Monday, January 25, 2010

2009 in Review

I missed the ball drop in both Eastern and Central time because, first, I was sleeping and then I was in the bathroom. Pregnant moms are exhausted and have to pee - a lot!

The next three weeks went quietly while I stayed at home, cleaned, nested, organized, washed, scrubbed, and re-organized again. I had my baby shower in Kentucky (I had two). Then, on the 19th, I found out that I would be going to the hospital to induce labor on my birthday, January 20th. I had Tater Tot on January 21st and the roller coaster began!

My mom came into town that day and my best friend and her husband came into town a week later, just days after Kentucky was hit by a major ice storm and declared a state of emergency. Thankfully, we didn't lose power or heat, and had some usage of our phones and internet.

My best friend, her husband, and my mom drove back to Pennsylvania and then we had a week of being a family of three all to ourselves. We cuddled all day in bed, took lots of naps, and just stared at our lovely little Tot. Then, at 3 weeks, she stayed with her first babysitter while we went to dinner for Valentine's Day. All Spud and I could talk about was our baby!

My dad drove up from North Carolina and stayed a few days. Then Spud's mom flew in from Pennsylvania for a week. Although it was challenging to have so many visitors spread out over a few weeks, it was nice for everyone to spend time with Tater Tot.

Days and weeks pass, sleepless nights and endless bottles. The six week healing period has ended, but everything still seems the same. We're so tired and delirious that we hardly make any sense.

Spud's best friend comes for a visit and we take the Tot on her first trip to the zoo. At nine weeks, we venture to a friend's house for dinner and wine and I soon find that the months without an alcohol tolerance have made me quite silly!

We take Tater to see the Easter bunny. It does not go well at first, but the picture turned out pretty well actually. The rest of the month went by rather quietly, actually. I think by this time we had resigned to having a co-sleeping baby that liked to cuddle with us all the time.

We went over to Spud's boss's house for Easter dinner. I prepared for days for an event that was only one evening! Extra bottles, blankets, her white noise machine, a nightlight... everything was in that diaper bag! I was hoping that she would nap a lot while we were all eating and that it wouldn't be much of a problem.... Not exactly as planned. A little screaming here and there, but otherwise a cute little button.

Easter night was the first night she slept through the night. It would be weeks before she would do that again. Months until she did it regularly. At the end of the month, we have our childbirth class reunion. Only one other family from our class came, and combined with the other classes, there were less than 10 families. Disappointing, but nice to see all of the other babies!

Tater Tot and I make a car trip to Pennsylvania to take care of my mom. What should have been a 9 hour trip was turned into 12+ hours due to some odd circumstances. We drove through the night and she slept through most of it. But on the way back, we weren't able to leave at night like I'd planned, so we had to drive through the day which was much, much more difficult. I swore then and there that I was not driving long distances without Spud again!!

During our stay, a lovely friend of mine took some pictures of me and my Tot. She's a brilliant photographer and I wish I lived closer to her, had billions of dollars, and would just pay her to follow me around and shoot beautiful images of me and my child. Of course, she has her own babies to raise :)

The night before we leave PA, Tater Tot sleeps from 10:30pm to 9am. It is the start of something magical....

Spud's grandparent's come to visit for a week. It was so nice to have them here to talk and help out and explore the area. While here, Spud and Pap painted our living room and butler's pantry "Honey Yellow" and finish touching up the kitchen that Spud painted before they got here "Panera Green." Gug and I make, buy, and hang new curtains in the kitchen and living room. And while they are here, our dishwasher breaks! Thank goodness an appliance repairman has come to visit!

We also visit Mammoth Caves in Cave City, KY and Lincoln's Boyhood Home near Santa Claus, IN. Have you ever heard a 4 month old scream at the top of her lungs inside the world's largest cave?....... I have.

Tater Tot also starts eating rice cereal.

We take a family vacation to North Carolina to visit my grandmother, father, aunt, uncle, two cousins, two spouses, and four great grandchildren. Tot is the 7th great-grandchild of 7 grandchildren to my Granny French Fry, matriarch of our little clan. From 84 to 5 months, we had 4 generations and 15 people in one house over the Fourth of July weekend.

