Tuesday, March 30, 2010

God Bless Jillian

Jillian was baptized on Sunday and I am so thrilled that she is finally a child of God. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives. My baby girl looked so beautiful in her Christening gown, it was hard for me to take it off of her once we arrived home.
We celebrated the occasion with both of our families. My sister was chosen to be Jillian's Godmother and Jeff's brother was her Godfather. Both were the maid of honor and best man in our wedding so it seemed only appropriate for both to also become Jillians's Godparents.
I spent most of the weekend preparing for the big event and for the big party at our house after the ceremony. The best part of having a large group of people over your house is that I was actually able to have my house cleaned from top to bottom. It seems like ever since I became a Mom, I haven't been able to keep up with cleaning our house. Only a few rooms would get cleaned at a time, by the time I got around to cleaning another room, the ones I cleaned a few weeks ago were already dirty and needed to be cleaned again. It's been a never ending cycle of randomly clean and dirty rooms in our house. I feel like we finally have a clean slate to work with!!!! And Momma loves a clean and clutter free house!

She didn't even wake up when the priest poured water on her head:

Such a pretty girl:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The DIY Show Off Kitchen Makeover

Roeshel over at The DIY Show Off posted this fabulous kitchen makeover. The before and after pics are amazing. From 90's oak kitchen to a fabulously modern kitchen. I can not believe this is the same kitchen, the black and white contrast give this kitchen such a modern, clean line look. The soft yellow paint color really changes the look of the space. I also love how she placed the accessories above her cabinets without looking cluttered. This is a tough task in my opinion. Hence the reason the space above my own cabinets is so bare. I really need to get busy on that! Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jillian is Three Months

Dear Jillian, wow, how is it that you are three months already? My maternity leave is over tomorrow and I am typing this with such a heavy heart. I am so sad that I will no longer be spending every day with you. I know it's only three days a week but it still doesn't make things any easier for Mommy. I often wondered how I would feel going back to work ever since Daddy and I thought about having kids. I honestly thought I would be bored to tears at home and would be counting down the days to go back to work. Now that the time has finally come, I honestly do not feel like I thought I would. I am very upset about leaving you and not looking forward to going back to work at all. I know Daddy would give me his blessing if I wanted to stay home and not go back but I feel like I need to do this. My boss is being so incredibly flexible with me for letting me go part time and it will be nice to have the extra income to help us save for fun things like family vacations, fun toys and clothes for you, and eventually for your education. On Monday's, you will be spending your day with Nana which will be so good for you and I know she is going to love it. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, you will be at your new "school" and meeting so many new friends. Mommy's co-worker's baby girl will have her crib right next to yours and I know you two will become good friends. I know you will make a lot of friends and learn so many different things there. You are such a sweet and happy baby girl that I know they are going to love you as much as I do.

I think the biggest milestone this month for you was that you found your hands. And, boy do you love to stick them in your mouth! You are also trying to suck your thumb, you are sometimes successful, and other times it's the thumb plus half of your fist. You also love to suck on your forefinger to a point where it's all raw. You will make a face when you stick your finger in your mouth because it probably hurts you but you continue to suck on it anyway. Having such a huge fascination with your hands has given Mommy and Daddy one of the biggest sleeping challenges that we have faced. For the last two weeks, you no longer like to be swaddled since it pins down your beloved hands. You immediately start trying to pull your arms out of your swaddle like a little Houdini. However, once your hands are free, you still flail and hit yourself in the head causing you to wake up several times a night and cry. It's been a no win situation for Mommy and Daddy since you hate to be swaddled but you still need it for a good night's sleep. Mommy had a rough couple of weeks and started to nap again in the mornings just to try to make up for the broken sleep I was having every night. There were even a few times Mommy and Daddy let you cry, we knew you weren't hungry and that you just wanted us to come get you. We felt badly about it and would watch your little face on the monitor to make sure you were OK. You did go back to sleep eventually which is a great skill for you to learn on your own. Going back to bed without our help. Your swaddling love/hate relationship still continues but we came to a solution by only swaddling one of your arms. You have the access to a hand and also feel a little more secure at the same time. We have tried this method all week and it has helped tremendously. Mommy feels almost human again! We have also started using the Homedics Sound Machine on the Ocean feature. By trying both of these new sleep tricks, you are back to sleeping 4-5 hour stretches again at night. Your bedtime has also been a lot earlier these past few weeks and we think we may have finally established a bedtime routine for you. We bring you up to bed around 8pm to put your jammies on and to play your aquarium for you. Daddy will then turn on the sound machine and give you a bottle instead of Mommy breast feeding you. This way we can see how much milk you are getting. This is to ensure you eat enough before bedtime. You are usually pretty drowsy after your bottle and Daddy will rock you to sleep. This has been working most of the time and Daddy gets some one on one time with you.

Your favorite activity by far has to be your bath time. You absolutely love it!!!! From the moment you are in your tub, your arms and legs are kicking and moving uncontrollably. It's the cutest thing in the world. Mommy and Daddy are completely soaked by the time you are done so it's pretty much a family bath time, not just yours! We try to let you play and kick for as long as possible because you actually fuss and cry when we try to take you out! It's hard to believe a three month old has such a strong opinion about things but when it comes to your bath time, you do! Bath time is one of our favorite memories so far of you as a baby. We will always remember your crazy little legs splashing away!

