Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas 2007

It's a few days past Abigail's first Christmas, and she has yet to open the presents that Mike and I bought for her. I am not sure when she's going to open them - Mike and I are talking about waiting until her birthday for some of them. She received so many presents from her grandmas and extended family, that she has enough to keep her occupied for quite awhile! She also got a lot of clothes, which is wonderful. Mike and I have been so lucky that we haven't had to buy her any clothes yet (except one package of socks and her Halloween costume).

She was interested in the presents - ripping the bows off of everything - and intently watching me peel back the wrapping paper. She got a lot of toys that she likes - most of which make obnoxious noise.

Aside from the cold that she brought home a few days before Christmas, that Mike and I both caught - we had a very nice Christmas. Also, Abigail's two top teeth did pop out before Christmas, too - so she got her two front teeth for Christmas. Mike really enjoyed that - he sang that song to her all week leading up to Christmas, hoping that they would pop through in time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Abby is getting so big

Abigail is getting so big so fast!  She will probably have another tooth before Christmas.  She is crawling around all over the place and is starting to climb, too.  It is getting harder to get her to go to sleep in her bed because she stands up and cries…She seems to be thinking about how to get from Point A to Point B without a handrail, too.  I think that in another month, she might be walking.  Of course, I have thought that she would be doing this or doing that, or have teeth, before, and I was always wrong…we’ll see.

Friday, December 7, 2007

11/13/1993 - 12/07/07

This morning, I had to say goodbye to my puppy dog and good friend, Rio. I can't write much about him right now, but will try to tell a few stories about him later. He was the sweetest dog and he had a good life. Rest in peace, Rio.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas and family pics








These pictures were taken by Kathy Hall - a wonderful photographer whom I met through my work. Thank you, Kathy!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I have a new Christmas present already

Mike bought me a brand new computer for Christmas! My old computer was a good step up for me when we originally bought it, but I have outgrown it and desperately needed something new. I use Photoshop a lot, and my old computer could barely run it. Every few pictures it would lock up the whole computer and I would have to restart. The wedding I did in October took me over a month to process the pictures because of it. I am trying to book a few more weddings for next year, so I will definitely need the ability to edit the pictures! Plus, the screen is so much better and that will make a BIG difference in editing the pictures!

Monday, November 19, 2007

We have a tooth!

Abby FINALLY has her first tooth! It pushed through on Thursday, but I haven't been able to get a picture of it yet! I will keep trying and hopefully post it on here soon! Yay!!!

7-month pics


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another milestone

Abby pulled herself up to her feet! She was laying in her bed and Mike and I were playing with her. She was laying on her back when she reached up for the bed rail. She pulled herself up to her knees, and then stood up! I laid her back down to see if she would do it again, and she did. Mike lowered the mattress to its lowest position. I can't believe she's growing so fast!

p.s. Still no teeth.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Abby's sick again...

Abby developed a runny nose last Thursday night. By Friday, she was congested and had a fever. She seemed a little better on Saturday and Sunday, although her nose still dripped like a leaky faucet. We went ahead and took her to the sitter's on Monday, but by Tuesday night, the runny nose hadn't gone away, and she started projectile vomiting. Mike and I started giving her Pedialyte in small increments, and the vomiting subsided. Now, for the last two days, she's had diarrhea. My poor baby has been sick for a solid week. She's handled it pretty well, though - sometimes still playing with her toys and talking and smiling to us. She's been clingy all week, and there have been many times that we've slept on the couch with her because setting her down ruined her world.

It's been over 12 hours since she had diarrhea, and I have started giving her a little bit of formula. I am crossing my fingers that she feels better. She STILL has the runny nose, but I am hoping that the runny nose could have more to do with teething than the vomiting/diarrhea illness.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Abby's 6 month pics


















Here are some recent pictures of Abby. I took her to Sears for her 6 month portraits, and was able to get some pictures of her in her Halloween costume. Also, the picture of Abby and me was my present to Mike for our anniversary.

Abby's almost 7 months old!

It's been a whole month since I posted - and the time has flown by. Abby is still not crawling up on her knees, but she's getting around very quickly and effortlessly. She is also starting to get brave - exploring the kitchen for example. She used to stay on the carpet in the living room, but now will follow me into the kitchen and scoot across that floor, too.

At her 6 month check-up, she weighed 18 lbs, and was 28 and 3/4 inches tall. She's in the 96th percentile for height and head circumference. It's a shame that they don't do the same for feet, because she has huge feet!

She's been sick this weekend - it might just be teething, but she's been miserable. She's been snotty and congested and an occasional fever. Friday night, Mike and I took shifts sitting up with her on the couch. I just want her to feel better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Abby's 6 months old!

Abby is still not crawling! And she STILL has no teeth! I really thought that she would have crossed both of those milestones by now. I bet Mike that she would crawl before October 1st - it seemed like she was really close to crawling over a month ago! Boy was I wrong!

We also thought that she was teething over a month ago, too. I don't see any little white bumps that resemble teeth at all. I am very surprised.

I can't believe she's 6 months old already! I am going to take her to get her pictures done somewhere - but I haven't decided where yet. We're also going shopping on Friday to buy her a Halloween costume. Where do you buy tiny costumes? I don't even know.

