaps that will happen when "the baby" turns 18- I’ll then finally have it all together? Lately there have been a few mishaps and oversights that remind me that I am certainly a newbie at this even when I think that I’m getting the hang of it! I’m amazed that she teaches me so much everyday and thankful that I didn’t have to pass a test to be a parent (The only reason that I scored half the points I did on my SAT was because I could spell my name right!) ….. from the second that they set her little body on my chest it has been a learning experience (hey, I fully admitted to the entire delivery room that I didn’t know what to do with her and they still let me bring her home! LOL). My biggest lesson learned is to enjoy and savor the moments and to have a sense of humor about it.

When she was barely six weeks old, we ventured out on one of our usual Saturday morning adventures. Jason asks as we’re heading out the door, “Do you have her diaper bag?” Me, “Yes, it’s in the car.” A few hours later, the baby awakes cute as a button but ravenous and we go to get the bottle ready… no diaper bag. Well, I thought it was still in the trunk but Jason had taken it out of the car. As our diaper bag (I wanted something that Jason wouldn’t be embarrassed to tote in public, and you know that I’m so not fond of pink.) looks more like a laptop bag than one for all the necessary gear for baby-on-the-go, he is very mindful of not leaving it in the car.  (If something were to happen, I'd love to see the look on the face of that unsavory type when they discover Pampers, a binky and a can of Enfamil!) Terrific. We’re at least 20 minutes from home with a hungry baby. Nothing makes you feel more like a loser mom than a crying baby in front of other more experience Moms.  At least I had tossed a bottle in my purse at the last minute. Luckily we were at a “Supermom” yardsale- yes, mommies who aren’t rookies anymore. No, they were actually a mom’s group (I search craigslist for yard sales with “baby” stuff) and my new friend Jodi had a few ‘on-the-go’ formula packs still around to give me. Thank goodness- it would have really sucked to have to buy a $22 can of formula with all of the ones that we had at home! Lesson learned: The bottle in the purse now also has the powder formula in it; and I double check for the diaper bag.  Another positive outcome from this- I’ve since joined that "SuperMoms" Mom’s group and they rock!

Speaking of diaper bags; even though I've remembered to double check for them to "go" with us, I just now got the hang of also double checking what goes in them.... ran out of wipes and realized it in the middle of a poo diaper change- wet scratchy brown craftpaper towels had to make doo, I mean do.  And a very recent diaper blow-out meant needing a change of clothes.  It was fun squeezing a 12-pound baby into a 8-pound newborn onesie.   The undersized white cotton over the beer (formula) gut... and terribly clashing socks- poor baby.  My very first time I got to embarrass her.  Lesson learned: You can never have too many diaper wipes stashed everywhere and it's important to check the "spare" clothes in the bag especially with a growing baby!

I’ve been able to get away with filing Kiera’s nails up until the past week- they are growing super fast (a sign of a healthy baby!). Well, cutting her nails are not up there on the list of favorite things to do with my baby. She was nice and sleepy through her left hand, and then I get to the middle finger or her right hand, and what happens- bad mommy cuts the poor little baby’s finger. Oh man- it was so traumatic- for me. She cried just a little bit (nothing like she does sometimes when she is so so hungry!) and that was about it, but I’m still mad at myself for doing it. So, she has three long nails… for two days…. When she woke up with a mean little scratch on her nose from one of the remaining talons, I had to bite the bullet and conquer my fear of baby nail clippers. Those little buggers are still sharp! If I had finger nails like that, I’d save hundreds of dollars every year on my mani/ pedis! Lesson learned: clipping baby nails should be left for when baby is fast asleep and when Mommy hasn’t been drinking. (Just kidding… well, the drinking part.)

Then there was the time that she had a melt-down in Aisle 13 at Wal-Mart when I was grocery shopping…. I don’t like carrying around the big ol’ (although cute) diaper bag. Fly on over to the baby section and buy some more pascies that we didn’t need. Wait, cancel that- have you tried to keep tabs on those little buggers lately? I’m sure at some point I’ll be happy that I bought those…. Oh, and now I can relate to other parents’ that are encountering a mid-store melt-down instead of rolling my eyes like I used to do pre-child. Lesson learned: If you don’t want to tote the big ol’ diaper bag, then ensure that your beloved Coach purse is complete now with an accessory pacifier, Avent bottle and wipes. If only I could invent a baby swing that folded up into a nice purse size!

