Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the eve of becoming me

Motherhood.  The greatest journey I've ever taken.  The most wonderful, difficult, scary, challenging, humbling (and the adjectives go on and on) task I've ever undertaken.  Would I trade it?  Not for a second.

I found this video today and couldn't help but be introspective. 

The video asks women, if they had an opportunity to go back in time to the night before they gave birth, what would they tell their former selves?

I love this video.  As most things do, it made me cry. 

If I could go back in time six months, here's what I would tell myself on the eve of motherhood:

Trust - trust in God, trust the process, trust myself, trust my husband and the team we've created for ourselves.  Trust that it's going to be okay. 

After six months, I'm finally coming to terms with trust.  I feel like I'm coming into my own as a mother, and have a little more of the T word in myself.  I don't question every single decision I make... even when (as often is the case) I'm wrong.  It's okay for me to be wrong, because in being wrong, I get a little better.  I build character and strength.  I know what to do next time. 

And, even more often, it turns out that I'm not wrong, because I know my baby, and I know what's right for my baby.  Because I'm her momma, and somehow, over the course of the last 6 months, that has worked itself out. 

And it's pretty awesome.

Say "Ahhh"

Well, it's official: Leah had her first cold.

Not to be confused with teething, which, it turns out, she is not.  At least, not in the sense that teeth are actually peeking through those little gums.

Which we determined when we went to the doctor yesterday.  I missed all the signals - or misinterpreted them is a better way to express it.  The snotty nose.  The red, runny eyes.  The low fever.  The neediness.  The inconsolable crying when she tried to lie down.

Silly Mommy thought that was teething.

But, we went to the doctor to get the all clear, and Leah did just beautifully. She was cute, and enchanted by the paper on the check-up table!  Sitting up, looking in the mirror and smiling at Mommy like nothing was wrong.  Sweet, sweet baby. 

I also got to find out that, just a week and a half shy of her 6 month birthday (can that be right?  Where was all this speed when I was pregnant?!) she has officially (almost) doubled her birthweight: 14lbs 10 oz!

Leah handled her first real cold wonderfully, especially considering that her momma thought it was just irritability brought on by teething.  She's been very clingy, but delightful, content and smiley even in her clinginess.  Besides, Mommy doesn't mind a little extra cuddle time. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Boys of Fall

In the Strassner household, you can always tell when fall is approaching.

No, not because of Melissa's tell-tale decorations.

Or because you'll find reciepts from the Halloween store (even when it's not yet September).

Although those are pretty reliable indications, we know it's fall because the wardrobe starts to get a little more...


As in, Blue and Orange.

And the whole family is affected. 

It's a passtime which steals all of our Sunday afternoons, but win or lose, we love watching those Broncos. 

Hooray for football... Hooray for fall!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lammie Jammies

Everybody's got 'em.  A favorite, cute, most comfortable pair of something that they just love to wear. 

Since Leah is too young still to get a vote, I'll throw in my two cents for her:

I absolutely adore these pajamas, which we have affectionately dubbed her "Lamby Jammies." 

Striped pink and white with a fuzzy little lamb near the top, she's been wearing these jammies since the first day she fit into them.  Although "fit" is overstating things a bit, since she used to just swim in them.  They're 0-3 month, but somehow she miraculously still fits into them - now her legs and arms actually come out where they are supposed to!

I've looked for these jammies in larger sizes and unfortunately can't find them anywhere.  If it was up to me, I'd buy enough to keep her in Lamby Jammies until she's 30!  Since I can't, I'll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The right stuff

Thank you, Nuby sippy cups! 

As a result, I am happy to say that our very distressing strike situation is officially at an end.  Thankfully, Leah began taking the bottle last week (shortly after my post, truth be told). 

Ironically, I had these sippy cups all along.  I bought them a few months ago in preparation for the new adventures in eating and drinking which I knew were in our future.  When I tried to give Leah some water from them, though, I discovered that they were a bit too big for her mouth. 

So naturally I purchased a few more, none of which she was interested in taking milk from, despite the fact that they were appropriately sized for her mouth.

