15 Months of Mommyhood

I really am awful about this whole blogging thing…and then a milestone hits and I’m like oh yea…I was writing about this stuff…ughhh.

All-in-all we still pretty much have a jackpot child. Seriously, a few rough nights here and there but this gorgeous little being we created is a pretty easy specimen from what I have witnessed and been told of others her age.

Her 15 month well baby was a few weeks ago and her “medical” stats were as follows:

Weight: 23.2 lbs (58%)   Height: 30 inches (44%)   Head: Big Fat ? She freaked when they tried to put the measuring tool on her. So that one is just a mystery. Haha.

She is currently at 14 teeth and I do believe 15 and 16 are coming through…she is chewing her fingers in that area of her gums an awful lot. It is so crazy to see that full mouth of teeth on such a little girl. I think it has helped with her eating for sure though. She almost never “chokes” anymore. When she has too much in her mouth she just takes it out and eats a smaller portion.

The big talk of children: sleep. We had a few nights last week and one this week where she woke up for a little bit in the middle of the night and I think that was due to a cold and the teething. Another new thing we have going on, that we are not fond of, is waking up at 5 am. What in the heck is up with that?! Again, I really hate to complain, she goes to bed at 6:30pm. We have started adjusting her schedule to see if that helps. We pushed back dinner and bath by about 15 minutes in hopes of getting her to stay awake until 7pm. We are slowly getting there. Tonight was about 6:45pm. She just gets so grumpy because she is sleepy and it really isn’t worth messing up her amount of sleep to me!

A few big changes we have went through is weaning the bottle and milk. I was really nervous about this. She was still getting one bottle right before bed each night (straight milk) and it was what would really get her into the sleep zone. The idea was to switch to a sippy cup of milk and then wean her off that to no more milk before bed. The doctor (and most things you read) really encourage the weaning of milk right before bed as teeth come in to avoid cavities at such a young age. Well to my surprise the first night without a bottle she didn’t want a sippy cup either. She pushed it away while we were in the recline and just closed her eyes and went to sleep. It was amazing.

Now I know many people will think we are crazy but she still isn’t “sleep trained.” And honestly at this point I do not have any intentions of really forcing it until what we are doing no longer works. After bath time I snuggle her in the chair and within five minutes she has heavy eyes and I lay her down in her crib while she is just slightly still awake. If it took us hours to put her to bed-I would definitely start working on the cry-it-out method. We just do not have those issues with her. She is more than ready for bed 90% of the time so in my opinion there is no reason to stop the 5 minute snuggle that helps her calm down for bed.

The next big step we will be working on with her is saying goodbye to her pacifier. I do not have a set time we will start working on this but I feel like with her getting so many teeth I am going to wait until she just finishes because I know the sucking can help soothe her. At the rate she is going she will have all her teeth well before two years old and that is absolutely when I would not want her to use it anymore but the “goal” is closer to 18 months.

This blog got long! I will do a follow up one with our daily routine, eating habits, and talking! I also plan on doing a 15 month postpartum blog about myself. I know that is always a curious topic! Until next time…hopefully not 3 months!

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A Year of Firsts

You guys, I do not know how it happened…but we have a one year old 😦

One of the things I always get asked (and quite honestly-what I always do) is “when did Scarlett (blank)? Sleep through the night, crawl, walk, etc. So I thought I would talk about her year of firsts for reference. I can say I know she did some things much faster than other babies (teething) and some things she is taking her time (saying mom!). This is just how it goes I have learned! I will also say-as I started writing this blog I grabbed her baby book. This first year went so fast and all of these milestones seem to melt together. I am so glad I documented it! I would highly recommend it to new mommy’s.

So the big ones in order by age:

7 weeks: First real smile. She smiled when I tickled her cheeks.

8 weeks: Slept through the night. I considered through the night the first time she slept 8 hours. It seemed each week after 5 weeks she slept her age (6 weeks/6hours, etc). Now it is always 11-12 hours a night.

