Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No time, no time!

So you get photos. ;-)

Aiden's Christmas sweater


Christmas dinner
(My mom, Rich, Brenda, Robert, Alex, me and Travis)


Santa Claus



Earl and Robert



The gangstas



The in-laws


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Beans that are Green

I've been trying to make some food for Aiden at home. So far I've made sweet potatoes, butternut squash and green beans. His FAVORITE? Green beans. I asked Travis to pick up some fresh green beans to steam and puree for Aiden and he brought home about a quarter pound. Sadly, that much purees down to about 5 ice cubes. Seriously - where did it all go?! So disappointing considering home much this kid likes his green beans.





Aiden's Favorite Food: Green Beans from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy Week in Photos

Fudge, Chocolate Pudding cookies, Snowballs and S'mookies (S'more cookies)

Aiden interested in Uncle Alex' game (World of Warcraft)


Playing with Auntie Ariel and the little dogs


Aiden and the poinsettia (which turns out is NOT poisonous for people or animals)



CUTE Christmas gift from Rachel



Convinced Alex to feed Aiden a bottle. LOL!




Gramma kisses!



Peach face. Apparently peaches are a little tart for lil ole Aiden...


SOOOO, my spacebar is only working about 25% of the time making typing very annoying. Hopefully I can figure this out soon so I can type more...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hectic days before family gets in town

Oh busy week how I loathe you. Seriously peeps, it's been a rough one. And yes I just wrote peeps. Deal with it.

Sunday: Christmas shopping (not completely finished, but so close). Got in a movie and a little rest time before 10pm bedtime.

Monday: Craft night (made my own Christmas present for a few people). Collapsed in bed at 11pm.

Tuesday: Finished Monday's crafts; addressed and stamped Christmas cards; gave Aiden a bath. Collapsed in bed at 10:30pm.

Wednesday: Wrapped crafty gifts; prepared individual hot cocoas for the family to enjoy Christmas Eve. Collapsed in bed at 10:15pm.

Thursday: Laundry; ironed clothes and packed a bag of everything needed to get ready for the Christmas party Friday. Should have wrapped presents to put under the tree but will do on Saturday instead. Collapsed in bed at 9:45pm.

Tonight: Travis' company Christmas party, then my Christmas party (Travis' boss' wife is watching Aiden!) Planning to collapse in bed slightly inebriated. We will see.

Every night this week it has been Go Mode from the moment I get home. Go Mode is what I call it when I am on a roll getting things done around the house and if Travis stops me for even just a moment for a hug or kiss I have to yell at him "GO MODE!" and he steps back to let me plow on. He hates it, but I know that if I stop for even a moment, I may not be able to start going again. I just sort of ignore the exhaustion until I am finished and then I let it devour me for the remainder of the evening.

Unfortunately, Travis has been sick all week and he was supposed to be in charge of all the house cleaning so I could focus on Christmas preparations. The family is going to start rolling into town tomorrow night and we don't have much time left to clean before they get here. Thankfully, Travis managed to vacuum Tuesday night and then clean up animal messes (that's what we get for leaving Callaway out of the kennel during the day) and pay bills on Wednesday night.

I don't have a whole lot of time to do this stuff during weekday evenings. I get home between 5:30 and 6pm and then spend the next hour making dinner, feeding Aiden, feeding myself and my husband and then cleaning up all associated messes. It's been rush, rush rush!! Honestly, I'm looking forward to Sunday. My family will be here and I plan on relaxing. I have to work Monday, but then I am off until January 4th! Wahoo!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weaning time approaches

The breastfeeding continues! My plan is to continue through the holidays and then begin weaning Aiden starting January 4th. This way I can make the most of my time off from work with Aiden and can drop a feed my first day back to work. I am sad about this, but I am ready. I need my body back to myself! The best part? NO MORE PUMPING!!

I despise pumping. It only takes me about 15 minutes at home, but at work it's a different story. I keep my cooler in the freezer until I need it for my first "break" at 10am. When it's time (I have to plan my work around this as it is very difficult to leave an assay once I have begun), I go down one floor to the break room and grab my cooler. I head over to the office that I use, which is left unlocked all week for me. The only time I have to go retrieve the key is on Monday mornings. Then I pump, 10-15 minutes, and pack everything up. I go back to the break room, drop off the cooler in the fridge and head back up to the lab one floor up. Then, repeat at 2pm.

