Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Letters to Sylvie: 5 Months

Dear Sylvie,

This month has been full of seemingly small changes, but with each one I realize how fast you are growing up. I don't think I'll always do a monthly update but I feel like you are changing so much at this young age that it warrants frequent assessment.

While you're still not quite ready to sit up or roll over on a regular basis, you've definitely progressed in your physical abilities. You easily grasp toys when they are handed to you and you can switch them between hands. You've also started to pick toys up off the floor all by yourself. And I was shocked one day when I handed you your chupa (binky) and you very quickly put it into your mouth the right way. I tried it a few more times just to make sure you didn't get lucky. Sure enough, it went right back into your mouth each time.

Your dad and I caved and bought you a little Bumbo seat that allows you to sit up by yourself. You always look so pleased with yourself. I think it also helped you to discover your feet.

A few days after we got the seat your dad said you grabbed your toes as he was changing your diaper. You now constantly grab your left foot and tip over on a regular basis. Using this technique you can slowly spin yourself around.

I've been a little short on the milk supply a couple days this month so we thought we should start you on rice cereal. The first time we tried to feed you a thin mixture of the cereal, you took a moment to taste it then made a mad face. One more spoonful and you were through. You were not happy. When I mixed the cereal with some formula a few days later, you gagged and shuddered before the spoon even touched your lips. Looks like we'll have to keep trying. I'm sure you'll learn to love it in no time.

You've also officially transferred to your very own room at night. You still wake up a couple times during the night but hopefully we'll get that whittled down once you get used to being in your own bed. I've had to let you cry a few times to help teach you how to go back to sleep on your own and it always makes me feel horrible. It's so hard to let my baby cry. It makes me feel like a jerk, even though I know it's all part of the learning process and for your own good. But you are definitely learning and we're all getting more sleep overall.

One of my favorite things is your babbling. You suddenly became very vocal and talk up a storm all the time. You tell me all about your day hanging out with Dad and the toys you play with. Or at least that's what I imagine you are talking about. I can't wait to hear what you really have to say. You're so funny already.

Sylvie I want to tell you how much I love being your mom. I'm so proud of you and can't help but tell everyone about my adorable baby. Being a mom is so much better than I ever thought it could be. You bring so much joy into my life.

I love you sweet Buggie.

Love, Momma

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Postpartum Body and You

I think I was well prepared for the changes my body went through during pregnancy. I knew about pretty much everything I experienced... the swelling, the achy feet, the constant peeing, the flatulence. But this postpartum stuff has sort of taken me by surprise. Not that there's been much I hadn't heard about before. I think the difference is, the things you experience during pregnancy you know are just temporary so you deal with them knowing they'll go away soon. While some postpartum stuff is just temporary, a lot of it is not. A lot of the changes to your body are permanent and it's kind of weird trying to get used to this new body that is completely different than the one you've known all your life.

One thing I was extremely happy about was the quick weight loss. I gained over 50 pounds while I was pregnant and was really worried about getting rid of all that extra weight. I felt like I hadn't gone too crazy with the eating so the 50 pound gain seemed like a lot. Lucky for me most of that weight was fluid. I think I lost 35 pounds within the first 2 months. The last 15 pounds came off somewhat steadily over the last 2-3 months from a combination of nursing and going on almost daily walks.

The thing is, even though I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body looks completely different. There's now a small pooch on my stomach covered in stretch marks and slightly saggy skin. There's an extra fold and a scar from my c-section. My thighs, torso, and breasts also have their fair share of stretch marks. And I'm still getting used to these huge (less than perky) bewbs. Ok so maybe they aren't that big, but to me they are. I'm not used to things bouncing around when I run or jog down the stairs. I used to think I wanted big boobs but now that I have them I realize what a pain they are! On the up side, I have 2 new places to hold pencils.

During my pregnancy I think I lost about 5 hairs total, so I wasn't surprised when a couple months after giving birth my hair began to fall out in mass quantities. The shower drain would get clogged every morning from the fall out. I couldn't run my hand over my hair without losing several strands. I was starting to get worried I was going to go bald when the loss tapered off. I still lose a little more than normal, but it's definitely getting better. Which is a good thing because my temples were starting to look thin. Also, my hair was on EVERYTHING. I felt like a cat shedding its winter coat. So annoying to have hairs everywhere! The hair loss wasn't such a bad thing though because that thick luxurious mane took a really long time to dry in the morning. I'm glad to have my usual amount of hair back and will never wish for thick hair again.

