Friday, December 28, 2012

Hard Decisions: Maternity Leave

I only have 1 week left in my maternity leave. :-( I am so sad. 

I wish we could financially work it out so I could be a stay at home Mom. But alas, like many other families we can't. So, back to work I go. On the other hand, it will be nice to have a conversation with another adult besides my husband. I am looking forward to getting back to work and diving into marketing Litespeed and Quintana Roo. The 2013 product should be in full swing and some of the marketing strategies I set up before I left should have been completed and I have some others that are just about to start in January.

Although, there is something to be said for maternity leave. Duh. It had to be said because of my track record...with Aven I only got 2 weeks. I have not said too much about my previous maternity leave, but it has been 2 years. Also, now that I have had 6 weeks, I want to talk about how much that really sucked and how different things have been this time around.

My previous employer told me when he hired me I could essentially write my own maternity leave. I took the job under that pretense. Unfortunately, when it came to discuss my leave (BTW he would habitually avoid the subject until I was less than 4 weeks from my due date) he said since I was his only employee he didn't have to adhere to FMLA and there was no way I would be allowed to come back to work if I wanted to take any time beyond 2 weeks. Also, he said he would not work with short term disability. So...what do I do? Take the 2 weeks and try to negotiate working from home and gradually working my way back into the office until Aven was old enough to go into day care. Then to add salt to the wound, after I returned to the office for 2 days, he fired me! Tennessee is a "no fault" state, so unless I wanted to spend money I didn't have to fight it in court, I lost my job because I wanted to be a mother.

UGH. See? SUCKED. To say the least, I think he was and is an asshole. Personally, I think I am being nice and only calling him an asshole and not stating his name or business online. Asshole.

This time around, I am working for a reputable company and I was able to take 6 weeks. I could have taken 12 weeks, but short term disability (60% of income) would only cover 6 weeks. The other 6 would be unpaid. Like I mentioned before, we are a 2 income family, so 6 weeks it is.

Compared to what I had with Aven, this has been a godsend. I feel like I have been able to bond with Tristan sooner than I did with Aven. My milk supply has been constant. With Aven, my supply was fluctuating early on. I have been able to figure out a routine with T. I also feel like I have been able to relax more. Ergo better milk supply. Here is an article about the benefits to breast fed babies over formula fed babies.

After only 5 weeks, I really see how important it has been to have this early time with Tristan. I really wonder what it would be like if I could take 6 months...I wish America was like other countries.

Canada: New mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs. Their employers are required to accept the employees back into their jobs, or the equivalent, at the end of the mandated leave at the same rate of pay with the same employment benefits. On top of mandating maternity leave, the government offers paid leave for one or both parents through Canada's employment insurance plan. A pregnant employee or new mother can take a paid maternity leave of up to 15 weeks. Either the mother or father can take 35 weeks of parental leave after the baby is born or adopted. The parents can share the leave however they choose. If eligible for the program, the benefits equal 55% of the parent's average weekly insurable wage, up to a maximum of $485 per week. For low-income families, the rate of benefits can increase to up to 80%, with the same maximum of $485 per week. Employment insurance benefits are taxable in the same way as wages. *Information from Investopedia May 2012.

UK: Female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity (or adoption) leave, 39 weeks of which is paid, planned to rise to 52 weeks paid, with the first six weeks paid at 90% of full pay and the remainder at a fixed rate (£128.73/week as of 2011). Employees have to follow notification rules and might also be entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP), depending on their length of service and average earnings by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC). Most employers offer a more generous policy. Annual leave continues to accrue throughout the maternity leave period. A spouse or partner of the woman (including same-sex relationships) may request a two week paid (at a fixed rate) paternity leave. Both the mother and her partner can additionally request non-paid parental leave, which can be for up to 4 weeks annually, with a current limit of 13 weeks. *Information from Wikipedia

Sweden: Provides working parents with an entitlement of 16 months paid leave per child at 80 percent pay, the cost being shared between employer and the state. To encourage greater paternal involvement in child-rearing, a minimum of 2 months out of the 16 is required to be used by the "minority" parent, in practice usually the father, and some Swedish political parties on the political left argue for legislation to oblige families to divide the 16 months equally between both parents. Norway has similarly generous leave. In Estonia mothers are entitled to 18 months of paid leave, starting up to 70 days before due date. Fathers are entitled to paid leave starting from the third month after birth (paid leave is however available to only one parent at a time). *Information from Wikipedia

I know taxes are higher in other countries to compensate for the maternity leave, but now I have been able to experience some time with my baby, I see how important it is to have that connection. If we had the money, I wouldn't go back to work after 6 weeks. If we had the money AND I was given paid time off similar to Canada or Sweden I would take the time off and go back to work after 3 - 6 months.

By limiting paid time off for maternity leave, the US employers are perpetuating the lack luster family dynamic the Republican party attempted to showcase in the most recent election. I know...that was hitting below the belt, but its true! Bonding early in parenting with your baby lays the foreground for what type of parenting skills will develop when the shit really gets hard.

Well. There it is. I want more time with Tristan AND Aven. I wish I could have the time back with her. I hate that asshole for robbing me of such precious time with my baby girl. Jerk. I am gonna stop complaining, I could have lost my job to spend time with her. I could put our finances in jeopardy and stay home with Tristan. Would that be the responsible decision? Would that be a good parent?

Hard decisions.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Life With 2 Kids

Motherhood. When people say it is the hardest job, but the most rewarding, they were NOT kidding. Seriously, I don't think I could love another person more than I do Aven and Tristan. I love Andy, but it is different. I don't know how to explain it...but here goes.

My love for Andy is something I chose. I look at him and see the rest of my life. I gave my heart to him and he gave his to me. It is full of respect and honor. He is my best friend and I have never felt more safe and cherished.

My love for Aven and Tristan is well...for lack of a better term-insatiable. When I think of how I feel about them my emotions rise to the top of my head and I just feel scattered. I want to protect them, hug them all day, and waste my day just watching them. I lose myself when I think about what they need for the day. I forget to eat, drink, take a shower; if there is something I should do for me during the day, I forget about it until it is bashing me over the head.

I know this is not a "balanced" way to live your life. For the past 2 years of Aven's life I have been able to find a good balance between what I need and what she needs. Now with the addition of Tristan (a newborn), the balance is gone. I am back to forgetting to shower, eat, drink, and sleep.