The whole process takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes. To make up for this missed time at work, I have shortened my lunch. For the most part, it is not a big deal. But there are days when it can be a bit annoying. Like when people are going out for lunch - no way can I do that in 30 minutes. Or the days when I really need to run errands, like going to the post office.

I have been very fortunate to have great help with the secretary finding me a private space to pump. Before I had Aiden, I tried to figure out where I was going to do this. I talked to one of the secretaries and she recommended the conference room. Although this public space does have a lock on the door, there are many people who have a key to that lock. I planned to lock the door and put a note that reads "Do not interrupt." I tried that ONCE and spent the ENTIRE time nervously staring at the door waiting for some dumb ass to come in anyway.

After that I started pumping in the car. Two problems here: 1) Travel time to my car increased my time away from work. 2) It was August in Texas and my AC does not work when the car is not in motion (stupid car).

Filled with frustration, I went to a different secretary to see if she had any further recommendations. Sure enough, she set me up with an empty office. I just had to go down to her office and grab the key every day. That worked great for a month or so, until the office had someone move into it. At which point, that wonderful secretary arranged for me to use a different office. I have felt so much more comfortable pumping in that private space.

Until yesterday. Here I am, sitting in that "private", locked office taking care of my mommy duties, as I like to call it, when I hear a key jiggling in the lock. I immediately ducked under the desk and screamed, "No! Don't come in!". The key stopped for a moment, then pulled out of the lock. My heart was racing.

At this point, I can only imagine what obscenities that janitor believes is going on in that office. I leave wipes (for cleaning the pump) in that trash can everyday! Oh and the looks I get from the private investigators sitting in the surrounding offices anyway! I'm sure they all heard me scream in that library-quiet area. They are probably doubly freaked out about what I might be doing in that office now. Ha!

Needless to say, the first feeding I'm dropping after the new year will be one of the two that occur during the work day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teefers

I'm pretty sure Aiden is close to sprouting a tooth. He has been more cranky than we have ever known him to be and he does this new thing where he chews on his tongue. I've been giving him Tylenol when he seems especially annoyed. I still need to double check with his doctor, but I'm pretty sure we can't give him Orajel until he is 6 months old. That's only a couple of weeks away though!

We have mostly been relying on cold teething rings and cold, wet washcloths for him to chew on. Although the washcloth seems to gross him out a little. A texture thing maybe? Last night I heard this weird squeaking noise on the baby monitor right after we had put him down for the night. I went in to see what he was doing and found him CHEWING on his pacifier. The squeaking noise was his wet gums rubbing on the rubber pacifier (Rachel - it was reminiscent of you putting on nitrile gloves).

I can't wait for him to turn 6 months. I'm gonna get my hands on some of this! You can see the tongue-chewing thing here:

Aiden's Close Up from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Roly Poly

Oh my goodness my baby can roll over!! He has rolled over a handful of times before, but they all seemed like accidents. Then he never seemed interested in trying it again. Even now, it's almost like he forgets he can roll over. I just give him a little nudge and then he does it over and over and over again. Ahhhhh!

He's been rolling onto his side for a few weeks now. Actually, laying on his left side is his favorite sleeping position. As soon as I stick that pacifier in his mouth, his hands fold together and he rolls over onto his left side and then powers off like a robot. Amazing.

I'm not sure when he'll start doing this on his own, but the time is near!

AIDEN CAN ROLL OVER!! from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The holiday cheer is here!

Travis and I officially have all the Christmas decorations up at our home! Wahoo! I LOVE Christmas. It really is my favorite time of year. Actually, there's a chance, if we have time, that we may put up more Christmas lights. We have three extra strings of lights, so I may line our fence in the backyard. But that's only if I find the time.

I'm trying to do a few crafts this year, all of which need to get done this week if I'm going to get them to the work buddies on time. AHH! I told Travis he gets to clean the house this week. I know he's really excited. My mom and brother are getting into town Thursday night. That means the clock is ticking on house cleaning. I got some organizational stuff done this weekend, but spent most of my time either shopping or spending time with friends and family. Busy, busy, busy!!

Last week we had Ariel over to decorate the Christmas tree. When I was growing up, we had a family tradition of spending the evening in front of the fire, decorating the Christmas tree. I'd like to continue this tradition with Aiden. Sadly, he didn't make it this year because that darn new schedule has him going to bed at 7pm!

Next year we'll have to do this on the weekend so Aiden can be a part of the fun. It's not really a big deal though since he probably wouldn't have been very interested in it his year. Although I do have to say that Aiden LOVES the Christmas lights. Travis makes a point of showing him the lights every day - whether its the lights on our house, the tree or the crazy, multi-colored lights in the bathroom. (That play music too, LOL!)