One thing I was not prepared for was a change in my skin. My skin used to be so oily and now it's dry as a bone! I have to wear moisturizing make-up to keep the flaky patches at bay. Which really isn't so terrible especially since my acne has all but disappeared! Woohoo! I'm hoping it lasts but I'm pretty sure it will go back to normal as soon as I stop nursing. The one bad thing about having dry skin is ALL my skin is dry, including my scalp. I've tried everything and it's still dry and flaky and itchy. I've always had problems with my scalp, but never this bad. I really can't wait for this to go away!

I lost a lot of my muscle tone while I was pregnant, mainly because I didn't exercise like I should have. Unfortunately that means I now have flat mommy butt. Nothing a few lunges can't fix though, right? The good news is my arms are getting pretty tough! Carrying a baby around all the time will definitely help in the toning department.

I've heard the sentiments before about how women didn't appreciate their pre-pregnancy body until it was gone, but didn't understand it until now. I do miss the old me. But, this new body is all I've got and really it's not so bad. In fact it's helped me to appreciate some of the things I formerly saw as flaws. And the things that have changed I'll eventually get used to. My body is still healthy and allows me to be active and do the things I want to do. Plus it gave me my beautiful daughter so what more can I ask?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Letters to Sylvie: 4 months

Dear Sylvie,

I can't believe how much you have grown in the last month. My little tiny baby is growing into the cutest, smiliest chunk I've ever seen.

You have the most adorable round chubby face and I'm constantly kissing your cute cheeks. Your legs have developed very healthy rolls and I love to dress you in your leg warmers to show them off. Your tiny hands have the cutest little dimples and your belly looks so Buddha, especially after you eat.

Your hair is definitely thinner than it was when you were born and a light peach fuzz layer of hair is growing in its place. It looks like you might be a blondie, but I guess it's still a bit early to tell. Your dad and I both expected you to keep your dark hair, but I guess you never know! So far your pretty blue eyes have stuck around and I think they're here to stay. I wouldn't be too disappointed if you kept your daddy's eyes. They sure are beautiful.

You also had your 4 month check-up at the doctor recently. Since your dad is home with you during the day I had him take you by himself. He did a great job taking care of you and made sure to give you some medicine afterwards to help you feel better. You were a bit cranky for the next few days, but we all survived. You've moved up from the 25th percentile in your length and weight to the 50th percentile. Delightfully average, I say. You're 13.6 pounds and 24" long!

You've gotten much more coordinated within the last month. You LOVE to suck on your hands. And if you're not sucking on your hands you're drooling. Your grip has gotten much better as well. You love to hold your rattle and shake it around and get upset when it falls. You also hold onto the leg of the elephant on your bouncy chair and grasp the toys on your jungle gym. Mommy's hair frequently gets tugged on too.

For the last few months you've been sleeping in me and daddy's bed, but the doctor said it was time to start teaching you how to sleep on your own. I was expecting the worst as you normally wouldn't even sleep in the co-sleeper connected to our bed, but after only a night or two of waking up every couple hours, you seem to be enjoying your new big bed in your very own room. I think the transition has been much harder on me than it was for you. I sure miss cuddling with you every night as you sleep next to me.

The week before Halloween you rolled onto your back for the first time. You still haven't figured out how to do it again, but I'm sure it'll happen again soon. You still love to take baths, though not as much as you did a couple months ago. Your favorite part is seeing the little naked baby in the bathroom mirror and you smile and smile at her. You also like to go for walks so I try to take you out everyday after I get home from work. We go to the park with the pond so you can listen to the ducks and walk by the big field full of cows. But, you don't require much to be happy. When your dad is around you're perfectly content to sit in the crook of his arm and watch tv. It's the cutest thing ever.