The trip was wonderful, but so exhausting. The car ride was long and very stressful on Tater Tot but she held up pretty well. I was so glad she got to meet all of her grandparents and great-grandparents throughout the first 6 months of her life.

Spud and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. We've been together for 8 years and have known each other for another 4 before that, making our total 12 years, altogether.

My mom and her best friend decide to take a road trip (a la Thelma and Louise -complete with sunglasses and headscarves) and come visit us for a week. They babysit while we go out to a movie for the first time in years. (I'm not exaggerating.)

Tot has begun eating solid foods in earnest with breakfast, lunch and dinner coming in some sort of disgusting mashed form. Thelma and Louise depart with much mayhem but it was good to see my mom again. Since I last saw her in May, she lost a lot of weight. Skinny and sick, but lookin' good!

School starts again for Spud and he is teaching an undergraduate art class on top of his staff duties. This encourages him to start the process of going back to school, earning another Master's degree, and becoming an Art Professor in a few years.

Tater Tot begins to crawl, an army crawl at first, then a regular hands-and-knees crawl. She also begins to pull herself up on furniture to stand. This all happens between 7 and 8 months, which I am thrilled about and begin to think that I am raising a tiny baby genius.

Her separation anxiety, however, is worsening and making it almost impossible for us to let anyone else babysit or even hold her for just a moment. After an unfortunate incident with an inexperienced babysitter, we resign ourselves to living our lives with baby in tow. However, after Tot's trips to the chiropractor (Dr. Wonderful!) we are now sleeping soundly for many weeks in a row. It's beautiful. We've regained our strength, our sanity, and our love life!

The Month of Poop. From October 1st to the 31st, Tater Tot has diarrhea every. day. Upwards of 6-8 times a day. For 31 days. Her sleeping schedule is completely ruined, as are many outfits and sheets. Doctor doesn't think anything's wrong, Allergist confirms no allergies, and Chiropractor is stunned. We're stressed, on our last legs, and up to our ears in poop. And as soon as I finally beg the doctor to do a test on her, it clears itself up.

Thanks for making me look like a liar (or a Munchausen's patient!) Tater Tot!!

I also vow to make Tot's first Halloween costume. Of course, she is Tinkerbell, complete with wings and a wand. That she uses to hit me. We bought pumpkins at an orchard. We walked through a corn maze. We carved the pumpkins and roasted the seeds. We went trick or treating at the mall (sort of). And then, in our candy-induced diabetic-comas, we laughed and played as a family in the crisp, fall air.

Tater Tot takes her first steps at 10 months! She is a holy terror now, getting into everything and really starting to act like a real little kid. I am constantly amazed at how much she grows and changes every day. After learning Mama and Dada before Halloween, she has now learned to say 'Hi,' 'Duck,' 'Mine,' and 'Kitten.' Although, I have to admit, they come out more like, 'Ha,' 'Dut,' 'Maa!' and (whispered) ' 'itta.'

This month is full of crazy work schedules for the holiday season, the students leaving for the semester, teething, and surgery with a little bit of Christmas thrown in at the end. It's like a stew of polar opposites all coming together to make one delicious, albeit odd-tasting, dish.

Tater Tot grows two teeth at once on her 11 month mark. She also begins walking in earnest now, moving from one end of our long house to another in a matter of seconds!

I had a follow-up ultrasound to check on a small cyst on my ovary (a common problem of mine) and found out that it had doubled in size in a month. They rush to to the procedure before the holiday and the year's end (damn insurance) leaving me with just a day to recover before Christmas Eve. But we pulled it off! Presents were wrapped under the tree we picked out and trimmed ourselves. Stockings were hung on the mantel with care, until a passing toddler strolled by and knocked them off the shelf almost giving herself a concussion.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner's were beautifully prepared by my lovely kitchen elf, Spud, and then we took a drive around town to do a family tradition known as "Oohing and Ahhing," in my family. Looking at lights on all the houses and going, "Ooh... Ahhh..."

I went back to work the day after Christmas and then on New Year's Eve we celebrated Spud's 28th birthday when the ball dropped. Luckily, I was awake to see 2010 - and not in the bathroom!

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