Friday, April 29, 2011

One Year Ago

Exactly one year ago, I peed on a stick and my life changed forever. Who knew two pink lines could make a person so incredibly happy? This was back when life was easy and... normal. Aaron and I were living in Arizona. We knew that we were being reassigned soon, and we assumed that we would be moving somewhere down south, where we would be able to raise our first child together. We also simply assumed that the little developing embryo inside of my uterus was perfectly healthy.
We couldn't have been more wrong. Little did we know, we were both about to be thrown into a crazy whirlwind of a pregnancy- and separated for most of it. The baby inside my belly was a far cry from healthy, but he would steal our hearts anyways, the moment we saw his little white silhouette on our first ultrasound.
Had I known ahead of time that I would spend the majority of my pregnancy on bedrest, worrying incessantly, would I do it again? Would I have felt differently knowing that I would have to spend six weeks in hell the NICU, barely able to care for or comfort my own child? Would I have been as happy if I knew that I was going to have to raise a newborn with multiple health problems all by myself, while my husband was hundreds of miles away? Was it worth it?
Absolutely. Every tear shed along this journey has been worth it. I am a better, stronger woman now than I was one year ago. Look at what came of it all- a happy baby boy. What could be better? Elliot is my entire world. He lights up my life. All the tough times over the last twelve months are instantly erased when I see his smile. When he reaches for my hand. When he looks up at me with those big eyes and I just know how much he loves and depends on me.
I'd do it again. I'd do it a hundred times.
I love you, Elliot Reid, and you are absolutely perfect in every way.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Daily Routine

We have a new routine around here that seems to be working really well. Before, I was just kind of letting him do what he wanted when he wanted. Having more structure really seems be working out better, though. He basically fell into this routine on his own with a little "help" from his mama. :)

A typical day for us:
8:30am: Elliot wakes up for the day. He has a bottle, but usually not right away- this is the one time during the day when we can go longer than two hours without a bottle. He's much more flexible in the early morning.
9:00am: We listen to music {he happens to really like Britney Spears and Lady GaGa, HAH!} dance, and play on the bed. Don't worry- I'll phase out Britney for more "kid friendly" music when he gets a little older.
9:45am: Time to get dressed! I let him kick and hang out naked for a few minutes here. He LOVES to be naked!
10:00 Elliot sits in his bouncy seat and watches Little Bear or Sesame Street so I can eat some breakfast. He actually plays with his toys more than he watches the TV, but that's okay with me.
10:30: Mama shower/get ready time, which means Elliot entertains himself in his bouncy seat in the bathroom with me. He LOVES the fan and really doesn't mind waiting patiently most days. He used to sleep through my showers but now whenever I peek out at him he's happily awake.
11:00am: Bottle and nap time.
12:30pm: Bottle, then more playtime and storytime. He loves to be read to. {and once it warms up, we'll be spending this time outside!}
2:30pm: Another bottle and 1-2 hour nap
Around 4:00pm: Elliot wakes up, has a bottle, my brother Matthew comes home from school, and the 3 of us play together for awhile. He also usually does tummy time and has a short nap, too.
Around 6:00pm: Dinner time- bottle for Elliot, and then he sits in his bouncy seat or walker next to the table {or my lap, if he isn't cooperating} while I eat dinner. If he sits in my lap, he tries to grab my bowl/plate and stares at the food intently with his mouth hanging wide open. Poor kid. Sorry, you've got awhile to wait, still...
8:00pm: Bathtime for Elliot {his FAVORITE!}, followed by a bottle, a story, some rocking and cuddling, and then bed. He then wakes up 4-5 times throughout the night to eat.

Does your baby have a routine? I think it helps other mamas to see what works for others. If you want, write a blog post about your daily routine and link up below :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wooden toys- simply the best.

