It's been awhile and although I didn't think I had much to post about, turns out I realized some tidbits to share. Bullet points necessary.

- Truman had his first swimming lesson on Tuesday night and I was nervous about whether he'd like the big pool in a new place or not. He LOVED the pool we visited this summer but you never know with a toddler. Plus, I sort of pulled some strings and although the registration online said kids had to be 2-3 years for this 'perch' class at the YMCA, the actual description said kids 19mo to 3 years. So anyway, I got him in the class but later wondered if maybe he wasn't too young for this 'second step class'. Well, turns out that we have a little fish on our hands because he was obsessed with the lesson! It is only 30 minutes long and full of songs, splashing, kicking and jumping off the side. Truman could not get enough, flirted with his teacher, and made us so proud---until we had to go and then he cried for 'more wa wa!'. I can see that these Tuesday nights are going to be pretty fun and instead of both Nate and I going each time, I might let the boys have some togetherness time just the two of them. I mean I DO hog Truman's 1:1 time a lot during the week so I'm sure Nate would like T-time to himself. I snapped my pictures from my phone this first session anyway, so I think my job is done here. :)





-So it's almost November, which means we are creeping up to my lost EDD with Wren. November 29 is probably going to be a tough day for me, but I'm glad it's a Tuesday so I can be home with my boy. It's really hard to believe that I should be extremely pregnant right now, ready to pop out a baby, but in some ways it feels like it was lifetime ago that I got my BFP in March. I think I wrote that out of my six closest girlfriends, 3 of them were pregnant and due within a few months of my due date. Well scratch that---all six of them WERE pregnant but now two of them have already had their babies (both little girls, congrats to Andrea and Lindsey!). Which means, I should be next. And I'm not. And this is a lesson once again that miscarriages suck and the grief doesn't really go away with time---it just changes. I'm definitely more at peace with everything at this point but I am certain that this loss will forever mark my heart in a way that I cannot forget. I'd like to think that the physical, emotional, and financial pain we've felt through this journey has given me loads of character, not just aged me by 15 years. But anyway, coming to terms with my upcoming EDD and feeling very reflective.

-in the same vein, October 15 was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I never made my loss public on Facebook, but I wanted to post something about it just the same. Here is what I posted, and I found it on a Bump chat board---just too perfect to summarize the importance of that day:
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Pregnancy and Infant Loss is not just something that happens to 'somebody else'. It happens to your sister, your friend, your coworker, the girl who checks out your groceries. It affects many families every day. Today I am remembering all the babies who were taken too soon from the families who wanted so much to have them in their lives

-Not related at all, but did I ever mention that I officially dropped my half day of work on Thursdays? Yep, I work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays now and TOTALLY dig this extra full day at home with mister man. It's amazing actually, and I feel even more in balance with my mommy/PT roles in life. Nothing like working only ONE day in a row....ever, right? Nate wanted me to sign something in blood saying I would be satisfied with this newest drop in my hours forever. I just smiled and said, 'I'm very happy right now, baby.' And left it at that. I love messing with my husband, pretending that I might push to stay at home someday but in reality, I am truly happy and blessed with my current set up in the work force and don't see that changing in the near future.

-Sort of related: we have decided to make our first house hunt official at the beginning of the year! We'd like to get through the craziness of the holidays and then after the new year get approved for a loan and start searching for our first home! I am so freaking excited and yet terrified, you don't even know. Mostly, I am becoming even more obsessed with HGTV and specifically House Hunters, My First Place, Property Virgins, and the newest amazing-ment: Property Brothers. Um, have you seen this show? Two brothers that find you a 'diamond in the rough' house way under your budget, then transform it with your remaining money into the most badass house ever. I TOTALLY want to apply to be on every single one of these shows but mostly Property Brothers. Any idea how to actually get on these shows? Research to follow.

-A big happening around here? Truman pooped on his potty last week!! I about died from laughter and then almost cried because he is just so freaking adult-like sometimes. But really, the timing was just very lucky because he wanted to pee (has gone about 7 times in the potty now, I'd say) and after he did that I just asked if he wanted to poop, knowing he hadn't gone yet that morning. He simply said, 'YEAH' and then started grunting, also placing both hands on the floor in front of him. It was hilarious and gross all at once. Then once he produced a little turd he stood up, stared at it, and pointed saying, 'Poo Poo'. Gah! My son is a genius!! I of course did what most normal moms do (right?) and snapped a picture, texted it to Nate, my mom and my grandma, and then wondered if that was inappropriate. I really REALLY want to share it here too because his face in the pic just cracks me up, like: Did I just do that? So I blurred out the actual poo and I hope you don't mind. I feel like blurry poo is much better than actual logs, right? And now I have become that mom who talks a lot about poop. So sue me.

