Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bottoms Up!

I'm sorry, but there is nothing more cute than a baby's I thought I would share Bennett's! I'm sure she will kill me when she is older, but I can't resist! She is getting so much bigger, and I want to capture it before it changes too much. So, here is a photo of her other side after a bath.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

What a night! We went to a Baron's game last night and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. My company had a family night at the ballpark, so we decided to go since I had never even been to a baseball game there. Food was served at 6:00, and the game began at 7:00 - so we arrived at 7:00. As we were walking in, we saw many familiar faces leaving - they all had toddlers that they couldn't control and decided to go. We had Bennett in the baby bjorn, which is our favorite new thing, and she was asleep. In fact, she falls asleep in it so quickly from the swinging movement she must feel when inside of it. So, we mingled with a few co-workers, ate some bbq and then went and found a seat in the stands.

We ran into some friends, Jay and Tricia East, so we sat and talked with them. As I said earlier, the night was beautiful - no humidity, a slight wind and a clear sky! Bennett stirred once we got seated and she wasn't moving anymore so we took her out so she could look around. For the next two hours she just hung out - our perfect angel. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed us with an easy child. We get so many compliments from our friends telling us how lucky we are to have such a good baby, and we know it!
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Bennett started to get a little unsettled so we hit the road. When we got home we fed her the last bottle of the day and put her down at 10:30. This morning Steve and I awoke at 7:30 - before Bennett and Spencer!! It truly was a blessing to have a full night sleep without any interruptions. Considering how late it was, we immediately checked on Bennett, but she was fast asleep in the corner of her crib. So, we let her sleep and fixed ourselves some coffee and fed Spencer his breakfast. Steve and I alternated checking on her until she finally woke at 8:15 - almost 10 hours after she went down!! We knew she was tired since she didn't really nap much yesterday, but man 10 hours??

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Nursery is Complete!

And they said I wouldn't get it done....

We finally finished the nursery just in time for Bennett's 2 month birthday (well everything except the window treatments - I haven't decided what I want there yet). It was much more challenging than I thought, and those who know me, know how overwhelmed I get when I have too many choices (think back to a previous blog when Steve and I were deciding on bedding for our unknown baby). Not knowing what Bennett was going to be made it difficult for us to decide on a direction to take. We ultimately decided to go with the "safari animal" theme to match the bedding. We used photos from our Africa trip and framed them above her changing table, and then had a talented friend paint the letters of her name for above her crib.

Of course we spend the majority of our time in her glider (that Steve had to talk me into buying). That chair is extremely comfortable, and I must admit that I have slept many nights in it when Bennett was first born. It also cleans up very easily, so it is a win-win!

As I said before, Bennett is almost 2 months old already! In fact, she went to the doctor for her 2 month check-up and weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz, measured 21.5 inches long, and her head circumference was 15.25 inches! She is growing like a weed, and we couldn't be happier. She is slightly above the 10th percentile for weight and height, but her head circumference was in the 50th percentile (recall those ultrasound measurements?)! Anyway, she isn't supposed to go back for another month, so we hope to keep it like that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Running behind

Wow....I can't believe a week has passed and I haven't posted a new blog. I guess I have been too busy to add anything, sorry. Being back at work has changed the dynamics of my day. In the evenings where I usually just pass Bennett off to Steve, I like to enjoy her for myself too. She is a pretty lucky girl because she is held most of the day now.

Her nanny, Shirley started Monday, and said that she just enjoyed holding her (so I take that as Bennett didn't spend any time in her crib). Between Shirley and her Mimi - she seems to have it made. All of the attention hasn't made her worse though, in fact - perhaps it has improved things. For the past week she has been sleeping through the night (10-5), and I have been loving it!!

We had a busy weekend, which also helped her keep her sleeping routine. Friday night we attended a birthday party of a friend, and Bennett joined us. She slept through the entire party (7:30-12:00) and only awoke at the end for a quick hello before we departed. Saturday night we went to dinner with Brian, Shannon and Christian. She was a little fussy at the beginning, but as soon as she drank her bottle, she was down for the count again! Christian was a different story though - he was wide open - eating adult foods (well eating half and throwing the rest on the floor), and entertaining us with faces!

