Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mommy Moment of the Week (or really a few weeks ago)

Have you ever been in a situation where you have no clue what to do? As you have read this past week, situations such as these are not uncommon at all in my life. For all you male readers out there, you can probably skip this blog unless you are really into hearing about all the fun of breastfeeding a baby. I am sure that some of you female readers will choose to leave at this moment as well -- I promise if you stick around you are in for some good laughs.

I started back to work three weeks ago. Going back to work meant that I would have to start pumping at work. Let me tell you - there is absolutely nothing fun about pumping. If any of you out there can name something that thrills you about breastpumping I would love to hear it. There is REALLY nothing fun about pumping at a hospital during your shift when there are no pumping rooms on your unit. We have pumping rooms up in the NICU for the mother's of NICU babies. I think that there is something slightly wrong with stealing a pumping room from a mom whose baby is in the NICU.

This leaves me to resort to one of our empty rooms. I have to go through the process of calling my charge nurse and asking her if I can use the room to pump in. This is to prevent them from sending the hospital tour into that room. I can see it now "And in this room....I guess we have our lactation department". So you finally get a few minutes to go pump and you are working as fast as you can to get it all together. On my second night back at work I have finally escaped to pump and I get all my stuff in order only to realize that I have brought no bottles to pump into. Um yeah, can we all say sticky situation. I hate to tell you but my brain was really working to figure out how I could maybe pump into a styrofoam cup. That way I could at least get it out even if I had to throw it away - the good ol' pump-n-dump.

After I had worked up a serious sweat, I called the postpartum floor and had them tube me down some empty bottles. Thank goodness for buying a pump that is the same manufacturer the hospital uses. Please take a moment to put yourselves in my shoes and sit in a ginormous labor room all ready to pump with no bottles.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday: Food Edition

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

This Tuesday, I am going to share with you all some of my favorite foods. Some of them are post-partum weight loss friendly and others are simply splurges.

1. Minute Maid Soft Frozen Cherry Limeades. What could possibly be a better way to welcome the warm weather that is coming? These are tart, tangy and only 1 Weight Watchers Point. I highly recommend people to go searching for them in their grocery store's freezer section.

2. Kashi Strawberry Fields Organic Promise Cereal. This cereal is a perfect blend of strawberries, raspberries, and wheat flakes. I cannot stand super sweet cereal and this is the perfect combination. I have managed to get my whole family addicted to this, and they are scavanging grocery stores across Georgia to find it. It is also the only cereal that stays crunchy to the end -- a very important factor.
3. Milk. This appropriately follows the cereal above. Ever since I have been pregnant I have craved all things dairy. This did not go away after I had Belle. I was never a big milk drinker before, but now I will have a glass here and there throughout the day. Skim milk and fat-free need only apply. That 2% stuff is scary.

4. The Laughing Cow Babybel Light Cheese. I guess this is part of my obsession with dairy. These little cheeses are perfect for me to take to work. I can eat it quickly when things are nutty at work and I haven't been able to get a dinner break. To be honest I love all things Laughing Cow. The wedges and light cheese bites are fabulous as well.

5. Granola Bars Simple Harvest Granola Bars. So far I have only tried the Cinnamon Brown Sugar with Cranberries and Apples, but I am hooked! They are very tasty and in unique flavors. Accompany the cheese above with one of these and you have got a great, fueling snack!

6. Naked Juice Mighty Mango . Mark introduced me to this after he discovered it at Starbucks. It is so yummy and 100% fruit. There is actually one pound of fruit in each bottle. While not too low on the calorie count, there are no added sugars. It is completely worth the splurge and doesn't leave a funny aftertaste like most fruit drinks do. Every now and then when things are busy in the morning I can grab this and get my breakfast in for the day.

