Thursday, May 10, 2012

Herbs and Flour... what?!

So one of the things us military spouses have on our hands is a lot of free time. Of course children help busy us, but there's still a fair share of down time WITHOUT your husband! So hobbies are important to keep you busy! I've decided since cooking is one of my favorite things in the world, I should try baking and further... I should try gardening. What a feat! I decided the most practical thing to grow is herbs, so I enlisted the help of a few other spouses that know a thing or two about gardening and I started my own teeny tiny herb garden (in pots!) I've added a few flowers for color. I plan to add more over time, but geez gardening is not inexpensive to get started!
Currently I'm growing basil, parsley, and rosemary.
Those are thing herbs I use most often. I intend to add mint to the garden and if I'm BOLD I want to try yellow bell peppers and tomatoes. At our lunch today, I learned that tomatoes can actually be grown in pots. WHO KNEW?! I'm seriously considering trying it. I definitely want to add some more flowers for color as well. But, all in time... I can't do everything all at once... another lesson God is teaching me at the moment.

In an effort to learn more about gardening from folks around here, I corralled some of the spouses that like gardening into attending a Girls Gardening Brunch. Everyone brought something to share. It was very intimate. 3 spouses total, including me. We all baked our hearts out. We used fresh ingredients when at all possible.
I made Strawberry Rosemary scones. And GUESS WHAT?! I snipped that rosemary from my OWN rosemary pot! It felt so neat to actually use what I'm growing outside. Really a rewarding and relaxing hobby.
In terms of baking, I'm really pushing myself to have better patience measuring and leveling off ingredients. I love cooking so much because it's very experimental. Baking is sort of like the science experiment that BLOWS UP if you do 1 thing wrong. For example, check out my 4-hr attempt yesterday. I wanted to surprise my extremely overworked and tired husband with TWO different types of cookies. Folks, please understand me... I can barely get a pre-made pack of frozen cookie dough correct, so baking non-traditional cookies from scratch is loco! But I wanted to treat him. We rarely have sweets in the house and I don't buy snacks. (I find that when I have snacks and sweets in the house that's ALL we eat.) So, I found 2 recipes: 1)Giada's Double Chocolate cookies and; 2) Crinkle Cookies (from Ambitious, I know!

Well, guess what! I accidentally tripled the amount of butter for the Double Choc cookies and they melted like fudge all over my cookie sheet. I was near tears. After 4 hrs of SLAVING in the kitchen. All I had was goobly goop.
My husband walked in and asked what the brown stuff on the stove was. SIGH. So, I picked my pouting lip up off the floor and set out to make the Crinkle cookies and they came out PICTURE PERFECT!!! Thank God for patience.
I feel a lot more confident trying baked things that are breakfast items. So, I started making my pancakes from scratch instead of using the JUST ADD WATER box mix. MUCH EASIER!! Success on the 1st try! I am also adding fresh in-season fruits to the pancakes! Today and yesterday we enjoyed fresh baked blueberry pancakes. Tomorrow we are having blackberry pancakes. Mariah LOVES fruit. She just didn't know what to do with herself. Look how happy she is after a healthful homemade breakfast! I hope to learn to make fresh bread from scratch without using a breadmaker. Wouldn't that be neat?!
Both the gardening and the cooking from scratch all have meshed with my new found interest in eating healthier. I want to be more conscious about the foods going into my, my husband, and my children's body. I realize that I'm providing the sustenance that will foster Mariah (and my husbands) eating habits. I want to be sure I'm teaching Mariah to like healthy eating and portion control. As for my husband, well he's not quite 30 yrs old but, I'm determining what will go into his body. I don't want to spend 20 yrs clogging his arteries! Nutrition is becoming increasingly important to me. :0)

After all, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should treat them with great care. :0)

Home. Sweet. Home.