Every day that goes by I love you more and more. You're such a sweet little girl and everyone who sees you loves you. You've got such a calm, sunny disposition it's hard to be away from you for long. I'm so glad you're my little buggie.

Love, Mama

Friday, November 9, 2012

Perfection: The New Boring

This is the second installment in the backstories behind my 20 tidbits of knowledge.

I hesitate a little to write this post because it addresses a topic that I don't typically bring up: religion. My religious views have changed drastically over the last few years and while I know it's the right thing for me, it's not always easy on my family. When I don't know how to talk about something uncomfortable, I tend to not talk at all. Which is why you haven't heard me talk about religion up to this point. Thing is, a lot of the things I have learned going through this change in beliefs are the things that ended up on my all important list mentioned above. So it's sort of impossible not to talk about.

For the first 27 years of my life I was taught to strive for perfection. One of the base beliefs of my Mormon religion was to continually pursue perfection and use the repentance process for any mistakes I made.When the time came to meet my maker, if I'd done everything I could, Christ would make up the difference and I'd be on the train to heaven. Which sounds like a good plan, no?

Amongst all my striving to be good and doing all the things I was supposed to, there was always the thought that "you could still do more." There was always more I could do. I'd think I was doing a pretty good job and then come Sunday I'd be listening to a lesson about food storage or personal prayer or serving others and I'd always think... "man, I'm not doing any of this. I should do these things. I could do these things if I really wanted to." But I never seemed to be able to put them into action, at least at any level I thought I was capable of. I always felt a little guilty that in my spare time I did things like watch t.v. or go hiking or some other hobby instead of taking a bowl of chicken soup to the widow down the street. Every week I'd go home from church feeling horrible about myself. I was clearly not as good as the people sitting around me. I felt like a fraud.

During my transition out of the church, because of my new beliefs, I made a conscious choice to stop trying to be perfect. I no longer cared if I was perfect. I didn't really want to be perfect, truth be told. As soon as I made that decision, I suddenly felt free. I didn't have a mountain of guilt constantly weighing me down. I dumped all the things I'd always been told I should do and did what I wanted for once. And it was amazing.

Now instead of feeling guilty for taking some time for myself, I feel happy and recharged. When I do things for other people it's because I genuinely want to, not because I feel like I have to fill up some invisible bucket of "good deeds." I don't feel like I have to censor my personality anymore and my self-esteem has never been better.

What if we were all perfect? Nobody ever made a mistake. Nobody ever burnt a roast. Everybody would always agree because we'd all have the same perfect opinion about everything. We'd all have fit, trim, perfectly shaped bodies. We'd all be perfect at sports and singing and any other thing we tried to do. And we'd all be bored out of our minds.

The people that I've always found most interesting and fun to be around are those that are the most flawed. They swear or laugh at inappropriate things or dress a little crazy. It's when we break out of that perfect mold that we are at our most human. I don't want everybody to be the same. I want to be an individual. I want to be "perfectly" flawed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hold Onto Your Hats!

Things have been pretty exciting around here lately so I thought I'd give a quick update. (Ok, maybe it's not exactly "exciting," just less normal stuff.)

On October 25th  we had our first big snowfall up in Davis County. It didn't snow all that much... just a few inches, but the snow was really wet and heavy. Unfortunately the ground got so soaked that one of our aspens in the front yard decided to fall over. I got home that day and saw this...

Seth hadn't mentioned anything about it at all so I figured he didn't know it had happened. Sure enough! It must have fallen over slowly because he didn't hear a thing and it didn't break the front window. One of our neighbors was nice enough to pull it off the house with his truck and Seth took the evening off of work to chop it up with the chainsaw. I have to say he didn't look too disappointed....

Those of you who know me know that I don't do crafts. I don't sew, I don't do hand-made decorations. So I know you'll be shocked to hear that I made Sylvie's Halloween costume! I just cut out a bunch of feathers from some felt, hot glued them together, and safety pinned them onto a little jacket we already had. I started the project more than a month ahead of time when the jacket was a bit big on her and was floored to see that the jacket was now a bit too small! Sylvie's little belly was hanging out underneath it, but she didn't seem to mind. Especially since she only wore it for about 5 minutes over the weekend.

