Congrats Drew & Anna!

It is with much happiness that I congratulate my cousins Drew and Anna on their recent news that they are expecting a baby!  I’m so happy for you both and excited that Parker will have a new friend in the family around the same age.

So, as my first cousin once removed (yes, I had to look this term up, who knew?) is baking until approximately September 18th, I thought I would offer some helpful tips.  Isn’t that what family is for anyway?

1.  Consignment sales rock.  Most of the finds are gently used, and you can get some great bargains.  All 4 Kids is the best one in Atlanta.  They’re offered twice a year in Spring and Fall.  The only downside is that they are addicting!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2.  Hotlanta and pregnancy ain’t fun. September babies are great, but  being pregnant in the summer can be a doozie.  If you drink lots of water and walk every day, you have a better chance of not swelling up like a good year blimp.  I was able to wear my wedding ring until the end, and my ankles didn’t turn into cankles, and I attribute it to this.  I’m sure you being the track star that you are, you won’t have to worry about this a bit!

3. Enjoy your pregnancy!  I know everyone tells you this, but its so true.  In the first month when all you want is sleep and through the last month when you’re back hurts, it’s easy to say “enough already!”, but its nice to enjoy the special time when you have the baby all to yourself and no one else.

4. Read all the books you can on a baby’s first year, developmental milestones, and any sleep training books before your baby comes.  I read all about my pregnancy and delivery, which was good, but once the baby came, I felt clueless when challenges came up.  I enjoyed reading the week by week pregnancy book, and some on the delivery, but if I were to do it over again, I would have read more about what to expect the first year.  When you’re taking care of a baby it’s hard to find the time to research things or to read books when something goes haywire.

5. Enjoy your newborn.  Don’t get caught up on whether your baby is sleeping through the night, or if they’re abiding by a “schedule”.  I think that was one of my biggest mistakes as a first time Mom.  I blame my type A personality and the worry of “oh, what will they think of me as a Mom if he’s not sleeping through the night by X months?”.  They’ll let you know when they’re ready to go on a predictable schedule.  Some can as early as 3 months, and others somewhere between 4-6 months.  Every baby is different, and just when you think you have them figured out, they change.

6. Northside Hospital offers some great classes for soon to be parents.  Dan and I took the Baby Basics, Infant CPR, Carseat safty (which sounds pretty unnecessary, but we learned so much!), Breastfeeding for Couples (if you plan to nurse your little one, this one was really good and its great to have the support of your husband too) and Childbirth preparation classes.  What they won’t tell you online is that if you register for them over the phone they can give you a discount for purchasing them all together.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  When it comes to painting the nursery, moving  or putting together furniture, its harder when Mama is preggers and soon to be Daddy can’t do it alone.  Also, those first six weeks with a newborn are rough, I’m not going to lie.  It makes such a difference to have someone help you with the house, hold the baby so you can SLEEP, take the dog for a walk, cook you dinner, etc.  Take advantage!

8. When you’re ready to be away from the little one, make sure to take advantage of date nights.  They become far and few between once the little one is in the picture.

9. If you plan to nurse your little one, and its not going “as planned” consider meeting with a lactation consultant.  Mine was invaluable to me and I probably would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago if it wasn’t for her.  Also, there’s a Mom and Me connection group for first time nursing Mom’s that is great and its sponsored by Northside Hospital.

10.  Take a trip.  Even if its a little weekend away for the both of you, its totally worth it.  Its so nice to have a little mini babymoon before the baby comes.

We’re all so excited for you both!! If any of you veteran Moms (or Dads for that matter) out there have any more advice you’d like to share, leave in the comments.

Five Month Outtakes

On the 25th of every month we capture Parker’s growth on this page.  Today, he discovered Mr. Owl.

Hi Mr. Owl. Have you been here for a while?

Would you like to play?

Get over here buddy!

See, my toes don't smell that bad...

What keeps flashing? Why is mommy calling me?

Is this the expression you're looking for?

I'm over this Mom!

Snowy Day and Picnic Play

It’s only in Atlanta that you’ll have one weekend with such snowy weather, that it provides at least 2″ across the city, and the very next weekend have it be warm enough to go to the park and have a picnic.  We decided to take advantage of both weekends by treading in the snow, and soaking in some sunshine.  God has blessed us with two beautiful weekends!  So, here’s to Parker’s first snow, and first picnic in the park!

Snowy Day 2/13


Picnic Play 2/20


A Dedication to God

My husband Dan was brought up Catholic.  He attended the CCD classes as a youthster and learned a few hail mary’s or two, but in his words, it was a very structured and ritualistic.  It wasn’t until later in life that he discovered that it wasn’t about the hail mary’s and the confessions, but it was about having a personal relationship with God through Jesus.  Without sounding too much like a TBN special, it was with this kind of faith that we agreed that we should raise our son.  We don’t want to predetermine his faith for him, but we would rather him choose Jesus on his own.  This is why we believe so strongly in a dedication to God as opposed to a baptism at birth.  I’m not here to debate religion, as I believe everyone has their own reasons why they do what they do.  Each is personal, and I respect the choice parents make.  Just like any great structure, it is crucial to have the right foundation.  We think a Godly foundation is not only a major part of what will shape Parker’s life, but an essential part of him becoming the man God intended  him to be.  This starts with us as parents.  It states in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” On Sunday, February 14th, 2010 at Stonecreek Church we dedicated our son to God.  We prayed that we would train him in the way he should go, and continue to pray for him and ask for guidance along the way.  We prayed that he would seek first the kingdom of God and that we would look to God for strength in difficult times.  I pray that he would not be so concerned with memorizing bible verses or lyrics to christian songs, but that he would learn to have a personal relationship with Jesus and a heart after God instead.