It's official. After 9 weeks of waiting, 7 in a hotel and 2 in a dear friend's guest room we have a new home! We are in the process of sending out change of address cards so everyone knows where to find us!
The 4 bedrooms has been a great blessing. Michael finally has his OWN office which allows him dedicated space to study. It's been really useful for him. I hung his commissioning document and USMC posters on the walls. It's super macho in there. I know he loves it. LOL. Mariah's room is a work in progress. I don't have the wall space I used to in either of her other two rooms so I'm trying to figure out what to put where. I am also working on bringing in a muted sage with the pink. I made some really cute letters to put on her wall. Chip board and scrapbook paper! WHO KNEW?!

Baby boy's room is upstairs as well. He is splitting it with the guest bed because realistically the guest bed will be empty 90% of the time. When we do have guests, he can come sleep in our room in the pack and play. I'm still sorting out what I want his room to look like. But, I'm using red, white, and blue with a vintage aviation theme. Here is the bed set I want. It's more expensive than I wanted, but it is truly perfect. Still thinking on it. :0)
Downstairs has been so fun to do. My pillows look amazing. My wall is a bit too BLUE. I wanted it to be more of a grey blue and its more of a baby blue. But I'm getting used to it. I also think once I add wall art, it won't be SO MUCH BLUE! LOL. Right now its one blue blank wall. The colors mesh well.

My dining room is quite serene. I really enjoy the natural colors in there and the chairs from World Market are perfect. I need to finish off the guest room with headboard and new end tables. My next project is to work on our outdoor patio. I've added an outdoor rug that allows Mariah and I to walk out barefoot. I don't like standing on that dirty concrete. EWWW! Anywho. Home. Sweet. Home. Praise God!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I dream in blues....

So transitioning to Kingsville Texas for jet training has been ... lengthy to say the least. To recap, we found out on January 26 (Mariah's 1st BDAY!) that Michael was selected to fly fighter jets for the US Marine Corps. This has been a childhood dream of his that God so graciously blessed him with. Truly a humbling moment when you find out that God has decided to take you down a path that you are CRAZY excited about! Anywho, he had to arrive to complete the check-in process by Feb.12. So we packed and moved into the on-base hotel since we couldn't find a satisfactory housing arrangement fast enough. We were sure we'd find something soon... or so we thought! But as they say good things go to those who wait. We stayed in the hotel for 6 weeks! Fortunately the hotel suite had 2 separate rooms and a full kitchen so we could make it feel very much like home. Michael still got home cooked meals and Mariah had her own room. Our good friends, The Cummins, arrived in Kingsville a few weeks ago as well. They will also be a part of the jet community! They nailed down housing much faster than we were able to and offered us their guest room while we continue to wait. So that's where we are now! It's like being college roommates all over again, just with real jobs, and a kid. LOL. It's quite fun. It looks like we will be in our 4-bdrm townhouse on April 13 just in time for the Blue Angels Airshow on the 14th & 15th.

In the mean time my latest hobby has been redesigning our living room. I found this gorgeous sofa at Pier 1 on sale about 6 weeks ago. We bought it and are in the process of coordinating the room around it. I wanted to be sure that the room coordinates without matching too much. So I tuned into to HGTV, googled design advice and here is what I've come up with. Click these to see the photos:


Arm Chair

End Table


Pillows: My new roomie has a sewing machine so I thought a great way to save $ would be to sew my throw pillows instead of buying them! Check them out!

Can't wait to see it all together! Until then I'll continue to DREAM OF MY BLUE AND BROWN LIVING ROOM! Toodles....

OH! And for those of you that are wondering... we are having a baby boy, due July 22.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where in the world are the McGehee's?! I know! It's been awhile.

Well I knew I'd get back to blogging at some point. I just didn't think it'd be almost a year! HA. A lot has changed. We are much further along the military flight training journey. We are currently in advanced jet training. Michael will fly either the Harrier or F-18 Super Hornet. This is truly a dream realized for him. He's dreamt of this job since he was 5-years old. I'm so incredibly happy for him.

