Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A small request…

Can I please freeze time to the very moment in this picture? I would like Gracie to stay almost 6 months old forever, and I would like every day to end like in this picture: going to the park at sunset, pushing Gracie in her toddler swing for 20 minutes while she laughs and hubby and I smile and hug and kiss in the warm summer night breeze, and all is right with the world.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Four years and 30 pounds ago…

Today is hubby and my fourth anniversary. Four years of wedded bliss, filled with moving to Airdrie, buying 20 per cent of an independent newspaper, buying our first home, and best of all, having our first child.

It's been the best four years of my life, bar none.

Although, the three years we lived together prior to getting married were pretty damn awesome too. Which (awkwardly) brings me to today's topic: Is an anniversary less special when you've lived together before getting married?

Last year, a slightly more religious acquaintance of mine insinuated that since hubby and I had lived in sin for so long before we got married, our anniversary didn't really mean anything. That since it wasn't really the beginning of our life together, it wasn't really the celebration of anything other than "making it legal."

After I got over wanting throw her over the nearest cliff (which is pretty hard to find on the prairies), I started thinking about what she had to say. I mean, I guess, in a way, she was a teeny, tiny bit correct. Our wedding day was not the beginning of our lives together. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it made the day MORE special, not less.

You see, by the time you've shared an abode with someone for three years, you've learned pretty much everything about them. You've moved past the "crazy in love" phase, and entered the "this is real life" phase. You know, the phase where you ask your sweetie why the hell he has to take his socks off and just leave them on the floor in front of the couch, and he answers by saying: "I don't know. Why the hell does it take you an hour to get ready to go anywhere?"

We knew each other's likes and dislikes, pet peeves and peccadillos. We knew each other inside and out, warts and all. We knew better than a brand new couple exactly what we were getting ourselves into. And we still stood up in front of all of our family and friends and spilled tears of happiness as we promised to love each other until death do we part.

Now, come on, isn't that romantic?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Update to the Instruction Manual:

Since I wrote that post on Friday, it has been pointed out to me that I'm doing two stupid things:

1. Boiling water before I make formula.
2. Sterilizing the bottles every night.

So here is my lame defence for each point:

#1: I've been boiling the water for the formula because, well, it says to in bold, all caps letters on the side of the can; and being the polite and obedient Canadian that I am, I followed the instructions. It has since been pointed out to me both online and in person that only new Moms like me follow that instruction. Apparently, most of you all buck the system and just use hot tap water. So, I've been using hot tap water for the last couple of days and sweet Gracie still seems to be alive and well, so I've eliminated that step from my night time routine.

#2: I've been sterilizing the nipples to her bottle every night since she got thrush three months ago. I didn't use to. I used to just put them in the dishwasher and then sterilze them once a week like it said on the instructions. (I'm a real follow-the-instructions kind of gal). But the first time she got thrush it didn't go away until I started sterilizing every night. Once the thrush cleared up I went back to sterilizing once a week, but by the end of the week the thrush was back. I did that three times. The third time she got thrush I had to give her a super strong prescription medicine, throw away all of the bottle nipples, throw away all of her soothers, throw away all of the gripe water that I had dipped a soother in, and take away a number of toys that she had chewed on and sterilize them too. I didn't want that thrush to come back ever, ever again, so I just got into the habit of boiling all the bottles nipples for a half hour every night before I went to bed so they would be ready for morning.

But she hasn't had thrush in two months now, so I could probably be safe in going back to once a week. And I've decided that this is the week. So thanks everybody! Maybe with all the extra time I'll have, I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy of the new Harry Potter book…

Friday, July 20, 2007

Instruction Manual for being Gracie's Mommy

You know the saying that babies don't come with instruction manuals, but it sure would be nice if they did? Well, today I decided to start a new feature here at Denice-isms. I call it: Instruction Manual for being Gracie's Mommy. Every time I stumble upon something very important to Gracie's upkeep and general well-being, I'll add it to the manual.

Today's inaugural entry:

Rule #1: Never, ever, under any circumstances, wake her up in the morning before she is ready to be awake -- or suffer the consequences!

I could write a really long blog about how much she cried and how frustrated I was last week, but I'll keep it to the basics.