This also means that I need to get her into the doctor for her 6 month shots. I read about a patch that you can use on infants that acts as a local anesthetic so that the shots don't bother them at all. I think I am going to look for that for Abby.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Abby was sick for the first time, too.

On Monday, September 3rd, we noticed late in the evening that Abby felt really warm.  We took her temperature and her fever was 100.0.  Mike stayed home from work with her the next day and took her to her pediatrician.  They said it was a normal bug, and would last a few more days.  Mike stayed home on Wednesday, too.  I missed work on Thursday, and we were both off on Friday for the funeral.  She is much better now.

While she was sick, she was quiet and withdrawn.  She wasn't crying out loud at all.  Just fussy.  How lucky I am...

Grandma Spink

Mike's grandmother passed away on Tuesday, September 4th.  She had been in the hospital for almost a month, and had been in hospice's care for a few days preceeding her death.  Her funeral was Friday morning.  I am really glad that I have the picture of Abby, Mike, Debbie and Grandma from Mother's Day - it is very special to me.  

I failed miserably

Okay, so I haven't posted the pictures that I promised - but I will try to get that done tomorrow.  Since we got home from Arkansas, Abby has been sick, Mike's grandmother died, and I have worked a lot.  

Anyway, we left our house at 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  When we knocked on the door, Grandpa stared in disbelief and Grandma just hugged us all.  Abby was a big hit - she was passed around like a hot potato.  Everyone enjoyed holding her and taking care of her all weekend.  She was a very good baby - everyone kept telling me how lucky Mike and I are (I already knew that...).

We left her with Grandma on Saturday night while the rest of us went out for pizza.  We went to Larry's (I think), and it was a really neat place.  You paid for a buffet, but instead of going up to the buffet, the wait staff brought pizzas by your table and offered it to you.  They had some really strange pizzas, but they were all very tasty.  I blew my diet that night!

On Saturday, we went to Aunt Susie's and ate more.  Mike's cousin, Chris, and his wife, Steph, came home from vacation that day, so we were able to visit with them.  Steph is pregnant and due in early December, so we bought them a shower gift while we were there.  It was really neat to surprise them with the stuff.

We stayed all day on Sunday, and left around 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, so that Abby would sleep all of the way home - which she did.  It was a tense drive home, though, because we saw a lot of deer on the sides of the road, and Mike almost hit a coyote.  Wild.

It was a really nice visit, and we had a lot of fun.  I took a lot of pictures of Abby with her extended family.  I am hoping that we'll get her back down there in November.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This and that

I have a few things to post, but am short on time right now.  I recently ordered the hospital pictures of Abby, and have a CD of the images so I plan to post those on my page.  Also, Mike and I are taking Abby to visit his grandparents in Arkansas this weekend, so we're taking our first road trip...I am a little nervous.  I will write more when we get back.  Also, I have some other pictures to post, too.

I will try to get this all updated on Monday.  Have a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weight watchers update

I have been counting my points for two weeks now.  I am wearing a pair of pants that were too tight on me two weeks ago.  I am hoping to go down at least one more size.  I weighed myself and discovered that I lost 8 lbs.  I am so excited to know that it's working!  Fitting into the pants and actually seeing the scale reflect progress really motivates me.

I am only 3 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight!  Woo-hoo!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Abby rolled over!

Abby rolled over today!  She rolled from front to back, and back to front!  She was at Holly's for both of these events, and I couldn't get her to do it again for me.  Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Abby's 4 month appoitnment

Abby had her 4-month check up on Friday.  She weighs 15 lbs, 12.8 oz., which puts her in the 91st percentile.  She is 27.25 inches long, which puts her in the 97th percentile.  Supposedly, her head circumference is 16.25 inches, which would put her in the 61st percentile, but Mike thinks that they mismeasured that.  He might be right.

The pediatrician said that we can start her on cereal and food (which is why I am so excited about that coupon!).  We bought a box of rice cereal, and will hopefully start on that tonight.  Holly said that with her boys, she started the rice cereal first, and then about 2 weeks later, added fruit.  I figure that sounds like a reasonable plan, and so I am adopting it.

He also said that for her constipation, we can give her prune juice - which wasn't a popular idea with Abby last night- or we can give her some water.  

Lastly, she had all of her shots.  This was horrible.  She did really well for the first shot - whimpered a little, and then got over it quickly.  She was a little less forgiving of the second, crying with the third, and screaming for the fourth shot.  They tried to give her a fifth vaccine - it is an oral one, and she fought it every step of the way.  I felt so bad for her.  

We gave her some Tylenol before the shots, and she seemed to do okay after the fact.  She never really had a fever, but she did seem fussy all night on Friday, and was still fussy Saturday morning.  By last night, she seemed much better.

Target web coupon

My friend, Danielle, called me last night to tell me about this awesome coupon that she had, and let me know that she emailed it to me.  It's $1 off any two Gerber foods from Target.  The small jars of baby food are only $0.52 each, so you end up paying $0.04 for two jars of baby food.  The coupon has no limit to how many you can redeem, so Danielle bought 40 jars of baby food, and is going to visit different locations today to get a different variety.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this offer, and I plan to go buy a lot of baby food today and tomorrow.  The coupon expires Wednesday.