Speaking of awesome babies, Sylvie hit a big milestone this last weekend and finally rolled over from her stomach to her back. She must have been waiting for our trip up to Grandma & Grandpa Hanson's house. Seth and I were both lucky enough to witness the event though we haven't been able to get her to do it again since! Looks like somebody is going to need more practice!

While we were up in Idaho we got to spend a lot of time with Seth's family doing lots of fun Halloween stuff. Probably my favorite part was going to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and the subsequent carving. It's always so fun to see what people come up with for their designs!

Tessa, Seth, Rachel, & Soren all at work!

Tessa and her cute pumpkin!

My pumpkin

Seth's pumpkin... I think it looks like these guys from Labyrinth:


Tessa's Pumpkin

Before we left on our weekend Halloween trip, Seth and I went and voted early. It was so much faster and easier than going on Election Day. We didn't have to wait through a huge snaking line and got to choose a day and time that worked best for us. If you haven't voted early, you should. You don't have to sign up ahead of time or anything, just go there and show I.D.! Also, I know most of my readers are of the Romney type so here's an incentive to get you to vote... we both voted for Obama!! HA! But really, these days there's no excuse not to vote. They make it so easy to be informed about the issues and people you'll be voting for that even I knew who I was putting down for each election! (Ok I had crib notes on my phone... but still.)

I got this bad boy for donating to the campaign! U mad bro? :D

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's a Boy Thing

My wonderful friend Heidi had the fabulous idea that I tell the back story on how each of my 20 things came into existence. How they came to be one of my life's lessons. There's a lot to tell, but I'll give it a go.

I grew up in a family full of girls. My dad applied the "3 strikes and you're out" rule in his hopes for a boy and then took what he got and was happy with it. He didn't shun his fatherly duties to his brood of girly children.

I really think my sisters and I were the benefactors of a boy-less family. My dad didn't have a son to take shooting or teach about football or do yard work. So he taught us. I'm not sure if he would have taken this same approach otherwise, though I like to think he would. Just maybe not to the extent that we experienced it. We learned how to mow the lawn when we were big enough to push the mower around the yard and continued to do so until we moved out of the house. We participated in family games of football and basketball. We hiked and camped and learned how to build fires and set up tents. We shot large guns, shoveled snow, and learned how to change a tire. We did it all and we didn't think twice about it.

I was never told I couldn't do something because I was a girl. If I wanted to try something, I was allowed to. Unfortunately my dad didn't get any daughters that were sports fanatics or hunting gurus, but he did get daughters that are well-rounded individuals that don't act like helpless idiots.

These days when I see something I want to do, I don't really consider if it's a girl thing or a boy thing, I just do it. Because of this my life has evolved into something I really love. When I went to school to get an electronics degree, I was the only girl in my class. Now I work in an engineering group where once again, I'm the only girl and I really enjoy what I do. I like to fly fish and camp. I've learned how to use power tools and how to do lots of home improvement projects. I also love to cook and get my hair done and put on make-up. I like jewelry and decorating my house. I've just adopted all the things I like to do and put the rest by the wayside.

So, as I'm raising Sylvie and any other kids I may have in the future, I want to treat them as strong, capable individuals in the hopes that they'll become such. It's one of the many lessons I learned from my parents that I want to pass onto my kids. And hopefully they'll find it just as beneficial as I have.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

20 Things I Want My Daughter to Know

I read a blog post today called "100 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter" and I have to say I was a little disappointed by a lot of the cheesy "lessons" it included. Is it really necessary to "dance while you do laundry"? Go ahead and do it if you like, but it seems to me that there are so many things that I feel a real urgency to teach my daughter. These are truths I've learned for myself... many times by a series of hard-knocks. This is what I want my daughter to know:

  1. Just because it's a "boy" thing doesn't mean you can't try it. Or like it. Or thrive doing it.
  2. Being perfect is boring. Celebrate your weaknesses as much as your strengths. It's what gives you personality.
  3. Don't be in a hurry to get married. You change so much from the time you graduate high school through your mid-twenties that you'll be shocked at how different you become. Use all those extra years to be free, have fun, and see what's out there. It's the only time you have to do whatever you want.
  4. Be financially smart. Live within your means. Don't use a credit card. Save for the things you want. Financial holes are really hard to dig yourself out of. These financial rules may be old, but they work.
  5. Do things for people because you want to, not because you expect something in return. It'll save you a lot of heartache and resentment.
  6. When choosing who you want to be with for the rest of your life, make sure they'd "swim across a shark infested lake to get you a lemonade." And make sure you'd do the same for them.
  7. Smile and be nice. You'll be surprised how far that gets you in life.
  8. Treat others how you'd like to be treated.
  9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, put make-up on & do your hair, put on real clothes. It'll do wonders for your self-esteem.
  10. Expectations are the seed of disappointment.
  11. The only person you can change is yourself.
  12. Don't worry about things you can't control. Change/fix/control what you can and forget about the rest.
  13. Look out for #1. If you don't treat yourself well and lookout for you, nobody will. Don't lose yourself in somebody else. Know what you like, do what you like, do things because YOU want to.
  14. Don't take anybody's word for it. Develop your own opinions about people and things. Otherwise you're sure to miss out on a lot of good relationships and experiences.
  15. Spend your time doing things you like. No sense in wasting your life doing things you think you "should" do.
  16. Be self-sufficient. Learn how to cook & clean. Educate yourself. Be able to make your own money.
  17. Try not to put too much stock in the events of your adolescence. Friends, situations, relationships, and looks are fleeting. It's not as horrible as it seems and it'll get much better. Really.
  18. Ask for help.
  19. Try new things. Food, experiences, friends... it'll keep you from getting bored and you'll find new favorite things and talents in the process.
  20. You'll always be loved by your parents no matter what. If it makes you happy, it makes us happy. We'll always be proud to call you our daughter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Letters to Sylvie: 3 Months

Dear Sylvie,

I debated whether to write you these letters because I know it's been done before and surely much better than I will do it. But you're so young and even though I tell you these things everyday, you can't quite understand me yet. And I want you to hear these things, even if you don't hear them for several more years.

Today you're 3 months old. I can hardly believe it. You're already double the size you were when you were born and have grown too big for many of your newborn clothes. I continue to clothe you in my favorite outfits, such as your navy blue cupcake onesy with the white polka dots, because I can't quite bear to put them away forever and accept that my baby is growing so fast.

You have so much personality already. You're so easy going and happy and very rarely cry. I went back to work almost 2 weeks ago and I miss my mornings with you when your smiles and laughs and giggles and coos are given so freely. There is nothing I love more than to see you smile. I don't think there's anything better.

You're finally starting to gain more control over your previously flailing arms and legs. You love to try and eat your fists and fingers. You also gained enough awareness to look at your reflection in the mirror. You'll kick and play and look at yourself in your little playmat mirror for quite a long time. Usually while you're doing this you'll lift both feet off the ground and haul off and kick the toys dangling above you. You seem to be much more aware of your feet than your hands.

Your very favorite thing these days is bathtime. I give you a bath almost everyday just because you enjoy it so much. If you're having a tough night all I have to do is stick you in your little bathtub and you immediately feel better and a smile spreads across your face. In fact, if I don't let you kick around in the tub long enough and take you out before you're done wiggling around, you'll cry and cry until I put you back in.

Much more important than telling you about your development, I want to tell you how much I love you. I hope one day you'll be able to have kids of your own so you will feel this incredible love I have for you. My heart almost hurts I love you so much. I'd do anything for you. You're my little snugglebug and I'm so happy you're here.

Love, Mommy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Six Sigmas

About a year ago I started on a big special project at work. This project involved choosing a manufacturing process with the potential to be improved and testing my improvement idea(s) using certain six sigma tools (which are related to statistics). Formally it's called a Green Belt and around my company, it's a big deal.

This project was huge and took up a big portion of my time. Every week I attended classes to learn about the different six sigma tools and then used each one to analyze part of my process. Each test had to be documented and explained in a technical report which was then reviewed and critiqued during not one, but TWO Powerpoint presentations in front of the company managers and six sigma group.

My 29 page technical report was turned in, reviewed, and approved a couple months before I went on maternity leave. This means that I successfully completed my Green Belt! I'm the only technician in my group to have completed this which feels awesome.

