Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My day as a "Stay at Home Mom"

Today (Tuesday), I took off from work to extend my holiday weekend to a 4 day weekend off. I love long weekends! My husband had to work, so it was just me and my daughter today. We had a really nice day together. I knew it was going to be a hot day (90 degrees) so we set out to the park early to try & beat the heat.

We were at the park for about an hour - but I had to make Julianna play in the shaded area so we didn't burn up - it was already pretty darned hot. And Mom-of-the-Year here forgot to put sunblock on her. Oops.

I was looking around at the other moms at the park with their toddlers today, and for that hour in time, I was really wishing I was a stay at home mom. I would love to take Julianna to the park every day like I did today. I am slightly envious of moms that are able to stay home with their kids and not have to work or work part time. I know this is a topic that can be discussed many different ways and with many points of view. I know plenty of moms that could never imagine working and leaving their children. I do get that completely. It's a personal choice, and a hard one at that. I know being a SAHM is not all fun & games. I KNOW it's hard and I would never take that away from anyone - I have so much respect for someone who is {lucky enough to be} home all day caring for their children.

I will be the first to admit, I don't think I am stay-at-home material. I am one of "those" that needs to work and needs to make my own money. Is my job my dream job? No, but who really has their dream job? (OK maybe Derek Jeter has his dream job!). I do enjoy my job and like working and I am in a very good situation with my company where I would have a tough argument to ever leave. I am also one of those that likes things in life. I don't think I could sacrifice everything to be able to stay at home. Sorry but maybe that's just the New Jersey in me. And truthfully, the fun trip to Walmart, and delightful lunch at Panera today would be almost non-existant if I didn't work.

I have said this before, my husband and I both work full time, and I have never ever felt we missed a single milestone or missed out on any important part of Julianna's life because she is in daycare while we work. I have never felt guilty for having to work. We don't really have a choice, so it is what it is. We spend plenty of quality time with Julianna, and are able to provide a nice life for her. No regrets.

When I was on my 14 week maternity leave with my daughter, it was summer time, so I went to the pool and other places during the week where SAHM's hang out. I heard so many moms complaining about their husband, their kids, their lives, how it all sucks. I was like "REALLY??" - Let me see, you get to not work, live in a big house, be with your kid all day at this nice pool and get a tan while your kid plays til he/she drops? How is that so terrible?! I guess I was hanging in the wrong places. haha! That was very depressing to listen to.  And it just shows, whether you work or are a stay-at-home mom, happiness is not a given. Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Back to today - I truly enjoyed the park, our trip to Walmart, and our nice lunch at Panera... and mostly the quality time I spent with Julianna. I have a lot of days off this summer, and I look forward to spending each and every day with Julianna. It's all about the quality time isn't it?
In the end, I am still jealous of the stay at home moms to have the freedom of doing what they want to do each & every day with their children. That would be so wonderful. I could see me doing that ... maybe. Maybe not. Maybe if we won the lottery. Maybe if we move out of NJ one day like we plan... Maybe not. But, it sure is a nice dream job to think about.

Most of my close friends are working moms - not too many stay at homes... but I know some of my bloggy-mom friends are stay at home moms. Are you a stay at home mom or work? How do you like it and what the the pros/cons? Do you have any regrets about not working? 

p.s. Julianna went down the slide on her own today many times over. This was a first without us begging her to go down the slide. She copied the other kids her age doing it... and finally did it on her own. She loved it! And made friends too. She was so proud of herself... and so was Mama!
Here are a few pictures from the park today taken with my subpar blackberry camera.

Friday, May 25, 2012

More pictures from Julianna's 2nd birthday party

Here are some more pictures from Julianna's 2nd birthday party for your viewing pleasure.
Not much talking here. Have a very fun & safe Memorial weekend! I have 4 days off. I plan on enjoying it!  And to the Sun: Please please come out soon. I miss you. Terribly.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2 Year Milestones for Julianna - Happy Birthday!

My little girl is 2 years old! I can't believe it. Happy second birthday to my beautiful Julianna Belle. Every single day, my husband and I comment & are amazed by how big she is getting and how much she knows already. She has so much to learn still and so far to go in life & it's only the very beginning of an amazing journey for her. I hope we can be the best parents to her and offer the best guidance we can to help her make the right decisions in life. She is a very special little girl. To the world, she may be one child. But to me, she is the world.

Here are some of Julianna's cool 2 year milestones

  • She is wearing 2t-3t bottoms and 3t-4t shirts. Shoes are size 6.5 today.
  • Kicks a ball, can walk backwards, stands on tippy toes - also tries to do a front somersault but not too successful. 
  • Builds a tower of 7-8 cubes, and she loves to stack things. All things - cups, plates, blocks. 
  • Imitates everything we do - I am going to give her a chore soon like feeding the dog (Especially now that she is friends with Pepper & doesn't try to pull her ears & tail off anymore)
  • Identifies & names items in her picture books (like shoes, ball, bottle, horse) 
  • Says about 100 words or more now - every day is a new word. Sunday's word was "Butt" and she tells us "Mama, sit butt" - Nice. 
  • Combines words for small sentences (Daddy go get shoes. Daddy go get shower) 
  • Says NO. A lot. And then shakes her head as she's saying NO and pushes us away. Ah the love. 
  • Understands everything we tell her. And I mean everything. We have to spell out words or talk in code now if we don't want her to know what we are saying. Actually we can't even spell the word "Park" now, because she understands that and perks up and starts chanting "Weeeee Shwing" - which is what she says anytime we mention going to the park or drive by the park. 
  • She does not get the concept of sharing at all. We need to work on this. "Nooo! Mine!". OK then.
  • Names all her body parts and can point to each of them (including butt!) 
  • Climbs the furniture like a monkey and jumps off steps 
  • She is starting to understand not everything needs to be in the "Now". I can tell her daddy will be home later and she gets it. 

Here are some things she loves doing lately

  • Coloring & scribbling with crayons in her coloring books; playing with stickers.
  • Loves stacking plastic cups, plates, etc now. 
  • Runs squealing through the house and giggling - chasing the dog 
  • Loves balloons - carries her birthday balloons with her all over the house
  • Feeds her stuffed animals a bottle and gives them food- too cute. She gives her Giraffe a cheerio and says "Numm Numm Numm Numm"
  • Feeds herself like a pro with fork & spoon. Loves using "dipping sauces" with her food (ketchup or ranch dressing) 
  • Just becoming interested in playing with other children but still observes most of the time. 
  • Going to the park or going outside whenever she can - she throws a fit when she needs to come indoors. 
  • She loves walking when we go places - she's not really into being in her stroller too much any more. We hardly use the stroller unless it's going to be a long day of walking (like the zoo). When we are out somewhere, she sticks right next to us and doesn't wander off. 
  • When she watches TV, se likes Mickey Mouse clubhouse, Gaspard & Lisa, and Doc McStuffins. We record a ton of them on Tivo, so she can watch those when we want her to, usually in the morning while we get ready for work. Yeah - bad mommy but too bad, we need to get ready without her in our face. Mickey works. 
  • Julianna loves cleaning up when she is done playing - she's a neat freak. Hallelujah! 
  • She needs to do EVERYTHING on her own. Total Miss Independent! 
  • Julianna loves to carry her purse when we are out - she is a girly girl and I love it. She loves her barrettes and dresses! 

Here are some things Julianna is not doing yet 

  • She is not in a big girl bed yet. She is still in her crib and is still not climbing out. She likes it in her crib and we like her there too. I have no desire to rush her into a big girl bed {yet} where she can get up in the middle of the night and wander the house or rip apart her room. 
  • She is not potty trained. Not even close. She's not showing signs that she's ready and that's fine. I'm not going to push her to do something that she is not ready for. She will be potty trained when she is ready. The average age for girls is 2 & 1/2 - so I'm not worried. I see parents post on line how they are trying to train their kids for weeks when they are 20 months. To each his own I guess but that tells me the kid isn't ready maybe. They won't go to college with diapers on. 
  • She still does not like vegetables. Won't touch them. We trick her by giving her the squeezy veggies mixed with fruit - to get some into her - but I figure sooner than later, she will eat veggies. That's about the only thing she doesn't like. Well, that and any gooey cheesy sauce like macaroni & cheese or cream sauce. She doesn't like hamburgers either.
  • Julianna can not drink out of an open cup successfully yet. It goes all over. 
  • We do not really use timeout. I think we kind of used it once where Daddy put her in her crib until she calmed down from her total meltdown. But we don't really need to use it. YET

There's more - but that's all I can think of now. Haha! Her 2 year checkup is on Thursday... 
I know she is tall and thin for her age, but I am curious to see how much she has grown! 
Here are some pictures from J's birthday party. 
I'll be posting pictures from her party in a few days. 

I bought her this tu-tu dress and we ironed on Minnie Mouse for her big day. 

Julianna and Pepper jockeying for position on a deck chair. 

"No pictures please!"


Playing with Baby Benny. 

Opening gifts. {Please ignore the deck that is in desperate need of a good power wash & stain!} 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things I have learned as a mom - in the past 2 years

I know we all say it as parents - "Time Flies".
And we all know how very true that statement is. I really do feel like my daughter was born yesterday, but its been 2 whole years. Two years filled with happiness and blessedness, chaos and uncertainty, joy and fulfillment.

Sure there are frustrations & anxieties that come with being a parent. Nothing I can't handle. This child fulfilled a part of me that I never knew was missing until I had her. My heart would have been unknowingly empty without her in my life.
My husband fills a very extraordinary spot in my heart, but our daughter fills the most remarkable part of our heart, soul and lives. She makes us both so incredibly happy. We have been so fortunate to have her in our lives and feel blessed every day.

Brian and I would like to have another child, but if it doesn't happen, and all we end up with is Julianna, then I will still be the happiest mom that ever lived! Her smile melts my soul. Her giggles brighten my day. Her happiness makes me feel like I've achieved success as a mother.

Some things I have learned as a parent in the last 2 years

  • Every parent has a different parenting style - none of which is wrong. It's their own way. 
  • I listen to my gut when making decisions regarding Julianna. 
  • I listen to my husband when making decisions regarding Julianna. 
  • We make decisions together. 
  • Enjoy every moment you have as a family and try to make special & happy memories. 
  • It is easy to get caught up in so many other opinions and online nonsense, especially while raising our first newborn when you are vulnerable and not sure how to handle some (most) situations. But in the end, you end up making the right decision and it works out. You learn from it. You grow as a parent. 
  • There are going to be bad days. There are days where you get so frustrated and upset. You get through it. Looking back, the bad days have to happen to make you appreciate the good times. 
  • I believe: Everything (and I mean everything) happens for a reason. Nothing in this life is random. Every soul is put on this planet for a reason whether they are here for one heartbeat or here for 100 years. 
  • Sometimes life hands you situations that you don't know how you can possibly get through it. I believe you are not handed any situation that the almighty knows you can't handle. And sometimes, when you look back in retrospect, you then understand why things happened the way they did. 
  • Quality family time prevails all else.
  •  Happy and loving parents make for a happy child. That's a fact. 
  • You will be presented with turmoil daily, and it's up to you as the parent how to handle it to the end, and move on. 
  • As a parent, you can never have all the answers. We are moms, not super-heroes (even though some days you feel like you might have to be superwoman to make it through!) 
  • My husband doesn't get the credit he deserves. He does it all. Always. He bathes Julianna, changes diapers, takes her to the park, feeds her, snuggles with her, dresses her (in not so matching clothes, but he has gotten better), feeds her, does her hair (God love him), and spends quality time playing & laughing with his baby girl. When she was born, he got up in the middle of the night every night, to feed her. We took turns alternating and never had a bad night's sleep because of that. He did not care that he had to work the next day. Both of us are equal parents in his eyes and we were always equal in caring for our daughter. We still are 2 years later. He has never been absent. Without him, this whole parenting thing would have flat out sucked. 
  • Some things {regarding raising my child} I said I would never do, I did. And some things I said I would do, I haven't done. Nothing is absolute with raising a child. I try to keep a much more open mind about things.
  • Being a full time parent is still possible even if both parents work full time. You just make every minute count. I have never once felt that my daughter was deprived by us having to put her in daycare, nor have we ever missed a milestone.  Would I love to be a stay at home mom? Probably. But that's in a perfect world. In our world, we both have to work to live the way we want to live. 
  • Toddler eating habits are generally downright insane. I consider my daughter to be a very good eater. If she's hungry, she lets us know. If she doesn't eat all her dinner or doesn't feel like eating much one day, it's ok. She's not going to starve. In other words, I learned not to stress if she eats like a horse one day, and eats like a bird the next. She's a toddler. Period. 
  • Toddlers are smart. Smarter than mom & dad. Smarter than we ever gave her credit for. She owns us. (half joking of course... ok maybe not!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

More pictures from Mother's Day!