We flushed the poo into the big toilet and waved 'bye bye' to it, and now my child loves to talk about his poo going bye bye. Ah, the life of a mom. Iloveitsomuch.

-Can we discuss the glory of pretzel buns? Have you tried them yet? Is it just a Wisconsin thing? I just did a little search and the brand we buy is called Pretzilla and it's a Milwaukee company, but I swear you all must hunt these down in your grocery store. The burger buns are like pure heaven in your mouth---a little soft in the middle with the firm outer shell of a pretzel. I am not kidding, I could eat a bun of pretzel every night and pair it with burgers, chicken, turkey sandwiches, ANYTHING and it's amazing. You can thank me later. Unless you have been eating these for years, in which case, why didn't you say something earlier??

-so the Brewers actually had a great season this year and even made it to the playoffs. When my parents were in town visiting earlier this month (did I even post about that? I am an awful blogger, btw) we decided to get tickets on a whim because the Brew Crew played the Cards. That day it was basically 400 degrees outside for Milwaukee in October but the game was SO much fun. Went with my dad, Nate's dad, and Nate and the Brewers pulled out a win that day (we won't discuss the final outcome of that series, however). This reminds me that baseball games are incredibly fun to watch live in the ballpark but totally awful to watch on TV (at least in my opinion). Also, it was very scandalous for me to cheer for the men in blue, FYI. I'm surprised I didn't get more hate comments on Facebook for that one, but I've lived here for 4.5 years now. I think it's time to embrace Wisconsin sports, no?

-If it were a few years ago, I would have devoted an entire post and 100+pictures to this cause, but um...Henry celebrated his 6th birthday on October 18! He is such a great doggie and we love him dearly. Poor babe has certainly experienced some major life changes since Truman was born but let's get real, he still has an amazing life so don't feel too sorry for him. To celebrate his aging I am getting him groomed tomorrow....since it's been almost 3 months since the last time. Whoops! Also, this iPhone pic shows Henry on his birthday with my son---who demanded to wear socks with sandals that morning. You pick your battles, people.

-we tried to enjoy the last warm days around here by going to our new favorite park, where I snapped this picture. And seriously, he looks like me here, no? And also he looks 16 years old but let's not talk about that.

-I finished all three Hunger Games books and loved them. Does that make me a teenager again? No? Well what about the fact that the next Twilight movie comes out next month and I'm practically salivating over the visual in my head for the honeymoon scene. Drooling now over it---so again, I must be 14 at heart, right?

-I think that is it and I better stop now, before I just keep writing more Truman updates and using up all of my information and pictures before his 20 month update comes next week. I'm sure I can find more to ramble about by that p0int anyway, don't worry.

Daycare Options

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now, but lo and behold---I've been in a blogging slump lately. Can you tell by the silence around here? Let's fix that now.

A few of my new-mommy or pregnant friends have asked for my opinion on daycare options, since it really is one of the bigger decisions working moms will have to make. I'm by no means an expert on the matter AT ALL but I have had the privilege of experiencing a daycare center, an in-home daycare, and also my father-in-law watching Truman so I feel like I have a little insight into the many options of child care out there. Of course, I have to throw out the disclaimer that my experience with these types of settings cannot generalize to everyone else----one center is going to be vastly different than the next, and every in-home caregiver is going to have different pros and cons, too. But I think it's important to touch on this subject anyway in case it does actually help someone out there trying to make some tough decisions.

Also, I want to address something I know I've said before: that daycare is not the devil, and it doesn't need to be viewed as 'paying a stranger to watch my child'. Nothing irks me more than that phrase because it implies that you are being forced to pay your hard earned money for something that is scary and awful and sad. Not true, my friends. If you find the right daycare provider they become a part of your parenting team, quite the opposite of that 'stranger' picture the world has painted for us working moms out there. Sure, it takes some research and visits and 'hunting', if you will but the time it takes to test the waters with daycare providers is well worth the effort, in my opinion.