I really wish I had more than 6 weeks to be with him. Maybe if I had more than a month and a half I might be a little better at balancing ME against ME. Oh well...everyday is getting better though. He is getting bigger and creating his own schedule and at 3.5 weeks old he is already 10.6 lbs. =)

Baby #2 is much easier than baby #1 for sure. I am more confident with nursing, more confident with what he needs. I find myself freaking out less than I thought I was going to and much more emotionally stable. With Aven I had some baby blues. With T, I have had 1 bad day so far and I think it was due more to lack of communication with another adult and being cooped up in the house than a hormonal imbalance.

Now don't assume Andy and I are getting 8 hours of sleep or that we think we actually know what we are doing. HA! We question ourselves and are sleep deprived like most new parents. The difference between today and 2 years ago, is we know THIS is not going to last forever. We will sleep again. We will be able to go out to dinner with adults again. We will  be able to have a conversation that does not involve poop, breast milk, or diapers. I will be skinny again. I will run, ride, and swim again. After Aven, I knew all of those things would happen, but I didn't know when. This time, I have a better gauge when all of those things will happen and it has given me the opportunity to enjoy today and not wish for tomorrow. My boobs on the other hand...might not be the same again. Seriously. I am getting a boob job for my 40th birthday. LMAO.

Motherhood. Ten years ago I never thought I would be a Mom and today I can't imagine being anything else. It is hard. The hardest thing I have ever experienced, and I tear up when I think of how my life would be without Aven and Tristan.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Week 41: C-R-A-Z-Y

So my due date came and went. I should have known that things were going to be completely different from my previous labor. Not necessarily because my entire pregnancy was wickedly different (it was) or because I was having a boy this time instead of a girl (not sure if that really was a factor), but mostly because I think Karma has a unique way of trying to show you multiple possibilities in this 1 life we get.

So just like a race report, I anticipate this blog being epically long. I have warned you...

I delivered Aven on her 39th week date. With Little man, when my 39th week came and went, I realized I might have to settle in for the long haul. It didn't really dawn on me until Meg asked me if I wanted to set up my induction date...just in case. Induction? Really? OK...I guess so. We scheduled a date as far out as possible. The day after Thanksgiving (11/23). I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it to that date. Little did I know what fate had in store for us.

Week 39 and week 40 were rather uneventful. I was getting more and more uncomfortable, but I wasn't "feeling" it. I wasn't getting physically uncomfortable, it was more of an emotional and mental thing. I was getting more anxious, worried everything was "normal", and increasingly worried about exactly HOW my labor was going to progress. Hindsight is 20/20 and I was remembering how painful natural childbirth was with Aven and I was doubting my ability to say "No" to the epidural this time around.

After you go past your due date, you go in for check ups twice a week. So I saw Meg on Monday and Thursday of that week. Monday's appointment was disappointing, to say the least. STILL 2ish cm dilated and only 50-60% effaced. Patience. I had to practice a lot of patience the last few weeks. When I went in on Thursday I was SURE I had progressed. I had been feeling crampy and menstrual all Wednesday night. Just like with Aven (watch there is a trend here). So when I got news that I didn't progress after Meg checked me on Thursday, I wasn't too disappointed; because just like with Aven that is how my last appointment with Meg went. As far as I was feeling, I was pretty sure at that point we were going to have this baby Friday (16th) or Saturday (17th) at the latest. I started feeling mild, but strong real contractions in the afternoon on Thursday. They were about 15 min apart. Around dinner time, they stopped and went away. By the time we were ready for bed they were back and much stronger. I could talk through them, but I knew things were progressing. Yeah?!

To be safe, we packed Aven up, dropped her with my sister, and headed to the hospital. I thought, "Hey even if I labor in the hospital for 6-8 hours, at least Aven will safe and taken care of. I can deal with not being at home." They admitted us at 11:30 pm and the night nurse checked me. I got hooked up to the NST machine, basically it is 2 sensors they strap to your belly and they listen for the baby's heart beat and the strength of your contractions. I have been on this machine for the past month due to my "age." Since I am over 35 I am considered "high risk." UGH. After an hour, my contractions were 6-8 min apart and very strong, but I didn't dilate past the 3 cm I was when I was admitted. The nurse said the midwife on call (not Meg) said I should be discharged and sent home. I didn't want to leave. I explained this is my second pregnancy, I live 45 min away, and have a 2 year old we have to get help with. It would be much easier for us if they could let us stay. The nurse said, it is really unlikely I would be delivering in the next 5 hours since I hadn't progressed from my morning appointment. Then she said, and I quote, "It is not like you will be having a front porch delivery. That is SO rare. Come back when your contractions are at least 4 min apart for at least an hour. That way we will know you are in ACTIVE labor when your contractions are consistent for an hour." OK...with that vote of confidence, Andy and I headed home. I wanted to get some sleep anyway. So this was shaping up to be exactly like Aven's delivery. We went to the hospital, got turned away, I will go home and rest, then head back to the hospital in the morning and deliver my baby boy, right?

We got home at 1:30 am I got something to eat, took a Tylenol PM to help me sleep, and laid down. I woke up at 4 am with a bout of super intense killer contractions. Andy said in hindsight, I was physically looking different to him. My eyes weren't really focusing on him when I looked at him, I was trying to get in all these different positions to relieve the intensity of the contractions. (Child's pose, curled up in a ball, and fetal position). When none of those were working (BTW, my contractions were still erratic and about 6 min apart) I thought, last time with Aven I took a bath and my contractions slowed down. If I can slow down my contractions, we can get things re-packed and down to the hospital. Driving usually slowed them down too. In my head, we had PLENTY of time to get to the hospital. I took a bath and instead of slowing the contractions down it sped them up. They were 2.5 min apart now (less than 45 min has transpired from me waking up) and they were STRONG. I was getting really sweaty and hot sitting in the bath. Thinking the water was too hot, instead of my body trying to work through hard labor, I got out of the tub. In hindsight, I should have stayed in the tub.

Warning gross TMI: I got out of the tub and put a towel down over the toilet and sat down. I had 4 really hard contractions and started to get worried that I couldn't deliver Little man without an epidural. I was thinking, "Whoa, these contractions are really strong. It is going to be really hard to endure another 6 hours of this at this intensity." I got up and saw a bloody mucus pile on the towel. I thought OK, that was my mucus plug and we are getting closer. I got dressed and went to find Andy. He had the car all packed up and ready to roll. It took me some time to get my shit together because I had to keep taking breaks every 2.5 min to have a contraction. The contraction was lasting about 60-90 seconds, so I really only had about a min or so to walk.