After we found out how much she likes to take milk from the dropper, I remembered these bigger, stiffer, wider-mouthed sippy cups I had stashed away, and voila!

Thank goodness that is behind us.  I don't think I could have felt more terrible and guilty about a situation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


All the way back in April when I was preparing to go back to work after my maternity leave, I worried about whether my baby would take a bottle.

Fortunately for me, Leah was pretty much gung-ho about anything that came near her.  Be they fingers, pacis or other odd assortments, if it came near her mouth, it was probably going in her mouth.

Suffice it to say, she took her first bottle like a pro and never had any issues.

Oh, how her tastes have changed in just a few months.
This time as I prepared to return to work, it never occurred to me to test out the whole bottle situation, because it was old hat.  We'd given Leah a few bottles randomly over the summer, and she took them without complaint or hesitation.  In fact, the only trouble was often that we hadn't loaded her bottle up with enough milk!

So when I called my mom to check in on my first day back to work, I didn't expect her to answer me in a concerned voice, "well... what time are you coming home?  We've had a small problem."

Of course, my mother's mind jumped into overdrive, and I sped home at something like twice the legal speed limit.

Leah had refused the bottle.  All day.  I fed her at 6 before I left for work, and she hadn't eaten a drop until I got home at almost 4. 

Worse (or at least, equally as bad) was the fact that she had been as sweet as pie all day long, without her momma and without any food.

I felt awful.  I cried all that afternoon and evening.  How could I have neglected to re-acclimate her to the bottle?! 

To my horror, it continued the next day.  Surely she would eventually get hungry enough to eat... right?  Finally on Wednesday my mom got her to take some cereal, so at least she had something in her system.  The pediatrician, however, told us the cereal wasn't good enough and didn't have enough nutrition to actually help her; although it did make her feel full, it was actually working against us as we tried to get her to take the bottle.

Instead, she suggested that we try milk in a dropper. 

I'm glad to say that this has worked relatively well, so at least poor Leah is getting something to eat throughout the day while I'm gone.  But that sweet little girl is also stubborn as can be (I wonder where she gets that from?), and for two weeks she has chosen not to take any of the wide variety of bottles we have offered her, nor her sippy cup.  For some odd reason, she actually seems to like the dropper. 

From her mommy's perspective, it has been an absolutely heart-wrenching two weeks.  Everyday, I pray that she will take the bottle or the sippy cup.  Everyday, I have TONS of guilt - not only the preexisting guilt I feel for leaving my little girl, but now, the added, extra weight of feeling like I failed her and hoping she's not hungry while I'm gone.  It's agonizing - I imagine for both Mommy and Baby. 

Strikes don't last forever, right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The best part of going away is coming back

If you've met her, you know she's a momma's girl.

It's not that she doesn't love her daddy... she definitely does.  But nobody quite does it like Mom.

How do I know? 

Leah is (usually) quite content through the day, whether she is hanging with Grandma, her babbysitter, or Daddy.  But when Mommy comes home... watch out!

I adore the little noises of delight she makes as she reaches for me!  Her whole face lights up, and she stretches out those chubby arms and can't get to me fast enough.  Then, she will open her big gummy mouth as if she's going to eat my face.  I'm convinced they're kisses from my baby.  She wants nothing more than to stare and smile at me, and touch every piece of my face she can get to. 

It's a whole look that says, "I'm so happy to see you!", and I can't get enough. 

Coming home is without doubt the best part of my day. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Date night

You might remember the last time Casey and I had a date night. 

If not, let me refresh your memory...

It was March 9th - also known as the day before the C-section. 

If you've done your math correctly, you know that means that my husband and I haven't been out on our own in over 5 months. 

To be honest, I'm not that fussed about it.  I am definitely a homebody at heart, and there are very few things I would rather be doing than hanging out with my family.

That being said, though... Casey and I were still overdue for a night to ourselves.  Fortunately, our good friends Cassie and Chad gave us a wonderful reason to get a babysitter, get dressed up and celebrate: they're engaged!

So out we went, all dressed up, and enjoyed a night with the other adults.   
 - Just the two of us! -
 -The Girls -
 -  It's okay... they're just Shirley Temples.  I can't have too much adult fun in one night. -

 - Aww! -
And we actually had a wonderful time.  It was stressful leaving the house, but I know that it's something we honestly should do - it makes us healthier as a couple, and therefore strengthens our family. 

Before heading home, Casey, Auntie Jessica, Uncle Andrew and I stopped in to McDonalds for a little icecream (it was after -gasp- 10pm!  Everything else was closed.) and... a little more not-so-adult fun.

All in all, a night full of good fun, friends, and laughter.  But the best part of all - as always - was coming home to our beautiful, sleeping baby. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Don't forget to remember me

One of my most favorite things...

I love wearing this around my neck each day! As I walk through my day, it's just a little reminder that I still carry her with me, even if that means something different than it did at this time last year.

The End (of summer)

What do you do when you know those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are coming to an end?
Spend as much time as a family as possible!
To mourn celebrate the end of our summer, we took a few wonderful family outings.
First, Casey, Leah and I went to Estes Park. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the gorgeous mountains of Colorado. We walked around the lake, strolled through the town, and ate lunch at a small but VERY busy local hamburger joint called Penelope's.
- Daddy and Leah at Estes Park Lake -

- Picnic on the lake -

- Walking around town with Daddy -

- Family photo op! -
We also took a trip into Boulder and went to the resevoir, where we had a wonderful time hanging out with good friends on the beach.

- Leah and Auntie Jessica -

Leah also got to experience her first time in the water!

She was actually quite willing to go in the water! Especially since it was fairly cold... but the day itself was in the high 90's, so I didn't worry too much about it. Besides, we weren't in there very long. Just enough to get a little taste for swimming.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to School

With the students set to return to school on Friday, August 13th (does that seem like a bad omen to anyone besides me?!), Casey and Leah helped me set up my classroom last week as Mommy prepared to go back to work.

- setting up the classroom -

- the "before" picture -

- Leah was a great helper! -

I have a great deal less ambiguity about going back to work this time than I did in the spring. For starters, I know that it is what is necessary for our family, and that gives me incredible motivation to do what needs to get done. As an added bonus, I am extremely lucky to be going back to a job that I truly love and enjoy.

Even more than that, though, Leah is big enough now that I don't have the mind-numbing worry that I once had.

I am a recovering worryaholic and probably always will be, but I'm not nearly as paralyzed with fear the way I was when she was new and tiny. At 5 months old, I know that she is a strong baby, and I have greater faith in the likelihood that she won't tragically die in a freak accident (have I mentioned that I'm a recovering worryaholic?).

- the finished product. Now we're just waiting on those (not-so-)little faces -

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Growing up

Today, our baby is 5 months old!

I would say that this past month has been the biggest and most amazing in terms of milestones and development so far. I am absolutely astounded literally every day to see the changes that happen right before my eyes.

Over the past month...

*Leah learned to reach and grasp, and has been practicing it diligently

*She can now pull herself up (with the help of Mommy or Daddy's hands) from a laying to standing position

*She can sit up almost entirely unassisted

*She can pull herself up from a slightly elevated laying position to sitting without help, and can pull herself back if she falls too far forward

*She LOVES toys; she wasn't really that interested before this month

*E-v-e-r-ything is going in her mouth, and I'm fairly sure she began teething, although I can't find evidence of any teeth yet

*She has finally learned to be content in the car (pause for Mom to do a happy dance!!!), and no longer screams each and every time we go somewhere

*Officially graduated out of her 3 month clothes and into her 6 month clothing about a week ago. Her 3/6 month outfits still fit, but I don't have much hope that they will for long

*She tried solid food for the first time, although we have a long way to go before we're proficient at it

*Started sleep training, and has generally been doing well falling asleep on her own, putting herself back to sleep after eating and taking much longer naps (again: Happy Dance!)

*Is so much more interactive, playful and intense about the world than she has been in past months!

*Is exhibiting more and more of that funny, independent, stubborn, sweet, wonderful personality every day.

She is a little girl who knows exactly what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it, and we love that sweet pumpkin more with each passing day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


One of my most annoying best qualities is my ability to plan for the future and set goals.

Casey and I have been talking a lot about what we want our family to look like at this point in our lives, and a few weeks ago we sat down to get our priorities out on paper.

Now, I am also an organization junky, so setting aside some time for the two of us to sit down and get on the same page about our goals for our family was right up my alley! It was a good exercise, and in the end, we came up with this... our family mission statement.

Strassner Family Mission Statement

We commit to maintaining a strong, healthy and loving marriage that is the center of our family.
- We will maintain a regular date night twice per month
- We will communicate openly and effectively
- We will use that communication to establish goals, set priorities and parent as a team

We commit to raising our family with wholesome values that foster close-knit relationships.
- Our family believes that language is important and will pay attention to our words
- Our family believes in watching, listening to, and reading about things that encourage and enrich us
- Our family believes in contributing to making our household run as smoothly as possible
- Our family is committed to raising well rounded, well mannered, loving and happy individuals
- Our family encourages one another to be the best versions of themselves

We commit to nurturing traditions in order to strengthen our family bond.
- Sunday will be a day of regular, designated family time
- Twice each month, we will include extended family in Sunday brunch
- We will take a family vacation once per year
- We will select activities that get us out of the house at least three times per month – especially in summer/fall
- We will turn off the TV more often to better utilize family time together

We commit to setting a budget and making financially wise decisions that are in line with our family goals.
- Allow us to live off of a single income so that Melissa can stay home

We commit to thinking about what we put into our bodies and making healthy choices.
- We will eat out no more than once per week
- We will pack a lunch for work daily
- We will make organic baby food

Monday, August 2, 2010


For the record: We are now a house full of table-sitting, utensil-using, solid-food-eaters.

Well, "solid" is kind of subjective in Leah's case, but the rest is true.

I had hoped to nurse Leah exclusively the first six months and introduce solids after that. But, I have to be able to form coherent sentences at some point in the forseeable future. I pretend to teach English, after all.
How is that related to Leah's diet, you ask?

Well, sleeping even 4 hours at a stretch has been a rarity since before she was born. It has wreaked havoc on my thought process, and my vocabulary has been cut in half and now consists almost exclusively of indefinites. I don't think my 8th graders will pass their CSAPs if I teach them about thingys and youknowwhats.

Solid foods help them sleep better through the night... right??? Right?!

And so we set out to have baby's first feeding.

- She was very interested in the strange, mushy stuff -

- I tried to explain to her what was about to happen... I don't think she followed me -

- It went in pretty well... -

- ...until she actually got a taste! -

- Then she was none too pleased! -

- And it all came back out again -

It was hillarious to watch this process! I think she did manage to keep some down, although I had to nurse her afterward to make sure she'd had enough to eat.

But, practice makes perfect, so I'm sure we have a lot more of these faces in store!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

You've got a friend in me

It has been nearly 5 months since we welcomed home our beautiful baby girl.

Recently, our wonderful friends and neighbors also got to experience this joy! Ella Grace was born on July 26th, and today, Leah got to meet her gorgeous new friend.

Casey and I are so excited for them! Not only was Mommy thrilled to be welcoming a baby - any baby! - but she got the sweet little girl she was secretly hoping for (I can relate to that!).

I couldn't help but reflect on how amazingly quickly they change! It is just incredible to me that 5 short months ago, Leah looked almost exactly like this:

- Except the head. Leah's head was never, ever that tiny -

- In her "I'm learning everything" phase of life, Leah wanted to touch the baby to figure her out -

- I love this picture! I can't decide if I think Leah is trying to comfort Ella, or doesn't know what to make of all the noise -

It is amazing to me too how easy it is to forget just how tiny they were:

My sweet baby has (just) begun wearing 6 month clothes, even though she isn't quite 5 months yet. She has nearly doubled her birth weight. I still think of her as being sooooo little - but having a newborn around makes me appreciate just how far she has come!

And, as much as I treasured that newborn phase of life, I am enjoying the one we are currently in so much more! I adore watching the determination in Leah's eyes as she takes on new experiences. That smile; that giggle; that spunky, wiggly, independent girl... she melts her momma's heart in new ways every day.

I changed my font at thecutestblogontheblock.com