If anyone is interested, here is the link:

http://coupons.50webs.org/coupons37/coupon2.html

y only complaint is that I don't know where to find these coupons on my own.  I wish I knew how to find them!

Weight Watchers

The last few weeks have felt remarkably busy.  I had an employee on vacation one week, and helped out another store a different week, so I have been working a lot of hours.  In addition, Abby's schedule is changing, and we're still adapting to that.  I don't have any chance to blog or check email in the morning anymore, which is the only time I have traditionally been on my computer.

I started Weight Watchers this week.  I am inspired by my mom, who has been doing it for about 2 months, and looks great!  She's been giving me all of her clothes that she's too small for, which is great - it means I have clothes, but I am jealous that she's too small for them.  Also, my sister has started offering me her clothes that she's too small for, too.  It really motivates me.

Yesterday, Mike called me at work and told me that he found some weight watchers recipes online that he was going to make this week.  He's being very supportive, and I love him for that.  Last night we made herb chicken piccata - which was a jazzed-up lemon-pepper chicken.  It was fairly easy and fast, and something we both decided that we liked!  While Mike was making that, I steamed some broccoli and made some white rice, flavored with the leftover chicken broth that Mike was using.  

Tonight, we're probably making Irish Stew...I will let you know more about that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More pics of Abby




Pics of Abby



It's been a while

I feel like I haven't posted anything here in a long time.  I have been spending my time being pissed off and generally unhappy.  I have been looking for a new job, but am strangely remorseful about leaving my current one.  I mean, I actually like my job.  I enjoy what I do.  I like my customers.  I take pride in the accomplishments of my store.  I enjoy the (little bit of) control that I do have - writing my own schedule, being able to get out early if I need to, generally being the boss.  My main complaint is that it's just not the same as being home with Abby.  It wouldn't matter if it was the best job in the world, it's not the same as being at home.  

I have applied at a few jobs, and almost none of them are worth leaving what I have.  I currently have three years on the job, with 2 weeks of vacation, 2 personal days, and an established relationships with my coworkers.  Leaving my current job would also mean losing my employee discount - which would cost me a lot of money... :)

My float trip was entirely too short.  I needed a few more days to really unwind.  As it was, I was there for only 24 short hours, and had just barely started to feel like myself, when I had to come back home and get ready to go back to work the next day.  I am really looking forward to our November weekend.

I did get Abby's pictures taken, and I got some really cute ones.  I will get those posted soon.

I can't wait until this week is over.  I am working a lot of long hours - I am helping out another store, and I have an employee on vacation.  I want a dependable and available team again.  I wanted to be off work next Saturday so that I could help my neighbor move - but I have two employees who CAN'T be there, so I have to work.  It's been well over 10 years since I had a friend in my neighborhood that I liked to hang out with, and it breaks my heart that she is moving.  I know she'll still be close, but it's not the same.  I will miss my friend.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My work update...

Wednesday, I had a manager's meeting at our administrative office. I smoked one cigarette that morning - first one in almost a week, and I haven't smoked another one since then. The meeting was actually productive. We broke down into small groups and discussed innovative ways to bring customers in the doors. I think we've got some good ideas!

One of my employees is still not talking to me.  Today was a little better than the last few days, but not perfect.  I don't much care - I am not there to make friends right now.  I have friends at work - though not many in my store right now.  I am trying to implement some new ideas and getting much resistance.

Also, my stress at work lately surrounds the whole idea of customer service.  I think it's like the old adage about pornography - I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.  I try to teach my team what constitutes good and bad customer service, but it's hard.  I am starting to believe that it's something that is natural - you either have it or you don't.  

Anyway, after trying to teach my staff about this for the last month, I screwed up today.  I had a customer who wanted to speak with me and I told her I was closing tonight.  I didn't realize that Dave was working today, and I was actually off work early.  Well, that was a few days ago, and I had long since forgotten that she was coming in tonight, expecting me to be there.  She arrived at 6:30 and Dave told her that I had gone home for the day.  She was upset because she expected me to be there.  I apologized, via Dave.  I explained that I was confused about the days, and that I thought it was last night.  Dave smoothed things over with her, and she ended up buying the film camera that I talked to her about.  I feel terrible for not keeping my word and not being there when she arrived.  I also feel like a dumbsh*t in front of the same employees that I have been trying to teach customer service to.  

Oh well - I guess everyone makes mistakes.  I will probably write the woman a very sincere e-mail on Monday and ask for her understanding.  Thank goodness I am off work the next three days!  I really need it!!!

WFT 2007

I have my annual women's float trip this weekend. For those that don't know, it's a 20-year-old tradition started by my mom and her sisters, cousins and friends. They used to tent-camp and float in tubes. It was much more rustic then. Now, we rent a cabin in a state park and spend a lot of time in the air conditioned cabin with 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths. We have a full kitchen, missing only a microwave.  We eat a lot, drink a lot, and laugh a lot.  We still float, but we don't do it on Saturday or Sunday, to avoid the crowds.  We listen to good music, tell stories, bitch about our jobs, husbands, kids, cars or whatever else is eating at us.  The women who go are all friends and family, and there are no men or children allowed.  It's a wonderful experience.

Normally, I am so excited by now that I can't sit still, but I am just not in the right mood or frame of mind for this. I have been torn about this ever since I found out I was pregnant - figuring that I wouldn't know if I was going until it got close (depending on if Abby was still nursing, how I would feel about leaving her, if I would even be able to get off work, etc.). Well, I am leaving tomorrow and am still not feeling like I even want to go.

I usually ride with Holly, but she's not going this year.  I have talked to my Aunt Laurie about riding with her, and maybe that's not a bad idea.  I just feel so torn about the whole thing, that I hate to partner up with someone, which could potentially commit me to staying the entire weekend, when I might feel like leaving earlier.  I really hate relying on other people.  My mom taught me to be responsible for myself, so that I could be in control of my own destiny.  I have always had anxiety about riding in cars with other people if I am not driving.  I have control issues... :)

Anyway, I haven't packed, or shopped for what I would bring.  I can't say with absolute certainty that I am going, although I am sure it's probably the best thing I can do right now.  I do miss spending time with my family, especially mom.  I just am not sure that I am ready to be away from Abby for a whole weekend.  What if she grows while I am gone?  

Grrr...

Well, it's been an interesting week.

I got my pictures back of Abby and discovered that I am going to have to retake them.  I don't mind - I love taking pictures of her, but I didn't plan to do it this weekend.  Not to mention, she doesn't really fit in the little dress I put her in, and we'll have to do something different.  There is another dress I want her pictures in, but it's white and HOT pink, so I need a suitable background.  That's what kept me from using that dress before.  Sigh...

Also, my birthday was Tuesday.  I am 28 years old.  It was a nice birthday - Mike bought me 2 dozen yellow roses (I will get a picture posted, I promise - keep reading for reason why).  We stayed at home and Danielle and Steve came to our house.  We ordered pizza and watched TV.  I needed that kind of downtime.

Last night, Mike's mom called around 2 a.m. with numbness in her arms and then her heart started racing.  Mike drove over there, only to find her refusing medical treatment because she has no health insurance yet.  She's only been at her new job for a month now, and her insurance won't kick in until September.  

This morning, on my way to work, I was speeding on Hwy 255 when my luck finally ran out.  I was clocked at 80 mph in a 65 mph zone.  The Illinois state trooper pulled me over and wrote me a citation.  My fine is $75.  ...Sigh, again...

In addition to all of this, I also discovered that five of my picture files are corrupted.  The worst of it is that the June and July folders are basically useless.  I had most of the pictures on my memory cards still, so it's not a total loss.  I haven't yet found the portraits that I took of Abby in her baptismal gown.  I will be sad if those are gone forever.  I do have a recovery software that I haven't yet tried, but I won't have the chance to do that until Sunday.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yesterday

Mike and I were both off work yesterday.  We had a really nice day hanging out here at home with Abby.  We cleaned a little, napped a little, cooked a little.  Abby is teething, so she's not feeling good and sometimes not acting like herself.  I feel bad for her.  She prefers to chew on my finger or her hands, but we've tried introducing teethers.  She'll use them if she has to, but it's not her first choice.

I still haven't taken portraits for her 3 month pictures, but I did take a lot of pictures yesterday.  I am hoping that something turned out good enough to print.  I probably took about 80 rapid-fire pictures of her, in under 4 minutes.  I wanted to get my lights out and do something fun.  I chose to be lazy and just spend my time holding her rather than doing a bunch of work.

We also watched my nephews for a few hours yesterday.  They love Abby!  Mason and Brandon both want to make her laugh, hold her and get her attention.  When she looks at them, they light up!  I love Mason and Brandon so much, and it makes me happy that they like Abby.  

For dinner, Mike barbecued.  We had Patti (my neighbor) over and the three of us made kabobs.  Mike splurged and bought some really awesome steak to use.  They had peppers, onions, potatoes, mushrooms (ick!!!), tomatoes and steak.  They melted in my mouth!  We've been talking about barbecuing kabobs for over a month now, and it was awesome.  We made side dishes (potatoes and salad) to go with it, and none of us touched them!

Also, Patti told me that she was accepted into the apartment that she wanted to get into.  She'll probably move on August 4th.  I am very happy for her that she's going to have somewhere to live, but I will miss her like crazy!  She's only moving about 5 minutes from here, so she's still very close.  I will miss the convenience of being able to see her anytime.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Today

Well, another week has passed.  Abby is three months old today!  It's hard to believe that she's already three months old!  She looks so big to me right now!  Her favorite games include watching the ceiling fans and playing with her floor gym.  She has favorite songs - like Screaming Infidelities by Dashboard Confessional and Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks.  

We spent July 4th with Gary and the boys - that's always a lot of fun.  We also hung out with Margaret, Keith and Brianna from across the street.  Abigail spent the night with my mom that night.  

Also, last night Mike and I went to the Cards game...we lost.  But, we had a lot of fun with my coworkers.  It was Creve Coeur Camera night at the ballpark and we got our pictures taken with some of the players.  












I wanted to get some pictures of Abigail today, but I failed, miserably.  I haven't spent much time with her today - we were busy with the neighbors.  Maybe I can get it done tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A rough week

It's been a really rough week for me.  I had worked a lot of hours and also went to see my counselor, whom I have been seeing since I started back to work.  My appointment with her was terrible, and I am convinced that I don't ever need to go back and see her.  After I left her office, I was close to tears all day.  I felt empty and sad - not what I would expect after an appointment with a counselor.  Her advice was elementary and immature.

Next, I went to work.  Keith (my previous assistant manager) came by the store and I realized how much I miss him.  During the three years that we worked together, we developed a good friendship, and with how I feel about being there right now, I sure could use a good friend.  I just don't have that with Dave right now, and I am not sure there is even potential there for that.  

Friday night, my employees and I all went out to dinner after work.  It was just a casual way of trying to encourage a better atmosphere there, but I don't know if it worked or not.  Craig (the other assistant manager who was moved to the Ladue store) was supposed to show but he got stuck at work and was unable to make it.  Half of my staff was visibly disappointed that Craig didn't show, and I think that his absence at my store is making the morale situation worse.

I didn't get to see much of Abby during the last week.  Half of the nights that I came home she was already sleeping.  I am having a really hard time pumping at work, and because of that, my milk supply is almost gone.  I have three days off in a row, and am going to try to pump and increase my milk supply, but I have mixed feelings about it.  I mean, it's going to stop at some point.  Abby doesn't seem to miss it right now.  I am physically at a point where I could stop and it wouldn't cause my body any stress.  I do have a few events coming up where I will be separated from Abby for either overnight or an entire weekend - which would be more convenient if I didn't have to worry about pumping.  However, I love nursing her.  If anyone reading this hasn't experienced it, I can't explain how awesome it is.  If I stop, I can never do it again (at least with Abby - and there is a possibility that she may be my only child - not that I want that - we're planning on having more, but there are no guarantees in life - what if I don't ever have another child?).  There is so much more on this topic, but I am not sure I am ready to write it all out for everyone else to see.

Mike has been telling me the difference between Abby's cries - whether they mean that she's hungry or tired or whatever.  I know that the parents are supposed to be able to distinguish the cries, but I can't yet.  I feel like a failure as a mother, but realistically, I don't hear her cry that much.  I see her for about an hour in the morning, and she usually sleeps for half of that.  Maybe it will come with time.

I only have two and one half weeks before my women's float trip, and I am torn about this as well.  I am normally very excited by now.  I just don't feel that way.  I mean, I feel like I need a break, but on the other hand, don't really want to be away from Abby.  In addition, Holly isn't going to go, most likely, and that really bums me out.  We usually ride together, share a cooler, and take one day away from everyone else to go shop.  I am looking forward to having no responsibility, but wonder if I might be better staying at home that weekend.

In addition to my pity party, I have also been really worried about a few of my friends this week.  Danielle and Steve lost a wonderful pet this week.  Houston, an English Bulldog, was found in the woods near their home, apparent victim of human hands.  It sickens me to think that someone could purposely do that to an animal - especially one as sweet as Houston.  Also, my friend Patti has been fighting with her husband and they seem to be taking some time apart.  I don't know if it's permanent or not, but I know that she has a very heavy heart right now, trying to do what's best for her and for her children.

So, this post was very sad.  Sorry to be such a downer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New pictures of Abigail


She wouldn't wear the hat for long, but I was able to snap a few pictures and this one turned out best.


I think this picture might be my favorite so far.  I think it's the best smile I have caught with my camera!



She has been giggling lately and I can't help but laugh when she does it!  Last night, she was cracking up at me, and every time she laughed, I laughed and then she laughed harder.  We were both laughing at each other for a few minutes.  I wish I had captured it on video. 

Friday, June 22, 2007

Visiting daycares...

So, today, Mike and I went to three different daycares to find a back-up plan for Abigail.  Right now, my sister has her during the day, but she's looking for a job right now, and if she finds one, we'll lose our wonderful babysitter.  

Most everyone who knows me realizes that I wanted to stay home with Abigail, and that this is a really hard thing for me.  It has been really comforting to know that she's with Holly - I haven't cried on my way to work at all.  I have successfully completed 3 weeks of work, and I feel okay about leaving Abby with Holly.  However, we really need to be prepared for Holly to get a teaching job (and for her sake, I really hope she does).

Our first stop today was KinderCare.  This particular center is across the street from Mike's work.  It is the most convenient and the most expensive.  The staff was young, but very friendly.  They spent a lot of time with us, letting us look around the facility.  The teachers take the children outside each day and they take pictures of the children frequently.  Each child gets their own crib that the parents can decorate to make it feel more like home (mobiles, crib ornaments, etc.).  

Our second stop was ChildTime.  This place was really nice.  The staff seemed a little more experienced and personable.  The location of this one is a little less convenient to get to, but it's closer to home.  The rules and general operation of the facilities didn't seem to vary much.

Our third stop was La Petit Academy and neither of us really liked that one.  La Petit didn't offer any part-time availability, which is what we would be most interested in.  In addition, the space was much smaller.  I felt cramped while I was in there talking to the teachers, and can imagine what it would be like at drop-off or pick-up time.

All in all, my general feeling on the matter is that wherever she goes, it's still second-rate.  She would be better off with me, or with Holly.  Although the ladies at the daycares knew the children's names, it feels somehow impersonal, and inferior to the type of loving attention that Abby would get from someone who truly loves her.

I am more than a little hesitant to do this.  I am nauseous just writing about it.  I know that I am being irrational - there are many people who have children in daycare and they all turn out just fine.  I just have to keep telling myself that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day to Mike, and Abigail's Baptism


Today was a very special day for us!  Not only was it Mike's first Father's Day, but it was also the day we had Abigail baptized.  The ceremony was perfect.  Abigail was more startled by Fr. Goldian's voice than by the water being poured on her head.  She was awake and alert for all of it. My mother-in-law took pictures for us, while my brother-in-law used my camcorder for us.  

We had a small reception at our house after the ceremony.  We barbecued and had lots of food. There was pasta salad, potato salad, baked bean casserole and LOTS of brownies!  Yum!

The list of guests included Danielle and Steve (Abby's Godparents), my mom and gramma, Mike's mom and his grandma, Holly and Gary and the boys, Michele and Mike, Aunt Pat and Uncle Vic, and Grandma Pat.  Abigail received lots of gifts, including a child's Bible, rosary, cross for her wall, photo album, keepsake box and more.

As an added bonus, she slept all night last night!  We put her in her bed at 9:00, and she slept until 5:30 this morning!  I guess that baby girl was so exhausted from all of the attention, that she needed lots of rest!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Second week of work

This week was pretty stressful at work.  My boss called me on Tuesday and started talking to me about transferring me to another store.  I spent the next three days talking to my boss about different scenarios - moving me, moving my assistant manager, etc.  The problem is that while I was on maternity leave, my store was being managed by two assistant managers, and now that I am back, one of the three of us has to leave.  We can't have all three of us at one store.  It's very sad, because one of them is an extremely good salesperson, while the other is a great manager and motivator.  Either way, my store was losing out.  

It was finally resolved at 7:00 last night.  I am staying at my store, which is good for me.  I am keeping Dave - the salesperson - and Craig is going to Ladue.  I will really miss Craig.  He contributes a lot to the general morale around that store - keeping everyone laughing and having fun.  

Either way it went, I was prepared to be disappointed - there was not really a way for my store to have the best of both worlds here.  

In addition, I had purposely scheduled myself with a lot of early days this week, knowing that it would be my last week with two assistant managers to take care of closing, but only got out early one day.  Sigh.  Hopefully, I will be able to get out early tomorrow for the graduation party.

I can definitely say that I am glad this week is over!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

This week's events

I started back to work this week.  I have already worked close to 40 hours, and I still have today to work.  It seems as though there is a lot of work to do to my store to get things where they should be.  My employees don't seem to be getting along right now, customer service is a foreign concept, and I am not sure that this staff is going to get me through Christmas.  I know, it seems early to think about that, but in the world of retail - that's what it's all about.

Physically, this week was pretty hard.  My entire body has ached - probably because it's so not used to being on my feet for so long.  I am also completely exhausted.  Mike has been wonderful this week - he's gotten up with Abby and me during the night feedings.  Our routine this week has been that I nurse her and then he puts her to bed, which can sometimes be challenging.  I could sleep standing up right now.

Also, Abigail had her two month check up with Dr. Remus.  The good news is that Abby weighs 12 lbs, and is in the 80th percentile for weight.  She is also 24.75 inches long, and is in the 97th percentile for height.  The bad news is that she had 5 shots yesterday - a hepatitis vaccination, tetanus vaccination, and a few others.  She was fairly fussy last night, but she's been on tylenol since we left the doctor's office.  She didn't go to bed until almost 11:30 last night, and she slept all the way until 6 a.m.  It was nice to sleep all night.

This week, I am working early most of the days, which will be nice.  We have to get ready for Abigail's baptism, which may or may not take place on Father's Day.  We have it scheduled for the 11:30 mass on Father's Day, but the church has called and asked us to move it, which we really don't want to do.  We'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My first day of work...

Yesterday was my first day back to work.  I got up early and started getting ready before Abigail woke up.  We did okay getting our stuff together and getting out of here on time.  I took Abby to Holly's and chatted with Holly for a short time before leaving for work.  I didn't cry - which I am very proud of myself for.

I had a short meeting with my boss at the administrative office before heading to my store.  I arrived at my store at about 10:30.  I wandered around in a daze for a little while, trying to figure out where to start.  I decided to meet with each employee in my office for a "state of the union" type conversation - to find out what had been going on since I left, and if there were any personnel issues I needed to know about.  

I was also able to pump my breast milk twice - but I didn't get nearly as much as I should've, because the line to my pump had a hole in it.  I think I might have that fixed, now, and today I should be able to be more productive.

Around 2:30, I was in my office with my assistant manager, and Megan walked in with a bouquet of yellow flowers from Mike and Abigail.  They were so beautiful.  There were roses and sunflowers and lillies.  It is such a happy-looking bouquet!  I will post a picture of them tonight.

My boss had asked me, during our morning meeting, to work on customer service at my store. By the end of the day, I had decided to do a contest at my store that would encourage better customer service, while maybe providing some fun competition, too.  I am actually a little excited about the contest - I think it will be fun!