It was so hard to focus on my body because I was so focused on getting to the hospital. I didn't take in the fact I was experiencing the most difficult part of labor and trying to ignore it. My thought process was, "Get down the mountain and relax. Relax. Relax." I turned to Andy right before we headed out the door to get in the car and said I am going to head to the bathroom first. Hey, it is a 45 min drive to the hospital and I haven't ever left the house without peeing in the last 6 months!

What happened next was almost an out-of-body experience. It all happened so fast Andy and I had to talk it through to make sure we both remembered how it went...

I sat down and BAM my water broke. Everything was almost immediate after that. I felt like I had to push. No effing joke. I will be honest. I freaked out. I called Andy into the bathroom and told him I have to push. I think his eyes got as big as mine and we just froze. I asked him to look down and see if he saw anything. He said he saw his his head coming out about an inch and a half. Andy ran to call 911 and by the time he was back I had another contraction and wanted to push again. Andy had the sense to play "catcher" and I pushed. Little man came out in one fell swoop and he was very slippery. Andy grabbed some clean towels and wrapped Little man up and spoke with the 911 operator. She was a total ding bat and had no clue what to tell Andy. At least she had the sense to dispatch an ambulance. I think this all took about 2-3 minutes. FAST!

I sat down on the toilet in amazement, fear, and a feeble attempt at trying to stay calm. The baby didn't cry so we started to freak out he wasn't breathing. Andy went and got the "brain sucker" and we tried to clear his mouth and nose. He still didn't make a noise. Just bubbles. We figured if he is making bubbles there has to be air coming from behind, right? He was really purple/bluish too. We kept rubbing his back and torso with the towels. He started pinking up. I think this took about 3-4 minutes, tops.

Then my placenta delivered. It looked much different than it did with Aven. It was dark blood red and really flimsy and almost transparent. Aven's was a greyish purple solid and really firm. I was able to finally get up and go clean myself up. Childbirth is an amazing but very messy ordeal. Poor Andy. He was holding baby boy over the toilet because his umbilical cord was still attached. He didn't cut it, but rather tied it off. Not with a shoe lace like they do in the movies...we didn't have an extra shoe lace sitting around. Andy cut the lanyard off one of our Litespeed - Quintana Roo jump drives. Of course my job had to be involved with the delivery of our son, LOL. The umbilical cord was surprisingly really short. Ergo hovering over the toilet with a newborn baby.

When I was getting dressed, I could hear the ambulance sirens. Maybe 5-10 min after baby boy was born. I walked back to the bathroom and the EMTs and first responders were there with Andy and the baby. They cut the cord and handed me Little man. I have to say, I felt amazing! The super painful contractions stopped, I was able to walk like a normal person finally, and Little man was here! Yahoooo!

Andy got the dogs and house ready for us to leave and we were off! I was in the ambulance with the baby and Andy followed in our car. We headed to Erlanger Hospital. Not my first choice, I would have rather been in a birthing center, but I didn't want to challenge the EMTs and just did what they told me to do.

We arrived at the hospital at 7 am. We estimated baby boy was born at 6 am. Andy was keeping track of my contractions on his phone and the last "record" of a contraction was at 5:58 am. They weighed baby boy and started getting his vitals. He was 20 inches long and weighed 7 lbs. They collected information from me and then Meg arrived to check me out. I am pretty sure I was still in shock. Everyone kept asking us to tell our story and how we were "able" to deliver our own baby at home.

Truthfully, Andy and I didn't do a damn thing. It was an out of body experience. My body took over and did what it needed to do when it needed to do it. I had absolutely NO control. Our bodies are amazing things. In a matter of 41 weeks, one small part of Andy and one small part of me, combined to create life. My body created a disposable organ (placenta) and protected Little man until he was ready to make his debut. Sure I took prenatal vitamins, ate healthy, and took care of my body; but all the real work was done unbeknownst to me. As far as the birthing part...Andy and I really didn't have a choice. Baby boy was coming and we did what we had to do. I think you go through it and then on the other side you take a breath. There wasn't any time to second guess stuff and we just did it.

We are so incredibly blessed. Little man is healthy and I am healthy. It was a relatively seamless delivery and all is good -- Thank God! There are so many things that could have gone wrong, but didn't. There are so many different scenarios that could have happened but in the end, this is how Little man wanted to arrive and so he did.

We named him Tristan James Sweet. Andy really liked the name Tristan from the movie Legends of the Fall. When he told me he liked the name when we got pregnant with Aven, I really liked it too. Strong, different, and cool. My Dad's name is James so giving Tristan my Dad's name as his middle name was important to us as well.

Yesterday was Tristan's 2 week birthday and things have gone pretty well. I will blog about being a second time Momma later, but wanted to get out THE story before I forgot any part of it.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us this year. The last 2 weeks have been truly amazing and we are so happy and blessed to have the family and friends we have. Here are some pictures of Tristan (nick names have included Mr. T, T-dog, T-pain, and T).

happy boy

Me and T in the hospital

Sweet family heading home from the hospital

Post milk coma...

Working on his tan.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

38 weeks...& Counting

Exactly at this time in my pregnancy with Aven I was starting to feel crappy and menstrual.Two and a half days later she was here. Well, I am not feeling crappy or menstrual. I am actually feeling really good. A little tired and wish I could nap all day instead of go to work; but hey...I am 38 weeks pregnant with a full time job, a house, a husband with his own business, and a 22 month old. Being a little tired is par for the course ;-)

Truth of the matter is I don't think little man is coming any time soon. He is perfectly happy chillin' out and poking me repeatedly in strange places. I have been having a mix of Braxton Hicks and regular contractions for about 9 days now. Nothing too intense, but just enough to get me thinking and excited...but then they go away and I am back to thinking this kid is very happy where he is at. As of last Friday, I was dilated to 1 cm and he had dropped a little more than the week before, but nothing to be over excited about. He still has quite a bit of dropping to do.

Although, it would be pretty cool if he decides to make his birthday October 31st. Then he and Aven would both have holiday birthdays and be exactly 2 months apart. I have also had this inclining he would pick 11/1/12 as his birthday. But alas, that would mean my body would go into hyper drive and push a baby out in the next 24-48 hours. Just not feeling it.

