Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Swingin Days Are Over

(I realize that the title of this post sounds a little suspect, but please read on...)

The other day, I had finally had it with trying to keep up with Caroline and I had a million things to get down around the house. I stuck her in her swing and turned it on. She really hasn't used her swing in a long time, even though she is still well under the weight limit. As I have mentioned before, she is not a huge fan of anything that inhibits her mobility these days, so I didn't really have high hopes for this, I just needed my hands free for five minutes. I went on about my business and went back to check on her a few minutes later and this is what I found:

She had managed to launch the toy bar half way across the room and somehow turn herself at a 90 degree angle, all while still swinging. Please note that she was totally strapped in-thankfully.

The other day, Steven and I were actually talking about how we missed the days that we could put her in her swing and she would stay entertained forever or even better, fall asleep. Those days are looooonnnn gone, sadly. It is getting harder and harder to accomplish anything around here with a crazy girl on the loose!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bath Time

Every night when I run Caroline's bath water, she loves to stand at the side of the tub and watch the water run. She gets so excited watching the tub fill up!

Caroline absolutely loves her bath, so I guess it is no surprise that she also loves to watch the tub fill up.


(*Side note: Don't ya just love my lovely aqua blue bathroom??? The funny story is, this bathroom was actually my biggest hesitation when we were looking at this house, and now I actually kind of love the retro look)

Filling up!

Annnnddd of course, Fred had to come see what was going on

"Not now, Fred. I'm busy!"

Caroline 8 Months

Caroline is 8 months old! I almost can't believe it. She is getting so big and full of personality. Things are never boring around here.

She is still somewhat of a shrimp, but I think she has hit a major growth spurt. Almost over night, her pants have gotten too short. She still isn't really growing "out", but rather straight up. Still long and skinny.

I really miss the days when she wasn't mobile. These days, she is all over the place and I can't get ANYTHING done during the day. And she is fast too. She is still working on walking, but she seems to have slowed down a bit. After a couple minor falls, I think she finally got a little sense of fear (thank goodness). Now if I take her hands and try to get her to walk to me or with me, she just sits down. I can't decide if she has started to get more cautious or she has an "I'll-do-it-myself" attitude (given who her mother is, the latter would not be too surprising). But she is still "cruising" the furniture and LOVES to stand up.

Caroline has also been learning to feed herself. It is nice because I can put her in her high chair with some of her "puffs" or a Baby Mum Mum (basically a rice cake for babies) and her sippy cup and she is content for a little bit while I try to cook dinner. At first, food just ended up stuck all over her or in the high chair (for Fred to take care of), but she has gotten pretty accurate with her aim.

The other day, I taught her how to "high five". It isn't the most solid "five", but now when you hold your hand up and say "Give me five", she will take her hand and touch it to your palm, all while looking at you like "What is the big deal???". It is pretty darn cute if I do say so.

And, probably her biggest accomplishment to date is her babbling. I had noticed that Caroline would make a lot of noise, but never made an consonant sounds (i.e. bah dah, etc.). I wasn't worried (Steven will try to say otherwise), but I was cognizant of the situation. I read in several places that a lot of times when babies are early sitters, crawlers, etc., they are often so engrossed in developing those motor skills that they aren't focusing on other skills, such as language development, but they eventually catch up once they have mastered whatever motor skill they have been working on.

Well, she must have accomplished whatever she was working on because she has started babbling away. It started just this last week with "gah" which moved into "gah-gah-gah-gah". A couple days later it became "dah".............. Which turned into.......... "Dadadadada"........... Yup, she said "Dada" first. Steven won. I'm not bitter or disappointed or anything.... I mean, I'm just the one that housed her in my body for nearly 10 months, endured 21 hours of labor, and spent countless sleepless nights nursing her. No big deal. But seriously, I'm not really bothered by it because, as I told Steven, she doesn't even know what she is saying and has yet to attach any meaning with "Dada", so it doesn't count :) But for now, since she wakes up in the morning chattering away, shouldn't Dada be the first one up??? I think that should be the rule.

Big girl!

And of course, she still can't leave the weird blue bird alone
"Who me?"

On the move

So happy

She just would not sit still!

"Whatcha doing up there, Mom?"

"Look at me!"

She has been doing this a lot lately. I swear she is trying to do a somersault.

My, what big eyes you have.

Steven and I both agree, this is the most serious look we have ever seen her make. So funny.