So why bring this up now if I finished it several months ago? Well, because upon returning to work, I finally had my official plaque! Now everyone that comes into my cubicle can see what a genius I am. It doesn't say which of the six sigmas I am, but I assume I'm either Brutality or Hand Shakefulness*.

*Gotta love 30 Rock!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Land of the Red Rocks

This year for the Holley family trip we headed down to Moab. It was great weather and we all had a lot of fun. And since I have a sleeping baby resting on my arm, you get the picture version of the trip!

First stop, Dead Horse Point

Deep in thought

We went ahead and did an album cover photo, just in case.

Seth and I drove around Arches National Park that evening while the kids were swimming.

That's Delicate Arch way in the back

The next day we did some actual hiking at the Devil's Garden in Arches.


Some of us just hiked to Landscape Arch and then waited for the group to go on a little further. While we were waiting  I decided to feed Sylvie. Long story short she had the biggest blow-out ever... poop all over her clothes and my skirt. Thus the reason why she is naked in this picture. She looks pretty pleased with herself!
Our first family picture ever!
That evening we went to Millcreek Falls to swim. It was a great place close to our condo and had a lot of nice swimming holes for the kids.

Annie makes a daring leap across the treacherous river below!

Bryce's swim trunks were killing me! Ha ha!

Lying out to dry
Thanks everybody for such a great trip! Can't wait til next year!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Somebody Make Her Stop

My little baby Sylvie is 7 weeks old today. How did that happen? I'm telling you she's growing too fast. She's this close to being too big for her newborn clothes and diapers. She might as well just rip my heart out. Ok it's not THAT bad... but would it hurt to just let me have my tiny baby for just a little while longer? She doesn't need to STOP growing just do it SLOWER.

Everyday Sylvie changes and gets bigger. Her chubby cheeks get chubbier and her eyes get bluer and her smiles more frequent. It seems ridiculous to me now that I was afraid of the baby stage. "What do I do with a baby? Babies are kind of boring." Now I know. What do you do with babies? You cuddle the bejeezus out of them while they'll still let you. You wrap them in a snuggly blanket and put them on your chest and stare at them for hours. There's nothing like her smell (I never liked baby smell before now) and when she pulls her legs up under her and nuzzles into you, your body becomes a pile of melted goo, making it impossible to allow anyone else to hold her.

Sylvie loves her toy zebra and I love watching her look at it!
Then there's the other side her. The side of her where I think, "This adorable baby must be a troll in disguise." The bodily functions and their corresponding noises are impressive. The farting. And pooping. I can't believe the volume (both audible and physical). Then there are the noises... it's not all cooing my friends. There are growls and grunts and other noises that more closely resemble a ferocious velociraptor than a sweet little baby. And I have to say, all these troll-like traits are very adorable.

For those of you out there debating whether or not to have kids I have to tell you one thing. They weren't lying. It IS different when it's your own kid. Like a million bajillion times different. As in... you can't even compare how you feel about other people's kids to how you'll feel about your own. There really isn't anything like it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's in My Blood

Seth and I have been struggling to find fun ways to spend hot weekend days with Sylvie in tow. We started out yesterday by going for a walk on the Weber Parkway, but it was quickly getting too hot for baby so we jumped back in the truck and started to cruise around Ogden. As we neared 25th Street we thought maybe we should check out the farmer's market. The old Union Station is at the end of 25th Street and Seth thought he saw a sign in front of it that said the market was there, so we parked and walked over. Turns out the market was all along 25th Street, but Union Station had something better... TRAINS! and SHADE!

I'm on a train!
 I don't know if it's because of all the train engineers in the family or what, but I love trains. I've driven past Union Station about a million times but had never actually been there. We were both surprised at how cool it was! There were several old trains parked outside that you could climb on and look in and the station inside was beautiful. There are also three different museums inside but we didn't make it to those this time. Looks like we've got something to do next weekend!

An old caboose

This engine was super-sized. It was strong enough to pull a 7 mile long train of fully-loaded cars!

The wheels on this train were as big as me!

Inside the station

An old Air Force train