The day after we decorated the Christmas tree, we took our family photo in front of the tree. I like doing it this way, as opposed to professional photos because it's a great way to document the evolution of our Christmas tree. Anyhoo, after we took our pictures, Travis remembered that we had not hung Aiden's 1st Christmas ornament. We had saved it for him to do.



And he did it so well!



Christmas is in the air, people! Be merry! And not crappy, please. I don't know what it is about this time of year that seems to bring out the grouchiest people on the road. Travis and I waited for 5 minutes in line at a Whataburger drive-thru window AFTER we had gotten our food. The server forgot to give me a fork for my salad. Normally I don't wait to fix problems with to-go orders, but a fork is fairly important to the salad-eating-process.

After we got the fork, we pulled forward and parked in a spot so I could feed Aiden while Travis ate (eating on the road!!). The woman who was behind us roared off in her little sports car, waving the finger and screaming obscenities about how we were taking forever. SHEESH. FIVE minutes lady! Chill. And the reason why it took 5 minutes is because that's how long it took the server to get back to the window with that lady's food. She would have been waiting that long anyways.

Travis always does the obnoxious thing and gives people like that a thumbs up. I think it's worse that flipping them off, honestly. I guess we have to accept the good and the grinches!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dewberry Farm

This year Travis and I decided to start a family tradition - going to cut down our own Christmas tree. Fun, right? Well, maybe not so much with a baby that does not have the ability to walk yet. We did have a good time laughing about how silly it all was though.

I had heard good things about this farm north of Houston. They have a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin in the fall. Then they open the end of the farm with the Christmas trees for you to come cut your own. There are places like that all over in Illinois. Not so much close to the coast in Texas. We drove an hour and a half to get to this place. About 30 minutes into our drive it started raining. Free time is scarce in our lives, so we decided to trudge on.

When we get to the farm and are unloading the stroller and baby, Travis asks if I brought a jacket for Aiden.

"No! Did you?!?!"

"Nope."

Great. So now it's cold and rainy and we're just going to throw Aiden out into it to see if he can survive. Ugh. Travis had an extra jacket in the truck, so we placed that in the stroller, then sat Aiden on top of it. I piled the blankets on top of Aiden, threw on his hat and gloves and we were off.

Needless to say, Aiden did not seem very thrilled about the whole thing. He didn't move the entire walk into the farm or the whole hayride out to the trees.


We sipped on complimentary hot chocolate and took in the scenery on the hayride... pumpkin patch cemetery...


When it came time to chop down our chosen tree, however, Aiden was ready for a nap. We only brought the umbrella stroller as we thought that would be easier to maneuver on the hayride and through the trees. I believe we were right in thinking this. The problem came when Aiden needed a nap, but the stroller didn't recline for him.

I ended up holding him horizontally so he could sleep. That means there are some blurry photos ahead. There were so many more shots I wish I could have gotten on the way back, what with Travis carrying the saw and tree and me carrying the baby and stroller. WOW.



We just got a short tree. The taller ones were SO expensive. Plus, we only have 8-foot ceilings anyway. I think next year we might try a short needle fir for the first time.

While we may have a short, gangly tree this year, I have to say that thing is GREEN. If we were playing the One-of-These-Things-Is-Not-Like-the-Other game, the answer would have been our Christmas tree in the middle of the garage. And man can that thing guzzle some water! Travis has been completely refilling the tree stand every night.

I am hoping this means I'll have less pine needles to pick up when we carry the tree out after Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

For the Love of Lights

Travis thinks his love of lights means Aiden is going to be an electrician when he grows up...

Christmas Lights from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Colorful





This kid LOVES jumping. It's pretty much his most favorite thing in the whole world, aside from me of course.



I was making dinner one night while he was in the door jumper and I realized Aiden was being super still. I look over at him and he is just staring very intently at the toy mounted on his jumper. I walk over to see what he is looking at: his own reflection in the toy mirror. SO CUTE!! You can see my example of this in the last photo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chris Musatto

On December 26th there is a benefit for my cousin Chris up near Chicago. This is the cousin who was in that horrible car accident earlier this year. His friends and family are hoping to help ease some of the financial pain so he can focus on his recovery.