For the past couple of weeks, Gracie has been going to bed later, and later, and later, to the point where all last week she didn't go to bed until well after midnight. Which isn't that bad, really, considering her Dad and I are night owls and we probably wouldn't go to bed before then anyway. But since she's formula-fed now, after she goes to bed I have to wash and sterilize all the bottles, boil enough water for the formula for the next day and then mix the formula -- plus do a couple of loads of laundry, clean up the kitchen, tidy the living room -- you get the idea. So when Gracie goes to bed at midnight, I don't go to bed until 2:30 a.m.

Now, when she goes to bed at midnight, sweet Gracie will usually sleep until at least 10 a.m., maybe even 11 a.m. if I'm really, really lucky. But one day last week, I heard her stirring a bit at 9 a.m. and instead of just going into her room and sticking the soother back in her mouth and fixing the blankets so she could instantly drift back off to sleep, I got the brilliant idea that I would instead turn on the lights and wake her up, so that tonight she would go to bed earlier.

Let's just say that didn't go over well. And she punished me for the whole rest of the day. She was grumpy all day, and even though she was clearly tired, she absolutely refused to go to sleep. And she still didn't go to bed until well after midnight.

So in the future, if it doesn't look like she is ready to get up, I will not, under any circumstances, try to wake her up. It's just easier that way. Who needs to go anywhere at 11 a.m. anyway? Stores stay open pretty late here…

Friday, July 13, 2007

Neat-Freak in the Making

My house is a total disaster. And I'm not just being one of those people who SAY "please excuse my messy house" when you come over, and really, the only thing that is messy is there are a couple of bills and flyers on the kitchen counter that haven't been filed neatly away somewhere.

My house really is a total disaster. Every thing is totally disorganized. We moved into this house three days before Christmas in 2004, so in order to get everything unpacked quickly, things just got put where they got put. There was no real thought put into whether it was a GOOD place to put it. If it fit there, that's where it went. At the time, I just figured that I would reorganize everything later, when I had more time. But life got busy and now it's how many years later? and it's still disorganized. Plus, it doesn't really help that I'm the worlds' biggest pack rat. I hate to throw things away, because I'm sure that if I throw that item away, in one week I will need said item. Also, I'm terribly sentimental. I have a whole box of left over wedding invitations and the materials I used to make them. Do I need 50 extra invitations for a wedding that was 4 years ago? No. But can I throw them away? No! They were our wedding invitations!!!

See what we're dealing with here?

In my wildest dreams, I live in one of those perfectly organized houses you see in the Ikea catalogue. A perfect place for everything, and everything in it's perfect place. Sleek, modern furniture, perfectly organized kitchen…everything they are, I want to be. But until recently, I had absolutely no idea how to do it.

I've been watching this show on HGTV called Neat, where a professional organizer comes to your house, helps you clean it out, and then shows you how to organize all your stuff so that it never gets super-scary messy ever again. (I tried to apply to get them to come to MY house, but apparently HGTV thinks the only messy people in the country live in Toronto.)

I have been learning a lot from Neat. And I think, for the very first time, I might just be able to organize this house and keep it that way. Apparently, according to the host Helen, messy people like me have just never learned how to make a system for keeping their house clean. Apparently all of you neat-freak people out there have systems for exactly where everything will go when it enters your house -- instead of sitting on the kitchen table until you can decide what to do with it.

And you also have schedules for cleaning -- like Monday is vacuuming day, Tuesday is laundry day, etc. You see, I didn't know this. I thought that most people just vacuumed when the floor was starting to look dirty. Apparently not. Apparently, most people vacuum the house on Monday, Wednesday and Friday whether it needs it or not.

You learn something new every day.

So, armed with several great ideas I've gotten from her show, I have decided that over the next couple of months, I am going to re-organize my house from the bottom up. Maybe I'll take some before pictures, and when I'm done I'll post the after ones next to it.

Wish me luck! Or, if it's been like a week and I haven't posted anything, please send someone to the basement to dig me out from under the giant pile of stuff…

Monday, July 09, 2007

I need a new look!

I'm not a celebrity watcher by any stretch of the imagination. I don't buy the celebrity magazines and I don't watch the TV shows, because, well, I just don't care. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but I just don't think it's NEWS when a celebrity names her baby something stupid, or shaves her head, or goes into rehab for the 10 jillionth time.

