Sunday, June 16, 2013

A day in my life as a SAHM with Calvin

This is an old picture, but it just applies so perfectly here! Aww, how I love my little squishy man!

I currently hold the best job I have ever had. In many ways it is also the hardest. Still, I would never trade what I do these days for my old 9-5 life. This job is way more exciting and way better. Some things I did not know or realize before becoming a stay-at-home-mom:

1. It is all the time. As in, your hours are 24/7. You get breaks, of course, when the baby sleeps or your husband/family takes over for a while, but you never stop thinking about your baby. You never stop worrying and you never get into a deep sleep because half your mind is too alert and focused on listening for cries. It is not hard while you do it - playing with Calvin and reading him stories or feeding him aren't hard in-and-of themselves - it's the constant nature of it that can be a little exhausting.

2. It can be a bit tedious and day-in, day-out routines can lose their excitement. That's when you have to make your own excitement in the day. For example, I call everything I do with Calvin an adventure. We go on a "mailbox adventure" to get the mail or a "library adventure" to get some new books to read. It makes it more fun for both me and him because everything to Calvin really is an adventure! He's not even been on earth a year, so it's all new. It sounds silly, I know, but it helps me. :)

3. You can begin to lose your own identity if you're not careful. I began to wonder who I was anymore... what am I doing in the world? Am I really contributing? After conference talks and chats with my cute husband, I always snap out of it. We try to celebrate any accomplishment as a team. Did TJ get a promotion? Yay for the whole team! Did Ashley make a delicious, well-balanced dinner? Yay for the whole team! Did Calvin have two good naps? Yay for the whole team! We try to see all our successes as the same. As long as we are trying to accomplish everything for the good of the family, we are all winners. I know it sounds so cheesy, but it's true.

Here is what a typical day looks like with me and my little man.

Calvin wakes up around 6:45 or 7 am. At that time, TJ or I will grab him from his crib and put him in bed with us while he drinks his morning bottle.

After he has his bottle and we all play for a little, TJ eats cereal while I make the bed and prepare his lunch (he has a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with string cheese, yogurt, carrot sticks, and fruit). Then TJ hops in the shower while I get ready to go on my morning jog with Calvin. If I've got time, I'll iron TJ's shirt for him, too. :) Before we leave for our jog (around 8 am), we all have family prayer. I have to time my jog so we get home before 9 or 9:30 because that's the time Calvin goes down for his first nap and I don't want him sleeping in the stroller.

We jog around the community in the jogging stroller and Calvin has a ball! He loves facing forward. He thinks he's on a ride or something. I can make my route 3.5 miles, 4.5 miles, or 5 miles. I usually go for 4.5 miles. I always listen to an audiobook while I run - I have an app on my phone that lets me download them straight from the Salt Lake County library for free. It's awesome! Calvin usually starts nodding off at the midway point, so I get him out of the stroller and hold him for a while so he wakes up. If he falls asleep for even 5 minutes on our jog, it ruins his first nap. Trust me! It's crazy, I know. But I've worked with this kid for 9 months on his sleep now and know it inside and out. :)

Once we're home, I feed Calvin his solids and put him down for his nap. Then, I have "me" time and drink my breakfast smoothie while watching one show (usually a rerun of The Office). Then I get ready for the day and tidy up the house.

When Calvin wakes up from his nap, he has his bottle and we usually go do an errand. The store, the library, Ikea (grrr!), the post office, or something like that. It helps my sanity to get out a little during the day. He usually isn't fussy when we go out as long as I've timed it right. When we get back, he has his solids and we play until his second nap at 1:30 or 2 pm. He then goes down and I eat lunch while doing some work on the computer. Right now, I'm doing some extra content writing on the side for one of TJ's coworkers and I get new clients often. I just write their website content for them - it's as easy as that! It's nice to have my own little stream of income on the side. It's not much, but it's just fun money for us as a family. If I don't have any work, I do some chores around the house (like make baby food for Calvin) or just have more "me" time!

After Calvin wakes up, he has his bottle and we just play. I make sure he has about 30 minutes of independent playtime and then we practice crawling, reading, or fine motor skills. I prepare dinner for us all while Calvin's in his high chair eating finger foods and then wait for TJ to get home so we can eat. Around 5:30 pm, Calvin has his bath and we get ready for bedtime by putting him in his overnight diaper and jammies. Sometimes TJ gets home late and Calvin is already in bed. Calvin has his nighttime bottle at 6 pm and usually is in his crib by 6:30 pm for the night. That's when his little body wants to go to bed and I'm not about to disrupt that! :) TJ and I then chat about our days and eat and maybe unwind with a show. We do prayer and some Ensign before heading to bed. I like to read, so I always have a stack of books I'm reading on my dresser and like to snuggle up with one before I drift off. And then we go to sleep and start it over again the next day!