But, it didn't last long ;)

I can't believe that my Sweet Caroline is only 4 months away from being 1..... I just can't wrap my head around that right now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fred, the Food Scavenger

It is no secret in the Broussard household that Fred is a food thief hound. We have a very strict "no-people-food-for-dogs" policy in our house. From day one, I never wanted our dogs to have food from the table because it just reinforces the bad habit of begging. Interestingly enough, even though we never fed Fred from the table, one day he realized what food was and has been the most obnoxious beggar since (much to my disgruntlement). I really think that Fred would sell his soul to the Devil for food.

This being said, I knew it was only a matter of time before Fred figured out that Caroline is an easy source of food. Caroline is in the process of learning to feed herself various things. Of course, when she feeds herself, the high chair and surrounding areas don't stay as clean (I keep telling my Type A minus self that this is part of the learning process...). Fred immediately picked up on the fact that food was falling onto the floor or into the seat of Caroline's high chair. Now, whenever I go to put Caroline in her high chair, Fred is RIGHT there ready to catch any falling morsels. And, Caroline has learned to reach over and offer Fred a slobbery bite of whatever she is eating. Fred is more than happy to oblige her in this game.

"Are you going to eat that soggy puff stuck to the side of your leg? No?"

"Here, let me get that for you. No, really, I don't mind at all."

*When he is doing this, he will literally lift Caroline up with his nose to get the goodies underneath her, and usually, he pushes the high chair back and forth while doing this. None of this even phases Caroline.

"Let me see, is there anything else?"

Caroline: "Fred, you're so busted."

After Caroline is finished, there is hardly anything for me to clean up, so I guess I should be thankful for my 90 lb brown dust buster. It's a hard job, but some one named Fred has to do it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poor Sick Caroline

Well, since Caroline started going to Mother's Day Out a couple weeks ago, I guess it is no surprise that my girl got her first cold. The past couple days around here have been pretty rough. At first, I thought she was just getting ready to cut another tooth since she was so fussy and running a low fever. But after not sleeping at all Saturday night and running a fever of 101.6 Sunday morning around 4 a.m., I knew we were dealing with something else. I have spent the last two nights in the rocker/recliner in her room holding her because she wouldn't sleep if I put her down. She just wants to be held non-stop, which is SO not like her. Needless to say, the Broussards are running on fumes.

And of course all of this happened over the weekend when the doctor's office is closed-I think they call that Murphy's Law of Raising Children. I called the doctor first thing this morning (Monday) and the earliest our pediatrician could see her was 4:00. Needless to say, it was a VERY long day. And, just as my BFF Darcy suspected, she had some sort of a little cold virus that then gave her an ear infection. Poor baby. The doctor gave her an antibiotic and some drops for her ear, so we should be able to kick this thing soon. It has been so hard to see my Sweet Caroline so sad and so sick, especially when she is normally such a happy, easy-going baby.

Poor Caroline :( I wish I could say that I am sick to so that I could have an excuse for my appearance in this picture. Hopefully our girl will be back on the move in a couple days!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Natalie's Baby Shower

Caroline attended her first baby shower this past weekend (unless you count the two showers I had while she was in my belly...). Natalie, one of my best friends from OSU, will be having a little girl at the end of December. And if you know my friends, you know we never pass up a reason to celebrate!

My other friends Tiffany and Emily thought it would be fun to carpool to OKC for the shower. They drove up to Wichita Falls from Dallas on Friday night and spent the night with us. We got up the next morning and hit the road for Oklahoma City. I guess this was also Caroline's first girls' road trip ;)

Caroline had a blast at the shower. She was happy to be out of the car, but she also loved exploring a new place and playing with all of Baby Matilda's presents.

The pretty momma-to-be!

Natalie is actually due December 26, but I told her I wouldn't mind if she waited about 5 days so that I could share a birthday with Tilly ;)

We were explaining to Caroline that her future sorority sister was in Natalie's belly and that once upon a time, she lived in my belly too. I think she totally got it.

Group pic! It is so hard to believe that we have all been friends for almost 10 years now. I feel like I have known these girls my entire life. We have been through a lot together from college, graduation, and moving away. Now, it is so fun to see the next chapter in our lives begin with engagements, weddings, and babies. I love the fact that no matter where life takes us, we are all still really close and when we're together, it is just like it was back when we were living in the Gamma Phi house at Oklahoma State... Except for the husbands and babies ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

One of those moms....