Family life keeps us really busy though. Mariah is now 1 years old! Can you believe it?! And thanks to Babywise, it was a restful year. In November though, things began to slow down when I found out we are expecting our 2nd child. This comes as a great blessing! Parenthood has been a huge blessing in our lives. Michael and I both have been forever changed by becoming parents. :0)

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and to celebrate the right way, we took Mariah to dinner at (the only restaurant in this crazy small town) Chili's! LOL. She dressed for the occasion. Daddy was smitten with his little girl!

This is just a quick update, but I'll certainly begin to blog more. We are slated to be in jet training for about 12-14 months. I am 18 weeks pregnant and due July 22. My birthday is July 18, so how neat would that be!

We'll be in touch. :0)

Monday, June 20, 2011

21 weeks...really?!

I cannot believe 21 weeks have passed since I've become a mother. I've told you all over and over how blessed I feel to have this precious role in life. Though, at some point you'd expect the newness to fade away. It hasn't yet! Ha! Each day, I still wake up overjoyed to walk across the living room, down the hall, and into my sweet babygirl's room. I peer over her crib and whisper "Sweet Pea." She pops up, all fuzzy eyed and crinkles her nose as her eyes bring Mommy's face into focus. It warms my heart with such a joy.

She has grown so much! I mean literally. She is over double her weight from birth! She weighed in at 14 lbs at her 4 month appointment. She'll be 5 months next week on the 26th. She rolls over front to back and back to front. She hums to herself, kicks and coos when she's oober excited. She smiles the biggest smile when Mommy & Daddy make funny noises. She chews her fingers and gobbles down rice cereal. She kicks and squirms during diaper changes because she absolutely loves changing clothes! She is intrigued by the water in her bath tub during bathtime. She is learning so much every single moment of the day. Oh! and, she's also an amazing sleeper.

Babywise has served our family very well and our doctor is amazed at how well Mariah sleeps. She is so impressed with how well-rested and not cranky our child is. Let's see, her schedule hasn't evolved much since last we chatted. We are in Phase 3 of Babywise which means she eats 4 to 6 times a day and sleeps 10 to 12 hrs at night with 3 to 4 consistent naps everyday. Her schedule is;

7 a.m. (nursing only)
10:30 a.m. (nursing only)
2:00 p.m. (nursing + rice cereal)
5:00 p.m. (nursing only + rice cereal)
7:30 p.m. (nursing only)

She sleeps as follows:
8:30a - 10:30a NAP
12:00p - 2:00p NAP
3:30p - 5:00p NAP
6:00p - 7:00p Optional NAP
8:00p - 7:00a NIGHTTIME SLEEP

These feed and sleep times very by 30 minutes some days because each day has its own flavor. Ha ha. But, in general, the schedule follows that structure. As Babywise always says...BE FLEXIBLE! More info on babywise:

Parenthood has truly been a joy for both my husband and I. We can't wait to do it all over again!!! (maybe 4 more times! HA!)Here's a recap of her monthly photos.


NEWBORN (10 days old)





5 MONTHS are being taken today!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Silent Ranks

I wear no uniforms, no blues or greens
But I am in the Marines in the ranks rarely seen.

I have no rank upon my shoulders - salutes I do not give
But the military world is the place where I live.

I'm not in the chain of command, orders I do not get
But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget.

I'm not the one who fires the weapon, who puts my life on the line
But my job is just as tough. I'm the one that's left behind.

My husband is a patriot, a brave and prideful man
And the call to serve his country not all can understand.

Behind the lines I see the things needed to keep this country free
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me.