7. Hormel Natural Choice Deli Meats. These meats are wonderful because they are preservative free and all natural (hence the name) without artificial ingredients. The sliced chicken breast is wonderful for salads or even make at home pizzas.
8. Propel Fitness Water Flavor Packets. When I was pregnant and I had low amniotic fluid I was encouraged to drink more and more water. I was never a big water drinker and these packets gave the little boost of flavor I need to get my water down. Since then I have become addicted to water... can't get enough. I like it with flavor or even plain with ice.

9. Romaine Crunch Salad - This is an incredible salad that is great for the spring and summer. I got it from my church cookbook and tweaked it to make it my own recipe.
1 package of hearts of romaine lettuce (yeah, go ahead and buy the prepackaged kind unless you are fancy, schmancy)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 green apple (I also substitute strawberries, fresh peaches, or even raspberries - sometimes I do a combination)
1 package of Ramen noodles, seasoning packet removed
1 small package of chopped walnuts - about 1/2 cup
1 cup vegetable oil -- I prefer canola
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix romaine lettuce and chopped green onion. Cover and chill in refrigerator while prepping other ingredients.
2. Break apart Ramen noodles into small pieces and combine with walnuts. Toast until light brown. I do this in the oven at whatever temperature everything else is cooking on and just keep an eye on it. You can also do this in a small pan on the stove.
3. Combine ingredients for dressing in blender and blend until smooth.
4. Chop up fruit into bite-size pieces and add to lettuce mix along with Ramen noodles and walnut.
5. Add dressing and toss to coat -- Do not add all the dressing at once. Add a little and toss and repeat until coated to your desired preference. I usually have about half the dressing leftover. Serve salad immediately.

10. Klondike Oreo Sandwiches. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. Mark got me addicted to this major splurge. We have both decided that this may be the best ice cream treats that exist. We also have decided that Klondike knows what they are doing by only putting four in the package. This is my BIG splurge. They are a little hard to find, but I can usually find them at Publix or WalMart. All I can say is .... ENJOY!

Sometimes You Just Do What Works

Belle has never been a great napper. It is a daily match up of Belle vs. The Nap. In one corner we have Belle. A precious 3-month old who is in much need of sleep, but who is worried she might miss some of the goings on. In the other corner we have The Nap. This bad boy allows moms to get the much needed chores done around the house and allows children to awake happy and ready to go. Some days Belle wins and some days The Nap wins. Lately, The Nap has started to overcome...within certain circumstances.

Belle does not nap in her crib, no matter how hard you try to make her. We have attempted the return to the crib for naps and it never, ever goes over really well. Belle will always nap in her car seat when we are out and about, but a nap spot around the house is a different story. The swing used to be a go-to item for naps. She loved the constant rocking motion. This has started to phase out, and while she still loves to lay in the swing, she doesn't view it as much of a nap spot. The nap spot that has always been steady is.... our bathroom.

As you can see there is only one ringside seat

Sorry, no flash photography allowed at Belle vs. The Nap

I mean look how soundly she is sleeping. Our bathroom guarantees a one to two hour nap for Belle a couple of times a day. I can still get my shower, dry my hair and everything, so it really does not interfere with my day to day functions. This experience has been a life lesson in that sometimes you just succumb to the quirks.

Does your child have any interesting quirks?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mommy Moment of the Week

I guess I should preface this and say that this is not really a mommy moment but a Rachel moment. As my close family and friends can attest I am a very klutzy person. I somehow manage to end up in "interesting" situations from time to time. As I was growing up I didn't have a big problem with falling down the stairs.... no, my big problem was falling UP the stairs. I have been known to be walking down the street and talking to friends and walk straight into a street sign pole. Yeah, that leaves a pretty good mark. I am sure that my family could enlighten you as to many more of these "experiences". Most people would be embarrassed, but I have learned to laugh.

