Monday, September 28, 2009

7 months of Charlie

Charlie's 7 month birthday was Sunday. That sounds very grown up. It seems I should already start planning his first birthday party or something because it's right around the corner! Things are changing so fast, I hope I can remember all of them to put in this post.

I did get some fun pictures. I love his little giraffe sleeper, it is so sweet. It's one of those things I can only put on him while he's a baby. In not too many months he will be too big for sweet little baby sleepers and in not too many months after that he will be vocal about what he puts on. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. More on this month's changes.

Probably the biggest difference in Charlie this month is how mobile he is now. We have a solid military crawl working and Charlie really makes the most of it. He is all over the place. He doesn't see quite as much usefulness in sitting up so he's still not doing that unsupported. This is a baby who is going places and getting into things and you just don't do that sitting still. Charlie is also rolling over on his changing table almost immediately when I put him down. I'm sure you can imagine how fun it is to try and change a diaper on a child who is rolling over. Trying to attach gauze with stretchy tape on a moving butt.....

In not-so-fun developments Charlie's been getting upset periodically if he loses sight of me. For instance: Charlie is in his exersaucer and I am getting ready for work and go in the closet to get something... all the sudden there are panicked screams and a breakdown and these continue until I pick him up. I'm not really sure what's driving it since it's not happening when I leave him at daycare. He's usually smiling when I put him down there and I've gone back a couple of times to peek in the window right after I leave and he's just playing. So go figure. It's nice to be needed though! Especially in a way that doesn't make me feel guilty for leaving - though it is in a way that has made it impossible for me to shower and get ready for work!

On the eating front we've been trying different carb-y type things but so far the only thing that's really worked are these Gerber Graduate veggie stick type things. The puffs and puff-sized things are just a little too small for him to get in his mouth and successfully chew. As far as pureed food he will try anything and loves just about everything. Spinach, pumpkin, lentils, prunes, you name it, this kid will eat it. The only food so far we've found that he doesn't like is tomatoes, which he was kind enough to spray everywhere in disgust during Ben & Nicole's wedding reception!

There seems to be at least a couple of teeth coming in - I see white spots where the bottom center teeth are and he seems to have a sensitive spot he needs to bite with on the upper right side. He won't let me take a look thought. They seem to be bothering him quite a bit more so I hope they break through soon. Baby tylenol seems to help. I keep telling him that even though it stinks now when he gets teeth and can eat more things, he's gonna love it! Food with teeth - so much more fun then food without.

Daycare is going really well - he seems to love it there. He's always so happy and smiley when he gets there and when I pick him up. Wednesdays are his favorite when the music teacher comes and they spend a lot of time outside swinging. They always write me a note about how excited he was during the music class and how much fun he seems to have outside. They told me he no longer likes being restricted by the exersaucer and has to be on the floor moving around. He also no longer likes for anyone other then the teachers in the room to pick him up. A phase I suppose - he usually loves just about everyone.

He's still sleeping about 11 hours a night, usually from 7 or 7:30 to 6 or 6:30. He puts himself to sleep - I just turn on his rain forest soother and the fan, hand him a teether, kiss him goodnight and leave. He plays around for 10 to 15 minutes before he falls asleep, which is fun to watch on the monitor. He's so sweet when he wakes up, he just rolls over and talks to his mobile for a while. When we go in to get him he's all smiley and happy.

I'm sure I'll think of some more things immediately after posting this. Oh well, that's all for now!

We took Charlie to the park on Sunday and he got to swing with Daddy - lots of giggles!
And an airborne Charlie!

It wouldn't be an update without some fun out takes from trying to get a good picture - Zoe helped again!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Making New Friends

Everyone I'd like you to give a warm welcome to our new house guest, Doris. Doris is a mantis who joins us from The Outdoors where she enjoys full moons, tall trees and flying insects who think they're tough.

While vacationing at Casa Spooner Resort & Spa Doris will be partaking in the frequent all-you-can eat insect buffets, courtesy of living on a very wooded lot. She will spend her time between buffets meditating and in reflective prayer. She's a very quiet and peaceful house guest. She also does not charge for her pest control services, which is quite handy in this strained economy.