I love the man I married, Soldiering is his life
But I stand among the silent ranks known as the Marine Wife.

by Unknown

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vacation from a Vacation

It's been quite some time since I've written. I apologize for the late update. My husband successfully completed Phase 1, IFS, of training. After which we took a 10-day trip to visit family in Texas. We spent several days in Houston and a couple days in Austin. My biggest concern was keeping Mariah on her schedule. I didn't want to completely abandon what she's been used to for so long. I also hoped that she would continue to sleep through the night though we were in a completely new place. All my Babywise friends told me to expect her to get off schedule, enjoy the time with family, and worry about getting back on schedule when we return home. Did I listen? No! So, I packed up her bassinet, swaddle, portable bed, and everything else she is used to. My husband and I literally had 1 suitcase in our entire SUV. The rest was all her stuff! (should have taken a picture of that madness!) I honored her awake and feed times on the road, which turned an 8 hr trip into 11 hours. We didn't mind though. Once we'd arrived to grandma's house in Houston. We setup our room EXACTLY how she was accustomed to things are at home. She did pretty well actually. The first few nights she woke up at an odd hour. I gave her the pacifier and she went back down. After about 3 nights, she was back on routine. Her biggest struggle was napping during the day. Everyone wanted to see the baby! I think people that haven't had kids in a long time forget HOW LONG NEWBORNS SLEEP! I often heard folks mumble, "that baby is always sleeping!" Well, it's true she did nap quite a bit...but HEY that's what she is used to...that's what she likes. (Remember, daytime sleep begets night sleep.)

All in all the family enjoyed meeting her! She had a grand ole time and loved all the attention. My grandma, Mariah's great-grandma, would take her after her early morning feeding and just talk to her! Mariah loved loved loved it! She just eats up all the attention. She'd sit there and smile and listen and even try to talk back! She also was able to get some tummy time and watch her Your Baby Can Read video a bit.

She did quite well, I think. While we were in Houston, I surprised my husband with two tickets to the NCAA Final Four Championship. He and my uncle went and had a grand ole time. Though they did say the game itself left much to be desired. It was apparently a low scoring game that seemed to drag on forever. We also visited my FAVORITE church in Houston, Second Baptist Woodway Campus! I always make a point to attend there whenever in Houston. In fact, it was Mariah's first time at church! It was so special. :)

When the time came to travel to Austin, I wasn't sure she'd transition to traveling again! We were only planning on spending two nights in Austin so by the time she settled in, we'd be on the road AGAIN! She did okay. Her night time rest went well. But yet again, her day time naps were off. This led to interruptions in her nighttime sleep. It became quite challenging at times. But, we were glad to be able to visit family. One night in particular was hilariously fun! I visited with my aunt, cousins and high school/college bff. We all had a blast flipping through old photo albums. When I say old I mean, pictures of my aunt and my mom as kids. Pictures of my maternal grandparents, now deceased. I saw a few pics of myself that I'm more than embarrassed to show! Ha ha. Good times. Lots of laughter. I'm sure I burned at least 300 calories from laughing so hard!

We are back home now and things are back to normal. I've tweaked her schedule (below) just a bit to prepare for the next Babywise milestone: dropping her last feeding so that she transitions to 10-12 hours of continuous sleep. I've been getting back in the swing of things because after all that driving I needed a vacation from vacation!

12-wk Babywise Schedule

7:00 am FEED
8:00 - 10:00am NAP

10:00 am FEED
11:00am - 12:30pm NAP

12:30pm FEED
1:30 - 3:00pm NAP

3:00pm FEED
4:00 - 5:30pm NAP

5:30pm FEED
7:00 - 8:00pm NAP

BEDTIME - 8:00pm FEED and go directly to bed.

DREAMFEED - 10:30pm (will drop at 16 wks to yield 11 hrs of continuous sleep!) YAY

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Solo Flight Is On The Horizon

Just a quick note to say that my husbands first solo flight completely by himself is on Tuesday. Mariah and I are planning to go watch him and take pictures. We are so excited. Successful completion of his solo flight marks the end of Phase 1 of training. Then, we'll take a vacation to Houston for a week or so. He's slated to start Phase 2 mid-April. Wooohoo!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Babywise Update: How's It Going (Week 8)

Hey there folks. I want to be sure to update my blog as often as possible. I have so many things to share, mommiehood, being a military wife, and what's going on with Mariah. I'll also try to dedicate a few posts to Babywise, the parent directed feeding method Michael and I are using. Mariah has started her OWN blog to keep you all updated on what she's up to. Be sure to sign up to FOLLOW her blog.