Last night though may top all of my situations I have gotten myself into. After a long, hectic night at work I was extremely glad when 11:23 rolled around and I got to clock out and come home. I was so happy walking out to my car thinking about getting to come home and see Mark and my precious sleeping baby. The happiness lasted only so long. I came upon my car and discovered that the Altima next to me had parked in such a way that I could not get in my driver's side door. I know that the hospital I work at has small parking spaces, but come on folks! When you park crooked in an already small parking space it can cause problems for other cars. I was SO angry! I walked around to the passenger side door to unlock it and crawl through, only to realize that there is no key hole on that side. I shimmied between my car and the other car and unlocked my door and all the other doors. I then walked back to the other side to crawl through. In the process of crawling through to the driver's side I managed to get stuck.

Yeah, you heard me right I got stuck in my car. When you are short you have to sit a little closer to the steering wheel and I had no space to get my legs under the steering wheel. I was on the phone with Mark and was in full panic mode. All the doors were closed and it was getting hot inside the car and I could not reach the seat lever to scoot the seat back. I finally managed to get my legs unstuck and swing them over the top of the steering wheel. I am sure it was quite a sight for anyone that was in the parking garage last night.

Dear Mr. Altima Driver,
Please notice your proximity to other cars when you park next time. I am sure your wife was in labor and you were in a hurry (at least that is what I am going to pretend was happening). I am still sore this morning due to your inability to park in between to straight lines.

P.S. This is not the first time that someone has parked next to me where I could not get in. The first time was when I was 30 weeks pregnant.
What is a post without a cute picture?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And the Little One Said... Roll Over, Roll Over

Belle started rolling over tummy to back at about 3 weeks. This early development was primarily due to how teeny, tiny she was at the time. As Belle began to put on more weight, she has a hard time getting herself over. You can tell she knows what to do to get there but just can't get the right push off.

Monday night while I was at work, she rolled over back to tummy while she was playing with Mark. I was sad to miss this new event. I thought maybe it was a coincidence that she had rolled over because she is still a little young for this skill. I have been watching her all week to see if she would do it again. She tried so hard by lifting those legs up and rocking back and forth on her tiny tush. Finally tonight she did it again for me - twice. She is also trying very hard to crawl. I hope we still have a few months before this, but she can pull herself across her blanket about a foot. She also pushes off of her boppy during tummy time and onto the floor.

I know what you all really want to see is pictures...

Sweet baby playing with her grandparents while I was at work

I got 4 inches cut off of my hair today. That is how I spell relief. It had gotten to a seriously ugly place. Of course how fun is a hair cut when your child is fussy and ends up sitting in your lap for the whole thing (she eventually fell asleep to the sound of the hairdryer).

She already has daddy wrapped around that little finger.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Supposedly Playtime is 10pm at the Reiboldt House

Belle is a pretty good sleeper... knock on wood. She is very good at sleeping long stretches - anywhere from 6-10 hour stretches at night. The bit we have yet to master is the getting to sleep bit. After night after night of rocking her, feeding her, walking the floors, etc. nothing was working. Mark and I began to dread the time of night when we had to put her to sleep.

After much advice from friends and family, we have resorted to the book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. It is basically a cry-it-out version where you reassure your baby at different intervals. We started this last week and so far we are taking teeny, tiny baby steps. I usually end up having to feed her before she will finally go down.

Tonight, after crying and crying, Belle started smacking her little fists so I knew she was hungry. I went in and got her to feed her. She refused to eat and instead, she laid on my lap looking up at me with these eyes "saying come on mom lets play". I know she can't understand me, but I looked at her and sweetly said "Belle you need to either eat or go back to sleep." She started smiling and cooing at me as if to say I'll show you mom. Mark and I were dying laughing. There is not a doubt in my mind after tonight that she has her father's personality -- ornery to the bone. These are the times in motherhood where you just throw up your hands and live in the moment. I will only have those sweet smiles and coos for so long and they make every bit of the tough parts of motherhood worth it.

*NOTE: For those of you who are against the cry-it-out method. It is unnecessary for you to share your opinion with me. When you become a mother you do what is best for your child and your family.