Breast feeding has been going really well, it's true what they say that if you can make it past the two month mark, you should be fine. It doesn't hurt Mommy anymore and I can't remember the last time I had to use the lanolin! I have been trying to pump a lot more because I feel like my supply has dipped just a little since we are now into a routine. I used to have too much milk and such a strong let down that once everything stabilized, I feel like I really need to make sure that I keep my supply going. Especially now that Mommy is returning to work!

You love playing in your baby gym and kicking in your bouncy seat. Your lamb swing is also your favorite place to nap, however, Mommy has been trying to get you to nap in your crib this past week. You only take short naps in your crib because your arms still flail about and wake you up. Hopefully you will get better soon once you get used to those free arms! Your hand eye coordination is improving every day and you have even started to shake a rattle with Mommy's assistance. You also pull the lever on your duckie when you are in your car seat, and you really love your new pink cell phone!!!! It is so much fun to watch your grow, you get such a sweet smile on your face, it's like you know that you just learned something new and wonderful. Mommy just bought you the new Sophie giraffe that I have heard so much about. I am hoping that she also becomes one of your favorite toys! You have also started to drool on occasion which is a sign of harder gums from your teeth underneath. No sign of them yet but I am sure they are going to be popping up in a month or two. Your are really starting to express a lot more excitement and energy lately, especially in the morning after a good night's sleep. Your arms and legs are always moving, especially when you are on your changing table. You also will let out a random squeal when I try to burp you over my shoulder. It's too cute.

You now weigh around 12 pounds 5 ounces and are still in 0-3 month clothes and size one diapers. I always have so much fun dressing you everyday and will send a picture to Daddy of you in your little outfits. You are in trouble my girl since your Mommy also loves to wear cute clothes!!! Your eyes are still blue but a very dark shade of blue. I am wondering what color they will eventually change to if at all.

Mommy got her wish of good weather in March and we were finally able to take several walks around the neighborhood. It felt so good to get out of the house after such a snowy February!!! Mommy also finally mastered how to work your stroller after several attempts that included a trip to the mall gone wrong!

Thank you for these three wonderful months at home with you my baby girl. I have learned so much being your Mommy I can't wait to watch you learn and grow even more.

Weight: 12 pounds 5 ounces (50th percentile)
Height: We didn't measure you this month.
Clothing: 0-3, a few 0-3 sleepers are tight in the legs!
Diapers: Size one.
Favorite Toys: Bouncer Seat, Baby Gym, Fisher Price Aquarium, Fisher Price Pink Cell phone, and Baby Einstein duck. You haven't used your sea horse much especially now that we have the new sound machine going at bedtime.
Favorite Past time: Bath Time.
Communication: Smiles, coos and squeals. You try to laugh but it's just a funny inhaling noise at the moment.
Cries: Biggest cry is when you are hungry, will occasionally cry when you tired and can't fall asleep. You need an extra walk around the house with Mommy or Daddy or a ride in your swing to help.
Bedtime: Lately before 9pm.
Food: Breast Milk with a bottle from Daddy at bedtime.

Back in Business

My blog should be readable again for all of my Firefox Readers. I certainly appreciate your patience!!! If you are still continueing to have trouble reading my posts, please leave me a comment or send me an email. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to contact me personally, it means a lot that you care enough to let me know! Have a good day!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Is Black the new Black?

As you know, I love looking at HGTV's "Rate My Space" (What happened to that show anyway?) and came across this modern black and white master bathroom. I don't think I would ever have the guts to paint any of our rooms black, however, this is a pretty amazing space. Very well done. I have also seen a few home decor bloggers paint their spaces black like Bryn did here. What are your thoughts? Is black back?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

I received a phone call completely out of the blue this week from my insemination nurses at the Cleveland Clinic. After eight artificial insemination's, I really got to know the three nurses quite well! They were calling to congratulate me on the birth of our daughter and to see if I would be interested in sharing my success story with other couples who were interested in seeking infertility treatment with the Cleveland Clinic. My success story would be featured on their website and other informational pamphlets. I was so honored that they thought of me and immediately agreed to do it. If I could somehow give another couple hope by sharing our experience, than it is well worth it for me.
Talking with them really took me back to where we were last year. Our whole life revolved around what cycle day I was on, what medication I was on and when I needed to take it, and when our IUI would be so we could take off of work for a half day for the procedure. It was exactly one year ago that we finally became pregnant with Jillian and stayed pregnant after three years of trying. I will never forget what we went through, it was a big part of our life and has made me into the Mom that I am today. Even at 4am when I am in tears from frustration and exhaustion because she won't go back to sleep, I will never forget what a miracle my Jillian is.