Just between you and me though, Doris is not the perfect house guest. Often times I come home from work and Doris is nowhere to be found. I just can't abide by guests who hide from their hosts. Some find this practice humorous but really, it's just tacky. Most of the time when she does make her presence known it's startling, almost like she's sneaking up on me. Rather off putting from one's guests, don't you think?

Sometimes I'm scared to walk by her because I feel like she wants to jump on me. She's rather unpredictable like that. A Wild Card some would call her. I've tried explaining that she should not jump on me because I just don't swing that way but her English is terrible.

Doris is also a tad rude in that she's made no indication how long she'll be staying with us. You know what they say about house guests and raw fish don't you? That saying isn't cliche for nothing.

I'm hopeful that we can soon settle into a comfortable routine and all expand our horizons and learn from one another. Mostly I'm hopeful for this because I'm too scared to mess with a 5 inch long bug that jumps around a lot. I admit my naturalist tendencies do not extend to the insect world.

No matter how many google links tell me a mantis feels quite nice on your arm, I will not be personally escorting Doris back to The Outdoors. I'm sure Brad will have his own opinions on the situation when he returns from Charlotte tomorrow. He's not afraid of bugs and may put a rather abrupt ending to her visit. If that's the case, then good luck to you Doris. It's been lovely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Boring Weekend in Pictures

By the time Brad got home on Friday Charlie and I were both sick. All three of us were exhausted. Besides our wild anniversary date on Saturday night the weekend mostly consisted of napping, errands and hanging out. Try not to be jealous.

Charlie and Daddy fighting over the remote:

Charlie trying out his new inflatable ducky bathtub. He's outgrown his infant tub but only likes the new tub when there's no water in it. Brad and I have both attempted to give him a bath in the new tub and he screams bloody murder. Fun!

Six Month Check Up

As the title implies, today we went for Charlie's six month check up at the pediatrician. Disorganized mommy booked the appointment too late and so we were really there closer to Charlie being seven months. That throws the percentiles off a tad but other then that is no big deal. So here are the stats:

Weight: 18 lbs, 2 oz. (50th percentile)
Height: 27 3/4 inches (75th percentile)
Head: 17 3/4 inches (75th percentile)

Could someone please explain to me the value of tracking head circumference? I get why they track height and weight, to make sure the baby grows at a steady rate, but if the head jumps in size, what does that really tell us? I mean I'm kind of joking but not really. **Update** Hydrocephalus. That is why. I had to google it, but now I know. Thank you Lindsay!

We had just been to the pediatrician's office last Friday when Charlie got a cold last week that turned into wheezing. Brad has asthma and it looks likely that Charlie does too. He got his second breathing treatment ever and screamed for 14 of the 15 minutes. I sure was missing my mom about then because she entertained Charlie the first time he got one of these treatments in July and it was considerably more pleasant. I don't think there's any risk of Charlie preferring the doctor we saw that day over his regular one. Anyways, the doctor said the wheezing hasn't quite cleared up yet so Charlie is still taking his inhaler a couple of times a day.

Unfortunately Brad is up against a deadline this week and working out of town so I was flying solo today. I was a little nervous about holding Charlie while he got his shots - Brad has always been the one to do that. Surprisingly, it was a lot easier then I expected. He wailed a little bit but no tears. He's had a little fever since then but seems like his normal self.

I talked to the doctor some about food and now that we are such lovers of fruits and vegetables, we can try out some bread! I haven't quite decided in what form - the doctor said something about pizza crusts? I'm not sure - I get 90% of my parenting skills from google so I need to check it out there. The doctor said no meat or dairy until 9 months but otherwise to feel free to try out new things as soon as we can determine there are no allergies to the last new thing he tries.

Our next scheduled visit to the pediatrician will be for Charlie's first flu shot (he has to get 2) towards the end of October. We go back December 11 for his 9 month appointment and he'll get his second flu shot then.