The benefit will be Chris-style, meaning a bunch of bands getting together for one night to rock the stage. Several of the bands include members of my family, including:
  • The Repulsators - this is Chris' band; he won't be playing, but I've heard his brother Darren is taking his place for the night.
If you are in a giving mood, or will be in the Chicago-area at Christmas time, please visit the website his friend set up for the cause.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Left Hand

Oh my the schedule change! It makes me exhausted just thinking those words. Saturday morning I started Aiden on his new schedule, which consisted of one less feeding during the day (but more milk at each feed) and going to bed an hour earlier.

How is it going, you ask? Eh.

Saturday and Sunday were a little rough when it came to nap time. He took longer to go down and got up early each time. He got progressively more cranky by the day's end. I think that his build up of no sleep made it harder for him to go down. Things went much worse for him yesterday at school. He slept a total of 1 hour all day, which is definitely not enough.

We are sticking with it though! Aiden is doing much better on this schedule change than he did on the last one I tried. The teachers at his daycare seem fine going ahead with it at school, so we'll just play it out and see what happens.

The downfall of this schedule is he goes to sleep earlier. That means we get less Aiden-time at night. But it also means we have more time to get stuff done around the house in the evening. So far I miss that little guy more than I enjoy getting housework done. Imagine that.

Part of the hope with putting him down earlier for the night was he would sleep later. I can see a little improvement in this department. He is sleeping a little later each morning. Today he got up at 4:30 and 5:30am. The problem is that he was really tired by the time I dropped him off at school. I hope he manages to stay awake until his first nap time. Jeesh, we'll see.

I have found out recently that loud machine noises scare Aiden. He's not afraid of the lawn mower, weed eater or vacuum. But he is terrified of the blender, the hand dryer in public restrooms (I'm sort of afraid of those too) and occasionally Travis' sneezes.

I was trying to change his diaper in a restaurant this weekend when someone turned on the hand dryer. Oh my goodness the sadness that ensued!! Aiden stopped kicking his legs, scrunched up his eyebrows, looked directly at me and SCREAMED. I can't even call it crying because that was a high-pitched scared-as-hell scream. I was covering his ears and kissing his forehead when someone did it AGAIN!! I almost tore out of that handicap stall and cursed out some lady for drying her hands! But then I didn't. Only because it would have left Aiden unattended on a diaper changing station, of course.

A few weeks ago I somehow managed to break Aiden of the swaddling. He doesn't go to sleep as easily as he did when he was swaddled, but he IS sleeping. Which is good. One day I just started doing a loose swaddle. My hopes were that he could stay covered up without a blanket coming up over his face and suffocating him, but still be able to move his arms. It seems to work okay.

By freeing his arms, we have exposed him to his hand-with-a-mind-of-its-own. This is the one that used to whack him in the face during nap time and wake him back up (hence the swaddling). Now when I put him down for a nap, his left hand immediately shoots out of the blanket and above his head. After a moment, it works it's way down to his face and pulls that pacifier right out of Aiden's mouth. And boy does he get mad! If I'm there when it happens, he looks at me with these super sad eyes, like "why are you doing this to me?" AHH! I'm not doing it! It's your left hand!!" The crazy thing is that the Left Hand will occasionally put the pacifier back in his mouth. BUT HE WON'T LET GO. It's just a tease. You know, "here you go, oh wait, just joking!"

Poor Aiden. Such a rough life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Feline Fervor

I know I've talked about this before, but it's been about a year so I thought it worth another mention. My cats go CRAZY when their food or water is out. Let me rephrase that, when it comes to their food, they get P-O'd when it is almost gone. Generally I'm lucky and this happens during waking hours and it's not that big of a deal. Now that I've looked back, it appears that about once a year it happens at night.

Usually when this happens at night, I will actually GET OUT OF BED to feed the cats. Because I know that if I just get it over with, the animals will leave me alone. But if I resist, as I did last night, those damn cats make sure I don't get more than 30 minutes of consecutive sleep at a time. And here I thought that was Aiden's job.

I was so irritable by the time I got up this morning that immediately after letting out Callaway the first thing I did was fill up the cat food dispenser. On my way back to the hallway, I heard a crash come from the extra bathroom. I immediately run (or at least it felt like running at 5:05am) to find what the cats had trashed and it turned out to be a vase on the back of the toilet. The cats RARELY go in that bathroom and when they do it is usually because one of us are in there. Somehow, Sagira had managed to get into the bathroom (the door is usually closed), climb on the back of the toilet and shatter a vase full of dried eucalyptus. I'm pretty sure that was her way of saying "Hurry up woman. The food has almost run out." No time - I'll clean that up later.

