I’m crawling out of the blogging hole to give a quick update of what’s been going on. Seven Quick Takes is a great way for me to limit my sharing but also bounce around a bit in what I want to share with y’all. Enjoy!
Yesterday was my birthday! Over the years, I’ve realized I’m actually pretty awful at birthdays, at deciding what I want to do, where I want to go, what kind of presents I want…but it hit me yesterday, as Adam was puzzling over what to get me, that all I want this year is to spend time with my family, drink good beer, and have fresh flowers in the house. I hadn’t even mentioned the last point when Adam came home from a grocery run and whipped out from behind him a fresh bouquet of sunset orange blooms. I was so happy I nearly cried. We put them in a vase from Puerto Rico (where we honeymooned!) and they now stand proudly on our new (read: donated) dining room table.
My students continue to amaze me. I teach third grade at a small, private Catholic school, and every day I have been blessed in ways I could have never anticipated. Yesterday was no exception. I knew this particular group of students loved celebrating birthdays, so when March rolled around, I couldn’t resist putting up on our classroom calendar Anastasia’s birthday and my birthday, both occurring within the same week this year. As both birthdays approached, I heard whisperings of secret plans they were plotting to celebrate. Sure enough, when it was time to pick up the kids from Morning Prayer, they asked ever so innocently if they could go up the stairs ahead of me this time. I came up behind them to see the last student scurrying to turn out the lights and close the door. When I walked in, they all yelled, “Surprise!” and began to sing “Happy Birthday”. They had decorated the classroom, made me cards, and even brought in a few small gifts and treats. Y’all. I was blown away. When I saw a couple of the homeroom moms at lunch, I thanked them profusely for all they had done, but they insisted – this was all the kids! The beauty of children’s hearts knows no equal. Yesterday was a birthday I won’t soon forget.
The celebrations continued at home as I cooked up one of our favorite Friday Lenten dinners – an easy cheese tortellini bake. Since Anastasia has been more interested in table food, we’ve been trying to feed her the vegetable and/or fruit puree first so she can get those essential nutrients in before we give her the “good stuff”, like cheese tortellini. Last night, I tried to even feed her before we got our dinner on the table, but she was not having it. She cried and cried, turned away, spit food out, tried to crawl out of her high chair…as Adam said, “Babies don’t care that it’s your birthday!” Finally, we got her to finish most of the food and then gave her bowl of tortellini and let her go at it – her cries instantly ceased, of course. After dinner, we rushed her up to the bath – Italian food + babies = mess. She played and babbled as she normally does, but then I heard, “OH NO, ANASTASIA!” and the source of her displeasure during dinner was revealed in the form of poop in the bathtub. As I ran upstairs to help, I saw Anastasia sitting proudly on her towel where Adam had plopped her, finally relieved and smiling away. The little stinker. Happy birthday to me!
Rooms in our new house are coming together, but a lot is still in boxes. We’re to the point of only occasionally needing the small, less commonly used things – like flower vases! – so we have less of an impetus to unpack each day like we had when we first moved in. But, with my parents visiting next weekend, we hope to make a lot of progress, especially on the main floor and in the guest room where they will be staying. Despite the many boxes and basement filled with extras, the house feels more like home every day. It brings us such joy to see how much Annie enjoys the new space, and we can’t wait to see how she grows and changes over the years in our first family home.
This next take, for me, maybe worth more celebration than my birthday. Any pumping mama knows that the pump is a drag – to carry around, to use, to maintain, to do anything with. This year, since I wanted Anastasia to stick with breastfeeding or bottles of milk from me, I had to commit to using a breast pump. When I first started working, I was pumping three, maybe four, times a day, and sometimes I would pump twice more at home as well. Just this past week, I cut it down to once a day! Part of it is me being sick of pumping all the dang time, part of it is trying to help Annie’s transition to whole cow’s milk. Aside from the normal discomfort that comes from lowering the demand for breast milk, which was no surprise, it’s gone pretty well.
Anastasia turned one! This year absolutely flew by and she is now a bona fide babbling little toddler. She’s not walking on her own just yet, but a few accidental stands-in-place have us thinking that milestone is just around the corner. For her birthday, I made enchiladas – she loves spicy food, probably because that’s all I ate while pregnant with her – and some carrot-date baby-friendly muffins that she inhaled as soon as she got the first taste. We tried to give her ice cream, but the cold was an instant turn-off for her. She’ll come around.
After she went to bed, I sat on the couch with Adam and cried, wondering where the first year went. But as unbelievable as it is, I have to remind myself that each stage is more exciting than the last, and it really has been a delight to watch her grow.
Even though she is now one, Anastasia is still not sleeping through the night, nor is her nursing slowing. At about six months, we “sleep trained” Annie to get her to fall asleep initially by herself, but she continues to wake multiple times a night. I was fine with the constant waking at first, but after a year, it’s become a problem. Lately, I’ve been more aware of the effect of sleepless nights – forgetting things at home and work that aren’t just little things, moving notably slowly through daily repeated tasks like packing lunches, making coffee, or cooking, not being able to form coherent sentences or retain information from conversations…yeah. I’m pretty sure she’s getting enough to eat during the day, yet she continues to wake at night and nurse a significant amount two, maybe three times, before waking for the day. If anyone has any advice on how to get past the sleepless stage and help our whole family sleep better, please, I am all ears.
Thanks for reading my first stab at Seven (Not-So) Quick Takes! I hope to be able to continue this sort of round up each week, so do come back. 😊