She went from this:

To this:

I know a lot of my readers are also going through the painful experience of infertility and loss and hope that I can provide you with some hope as well. As much as you want to cry and give up, all of your hard work and persistence makes it all worth it in the end.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Attention Firefox Readers

Hello there!!! It's been brought to my attention that Firefox users are no longer able to see my posts. I am looking into the issue. If this is happening to you, can you please leave me a comment? I appreciate your help!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring has Sprung here in Cleveland

The last three days have been absolutely beautiful! I was finally able to take Jillian out for a walk around the neighborhood. We have gone on walks the last three days!!! I was really hoping for a few unseasonably warm days before I went back to work and my prayers were answered. It was wonderful just getting out for walk! Yesterday was the warmest day of the week which peaked at 71 degrees. Unheard of for this time of year!

Speaking of going back to work, two weeks from today, is my first day back. I can't believe it. I feel like it's this big cloud hanging over my head and following me around. Where did the time go? I am trying not to think about it too much and enjoy my final two weeks with Jillian but it's really hard. I think the only thing keeping me from having a complete meltdown about it is that I am going back on a part time basis. I will be reducing my full time status to part time and will only be working Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Jeff's Mom will be watching Jill on Monday's and Jill will be at daycare on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Jeff took the day off today so we can visit our daycare and ask the million questions that we have floating around in our head. It's going to be so hard not to cry today thinking of her being there. I hope I can hold it together and focus on the questions that I need to ask.

Here are a few pictures from our first walk around the neighborhood together on Wednesday.

What is that big ball of light in the sky Mommy?

Only in Cleveland can you walk around the block in 60 degree weather and there are still snow piles taller than you. Thankfully with all the beautiful weather we have had this week, they are all gone now!

All tuckered out after a walk around the development. First walk of many!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Big Reveal - Karen at Home

I am so excited to finally reveal the new look and new title of my blog. Introducing Karen at Home! A place where I love to share my life as a wife, mommy, and my obsessions with home decor, shopping, blog stalking and anything else fun and exciting going on in our lives. If you follow me from your Blog reader, I encourage you to come check out my new look! When stopping by, please grab my button for your own blog!

My blog "face lift" was designed by Katie at Fancy Pants Designs. I knew exactly what I wanted in a blog design, but had no idea on how to create it. Katie took my vision and Karen at Home was born. I came across Katie's blog, Cleared for Takeoff, when I first began my maternity leave back in December. She is also a Mommy of a little baby girl and in the process of buying a new home, two of my favorite subjects! I love reading about her house hunting trips, home decor obsessions, and life as the wife of a pilot. Katie has always had a passion for graphic design and anything that got her creative juices flowing. Her blog has seen an evolution of design while teaching herself html. Her friends, including myself, always complimented her on her blog design skills. From there, Fancy Pants Designs was born! If you are interested in giving your blog a fabulous face-life, please contact Katie at k8tycoz@comcast.net to place your design order.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Nicole's First Birthday Party

We celebrated my niece Nicole's first birthday this weekend!!! Nicole looked so precious all dressed up in her birthday tutu. What little girl doesn't love a tutu?

Jillian also loved celebrating with her cousin. She partied so much that she slept in her car seat from the time we left my sister's house around 9pm until 4:30am. This is sleep record for her. Why did it have to be in her car seat and not in her crib? Mommy and Daddy did not get any sleep because of this. We were on edge all night thinking that this child had to wake up soon to eat but it was simply not the case. We just left her in the car seat next to my side of the bed. She was exhausted! Of course last night she was back to sleeping in three hour intervals again. I do have to say that we officially have her days and nights FINALLY turned around. She is now going to bed between 9-10pm and is up for good around 7am. We just have to get more sleep time in between those hours!

Nicole wanting to borrow Jillian's headband:

My sister's house had been taken over by babies and toddlers:

Jillian chillin with Daddy:

Mommy and her sweet baby girl:

On a home decor note, here are the awesome Target valances that my sister put up in her breakfast room that I am still considering for our kitchen window. I think they are so cute and the grommets really add a modern touch to the room. Great find Deb!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Show Us Where You Want to Live!

I love participating in the "Show Us Where You Live" features on Kelly's Korner Blog, however, my blog post today is all about where I WANT to live!!! It always seems that I get the itch this time of year to move some where warm and Southern. I love everything about the South, if I could convince our family to move with us, the For Sale sign would be in the front yard tomorrow. I am not kidding. I am just not a Winter person which makes this time of year hard for someone who lives in Cleveland. My ideal place would be Charlotte, North Carolina. It's an up and coming big city located deep in the South. It is also close to our condo in Myrtle Beach which would make going on vacation that much easier for us.

I love looking at all of the homes for sale in the Charlotte area. Here are a few of my favorites. I wonder how I could convince Jeff to go house hunting twelve hours away?

Do you have that dream place that if you could pack up your life, your family and move to anywhere in the country, you would? I would love to hear from you on where that is!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Nicole!!!

A year ago today, my sister's precious little angel was born weighing only 2 pounds, 14 ounces. Three days after my sister's baby shower, she was diagnosed with severe pre-clampsia and had to be delivered via c-section at 33 weeks. It has been amazing watching my beautiful niece change from such a fragile preemie to the happiest one year old in the world. Happy Birthday Nicole, Jeff, Jillian and I love you!!!!

Nicole's first pic's: