Sunday, January 30, 2011

And the winner is...

Commenter #16...Ashley L!  I'm delighted to give this gift certificate to another mommy who works hard and loves her little boy to pieces!  Ashley, since I know where to find you, I'll be contacting you shortly for your prize :).

Again, thanks to all who read these little ramblings of mine, and thanks to those who decided to be part of this giveaway.  I'm hoping for more in the future!  I had so much fun reading your comments and even found a few great blogs to add to my reading list.  A special shout-out to the Spencer 'stalkers!'  It's been fun hearing Beau reminisce about the 'glory days!'  It really is a small world, after all.  

Happy Sunday.  We're slowly recovering around here, and happy to have found some time to wash bed sheets, clean out the fridge, and get groceries.  It's looking like a snow storm might be heading our way soon; maybe a snow day will be in the stars...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Refueling the Engine

It's been quite a week to say the least.  I'm testing the waters on my 'low fuel' light, and as I slowly trudge my way up the hill, I can slowly see the destination, the ever-so-important 'refuel' weekend, in sight.  I know I can make it; however, it seems so long and never-ending.  I think Cruz and I need some Little Engine that Could tonight.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

I didn't take any pictures this week.  I didn't update Cruz's baby book, or make the bed, or change our poor, neglected cat's litter.  We did, however, figure out what smelled like death in our fridge, manage to dirty every single wash cloth in Cruz's drawer, and bond as a family over chicken soup, Vitamin C, and American Idol.  Our house currently looks like a sick clinic, and I'm starting to see mucous in my sleep.

Before having Cruz, I remember looking at the lengthy class listings new parents could take to prepare for their bundle of joy.  Classes on changing a diaper and soothing a baby.  Classes on breathing during labor and latching a car seat.  Classes on stork bites, baby baths, and breast pumps.  But one thing they do not prepare new parents for is the first time their sweet little baby gets sick.

It's been a tough week, but I've never felt more like a 'mom' in my life.

...A mom who types lesson plans with one hand in a dark living room at five o'clock in the morning, while cradling my baby in the other arm, all in order to hold him upright so his little nose can drain the utter yuck that's filling it.

...A mom who trades dress pants and a day at work for pajamas and a much needed sick day.  A day where long naps meet warm baths, Goodnight Moon meets whispers of 'mama's here,' and chicken soup meets soft kisses on mattery eyes and a runny nose.

...A mom who waits in an endless line of hacking, coughing, and sneezing Cedar Fallians, ready to purchase about every baby cold and flu product known to man.  Saline wipes, saline drops, Vick's vapor rub, vapor bath, and vapor night lights. 

...A mom who forgets to buy something for supper, as well as something for her own fire-like sore throat, and goes back to wait in an endless line of hacking, coughing, and sneezing Cedar Fallians.

...A mom who wants to literally take her baby and run after seeing an 'RSV Warning' sign posted on the day care room door.

...A mom who thinks she has every right to demand that her son is held and cuddled with every minute of the day care day, regardless of the other sweet babies who need attention and love. 

...A mom who calls the sweet nurse at the doctor's office in tears, desperately seeking to purchase a button that will make Cruz's cold disappear, and getting a prescription for reassurance and encouragement instead.

...A mom who would give anything to take Cruz's runny nose, helpless cough, and teary eyes for an entire year if it meant he would be cold-free. 

...A mom who is learning from her baby, who continues to smile while getting snot sucked out of his nose, that this really isn't too bad.   His Look Who's Talking voice is saying, 'Yo, Mom.  I'm fine."

We're fine.  The weekend is in sight.

Have a good one!  The giveaway winner will be announced on Sunday :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shopping for Shoes


My life is a lot like shoe shopping.
In October, I found a pair that
I never wanted to take off.

A perfect fit,
A perfect love,
I wanted to show them off to everyone.

And just when these shoes were beginning to
break in,
it was time for a new pair.
A stiff pair of stilettos.

Take a deep breath,
Walk slow,
Be steady not to trip.
And balance.

Balance this new life of motherhood,
teacherhood,
and wifehood.

I'm walking slower and missing that old pair so much,
but slowly, surely,
finding my feet again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Church, Cheese Dip, and a Third-String Quarterback

182 games and only 2 playoffs.  The last time the Bears and Packers played in the post-season was in 1941.  Now, 70 years later, the Bears were looking for their first Superbowl win in 25 years.  And while Jay Cutler decided his knee hurt too bad to finish the NFC Championship game, Caleb Hanie, the Bears' THIRD string QB nearly pulled it off.   

The positives?  We can actually watch the Superbowl with our friends instead of couped up in the house so Beau can 'focus,' and Cruz no longer has to wear his Bears jersey to church for let's see, the 18th Sunday in a row.  How many weeks do I have until baseball season starts???

Much like the Bears game this afternoon, this weekend was filled with a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Cruz woke up Saturday morning with his very first cold.  I found him face first in a puddle of snot-slobber and his little head was so congested.  Poor baby.  He had no idea what was going on, but I could tell he didn't feel like himself.  We spent the majority of Saturday holding him, and I became pretty good at the whole nasal aspirator thing.  He was so sweet, still trying to smile and play, but usually settling for a head on our shoulder instead.  I felt helpless and desperate for my little one most of the day.  

I guess a lot of snuggling and cuddling is the best medicine for a baby's first cold.  By Saturday night, the Cruz Man was starting to act like himself again.  After a warm bath, some fresh pjs, and a snot-free blanket on the floor, Cruz played with his toys and we cooked in the kitchen.  One of my favorites, chicken tetrazzini.  We had a carpet picnic on the living room floor, watched TV in between puppet shows and plastic cup towers, and enjoyed a nice night inside.  


Sunday morning, Cruz once again woke up with a plugged nose and watery eyes.  I thought it seemed like a good idea to stay in, but Beau insisted we head to church.  I think he wanted to pray for his Bears.  

I guess Cruz was as nervous about the game as his father was.  Today was the first morning I had to take him out during the sermon.  Not because he was fussy, though.  He pooped.  Or so I thought.  It ended up being a false alarm, so, as I lugged my baby and baby bag back to our pew (no pun intended), five minutes later, we had the real thing.  This time, however, I made the decision to barrel through the last ten minutes of church with a stinky baby.  Cruz didn't seem to mind a bit; however, his father made quite a scene.  Instead of take part in the last song, Beau decided it was a better idea to make gagging faces at me and stand about two feet away from me and Stinky.  Needless to say, I didn't catch a whole lot of the sermon this morning ;).

After a bottle and more importantly, a fresh diaper, Cruz was ready to party.  Let's just say his game face looked a little bit different than the Bears' starting lineup.   




The first half was far from entertaining for this family.  So, while the offensive line decided not to block and Jay Cutler decided not to play, we decided to make our own fun...
 
We had some tummy time (notice the drool)...


Conversed with the creepy baby face toy during the second quarter...Cruz was mesmerized.


Practiced our touchdown dance...


And took a nap during half-time.  By the time we (Cruz and I) woke up, Cutler was chillin on the sidelines and Todd Collins was getting his first ever field time (we should have kept napping)... 

At least we had cheese dip.


At Wal-Mart yesterday, I came across a pack of Bears napkins.  I couldn't resist, and not only left with the napkins, but groceries for deviled eggs, hamburger cheese dip, bacon wrapped smokies, and ham and swiss slammers.  Sunday's spread was made complete with a couple of Bud Lights, a bag of M&Ms (which were ironically missing the yellow and green ones), and a perfect tailgate feast for two (or twenty).



The Bears couldn't quite get it done, but Cruz was able to see a pretty great and unexpected season football for his first season of life. I guess the best things are worth waiting for!  And Mark and Janet...Cruz sure got some good use out of his little jersey! 

Bring on some warm weather and Chicago Cubs baseball! 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Vintage Pearl...and a Surprise!

Here goes nothing...

For over a year now, I have been documenting some pretty important, life-changing parts of my life on this blog for the world (or my 20 followers) to see.  It started as a place for me to explore.  A place to practice a craft that is a daily part of my life as a teacher, and a place to start living the sermon I preach to my students every day.  

Write. Write.  WRITE.

Write down the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad.  Write down the moments you never want to forget.  The lessons you want to pass on to future generations.  The big and small moments that impact your daily existence and make you better.  Whatever those moments are.

It's true that this blogging obsession of mine is in large part for Cruz, for him to someday have documentation of his life through the eyes of his mom.  But, along the way of writing about a growing belly, pregnancy cravings, and poopy diapers, this blog has become my outlet.  My place to piece together the puzzles of this multi-faceted life and attempt to make some sense of it all.  So to all my readers, followers, and friends, wherever you are, thank you for being my audience and continually reminding me that everyone has a story to tell.   

As a thank you to YOU, I am about to embark on my first giveaway.  For Christmas, I received a bracelet from an online jewelry company called, 'The Vintage Pearl.'  I love it for its simplicity, its daintiness, and most of all, the sweet little name etched onto a tiny piece of silver, strung next to a perfect little pearl.  I wear my 'Cruz' bracelet every where.  It's become a daily reminder of what's waiting for me after a day at work, and has become a topic of conversation with friends, co-workers, and other moms.

 

The Vintage Pearl is known for their unique, simple, and sentimental jewelry.  Their pieces are hand-stamped, and can include names, initials, birthstones, and their signature, pearls.  Most of all, I love The Vintage Pearl, because it started with Erin, a simple, ordinary mom of four, some ambition, and of course, blogging!  Check out her blog here.

So in honor of Erin, her pearls, and the wonderful world of blogging, I'm giving away a gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl.  In order to be a contestant, follow these simple rules:

1) You must become a follower on my blog.  If you are already, move on to step 2!

2) You must leave a comment under this blog entry.  

There is one condition.  I need a substantial 'pool' of contestants, and will not pick a winner for the certificate until I get 40 FOLLOWERS!  It's a long shot, but if my mom can figure out how to become a follower, so can you!

If I can get 40 Followers by next weekend, the last weekend in January, I will use random.org to generate our winner.  

Happy Blogging and Good Luck!  


Monday, January 17, 2011

Long Live Long Weekends!

It probably had something to do with my first week back to work, my yearning to rekindle my old Friday night flame of nothing but a pair of sweats, a good movie, and some take-out. It probably had something to do with our new series of professional development at school, learning the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, of how to live and let go, take charge of my life, and get ‘first things’ done first. It probably had something to do with the fact that both Beau and I have felt a little run down this past week, in and out of colds, Kleenexes, and Carmex. And it probably had something to do with Cruz starting day care and being away from him more in five days than I have in the first three months of his life. It was a weekend to stay in, to hibernate, to forget the to-do list and listen to all the new noises Cruz has been making without any interruptions. And with MLK day today, I get an encore.





Cruz has been sleeping through the night since he was five weeks old. I’ve gotten very used to going to bed when he does at 10:30 and waking up when he does at 7:00. Of course, the week I go back to work, Cruz has decided he doesn’t need his typical nine hours of shut-eye. No, this week, he’s been up around 4:30 every morning. So, what do the three of us do at 4:00 in the morning?

We play.


Beau thinks it’s hilarious to unload every single stuffed animal and toy that Cruz owns onto our living room floor, then one by one, place them on top of Cruz after reciting each of their stories in a number of different voiceovers. My personal favorite is the bat/flying squirrel/hippo. It flies over Cruz’s head, telling him of his twisted identity, then dive-bombs onto Cruz's face. And the little man loves every minute of it. I guess he’s making sure he gets lots of family time before we take him to day care.


Saturday night, the three of us went on a date night. We celebrated our first week of ‘real life’ with some steaks at the Texas Roadhouse, and coffees and books at Barnes and Noble. We sipped caramel lattes, read Cruz But not the Hippopotamus, and laughed as he showed off his mad burping skills to the peaceful group of readers at the cafĂ©. I could’ve stayed there forever. Forever as in go-home-grab-a-pair-of-pajamas-and-sleeping-bag and sleep in a pile next to the cookbooks and self-improvement collection.

Cruz loved Texas Roadhouse. He loved the peanuts and the people, the crowds and the big screens. He loved the middle aged women who made googly-eyes at him, and he especially loved the cute waitresses that played a little hard to get. His car seat fit just perfect in our snug little booth, and he smiled at us as we devoured steaks, sweet potatoes and of course, the famous Roadhouse buns.




How else did we spend this wonderfully long weekend? We stacked plastic towers in between Cruz and a warm fire. We warmed our toes by the space heater, cuddled with Cruz during church, and cheered on a Bears win against the Seahawks. Beau was a lot more relaxed after that! We’re not superstitious people, but when it comes to the Bears and Cruz’s sleeping habits, we become a little voodoo. I am not allowed to talk about the Bears in the Super Bowl for fear I might jinx it, and Beau is not allowed to say anything along the lines of Cruz ‘sleeping well.’

TOUCHDOWN!


Like father, like son.



Today is a day of naps and playtime, books and baths. Watching the snow fall outside and being thankful for a day off, a warm house, and a very cuddly little baby.




Happy Monday!  And more importantly, a short work-week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We did it!

Well, we did it.  We (I) survived Cruz's first day of 'day care.'  I went back to work on Monday; however, Mom and Grandma helped me transition by coming to stay with our little buddy Monday through Wednesday.  It ended up being a great way for me to ease into this new routine.  I could just pretend I was out shopping for the day, call or text a hundred times to see how he was doing, and be content in the fact that he was in the comfort of his own home, with his own toys, and two women (and a Grandpa) that love him very much.  I still thought about him all day long, felt a twinge of guilt when I looked at his sweet little picture on my desk, and raced home as soon as that last student slowly trudged out of my classroom.  

This morning, well, it was possibly the worst form of torture I've ever been subject to.  I started attempting to swallow the lump that hardened in my throat as the minutes ticked away to 7:15.  Cruz was up, happy, and ready for a long day of play.  And we had to bundle him up, strap him in an awful car seat, and put him in a freezing cold car, only to abandon him at an unknown place, with unknown people, for a long, seven hour day.  Torture.

I cried the entire way to his day care.  Yep, as Cruz slept, perfectly content in the dark car with his little Gap hoodie up over his ears, I listened to the radio, cried, and recited 2 Corinthians 12:9 over and over again.  After we dropped him off, I felt even worse.  I pulled his little body out of his car seat, gave him a big kiss, and laid him on the playmat surrounded by every toy, baby saucer, and baby-thing one could think of.  I gave his lead teacher my typed instructions entitled, "Cruz Jorgensen Owner's Manual," and attempted to demonstrate our 'sleeper hold' position.  Cruz smiled as I left and I could see him begin to take in his new surroundings.  Walking down that hallway and getting into my car was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  And I'm not exaggerating.  Torture. 

I called my mom and cried the rest of the way to school.  I cursed our society for creating a culture of working women and contemplated 'being sick' so I could go home and cuddle with my little one.  Torture.  

Although Cruz was probably thinking something like, "Where am I?  Wow, holy colors?  Whoa, he's my size!" when I dropped him off at day care this morning, in my mind it went something like this, "Mom!  Where are you going?  Why are you leaving me?  Take me with you!"  I had this nightmare vision of no one liking him, or paying attention to him, or of him crying all day long.  I felt uneasy, guilty, and upset at the fact that I had to go to work to take care of other peoples' kids, while someone else took care of mine.  Torture.

I believe the Lord works in our lives in mysterious ways, but when it came to daycare today, He didn't bother messing with me.  Picking Cruz up from day care was a completely different experience.  When I walked into the room, he was sitting in a bouncy seat like a perfect little angel.  He was making gurgling sounds at a sweet college girl sitting next to him as if trying to flirt with her.  Another college girl played with a baby on the other side of the play mat.  They greeted me with warmth and Cruz greeted me with a smile.  It was inviting, and happy, and comforting.  So inviting, that a part of me just wanted to stay and hang out.  Relief.

Cruz had a great first day of day care.  The director stopped by to comment on how good he was, and on his very first daily log sheet, his lead teacher commented that he was a very good boy and showed them lots of smiles.  He ate every four hours and took a three hour nap.  When I asked where the other babies were, the girls said they were on 'stroller rides.'  Indoor stroller rides in January?  Relief.     

I felt more excited to take him home, more excited to play with him, snuggle with him, and bond with him than ever before.  So proud of him for being a good little boy, and grateful for the experience and interaction he will gain at such a great place.  It's not about dwelling on the time I'm away from him, but making the most of the time I'm home with him. 

Cruz was so sweet when we got home.  He was all smiles on his changing table, as if glad to be back on familiar territory.  When I fed him his bottle, however, he barely made it through.  He was so tired!  I'm anxious to see how he sleeps tonight.  Beau has already confirmed that he will be working a half-day tomorrow, and is looking forward to a 'guy's afternoon' with Cruz.  I'm alreay looking ahead to a long, three-day weekend of snuggling and soaking up this baby. 



We made it.  Cruz rocked it.  All is well. 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Cruz Man is Three Months!


This month marked lots of new changes for Cruz, as well as for us as a family.  With Cruz's two-month appointment beginning the month, and going back to work at the end of this month, I said hello and waved goodbye to his second month in tears!  Luckily, sandwiched between the tears were lots of happy moments and even more smiles from the Cruz Dude...he's grown from a frail, poker faced little infant, to a smiley, charming little baby boy.  It seems he gets happier every day, which definitely made it harder to go to work.

 
The Cruz Man at THREE Months...

My most favorite milestone this month is definitely the constant smiles.  A month ago, we had to really work to get a smile from our little man; now, he smiles at everything.  When I go to get him out of his crib in the morning, I am greeted by a smile.  When I change his diaper, fill his tub, or suck baby boogers out of his nose, I get smiles.  He loves when sweet voices talk to him and the more excited he gets, the faster his legs kick and the louder his squeals get.  I'm telling you...this child never stops moving his legs!


Another thing that makes Cruz smile A LOT are books.  He's proving to be a part of this family...with a mom as an English teacher, a grandma as a librarian, an uncle with a passion for children's literature, and a dad that reads faster than anyone I know, Cruz has acquired a love of books at a pretty early age.  Every morning, after his breakfast bottle, we will read two or three books to Cruz.  It's adorable.  He sits on our lap so contently, his eyes light up as soon as the pages turn, and he squeals in delight as the narrative is read.  It started with Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham; however, his love of books has already broadened to the likes of Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton, and Duck and Goose.  



Cruz has made a lot of discoveries this month, especially thanks to Christmas.  He loved the brightly colored packages, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, and the sounds of us tearing into his many gifts.  He received a lot of fun light-up sound machine toys, and didn't waste any time showing his excitement and enthusiasm.  His favorite toys include his laptop, music machine, and plastic camera.  If I have the patience to sit and push the buttons over and over AND OVER again, Cruz could sit enthralled for hours.  Usually I wear out before he does!




In addition to his toys, it seems Cruz really became interested in all of his cool baby contraptions.  He finally located the mirror hanging above his head on his farm mat, enjoys taking naps in his swing and lambie chair, and likes the little stuffed turtle hanging from his carseat.





Most of all, Cruz has really seemed to identify our faces, his fist, and even our cat.  He is absolutely fascinated with his fist and will stare at it for long periods of time, as if trying to figure out how he can control it.  It's a big score when he can get his fist in his mouth...this will occupy him for a long time, and the sound effects of the slurping and sucking is great.  We're starting to think he's showing some early signs of teething.  The last couple of nights, he's actually started reaching for our faces, touching our mouths, our noses, and scratching out our eyelids.  Gaining confidence in clipping his fingernails is a milestone I've yet to achieved this month!




Earlier this month, Beau and I poked fun at Cruz for his lack of motivation during tummy time.  Cruz used to be a stud when it came to lifting his head; however, this month, he digressed.  We think his head got too big to lift, so, while he attempted to pick his head up, but settled for digging his face in his blanket and chewing on his fist, we would laugh at him.  Well, he showed us.  He's been a champ at tummy time this week, just in time for his three month pictures.  He had to make sure to impress Darcy, his photographer, with his mad skills.  






Cruz decided to start 2011 off with a bang...On January 1, he slept all night WITHOUT his sleep sack!  I was seriously worried he'd be the only kid in his kindergarten class that needed to be swaddled during naptime!  He's been sleeping through the night so well that Beau nor I have wanted to even mess with a good thing.  Then, Saturday night, without telling me, Beau put him to bed without swaddling him first.  Sunday morning, when I went to check on him, I was shocked to see a sleeping baby with NO swaddle blanket.  My first thought was, 'how the heck did he work his way out of that thing?!'  I haven't been that proud of my baby (or my husband) since he started sleeping through the night at five weeks!  Cruz definitely takes after his mama in the fact that he loves (and needs) his sleep!  I just wonder how long this will last...

I've not only packed all of Cruz's newborn clothes away, but have started the transition from 0-3 sizes to 3-6.  Cruz wore his first 'big boy' clothes this month, which makes him look lots older.  Some nights, we'll hang out in his room and I'll just play with all his clothes.  Every outfit brings me back to the days he wore it...his clothes mark memories and milestones, making it extremely tough to pack them away.  Maybe Cruz will someday have a little brother to wear his hardly-hand-me-downs...  



Another new thing Cruz has recently developed is the 'pouty' face.  When something scares him or catches him off guard, his mouth turns into a perfect frown and he lets out an adorably pathetic cry.  It usually only lasts a second or two, and Beau and I feel bad that it often makes us laugh.  If he does this at day care, however, I might just quit my job!

Overall, Cruz is becoming quite the little charmer.  He loves being part of things, whether it's lying in between us while we watch TV, hanging out in the kitchen while we cook, or shopping at the mall.  He still likes his independent time on a blanket, and has found an interest in watching TV, especially sports.  He was a tropper running here and there for the holidays, and rang in the new year with his Grandma and Grandpa Jorgensen.     






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