3 months: Laughed out loud. She also rolled over at about 3.5 months. I missed it the first time! I was vacuuming and I turned around and she was on her stomach! She did it again the next day twice and then took a break for several days.

5 months: First tooth! Well teeth. A few days before she turned 5 months she got her bottom two. She had 8 teeth by 8 months. She has consistently cut two at a time. She also tried baby food for the first time at 5 months. Based on her daycares recommendation we started with all the veggies and then moved to fruits. She also sat up by herself at the end of 5 months.

7 months: Crawled. It was around 7.5 months. She also started pulling herself up the same week she crawled.

8 months: Ate solid foods.

11 months: Walked. This kiddo cruised for about 3 months and would take steps in between Nick and I but she was just not having full on walking.

Development from 10-12 months is just insane. Baby babbles, waving, pointing, and just developing an overall personality just skyrockets. She says dada, doggie, book, duck, and has started trying to say our dogs’ names (Gilly and Rosie) but this little girl is not even attempting to say mom or anything closely related.

Physical growth over the year based on her well baby checks:

Born: 6lb 14oz, 19 inches

3 Month: 12lb 7oz, 22.5 inches

6 Month: 15lb, 25.7 inches

9 Month: 19lb, 27.5 inches

1 Year: 20lb 13oz, 29 inches

Current Teeth: 10, cutting 11 and 12.

Her doctor said her stats show her right in the 40 percentile range. She has been on the smaller side since she was born so nothing concerned the doctor as far as her physical development goes. She said things would only be concerning if she were in the 75 percentile and all the sudden her statistics dropped. Her next check up will be at 15 months.

So what things have we changed already since she has turned one? The doctor gave the go ahead to switch to whole milk and said it needs to drop to no more than 24 oz a day. She seems to be doing very well with the milk. We have not weaned the bottle yet. She starts back to daycare on Monday and they only give sippy cups there so we are going to do a morning and night bottle and have her take the sippy cup at daycare for a week or so then start weaning the morning bottle, then of course do away with a night bottle. She has been using a sippy cup for water since about 8 months, just not with milk. And now if she could just stay my baby instead of becoming a toddler that would be great…

…but since she won’t I have several other blogs I am working on about her smash cake and our adventures here in Japan so stay tuned!

 

Post-Partum Body…When Will I Be Skinny Again?!

Since being in Japan I have been getting back on focus with my fitness. And man is it frustrating. It is hard. It is hard to find time. It is hard to find energy. It is hard to make my body bend the way it used to. But here is my soapbox…that has nothing to do with having a baby!

I will say: having a child is hard on the body. We gain a dumb amount of weight. Some of us get stretch marks. Some of us pee on ourselves a little when we sneeze. And it is different for each of us. If you are familiar with my blog you will know-I had what I would classify as an easy pregnancy. I know some women are not as lucky. But the weight part-we have that control. I chose to eat fairly well and still managed to gain 34 pounds, but you know what? I was at pre-pregnancy weight in 12 weeks and then trained for a half marathon.

My point is: WE have control over the effort we put into being “skinny” again. A lot of this may be based on what you did with your body before you ever got pregnant. Were you eating junk food at every meal and not working out? You now need to get rid of that unhealthy lifestyle AND the outcome, whatever it was for YOU, of having a baby. For me, I’m pretty sure training for a half marathon is what got me pregnant in the first place.

I have been doing 15-20 minute workouts consistently for almost two weeks now and I am getting so annoyed! Where are my changes? Why aren’t my love handles gone? Where did my abs go? Then it hit me. You know what I did to have no love handles and flat abs pre-baby? I was running over 20 miles a week. I was counting calories. A few years ago-I was doing 45 minute workouts at the gym and running. I was committed to my health. I didn’t have a baby that needed me all the time. You know how long it took me to get to that point though? 3-6 months. For 3-6 months I was working out six days a week for a minimum of 45 minutes a day and a lot of days over an hour. Straight up truth? I do not have that time now. I just don’t. I do find the minimum of 20 minutes a day. In the place I am right now, that is pretty good. Can I find more? Most definitely. 10 more minutes exist in my day. Absolutely. It is MY choice whether or not I find them.

Last week I made the decision to cut sugar out of my diet. With only 15-20 minutes a day to workout, my diet is vital. I know this. I encourage you to do this: when you are complaining about not losing the weight you want to, your legs not being skinny enough, or your abs not being flat enough-ask yourself if you are really doing what you did to have those things previously. Did you work out for 30 minutes but have pizza and beer for dinner? You just erased that entire workout with food.

If you are getting frustrated step back. Focus. Our bodies go through a lot. And you can get it back. But only based on what effort we have to put into it! Me? I’m giving myself another few months to get back into shape before I get too hard on myself!

 

Cultural Tour of Japan…Part II

Last I left you we were heading out of Misawa to Hachinohe to visit a temple and go to the fish market. The guides kept calling it a temple but from what I have read it was actually a Shinto shrine. I’m not super familiar with these religions so I can’t be for sure.

So when we got there we were taught how to complete a purification ritual prior to entering the shrine. In order to enter the shrine this is a requirement. However, they did express if this were to go against your religious beliefs you did not HAVE to participate. Below you will see a picture of Nick doing the purification. What happens is you pick up the wooden ladle shown with your right hand. You fill it with water. The water was FREEZING by the way! You will then rinse your left hand, switch hands, rinse your right hand, switch hands, and rinse your mouth from the ladle. You will then rinse the hand that you used to rinse your mouth with.Do not drink directly from the ladle! At this time you will take the ladle in both hands and slowly raise it in front of you emptying the remaining water from it.

At this point you are allowed to enter the shrine. Below is the entrance to the shrine. It is called the Torii. It is only appropriate to enter a shrine through the Torii. A Torii is a wooden structure and will usually be painted orange and black. You will see in the pictures above and below that there are white pieces of paper hanging from a rope on the structure. These are there to mark the entrance of something sacred.

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Once inside you can throw a coin into the offering box and have a short prayer. We did not participate in this particular portion. The way shrines are different from the traditional church I am used to is pretty extensive. A shrine is not a place where worship or services take place. I equate it to much more like meditation. The inside of the shrine is typically where the sacred object is located. We were not authorized to enter. We did see a few young babies there. Newborns will often be taken to the shrine at a few weeks old for a blessing. They said sometimes weddings will also take place there.

One of the other things that you can often do at the shrine is receive your fortune. You can pay anywhere from 1-5$ to get your fortune. In the picture below you will see that you can also leave the fortune behind by hanging it up on the teepee like structures. The picture on the right is called a Kappa. A Kappa is a Japanese folklore. The green salamander is meant to scare children from swimming in the river and lakes. It is said the Kappa will eat them. Sometimes offerings are even given to the Kappa’s for protection.

The last place we went was the fish market. We bought some more delicious goodies from the fish market. We probably spent $50 alone on pastries 🙂 One whole side was the market and then there were individual stores within as well. It looked like a lot of the local business men and women went here for lunch. We saw a lot of eel and octopus. Octopus is a huge thing here. You will not hear about me partaking in that! The best sweet thing I have had in Japan so far was here. It was like a fried croissant with custard inside. I do not know what it was but I intend to figure out how to make it! It is also apple season here and the one picture below is of the giant apples. There were some that were the size of the baby’s head! Like I said before, it was a great day. It ended with the little girl passing out at the very end and one of the cookies I got had a sweet little message on it 🙂 Stay tuned for more adventures soon. I will say-it seems like we got here right at the end of all the festivals so I do not think I will be able to write about those. Instead we will get to tell you about all of our snow adventures!

 

 

Cultural Tour of Japan…Part I

So today the base sent us on a free little tour of the local area here in Japan. I really had no idea what to expect but it was actually really awesome and informative. It was so informative that I am going to split it up into two blogs!