So let's start with a daycare center and talk about pros and cons, shall we? I had Truman in a hospital-affiliated center when I worked at my other job from the time I went back to work at 12 weeks until he was about 6 months old (when I left that job and found a new one). I really loved a lot of things about this center but of course it had it's cons, too. One great thing about a center is that it's state regulated and has to pass inspection and requirements by law. I like that 'strictness' about a center a lot. In the infant room, where Truman was the whole time, there always had to be a 4 baby to 1 adult ratio. That sounds like a lot of babies for one adult but they really did have it down to a science. I was always impressed how they could flex another 'teacher' in and out of that room depending on the numbers, so that there wasn't a time when there was more than 4 kids to one adult. I also liked that the center was always open during their regular hours, meaning they didn't get sick days even if a teacher was sick, because they could find more staff to fill in as needed. I liked the rooms in this center because they were very organized and set up for a lot of fun time and learning time, with the cribs off to the back and in a dark area so the sleeping babies could actually sleep. They did a great job cleaning off the 'mouthed' toys because they really had it down to a science in there, and overall I kind of liked the idea that there were SO many families using this center. The hustle and bustle of the parking lot alone was kind of neat, seeing the older kids playing together like buddies made me excited for Truman to grow up and have friends there. Also, I loved that they had an outdoor playground area for kids to get fresh air there.

One con of the center is the price, no doubt. I was very lucky with our center because as a hospital employee, it was considerably less there than most places. As a point of reference, we paid about $45 a day there and most other 'normal' centers in our area are easily $60 or more. When you add that up, assuming you are going 5 days per week, you are looking at $900 per month versus $1,200 per month. Both are HUGE chunks of a monthly budget but again, you are paying for great care of the most precious being in the world, right? Another con for the center was that they had a dreaded 'shift change' in the middle of the day, so that when I showed up at 5 to get Truman the caregivers there had only been with him for 2 hours and could tell me nothing about his whole day. Yes, they fill out little 'report cards' each day which is great, but I wanted a verbal report too and it was so irritating to hear, 'Oh, I just got here, so I'm not sure.' Annoying. And overall the staff there was incredibly kind and friendly but since there were usually 3 regular staff members there during the day, then another 2-3 there in the evenings, that is really a lot of different 'teachers' to get to know. I felt like Truman couldn't ever really get attached to any of them since there was always someone different, if that makes sense. I think the final 'con' for the center was the concept of changing rooms based on age---going from the infant room to the toddler room meant the babies had to meet certain requirements. I found that idea sort of stressful, like what if Truman isn't ready to move on but they make him do it anyway? Or will that brand new room with new teachers and kids be too much of a change for him to handle? I guess this could actually be seen as a pro for the center, too, though, because it does sort of get them ready for school in a sense, changing grades with time.

Now for an in-home setting, I think you will find a wide variety of caregivers and rules and experiences. Truman is at Lori's right now and I can definitely say that we love having him there and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I'll try to be as un-biased about this 'review' as possible. One of the nicest things about an in-home setting is the one primary caregiver there. I know there are homes that have multiple caregivers but for us, it's just Lori. We have gotten to know her so well that she is really a big part of our lives. During my loss Lori was absolutely amazing: she cried with me the day I told her, because she has had a rocky past of pregnancies as well. She offered to take me to my surgery if Nate couldn't get off work. She offered to watch Truman extra early if we needed to drop him off for my appointments. It's just really amazing how you can connect with the in-home caregiver and I value her so much. I am so glad there isn't the 'shift change' at the center with Lori, and I can always get a full report from her in addition to her little progress report she writes in our notebook each day. She truly loves my boy and with her 31 years of experience as a caregiver, she certainly teaches me things frequently about my babe. Another amazing aspect of an in-home setting is the price: we pay $35 per day there and only going three days per week means we pay only $420 for a whole month. Yes, compared to the possible $720 we would pay for three days a week in a center? Amazing savings.

Which brings me to another point: I know we are very lucky to have found a place that allows 'part time' care. A lot of centers make you pay for 5 days of care no matter how many days you actually need (we were able to do four days at the center we used, but we paid more per day for that luxury than if we sent him five days per week). Some require you to have the child there full time or they won't take them. Lori wants the kids there 3 days per week as a minimum and a lot of the families do send their kids there part time---flexibility is so helpful for situations like this. I love that I can choose to work on a Thursday instead of a Friday, and Lori usually has no problem switching Truman's days around for me, too. If I'm running late after work I just give her a call and it's usually fine---not that I ever keep him there past her preferred time of 5 pm, but it might be a lot more strict at a center. I know at our old center we had to pay $5 for every minute we kept Truman there past 5pm---so I'd be scrambling my butt off to get there during a busy day at work.

Also, I love that Truman will basically grow up with the same core group of kids ranging in age from 4 years old down to newborns. There isn't a room change or a teacher change, so he can really bond with the little group there. Some of the older 3-4 year olds can be very protective over the young ones and even help Lori grab diapers or things like that, so I can see how it's like a big family there. Again, I suppose this might be viewed as a con at times, too, because he isn't exposed to tons of kids over time but I don't mind it.