Oh, and of course who could forget the time when I dropped her… just kidding! See, I guess worse things can happen! She’ll never remember the forgotten diaper bag, Mommy-inflicted middle finger cut or cryfest in the cereal aisle. (Oh honey, you just wait until Mommy says 'no' to the Froot Loops when you're four… we’re a SugarSmacks family afterall.) Lesson learned: I’ll never be ‘the perfect’ parent (helllooo Mommie Dearest)- hell, who is? Perfect or not, I will always strive to do my very best for little Kiera and to love her with my whole heart. I’ll always comfort you when you wake up from a bad dream (like last night- what? You drank my moo juice along with your Cakesters….oh nooo… I mean what else can a little baby dream about?); kiss your boo-boos to make them heal faster; give you advice that I’m sure you really won’t listen to; and I will always be there for you.  I will never judge you, abuse you, call you names or hurt you.  I'll love you with my whole heart and soul and someday I hope that she will think that I'm that rockstar mom- as good of a mom to that sweet little baby as mine is to me!

October 25, 2009

Life is Sweeter

Wow- what a difference a few weeks make! (Or maybe it’s the happy pills or finding new mom friends- LOL!) Life as a new mom is becoming more enjoyable and rewarding these days. I don’t feel like a complete alien anymore- not that being a new parent makes you feel inhuman, but the first few weeks are just so unfamiliar, challenging and demanding that you have no idea who you are, or which way is up or down. I’m feeling more ‘normal’ now and am really beginning to enjoy my daughter! We both have done some growing in the past few weeks….. Kiera is nine weeks old and she is already becoming such a little lady. Her beautiful blue eyes are filled with wonder and delight and so much promise; and when she smiles- yes- she is smiling constantly- they sparkle. She bats those baby blues at me and it just melts my heart, along with that toothless ear-to-ear grin that makes her eyes crinkle at the corners…. Makes me laugh every time!

She started to blossom and develop a little personality about two weeks ago- I think that she is going to be a big flirt and the class clown and she is not camera shy (which is a good thing considering that I am constantly waving a camera in her face!). Her waking periods are much longer (sometimes as much as five hours!) and she is starting to discover the world around her. She is fascinated by faces and especially her own reflection in the mirror- she will lay on her play mat so content for hours (at least until she gets hungry) and tell herself how cute she is! The other day she discovered her hand and stared at it for about 10 minutes and the decided to taste test it and suckled on it- yummy! And what a chatterbox she is- she is a talker- this, she gets from me! More about little Kiera according to Mommy’s observations so far:

Sleeping: When she falls asleep she does so grunting, squeaking and humming. I’ve nicknamed her my “little mouse” because of this. She also does this when she is just beginning to wake up and that is usually accompanied by at least one leg kicking and/or her arms flailing about. This also means that Mommy is lucky enough to wake up to this instead of crying- lucky me! Speaking of sleep, she is a great sleeper and is almost making it through the night perhaps only waking up once for a feeding between 3 and 4 a.m. Studies show that bottle-fed babies feel full longer therefore sleep a bit more. Her sleep schedule is fairly regular through the early afternoon.  She is pretty easy to put to bed although she does have a few episodes where she fights it (must think she is going to miss out on something fun) and we resort to rocking her or on a rare occassion, the vaccum!

Eating: Kiera likes the bottle. Not a candidate for a 12-step program anytime soon, but she loves her feedings- me too, it’s the one time in my life that I’m a real hero to her! Fortunately she hasn’t developed a digestive preference for a certain brand of formula and we can feed her my favorite and it’s called “any-one-that’s-on-sale-and-gives-us-valuable-coupons!” And believe me, as much as I like Similac (hint, hint nice formula company) I’m not picky right now either, especially since she is powering through a can in record time. Oh, she also doesn’t mind her bottles at room temp (warming them actually makes her gag and spit up more) so, lucky us! I do have to say that she takes after Daddy in the, um, burping, department. It’s amazing how such a powerful little sound comes out of that itty body! Solid.  We let her set her own schedule for feedings and have learned that she smacks her lips and sticks out her tongue as an early sign of hunger..... catching this before she cries has made for very pleasant meal times and a very happy baby!

Playing: She loves, loves, loves her Soothe & Glow Seahorse (this is one of the very first toys that we got for her- it was new in the box at a yard sale!) I think that the wave sounds and the glowing belly fascinates her, but whatever it is, continue on! Personally, it always makes me have to pee. The play mats also score high marks- one has a musical toy on it that she likes to talk to. It plays three types of sounds that aren’t terribly annoying (I’m learning fast that noisy stuff might go to the grandparent’s houses!)