Babywise weeks 7-9 is the time period all mommies secretly can't wait to get to. Why? Because that's when the middle of the night feeding should drop off. If following the Feed --> Wake --> Sleep routine on a 2 1/2 - 3 hr schedule prior to week 7, baby should sleep at least 7 to 8 hours through the night by week 9. I'm happy to say we've hit that mark! How did we get here? Now that's what makes this an entertaining post! It's been constant flexibility and persistence on our part. We've had to work very hard at feeding her on schedule, keeping her awake directly after eating, and putting her down for a nap after her wake time. Through these couple months, we've made several mistakes. We had some really good days right on schedule and some rough days. The key, however, to recovering from an "off-day" is to get back on schedule. This may take a couple of feedings, but aim to get back on your regular routine. Staying on routine not only trains your lactation and metabolism, but it also keeps baby's stomach in check! Baby's tummy begins to become hungry and expect food at your scheduled times. This allows baby to eat a FULL MEAL and not snack feed. This also ensures mom is secure in knowing what baby wants and needs throughout the day. If it's Noon and she eats at Noon, then she's crying because she's hungry. If it's 1 p.m. and she just ate, then you know she needs a nap. If it's in the middle of a nap after a full feeding, then you know it's a dirty diaper or trapped gas. (This isn't perfect by any means. There are times when you just can't figure it out.)

Weeks 5 -8 in particular have taught us several things. Here are our highlights-

Mistakes We Made

1) Calculating wake time:
I realized very recently that we'd been calculating waketime all wrong. For those not familiar with the Babywise method, waketime is the amount of time the baby is awake...between naps. I thought it meant the time AFTER a feeding. But, no! It is the time awake, including feedings. For example, on a 6a, 9a, 12p, 3p, 6p, 9p, 11p schedule. Wake time would be from 6am when the feeding starts, until the child goes to sleep. Wake time should be 40 to 70 minutes with babies between the age of 6-8 weeks according to Chronicles of Babywise Mom. I have found this time frame to work well for Mariah as well.

2) Feeding dropped, so pump less often:
When Mariah dropped her middle of the night feeding around 6 weeks, I stopped pumping in the middle of the night. My breasts assumed I did not need that milk and so they began to fill less. Now, I wake up in the middle of the night to check on her and I notice my breasts are not consistently firm. I realize now that I need to continue to pump throughout the day, perhaps an additional time so that my breasts still "think" I need that milk. I have noticed a decrease in my supply. Remember, breast milk typically works on supply and demand, so keep demanding and pray they keep supplying. Don't stop demanding.

3) Middle of the night cry isn't always hunger:
This was a huge "AHA!" moment for me last week. The first time Mariah slept through the night was around 6 weeks. She did it twice in a row. I was prepared for this to not be permanent since Babywise says it happens after week 7. However, I knew she was making progress in the right direction. Well, after night two of consistent sleep, she woke up during night 3. I heard the cry and immediately looked at the clock. It was 4 a.m. So strange. Oh well! I took her into my embrace and nursed her. She was out in 10 minutes. That was really odd! She never eats for such a short amount of time. Then I realized that was a snack! Oh no...not snack feedings. Hmmm. The next day I was baffled because yet again she fussed at 4 a.m. By day 3 of this, I began doing research to figure out what was going on. Then it hit me! I recall the Babywise book explaining that different cries warrant different responses. It dawned on me that I didn't stop to see if she needed anything else, I just offered food. That night she woke at 330am, I offered the pacifier and she went right back to sleep until 730am.