Some of the cons for an in-home center are that it does not have to be state regulated, and they can really have as many kids there as they want (I know some are licensed/regulated, but not all of them). There are days that Lori seems to have a ton of kids under her care (I think 7 is her max) but somehow she makes it work so the kids are entertained, well-fed, and clean. I think she does this by extreme organization---grouping the kids together according to age and getting them on schedules for naps, eating, playing, etc. Of course, for every really busy day when the place is busting at the seams, there are the days when Truman might be one of two kids there when I go to get him after work. So the numbers debate comes with both busy and slower days and overall, my child is very happy and well-cared-for there, so I don't let myself worry too much about how hectic Lori's day must be when she has a lot of children in her care.

Another thing that is a lot more challenging with an in-home setting is getting the kids outside to play in the fresh air. Truman does get to play outside when Lori doesn't have too many other kids to watch, and I know the kids help her in her garden pretty regularly. But there isn't a playground or anything really physical out there which might be nice as Truman ages. I guess some in-home places may have access to better outdoor play, especially if they have more than one caregiver, but this is one con for us. I like to think that Truman gets a lot of outside exercise with me on my days off with him and on the weekends, so it really doesn't matter too much for his days with Lori.

And finally, another con for an in-home setting is that they can definitely take sick days or vacations, which will leave you to find alternate coverage or make you take time off at your own job. It hasn't been too much of an issue for us because my job is so flexible, but Lori does take two vacations a year and during those weeks we have to patch together a few days of alternate care. A center wouldn't be able to do that, I'm pretty sure, which is nice.

I'll briefly talk about having a family member watch your child, but in reality my father-in-law only watched Truman two days per week for about 2 months last summer (which was GREATLY appreciated, since he used all of his time off to do this for us!). I will say that it's automatically assumed that having 'free' daycare from a grandparent is a no-brainer for the massive amount of savings you get to have, and the amazing bonding experience you can see between your child and their grandparent. However, it does bring about it's own share of challenges, like when the grandparent isn't being as strict as you'd like them to be---sometimes it's hard for them to be a disciplinarian and authority figure when they really just want to be the fun grandparent, and I totally get that. Or if you don't see eye-to-eye on something with how to guide the child---how hard would THAT be if you are getting their time for 'free', so you feel like you should just be thankful and not complain. But sometimes there will be times when you have to step up and let your opinion be known, which I'm sure places a strain on your relationship with the grandparent, too. So overall, yes---it's going to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in a year. But there will be other 'costs' if you will since nothing in life is free.

There you have it---my deep, insightful thoughts on daycare options. I realize it's pretty specific to our personal experiences but maybe some of it can generalize to others. Just remember that no daycare will be perfect because nobody will do it just like YOU do---it's pretty hard to let go of full control when it comes to caring for your children. And man, it's a hard job to do, right? But if you shop around and really get to know your options, you can make the best decision possible for your baby. And if you get into the place and feel like something is 'off'---it probably is, and you should always listen to your gut and find a new place if needed.

A few pictures...

Truman's very first day of daycare (at the center):
First day of Daycare! Bright and early...

And his first craft project for Fathers Day 2010:

Why haven't I taken any daycare-related pictures since June of 2010? Mommy fail.

Nineteen Months

My boy just keeps on growing up and these monthly posts seem to happen all.the.time now. The month of September was full of both highs and lows. And lots of kissing temporary tattoos on forearms.
Yes, one of Truman's newest obsessions are tats. Especially tats of trucks, of course, and we have to place them on BOTH arms at the same time or the entire world falls apart. Now that it's gotten colder outside we've moved them from his forearms down to his hands for easy access for kisses. And yes, he really does kiss his own tattoos without being asked to do so. Freaking adorable! Maybe he will have a full sleeve of ink by the time he's 20, and if so hopefully one will say 'I love Mom'. :)

This is how he shows us his muscle pose---flashing the 'ceps for all the ladies out there.

Aside from temporary tattoos, other obsessions of the month include doing puzzles (which he can actually place the right pieces into the correct slots now, blowing my mind), hunting for working trucks in the neighborhood/You Tube, and anything Sesame Street. Although Elmo still holds a soft spot in Truman's heart as his main squeeze, we've noticed that Grover, Cookie Monster, and even Bert are climbing the ranks of obsession with our boy. He's still not really watching TV at all, since he is quite incapable of sitting still for longer than 2 minutes, so online clips of videos are our go-to thing right now. I really don't mind having a babe that prefers to be on the move instead of sitting in front of the tube, but I know there's a lot more time for that in the future perhaps. For now, though, playing with mommy and daddy is still number one. And we aren't complaining!