Our routine doesn't always go this way. Sometimes Calvin is being very fussy and we just have to roll with it all day. Sometimes I am really tired and don't feel like cleaning, so I take a nap instead. :) Sometimes Calvin doesn't feel like being a good boy and sleeping his whole naps. Sometimes I get a big work project and don't have time to complete it until late at night. We just have to roll with it! It's been really good for me to have disruptions. It shows me that the world doesn't end when our routine is disrupted. We all just move along and try again the next day. I will say this, though; the days we have our routine are the days I feel the least out-of-control and crazy and Calvin is the happiest. :)

I still think it's the best job ever! I never go to bed dreading the next day. I feel more relaxed and stress-free than I have in a very long time. It's still hard at times, and I know it'll get more challenging as more kids come along, but I have to say I'm doing the job I've always wanted to do and loving it.

We are homeowners!

TJ and I have been in the market for a home for a while now. We recently decided, though, that we better take action since things seem to be looking up with real estate. Sure enough, as soon as we got serious about looking, we realized just how competitive things have gotten. Good homes were snatched up in a day or less. It was crazy. Calvin and I went on many adventures with our broker Ryan to look for the perfect home. 

Let me just do a quick shout-out for Ryan Henderson. He is amazing! No, seriously. He went above and beyond to help us find our home. He would be brutally honest with us about homes we liked, telling us why they may not be a good investment. I really loved one home in particular, but Ryan helped me realize a few things about it that gave it poor resale value. In the end, after dozens and dozens of homes, we settled on this one. It seemed to have most of our criteria and the price per square foot was awesome. Ryan really got us a great deal and was able to use his skills to keep talking down the price. If you are in Utah and need a house, please contact him because I swear there is no one better. Just message me and I'll give you all the details.

 There are a lot of little upgrades in the home, like high-quality blinds, tinted windows, and plush memory foam carpeting. The previous owner only lived here with his wife and small dog, so hardly anyone used the finished basement. Lucky for us, he is a really nice guy and has helped us a lot with additional details about the home as we've needed them.   

One thing that had to go almost immediately was the kitchen color. EW. I hated the red as soon as I laid eyes on it. Within one day of our moving in, I had it painted the same color as the rest of the house. TJ wanted me to wait, but I just hurried and did it while he was at work. :) It was one of those things where nothing can stop me until it's done because it bothers me so much. Below are before and after pictures. 

Excuse the poor lighting, but so much better, right? My next project is to stain the cabinets a beautiful java brown. Then granite countertops, then a pretty backsplash. I am really excited about it, but we can only take one step at a time. :) 

Let's take a tour! 

Amy Clement helped me plant some pretty flowers in our garden area. Even now, the stargazer lilies are blossoming and we added some beautiful dalias. We also planted a bunch of herbs and veggie plants in the backyard! Well, who am I kidding - she pretty much did it all while I watched. (Side note - AMY, you are not allowed to move away!)

Here is the entryway as you walk in. There are two rooms and a bathroom on the right half of the hall, and a closet and laundry area on the left side. 

The first room on the right is the office area. It still needs to be unpacked and organized, but I've assigned that to TJ. 

The second door on the right takes you to Calvin's room. The window is blackened out with a flattened box, and I still need to stain the little side table he has, but overall it's a big improvement from our walk-in closet. :) 

The guest bathroom connects to both the hallway and Calvin's room. 

To the left of that hallway, just before the banisters, is the laundry room. I LOVE our washer/dryer. I will never tire of doing laundry. In our apartment, we always had to drag all our stuff over to the communal laundry area (like .25 miles away) where you had to pray someone wasn't hogging all the machines at once. It was such a pain. We did that for two years. Not anymore! :) Also, that nasty fingerpaint thing the previous owners did to the back wall is going to disappear soon. 

The living room. We are currently on the market for a living room set, so don't let this sad sight fool you. It'll be a lot more welcoming soon. Bonus points if you can find Calvin in this picture. :) 

To the right of the living room is the kitchen. Ahhh... to be rid of that red color! So happy. Still a lot of work to do, but it's a start.

Dining area.

To the left of the living room is our master bedroom. It's so nice to have all this space! I am taking these pictures inside the master bathroom, to give you an idea of where it is. 

Dual sinks are awesome. The tub is amazing. I love taking baths and it feels so nice to be able to do that as often as I want now! The shower is huge and has dual showerheads, too.  Behind where I am taking this picture is the walk-in closet. 
Backyard and patio. Ignore the dead grass - I think we may have to lay some more down in its place.

Before you reach the living room, you hit these stairs that take you down to the basement. It's fully finished except for a 35 sq yd patch that needs carpeting.