I love using toys to challenge and stimulate my son, as well as to keep him occupied. But I'm not a fan of the obnoxious, electronic plastic toys that fill the American toy market. I think they are cheap and overstimulating, and I'd much prefer the classic wooden toys that so many of us grew up with. Apparently, I'm not alone. Wooden toys have always been VERY popular overseas and are {finally!} becoming popular here in the US, too.
The Wooden Toy is the very best online wooden toy shop I've ever found.
There's something for everyone- babies, toddlers, and young children. They carry a HUGE selection of everything from rattles and stackers to cars, kitchen playsets and walkers {and everything in between!}. My favorite part? Most of their toys are educational and can be used to help develop hand-eye-coordination, shapes, colors, numbers, musical skills, and fine motor skills.
Some of the toys offered at the Wooden Toy Shop that I'd love to buy for Elliot:





Like what you see? Head on over to the Wooden Toy Shop and get shopping for hours of fun in the world of wooden toys!

Real men wear purple. {photo dump}

Well, it's been raining nonstop for a couple days now and isn't about to stop anytime soon... so I STILL haven't been able to take Elliot back outside. Disappointing! All of these April showers better bring some pretty fantastic May flowers!
We don't exclude any colors from Elliot's wardrobe, toys, nursery decoration, etc. I think all little boys should be able to enjoy every color in the rainbow {pink and purple included} in addition to green and blue. In fact, Elliot's nursery has very little blue at all. I hate how people are programmed to think boy = baby blue. In my opinion, baby blue is one of the most boring colors.
Here are some pictures of Elliot rocking his purple hoodie a couple days ago.

Where's your bottom lip?
His new thing- sucking on his bottom lip. How incredibly adorable is that?!

... and he still enjoys expressing his opinion with those crazy eyebrows.

Crazy eyebrows again

Another new habit: clasping his hands.


My two favorite boys: Elliot and my little brother, Matthew. Can anyone guess the age difference between us? Hint: it's a lot.

Uncle Matthew loves his nephew
Elliot loves his uncle, and his uncle loves him! You should see how Elliot cranes his neck to find Matthew whenever he hears his voice. And he always greets his uncle with a giant smile, too. So cute. We will both miss Matthew when we leave in a couple months!

In case you didn't notice, Elliot finally has some little cheekers! Yep, he's moving on up the growth charts... he's at the whopping 10th percentile now. And 90th percentile for height, which means he is outgrowing his 0-3 month sleepers and rompers in the length but 3-6 months are INCREDIBLY baggy on him. Poor kid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Hold on

"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love." -Mildred B. Vermont

I've been a mother for four months now. Twelve if you count when I was pregnant. Becoming a mother changes you. It's amazing how instantly, the moment you see your newborn child's face, your life changes forever. Suddenly, nothing else matters. You'd hurl yourself into incoming traffic to save this tiny person that you just met. Your own wants and needs automatically come last, and making your child happy moves up to the top of your priority list.
Motherhood is all I ever expected, and more. It is the most satisfying, fulfilling position I could ever hold. I've never been so passionate about anything in my life. Some people think being a stay at home mom is boring... but it's the complete opposite. I get to spend every moment of every day with my beautiful son. I get to watch in amazement as he grows and changes, hold his hand as he maneuvers his way through this big, beautiful world. I am trusted with one of the biggest {and sometimes, most challenging} responsibilities- raising a responsible, caring, little person.
My son inspires me. He reminds me to take joy in the little things. He makes me laugh, cry, and everything in between. He makes me want to be the best person that I can be. We are held together by some invisible, unbreakable thread, and I know now that no matter what happens in the future, my life is better because I have him in my life.
All of my childhood dreams have come true- I have a wonderful husband who loves me and a son who lights up my life. A perfect little family of three. I am blessed.

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." -Rajneesh

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy boy Easter morning

Elliot just wanted to say, Happy Easter!"

Peace love Elliot
We colored eggs.

love peace?
Well... I colored them. Elliot watched.

Checking out the eggs
...and then Elliot checked them out. He thought they were fascinating.

