I Resolve – 2012

Like the rest of the world, every year I make New Year’s Resolutions that I have every intention of sticking to but always seem to fade away two weeks into the new year.  Wah wah.  This year is different.  I have a baby.  It is imperative to my mental/physical/emotional well being that I stick to and follow through with these resolutions, all million of them.  It’s all about setting realistic goals and milestones along the way.  (And publicly posting them might actually hold me accountable and force me to follow through…)

So, ladies and gentlemen, here they are, Autumn’s 2012 New Year’s Resolutions in no particular order:

  • Cliche as it may be, I want to lose this baby weight.  You know the saying “I wish I was the size I was when I thought I was fat”?  Yeah.  That.  Having a baby will literally shatter your body image.  The human body is AMAZING, and it still blows my mind that I GREW a freaking BABY, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am uncomfortable in my new, post-baby body and am ready to be in the best shape of my life.  So this year, I am making that happen, dammit.
  • Get better at the guitar so I can accompany myself and record sweet sweet covers.  Not fancy legit studio recordings.  More like sitting in front of my computer and then uploading the videos to YouTube recordings.  That’s pretty legit.
  • Pay off my credit card once and for all.  It seems like every time I get close to paying it off, something major happens; i.e. costly car repair, etc.  I am SO SICK of paying interest.  It’s not natural.  I WILL pay it off.  How?  By eating out much less.  That’s our major pitfall.  It’s so easy.  And with a baby, easy is key.  But easy isn’t always the most economical.
  • Pay off my car.  I threw this one in because it’s VERY attainable since my last payment is due in September 2012, so I will inevitably pay off my car.  But going into the new year knowing that at least one of my resolutions will definitely be crossed off my list is amazing 🙂
  • AT LEAST $2,000 in savings.  I know that’s probably pocket change for a savings account for a lot of people, but we’re paycheck to paycheck people (like most people, right?  right??) and having that amount in savings would be a miracle.  How are we going to achieve this?  By paying off our credit card and my car and then being able to put a bit more into savings.  Also, we have a Way to Save account which adds $1 for every debit card purchase into our savings.  Brilliant.
  • Make Kevin’s food.  In a couple months, Kevin will be ready for solid food.  Jars of baby food aren’t that expensive (I mean, they DO add up) and are probably pretty healthy, but I can buy a bunch of sweet potatoes or green beans or bananas, etc, and MAKE his food for much less!  I’m home with Kev, so I might as well.  We may not have been able to make breastfeeding work, but dammit, we can make THIS work!

Then, of course, there are the other smaller goals like read all of the books I’ve been meaning to read, find a killer monologue and new audition songs, be the lead singer of a popular band, etc.  But those are a given and don’t require a formal “Resolution.”

I can already tell that 2012 is gonna be the best year yet.  Afterall, Kev will do some CRAZY growing and changing this year: turning over, solid foods, crawling, walking, talking.  So much to look forward to!  And who wouldn’t want to ring in the new year to this face…

Faves of 2011

And now for the obligatory “My Favorite Things of 2011” post!  Wahoo!

Now that I have a baby, I have two lists: one for grown-ups and one for wee ones.

Favorite GROWN-UP Things of 2011

  • Eucalyptus Spearmint ANYTHING from Bath and Body Works.  When I was pregnant, a friend gave me the lotion, and I was HOOKED.  When I went to get the room spray to take to the hospital for delivery, lo and behold, they were SOLD OUT.  The girl behind the counter told me it was their most popular scent.  And for good reason!  When I was in the hospital after having Kev, I sprayed my entire bed with the linen spray.  When my nurse walked in she said, “Oh my GOD, is that eucalyptus spearmint from Bath and Body Works?!”