I stayed for my entire shift.  I didn't leave the store until 6:00.  I was so tired when I got home, and my feet hurt (I wore a bad pair of shoes).  As soon as I walked through the door, Mike handed Abby to me, and I held her all evening.  She nursed on me most of the evening, but we did get a little time to play and coo at each other.  I really missed her yesterday!

All in all, it was a pretty good day.  I didn't talk to any customers, though, so it wasn't really an accurate representation of what's in store for me.  And, it was an early shift - which isn't really normal either.  Today and tomorrow are both long days for me - I am working open to close. These are the days I dread.

So, I am going to start getting ready for work now.  I am telling myself to take this one day at a time - it's the only way I think I can do this without feeling really overwhelmed.  Here we go...Day 2...

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Packing away maternity clothes

Yesterday, I went shopping for new work clothes.  I can't wear maternity clothes forever.  I bought 4 pairs of pants, but I only like 2 of them.  I have spent my afternoon packing away my maternity clothes into different totes - sorted by season and style.  I am slowly getting my life back to normal - whatever that might be.

It's a wierd feeling to put and end to that chapter of my life.  I waited for a long time to start our family.  I remember finding out I was pregnant.  I was at work and I had a test in the desk (just in case).  I took it and it was positive.  I stood there in disbelief.  The previous night, Mike and I had talked about whether or not we were ready to try.  We'd been in the house for almost a month.  I realized that I needed to quickly get ready to face my employees, and Keith walked in.  I have never had a good poker face so I told him.  He was the first one I told.  I didn't want to tell Mike over the phone.  I stayed at work until 2 o'clock that day (which I thought was really good!).  I stopped at Walgreen's on the way home and bought another test.  I figured that I could let the test tell Mike!  

Fast forward to my first ultrasound.  What the doctor saw on the screen didn't jive with my date, so they scheduled another one.  My heart dropped to think that I could have another miscarriage.  Then the second ultrasound came and they wanted to schedule a third ultrasound.  By the time the third ultrasound came, I was confident that everything was going to be okay.

Then, we got to tell everyone!  Grandma Rhoads didn't believe us, while Grandpa Rhoads couldn't contain himself!  Debbie screamed at Red Lobster.  Pat hugged me and rubbed my belly!  It was such a happy time.

The holidays were special this year.  Mike and I made plans for next year - promising that we were going to spend time at home, with our family.  

After that, I had my two baby showers.  Holly threw one for my side of the family and Debbie threw one for her side of the family.  I couldn't believe all of the beautiful clothes we received.  I couldn't wait to dress Abigail in them!

After she was born, I was in shock.  The first week is a blur in my memory.  Running back and forth to the hospital was exhausting.  I wanted to bring her home with me so bad.  Having Mom stay here for a few days was wonderful!  She cooked and cleaned my house, and she got up with me in the middle of the night - even though I was nursing and she couldn't really help much.  

Since then, we've accomplished a lot.  Abby has been breastfeeding since we brought her home, and that was a huge challenge.  She's starting to sleep a little longer at night, which is really nice.  Last week, she started smiling!  I have been cherishing all of the time I get to spend with her.

Looking back at all of this today, while I am putting these clothes away, I am not ready for it all to be over.  It seems as though there is a strange time-warp.  The act of packing this all away makes it seem further away than it should be.  All of a sudden, 2 months feels like a long time, and it feels like it only lasted 5 minutes.  I don't know how to describe it.  

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

This is my last long holiday weekend before I go back to work.  It's hard to believe that I am going back in only 8 days.  It will be very wierd to see all of the customers again.  I had pretty much told them that I was not coming back.  I really thought I was done with that place.  

We stayed home Friday night, because my truck wouldn't start.  We were supposed to go see Grandma Pat, but ended up watching tv.  Saturday, we went to my mom's house and hung out there.  Sunday, we hung out next door with Patti.  Today, we're not doing much except probably cleaning house.  The more work we get done today, the more time I can enjoy spending with Abby this week.  I don't know what we'll do.  I think we might go shopping for some work clothes for me - seeing as how I am not in my pre-pregnancy clothes yet!

It's hard to believe that Abby will be 8 weeks old next week.  I have really felt like being a bum for the last two months.  I haven't wanted to go anywhere or see anyone.  I want to stay home and take care of Abby and clean my house.  I haven't even taken very many pictures of her - and that's really out of character for me!  I am hoping that getting into a routine with work and my new family will help to make me feel human again.  I feel like the last 6 weeks have just been a strange time-void that didn't really happen.  I don't know how to describe this.

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, I am starting to think about what this summer will bring.  In three weeks, my two cousins, Kevin and Becky, will be celebrating their high-school graduation!  That makes me feel old...Also, in three weeks, Mike will experience his first Father's Day, and that will be the day that Abigail will be baptized.  After that, we'll have 4th of July, which is always fun with Mason and Brandon!  A few weeks after that will be the women's float trip (WFT) - my annual unload-all-the-stress-and-have-time-just-for-me mini vacation.  I am looking forward to that, but don't know if I want to leave Abby.  After that, Holly will hopefully start teaching, and we'll have to find something to do with Abigail.  It seems like such a short time from now, and I am sure it will pass in the blink of an eye.  Then, we'll have Labor Day and summer will be over.