We started with a short briefing. During the briefing we were told about a lot of the common courtesies of the area. We were told about not tipping wait staff.  The one thing that was discussed was an Onsen. A Japanese Onsen is a hot bath. It seems weird at first. Why in the world would you go to a public place to get undressed in front of strangers to take a bath? I can do this privately at home! After they described it, it made more sense. The way I interpreted it was more like what we would call a sauna or spa in America. It is meant to just be a relaxing and soothing soak in hot water. Prior to entering an Onsen you wash yourself off (you take your own soap and towels). The one thing that kind of surprised me was the briefer said before going always ask if they allow tattoos. The reason for this is because the Japanese often associate tattoos with members who have been in jail or in the mafia. Tattoos are not considered a popular fashion trend like they are in other parts of the world.

The next place we went was to the Misawa International Center. I am a little uncertain about this particular stop. We honestly did not cover anything there that we did not already know. One thing that we did go over was that the center offers a lot of classes. A few that I am particularly interested in are the language classes and cooking classes. I would LOVE to cook some Yakisoba and Beef and Noodle Bowls.

After the center we went to the Misawa Train Station to learn about purchasing tickets. The reason this is important is because one of the places people want to often visit from where we are located is Tokyo. I asked the question about other options (outside of the train) and was very surprised at the answer. To drive on your own from where we are located is over 8 hours and about $250 in tolls (that’s excluding gas). A plane ticket can range anywhere from $300-600. The “bullet train” known as the Shinkansen, goes about 200 MPH and will get you to Tokyo in under 3 hours. A round trip ticket, per person, on the Shinkansen is around $300. We do not have direct access to the Shinkansen from Misawa but we can take the train from Misawa to Hachinoe and get on the Shinkansen from there. The cheaper option is the “midnight” bus. This is a nighttime bus ride that takes about 12 hours but only cost $50. One thing that hit me while at the train station is the whole country uses a 24 hour clock.

The last place we stopped at in Misawa was the Veedol. To me this was a cross between a flea market, a farmers market, and an indoor strip mall. We had lunch here and bought some DELICIOUS pastries. Again, the sweets in Japan are very different from America. They are not as sweet. Many times the “foundation” of the sweets remind me of a shortbread or butter cookie. Very simple but not super sweet.

For lunch we ordered a value deal of Yakisoba and fried chicken and it was very delicious!

At this point we left Misawa and headed to Hachinohe to the temple and fish market. I’m going to end this particular post here. Keep an eye out for part II more tomorrow!

Diaper Rash, Teething, and a Bumped Head…

…what a way to spend the first week at home with the baby! Whew. As I have mentioned…our baby is a pro sleeper. 11-12 hours a night without waking up. Well, I think all of that finally found a way to be a negative. Yesterday morning I went to change the baby when we first woke up. Well at 545am I do not turn on too many lights in the house but I could tell she had pooped. What a way to wake up, right? That is a lot to handle before coffee 😉

Well when I went to wipe her she cried out in pain. The day before she had pooped three times and started getting a little red on her bottom so I had been using rash cream throughout the day but didn’t think much else about it. I think she must have went to the bathroom shortly after we had put her down because it was pretty dried up. I think that is what caused the rash. Well I got her cleaned up but she cried the whole time. It was SO red down there! I can say that was one of the hardest things I have done since being a mom. Inflicting pain on your child is in no way fun!

I monitored it throughout the day and when she would pee I would just dab her dry and used cream but she still cried in pain each time. Well the dreaded poop came. Nick had got home by this time and he sat at the top of her head while I cleaned her up as gently as possibly. Then we noticed the rash was bleeding and immediately made her an appointment to see the doctor.

In the meantime I did what every first time mom does-I googled. Many results came up. What we decided to do was let her soak in a bath in warm water. After that I let her air out for about 30 minutes or so. I then put A+D cream on her and then put baby powder over that. This morning it was SO much better. We still kept the doctors appointment though just to verify no infection was present. There was no infection! The doctor recommended using neosporin, a lot of air dry time, and no wipes. If she pees just let it air out and if she poops just use a wet cloth to clean her up. The doctor also took a look in her mouth and saw her 9th tooth popping through and swollen gums around a few others. She said teething can often cause some diarrhea which then leads to diaper rash.

