Sunday, January 29, 2012


My new favorite time of day is around 6:45am every morning.

         The house is dark.  The world is still.  There’s not a worry in my mind.

At this time, everyday, you’ll find me rocking my sweet baby girl, with her head on my chest.  Sometimes she’s asleep, sometimes she’s quiet and content, sometimes she’s cooing and squealing with delight.

It is the absolute perfect start to my now crazy days as a full-time working mama.  And it makes it all worth it.

Rewind to this week, my first week back at work and Cameron’s first week at “school.”  She had a great week – her teachers love her (of course!), and other than a bit of evening fussiness she’s stuck to her normal sleeping schedule.  (INSERTED HERE – until Saturday night, when she decided she no longer wanted to sleep through the night after doing it for 10 weeks straight… fingers crossed that’s not a new habit that’s here to stay!)

My week back at work wasn’t quite as traumatic as I thought it would be.  I survived, unscathed, minus a few tears and under-eye bags.  I think my exhaustion is mostly emotional – it sure is tough being away from her all day long!

The hub and I are still working on and tweaking our daily routines, though we’ve pretty much got it down to a science.  Let’s just say it involves checklists – lots and lots of checklists.
 Laminated, and I use a dry/erase marker
 This is more for the hub than for me, since he takes her to school
 I now also have weekly to-do lists for myself, mostly because mama-brain is even worse than pregnancy brain!  (Yes, that's Halloween paper... don't judge.)

I’m able to get a good hour or so in with C in the mornings, feeding her, getting her dressed, playing with her, and – of course – rocking with her and singing her songs.  I then put her back down in her crib to nap and I’m off to work.  The hub gets her up for school around 8:00am.  He drops her off, and I pick her up in the afternoons around 4:15pm or so.  She usually sleeps in the car and for about 20 minutes once we get home, at which point I begin attempting to check things off of the nightly to-do list.  Because the minute she wakes up, I’m ready to soak in every minute with her before bedtime.

She typically eats for the last time around 6:30pm or so, then it’s bathies, prayers, and into bed by hopefully 7:30pm.  Hub ALWAYS does bathies, unless he has to work at night, then it’s all up to me.  I don’t think I’m quite as good at the nighttime routine as he is and to be perfectly honest, I can tell Cameron Kate misses that time with her dad!  But he misses it the most.  On those nights, when he finally gets home from work, he immediately goes into the nursery to stare at his sweet baby girl. J

So, within the craziness of this week I thought a lot about the word “balance.”

What is balance anyway?  Balance to one person probably has a totally different meaning than it does to another.

To me, balance is a lot different today than it was a year ago.   Balancing my days used to mean kicking butt at work, exercising for about an hour a day (I was a very avid runner!), and getting a gourmet, home-cooked meal totinos pizza on the dinner table tv trays by 7:30pm or so.

Now, my priorities are a lot different.  The quantity of time I have with my sweet girl has obviously diminished since going back to work, so I’m much more aware of the quality.  When I used to get home from work, I was ridiculously concerned with getting in a 5- or 6-mile run.  Like, I had to run or I was going to lose my mind.  And that’s really what exercising and running have always been to me – a way to clear my mind.  These days, I haven’t quite figured out how to squeeze in running and exercising after the workday.  Mostly because I’m exhausted, and also because I’d rather lie on the floor next to my baby girl, watching her change and grow and notice things she’s never noticed before.  I’d rather wiggle her arms and legs while the Hokey Pokey plays in the background, blow raspberries on her belly, and watch her try to eat her toes.  I’d rather read her stories, talk to her about her day and her new friends, and tickle the place where her cheek meets her neck.

And while I could probably get in my work out after she goes to bed, I’d rather relax on the couch with a glass of wine and a bag of peanut m&ms.

         My new sense of balance, folks.

But as I said before, I’ve typically craved exercise for my brain rather than sticking to it for vanity purposes.  And although my midsection is still quite a bit jiggly, at the end of this week I found my brain (not my muffin top) craving exercise like an addict craves drugs.

I had a long talk with my hub about how the heck to fit it in – hey, maybe I should add it to my checklist?!

He was very encouraging and offered to help out in anyway possible with C – but truth be told, I’m not ready to sacrifice my time with her.  So, on Friday I began my waking-up-at-five-am-routine-so-I-can-get-on-the-treadmill-before-my-day-starts-however-I-can-only-walk-because-my-jugs-are-full-of-milk-and-have-you-ever-tried-running-with-two-bricks-on-your-chest?

But hey, speed walking on the treadmill for 25-ish minutes is better than nothing.  And really, on Friday, my brain felt a lot more clear with just squeezing in that little bit of a workout.

This weekend I was able to get torn apart by Jillian Michaels in the wee hours of Saturday morning before C woke up, and I squeezed in a little 3 ½ mile run during her Sunday afternoon nap.

So I’m learning about my new sense of balance, and figuring out what my true priorities are.  It’ll take some time, and change as time goes on and as we figure out our new routine.

But I have to say – I love this life.  I love that my biggest worry these days is whether I’ll get the laundry put away.  Or unload the dishwasher.

         Because, I mean, really – who cares?

I do have to say that being a wife and a mom are the absolute best jobs in the world.  I am just so motivated these days to try to be the best I can to my hub and Cameron (and Bailey, of course!).  I’ve committed to making home-cooked meals – though we still eat off of tv trays (because, let’s face it, The Real Housewives of every city is a great way to zone out after a long day!).  But Cameron Kate is just inspiring me to be a better person.  She motivates me to want to do everything just a little bit better than I did the day before.

I just want to be the type of mom she’s proud of.  The way I’m so proud of my own.  If she feels for me half of what I feel for my own mama, I will have succeeded.

So I’ll continue to ponder the word balance and work on trying to figure out what it means to me.  It’ll change, day-by-day.  But for now, it means rocking with my sweet baby girl in the dark quiet of the mornings, and laying on her nursery floor in the evenings, enjoying a Blue Moon and singing about bears having a picnic in the woods. J
 I came upstairs after my Saturday am workout and found this...J
 Dimply butt!
 OBSESSED with her feet

 Big girl!
 Sweet face
 Getting so strong!
 Come on hair!!
 Sitting in her Bumbo
 A lazy Sunday
 So sweet!  (This picture was quickly followed by a diaper blowout!)
 So happy!
 Holy moly, I have a foot!
 A pic we sent to Daddy when he had to work at night
 So sleepy after school
Pretty girl!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Intense Pain & Overwhelming Joy

The day Cameron Kate was born, my heart stepped outside of my body.  It has never returned.  She is it.  She is my heart.  And that is why I feel such intense pain when she’s not in my arms.

That’s why it aches all the way into my core the minute I hand her over to her “teachers” and walk away.  I drive away from her daycare school with a gaping hole in my chest, because I’ve left my heart inside of the building.

Cameron had two half-day trials last week at her school – she did great.  I was a disaster.

Tomorrow, I go back to work.  So this post is short, and to the point, because I’ve got a lot on my mind.

Tonight I am focusing on the overwhelming joy I get from being so thankful for the following:

1.    My daughter, who makes me smile from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.
2.     My husband, who is the most incredible man and amazing father I’ve ever known.
3.    My mom, who came to visit this weekend to love on Cameron Kate and take my mind off of all of the changes that are quickly approaching.
4.    A job that I love, mostly because I work with a wonderful group of people.
5.    A job that helps to provide food to eat, a house to live in, and money to pay bills.
6.    A job that allows me to touch the lives of kids who may not be as fortunate as our sweet girl.
7.    And mostly, the opportunity that God has given me to work everyday to be the best mom I know how to be.  I only hope I can learn how to be all she deserves.

Starting now, I’m counting down the minutes until 4:30pm tomorrow when I can go pick up my girl, and have her back in my arms where she belongs.
Cameron's first trial day of "school"
She's so excited to go meet her new friends!
 Before school...
After school... exhausted!
 Playing with Bammy
 Getting some Bammy love!
 So sad to see Bammy go!
Hanging with her good buddy George

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Body

My body is incredible.

         No, I’m not that vain.

I’m just realizing how amazing my body is, and that it is about so much more than how it looks in the mirror.

I was first in awe of its abilities in September of 2010 when it carried me 13.1 miles through my first half marathon.  (Woop woop Jamie!)  I remember crossing the finish line thinking, holy cow – I did it.  All those months of training, the blisters, the aches, the pains – my body had succeeded in helping me accomplish one of my many life goals.

         And that was just the beginning of being amazed by what it could do.

My hub and I started trying to get pregnant as soon as I returned from that half marathon weekend… It ended up taking what felt like FOREVER – about 5 months – which is really pretty normal in the whole baby-making business.  But there were many times throughout those five months that I doubted if my body could even do it – get pregnant, that is.

But on January 31st, 2011, I was amazed once again.  I was pregnant!

And then, I wondered, could my body sustain a pregnancy?  Could I really grow a human being?  Make a new life?  Give a little miracle all of the things it needed in order to survive?

And I did.  My body did.  It kicked butt throughout 40 weeks of pregnancy – nevermind the nausea and cravings for mashed potatoes and donuts – and created a human life, people.  Have you ever thought about it?  I mean REALLY thought about it?  The way one minute, your baby is a poppy seed, and the next, she’s a 9 lb 14 ounce bundle of human life?

It’s incredible.  And my body did it – it grew a child.  It nurtured this child.  It went into labor when my child was ready to make her appearance.  It endured 21 hours of labor, pushing out my toddler newborn and then slowly healing itself back up.  And now, for over three months, my body has been providing my child with all the nourishment she needs.  Every ounce she’s gained has come from my body.

         Like I said – if you think about it, I mean REALLY think about it – it’s unbelievable.

So sure – I’m a little wider than I used to be – I’m still struggling to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes – I’m quite a bit mushier around the middle than I’ve ever been – and I can’t run quite as fast or as far as I used to.

But I grew a human being.  I gave birth to a life created by my hub and me.  So the wideness, the mushiness… it’s a very, very small price to pay.  And when I look in the mirror, I am more in awe of and proud of what I see than critical.  It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I’m here… And if I ever falter, all I have to do is look at my sweet Cameron Kate’s face, that big gummy smile, and remind myself that it is about so much more than how I fit into my clothes or how I look in the mirror.

It's about her.

Grow hair grow!
        Finally getting the hang of tummy time!
 Meeting my BEAUTIFUL niece, Raleigh Jane!
 We were SO excited for the girls to finally meet!
 Just hanging out in Raleigh's crib
 How in the world did she JUST have a baby?!  BEAUTIFUL!
 Only the beginning...
 Sweet girl!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Really Does Fly...

When you’re having fun.

Such a cliché, but so true.  Today, my sweet Cameron Kate is three months old.

         How did that happen?!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the doctor cried out, “It really IS a toddler!”

Wasn’t it just yesterday my husband sat in the chair in the delivery room, holding our baby girl while tears streamed down his face?

         How in the WORLD is she three months old?!

I have to say that the past three months have been the best, happiest months of my life.  And that I now know the meaning of the often quipped cliché, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

Unfortunately, all of the fun and time flyin’ means I’m a mere two weeks away from the end of my maternity leave.  And I can’t really complain, because with all of the holidays, I ended up getting about 15 weeks.  (Only 6 were paid for with short-term disability pay… the other 9 went unpaid.  Which means I have a very supportive hub and we’ve made lots of sacrifices!)  But I’m gonna complain anyway, because it sucks.  And I know every working mom goes through the whole leaving-their-baby-to-get-back-to-reality thing, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.  How am I going to survive without seeing her sweet face, her gummy smiles, and hearing her new sounds all day, everyday?

However, I refuse to dwell on the ache in my heart that rears its ugly head anytime I think of handing over my baby girl to “school” (which is what I’m calling it… sounds so much better than daycare!) and walking away.  Or at least I refuse to dwell on it any time I’m with Cameron.  That’s the deal I made with myself.  I can cry all I want if she’s down for a nap, or once she’s gone to bed – but I fully intend on savoring every single moment I have left with her before I go back to work.

Today we were able to go turn in some paperwork and meet her teachers.  Her lead teacher, Miss Katy, is awesome.  She said she’d cry right along with me while we make this transition. J  Cameron is going to do two half-day trials next Thursday and Friday, and she’ll start full-time on the 23rd when I go back to work.  The place we’re taking Cameron is phenomenal – five stars, accredited – the whole shebang.  So really, if she can’t stay at home with me, this is the next best place. 

And unfortunately, since my hub and I like to live in a house and eat food, I have to go back to work.

So we’ll figure it out… I’ll put one foot in front of the other, and it’ll all be okay in the end.  I know my baby girl will thrive and grow and develop in an awesome environment, and I’ll just try to look forward to the summer when I get to have her back in my arms all day long.  (Thanks again for the pep talk today, Lu... I'll need many more!)

         Ok, on to some happy, cheerful news.

         Cameron’s BFF is here!!!!

My sister welcomed her beautiful baby girl last Thursday.  Raleigh Jane was 8 lbs and 21 inches of pure beauty.  Cameron and I are SO excited.  We’ve already had lots of FaceTime talks and swapped many videos and pics.  Cameron and Raleigh already enjoy chatting it up in their baby blabber, sharing secrets my sister and I will never know. J  If being pregnant at the same time as Linds wasn’t awesome enough, the fact that we have two little girls three months apart just about takes the cake.  I can’t WAIT to see how the girls grow up and become friends… I just imagine Linds and I sitting in a kitchen when we’re older, and more wrinkly, hearing our girls giggle and whisper down the hallway. J  And Cameron gets to finally meet Miss Raleigh this weekend when we head to Atlanta!!  Of course there will be tons of pics to follow, but here’s a sneak peek of my sweet niece.

         Enjoy some more pics from the past week, while I go enjoy my last few days with my daughter!!
 Snuggles while she was still recovering from her post-Christmas, 2-week cold.
 The loves of my life!
 Tummy time!
 Cameron's first note to her BFF
 Holy cheeks!
The best part of my hub's day
 3-month photo shoot!
Happy girl! 
 Me and my bug

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a Sick Baby

My hub has never been a fan of poop.

         But then, I guess, who really is?

What I mean is, he’s a little more queasy when it comes to all things #2.  Me?  Well, poop has never really bothered me.  I can change the dirtiest of dirty diapers without batting an eye.  What’s my thing?  Snot.  Boogers.  Just typing those words gets to me.

So when hub and I found out we were going to have a baby, we made a deal.  I would handle the dirtiest diapers if he would take control of all boogers.

Well, that deal never really came to fruition.  He has been a champ and never complained about a single diaper, and I have to say that my disgust of boogers quickly changed… I now feel quite triumphant if I get out a good one with the aspirator.  (Any mom who has had an infant knows just what I’m talking about.)

And that’s basically all I’ve done over the past few days.  Celebrated triumphant removal of boogies.

         Yep, that’s right, our baby girl is s-i-c-k.

But before we get to that, I must go back to the past couple weeks.  I’ve been distracted from writing with not just a pitiful baby, but also some wonderful times with family celebrating the holidays.

We started our holiday travels by figuring out how the heck to fit everything in the car when packing for a week with an infant.  You’d think that because babies are small, it wouldn’t take much.  Yeah right.  On top of me packing entirely too much, we also had to cart around Christmas presents and two different kinds of strollers and every baby contraption we own.  I must say I was very impressed with how hub was able to pack the car.  But it’s time for a bigger car, that’s for sure.

We began by heading to visit hub’s mom and stepdad along with my sister-in-law, her husband, and one of our nephews.  We had an awesome time celebrating Christmas and seeing everyone!!  We then headed to the see the hub’s dad and stepmom to have more Christmas fun.  It was so nice to be able to see Cameron Kate with her cousins – I can’t wait until she’s old enough to actually interact!

We finally headed to my hometown to visit – well – my entire family.  My parents’ house was filled with 14 people, and it was exactly the kind of love-filled chaos that I was so excited about.  Even my 38-week pregnant sister was there, belly and all.  I got to feel my niece kicking around quite a bit - She's due to arrive in just 3 days!!!!!  Cameron is so excited to meet her new BFF she can hardly stand it.

Within all of the chaos I love being a part of at my parents' house, I found myself feeling a little bitter sweet because I realized it was probably the last time my entire family would all be together in the same place for Christmas… You see, my hub and I have always alternated holidays, but we recently decided it’s just about time to start our own traditions as our own little family, and we’ll probably start with Christmas next year.  So I tried to soak in every second with both his family and mine.  It was definitely a different feeling this year – the holidays, I mean.  Last Christmas we could only dream of having a baby, and we both wanted it so badly (though we kept our desire a secret until it came true).  And this holiday season?  I just feel so incredibly blessed.  Too blessed.  Like how in the world do I deserve this?  How do I deserve to be married to the most incredible man I know, with the sweetest baby girl in the world?  While Christmas should never be about the presents under the tree, we’re all guilty of getting wrapped up in the wrapping papered boxes.  But this year, I truly felt like I was focused on the joy of loving my sweet C more than life itself.  This Christmas, me and my hub’s tenth Christmas together, is one I will cherish forever.  And I know it will only get better from here. J

Once we settled in back at home after a week o’ holiday travels, we quickly realized that we were all sick.  Hub and I both had a cold, and our girl was a little stuffy.  Thus began the battle – me and the aspirator vs. the boogies.  Unfortunately, the boogies are winning.  Her stuffy nose quickly turned into constant congestion and a terrible cough.  Cameron Kate is pitiful, and it’s been a long, rough, emotional, exhausting few days.  Having a sick baby is the pits – seeing her so helpless, coughing to the point of bug-eyedness and choking, her constantly crying...  She is such a good, happy, easy-going baby that it’s hard to see her so miserable.  Her tears have definitely brought on my tears… And I know I’m being ridiculous, but seeing my first baby go through her first substantial illness is tough!  So tough that my sleepless nights are causing my cold to set up shop in my head and chest.  I only realize how sick I feel once C finally settles in for a nap and I try to find a moment to breathe.

We finally took her to the doctor today because her cough kept ME up all night and it was starting to scare me.  Apparently RSV is going around these parts, but she isn’t quite showing signs of that.  (Fingers crossed!)  So we’re supposed to pay close attention to her breathing and see how this cough progresses – I really, really hope it’s only a nasty cold.

And let me tell you, when it’s your own daughter’s boogers, you could care less.  As a matter of fact, like I said before, I now see them and think, “Yes!  I got it!” rather than “Gross!”  My how things have changed.

What’s also changing?  Our sweet girl.  She’s recently found her voice, making all kinds of new noises.  Cooing, squealing, and I swear she’s thisclose to laughing!  I can’t WAIT!!!

She gives me SO much to look forward to – so despite being exhausted and sick and asleep until 11:57pm on New Year’s Eve (when hub woke me up so we could be in the air when the ball dropped – that’s our tradition – and of course, smooch) – I am thrilled to see what all 2012 has in store for us.  I love seeing the world through Cameron's point-of-view and know that this year will be full of adventures for the Peele family.

         I, myself, have three resolutions.

1.    Not to sweat the small stuff.
2.    Be more spontaneous.
3.    Not take a moment for granted as a wife and a mom.

So here's a picture dump from the holidays... Happy New Year, and prayers that our little girl gets well soon!
Heading out for the holidays!
 Aunt Beth!
 Meeting Uncle Cory!
 Hub's mom, "Meme," and the cousins
 Rocking with PaPa
 Burns and Cameron Kate
 Love her :)
 Meeting G Gram!
 Aunt Whit
 Banks, his pregnant mama, and my soon-to-be-born niece
 Uncle Dame bringing out smiles
 Headed to Christmas Eve candlelight service
 Uncle Randy
 Christmas morning
 In awe
 Dad and Daughter
 Digby, Bammy, and CK
Aunt Linds and Cameron's future BFF!
 Naked baby!!
 Bammy and her grandkids
My perfect little gift
 Finally meeting Aunt Lauren!
 She is obsessed with her kick piano!
 And she LOVES "bathies" with Dad!
Cheering on the Deacs!