On Sunday Bennett and I went to a Kindermusik class. This was a very fun class that Shannon and Christian went to as well. The teacher sings, dances, and claps and asks the parents and kids to join in on the fun. Most the students were Christian's age (10 mos.) or older, so they all seemed to get more out of the class than Bennett; however, research shows that music can improve the cognitive skills of children of all ages. So, I am planning on enrolling Bennett and me in a class this Fall (late October) as a way for her to learn, and us to bond. For you others with little ones - you may want to look into it as well. It certainly was an entertaining 45 minutes.

After the class, the family went to the pool again. This time Bennett managed to stay awake. She wasn't very pleased with the temperature of the water at first (hence the face you see here), but she eventually got used to it. I think she is going to love the water. She loves her baths, even when I pour water right onto her face (with her eyes open). Steve is dead set on teaching her to swim at an early age, so I guess we will see if he gets his wish. He plans to take a swimming class with her this Fall. She is going to be a busy girl between the classes, but we both want to have some one-on-one with her, so we're going to do it. So, as you can see - we had a busy, but great weekend!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Working 9 to 5...

...well kind of.... I decided that if I was ever going to go back to work, I had to go soon, or I would never return. Thank goodness my employer is allowing me to be flexible right now. This week I decided to work half-days to ease myself back, and since I enjoy my morning walks with Spence and Bennett, I have been working in the afternoons. It has been surprisingly nice to be back. I have been busy catching up and trying to set appointments, and I haven't even missed Bennett terribly. I think it helps that I get to spend my mornings with her, plus I know she is in good hands (with her Mimi all of this week).

Next week I set a goal to return full days, but I am not sure I will accomplish that one. If Bennett has a good night (only wakes up once), I could probably make it there by 8:30, but if not...I usually don't wake until then. I know that reality is around the corner and I will just need to power through it, but it is going to be tough (especially since I am still nursing so I have to get up with her). We have a pretty good system in place - her nanny, Shirley, will stay with her on Mondays and Fridays, and then off to her grandmother's house for the middle of the week. I plan to come home during my lunch hours to nurse on Monday and Friday, but not the other days.

So overall, the plan is in place. Now all I have to do is put the wheels in motion.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Independence Day - 2007

Earlier this week Steve, Bennett, Spencer and I lost our companion - Shelby. After being reminded of her everytime we saw her collar, her old bandanas, her dog bowl, and just not seeing her in our house, in the backyard or in our bed - we decided we needed a change of scenery. So, Wednesday morning we packed up the car and headed to the Mizerany lake house on Smith Lake. It was a great break from the grief that we have suffered this past week, and a wonderful opportunity to be with family.

Steve's entire immediate family was there, including two of his cousins and their families. We had a big crew up there (17 people and 3 dogs)! Needless to say, we kept busy catching up, playing games (more on that later), enjoying some sun and of course eating! It is never a Mizerany get together without all of the yummy (and most typically, unhealthy) food. So, now Steve and I are really starting our diets.

Wednesday morning, before we left, we broke down and made our first call to Bennett's pediatriciain. Though she was feeling okay, she hadn't had a bowel movement in over 24 hours. We didn't want to have a repeat of our first Smith Lake visit, so we wanted to make sure that wasn't a sign of something serious. We were told that between 4-8 weeks, it is normal for a baby who is nursing to absorb more of the milk, and thus not pass it as frequently - perhaps as long as 7 days! We were hopeful that it wouldn't take her a full week, but we packed all of the essentials - thermometer, tylenol, advil, gripe water and mylicon, just in case.

There were times during each day where she would grunt and try real hard, but she was only pushing gas out. It wasn't until Friday afternoon (3.5 days later) when she was content in her Mimi's arms that she passed a grown-up like toot, that left Mimi, and her chair, full of Bennett's first bowel movement of the getaway. Lucky for Bennett, it was runny enough that it just slipped right out her diaper, but her poor grandmother.... Thank goodness this isn't Mimi's first grandchild, so she wasn't mad or disgusted by it. Following, Bennett felt much better and was very content just lying on the floor on a blanket kicking her little legs and arms. Since Mimi handled it all so well - it gave the rest of us something to joke and talk about for the rest of the day.

In between sunning ourselves and the intermittent rain, Steve and I busied ourselves with a game of scrabble. Everyone watched us, so we decided that later that night we would form teams and play again. Steve paired up with his cousin Lisa (a much better speller), and her son Gregory, while I played with Maria and Cathy. We were cocky enough to call ourselves the "winners" and them the "losers," but unfortunately the game didn't turn out quite like we had hoped. It was a close game up until the end, when a brawl began when they went out of turn. Of course they denied that they did, but we didn't let up and it turned ugly. In defense for them, we were taking an insane amount of time to form words when it was our turn, so I can understand how it happened, but still. They finally conceded and let us go, but they were on the hunt then and ultimately kicked our tails. Cathy and I are very poor losers, so we went to bed upset while Steve and Lisa just rubbed it in our faces. I am going to study the dictionary over the next couple of months, so the next time we are together, we can have a rematch and kick their rears!