Wet bar with granite counters. It's too bad the granite didn't make it upstairs... :) 

To the right of the wet bar is this big space - you'll see where TJ laid some extra carpet down. The basement does have some laminate wood flooring and carpeted rooms. It's just this patch that needs carpet. The previous owner was a wrestling coach, so he had a mat down here covering this patch. The ceilings have canned lighting. This would be perfect for a movie/tv room in the future. It's always nice and cool down here.

This is the first basement room you hit (you can see it a little from the above picture).

The downstairs bath. Dual showerheads again! And granite. I almost think the basement is nicer than our upstairs. :) 

The second basement bedroom. Well, it's an odd little room - it does have a closet and a window so it is technically a bedroom, but the previous owner's wife used it as a salon. They even had a hair sink plumbed down here. TJ wants to use it as a work-from-home office. 

Continue down this basement hallway (to the right of the big open space) and on the left side is the third basement bedroom.

This room has a walk-in closet and is the biggest of the bedrooms. This will probably be where guests stay most of the time.

We love having this home and feel so incredibly blessed. We really prayed hard to find the right place, and we think we've found it. It'll be a great investment and will bring us a lot of happy memories. If you're ever in Riverton, come stay with us!! We would love to have you! :) 

Calvin at (almost) 9 months

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I think I even missed the eight month update entirely! We have been extremely busy around here. We got a house! I will post all about that later. Still, here are some updates about our little man.

- He is getting more and more mobile every day. He isn't crawling yet, but he loves to get on all fours and just rock back and forth until he scoots himself forward. He will get there soon, I just know it! He rolls everywhere all the time. He can't stay still while holding his bottle - he rolls around until he can't drink it and then cries out of frustration until I rescue him. I've had to resort to rolling up two towels and wedging him between them when he gets his bottle so he won't roll during his feedings. :)
- He loves to grab anything and everything. He is happiest when he has a new thing to grab and rotate in his hands (and then stick in his mouth). His favorite objects make crinkly sounds when he touches them, like wet wipes containers or those toys that crunch like tissue paper when you squeeze them. He passes things from hand to hand and slowly turns them forward and backward as he studies them.
- He eats more and more of what we eat these days. We tried bits of yogurt and cheese and he seems to tolerate them alright in very small amounts. He mostly eats fruits and vegetables mixed with oatmeal, though. He can now eat by himself if you give him finger foods, though I have to portion them on his little tray or else he'll grab the whole pile and try to shove everything in his mouth at once. His favorite foods are bananas, tiny rice puffs, and potatoes. Carb-lovin' like his mom! :)
- He is saying words like "bababa" when he wants his bottle or "mamama" when he is angry and wants me. I'm not sure he knows what he is saying, but he is making those sounds! He says "dadada" but doesn't associate it with anything. He is also saying, "ight" which I think is either "hi" or "light". Either way, it's sooo cute to hear him talk!

Here is a video of Calvin making happy noises. It's about a month old. He is just looking at his own reflection. :)

- He sleeps 12.5-13 hours every night and two 1.5 hour naps during the day. It is bliss!
- He has shown no signs of stranger anxiety. None at all! It is so strange to me - I keep waiting for it to appear but it doesn't! You'd think he would have it since he stays home with me all day, but he  doesn't mind being held by someone else one bit. This makes him very popular with our ward and our friends. Everyone loves to hold him because he never puts up a fuss. He'll just reach out and grab your face or pat your shoulder. That's something he does all the time when I hold him - he just pats my shoulder as we walk around. It's pretty much the cutest thing of all time.
- He just gets cuter and cuter. We love him so much! He is the light of our lives. Don't get any bigger, little man!! This time is flying by too fast :(

Here are some fun pictures of him. Excuse the quality - they are just from my phone. I need to scrounge up my other camera and practice taking pictures with that.

Calvin's little girlfriend Vivian. She is just too cute. 


Sleepy boy! This was the day of the move. We were ALL super tired. This face shows it all.

TJ got me a new jogging stroller for my birthday! It's fantastic!! So lightweight and smooth. Calvin absolutely loves it. He's really bundled up here because it was a windy, chilly day. 

I see you!

He must have learned this face from dad. :) 

So handsome for church! Thanks for the outfit, Mandy and Chad! There's a tie that is supposed to go with this suit, but Calvin's fat little neck won't allow us to button his top button. Sad.

His first high-chair. He loves it! He knows he's about to eat when I strap him in and gets really excited every time.

Stick this kid in a box and he's as happy as can be. TJ will pretend to close the top up and say, "We're packing you up, buddy!" I always get mad at him when he does this. :) 

Look who's big enough to sit in the cart all by himself!

Little sweetie pie. I love how his chin disappears when he grins. :) 

Happy first Father's day to my sweet husband. Teeje is the world's best dad. No one loves his son more than TJ loves Calvin. I just love my two boys!