It was so nice to have family there to join with us in his dedication.  It’s a blessing  to know that they’re with us in this journey to be a good influence and to pray for him.  I am so grateful for that, because we certainly can’t do it alone.

Storytime

Besides the slew of sleep books, and the two I’ve posted on my page, my reading lately has been inundated with children’s books that I read to my favorite little boy.  We’ve gotten into a routine of sorts where we read a book before naptime and bedtime.  Here are some of our favs:

This book captures the love a Moma has for a child, no matter if he’s a stinky face, or an alien, or a scary monster.  Mama loves him all the same.

This book takes a little boy on an adventure filled with imagination and creativity.  This makes an artistic Mama proud.

Frog and Toad was one of my favorite book series as a little girl.  I love remembering the stories as I read them to Parker.  Can two frogs really be THAT great of friends?  I’m just sayin’…

Dan picked up this favorite of ours on one of his business trips.  It tells a tale of a little polar bear (ironically my nick-name for my husband) who is very inquisitive asking about how he came to be.  This book is definitely a must have in any children’s book collection.

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

Sunday Slim-Down & Sleepy Low-Down

Sunday Slim-Down
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a great Valentine’s day here in the Christiansen household. My little boy got dedicated today (more on that later), I got a beautiful bouquet of roses (my fav!) and I made it through the day without going into a chocolate coma! Woohoo! Actually, I’ve been doing MUCH better with my slim-down goals. I ventured out this week and got some exercise DVDs. I was a little skeptical of this, because I’ve always been a going to the gym kind-of gal. However, with a baby, and being home bound, somethings gotta give.  We started doing Cardio Max, and it’s going pretty well.  Yes, I said We.  I actually convinced the hubby to do it with me!  Last night he though it was silly of me to ask him to change into workout clothes, so he he did them in his boxers.  Yep, jumping jacks, and lunges in all!  He didn’t understand what the big deal was since we were home alone and no one was watching.  Boys are so weird.  At least it kept it fun!  The best part of this DVD?  It’s only twenty mins of intense cardio.  I say intense, because I’m completely out of shape.  Twenty minutes is totally doable. No excuses!  There’s a ten min warm up and cool down, so for a total of thirty mins, you get a great work out.

As of this week I have a new inspiration too.  We’re going to San Juan Puerto Rico for our five year anniversary in March.  I need my body back… and there’s no better time than now.  If I could just lose five LB’s before the trip, then I will feel SO much better about myself lounging on the beach.

Sleepy Low-Down

Yes!  Finally it has happened.  Our little one is sleeping through the night.  Reason to celebrate? Well, ask me again when he starts teething, gets his first cold, hits another growth spurt, or just feels like testing “the limits” again.  It certainly didn’t come without a fuss or two. “Oh my gosh!  You let your child CRY IT OUT??”  Well, considering that everyone seems to have they’re own definition of it, I choose not to answer that!  What I will tell you is this;  learn your child and follow you’re instincts.  We felt it was time for Parker to start to re-learn to put himself to sleep again, so we started letting him fuss for five mins, go in and comfort, ten mins, comfort, and only one night did he fuss longer  and it never exceeded fifteen mins.  He just “got it” after two days of doing that for naps and bedtime.  Really?? Yes, Really!  Will it last?  Who the heck knows.  It’s been about two weeks, and he has been sleeping great.  He goes to bed at 8pm and I go in to feed him at 5am, and he goes back to sleep until 8am.  Sometimes he starts to fuss around 11pm, but it’s usually for less than two mins, while he settles into his next sleep state, and he rolls over on his side, rubs his face, and goes back to sleep.  During the day, he sleeps about four hours.  An 1hr 30min in the am, 2hrs in the afternoon, and another 30mins to 45mins in the early evening.   Sometimes less during the day and sometimes more.  I’m SO proud of my little sleeper.  It seems as if once he was ready to do it again, and we set the stage for it, he really took to the idea well.  Now he’s such a happier alert baby during his awake times, which makes my heart happy.  You know what else makes me happy?  Mama getting some rest!  Amen for sleep.