To top off the night…she managed to knock herself over the head. Her walker is packed up and she was pushing her stroller around like it was a walker and it fell down on her right eye. She has a little bruise now. At first I thought she landed on the back of her head and I was so freaked out.

We did end the night on a good note, though! I was washing her bottles and I hear something and I turned around and she walked to me from the other room! She has only walked back and forth between the two of us previously so this was a big deal! So much excitement, so little time.

At Home 20 Minute Workout Challenge

I will start by saying…I am a runner. I do not like any other form of “working out.” I like hiking, swimming, walks, that sort of thing. But I highly doubt you will see me in a gym. I know, weight lifting and strength training is important. I really do know that. So no lectures, please 🙂 When I lost a lot of weight many years ago some weights were involved but it was mainly using my own body weight as resistance.

With us being 4 weeks out from Thanksgiving I wanted to take a proactive approach and just shred the weight I may gain. I found some 20 minute at home workouts on Pinterest that I think are completely achievable and doable during nap times and after bedtime. I have created an event for this to encourage anyone to join, should they wish! Just look for my Facebook page and you will find it!

I am going to include before, progress, and after pictures as well. The movers still have not delivered our things so I do not have a scale in my house so I am going to try to swing by the gym and get my starting weight as well. I am a little scared about this…we have not been eating very well for about a month with the moving shenanigans!

One thing I am also committing to is taking a picture in the same location and in the same outfit for my before, progress, and after photos. I am also going to wear some shorts that have an elastic band and aren’t lose. I feel like these are “tricks” those fitness guru’s often use to make it look like more was accomplished than really was. I want to point out…I do not know the person who made these workouts so I cannot say whether they are legit or not! I may not lose anything or tone anything!

Below are the workouts I am going to do. I am going to attempt to do cardio everyday, rotate core, lower, and upper then finish on Saturdays with just the “everything” workout.

I will do another blog at the end of the first week (next Thursday) with my before and first progress photos!

Since I am so far ahead in time of most of my friends completing this with me I may also do some videos showing modifications if some of the moves seem too difficult for any beginners. I can’t wait to see the results!

An Accidental Stay-at-Home Mom

As most of you know, the military recently relocated us to Japan. We are extremely excited for all the changes that come along with this move. One of the big changes is that I am currently not working. I am applying for jobs and hope to be working soon. Until then, my job is wife and mommy!

For those who are stay-at-home moms and infant childcare givers-you are amazing. After working for the last 14 plus years this is a really big adjustment for me and for our family. The biggest thing I am making sure to do is enjoy this while it lasts. While I have no intentions of staying at home permanently, I know that there are a lot of moms who would love to have this opportunity. I even recall bawling on the way home from picking her up from daycare those first few times. So I know I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom at one point.

More than anything-I am terrified. Since she was 8 weeks old I haven’t been with her 24/7. Of course I have had her on my own many times. Weekends, days off, etc. The weather is still decent and there is a playground right outside of our building. I am excited to try that out! I may also seek some mom groups. I feel so ridiculous even saying that! I used to think that was so snooty. Moms meeting at the playground to gossip while their children play. Now I realize how important socialization and interaction with other children is. I get the feeling about once a day that my daughter is SO bored with me 🙂 As a mom I want to make sure I am giving her every opportunity to grow and develop as I can. I know she will not get that by sitting at home with just me all day, everyday!

I will, obviously, keep you posted on our mommy/daughter adventures. She has this thing where she crawls in my lap to sit and play. That is the picture below. She brought her little crab and a picture of herself along today. She is waving-that is the blurriness around her hand.

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If any of my stay-at-home moms have some tips-I welcome them!

Fall Baking-Pumpkin Bread!