Since pouring the cat food makes a lot of noise, I went back to close the bedroom door. Because the cats like to irritate me in Food Loss Scenarios they followed me into the bedroom when I was going to close said door. I tried to stop them from coming in because I knew they would flip out as soon as I poured the food, but Sagira did some Matrix-style maneuvers to make sure she got INTO the bedroom. Fine, I thought. You can stay in the bedroom.

Sure enough, the second food hit that dish (which was NOT empty by the way), Sagira was yowling away in the bedroom. When I finished what I was doing, I opened the door to find her standing on Travis' nightstand, knocking everything off and doing exactly what I was trying to avoid doing: waking up Travis.

And do you want to know the kicker?! Not one cat went into the closet to eat that damn food. NOT ONE. I guess they just go into survival mode: QUICK, Phage and Bella, you go wake up the people by attacking their feet and laying on their pillow directly next to their face! Our food MIGHT run out in the next three hours!! In the meantime, I can trash the house in search of MORE FOOD. Let's look under that glass vase on the back of the toilet in the bathroom! Let's look under everything on the nightstand! Let's look under the peoples' heads as they SLEEP.

If you don't know my cats, that means Sagira is their leader. When it comes to survival, the wild Bengal takes the lead.

Ugh. It's another coffee-day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Tenants

Travis went to Walmart on Thursday to buy thermals for working in the freezing temperatures Friday. He came back with two new goldfish and four plecostomus.

Those "smudges" on the picture are actually algae. That tank is forever dirty.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rough Morning

Ugh. These are the days I HATE. Aiden woke up at 3:45 this morning. Then again at 4:15 and 4:30am. Then my alarm went off at 5am. I have basically been up since 3:45am. I'm planning to hit the sack tonight as soon as Aiden does, which is usually around 8:30pm.

This weekend I plan to change his schedule so he will be going to bed earlier (hopefully around 7pm), following the Sleep Begets Sleep plan. I'm really nervous because the last time I tried to change his schedule, it don't go very well. I'm trying to stay positive though. He is older than he was last time I tried and this change won't be as dramatic as what I tried before. Oh the stress. ;-)

Since I am pretty slow at processing stuff today due to fatigue, that's all I got.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's December? What?!?

Can you believe it is December already? So. Funny debate. It has come up several times in conversation now, so I thought I'd throw it out into the world wide web.
When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st and the year becomes the futuristic-sounding 2010, are you going to read the date as "January first, two thousand ten" or "January first, twenty ten"?
Personally, I like twenty ten. It is simplistic.

In related news, how many of you out there write the date like so: 6/10 for June tenth? I do. I also write the date 6/09 for June 2009.

At work, we have to record the expiration date of everything. The other day I was attempting to write an expiration date of June 2010 and I wrote it 06/10. Guess what? Two months from now, when I go back to read that date, I'm not going to know if I meant June 10th or June 2010. I thought twice about this, acknowledged that it might put me in quite a pickle in the months ahead, and changed it to read June 2010.

What a pain in the ass.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gregorio: 5 Months

Where has the time gone?! I cannot believe how big Aiden is getting. Each day gets better and better. Two new things he's learned in the past week?
  1. How to "razz" (AKA, fart sounds with his mouth).
  2. How to sit up unassisted for up to three minutes!

Holy cow. I know. It's amazing.

#1 is funny because I was complaining to Scott and Rachel on Thanksgiving about how the one thing Aiden has shown no sign of yet is blowing a razz. What to Expect in the First Year says that he might be able to do that by 5 months old. Believe me. I know 100% that you are not supposed to compare your child to other children developmentally and the book only says that he might, not that he should be able to. But it is SO HARD not to be slightly concerned about such things. I promise I wasn't losing any sleep over the situation, but it still sat in the back of my mind.

Point is, Scott spent the whole day making farting noises at Aiden. And guess what? He picked up on it! Saturday night when Travis was getting him ready for bed, Aiden just razzed away! I'm so proud of his farting noises.

Also awesome? His balance. I guess all we have to do is have a few people over to play with Aiden and he'll learn all sorts of new things! Chris R. spent a good15-20 minutes helping Aiden to sit unassisted on the floor on Thanksgiving. And sure enough, Aiden mastered the trick. See for yourself:

Balancing Act from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.


PS - I have to mention here that Travis calls Aiden Gregorio from time to time. His middle name is Gregory, sooooooooooo...