A part of me is super anxious for him to arrive and I want it to happen right now! Then another part of me is fully aware of the pain, lack of control of said pain, and dramatic change in our daily routine. Don't get me wrong, I have never been more prepared and happy to be having a second baby. He is going to complete our family and bring all the joy and laughter to our home one little boy can bring. =) We are so blessed to be able to have 1 awesome kid, let alone the opportunity to have 2!

...But I am not as naive as I was when Aven was born. I thought 2 years ago, newborns cry, sleep, eat, and poop -- right? I can take care of that and have plenty of time to sleep, clean, work, eat, shower, fawn over my baby, and get my body back. WRONG.

Aven is very self sufficient for 22 months, she can tell us what she wants, what hurts, when she wants to eat, drink, go to bed, take a bath, etc. A newborn doesn't tell you a gosh darn thing. It is a learning process from day 1 and a bunch of trial and error. The first 3 months of Aven's life was putting her needs and wants ahead of my own and tending to everything she needed first. If I had anything left, I tried to give some to Andy and then I passed the EFF out. 

I think I am ok if little man wants to stay in until his due date (BTW-I am still not due for 12 more days) or even after that. A few more days of the status quo is totally cool with me. If he wants to make his debut early then I am cool with that too.

ADDED BONUS: I wanted to mention some very strange conversations I have been  having...

1. Cashier at Publix asked when I am due. I told her and then she asked if I was going to induce. What? Why would I do that? Is it common for women to say, "Hmmm let me see how I can make the most painful experience of my life MORE painful?" "Oh right, let me put chemicals into my body to make my body do something it isn't ready to do."

*I totally understand there are some women who get induced because they are past their due date and there are complications with prolonging pregnancy. Got it. But I don't think the Publix cashier was talking about those situations...

The way I see pregnancy is very much like an Ironman. If you trained to finish an Ironman in 12 hours, then you don't just stop when you hit the 12 hour mark. Nor do you turn to a SAG wagon and say "Oh, I hit 12 hours. Time to drive me to the finish." Ironman is a long day. Up to 17 hours. Pregnancy is a long 40-ish weeks. So if you trained for a 12 hour Ironman and finish in 12:19, that is still a win in my book. If you are pregnant for 42 weeks instead of 40, I think that is ok too. Your body will do what it wants to do when it wants to do it. Simple. I can drink a gallon of raspberry tea, get pedicures till my feet look like Aven's, and walk till the ends of the earth, but he is not going to come out until he is good and ready.

2. I LOVE this one from very random people (everyone from strangers on the street to people I have know for years) "When is that baby going to come?" Really? If I knew the answer to that question I would probably have answered it by now. Plus, I would be able to see into the future and subsequently have played the lottery. Thereby winning a craptasitc load of money and sitting at home with gobs of money and my baby.

So there!
 3. My male co-workers are the best. Seriously, I am the only woman in an office of men and they are SO trying to be sweet and understanding, but a few of them miss the mark a little. It is the sound effects that are killing me. Let's face it, men do not have a very extensive vocabulary when it comes to things outside sports, cars, money, hot women, sex, or tools. So talking to a very pregnant woman about when she is going to be leaving the office is uncomfortable for say the least. I have heard grown men imitate babies crying, Lamaze breathing, and screaming "labor pains." I almost pee my pants laughing anytime they try to communicate with me about when little man is arriving. BTW, they have created one of those football grids and are betting on his arrival date and weight. LMAO.

4. This one is possibly my favorite. I think he is going to come "insert date here." Mostly because I actually want to believe them and then at the same time, I am wondering what kind of insight do they have that I don't? I actually really do like this one, seriously. I wish I could take a bet on each one and see who gets the closest.

Thanks for reading...maybe I will have another blog entry sans baby boy maybe the next post will include a photo of  him. Who knows?  

(BTW, if you do, please leave a comment ;-)

Monday, October 22, 2012


Here is a photo of the wall decals in Aven's room.
She really loves them. I like them b/c they were so stinking easy and they peel right off when you want to move them or change them. I put some up in little man's room too.

This weekend was great. We had our 5th anniversary, went out to dinner, finished up some house projects, and played with Aven ... a lot =)

5 it has gone by so fast! We were trying to remember what we did all 5 years. It was really hard. I will have to go back and see if I blogged about them. Hey, it's an online journal!

Magic of saving and going back...
#1 Bloomington - we went to Rosie's and ate our cake topper. It was right before Ironman Florida. BLURRR.
#2 Chattanooga - went to Bald Headed Bistro with Wes and Carrie
#3 Chattanooga - I was pregnant and we went to Hennen's
#4 Chattanooga - all I could find in my blog was flipping out over not breast feeding and becoming an over protective parent of a baby. I am sure we had dinner at home.
#5 Chattanooga - I am pregnant and we went to Boccaccia's and went home to watch Rock of Ages. Heidi babysat Aven. BTW...didn't think I would like it b/c I HATE Tom Cruise, but it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

October 20, 2007

Aven checkin' out my teak bench from Andy. (wood is #5) I didn't even ask her to smile or pose...she just did it when I got out my phone. LOL
Strange how most of our anniversary celebrations were in Tennessee, even though we feel like we haven't lived here for very long yet. I guess with every year we are more and more rooted in the community we sought out to be a part of =) Looking forward to another 5 years (x 10). Catch y'all on the flip side. H

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cramming for Baby

Wow. Things are really moving more ways than I would expect.

First, I want to say yes, my blogs have been very very baby focused, but that is what is going on...ergo baby stuff will continue. I promise to blog more about life beyond Mommy-ville when things settle down. I am guessing in about 3 months when I surface from the blanket of nursing, midnight feedings, and all things newborn. If this is your first baby, be warned -- the first 3 months of his/her life are like walking through a cloud. Everyday gets a little more clear, but until your precious bambino hits that 12 week mark, you will be unrecognizable to yourself. Don't be scared, just be prepared and patient with yourself. It is normal.

Ok. Now back to the preggo stuff =) I am almost 37 weeks. I will turn 37 on Saturday. Full term. WOW. At my last appointment I didn't meet with my midwife, she was on vaca. Silly woman, doesn't she know she should be at my beck and call? ;-) Just kidding. Meg is awesome and deserves a vaca. I met with another midwife and she is just as nice, sweet, and intelligent. Although, she measured my fundal measurement a little differently and I came up 2 cm smaller than I should. I think I mentioned this in an earlier blog with Aven, but the fundal measurement is in centimeters and is from the top of your uterus to the top of your pubic bone. If you are 36 weeks, you should measure 36 cm. So at 36 weeks I was measuring 34 cm...but little man likes to hang out on the right side and throws off my measurements ;-) Thanks kid. Actually it was ok, because she ordered a sonogram to make sure all was going well. Since Andy and I haven't seen little man up on the big screen since our 18 week appointment, it was sorta nice. 
Not our sonogram, but a visual nonetheless...our sonogram tech has a huge LCD screen on the wall that is like 35" from corner to corner.