I know I may get stabbed for this, but I just do not get the pumpkin craze. I really don’t. But before you come after me with pitchforks…there are two things pumpkin that I like. Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer and my husband’s grandmothers pumpkin bread! I, unfortunately, never had the honor of meeting his grandma but I LOVE that I get that opportunity to continue to share her memory by making my family one of her beloved recipes. Note: I made sure to clear it with my sister-in-law before sharing this 🙂

For my baking handicapped friends, do not fear! This is a very simple recipe! I do not even have dishes and bowls and I managed! That leads me into-don’t laugh at my pot and plastic fork! I was determined to make this bread today! I improvised admirably, if I do say so myself!

My daughter was just not having a nap today but was also managing to entertain herself quite well so I thought this chilly day would pair well with this beloved family favorite!

See below for the full ingredients list and instruction.

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This is what the first step will look like.        This will be when all ingredients are combined.

The consistency of this batter is no where close to a “normal” bread dough so do not freak out! To me it seems somewhere in between a cake and brownie batter consistency and will be somewhat sticky.

Since we do not have our dishes/pots/pans yet I bought an aluminum loaf pan. They were pretty small and I did not want to mess up my bread so I used two to be on the safe side. In the end: they made more like mini loaves. If you have a normal bread pan you will only need one!

What I used:                                                                  Divided into two.

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So here is where it may get tricky for some of my non-baking friends…baking time. Please watch closely. It is going to depend completely on your loaf pan size and oven! The recipe itself says 1 hour and 15 minutes. For these two mini pans it only took 27 minutes. In my old oven I believe it was around 65 minutes. I would always set a timer to 50 minutes and then check every 5 minutes. The last thing you want is to ruin your bread by over baking. Today I set the timer for 45 minutes but went off the ole “when you start to smell it, it is almost done” rule and sure enough…it was done!

Finished product: I should note, my husband has not tasted it yet…but myself and the baby did and we approve!

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Recipe and Directions:

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup oil (I used good ole vegetable oil)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 2/3 cup flour

Mix eggs, sugar, and pumpkin. Blend in oil and water. Add all remaining ingredients. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Week One, down!

In a few hours we will have been in Japan for a whole week! I think we are pretty adjusted on sleep. Last night I went to bed around 10pm and was awake around 545am. We never sleep much past 6am since the baby was born so that seems pretty good!

We went to a Yen store yesterday and it was pretty much the greatest thing ever! The one we went to was called Daiso. The American equivalent to this is a Dollar store, so think Dollar General or Family Dollar. So family, be ready for tons of goodies from there! We loaded up on junk food to see what types of Japanese goodies are our favorite! The one thing I noticed right away is the “sweets” here are nothing like the sweets in America. Although I still consider them “junk” food, the sugar content is nothing like I am used to.

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One thing that struck me as comical was in the parking lot of the Yen store was a lottery machine. When we were parking I could here something and I was thinking “what is that?” Well I look up and it is a little lottery machine in a vestibule with speakers on the outside blaring a voice!

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I have talked a lot about driving so far. Below is a picture of the first little intersection off the base. The red triangle is the stop sign. You can see on the pavement the white diamonds. In the states those indicate a carpool lane. Here those mean that a pedestrian crosswalk is coming up.

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Another thing (I don’t have a picture…yet!) that is very common here are vending machines in the middle of nowhere. There could be absolutely NOTHING but there is a drink machine! There is one right outside our door in our building…they have this coffee I LOVE. It is called Georgia. The vending machines seem similarly priced as American, I think. We did not really have iced coffee in cans in vending machines there! But the ones here cost the equivalent of $1.30.

With baby girl about to turn 1 (AHHHH) I will be leaning more towards posts on mommy hood here soon. I also have a few other things I want to blog about. One is I am doing Scarlett’s one year photos and smash cake myself so I will be writing about that and showing you how simple it is to do some of these things on your own. I know getting pictures taken and ordering cakes can be an expensive cost…that we do not always have! Stay tuned on how to save some of that money!