Blog Shout-Outs

So lately when I’ve been reading random blogs, I’ve thought to myself…dang, if only I could write like that

Here are some memorable quotes from posts that definitely made me smile:

Pantley (NCSS) advocating ‘no cry’, Weissbluth advocating ‘let ’em cry! GET ER DONE!’, and Ferbster sort of in the middle, but more Weissbluthy, who came up with this ‘graduated extinction’ which only prolongs the torture for everyone.  The only thing worse than ‘graduated extinction’ would be if I were to dangle my naked breast over the crib every 10 minutes while he was trying to fall asleep.  You know, so he would know he was not alone.  That the boob was with him. –Finding Zen

My hair is another story…not on my head, but my face. They say that when you are pregnant your hair gets thicker because it isn’t falling out as much. Well, why do I have a beard now? I should say, more of a beard than before I got pregnant as I am also a hairy person (I am laughing out loud as I type this…I should post a photo of myself so you don’t think I am the bearded lady…I am not bad looking I swear!). I also feel like I have more hair under my arms than before, and even after shaving I still have darkness there. It is a mystery.-Boston Baby Mama

As I pushed Jane along today, two trucks passed me from behind. I glanced at the first and the driver, still wearing his hard hat, waved at me. Immediately behind him, in the second truck, a chubby man in a plaid shirt says “how YOU doin'”. My initial reaction was a look of disgust, I mean YUCK, I hate it when men cat-call… and how stereotypical that it be two construction workers?!?! THEN, and within milliseconds, I started smiling, like huge smiling. WOOHOOO!!! I just had a baby 5 months ago… BRING IT ON BOYS! Beggers can’t be choosers! I never thought the day would come that I would not only appreciate, but crave, the typically unwanted attention of construction workers! -Mommy Brain

…and I could hear him messing with the door knob. I ran as fast as humanly possible to the stairs for fear that he was standing at the top, ready to barrel roll down. That wasn’t the case. Instead, he locked me in the basement. So, for the next 10 minutes, I proceeded to beg, plead with, and bribe my 3 year old to unlock the door. He just kept trying to turn the knob and I’m like, “Turn the silver, strip thing in the middle of the knob. See that sideways little thingy? TURN IT!” He finally did.-The Dirt on Davis

I am a semi decent cook, but had a serious brain malfunction. The plan was to make ‘home made’ mac & cheese (recipe: here). I had a moment of dyslexia when reading the recipe because instead of 2 CUPS COOKED macaroni noodles, I used 2 POUNDS of UNCOOKED macaroni.– Danielle’s Dish

…he said. “The sounds are so pretty that sometimes it makes me cry a little bit.” When you find beauty in something, don’t be afraid to allow yourself to feel it with all of your heart. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that take our breath away. In a life full of moments, capture the ones that push you to the edge, the ones that make you cry just a little bit. Those are the ones worth savoring.  I said, “You know, sometimes songs that are really pretty make me cry a little bit, too.”  He smiled and started humming along with the tune. -Lisa Ashby

A female co-worker and I asked our male co-worker if he would mind “flopping his unit around”. Of course we meant would he mind changing the order of his unit plan; unfortunately, it sounded like a proposition for his man candy to hang loose. He said he didn’t know about the other men of the department, but he wasn’t flopping his unit around for anybody. Thanks Mr. W. Please don’t file sexual harassment on us.-Fictitiously Delicious

1. “Quit judging! I direct deposit my tithe.”

2. “Sorry I cut you off. I’m a Christian, but I drive like an agnostic.”

3. “My other car is a chariot of fire.”

4. “In case of rapture, I’m not sure reading this bumper sticker is a top priority for you.”

5. “Another Sunday Morning Jogger/Saturday Night Church Attendee”

6. “God created it. The Bible said it. My wife and I are doing it. SEX.”

7. “A hedge of protection is my car insurance. Seriously, I’m uninsured.”

8. “I’ve got GPS. God Prayer System!”

OK, that last one was a little cheesy, but that’s what happens when you write Christian bumper stickers.-Stuff Christians Like

Apparently Rob snapped this photo when I wasn’t really ready, although now I kind of like it because of the expression I have on my face while looking down at my belly. Something about it says, whoa, what the heck is goin on here? Exactly how many DQ blizzards have I eaten? Oh right! It’s not the ice cream, it’s a baby! A BABY THAT IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE HER WAY OUT OF MY CROTCH IN TWO WEEKS!-Cheap Therapy

Splurge

Since it was raining today, I thought I would get a little bit of exercise by walking around at the mall.   Somehow Sephora sucked me right into their store. I started thinking of how my lack of sleep has caused some pretty creepy dark circles under the eyes and maybe a nice eye cream would do the trick. One of the “professional skin care specialist” analyzed my skin type (without make-up I might add…how lovely!) and told me about a product by Perricone MD.  Of course I was waiting to hear what the price tag was since most things in Sephora are quite pricey, and she said that the lovely Vitamin C Ester Eye Serum goes for $50. Wow. Maybe it’s just lack of experience since I’m an amateur eye cream purchaser, but that seemed to be expensive. That’s when I asked if there was anything else affordable, and she went into detail about the active ingredients, and that this is “all natural” and all that salesman hoopla, but then she asked if I wanted to try it on one eye to see its effectiveness. So, I tried it. It actually worked! Well, at least it looked MUCH better. So, I’m going to give it a try and maybe on the days when all I have time for is throwing on a hat, sweats, and my bare face goes without make-up, I won’t look like something the cat drug in.