Elliot's first Easter basket
And finally, Elliot peeked in his Easter basket. The Easter bunny brought him some books, teethers, some adorable jingly owl and bird balls, and a fun bunny mirror rattle toy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Need to Compare

Maybe I'm just ridiculously paranoid, but everywhere I look, babies that are Elliot's age and YOUNGER are doing bigger and better things than he is. I know, I know, we've all heard it a hundred times- "don't worry, all babies do things at their own individual pace."
If I were the mother of a "regular" baby, perhaps I would heed that advice and relax a little. But the fact is, I'm not. Sure, Elliot may LOOK healthy and whole nowadays, but that doesn't change the fact that he had a very startling, unnatural beginning to life. He inspired us all during those first hard weeks with his unbelievable strength and resilience, but no matter how quickly he recovered, he is still going to be faced with some challenges as a result of what happened to him both in and out of the womb.
I've been told that the chances of Elliot having some developmental delays is about 65%. Now that's just not fair. Hasn't he already been through ENOUGH? So here I am, silently taking note of the things that he should probably already be doing by now {eating more, sleeping longer, rolling over, sitting unassisted, grabbing/holding toys, holding his own bottle, discovering his feet, etc} and trying to encourage him. This is an interesting internal battle for me, though. Honestly, I'm in no great hurry for him to do ANY of these things. I LOVE that he is still so dependent on me. He will only be this little once, so why rush things? Well, it seems that others are always questioning me about it. You should see the looks I get from complete strangers as they try to hide their shock when they find out that he is actually much older than he looks, or that he is or isn't doing a certain thing. It's frustrating.
He will be evaluated by a specialist in two months to determine whether he is reaching his milestones or falling behind. Until then, I should probably just relax and stop worrying. I'm sure he'll catch up eventually, and even if he didn't, I would love him anyway. But I'm a worrier. It's what I do!
Thanks for listening to me ramble. I just needed to get this out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Better days ahead

Elliot is FINALLY starting to feel better! He has started smiling, talking, and playing again. His new favorite thing to do is screech and squeal. He can go really high-pitch and sounds exactly like a baby chimpanzee. If you don't know what they sound like, look it up on youtube... that's what he sounds like. Silly boy!
He also really, REALLY likes to stand up {with help}. I don't know how this kid is ever going to learn to sit unassisted, because all he ever wants to do is stand... and sometimes he throws a fit if you try to get him to sit down. He likes standing so much that I went out and bought him a walker. He's not quite big enough to touch the floor yet, so I put a pillow under there and he LOVES it! Who knows, maybe he'll STAND before he SITS by himself. I tend to do things a little backwards myself, so I wouldn't put it past him.
Although the antibiotics seem to be working, they also give Elliot really nasty, stinky poop. I've been using his biodegradable/flushable inserts because he's been pooping in every single diaper. Yuck! So his butt has been much less "fluffy" the last couple days. I miss the cloth, though. The disposables are much less soft and absorbent... and they make the trash stink. There is never any smell with his cloth! I can't wait for him to be done with this medicine.

Teething smile
He SMILES again! :) Usually with his fingers jammed in his mouth, because he is teething like crazy.

Smile smile chew

Walker love
In love with his new walker.

Those eyebrows!!
Captured mid-screech. Check out those EYEBROWS!!

Fabulous Friday

It's Friday ALREADY?? Don't forget to head on over to Between the Lines and link up. :)
So what's fabulous this week?
♥ Baby smiles {and grins, and babbles, and squeals, and screeches}: Elliot's feeling better, and he's making sure everyone in the house knows it.
♥ CANDY: Easter is in two days, which means I can FINALLY eat sweets again, which is good, because I've been craving dark chocolate like crazy lately. And the house is full of it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
♥ MORE SLEEP: Elliot is finally starting to eat a little more at night, which means he is sleeping a little more, too. Only an extra thirty minutes to an hour at a time, but hey, I'll take all the extra sleep I can get! Someday, he'll sleep through the night. Someday...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Things I Couldn't Live Without: month 3

Graco Lauren Classic Crib: Elliot is now sleeping in his crib. I love how fresh, simple, and sturdy it is! My 13 year old little brother and I {when I was 8 months preggo} managed to put it together all by ourselves, too- and I'm like the least handy person ever, so that really says something.

Twilight Turtle: Elliot is afraid of the dark, so we used to have to sleep with a lamp on. Thanks to this adorable turtle, which projects blue, green, or amber stars onto the ceiling, those days are long over.

Fisher Price Soothe & Glow seahorse: Elliot always sleeps with this adorable seahorse. It plays a combination of water/bubble sounds and soft music. Even {I} find it pretty relaxing!