Every now and then, I have to sit back and almost marvel at how different my life is now. Most days, I don't really think too much about it, but when I slow down and take all things into consideration, it almost makes me laugh. Today, this uberdeep self-reflection occured when I noticed a car with two college age girls in it giggling and staring at me. After making sure I didn't have a booger, I realized that I had my windows down and Caroline and I were bumping to Elmo's Song. Yup, I'm a mom, cool card suspended.

It wasn't too terribly long ago that I swore I would NEVER (and I meant never) have children. Obviously, I changed my mind between then and now, thank goodness. Otherwise, I would never know the joy of being a mother and most importantly, I wouldn't have my Sweet Caroline.

Once Steven and I got married and I finally wrapped my mind around the idea of having children, there were certain things I swore I would never do as a mother or things I would see "yuppie" moms doing that would make me snicker. Well, my friends, I have crossed over to the dark side. And I have to say, I kind of like it.

For starters, I joined a group called Stroller Strides about 6 weeks ago. Stroller Strides is a national franchise geared towards helping moms get into or stay in shape without having to worry about childcare. It is a group of moms who get together a few times a week to work out with our kids in tow. The class is lead by an instructor who is a mother of three darling girls, ages 4 and under. We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:00 a.m. at one of the parks here in town. When the weather is bad, we meet at the mall. I have to admit, when I first heard about this class, I was pretty skeptical and thought, "Yeah right. Like that's a good workout". Well, I have eaten my words. It is a great workout and I couldn't walk after the first week.

Since we have our kids with us (and not all of them are babies-there are several moms with 2-4 year olds), part of the class is geared towards keeping our kids entertained and happy while they're strapped in the strollers. This means singing the ABC's while doing bicep curls or singing "The Wheels on the Bus" while doing calf raises. Caroline loves it. She gets so excited, especially when we do interactive things with the kids.

It is pretty funny to see people's reaction to our group. We look like the stroller mafia. Five years ago, if some one had told me that I would be singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" while doing squats in the park, I would have told them they were delusional. But, here I am. I can't deny the "mommyhood" transformation that my former child-fearing self has undergone. Not only am I able to take care of myself, but I have also met some really nice people. And I have to admit, I kinda love it. Especially since I can see my abs again :)

It was kind of cold outside on this particular morning, so class was moved indoors to the mall.

Yay for Stroller Strides! (I apologize for the quality of these pictures. All I had was my phone.)


Just waiting for class to start...

Last week, I also took yet another plunge into the mommy pool. I enrolled Caroline in a Parent's Day out program at one of the churches here in Wichita Falls. Every Thursday, she goes to class from 9:30 to 2:30. I have to admit, it was a little hard to drop her off the first time, but this was something I desperately needed. Not that I want to get away from Caroline, but yeah, I kind of needed to get away from Caroline for a little bit.

Now, before you start labeling me a "bad mom" for wanting a few hours away from my baby a week, hear me out. Since we are a military family, we a subject to moving where ever the AF tells us to. We don't have the option of moving back home to be near family. Granted, we are extremely blessed to be so much closer to our family where we are now, but with my parents being 4.5 hours away and Steven's parents being 9 hours away, it really isn't feasible to get day to day or even week to week help. It makes it a little difficult when I have things I need to do that aren't really that easy to do with Caroline, such as doctor's appointments and getting my hair cut. I don't have a mom, sister, or an aunt that I can call to watch Caroline for an hour here or there.

Steven is great to help out when he can, but his schedule is pretty demanding and he can rarely take off work early to help me out. Plus, since it is hunting season, he has been leaving the house every Saturday morning around 5:00 a.m. and not returnining until later that afternoon. He works very hard during the week to provide for our family, and hunting is his release. But, that is one more day that I am totally on my own. And as most parents know, being a mom doesn't have normal office hours-you're on call 24/7, 365. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job as a stay at home mom. But sometimes, I need a breather and a refresher from it. I feel it makes me a better mom. Every mother and child are different, and what works for one may not work for the other. Some moms are content to NEVER be away from their children, even for half an hour. I am just not one of them.

After having 5 hours to myself last Thursday, I felt so much better. Steven noticed the difference when he came home from work too. I wish I could say that I spent that time doing something enjoyable or relaxing for myself, but no, I rushed home and cleaned my house. Even still, it was refreshing because I did it uninterrupted. It was actually kind of amazing. It is the little things I tell ya.