Lessons We Learned

*The importance of optimal nap time:
I had no idea what this was until a few days ago. Optimal nap time is the best time to put your little one down for a nap to get optimal (i.e. very little) pre-sleep fussiness. Putting them down at this time also discourages waking up early from naps. [ [ [What do I mean by waking up early? According to Babywise, a 5 - 8 week baby that is sleeping through the night should nap continuously for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs 5 to 6 times per day.] ] ] The key is to figuring out when your baby's optimal nap time is to look for sleep cues: yawning, red around the eyes, slight fussiness, loosing alertness. Optimal nap time will vary from child to child. It may even vary at different parts of the day. Mariah, for example is ready to go down in 40 minutes earlier in the day and 60 minutes later in the day.

Keep in mind you want to be ahead of the curve in figuring out that this time is coming so that you can PUT BABY DOWN AWAKE. That is key in teaching baby how to fall asleep on her own. The optimal time window also passes within about 15 minutes. I've noticed with Mariah that if I miss her optimal window, she'll lay down, obviously exhausted, and refuse to sleep. Instead she'll lay there and look around, sometimes until her next feeding!

*Handling the 45-minute intruder:
Babywise speaks of the elusive 45-minute intruder! What makes it so elusive is that it can easily be confused with a variety of other issues such as, decrease in milk supply, growth spurts, or overstimulation. The sign of the 45-minute intruder is when baby is sleeping on schedule fairly consistently then all of a sudden wakes 45 minutes other words, 45 minutes before the next feed time. Babywise suggests treating this like a hunger issue before assuming it's a sleep issue. So, if baby wakes early, feed and adjust their schedule. If they do not take a full-feeding then you know its not a feeding issue and you can treat it like a sleep issue. A common suggestion if its a sleep issue is reducing the amount of wake time as it may be overstimulating your little one. Other suggestions can be found here. Mariah has hit her 45-minute intruder this week. Both yesterday and today have experienced this unwelcome visitor! It is definitely and odd situation. Parents that are schedulers, like myself, may find it really hard to deal with. You're accustomed to knowing exactly when your child will do what then all of a sudden something out of the norm happens and you're left scratching your head. The 45-minute intruder appears during weeks 7 or 8 and again around 4 months (or 16 weeks). Recognize it and tackle it. It should be gone in a couple days. Leave it untreated and it could affect milk supply and throw your routine out of whack for a long time. I'll be sure to let you know when ours disappears.

*Sleep begets sleep:
Babies need adequate rest during the day to sleep well at night. Counter to what seems would make sense, Babywise and non-Babywise researchers have found that babies that sleep well during the day are more likely to sleep through the night. Sleeping well is defined by getting the recommended 16-18 hrs per day (includes nighttime rest). Sleeping well also means that baby can comfortably transition from active to deep sleep and back again. Each phase lasts about 40-50 minutes. Mariah goes through about 1 cycle per nap: active --> deep --> active.

Well that was a boat load of information. My goal is to not only share my experiences with it, but also provide detailed information for any of you considering using the method. It takes a lot of encouragement in the beginning. I hope to provide that to those of you that are starting out on the Babywise path. :)


More Babywise info can be found here.

Pilot Training is Underway...

Everything we've been hoping to get started on is finally coming to fruition. Michael has jumped into pilot training and he's loving every minute of it. He says, "I can't believe I get paid to do this," at least 3 times a day! With all this fun comes lots of hard work. My husband literally spends hours and hours studying, pretend flying, and quizzing himself. I recall one Saturday, he was closed in his study room for 11 hours straight. I think I heard a toilet flush ONCE! His hard work has paid off thus far. He earned an 'A' average in the first phase of academic tests. Just to recap his training schedule timeline, here goes. Keep in mind, nothing in the military is 100% set in stone, so these timelines could change! "SIGH"

Phase 1: IFS
Runs: 2-3 weeks
Where: Pensacola, FL
What it consists of: 2 weeks of academic tests, followed by 13.5 hours of flight instruction in the actual aircraft. To date, Michael has completed just over 7 hours of the required 13.5.