Fisher Price Whale of a Tub: What's Elliot's absolute favorite time of day? TUBBIE TIME!! We tried another tub but this one was way, way better. He kicks and splashes to his heart's content in here, and {unlike the other tub} the water is actually deep enough to cover most of him so he doesn't get cold. Plus... it's a WHALE! How cute is that?!

Johnson's Bedtime Bath Collection: Elliot gets a bath every night before bed, and we always use the bedtime bath and the bedtime lotion. It smells lavender-y and delicious. I've even used it in a bath for myself, shhh!

Mr. Brown Can Moo board book by Dr. Seuss: This is Elliot's favorite book. He thinks all the funny noises I make while reading it to him are hilarious :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A snow day in APRIL?

Well, the weather man wasn't wrong. Last night, while everyone was sleeping, we got eight inches of snow. That's not a very good thing to wake up to! Not in April, anyways.
The boys had a snow day and there was even enough freshly fallen snow to make a snowman!
Last week, it was in the 60's and sunny, and now we're buried beneath snow again. That's what happens when you live in northern Michigan!


Frosty's face

Snowy pond

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another day, another doctor appointment.

Well, Elliot went to the doctor today for his 4-month well baby appointment. He is now 12 lbs 12 oz and 26.2" long. That puts him at the 10th percentile for weight {up 5% from last time} and the 90th percentile for height. Looks like he's going to be tall and skinny like his mama!!!
Elliot was also finally put on antibiotics for bronchitis. His lungs also sounded terrible so there were some questions about pneumonia, but his doctor {thankfully} decided to wait and see how he does on the meds since hes already had so many x-rays in his short life. No need to expose him to even more gamma rays if we don't have to!
He can't get his shots until he feels better... I'm not too heartbroken about that, though. If some of you are wondering why I've never talked about vaccinations on this blog, when I talk about practically everything else, there is a reason. If given a choice, I definitely would have practiced delayed vaccination and possibly even selective vaccination. The army, however, did not give me a choice. I'd tell you how frustrated I am about that, but it would be a lost cause and a waste of my time so I won't bother.
In other news, we are in the middle of a SNOWSTORM. We are supposed to get 5-12 inches and my dad {a meteorologist} seriously doubts that my brothers will have school tomorrow. This is RIDICULOUS!!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011



It's snowing today. Two days ago, it was sunny and warm, and now it's below freezing and everything is coated in two inches of fresh snow.
Elliot doesn't like it!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Elliot: 4 months!

Elliot is 4 months old today!
I know I always say this, but I really can't believe how quickly time is flying by. Every day, Elliot becomes more animated, intelligent, curious, and {I'll admit it} FUN. But this also means that he is becoming more and more independant and leaving those days as a tiny, helpless newborn far behind.
This Month:
♥ Elliot weighs 12 lbs 12 oz and is 26.2" long- 10th percentile for weight and 90th percentile for height!
♥ He is wearing all 0-3 month clothes, but the rompers and sleepers are getting too short.
♥ He is eating 4 ounces every 3 hours during the day and 3 ounces every 2-3 hours at night.
♥ He usually wakes up 4-6 times a night
♥ He sleeps in his crib and/or pack & play all night and most naps
♥ We now sleep with a night light instead of the lamp, and he sleeps with music playing
♥ He has been sick almost the entire month- with a cold, then a stomach/GI virus, and now with another cold.
♥ He can now grab certain hanging toys, and still loves to bat at them, too.
♥ He still hasn't rolled over
♥ We tried the Bumbo, but his head and neck aren't quite strong enough for it yet.
♥ He is teething like a MAD MAN, and EVERYTHING goes directly into his mouth
♥ He stopped crying during most diaper changes! WOO HOO!
♥ He likes to stand up in my lap
♥ He always has to be clutching some part of me {my shirt, arm, finger, etc} while being held
♥ He finds the TV fascinating and will stare at it for several minutes before getting distracted
♥ He likes to play with the wipey box during diaper changes
♥ He HATES the booger-sucker and tissues
♥ He still absolutely LOVES bathtime and could care less if water or baby wash gets in his eyes {or mouth, or ears...}
♥ He has a temper and is very inpatient
♥ He loves to cuddle and read books together, and a lot of the time he'll "talk" to the pictures
♥ He usually chooses to yell rather then cry when he wants/needs something
♥ He adores playing patty-cake and will ALWAYS squeal and grin during the "roll it, roll it, and mark it with a B" part
♥ He entertains himself in his bouncy seat for an hour every morning while I shower/get ready and every evening during dinner
♥ He loves going for walks outside in his stroller
♥ He HATES his carseat and car rides
♥ He LOVES to watch me vacuum and blow dry my hair
♥ He is incredibly friendly/outgoing and LOVES meeting new people
♥ He really likes tummy time, especially in the boppy or with a pillow
♥ He barely fits stretched out on my lap anymore, and thinks it's hilarious to kick my boobs
♥ He is a really heavy sleeper and can sleep through almost ANYTHING