Something about getting the shots makes Charlie so sleepy - I'm sure the tylenol for the fever contributes too. He was groggy and then out like a light early tonight. If I'm lucky that won't translate into an extra early wake up time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brad and Kara: The Earlier Years

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary. We celebrated over the weekend "new parent" style, by kicking up our heels with excitement that we had a babysitter but coming home by 10PM anyways because we were so tired. We kind of pretended Saturday was our anniversary because who wants any occasion to be on a Monday? I think I got a Happy Anniversary and a kiss at 5:30am when Brad was leaving for Charlotte but I was so out of it tired I could have just dreamed it!

We've been married seven years and together for almost 10 so I thought it would be fun to post some pictures from when we were dating and engaged. While looking at photos that were upwards of 10 years old, I found myself asking some of life's eternal questions:

Why on earth would I wear that?
What's up with my hair?
Did I really need all that red lipstick?

Seriously about the red lipstick. What possessed me? Um Kara, Gwen Stefani called. She wants her lips back.

So without further ado, I give you Brad and Kara, circa 1999-2002:

Brunch at Blue Mesa in Dallas - yum!!

In St. Thomas - we took an awesome trip there with Brad's family. It was a little alarming in how many photos I almost picked for this blog entry from different trips/events Brad was wearing this martini shirt. I'm trying to remember - did he wear it for all of 2000/2001?? Quite possibly - the photos don't lie.

This was at my friend (and fellow blogger) Amy's wedding. Amy worked with us at Deloitte too. She managed to marry a civilian, though.

Um... yeah.

At our engagement party at my parent's house in Indiana. Do you like the pink and blue? If you get confused which one of us is the girl and which is the boy, we have color coded ourselves.

I love this picture - the last night of our honeymoon in Hawaii. We went to Lanai and Kauai while we were there. This picture is at a luau on Kauai at the Princeville where we were staying. We've always talked about going back to Lanai for our 10th anniversary. Hopefully we can - it was the most incredible trip. I still regret agreeing to come home.

And because Zoe can't be outdone, she has requested I include a Zoe Poodle: the Early Years photo. About 9 months after we got married we got this little poodle named Zoe. A year and a half later we got another puppy, Ringo. My friend Ed says dogs are the gateway drug to children. Indeed.
I guess no post like this would be complete without some kind of blurb about how we met and started dating and all that. We actually met on the first day of work at Deloitte in Dallas in orientation. We talked a little and over the next few months we ran into each other a couple of times at lunch and at the company Christmas party. He invited me to a football watching party at his apartment on a Sunday afternoon in December. After the party he asked me out.

With everything going on during the holidays we weren't able to go out until a weekend in mid-January. That week before, I was assigned to a client in Little Rock, where Brad is from, and he emailed me and said to stop by and see his Uncle Greg who worked there. The next thing I know, Uncle Greg's taking me out to lunch to get barbecue! So naturally Uncle Greg takes a lot of credit for us working out so well! We went out that Friday to dinner and then rented a movie to watch at Brad's apartment. I must have really been comfortable around him because I actually fell asleep during the movie on his sofa. When I woke up Brad was laughing and saying how he must be a really exciting date. But now he knows I fall asleep every time we watch a movie. So that's how it all started!

And there you have it. Happy Anniversary Brad! I love you!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Happens When Florida Doesn't Want You To Leave

The whole way home from Florida last weekend I kept thinking of that Jim Carrey movie from a few years ago, A Series of Unfortunate Events, because that's what it felt like. For two days. We were faced with several situations that could have either gone our way or against us and we just couldn't catch a break. I'm sure there's a term for it when you gamble and beat the odds... in a negative way.

So since my Facebook statuses during the ordeal were a bit vague, here's how it all went down:

Monday morning at the beach we got up, got some coffee and took a nice walk. Our flight was at 2:10 and we planned to get ready to leave and have an early lunch out before going to the airport. By the time we got back from our walk and Charlie was taking his morning nap Brad had an email from work that something had to be done ASAP and to call ASAP (Unfortunate Event #1).