Come to find out, little man is right on target for 36 weeks. They measured his femur, skull, and circumference/diameter of his torso. They measured what space is left (how much fluid I have in there). They also estimated he was weighing in at about 6.1 lbs. That last part is what threw me...Aven weighed 6.1 when she was born! To think I have the same size baby in my belly at 36 weeks as I did at 39 was startling. I mean...we are not ready yet. He can't come now. I have a craptasitc load of stuff to do!

So I committed this past weekend to cramming for baby boy. It works for studying, training, and life in general, right? OR is it that it doesn't work, hmmm. Oh well, I tried. I think I got a lot accomplished too. All of his clothes are washed, diapers are washed (yup doing cloth for #2 also), rooms switched (Aven into her big bedroom with all her toys), and little man's stuff in the nursery. I painted letters for a name display in his room, organized Goodwill stuff, placed decorative decals on Aven's walls and little man's walls (photos coming soon), organized Aven's toys, cleaned the carpets in Aven's room, hallway, dining room, and little man's room (wow that was gross), cleaned the house, and paid bills. WHEW. All the while carrying a 6 pound human in my belly!!!! Andy has his fair share of work to do outside...don't worry he isn't one to sit on his ass and watch football while I kill myself getting stuff done.

I have no clue how I did it. Really. I don't. My back was so on fire Sunday night I actually had to ask Andy to push me up off the couch to go to bed. LOL. I got a massage last night, so I am feeling a ton better, but I think that is the end of baby cramming. I hope...

The only things I have left to do are:
  • Buy Aven a big sister present
  • Buy a nightgown for myself for post labor
  • Buy nipple cream
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Buy twin mattress
  • Buy twin sheets/comforter
  • Make day bed frame for Aven (ANDY)
  • Clean my breast pump...that can wait b/c I am not going to start pumping for at least 2 weeks until after he gets here
  • Buy a second night light
  • Buy a second diaper hamper/liner/wet bag
  • Buy double stroller 
  • Buy more black out material for Aven's room/windows
So...lots of shopping =) Something I think I can handle. I have no clue when he is actually going to pick his birthday, but things certainly are progressing.

WARNING TMI alert: I have lost my mucus plug, he has most defiantly dropped, and I am already producing colostrum. I delivered 1 week early with Aven with NONE of these pre-labor signs, so I am not sure how that will translate to #2. I would like to have at least 2 more weeks where I can relax and play with Aven, but we will see how things play out.

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment if you have a question or just want to say HI. =)

36 weeks front

36 weeks side

Monday, October 1, 2012

Preggo update week 35-ish

Wanted to let you all know how my appointment went last Friday...good. No vag tests = good doc appointment. ;-) Baby boy is right on target for the status of my pregnancy.

I didn't have to take another fetal fibronectin test. Come to find out, there isn't anything medical they can do TO me after week 34 to help the baby if he decided to come early. So it is back to things as usual. This past weekend was awesome. We got so much stuff done! My parents and Andy's Dad came up to the house to help out with some projects.

Things that got completed:
  • Floor in new family room installed
  • EVERYTHING except crown molding and base boards was completed in new family room.
  • Furniture moved into new family room
  • Furniture moved from our bedroom into old family room
  • Shelves installed in Aven's new room, new family room, and our new bedroom
  • Toys organized and sorted (baby, goodwill, etc.)
  • Ceiling fan installed in Aven's new room
  • Baby stuff brought down from the attic (car seat, bouncer, clothes, car seat base)
  • New car seat cover installed.
  • Deep freeze moved up to kitchen and cleaned
  • Finished cleaning outside of the house in prep for re-staining
  • Power washed off deck for resealing
  • Purchased paint to repaint Aven's new room
Things that still need to be finished:
  • Wash all newborn diapers
  • Wash all newborn clothes/blankets/socks
  • Move Aven's clothes into her new room
  • Purchase twin bed for Aven
  • Purchase twin bedding for Aven
  • Purchase guard rail for Aven
  • Clean breast pump :-( I hate that thing...but I love it too.
  • Decorate Aven and baby boy's rooms
  • Get swing down from attic
  • Purchase new pack and play/sheets
  • Install car seat bases
My friend Courtney is coming for a visit this weekend/week. I am so excited to see her. I haven't seen her in over a year. Maybe she will help me with some painting and decorating ;-) Well ta ta for now!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 34 of #2 pregnancy = sucky blogger

Yes, almost 10 weeks have passed since my last blog entry. When I first started this blog I did so with the intention of doing 2 blog entries a month. My reasoning was not because if I didn't, my readers would get bored and forget about me...I had no clue I had readers. I wanted to chronicle my life in an online journal format and share new adventures with family and friends back home in IL. I never thought people would actually find my entries interesting, let alone worthy of bookmarking or even "pinning" =) So happy I have readers. Thanks so much to everyone that checks in on The Sweetest Adventures. Y'all rock!

WOW. 10 weeks have passed. I think that may be the longest hiatus from my blog I have taken since I created it in 2009. I am pregnant. My father-in-law was living with us for the past 4.5 months. We haven't been able to flip rooms/reorganize baby stuff because of our house guest. I am in the bicycle industry in marketing, and Interbike just happened. I have a 20 month old. My husband runs his own business...also in the bike industry. THERE. Excuses are finished. Back to business. Blogging.

Oh how I have missed you sweet little blog.

Preggo catch up: I am 34 weeks this Saturday. To be honest there really hasn't been too much activity beyond getting bigger and more uncomfortable; than when I was pregnant with Aven. HERE is a link to my 32 week blog from 2010. OK...that previous statement about not too much activity is a lie. Baby boy is a mover and a shaker. I am WAYYYY bigger than what I was with Aven. I haven't been able to work out like I did with Aven because I am so busy. Consequently, pregnancy round #2 has been hard. My pelvis has been aching non-stop since week 30. I think I have sciatica in my right lower back. Every joint seems loose. It is like I have no strength anymore. My placenta is on the back of my uterus (with Aven it was on the front) so I feel EVERY tiny itty bitty movement he makes. Sometimes it actually feels like he is punching my cervix and my butt! (BTW, he is head down). And to top it off, I got some strange news at my last doctor's appointment.