I wanted to break up the posts with the Mother's Day pictures so each post doesn't end up being a coffee table book. Here are some more pictures for you all to enjoy ... these have more of a nature theme... Enjoy! I hope you are having a great day!

As I mentioned in my first Mother's Day post, we had brunch at the same place we got married. 
We got married on this walkway and gazebo that Julianna is walking on! Pretty cool huh?! 

5 years ago - May 12, 2007


I think this is a butterfly bush... there were butterflies everywhere! My favorite!

This was a Pileated Woodpecker that was on a tree stump on my front lawn by the road - He was pecking away for a long time at this rotted stump - must be some good bugs in there! 
We see these a lot by me, but they usually do not stay still long enough to actually let you snap a shot!  

I have no idea what this flower is, but I love it! 

Mr. Frog taking a nice muddy bath. 

Happy Daddy with pretty baby girl!

Julianna loves the slide now - out of the blue - she became a daredevil by the end of the trip to the park!


Going down the very super steep "big kids" slide with Daddy. 
As soon as she was done, she climbed up and decided to go down ON HER OWN. 
Yes she gave Mommy & Daddy a major heart attack! 

Julianna decided to share her tire-swing with an older man. (Oyyy!) 

This weekend is Julianna's 2nd birthday party - I can't believe she will be 2 years old. I'll be posting a milestone post this week sometime and of course some birthday shots! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend!

Happy belated Mother's Day to my fellow mommy friends out there!
My Mother's Day weekend was fabulous! I have to say, it was the best weekend with my family in a long time (which translates into a long post- sorry!)

First, it was our 5 Year Wedding Anniversary this past weekend. Originally way back when, we planned on going to the Bahama's for our 5 year anniversary... but that fell by the wayside as things sometimes do. Maybe next year? So in turn, we really wanted to do something nice. We set up a babysitter for Friday night ... Brian found this place about 30 minutes from our house called Natirar, and made reservations. They are in a state park in Peapack, Somerset County (NJ)... on 90 acres. They grow all their own food and have custom menus depending on what's in bloom that week. It's owned by Richard Branson. It's a gorgeous place - and the food along with the bottle of Cabernet/Merlot mix (their own of course!) was amazing. What a special night we had & it was worth every penny!

Saturday, Brian and I went out to the Cheesecake Factory (OMG I love that place!) - and Julianna loved it too. She had yummy chicken with ranch "dippin sauce". (She is just getting into dipping her food into ketchup and ranch dressing - we call it dippin sauce haha!). She sat in a booster seat for the first time... since they were out of highchairs, and she did great. No complaints from her! We praised her over & over how she is sitting in a big girl seat now.

Oh - and uhhhh... I also treated myself to a new lens for my camera. We had some not-so-good news recently and I needed some serious retail therapy. I have really been wanting a better "Walk around" Lens than my kit lens that came with my Canon T2i. I originally thought I wanted a killer zoom lens, but then I realized in my 'real' world, I won't use that as often as I am dreaming I will. So I decided on an "All in one" type of walk around lens - It's a Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens - THIS ONE.  Love it so far. Much faster & crisper than my kit lens.

Sunday - Mother's Day - We went to the place that we got married for brunch - with my mother too. It was an incredible brunch and the food is still just as good there as when we got married. Afterwards, we walked around and took some pictures. It's so pretty there. Except it's on a golf course, and some guy yelled at us to get off the path so the golfers could hit the ball. Whatever buddy, like I was supposed to know?! Put up a sign then! My mother saw a turtle walking on the path and safely relocated him to the pond so he didn't get crunched by a golf cart. I love taking pictures by the gazebo where we got married 5 years ago - pretty cool to bring my daughter there and let her see it and have Brunch too! We finished off Mother's Day at an arboretum close to our house.... walked around, laid on the grass, took some pictures. Or uh, I should say, we attempted to take some pictures. Julianna was not cooperating - so we didn't get the greatest shots of us together - but hey, that's life... we'll get nice shots next time.

Here are some pictures from Mother's Day ... I am going to break the photos into a few posts so I don't really bore you and make you throw your computer! haha!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...