And let's not forget the most important little person in this whole equation, Caroline. Three words: She loved it! Afterall, she is a person too, and I'm sure she gets a little sick of me being in her face alllll day. We walked into the classroom, she held out her arms, went straight to her teacher, and never looked back at me. She had so much fun. How do I know??? Well, I get a little report from the teachers that tells me pretty much everything that went on. But the true indicator was that she took a 2 hour nap when she came home!!!!! This is pretty exciting stuff, because she usually only naps 30-45 minutes twice a day at home (now do you see why I needed a break???)

Caroline's first "report card". Of course I am saving it, but Steven insisted on putting it on the refrigerator :) If you look closely, you can see that she only napped 35 minutes while she was there and she "was a busy girl". Ha! Why am I not surprised? (Note: I meant to get a pic of Caroline as I dropped her off, but I was a ball of nerves and totally forgot)

Bottom line, I have learned to never say never to ANYTHING*, because you never know what life is going to hand you. I have found myself thinking and saying things that I never thought I would. But, I think the most unexpected things are some times the best things about life.

*Almost anything.... Mom or not, I vow I will NEVER drive a mini van. Come on, I can't have my cool card totally revoked.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween cont'd

The Broussards had a pretty tame Halloween this year. Our friends, The Coopers, had an awesome Halloween party on Saturday night. They went all out with decorations, food, etc. Caroline was of course a bee, Steven was... I don't really know... He has this random 70's getup that he is always begging me to let him wear out for New Year's Eve (?), but I never let him. I was so pressed for time this year and really didn't have time to come up with anything for him, so I just let him wear that, which he was totally happy with. I went as Lady Gaga. At first it seemed like a great idea, just throw on a crazy blond wig and craziest stuff in my closet (No, I did NOT go in my underwear). But, it didn't work out so well. I discovered that she actually works really hard to look that weird. Ya win some, ya lose some. Unfortunately, I only have about 2 pics from the party, and they really aren't even worth posting :( It is hard to take pictures when you have full Halloween garb on and you're trying to keep up with a busy little bee.

And speaking of the my little bee, here she is in all of her Halloween glory:

So excited to be a bee!

Checking out the Jack-O-Lantern

So sweet ;)

And of course, just because you have wings, doesn't mean you can't crawl.

Cutest little bee butt ever!

I was actually very pleasantly surprised with how well she put up with her costume. She didn't seem to mind it at all. I figured that the wings would drive her crazy, but she never seemed to notice them. The only thing she really messed with was her tutu, which she tried to eat on numerous occassions.

This pic was actually about a week before Halloween when I had just finished her costume. We were doing a test run.

So, this is how Caroline crawls these days. She has a kick-stand. Before she started pulling herself up, she crawled totally normal. But after she started standing up on her own, she started putting that little leg out there like she is going to stand up at any minute. It certainly doesn't slow her down though. She can book it!

"Whatcha doin???"

Monday night (Halloween), Steven had class, so Caroline and I had to take care of trick or treaters together. I didn't take her trick or treating because, well, she can't eat candy and the candy that she would have received would have been consumed by yours truly. So, we settled in and got ready for the trick or treaters.

I gave her a bath before trick or treating started and just put her back in her costume so she could great the trick or treaters with me. While we waited, Caroline read a book.

My mom sent her this book for Halloween. It is called "Where is Baby's Pumpkin?". She loves it!

And of course we had to cruise the furniture.

Watching for trick or treaters. (Please disregard the nose prints on my window... The sad thing is, I had just cleaned this window 2 days before. Ugh.)

Caroline and I had fun seeing all of the trick or treaters. Since I was holding her on one hip, I had the bowl of candy in the other hand, and I didn't have another free hand to keep her from getting into the candy. She kept grabbing candy and throwing it. I guess she was just trying to help me out.

Steven got home about 15 minutes before I turned the light out and put Caroline to bed. She got to spend a little time with Daddy before she turned in for the night.

Caroline is SO fascinated by the patches on Steven's flight suit. They are really colorful and textural, so of course she loves them. Steven had taken one of his arm patches off and was letting her play/chew on it.

I am so excited to take Caroline trick or treating next year, and in years to come. I just can't wait to see how excited she will get to dress up or who/what she will want to dress up as. Fun times ahead! Ciao!