I mentioned to Meg how I have been having some back pain/cramping. Similar to menstrual cramps. The last time I recall feeling like that while preggers, Aven was born 4 days later. She seemed really cool about it and mentioned there was a test we could do to see if little man was arriving in the next 2 weeks. It is called fetal fibronectin. In layman's terms it is a test to see if there is a hormone present in the vagina that denotes the "glue" holding your uterus up is depleting. If the "glue" is present in the vagina, then the process of labor has started. The doc will give you 2 shots of corticosteroids to boost the baby's lung development. Meg assured me she didn't think I would have a positive result on the test, but better to make sure. So she swabbed my cervix, similar to getting a PAP smear and then she checked me. She said my cervix was soft which isn't totally normal, but best to wait for the results. That was on a Friday...and we had to wait until Monday to get the results. Consequently, I was freaking out the entire weekend thinking we were going to have a preemie baby in the next couple weeks. Good news. The test was negative and we are safe for at least the next 2 weeks...I have another appointment this Friday; so we will see if I have to take the test again. I think I am supposed to get my strep B test this time too. Yeah...vag tests are AWESOME. Promise. Will keep you updated on this Friday's doc appointment.

Ok, honesty alert...I do not enjoy being pregnant. Especially the second time around. There are things that are magical, don't get me wrong. I love knowing I am creating life, he is protected and growing, movements mean he is getting stronger, and even my ever growing belly is still an anomaly to me that I really love looking at. But DUDE. Seriously. The icky things I didn't get with my first pregnancy have come full force with this one. 

  1. Hemorrhoids. I haven't looked, but pretty sure things are not happy down there. CHECK. 
  2. Lack of quality sleep. CHECK.
  3. Indigestion.CHECK.
  4. Peeing (even a little bit) myself every time I sneeze. CHECK.
  5.  I cry every time I see a baby, think of a baby, think of losing time with Aven, not having enough time with little man when he is here...Emotions off the charts. CHECK.
  6. Excess snot, phlem, boogers, sneezing (which doesn't help the peeing thing either). CHECK.
  7. FAT FEET with uber pretty callouses. CHECK.
  8. Complexion is dull and icky. CHECK.
  9. Puffy fingers. CHECK.
  10. Bitchiness. CHECK 
I feel guilty saying I am not enjoying my pregnancy. This is the last time I am going to be pregnant. EVER. It is such a short time in my life and a complete and utter amazing experience that not everyone gets to have. I should be glowing and thankful, right? Nope. Just ready to be D-O-N-E. Then I feel even more guilty about wanting the pregnancy to be over when I hear he may come TOO early.UGH. The trials and tribulations of being THE Mom, right? ;-)

Mostly, I wanted to vent (hopefully in a slightly comical way), but if anyone that reads this feels a even slightly similar and are worried about feeling guilty. Don't. It's cool. Pregnancy is awesome, but with the awesome comes the gruesome too. LOL. The light at the end of the tunnel I have this time versus the first time is I know for sure:
  • I will have a sweet little baby boy to love and hold...on the outside of my body
  • I will not be pregnant forever
  • I will lose the baby weight
  • I will eventually be able to bend over
  • This time next year, I will have an almost 1 year old and an almost 3 year old who love me and give me hugs and kisses
  • My boobs will eventually go back to a "normal" size
  • I will be able to give myself a pedicure
  • Everyday will be a new adventure
Oh little man...please stay inside as long as you possibly can, but then at the same time don't take too long getting here. I am really looking forward to seeing your sweet little face. =) I will leave you with a visual of my epicness...

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Sweet Family Truckster

Wow what a freaking difference! I am feeling great. My emotions are totally back to normal. I still get weepy at that darn Mother's Day commercial for P&G -- but give me a break; that thing is a total tear jerker even if you aren't preggo, right? I am excited for little man to arrive, I am looking forward to all that pregnancy has to offer, my disposition on a daily basis has totally improved. Whoo Hoo!

The only preggo "symptom" I am having is insomnia. I can't sleep. I can fall asleep fine, but if I wake up...I am UP. But hey, I am writing a blog, right?

Here are my 21 week pics:

We are getting ready to take a family vacation in 2 weeks. The husband is competing in Ironman Lake Placid. We are going to DRIVE 18 hours to Lake Placid. People we tell think we are out of our minds. But last year we flew with a 7 month old to IMLP for my work and for Andy to sign up; and that was torture! In order to actually get to Lake Placid, you have to fly into Vermont, rent a car, take a ferry over Lake Champlain, then drive an additional 2 hours. Plus, this year we are taking Andy's bike and all his IM gear. Checking bags and his bike would be a small fortune. So family road trip it is. The only caveat is the blue magoo (our trusty Saturn Vue), probably wouldn't fare as well as we would. So the initial plan was to rent a mini van. The least expensive van I found was going to be $600 for the week. Plus, we were going to have to install some sort of bike rack on the back. Either buy a new hitch and secretly install it on the rental for our bike rack or buy a new bike rack that would "stick" to the back gate.

Our thought was with baby #2 on the way, we were going to have to get a second vehicle anyway. We have an old pickup truck that Andy drives, but no bueno for bambinos/car seats. So...wait for it, wait for it, wait -- ok here goes...we are going to buy a mini van. GASP. I know, here we are in our thirties with 1.5 kids and we are going to buy a mini van. Yup. I am THAT gal now. I never thought in a million years I would be who I am today. Not that mini vans are bad or kids are bad either. Gawd no. Just not what I pictured for myself. I really didn't think I would ever get married, let alone have kids, a house in the woods, AND a mini van. Good to know I am not solely in charge of my future and there is someone out there looking out for me. I love my family and where I am today.

OK, back to the Sweet family truckster. After much painstaking deliberation and a little kicking and screaming from me.

"But I don't WANT a mini van." 

We found the Mazda 5. So cool. It is a "mini" mini van and has a much sportier look. Also rated 3rd out of the top 10 mini vans on the market.

Photo from US News and World

We wanted something with just as much cargo space as the Vue (BTW the Vue had a craptastic load of room in the back), side sliding doors, good gas mileage, and captains chairs in the 2nd row. The Mazda has it all and it was not like driving a bus. Traditional mini vans are HUGE. There you have it. I am pretty sure we are going to be purchasing this in the next 48-72 hours.