But when there's a 15 minute wait at the Superstore check-out, there's really nothing else to do but read those stupid tabloids. And that's where I noticed that Katie Holmes has a new haircut.

I hate myself for it, but I want that haircut. I need that haircut. I would totally ROCK that haircut! I haven't really changed my hair in about four years -- since I grew it out so it would be long for wedding pictures. So I really need a change in my look. Plus, it would be nice to go a few hours without having to wash the Gracie spit-up out of my shoulder length hair. (Yes, I put it in a pony tail, but the magic Gracie spit up seems to even find it there).

I would also like to be wearing that same outfit (I LOVE that top!), but I haven't been quite as successful at shedding those pregnancy pounds as she was. Oh well. At least I can rock the haircut.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dear Gracie…

When Mommy leaves you with Grandma all day for the very first time, you should know that the polite thing to do is at least PRETEND you missed me -- just a little bit?

I wasn't worried about you -- I knew that you were fine alone with Grandma. But I still spent the entire day at work wondering what you and Grandma were doing, and if you were napping well for her, and if your teeth were bothering you today, and if I remembered to tell Grandma about your favorite go to sleep blankie, and if I was being a terrible mother by leaving you so soon to go to work, even though it was only for a couple of days.

Oh my Gracie girl, I missed you like crazy! But when I came home, you were smiling and happy, and gave me this very cute smile that said: "Hey Mommy! Have you played with this Grandma lady yet? She's great!" And then you ignored me and went back to playing with Grandma.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you had lots of fun, instead of being upset without me. But still, the next time I leave you, can you pretend you missed me just a little, tiny bit? It will make Mommy feel a little bit better. It's selfish, I know. I'm working on it.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My new reality

About a month ago, I was reading a post from a mommy-blogger that I totally related to. She was talking about how as a mom who didn't start having kids until she was well into her 30's (like me), her new life as a mommy didn't really feel "real" to her for a long time. She said she spent so many years as a stressed out workaholic (again, like me) that when she quit her job to stay home and raise her kids, she felt a bit like it was a long vacation, and not really her real life. She said that even though she was absolutely having the time of her life, she felt like at any moment, someone was going to show up, take her daughter and say: "Okay, vacation's over. Time to go back to your real life now." She said it took a real "A-ha" moment for her to internalize her new role as mommy and really integrate it as part of her new self-image.

I couldn't get that post out of my mind, because it was exactly how I felt. I'm LOVING staying home with Gracie. But I felt like at any moment, someone was going to find me and say: "Ha! You didn't think you were going to escape that easily, did you? Did you really think we were going to let you spend your days playing with that beautiful little girl forever? Go sit in your windowless office, and get back to working 60 hour weeks right now!" (Yes, my imagination talks to me in cheesy dialogue from a really bad detective movie).

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking: "Um, didn't pushing an almost 9 pound baby out of your va-jay-jay without any drugs make you feel like a real mother? I mean, you'd think that the labour, the breastfeeding troubles and the sleepless nights would make you realize - hey, I'm a mommy now!"

But, like her, I didn't really feel like I was a "real" mommy yet -- until yesterday, when I had MY "A-Ha" moment.

This week, the guy at work who has my old job is on vacation, so I've been taking Gracie to the office to fill in. It's been going pretty well, but yesterday Gracie was just not co-operating. She slept in, so her morning nap was going to be too late for me to take a shower and still get us out of the house at a decent time, so I had to skip the shower. I just washed my face and put on a little makeup, found a headband and put my hair back and headed to the bedroom to find some clothes.

That's when I discovered that I had been doing lots of laundry for Gracie and hubby, but that there wasn't a single clean shirt to wear for myself. So I actually sorted through the laundry hamper, pulled out all of my t-shirts, laid them out on the bed and compared which shirt had LESS spit-up on it. And that's when I had MY "A-ha" moment.

It just totally hit me, like a ton of bricks, right then and there. I am a mommy now. Choosing your least spit-up on shirt to wear out in public is a totally "mommy" thing to do. This really is my "real" life.

And I'm loving every minute of it.