Truman got his first set of golf clubs this month from his daddy, after Nate went to four different stores around town finding just the right set. Pretty sure they were a major hit and we are in awe of how great Truman can hit those little balls around. His hand-eye coordination is pretty insane at this point and I'll go ahead and sound like a crazy soccer mom here but Truman might be sort of athletic in the future. If not he will surely be number one at throwing tennis balls towards the garage door/dog/glass windows.



Also, Truman is really REALLY into killing imaginary bugs. Sometimes it's a little creepy, like--um, do you see something I don't? But mostly it's hilarious and animated. Here he is winding up for the kill. Or maybe getting ready to do a backhandspring. And note his favorite 'RAWR' pajamas that he demands to wear during the day sometimes, too.

His language just keeps exploding and he's definitely putting two words together now. He will say, 'More wa-wa' or 'Mama down' along with lots of hand gestures to get his point across to us. I think his favorite new word has to be 'purple' and it just so happens to be the only color he really knows now, too. In our big bucket of sidewalk chalk, he will dig through until he finds the two purple sticks and clearly say 'purple' while he draws with it. No idea where he learned that word, or why purple is his fave, but I dig it. But one word I could do without for awhile longer is his new-found love of 'NO'. Can't believe we made it to 19 months without this vocabulary word but he was always a 'yes' man until recently. Truman definitely has his opinions on everything and it's a good thing he has such a killer smile to flash, right?


This month Memaw came to visit us and we had a total blast with her. Truman warmed right up to his great-grandma and the two of them had some secret little games they'd play in the backseat of my car that were only for them. We went apple picking one day and I couldn't help but think to myself, 'How did my baby get so big?' as I watched him strut his stuff up and down the aisles.



One really cool and somewhat shocking thing from this month is that Truman is starting to show interest in potty training. Well, maybe not full-blown 'interest' but he's starting to notice when he pees or poops in his diaper. I've noticed that in the past 2 weeks every single time that he pees or poops he will tell me by gesturing to his crotch, patting it, and grunting a bit. I ask him if he went potty and he'll say 'YEAH' and then point to his nursery, where he walks and asks to be changed. I wasn't planning on even thinking about potty training until 2 years but maybe it's time we think about it a little sooner? I think it has a lot to do with how icky it must feel to have a dirty cloth diaper---since I haven't noticed him pointing it out to us in disposables. We'll see if I have the energy to tackle potty training any time soon.
One of the downer events of this month was Truman's first (and hopefully last) experience with croup. Poor baby had a fever for almost a whole week, congestion, coughing and general misery for us all right during Memaw's visit. It could have been a lot worse but it was still awful and I'm so glad he's finally feeling well again. Nothing like a sick child to make work and everything else in the entire world seem totally insignificant. And once again I'm reminded that my flexible job is perfect for this time in my life, when I might have to miss days of work to stay home with my boy.

But one of the 'ah-ha' HIGH moments of this month has to do with sleep. You see, Truman was getting into a really tiring habit of waking every single day at 5 am. Then that started creeping into the 4 o'clock hour and I had to draw the line there---it's never okay to start your day at 4:30 if you can avoid it, right? He was getting so tired by the time I took him to daycare at 8 he'd fall asleep on the car ride over there and then be totally off all day. I knew something had to change but I could not figure out why he was waking SO darn early every day! I mean, the child was seriously ready to rip for the day at that time and didn't even seem tired when I stumbled into the nursery in the middle of the night. I decided he might be hungry because he's been pulling the stunt of not eating much dinner at night, choosing to run around and play instead. So one night, after dinner but before his bath, Nate made Truman a yummy smoothie full of frozen fruit, yogurt, juice, and protein powder for a little extra 'stick to your ribs' kick. Truman downed that bad boy and slept until 6:30 the next day, and thus I announced the smoothie experiment a total success. We make him a protein smoothie almost every night now, and most of the time he'll drink it and most mornings he'll sleep until about 6. But of course, we still have our 5:30 mornings and our challenges with keeping him still long enough to eat a real dinner. Baby steps, people. Waking any time after 4:30 is a gift gladly accepted by the bags under my eyes as I'm sure many of you can understand.

So that's Truman at 19 months---an Elmo lover, in all of his glory.

And one to find heavy machinery anywhere, including an apple orchard.

I love you little big man. Bring on month 20!
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