Yikes! "Hello soccer mom-ville? Have room for one more? You do?!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bad Blogger Bad Blogger! Weeks 12-18 of Pregnancy

OK. I suck. Busy, bla bla bla, more busy, have a 17 month old, bla bla bla. Now that is out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks. (Where does that expression come from any way???)

The first part of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. Very much like it was the first time. I was a little tired, a little moody, and a little emotional. Really nothing too noticeable to the unknowing person. Then week 12 hit and I was smacked upside the head with a 2x4. I was off the charts emotional (for me), I was super duper irritable (more so than usual), and I was depressed. Like really, legitimately I thought there was something wrong with me-depressed. I was pretty quite about it for weeks 12-13. 2 weeks of depression and I was worried. Super worried. I called my midwife and got into see her right away. She is great, btw!!! She asked all the right questions and didn't make me feel strange for feeling like the world was falling out from under me. Come to find power of deduction and elimination: my placenta hadn't started working to it's full effect yet. It finally kicked in about week 16! I am sure there are a multitude of reasons we ladies feel like absolute crap at the beginning of our pregnancies; but from what I have been able to deduce from discussing things with my midwife, doing research, and talking to other mommies; is it has a lot to do with your placenta. Before that gross, but very necessary component starts working 100%, there isn't a buffer between you and the baby. Everything the baby needs (hormones, calories, fluids, blood, oxygen, etc.) comes from your supply. That is why you feel like you don't have anything left...because you don't. When the placenta starts, then FINALLY, there is a supplement at work and your body gets a break. I guess with Aven my placenta started working sooner than it did with baby #2.

After talking with my midwife and other women, depression during pregnancy is pretty common. Really? I had NEVER heard of that side effect. Well, maybe no one ever talks about it. I didn't. I felt embarrassed I didn't feel the excitement like I did before. I was embarrassed I wasn't going to be able to handle 2 kids. I was embarrassed I couldn't "handle" things. Basically, I felt as if I was a failure as a mother and a wife and I didn't want anyone to know...not good. I know. I was lucky I started talking to my husband and then finally to my midwife. We made a plan if things didn't turn around in the next couple of weeks. That was reassuring and was good to hear there was a "plan." I was so relived when I started feeling better by week 16. My main purpose in writing all this out, is not to have anyone feel sorry for me. I really want to let other women know it is "normal" to feel unsure, uneasy, and depressed; but the biggest thing to do is to talk about it and not feel embarrassed. Just like with postpartum, no one can see it. You may think it is written across your forehead; but it isn't. You need to talk to someone so it doesn't spiral out of control. Also, if you are like me, and want more answers other than "Oh it is normal, it should go away in a couple of weeks." Then ask. Why is this happening? What techniques can I/we apply to make it easier? Do you recommend a professional to talk to? Do I need to be medicated? Can we hold off on medication for a week or so? Ask anything and everything.

BTW--I am feeling SO much better! Here are a couple of progress pics from the last couple of weeks:

 Above and below: week 14

 Above and below: week 17
*psst don't mind the dirty bathroom please ;-)

This is week 18 now and we had our sonogram to find out the sex of the baby and if he/she is healthy and progressing well. Things are looking great! The femur and humerus bones are measuring (along with the head circumference and brain size) to be about 18 weeks and 5 days. Almost a week "older" than we had thought with my due date/conception date. :) Although the baby is measuring a little small compared to other babies at this stage (weight wise). I guess I am destined to grow tall skinny babies. Aven was long and skinny too. LOL

Drum roll............................................................................


Yup. A little baby boy for the Sweets. Not sure how I am going to handle having a "balanced" house. I am used to chaos and craziness. I guess with 2 kids that will come, right?

Thanks everyone for reading and I hope to have more posts in the near future.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby #2 for the Sweets...OMG.

Yup it is true. Andy and I are having another baby. We new we wanted to have 2 kids and after my blog post, it really hit home how much we wanted to start trying again. We thought it would take a couple of months maybe even longer since we were under a little more stress this time, (1+ year old baby, new business, Ironman training, etc.) but it happened shockingly fast. I joke with my sister-in-law about how she and her husband can just look at each other and get pregnant. For Andy and I, when we were trying with Aven, it took 3 months of "trying" and on the 4th -- I got pregnant. For baby #2, I wanted to see if I had learned anything from "trying" the first time...

*I keep putting trying in " " because it really isn't so much trying for us as scheduling thang.

I digress...So, in January, we stopped using birth control and I had a couple of old ovulation test sticks left over from Aven. Not sure if those test sticks expire, so I didn't really have all that much promise with getting pregnant on the first try. It didn't happen. No biggie. In February, I bought a new ovulation test kit and 2 digital pregnancy tests. I read and re-read the directions (typical of me) on the ovulation test kit until I had it memorized. I also did the ovulation calculator on Baby Center. So we had our 24-48 hour window. Other than, that we were pretty relaxed about the weekend. We didn't fall into the "OMG it could happen this weekend!" conversation. We didn't really get all that worked up. Which I think helped. We bought a couple bottles of wine, made some great meals at home, had some good quality time with each other, I got a massage at the end of the weekend, and then we waited. 

I think the 2 weeks of waiting until you either get your period or don't get your period, are the worst. I tried to stay calm and not get too excited. I didn't "feel" pregnant. I wasn't emotional and my boobs weren't sore. All of which happened with Aven. So, I was getting prepared to see the NOT PREGNANT on the digital read out. The day before I was supposed to get my period was a Friday. So I figured, if it says not pregnant it might be too early and not to get disappointed. So I took the test anyway. Andy was getting Aven ready for the day so ... I peed. The results come up fast on the digital preggo tests. That is why I like them so much. PLUS. It is really clear. Not digging the instructions out of the garbage to read and re-read...1 blue line or 2? What about that is "clear blue easy"? 

It read PREGNANT. So I tried to calmly walk into Aven's room and show Andy. I said soon as I saw Andy I couldn't help but hug him and start crying. I didn't want to freak Aven out in her (I am just like Daddy and do not like to wake up-sleepy baby mode) so I silently started cheering. I showed him the test and he was just as happy. 

We are really over the moon! Even though nugget #2 still has 28 weeks before his/her debut, I am at peace. I love Andy and Aven so much and I feel with a second child our family will be complete. Aven will have a playmate and hopefully a life long friend. They will only be 22 months apart. Due date is 11/11/2012.