I figured since she is just liker her dad, a picture of the two of them was needed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mommy Moment of the Week

After sharing with you all my hair bow story last week, I have decided that I will try to share a "Mommy Moment" each week. Sometimes I feel like new parents should be given an instruction manual or at least this kid should be returnable. You feel like you will royally mess everything up and that your child will need years of therapy. There are moments all day long where you just laugh out loud because you have no clue what you are doing. This week was probably one of the funniest moments I have had since becoming a parent.

Belle has loved to play under her Baby Einstein Activity Gym since she was even a newborn. She will play for a long time and just have such a blast. Lately, I have noticed that she has become somewhat bored with this. She still enjoys it, but she gets upset sooner into playtime than usual. I decided it was time to bring out a bigger toy since she is 3 months old now. I did my research to decide if she was ready for her jumperoo or her exersaucer. I decided that she was ready for the jumperoo because the requirement was to be able to hold her head up. She can do that very, very well. The exersaucer required her to sit without support - we are not ready for that yet.

Yesterday, I lugged the jumperoo box downstairs and during her nap time I worked to put it together. I was so proud that I had assembled it by myself. I could just tell that Belle was going to have so much fun with all the colors and toys. When she woke up from her nap and was fed and happy I went ahead and put her into the jumperoo. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Please scroll slowly to get the full idea of why I was laughing.

This is what she should look like:

This is what Belle looked like:

The picture does not even do justice to how funny it was. It was this huge toy with just a head bobbing about. I had it on the lowest setting and her legs were a good 6 inches from the floor. She couldn't even reach her arms out of the seat to touch the toys. Needless to say it will be awhile before we are playing in the jumperoo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Three Months Old

I honestly cannot believe that I have a three month old. You always here people say how fast the time goes by. It is SO true. Every morning when I go to wake Belle up I see new changes in her. Sometimes it is like waking up to a new baby everyday!

It is incredibly amazing and hilarious at the same time watching Belle discover new things. In the past few weeks she has really found her tongue and hands. Not that they were missing at anytime, but they are now the object of her affection. There are many times throughout the day that I will look over and she has some how crammed her whole fist into her mouth. She'll stick just about anything in her mouth - your chin, ear, etc. She is very intent on trying to see her tongue. She tries so hard - she sticks her tongue out and crosses her eyes trying to see it. One of the easiest ways to make her laugh and smile is to stick out your own tongue out at her. If only we were so easily amused and entertained!

Belle has had several firsts this month. She took her first trip to Saint Simon's for Easter. This was very interesting. She did SO good in the car but had a difficult time adjusting to the new environment of the house there. She got her first cold and diaper rash. This had to happen while daddy was in London. Nothing like being single mommy for the week and having a sick baby.

She is still rolling tummy to back occasionally. This was so much easier for her when she was smaller and she gets very frustrated when she cannot get herself turned over. She has found other thing to interest her during tummy time. She likes to turn her body in circles -- she even does this in her sleep. She also has found a way to somewhat army crawl about 6 inches. That is scary to me because I think she is going to be an early crawler. What is very neat is seeing her start to recognize her name. If she is in a good mood and you say her name she will look right at you with a face like "what do you need?"

We cannot believe how fast she is growing. I know that she is still tiny compared to other babies, but to us she is huge. We are finally getting to put away some of the newborn clothes slowly and are wearing mainly 0-3 size. The problem is that a lot of it still swallows her whole but it is just to short. I cannot imagine all of the new things I will get to update on next month. They change so fast!

Happy 3 Month Birthday!

Look how big I am!

Ok Mom, I'll take that camera now please! Seriously, are we done with the pictures?

The fun of 0-3 month clothes is she can wear jeans now. So cute!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back to Work

Yesterday was the big day. My maternity leave came to an end and I headed back to work. I had been starting to dread this day. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I am very thankful I will only be working 6-8 shifts a month. Many people are not fortunate enough to have a job that is flexible to that degree. In some ways I was looking forward to having a couple hours of being around adults each week, but in other ways I was very sad to be leaving Belle.