Hopefully, I will have lots of pictures to post from all of these occasions!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Abby is almost 6 weeks old

Abby is almost 6 weeks old already! I can't believe it. We had our first Mother's Day - which was so busy. We went to my mom's and Mike's mom's to see the extended family. We were gone all day, and I didn't see much of Abby because we were sharing her with all the family who hadn't seen her yet.

I go back to work in 2 weeks, ughh! I am going back to Creve Coeur Camera, which will definitely keep me busy. I am not looking forward to being away from Abby, but what can I say, being grown up sucks! I have so much stuff I still need to accomplish before I go back. I haven't tried on any non-maternity clothes, I haven't finished sending out thank-you cards or birth announcements, and I need to sort through Abby's clothes to separate out what doesn't fit her. In addition, I wanted to clean the office and file all of our bills and paperwork (I need a file for Abby's important documents). I also wanted to go to the doctor to see what I did to my knees - they've been hurting me since March! I am so not ready to go back to work!!!

On the bright side, Abby will be baptized in 2 weeks! I am really looking forward to that! I can't decide on a gown for her. Grandma Pat has offered to create a gown for her out of my wedding dress. I think it's a really neat idea, but am not sure I am ready to part with my dress. It's silly, because until Pat offered that, I didn't even know where my dress was. I am never going to wear it again, and Abby probably won't, either. It would be a type of heirloom for Abby, and that would be really cool. Cutting it up is just so final...

Other than that, we're doing pretty well. We generally have our routine - except last night Abby didn't go back to sleep after the 3 a.m. feeding. I have been up since then. Oh well, maybe I can get her to take a long nap this afternoon...

Monday, May 7, 2007

A lot going on...

Abby is doing really well! She’s only getting me up once in the middle of the night, and she doesn’t cry very much at all. She is very alert during the day. The only complaint I have is that she doesn’t seem to sleep very deep, and if I have to put her in the crib because she fell asleep on me, she will wake up. If she falls asleep on me (or Mike), we’re pretty much stuck there until she wakes up. I have been breastfeeding, and that is going really well. We don’t fight very much anymore.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my job. Mike wants me to go back to CCC, but I REALLY don’t want to. I don’t want to be away from Abby that much. I don’t want to be an hour away from my newborn baby, and I don’t want to give up breastfeeding that early. I don’t want to put her in daycare – which, if I go to CCC we can avoid if I work every weekend and Mike works 4 10-hour days, with his mom watching Abby on Fridays – but that leaves me and Mike without ANY time off together, and me missing out on any extracurricular activities (like family reunions, trips to Arkansas to see Mike’s family, graduation parties, camping trips, etc.). I am just not happy with that at all.

My other options are to find a Monday-Friday job, which would put Abby in day care but give us time as a family on the weekends. I wanted to work part-time somewhere, but it’s hard to find something that will work around Mike’s schedule and make the amount of money we need to make it work. It’s one big freaking puzzle and it really bums me out.

In addition to the stress of figuring out my employment, my car has been broken all last week. I had a job interview on Friday at a bank, but I never made it because I wrecked Holly’s car. I totaled it! I hydroplaned on 55 and hit a truck and a concrete wall. I was very lucky, I walked away without a scratch, but I feel really bad for Holly and Gary. They weren’t ready to undertake a task like replacing Holly’s car.

In the meantime, I haven’t yet rescheduled the bank interview, and am not sure it’s even worth it. I am very discouraged!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welcome Baby Abigail

Abigail Lynn was born on Easter. My water broke at 3:30 a.m. and we checked into the hospital at 6:00 a.m. I began pushing around 3 or so, and she wasn't born until 6:38 p.m. I was in labor for 15 hours! I was shocked! I expected a shorter labor, because I had heard that it was somewhat hereditary, and my mom and my sis both had short labors. Not I...15 hours with 3 hours of hard pushing! When I finished, I looked like I got hit by a mack truck! My husband was phenomenal during labor and delivery - he did watch her come out, and he did cut the cord. My mom was in there with me and she was wonderful! My girlfriend was also in there taking pictures of the labor and stuff. It was the most exciting experience of my life. She weighed 8 lbs, 15 oz. and is 21 inches long. She has lots of hair (I expected that with the constant heartburn I had), and huge feet!!! I think she can wear shoes made for a 2 year old.

I was released from the hospital yesterday, but they are keeping Abby until Sunday. She had fluid in her lungs and was having trouble breathing. She's been diagnosed with pneumonia, but seems to feel fine. They did have her on oxygen for about 36 hours, but they weaned her off of it, and she's been breathing well for almost 48 hours now. Today, they removed her IV fluids, and they're feeding her whenever she's hungry. We weren't able to hold her all day Monday, but yesterday and today we've been able to change her, feed her and hold her. She's really getting the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing, even though the special care nurses are giving her formula. I am really hoping that my milk will come in tomorrow, so that we can start feeding her my milk.

I feel pretty good, but I am still on pain medicine. My feet don't fit in any of my shoes - even the sandals! There is so much more to tell, but I am exhausted and have a lot to do tonight before bed. We're going to pack a few clothes for her to wear - she's too big for the clothes that the hospital uses for newborns, and I am going to try to get a few pictures emailed out to the extended family.

I will try to check back in here, but we're spending all of our time at the hospital this week, just staring at Abigail and watching her sleep.