I can’t wait to start to introduce more toys to her, it’s not like we are lacking in that department! Although her pediatrician recommended a new toy - Sophie the Giraffe- so now I am on a mad hunt for that! We also just found her a cool Baby Einstein talking caterpillar that lights up and will teach her very important stuff- for now though I think that Mommy is much more amused by it than baby.
One of her (ah hem, Mommy's) favorite activities is to play "Baby Fashion Model."  When she is sporting a particularly fashionable outfit, we have a little photo shoot.  She's a total ham... and trust me, she is a budding fashionista- a clothes-hound and that’s definitely a genetic transference from Mommy. Jason laughs and calls her my little dress-up doll but she is the one who really picks out the outfit. I hold some choices in front of her one at a time and she chooses by smiling- and she definitely has a preference one way or another! I am addicted to adding to her wardrobe but I have no problem hunting for baby clothes bargains at yard sales! My only problem is trying to claim “this old thing” for her outfits (I have a feeling that it might be hard for me to let most of these clothes find new homes once she outgrows them since “Kiera” has so many favorites!)

As you can see, we’ve begun to settle into a comfy and happy life! We are learning and growing more each day. And loving…. That, of course is without saying- every day I fall more in love with this child. Life is so much better sharing it with her.

October 19, 2009

Our First Family Outing!!!!!!!

We had our first BIG family excursion over Columbus Day weekend with a trip to Apple Hill. This is an annual event that Jason and I have enjoyed every October since we first got together over 10 years ago (we just celebrated our ten year anniversary!) and it was exciting to take Baby Kiera up there this year. Last year we had *wished* that 'next year maybe we'll be bringing along a Baby Waggoner!'  Even though she is just an itty bitty, it was so wonderful to share with her a part of Fall that I just totally love! Wonderful weather, picture perfect foliage and yummy apple donuts, apple pie, well, apple EVERYTHING! It was a BEAUTIFUL day- and unfortunately thousands of other people had the same exact idea that we did- to enjoy Apple Hill this particular Saturday.

On our way up the hill, we stopped at my office in Folsom to see Sher and had a nice visit. This got us to Apple Hill around noon and the traffic was already backed up at the first two exits. Neither Jason nor I are fond of large crowds so we were trying to think of an alternate plan (go to Tahoe) but the thought of apple donuts totally had us drooling! We accidentally discovered that the secret to avoiding the long line of cars is to go to the Camino exit- that’s closest to Rainbow Orchards anyways and they have the BEST apple donuts up there! My only regret for my visit here is that Jason, sparing caloric intake, only ordered six donuts….. “because we’ll eat them all…” yes, that was my plan…. to enjoy every single crumb (and if he's lucky, I'll share!) (Donuts and Coke are two lingering cravings from pregnancy!) A proper meal wouldn't be without having dessert before lunch- a yummy barbequed tri-tip sandwich and fresh apple cider…. And of course, we had to ruin the whole thing and actually get some healthy apples. *hee hee* I tried a new one this year- JonaGold- and it was crunchy and sweet-tart- yum! (Wait until you hear my recipe for Caramel Apple Dip to make them even better!) We shared our table with four people from Southern California who in turn shared a piece of apple pie with us- I think we definately got the better end of the deal!

We then went to Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch- took some great photos and stood in a really, really long and slow line for a caramel apple that was to die for…. It was so good. And then we were tired of the crowds (see?) and decided to still drive up to Tahoe to see the foliage and drive around the lake. The Aspen trees over Luther Pass on Hwy 89 hadn’t really begun changing yet but it was still a beautiful drive. We made a short pit stop in South Shore (yes, honey, with tag team baby duty, both of us can still gamble!  HA!) , and drove 89 over to Truckee and I-80 to avoid the Apple Hill traffic on the return. Jason had an ulterior motive too- he wanted to stop in Colfax for Pizza Factory pizza (me donuts, he pizza!).

Kiera was a complete angel the entire trip- she was awake for awhile but mostly enjoyed the views from behind closed eyes from the sling or her comfy car seat! She is a great traveling companion! It was a great day for the Waggoner fam and we are looking forward to sharing it with her again next year!

Oh… I almost forgot my recipe for the apple dip…. I commonly refer to this as apple “crack” as it is highly addictive.

8 oz.- cream cheese, softened (don’t even bother with low fat…..)
¼ c. brown sugar
½ tbsp of vanilla
½ bottle of Smucker’s Caramel topping
½ cup of finely chopped peanuts or toffee chips (Heath)

Add first four ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and cook for 3 minutes. Stir thoroughly and pour in peanuts or toffee, heat again for 1 minute. Serve warm with apple wedges, graham crackers or over ice cream!   Oh, hell, why bother- just use a big ol' wooden spoon....

Daddy & Baby Ki

   Family Picture Op!             

Aspens at Luther Pass


An infamous apple DONUT!

"Dad- you ate ALL the donuts? 
What is this "sharing" that you refer to?"