Saturday morning we awoke to much needed rain. It didn't look like there was an end in sight, so we packed up and came home. Now we are just trying to settle into our routines and get used to the new dynamics around the house. Monday, I am returning to work - only part-time this week so I can get my feet wet again, but then full-time next week...ugh!

Monday, July 2, 2007 angel

Today is one of the most difficult days of my life. Today, we let Shelby go to heaven. It has been an extremely sad weekend - absorbing the news that she had rectal cancer, and that they found a spot on one of her lungs. Steve researched the web all weekend, looking for any positive news, something, anything that would give us hope that we could make Shelby better. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. All of the possible treatments would only give her 10 more months on average, and that isn't considering the spot on her lung, or her quality of life. After speaking with our two new vets and the surgeon that we were referred to, we decided that the complications outweighed the good, and that keeping her alive would be more of a selfish thing for us. So, we decided to let Shelby go with dignity. We went for a walk this morning, gave her lots of treats all day, she sunbathed on the driveway this afternoon, and even played tug with Steve before leaving tonight. We stopped by Jack's for a hamburger and then onto the vet. Typically she immediately starts shaking all over, but tonight...she didn't. She was still anxious, but not like she usually is - I like to think that maybe she knew.

For everyone who knows me, you know how much my dogs mean to me. I have never treated my dogs, as pets...rather they are my children. I got Shelby when she was 6 weeks old, and she has been spoiled from the beginning. I soon realized that she wouldn't bark all night if I just let her sleep with me - and that is where is all started. She was a smart dog, and though she was only a couple months old, she never made a mistake in my bed. Now the same was not true when she was in her kennel. She hated being confined, and ALWAYS made a mistake in it and howled, regardless if she was in there for 5 minutes or 5 hours. I think she did it to upset me (and it worked).

Shelby was always a trooper, and a very good friend to me and other dogs. Though she loved being an only child and the constant attention, she accepted her new brother, Spencer. She had enjoyed 5 years of getting whatever she wanted, but she quickly found out that having a little brother who followed her everywhere, and was home all day with her when I was at work wasn't such a bad thing. He had to prove that he wouldn't make mistakes though, so she was

lucky enough to have the other pillow in my bed to herself for awhile longer.

Shelby was a very lovable and patient dog. She let me dress her up for Halloween, and even sat on Santa's lap one Christmas. She has posed for countless photos, and has been on my photo
Christmas cards for the past 11 years. As I said, she has been my child, and being the proud mommy - I wanted to always show her off and have her be included. So much so, that on her 7th birthday, I threw her a
birthday party with all of her doggie pals back in Peoria. Everyone wore hats and snacked on treats, and Shelby loved the attention!

Since she was such a big part of my life, she accompanied me everywhere - be it on walks, errands, road trips, camping trips, and of course the big move to Alabama. In fact, I hated to leave her behind and can recall many a days where she waited for me in my car while I played golf (I promise it wasn't that hot and she was in the shade), or was in a bar at night. She has been a great companion to me.

Shelby has been with me through several job changes, many boyfriends and tearful break-ups, my move to Alabama, and most recently with the birth of Bennett. Her love for me has never wavered, nor has mine for her. In fact, even Steve loves her tremendously, and he has only known her for several years. At first he tried to convince me that she was a dog and need not be on the furniture or in our bed, but he later succumbed and realized that she wasn't going to change.

A wise friend told me today that dogs are with you for a certain period of your life to serve a purpose. He said his theory is supported by the strange similarity that my friend Chelsea and I have had with our dogs. We both basically had these dogs for a decade of our lives, then lost them within months of having our first baby. He thinks our dogs were there to help us through the period of our lives where we were single, going through a lot and really needed a constant companion to guide us, watch over us and protect us. After we got married and had our babies, our dogs felt as though we were settling in and moving on to the next step and they have done their jobs. It is ok for them to go on because they know that we are going to be ok. It makes
me incredibly sad to think about it like this, but it is strangely comforting.

I will remember Shelby forever, and I pray that when she arrives in heaven, that she will continue to watch over us, and be our guardian angel.