The hardest part of the whole evening was when I left the house. She was having a major meltdown when I left, and it was harder to leave when she was so upset. It would have been much easier if she was happy and in a good mood. I will not lie and say there were not any tears -- there were plenty to go around. I called one of my friends that I worked with and we talked the whole way to work in order to distract me. It is weird to be going to a job to take care of women having babies while someone is at home taking care of your own baby.

Overall, the night went great. I had very easy patients and good doctors/midwives taking care of them. For many of you who don't know, I work at the busiest delivery hospital in the nation. We do around 18,000 deliveries per year. Due to the reputation and the quality of care we take care of a much larger population of higher-risk pregnancies than many other hospitals. This is what makes going back to work there a little scary. You have no clue what to expect. I knew I had been officially welcomed back last night when our nurse's station got the call that there was a patient coming in by ambulance screaming and she had been 5cm dilated at her doctor's office that morning. My team leader and I got busy and had the room set up for delivery before the ambulance even arrived. The baby was delivered safely about 5 minutes after she arrived, and the doctor even made it in time. This was definitely my "welcome back" moment. I was surprised at how it is like riding a bike. It all for the most part came back to me. I am sure along the way there will be little questions I will have to recall things, but overall it is as if the nurse switch had been turned off and it was turned back on last night.

Everyone has asked me if having my own baby would make me more sympathetic to my patients. In some ways I have become more sympathetic and in other ways it has made me want to tell some women to toughen up. It makes it much easier to explain things to patients as to what they might experience. I miss those hours with Belle dearly, but I know she is getting to build a special bond with Mark during that time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

1. Friends. I am so thankful for my friends that have invited me out to lunch or offered to come by the house and hang out with us. With Mark out of town it is nice to have some company throughout the day. Belle sure is cute, but I enjoy having someone around every now and then that can talk back to me.

2. Ashley. Last night after a frustrating day I was really down. She let me call her and just have a little pity party for a minute. At the end of the call I was laughing and smiling. Thank you so much Ashley for just listening and making me feel better.

3. Tivo. I usually bathe Belle and then feed her and put her to sleep during the start of primetime TV. Tivo allows me to watch some of the primetime shows I still like at other times during the day.

4. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. What in the world is a better lunch? It is quick, super easy and very tasty. You can even mix it up with different types of cheese. Today was some good aged white cheddar on wheat bread and Campbell's Select Tomato Basil Soup.

5. My Grandparents. They are going to keep Belle for a couple hours on the days that I have to work. They are basically making it possible for Belle not have to go to daycare for the couple of hours that my shift and Mark's job overlap. It is also convenient since I am only working one or two days a week.

6. My AT&T Alarm System. I seriously live in Fort Knox - my alarm system talks to me. Nuff said.

7. The Biggest Loser. I figure if you are really going to get addicted to a reality show this is at least a little more on the positive side. And it is better to watch this than something like the Food Network when you are trying to lose weight.

8. My Adorable Red Blackberry. I believe I am now on my third blackberry. It is so nice to be able to communicate with Mark while he is in meetings and especially since he is "across the pond". With the time difference it has been hard to find time to talk, but at least this way we can send each other little messages throughout the day.

9. Baby Papasan Cradle Swing. Belle is one of those babies that really fights naps. Belle will fall asleep in this swing and stay asleep for about an hour and a half. That is huge! Thank you Fisher Price for making this swing and allowing me to have some moments to get things done around the house.

10. Awkward Sleeping Positions. Seeing Belle in the following pictures is a way I know she has a little bit of me inside of her. As a child I could be found sleeping sideways, upside down, and basically all over the place. Belle will sleep with her arms just hanging in the air -- it is hilarious.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'd Be Fussing Too!

We dress Belle very girly. There is not a day that this child doesn't see the color pink. Yeah I know her walls are pink, but she also sees quite a bit in her wardrobe. I believe Belle also has very girly features. Everything about her face is very dainty and delicate. So do you see where this is going yet?