Phase 2: API
Runs: 6-8 weeks
Where: Pensacola, FL
What it consists of: Academic classes.

Phase 3: Primary
Runs: 6-8 months
Where: Pensacola, FL (some do it in Corpus Christi, Tx)
What it consists of: A variety of academic classes and in-flight instruction.

***You find out which type of aircraft you will fly after your final flight in this phase. It's a pretty big day! You are asked to rank your preferences. Command ranks you against your peers and gives you a decision. The majority of Marine Corps pilot get helicopters, simply because there are more to go around. Jets, C130, and Osprey slots are harder to come by because there are fewer slots to give.

Phase 4: Advanced
Runs: Between 6 - 15 months depending on type of aircraft
Where: Depends of which type of aircraft you select.
*Jets (Meridian, MS or Kingsville, Tx)
*Helicopter (Pensacola, FL)
*Ospreys (Corpus Christi, Tx)
*C130s (Corpus Christi, Tx)
What it consists of: A variety of academic classes and in-flight instruction.

We actually got to watch him take off and land the other day. Mariah and I drove out to the airfield where he is flying and watched for a few hours from inside the air conditioned car. :) More updates on flight school to come...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1 Month Down...A Lifetime To Go

Where has the time gone? Month 1 flew by! It seemed like each day, Mariah learned how to do something new! One thing is for sure, with every passing day, Michael and I are falling more and more in love with our little Munchie.
Daddy is absolutely smitten at the slightest smile or coo! I spend hours just staring at her smiling...and occasionally crying. It's such an humbling experience to watch your infant grow, learn, and change. They rely on you so heavily to take care of them. They have no fear, just certainty that Mommie and Daddy will take care of everything. I can't stop saying thank you enough. Every time she smiles, or grunts I'm grateful. Every day I wake, I'm grateful to have another day to serve my child with unconditional love. Ahhhh! It's the coolest job in the world!

This month we had THREE major milestones: 1) Mariah took her first bath and boy was it scary! For starters, I was terrified she'd drown in the tablespoon of water I bathed her in! I just KNEW it was too cold and she'd get hypothermia within 60 seconds of being wet. As the bath commenced, I was certain she'd slip out of my hands because she was so squirmy and wet. All around, I think she was very confused as well. She kept staring at me as if to say "Why are you doing this to me? I'm not enjoying it and neither are you! Why don't we just stop?!" Daddy caught this expression on camera...priceless.

2) Mariah's eyes followed the pages of her book as I read to her. I try to read to her at least twice a day. We are reading the same book over and over again right now to provide repetition. Usually she'd just gaze aimlessly or stare into my face as I read. Well around week 4, she actually focused her attention on the book's pages and as I turned the pages, she turned her head. I was super excited! Sounds so incredibly small, but things like this are HUGE for a new Mommie!

3) Mommie and daughter spent the afternoon out together! This was more of a milestone for me I guess. But, every mom is terrified, I'd assume, driving their little one around alone for the first time. I wanted to visit one of my dear friends who also has a newborn. So, Mariah and I got dressed in adorable outfits. I did my hair and put on a light touch of make up...and we hopped in the car all by ourselves to visit our friend. It was a huge moment in my Mommie experience. I was super nervous about her back there all by herself. At every stop light, I put the car in park, reclined my seat, and leaned back there to see if she was okay. Of course, she was! I was just ... ya know... a paranoid new mom! When we got to our friends house, Mariah did a wonderful job eating, playing, and napping right on schedule without any prompting from Mommie! It was super duper fun!