It is funny...with your first baby everyone asks a couple of questions right off the bat: 1) How are you feeling? and 2) Are you going to find out if it is a boy or a girl? With the second pregnancy, people have been habitually asking: 1) Are you going to have more? and 2) Do you want a boy or a girl?

To answer those questions...I think we are going to be happy with 2 kids. Man on Man defense instead of Zone is the way we want to keep things. Plus, I am not getting any younger. I personally don't want to have babies in my forties. Not that that is a bad thing, it is just not what I am wanting for me. Regarding the sex of the baby, really? Really? I don't have a choice. Even if I did, I don't think I would take that opportunity. Also, from what I have learned from having Aven, it doesn't really matter if your kid is a boy or a girl. They are going to be their own person and give you back what you give them. Sure, it would be easier if we had a girl. We have all the clothes; but how hard is it to go shopping? If we had a boy, then Andy would have a buddy; but then he already has a buddy. Aven is SO a Daddy's little girl it is hilarious. She lights up when we pull up to the Hub or he walks in the room = buddy. So I think having a second Baby Sweet, regardless of if he is a boy or she is a girl, is going to be a wild, fun, and awesome ride. =)

Nugget #2 circa 7 weeks measuring 6.5 cm

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My friend Will is running across the country. He is planning on touching all 48 states in his journey. Will is one of Andy's best friends from high school. Crazy to think he was training for his FIRST marathon ever when we got married 4.5 years ago!

What possessed him to do this? I don't know.
How is he doing this? I don't know.
Am I completely intrigued by his journey? Totally.

You can follow him on his path via his blog:

Up until he started his journey, he was doing cardiac research for the University of Kentucky. I am not sure which came first the chicken or the egg; but he is raising money for the American Heart Association.

If you want to follow Will, please add his blog to your favorites or your blog list. If you want to donate to the American Heart Association this year, please do so via the link above. Regardless, this is a story that I think will gain some momentum. Pretty cool we are witnessing it 3 days into his journey.

"A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
" John Steinbeck

I am going to watch Will on his journey...and see how crazy his beard gets. Who is with me?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Way We Were...

Sometimes reflecting can be counter intuitive. Other times it can be positive reinforcement. And then other times it can be a motivator.

Looking back on my adult life I have felt all three of these. There are things I wish I didn't do. There are things I wish I would have done and still can do. There are also things I wouldn't change for the world.

Taking a hiatus from competitive athletics has been a unique experience I could have never really done without being pregnant. Pregnancy certainly forced me to take a step back and reflect. In my heart, I know I am a rock climber, a runner, and a cyclist. Definitive roles I own and am proud of. But over the past 2 years I have put mother ahead of all of these. Taking time to have a healthy pregnancy, nursing, and time with my family is so important. But now Aven is starting to become more independent and is interested in the world around her more than she is having me at her beck and call. This realization is liberating but also a little sad too. My baby is growing up. *sniff.

I know I want Aven to have a sibling and I want them to be close in age so they can have more in common with each other while they are growing up; but then that means another 2 years of putting my competitive activities on the back burner.

Is it worth it?

I know I am never going to get paid to be a triathlete. I am never going to go Pro at any of the activities I enjoy, so what difference does it make if I wait 2 years? There isn't an expiration date on cycling, running, or climbing. On the other hand, it does get frustrating when I talk to my peers and they are all ramping up for a big race and I am not. I have not had the opportunity to be competitive in Chattanooga. I don't think any of my counterparts look at me as a competitive. But in my heart I know I am...will I still feel that way in 2 years?


Yes, I will. I am a competitive person by nature. Duh. I try to beat the car next to me at a stop light when it turns a 4 cylinder 7 year old SUV for goodness sake! Having another baby is not going to diminish that part of me. The joy I have gotten from being Aven's mom has been the best feeling I have ever had. Better than any hardware I have gotten in a race. Better than any PR I have accomplished. Better than sending my first 5.11. Hands down Aven's spirit and love has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt why I was put on this earth.

What does this all mean? I don't know. Well, I guess it says I am ready to have 2 munchkins running around Sweet Soddy Acres. Not saying this is happening tomorrow or next month, but I guess I am just saying I am ready...I think I am going to have to chat with Cara and see if this is really what I want LOL.

Congrats to everyone at the TT this morning! I was thinking about you and wishing you luck.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Whew we made it!

Oh has been 3 months since my last blog post! I have been busy. Duh. To be honest, that is not really an excuse. I think my priorities ebb and flow depending on how much time I have. Bla bla bla. The bottom line is I have been a crappy blogger. Sorry.

Here is a quick recap: Work has been good for me. I have been with ABG for almost a year and am feeling much more confident. I like the guys I work with and my boss is very supportive. The HUB is doing really well. I am so proud of Andy and Jamie. They have really made something very cool out of nothing. REALLY. We had NOTHING when we all started. Aven started crawling over Halloween weekend, and has not stopped moving since. She is so stinking cute when she wants to move fast. Now she is pulling herself up on things and cruising like a pro. I think we are just a couple of weeks away from walking. We spent Thanksgiving in TN. We had/have a ton of rain this winter. We spent Christmas in IL, and West TN with Grandparents and family. Aven's birthday/NYE party was fun.

Since Aven's first birthday, I have done a lot of reflecting. Being that her birthday is on New Year's Eve, it somewhat forces you to reflect, even if you don't plan on it. I kept thinking about *last year I had a 1/2/3/4 day old baby at this time, I was just learning how to breastfeed, I didn't know what sleep deprivation really was, etc.*

So many people say this, but the first year of Aven's life has gone by SO fast. But like when most people actually sit back and reflect then they realize there was A LOT in that past year. I love Aven more than anything in the whole world, but those first 3 months were tough. Everyday things got a little less tough. I think my most favorite time of her life so far as been the past 3-4 months. I can't wait for her to be her own little person. She has already started to show her personality. She is so smart, and sweet. She does have a stubborn streak...I have no idea where that came from. ;-)

I thought it was hard dropping her off at day care the very first time, but it seems to be getting harder and harder. All I want to do is play with her, teach her things, and get to know her. It ticks me off that someone else gets to do those things with her. I know it is a necessary evil to have 2 working parents, and I wouldn't want to put that burden on Andy, even if we could "afford" to be a 1 income family...but sometimes I don't want to walk out that day care door. I know I am not the only Mommie out there to have these feelings. I also know I am not going to be the last either. *sigh*

This past year has been the hardest and the most rewarding of my life. Aven has made Andy and I a family and I am so happy she is here. Here are some photos from the past year...