Brad started working in the condo and I got us all packed up and Charlie napped, fed and ready to go. Finally at 11:30am I told Brad he really needed to take a shower because we HAD to go. We left around noon. It was an hour to the airport so we thought we'd be fine for our 2:10pm flight.

Except it was Labor Day. At the beach. We hit traffic about 10 minutes into our drive - stop and go, over the bridge and through the woods (Unfortunate Event #2). Then a monsoon hit and traffic stopped again (Unfortunate Event #3). Somewhere in all the confusion and panic, we got lost (Unfortunate Event #4), although we would have most likely missed the flight anyways. I was driving and Brad was in the backseat still trying to work so it was chaos all around. Brad called Delta on the way and the agent told him that there was another flight a few hours later so we calmed down some thinking we'd still get home, just later then originally planned.

When we got to the airport around 2, Brad ran inside to see if there was any way they'd still let us on the flight. Of course THIS particular flight was running on time. When you need them to be late they never are. If they wouldn't let us on he was going to get us on the list for the later flight. I circled the airport with Charlie asleep in the car seat. When Brad got back in the car he said pull over - we need to talk. My stomach felt sick. Good conversations rarely come from such statements.

What the Delta agent on the phone failed to check when we called was that the later flight was not only full, but overbooked. So was every other Delta flight out of all of the surrounding airports, including Mobile, AL. Until Thursday (Unfortunate event #5). The desk agent suggested we drive 5 hours to Atlanta and catch the flight there to Richmond. So off we went in our rental car to Atlanta.

About halfway to Atlanta the time change occurred to me. Brad was in the backseat working while Charlie slept and it occurred to him about the same time. The Florida panhandle is on CST and Atlanta is obviously EST. We were cutting it close. Really close. We pressed on through bad weather and this really annoying 2 lane highway and thought we would make it but there would probably be some running involved when we got to the airport. About 20 miles from ATL we hit construction traffic and everything stopped (Unfortunate event #6). We just watched the minutes tick by on the car's clock and finally passed the airport around takeoff time.

Time for a new plan, which was developed over a "dinner" of Snickers bars while getting gas. We were going to keep driving, find somewhere to spend the night and I would drop Brad off at his client in Charlotte in the morning. I would continue driving and Charlie and I would return the rental car at the Richmond airport and pick up my car to go home.

After an Atlanta Target stop for supplies, we arrived at the Spartanburg, SC Marriott at 1:15am. We left at 8am. I'm not sure I've ever slept that heavy. We drove to Charlotte where I dropped Brad off at his client around 9:30am. I drove for 3 hours, got some lunch, drove for another 2 hours and finally got to the Richmond airport around 3:30pm. Charlie and I were finally home after dropping the rental car and getting our car around 4:30pm on Tuesday.

Once we got home I had 2 conference calls to attend while trying to keep a very tired and fussy baby entertained. It was so painful. I barely remember what was discussed on these calls, just that I was pretty sure I sounded like a completely incompetent idiot. The rest of the week is something of a blur.

I do have to say that Charlie was wonderful the entire trip. He was delighted to have Brad sitting in the backseat with him so much and he either slept or talked or clapped his hands and was just as happy as he can be. I felt so undeserving of him and his good nature the whole time. I know all of this really wore him out. Daycare thought he was sick on Wednesday but I think it was a combo of exhaustion and teething.

I also have to say that I have the nicest neighbors ever. After three days of eating virtually nothing because of stress, lack of time and then no groceries at the house, they had me over for dinner Wednesday night. I had two big plates and some wine - and then slept like nobody's business. Nice neighbors: Priceless.

Moral of the story: Do not ever, ever, EVER miss your flight out of Fort Walton Beach airport on a holiday weekend.

Other moral of the story: Call your rental car company before you leave the state with their car and return it elsewhere the next day. They sure do get fussy if you don't.