The past few times I have taken Belle out in public to church or even the grocery store people have asked me "is it a boy or a girl?" Mind you her outfit has been pink every time and one of the times she had bows all down the front of her outfit. If she has been in her car seat when people asked this, she usually has a pink blanket over her feet. Are people blind? I am too nice and say yes SHE is a girl. What I really want to say are things like: What do you think? or It is a boy, but I really wanted a girl. I decided that it was time for Belle to have some bows - hopefully people are smart enough to figure out that bow = girl. That may be expecting a little too much of people though.

I am loving the bows. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and I wore bows all the time. Even when I was playing hard with my brothers I still had a big ol' bow in my hair - even if it was hanging on by a single strand. Belle looks so cute in her bows too.

The other day we were driving home from meeting Mark at his office for lunch. Belle was fussing and fussing in the car. She hardly ever fusses like that when you are driving. Sometimes she will fuss when the car is stopped at a red light or if her hand gets stuck under the strap. So, I am driving along and she is just fussing lots. I know she is well fed and so I am thinking her hand is probably stuck. We weren't far from home so I just kept on driving. Eventually she settled down and by the time we pulled in our drive way she was sound asleep. When I went to get her out of the car, I had a much better understanding of her fussing...
Yeah, I'd Be Fussing Too!

I have been waiting and waiting for this onesie to fit Belle -- it still swallows her whole (I had to tuck it all around her for the picture) but we are definitely getting closer to those 3 month clothes.

Belle asked me to make sure and post this picture so her daddy knows how much she misses him.

Sorry, I wasn't able to get any videos posted. If anyone is good at posting videos please tell me what is the easiest way to post them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two Months

One month old turned into two months old right before our eyes. Two months brought so many new things for Belle. For starters, we were finally able to venture out of the house for the first time. With Belle being a little early, our doctor wanted us to keep her out of the general public until she was about 8 weeks old. That first venture out was to the mall so that I could buy some clothes that fit. She behaved wonderfully watching her look around you could tell she knew that she was in a very new place. You very quickly realize how much your life has changed when in order to leave the house for even two hours you pretty much draw out a plan of action to get everyone ready.

Belle found out during her second month that she was going to have not one but two new cousins this year. We knew that she was going to have one because Justin and Allison had told us they were pregnant two days before Belle was born. They found out a couple of weeks later that they were having twins! It is so very exciting. We cannot wait for Belle to have some cousins to boss around.

Speaking of bossing around. This month it has been so amazing to watch Belle's personality develop. She is a very happy baby when she wants to be, but she is also very, very opionated. We still have no clue who she gets this from -- ahem, Mark. She loves to play especially with her daddy once he gets home from work. She hates to nap because she is so worried that she will miss out on something. She will yawn and yawn, but when you start to put her down for her nap and she recognizes we have started the routine she will scream. She loves her bath as long as one foot is dangling off into the water, but when you wash her hair she tries to make us feel like agents of torture.

With the addition of her personality, she has also become very strong. It is hard to believe that something so tiny could be so strong. She loves for us to hold her up so she can "stand". I think this is another way that she likes to make sure she takes everything in that is going on. She can hold that head up like a pro. Every now and then she lets it lag but I imagine her little body gets tired easily.

Belle had her one month check up about half-way into this month. We are doing it about a week and a half to two weeks late right now just to accomodate the shots for her prematurity. She weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. It is amazing how fast they grow.

We ended her two months with a fun weekend with Aunt Allison. She came to see us for the last time that she could travel to Atlanta before the twins make their debut. Belle had so much fun going shopping with us and having a big family dinner for her birthday celebration.