  • HOW did I not know about Pinterest until well into my third trimester?!  HOW?!  It all started one day when I was explaining to Paige and Emily my brilliant new plan of cutting inspirational photos, project ideas, recipes and baby things out of magazines and taping them into a notebook so I could refer back to them in the future.  Doesn’t that sound so old fashioned?  Geez Louise.  “Have you not heard of Pinterest?”  WHAT?!  So there I was, exposed to this glorious website for the very first time.  And glorious it is.  I have cooked many a new recipe, achieved a considerable amount of craft projects and have convinced myself that I need to buy everything I see.  I have “boards” filled with future home inspiration, birthday party ideas for Kev and workouts that I will probably never get to.  It’s amazing.

  • The Library.  When I was pregnant, I had to force myself to take it easy, especially towards the end.  I have a hard time sitting still.  So, I frequented my local public library, reading more during the last few months of my pregnancy than I have since Harry Potter.  Being home with Kev all day (and night) doesn’t give me a lot of reading time (surprising, huh?), but in the new year, I will take some of my “me time” that I get when Matt is home in the evenings (when I’m not cooking/cleaning/working out… and when Matt’s not in a show and rehearsing in the evenings…) to read a bit.

  • Franzia.  That’s right, I said it.  Boxed wine is where it’s AT.  For around $20, you can get an entire FIVE LITERS of DECENT WINE.  AND it’s more environmentally friendly than it’s bottle counterpart.  It says so on the box.  And what mom doesn’t need a glass or two each and every night after a long day with a crying/poopy/pee-ey/spit-uppy baby?  This mom certainly does.

  • Suave Dry Shampoo.  I’m home with the baby.  A LOT.  And oftentimes I don’t get to shower until well into the afternoon, and even then, I’m showering as quickly as possible to the sound of a screaming baby who obviously does NOT want a clean mommy.  I can’t wash my hair every day.  It takes up time, and frankly, I don’t do my hair anyway, so why bother?  Such a new mom thing to say.  Get this girl a stylist STAT!  So, to keep the grease at bay, I use miracle powder in a can.  Thanks, Miss Paige, for recommending this.  Seriously, a life saver.

  • Freecycle is probably the best thing to happen to this planet.  It’s a great way to not only recycle but create a sense of community.  Just today, I got a baby gate and a bunch of moving boxes for FREE.  I have gotten so many random things from a 1950s (60s?) makeup case, coasters made by Maine state prisoners, pregnancy books, baby clothes, a rocking moose, a pack n’ play, magazines and many other delightful (FREE) items.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  “Someone’s giving away 3 small pet food lids!  50 back issues of Better Homes and Gardens!  Holiday Greeting cards!  I HAVE TO HAVE THEM!”  Matt is THIS CLOSE to submitting me for Hoarding: Buried Alive.  JK.  It’s not THAT bad… yet.

Favorite BABY Things of 2011

  • The Nuk Genius Pacifier.  I was dead set on NOT giving Kev a paci.  Why?  Who knows.  I guess it was the “I’m going to do everything RIGHT” complex.  But what’s so bad about a paci?  Unless he’s still using it at two… then we’ll talk.  Kev has a hard time keeping a paci in his mouth.  For some reason, his sucking ability is not quite up to par with the rest of the world.  My Grammie even said she noticed that he sucked his bottle funny when she fed him.  Maybe THAT is why he wouldn’t latch when I suffered through SIX WEEKS of breastfeeding, only to realize that he’s just not gonna get it… ever… even now.  We did a lot of research to find the best, lightest paci, and all signs pointed to this guy.  It’s the best, and we love it.

  • Pacifier clip.  As I mentioned before, Kev has a hard time keeping his paci in his mouth.  It took us a while to come to this solution, but we realized we had a paci clip from a baby gift we had received and that I had tucked away, vowing to never use a pacifier (LOL).  This is such a simple yet brilliant product.  We no longer have to worry about Kev spitting his paci out onto the floor or it getting lost under him while in his swing or seat.

  • Bibs are another item that people always said, “You can never have enough!”  But silly me thought, “Uhh, yes, you can.  You WASH them.”  Well, little did I know how spitty-uppy our little guy would be and how many we would go through in a day!  Also, who has time to do laundry everyday?  Especially when you have to load up your dirty clothes, haul them to the elevator, go down to the 3rd floor and repeat steps 2-3 to switch the clothes to the dryer, etc??  And forget about doing that with a baby!  I’m not too keen on the way bibs look with every outfit, but at this point, function outweighs fashion, and Kev wears a bib as part of every ensemble.

  • The Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-a-Boo Leaves mobile.  Early on, we noticed that Kev liked watching things that moved (i.e. the arm of his swing swaying back and forth).  Originally, we decided not to get him a mobile because a.) they’re super expensive and b.) they’re kind of tacky looking.  But since Kev was super colicky from week two on and nothing seemed to make him happy, we decided to invest our hard earned gift cards and order him one.  And boy, was that a good move!  He LOVES this thing!  The look on his face when he first saw it was PRICELESS.  Also, Fisher-Price has GREAT customer service.  The mobile kinda pooped out after a week or two (still works, just slow, even after changing batteries), so Matt called, and they’re sending a new one!  Now THAT is good business!

  • The Miracle Blanket.  When we brought Kevin home from the hospital, he HATED being swaddled.  We had a nurse, Lola, who was a swaddling goddess, but Mommy Autumn did not have that magic touch.  He didn’t sleep at night.  We were exhausted.  He would SCREAM when I tried swaddling.  So, I tried just wrapping his bottom half since his main complaint was having his arms wrapped.  The nurse kept saying, “You HAVE to swaddle the WHOLE BABY!”  But HOW?  The Miracle Blanket was recommended to us by a few different people.  It’s a bit pricey at around $30, so we didn’t really want to make yet another investment in something that MIGHT help his colic.  But we were at our wit’s end and decided to make the investment.  And boy, am I glad we did!  It keeps him from startling himself awake, makes him feel cozy, and I dread the day he learns to roll over and we have to stop using it.  Oh, and he even smiles at me when I wrap him now.   Did I mention he’s sleeping 7-8 hours a night in this thing??

So, there you have it.  I’m sure there are other products that I can’t live without, but this mommy’s brain is zapped!  I wish everyone the most blessed, productive and happy new year; afterall, the world is going to end the day after my 29th birthday, so we might as well live it up, right?

 

 

maine trip 2011

Phew.  Driving for 13+ hours straight with a 2.5 month old in the backseat is no easy thing.  But I must say, it wasn’t too bad with my kid.  He’s a road trippin’ champ.  (Although my biggest fear was him getting a flat head from sitting in his car seat for so long.  His doc did say not to have him in his car seat for more than 30 minutes a day… whoops.)  Toward the end of the drive on the way up, this was Kev’s face…

…so over it.

But when we got there, we were greeted by these guys…

and this tree…

…and who wouldn’t love that?

I was THRILLED to be able to take Kev to Maine to meet his great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, not to mention family friends who are like family.  One, Judi (who I referred to as “The Cow Lady” as a child because she had a dairy farm), made Kev the most awesome blocks…

Homemade gifts are the BEST.  And they jingle!

When we arrived, it was dark, so we didn’t realize just how much snow was on the ground.  When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted by this scene…

Not too shabby.

We celebrated Christmas on the day after since my uncle had to work on Christmas day. But on actual Christmas day, Kev wore his cute “My 1st Christmas” sleeper with his Santa bib (thanks, Monika!)

…and chilled in his Bumbo.

…and hung out with Daddy.

…and wore himself out.

On actual Christmas day, Kev made out like a bandit!  So many toys and cute things.  We’re so lucky 🙂  And he got to meet his family, which is the most important thing…

Chatting with Uncle Greg…

Hanging out with Grammie…

And making faces with Gramp…

I’m so grateful that we were able to make the trip this year.  The last time Matt and I ventured to Maine was two years ago for Thanksgiving.  And a lot has happened since then.  We got married and had a kid.  Boy, time flies.  Hopefully we can make it up next year for Thanksgiving!  I wish we could have stayed just a couple more days.  I hope Kev grows up to know just how lucky is he to have such a wonderful family, on all sides.

Happy Holidays!

another year wiser…

Today I turned 28 years old.  I hate to admit it, but I’m not quite where I thought I’d be at this point in my life.  You know when you’re in high school or even college and you look forward to your late 20’s and you think, “Oh man, by the time I get to my late 20’s I will be financially stable, established in my career and have a family.”  Well, the last part is true, I am happy to report 🙂

I just have this feeling that there are other things I am meant to do in this world, I just haven’t figured out what they are.  I have had a dream of writing a series of children’s books for a while now, and I think my next life goal will be pursuing that.  There are other dreams, but I tend to try for too many at a time and burn myself out.  Baby steps 🙂  I’m thinking a Master’s degree is in my future.  In what?  Who knows.  Maybe it’ll come to me in a dream.

So, how did I spend my birthday?  Well, Matt was kind enough to take care of the 7:00 a.m. feeding while I slept.  I’ve been feeling a cold or something coming on, so this was much appreciated.  And then Kevin let me sleep until 10:00!  WHAT?!  When I finally dragged myself out of bed (against my will… I had a hungry child to feed), I fed Kev, did a job for my mom while Kev slept (for a whole hour!) and then entertained him between bouts of high-pitched crying.  When Matt got home around 5:00, we went to the new Elevation Burger at the Wheaton Mall, looked at the ADORABLE boys clothes at H&M, returned stuff to Target and picked up a few things (mostly toys for Kev…. I can’t resist). We also got him some new bottles.  Someone is a big boy now and graduated from the 4oz bottles to the 9oz bottles!  Of course, he doesn’t eat 9oz yet, but we’re going to start on 6oz for a couple feedings a day.  He just doesn’t seem satisfied with 4oz every three hours.

Then we came home.  I felt fat and gross after trying on some clothes at Target.  Oh, the post-baby insecurities.  I hopped on my elliptical.  I planned on a good 30-minute workout but noticed that a part on the elliptical kept sliding loose!  I took a break after 15 minutes so Matt could try to “hammer” it back in, but after I started back up, there it went!  It was either keep on going and risk killing myself or stop the workout and feel gross again.  I decided I’d better play it safe and stop.  I guess I’ll be making a call to Schwinn customer service in the morning.  Wah wah.

Overall, I can’t complain about my birthday.  My mom spoiled me like crazy.  I got a beautiful sentimental necklace and card from my boys, got to spend the day with my beautiful baby boy and the evening with both my handsome men 🙂

I also came to the realization today that I keep thinking ahead and saying, “Man, I can’t wait until Kev can eat solids… sit on his own… walk… sleep in… etc.”  What I need to do is cherish the moments now.  He’s already grown leaps and bounds since day one, and I (almost) miss when he was just over 7lbs!  And now he’s almost 13lbs!  Geez Louise!  Time sure does fly.

Thank you to everyone for all of the birthday wishes.  I feel an outpouring of love and support, and that makes for one happy mama 🙂

2 months and feeling good.

Kev had his 2 month check up last night (5:40 pm!  It was dark outside!)  I had a list a mile long of questions ranging from “When can I start letting him cry it out?” to “Why is his poop green?”  The questions are endless!  (And yes, green poop IS normal).

I was worried that since I started him on formula, he was getting fat.  He’s only 2 months and comfortably fits in 3 month clothes afterall.  But I’m pretty sure he’s just a long baby.  He’s gonna be a tall one!  He now weighs 12 lbs 10 oz and is 23.25 inches long, putting him in the 60th percentile for height and 60th for weight, and with those combined, he’s in the 50th percentile overall.  So, he’s right on track.  We saw a doc we had never seen before in the practice we go to, and she was AWESOME.  It was 6:00 at night for crying out loud, and she took her time and never made me feel rushed, even after the 10th question.  So, looks like we’ve got a healthy boy on our hands 🙂

Today, we went to the mall.  Mamma’s gotta get out and interact with other grown-ups!  I realized that I didn’t have any pictures of Kev and me together since the day he was born, mostly because I am still going through post-baby insecurities “first I’ll lose the weight and THEN you can take my picture.”  Oh, Autumn.  Get OVER it.  So, while at the mall today, my friend Monika snapped this photo…

Can’t really see Kev, but whatev.  It still counts.  And I only look moderately exhausted 🙂

Tomorrow morning I’m subbing in for the music class at Kidville!  And Matt and Kev are taking my class!  SO CUTE.  That was what I always looked forward to while pregnant, and now it’s happening!  I just hope he’s as attentive as he was watching the rehearsal the other day.  He seems to love music.  Hopefully we have a music prodigy on our hands.  Then he can teach me a thing or two 🙂

Speaking of music, I am a little unhealthily obsessed with the acapella group Pentatonix from the hit NBC show The Sing-Off.  I have been watching their YouTube videos all day.  I can’t stop.

Another unhealthy obsession.  I find myself on the elliptical working out while watching Sister Wives on Netflix.  Why, you ask, would I watch a reality show about a polygamist family while working out?  I don’t know.  But it does the trick… even when I’m watching an episode I’ve seen a bajillion times.  It never gets old.  What can I say?  I find polygamy fascinating, so much so that I’m trying (in all my free time) to read The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall.  I think I’ll get more reading done when we’re in Maine.

Speaking of Maine, we’ll be there in a WEEK!  WHAT?!  I’m SO PUMPED.

If Kev gets his own room soon, I wanna do this.  Sweet, eh?

2 Months Old!

Kevin is TWO MONTHS OLD today!  Whoa!

Boy, does time fly!  It seems like only yesterday Matt and I were in the pick-up/drop-off loop in front of Holy Cross Hospital, frantically trying to figure out how to buckle our newborn into his carseat until Matt finally went back inside to get an orderly to show us how.  That was embarrassing.

Kevin is still a fussy baby, but he’s slowly adapting to his new world and becoming less and less cranky.  He is now cooing and “talking” away and smiling, melting our hearts daily.  Today he even pooped up his back, soaking his onesie, and I had to give him an emergency bath.  Matt and I had a good laugh over that one 🙂

I am going to be teaching the new music class at Kidville starting in January, and we had a rehearsal for it today.  Kev came with me since it was during the day.  He was crabby ALL MORNING, but once we got there and watched essentially a mock class, he was engaged and focused on the music and band the whole time!  It was amazing!  I don’t know if it’s because I taught the Little Maestros music class for the first 5-6 months of my pregnancy, did a show for the first 17 weeks and saw musicals throughout so he just knows music and is used to hearing it?  It’s amazing regardless 🙂  This Saturday I’m subbing for Little Maestros (first time teaching it in months!) and Matt is bringing Kevin to my class!  I couldn’t be more excited 🙂

Here’s Kevin enjoying the puppets during rehearsal…

And a couple of Kev and Miss Emily.  He was so comfy with her 🙂

And some random cuteness.  His first Sophie experience…

Happy 2 Months, Kev!

 

Playing Catch Up

So, my poor husband apparently caught pink eye from me when we were in Ohio (I didn’t even know I had it!)  And it morphed into uveitis.  It’s strange how pink eye can shape shift and cause other, more serious problems.  When I was little, I would get pink eye all the time, and one time it spread to my hip!  Imagine!  I walked with a limp for a short time, and ohhh the pain!  Uveitis is known to linger for weeks, even months.  So, we’re hoping it goes away before we got to Maine in a couple weeks!  Poor Matt.

Speaking of Maine, I’m so pumped for Kevin to meet more of his family… and for my family to meet him!  Matt and I drove there two Thanksgivings ago, and it took us 11 hours there and 16 hours back (a paper truck exploded on the New Jersey Turnpike… woof).  I can only imagine how it’ll be with a 2.5 month old baby this time, but it’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure!  We were going to leave on the 23rd, but my brilliant plan is to leave late night (maybe 10:00 pm) on the 22nd and drive through the night, bypassing all the crazy traffic in NY and NJ and hopefully getting to Maine midday the 23rd.  That way we have a better chance of not screwing up Kev’s bedtime schedule/routine… theoretically.  I imagine that one of us will have to be sitting with him in the backseat for most of the drive so he doesn’t get too bored.  Regardless, the quality time with my family is well worth the trip.

Switching topics abruptly, Kev had been on Zantac for reflux for about 6 weeks.  I never really thought it was doing anything.  About a week ago, I took him to the doc for his diaper rash and asked about the Zantac.  She said if I didn’t think it was helping, it’s one of those medications that you can just take them off of.  So, I did.  And for the past four days he’s been extra fussy.  Now, I don’t know if it’s because of the Zantac or maybe he’s going through a growth spurt?  (My answer to EVERYTHING).  Who knows.  He’s not AS fussy as he used to be.  Now I think he just wants to be held more.  Or his paci has fallen out.  In that case, you would think the world has come to an END.  So dramatic.

Yesterday, I took Kev to his second ever Little Maestros class at Kidville!  The first time I took him, he was 3 weeks old.  This time, he was 8 weeks.  He actually stayed awake the entire time and only needed his paci for maybe half!  He was captivated by Mr. Matt playing the guitar 🙂  Maybe he’ll grow up to be a musician?

He loved playing his instrument…

And he LOVED the bubbles!

On a holiday related note, Kev met SANTA!  Well, the closest thing we got to Santa this year… the Summit Hills Santa.  (And for those of you who don’t know, Summit Hills is our apartment complex).  Santa was a bit frazzled after holding a screaming baby in front of us.  I was certain that Kev would react the same way (he’s been extra fussy afterall!) but what do you know, he was a CHAMP!

Hey Santa, your beard is slipping… awk.

We also did a 2 month photo shoot with our friend Monika.  She has two gorge girls, and she dabbles in photography.  And boy, am I glad she does because she takes some pretty slammin’ photos of my kid!

Can we say baby model?  What a STUD!

Speaking of PINTEREST…  Okayyyy, so I wasn’t speaking of Pinterest, but I should have been because it’s AMAZING.  Seriously, if you are not on Pinterest, you’re seriously missing out.  I have learned SO MUCH from that site, gotten so many great ideas and have been inspired to no end.  I just recently finished my latest project inspired by Pinterest, and I thought I’d share 🙂

I think I have an obsession with calendars.  It’s my second Pinterest calendar project…

This, my friends, is a frame I got from AC Moore for 50% off and paint samples I took from Wal-Mart for FREE.  I snatched them up while we were in Ohio during the Black Friday craze.  It was such a mad house that one noticed little ol’ me in the paint section awkwardly taking 30 paint samples.  The frame is 14×16.  The cards are cut to 2×2 and taped on with double stick tape.  Then you can use a dry erase marker to write in the days of the week and numbers accordingly!  Brilliant!  And it was SO EASY.

My next project is to make dough hand print ornaments of Kev’s hand for all of our family!  So many projects, so little time!  Thanks Pinterest!  And if you think it’s only for crafts, you’re WRONG!  I’ve gotten so many recipes, fitness inspiration, home decor ideas, DIY for the home, etc.  The obsession runs so deep.

On the mommy side of things, I am happy to report that I am officially out of the baby blues phase of early mommyhood.  Thank GOD.  For any of you who have experienced this and never talked to anyone about it, I feel for you.  I feel your pain.  It sucks.  But it does end.  The kicker for me was making the terribly hard and guilt ridden decision to stop breastfeeding and take my life (and body) back.  Yes, when you’re a mom everything is for your kid.  I get that, and I appreciate that.  However, if you’re not happy, how can your kid be happy?  Also, I am an actor, and I never planned on giving it up because I have a child.  Yes, things will be a bit different, harder for sure, but definitely worth it.  It’s what I do.  I don’t give up THAT easily 🙂

Here’s an ADORABLE picture that is sure to brighten your weekend.  If not, you have no soul.  Happy December!