It was definitely an experience where you keep asking yourself every so often 'is this really happening right now?' as you grasp onto the end of your rapidly fraying rope. Even in retrospect it seems so unbelievable. Kind of like labor and delivery. Fortunately I married someone who can laugh about such things. And laugh we will - because what else can you do?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trip to Florida for Ben & Nicole's Wedding

Over an extended Labor Day weekend we headed down to the Florida panhandle for Brad's cousin Ben's wedding to the lovely Nicole (see happy couple above). We had an awesome time celebrating with them and Charlie did so well on the trip. He's such an easy baby to travel with. We are really lucky.

I have always loved the Florida panhandle and think it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the continental U.S. I haven't checked every single beach out yet, but I'm working on it. Anyways, I was so excited when Ben and Nicole decided to get married there. I've gone to the area with my family several times and have a lot of happy memories there. And what a wonderful excuse to go to the beach when we really have too young a child to be responsibly considering cross-country beach trips. Now that we have been there again, I'm already itching to return.

Both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding were absolutely beautiful and so much fun. Charlie was darling in a couple of adorable smocked outfits we received as gifts when he was born (thank you Baughmans and Olivers!). I was happily able to squeeze myself into a couple of dresses even though the battle of Kara vs. the baby weight has now entered month 7. I danced the night away to the DJ at the wedding reception - 'til like 9:30 ya'll! That's huge these days! Brad was sweet enough to take Charlie up to the condo to bed so I could keep on dancing. It's just really hard for me to leave a wedding reception when Baby Got Back comes on. That's a reception you know is going places.

I have to give special shout outs for the food (when do I not?) because the caterer, who did both events, was fantastic. I just wrote them to get the recipe for these shrimp and grits they served that had bacon, corn and parmesan in them. I wanted to cry when I ate them I was so happy. I may want to cry again when I learn how much butter is in them. *Update* They sent back the "recipe" with no cooking times or measurements. I'm not even sure I can call that a recipe. It's more like... guidelines. It's a puzzle that I must solve so I can once again shed tears of joy into my grits.

The families were all staying in and around this one community called Carillon for the long weekend. It was so nice to be able to walk from our condo to the different houses people were staying in and hang out or meet up at the beachfront pool. It was fun getting to catch up with everyone in such a relaxed setting. You just don't get that kind of down time around the holidays.

Charlie had a few meaningful 'seconds' on this trip. His second dip in the pool, which he visibly enjoyed this time and second trip to the beach which he was kind enough to acknowledge this time (he was so tiny last time). We tried a couple of times to dip his toes in the surf - both failures. It was too loud, too unpredictable, too... all the things babies hate. Brad and I didn't see this little wave coming and it startled Charlie and got him wet. So here is today's Bad Parent Confessional:

All in all, Charlie was so great at the wedding and we were excited he got to spend time with so much family. He napped and ate like a champ the whole time. Two multi-hour naps each day and enough solids in a single sitting to impress my in-laws and make one of them (*cough* Whitt) say Charlie would definitely throw up at any second if he ate another bite. Which he didn't! Our little eater. We're so proud.

I only have pics from the first half of the trip because I didn't know my new camera battery would die quite so quickly. That is why there are none (yet) of the wedding. Here are a few we did get. I promise Charlie does smile in pictures - I think he was just really tired for a lot of the trip.

While getting to Florida was a piece of cake (minus the 4:30am wake up time) getting home proved to be rather challenging. I'd like to think Florida got too attached to us and didn't want to let us go!! Though admittedly I felt more like something chewed up and spit out then loved and adored by the time I finally made it home. I will save that story and it's gory details for a separate posting, though.

All in all, it was a great trip and we were so excited to celebrate Ben and Nicole's big day with them! Congrats guys! I am super jealous of their fabulous upcoming honeymoon on Peter Island, BVI. Check out the link and you will be jealous too.

If you're reading this and are in need of a zen moment, as I often am, please watch this very relaxing video of the ocean on the day we left. If you are a member of Massage Envy, you will probably feel like you're in the waiting room. Love you Florida. MWAH!