Showing how she can "stand" to blow out her birthday candles
Belle's size at two months compared with her Raggedy Ann doll
(The doll was made by a sweet lady at church with the scraps from Belle's nursery fabric)

Sweet, happy baby

Very serious - she must be concentrating hard on keeping that paci in
Have you ever seen anything more peaceful?
I promise I wasn't lying about how much she hated her hair being washed
I am going to try to figure out how to post some adorable videos of Belle's "tricks" tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

On this Tuesday, I am thankful for the following:

1. My wonderful, amazing husband Mark. Not only is he so good to me, he is also incredible with Belle. She is so lucky to have him for her daddy. He wins the top spot on my list because of his courageous duty this morning (no pun intended -- and you will understand in a second). At 6:45 this morning when I went to feed Belle, I discovered a MAJOR blowout. So nice that I discovered this once I had already picked her up. It was through her gown, through her swaddle me, onto the sheet, up her back, down her legs and even on her shoulder - can I get a "YUCK"! Mark woke up and came in and helped me clean up the little princess. She was screaming bloody murder, but Mark patiently and so sweetly cleaned the mess off of her (for the ones that did not catch on as quickly, this is where the courageous "duty" pun makes sense). Thank you so much Mark for always being there for the two of us no matter what you have to do.

2. Dreft Laundry Stain Remover. Allows messes such as above to occur, and allows the stains to completely disappear. It is like magic! Belle's laundry shows no signs of the disaster's that occur throughout our day.

3. Belle's Reflux Medications. Belle has a good ole case of reflux just like about everyone whoever had "Chamblee" as part of their name. We are not surprised at all that she has developed this, seeing as when I was a child I was carted from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Thankfully, our doctor believes in treating reflux like forest fires - aggressive and quick. Due to a combination of medications and elevating her mattress, I have a much happier child who appears to be much more comfortable. Seriously, we have been doing this for four days now and almost every symptom has gone away.

4. The Little Series Music. This is a wonderful collection of children's music. There are lullabies, silly songs and such. Belle loves to go to sleep to the lullabies. The silly songs are so much fun. I sit her in her Bumbo and I sing them to her doing the silly hand motions. Makes me feel like I am right back in VBS again. Still trying to remember all those crazy hand motions. The best is that Belle tends to look at me like I am a little on the nutty side.

5. Snap 'n' go stroller. This was a recommendation to me from a friend who used to be a nanny. All of my friends complained about their barcalounger-esque strollers saying they were too heavy to use often. This stroller is fabulous because I just pop the car seat into it. That way if Belle is sleeping from the car ride I don't have to wake her up to put her in the stroller. I just pop open this light weight contraption and strap the car seat in. I get so many compliments on it. People act like it is some revolutionary stroller - folks it is 59.99 at Babies R Us and will change your life.

6. Today's gorgeous weather. It was in the low 70's and cloudy. Perfect for strapping Belle into above stroller and going for a walk with dad once he got home from work.

7. My once a month house cleaner. Today I felt like my house was starting to get a tad icky. I had to just do the basics of cleaning because I know my house will be "deep-cleaned" next week. This really brought a smile to my face. I enjoy being able to spend quality time with Belle and get other stuff done during naps besides house cleaning. Thank you #1 for this luxury. This is a small piece of heaven in my life.

8. Old Navy. As I am working to drop the pounds from my pregnancy, I can reward myself with a new pair of pants as I drop clothes sizes without feeling guilty about the price. I am about to go buy my third pair of jeans - which means third size dropped!

9. My mother teaching me to cook. Thank you mom for making me cook with you each summer. These lessons were so helpful for me. I think every food that I made with you those summers I can now make without looking at a recipe. This has been so wonderful during the adjustment period to being a mom. I can cook things quickly and easily because of you! Who knew your lessons years ago could reduce my stress today!

10. The flexibility of my job. I save this for last because I will be starting back to work next week. Yes siree, my maternity leave is coming to a close. My job though allows me many options to enjoy motherhood and working at the same time. I am getting to go back to work as "resource" which basically means that I have to work a minimum of 6 shifts per month. I am getting to stay on the same evening shift which which will be wonderful because Belle will not have to go to day care. I am nervous about being back at "the nation's busiest hospital", but excited to have some adult time!