Month 1 has been a wonderful blessing. The time has flown by. In other news this month, I completed my spring semester course and should be graduating with a Masters in Educational Leadership and Human Development from George Washington University in May! I look forward to making the trip back to D.C. to spend some time with friends and graduate!! I was also waiting, ever so patiently, to hear back on my Ed.D. application and the news came in. :) I was accepted! WOW! Uhm, not sure what's next. Do I go? Do I defer my acceptance for a year? Can I do "stay-at-home-mom" and "Doctorate student"???? I don't know! I'm praying about whether or not this is the path God wants me to take. I have two weeks to accept, reject, or defer my acceptance. We shall see!

One last note, my dear friend Gail is the mother of a 3-year-old. When her son turned 1, she had a birthday party in her home and decorated the house with pictures of her child from each month of his life. I STOLE that idea!!! Check out Mariah's one month pictures. As always credit to Modern Joy Photography for capturing our life's priceless moments. [Side note: MJ Photography will be in Houston and Austin on June 10-13, 2011 if anyone is interested in booking. Packages start at $250. Email for booking info.]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life has new meaning...

The alarm clock doesn't sound the same. Time doesn't move the same. Days don't pass the same. Life, as I know it, has changed. The sound of my alarm clock used to annoy me terribly because it meant it was time to leave dreamland and go on to the busy tasks of work and school. I'm not saying these things weren't exciting, but they are literally a drop in the bucket (a MASSIVE sized bucket) compared to the joy of hearing an alarm that reminds you it's time to wake up and feed your child. Nursing her is surreal. I get so excited to pull her into my cradled arms and stare deep into her brown eyes. She stares back and for a moment time seems to freeze. She stares with such curiosity. She looks and listens and she realizes after several moments that she recognizes my face and voice. She settles into my embrace and begins to feed. Aside from the mesmerizing affect of nurturing my child, I've found that time just flies past us. I go to sleep at night literally grinning ear to ear in anticipation of spending time with her again in a few hours. She's my joy. She's my heart. She's my life.

So how's it going you wonder??? What's it like you ask???

We've settled in to a routine that seems to be working so far. She eats on a fairly consistent schedule as part of the Babywise method (parent-directed feeding). The goal behind this method is to promote full-nights rest for mommy and baby within 2 months. So, our feeding times are: 6a, 9a, 11:30a, 2p, 5p, 8p, 11p, and once in the middle of the night whenever she naturally wakes up.

We also use a wonderful swaddle blanket that she loves. The Miracle Swaddle keeps her so incredibly comfortable. There was a night or two when she didn't have it because she'd soiled it earlier that day and I definitely noticed a difference in the quality of her sleep. Daddy and I are firm believers in the swaddle. It works wonders!

Beyond scheduled feedings and swaddling, we are also using cloth diapers (FuzziBunz). This has been very pleasant. The first thing my friends ask me about motherhood is "how's the diapering going?" It's done very well. I do wash diapers each night before bed and I assemble them in the morning when I get up for the day. It has proven to be a great investment thus far!

I'm also trying to settle into a routine for myself. Mommy needs sleep, meals and quiet time or I can't do my mommy job very well. I give her 3 breast milk bottles per day to help me strike a balance. I like the idea of measuring her milk a few times per day so that I know she's getting enough. The 3 bottle feeding times are the late night/early morning (11p, middle of the night, and 6a). This way daddy and I can alternate nights, allowing each of us to sleep a decent number of hours...every other night. I also find that Mariah sleeps very well on a bottle before bed. During the day, I nurse her and squeeze in time to pump out those 3 bottles.

Motherhood is definitely a full-time job. The first few weeks of motherhood require every ounce of my attention and energy. I eat for her. I sleep for her. I drink tons of water for her. I take my vitamins for her. It's literally all about her for several weeks as she's adjusting to life outside the womb. The greatest part about your infant needing you so much is that God gives you a heart for nurturing our children. I get joy from every task I do for her. I cannot explain how fulfilling this experience has been so far. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mariah Gabrielle McGehee...7 days old