{See Elliot at 3 months & 2 months}

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fabulous Friday

I've been in a bit of a blogging funk lately, so I decided to participate in Laura's Fabulous Friday today.
So what's fabulous about today?
♥ This Spring weather: Spring has FINALLY sprung in northern Michigan. The sun is out, the snow is melted, and I can finally get out of the house and go for walks with Elliot. What could be better??
♥ Pre-Pregnancy Jeans: I decided to be brave and try on my pre-pregnancy jeans the other day, and THEY FIT!! A month or two ago, I nearly had a meltdown at Kohl's when I couldn't even fit into size 9 jeans. And now, here I am, back in my size 2's and the exact weight I was before getting pregnant. I feel "normal" again, and I love it.
♥ My New Camera: I'm really digging my new Canon DSLR!!
& that is all :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Elliot's first walk

It was in the high 50's and sunny here yesterday, so I took Elliot on his very first walk. He absolutely LOVED it, and was babbling away and looking around the whole time. He just couldn't believe how big the world beyond his windows was! I think this is the first of many, many walks that we will take together.
I am so excited to explore this beautiful world with my son. Both his father and I LOVE being outdoors, and I hope Elliot learns to enjoy being outside as much as we do. There is so much to do and see! So much beauty! There are so many great "firsts" to be had- his first time digging in the dirt, first trip to the ocean, first hike, first time feeling sand between his toes... I could go on and on. The natural world is a peaceful and wonderful place, and I can't wait for Elliot to explore and experience it all.

Off we go
All set to go!

Big eyes!
Elliot wide-eyed at all there was to see and do. Oh, my son, the great outdoors is a beautiful place!

I like it!
The verdict is in and... he likes it!!

Lifeless in early spring
Unfortunately, no green here yet. I can't wait for buds and blossoms!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Elliot has a new friend...

Her name is Sophie.
Elliot & Sophie

And as you can see, she makes him quite happy!
Happy boy

Sunday, April 10, 2011

10 Day Challenge- day 9

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Two songs:
1. "World Spins Madly On" ♥ The Weepies
2. "Hey Jude" ♥ The Beatles
you have NO idea how hard it was for me to pick just two songs because I really, really, really love music. So I just picked the very first two songs I thought of. Both great songs!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

10 Day Challenge- day 8

Three Films:
1. The Notebook- this movie is basically my husband and I's story. Not exactly {obviously} but PRETTY DARN CLOSE! Love ♥
2. A Beautiful Mind- one of my favorite movies of all time.
3. UP!- definitely my favorite kids' movie. Pixar pretty much rocks my socks. I love ALL of their movies. Aaron and I go to see Pixar movies in theatres all the time. Sans kids. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our government disgusts me

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I am extremely dissapointed in our government!

Elliot meets another set of "greats"

Yesterday, Elliot got to meet his Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Gougeon. He has had the opportunity to meet so many different generations- both on Aaron's side, and mine. It will be wonderful to share these photos with him someday.
We also spent some quality time with my in-laws, who I love. :) Elliot was perfect the whole day. I swear, we should just bring him to meet people every day... he'd never cry and life would be bliss.

Holding Great Grandma's finger

Great Grandma Gougeon & Elliot

Grandpa kisses