Saturday, December 30, 2006

maddi's first xmas

Well, here we are, our first Christams morning as a little family. We're all still in our jammies (see, now that I'm a mom I use cute words like "jammies" and don't even think twice about it). If you look at the clock you'll see it's actually almost afternoon. Let's just say it was a very relaxing a.m.!
I think Madison enjoyed her first Christmas. We spent Xmas eve (actually, the day before the eve) at Kevin's folks' and Xmas day with my family. We had to teach Maddi how to unwrap her gifts, and after a while she caught on. I'm sure next year she'll get the hang of things a little better and will be tearing into stuff like crazy. I hope everyone reading had a nice holiday...happy New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

xmas time is here

I cannot believe Christmas is in one week. While I'm doing pretty good with shopping this year, I have not started baking the customary cookies I dole out to friends and neighbors (I should be doing that now...guess it'll be a late night) and we have yet to put our tree up. Sigh.

But one holiday mission has been accomplished...we finally got our Christmas cards mailed! It was a pain in the neck this year, actually. Instead of hand-writing 50 cards (there's no time for that this year!) I wanted to do a family photo card. We had a nice portrait taken at Sears, but since they charge an unreasonable $1/card and you can get prints at Target for a "that's more like it" .34/card we thought we'd just scan our pic and make a stop at Target's photo center. Here lay an can't scan n' print professional photos unless you have permission to reproduce them from the original source. I guess in a way this is a no-brainer, but on the other hand, why can one spend $50 on a CD of prints and make all the copies you want, but potentially spend $300 on a package of prints and not be able to make additional prints outside of Sears? Makes no sense to me. (We didn't spend $300, by the way, we're way to cheap for that.)

So anyway, we took our own pics. And to be honest, I like them better than the "professional" portraits! We made up 2 different cards, so if anyone reading this wonders what the other card looks like, here are both photos.

I may not get a chance to post again before the holiday, so I'll wish everyone a Merry Christmas now!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

here she grows again

I can't believe M is 8 months...and she'll be 9 months on Dec. 21! I was thinking odd thoughts the other day and it occurred to me that, if you count her age from conception, she's actually going to be 18 months. Weird, huh? I guess that means she's technically an "older" baby.


Today was the last day of the Lapsit program at the library. We've been going on Tuesday mornings for the last 4 weeks and M seems to really enjoy it. Story hour is a combination of singing and movement activities, a couple of books read by the group leader, playtime (a box of toys comes out for the kids to play with for a short while), and finally...bubble time! Her favorite part is watching the other kids...with the exception of one little boy they're all older than she is (age is 0-23 months). As big as she seems to me, she looks like a real baby next to these toddlers...they have hair and she still doesn't have much, although it does seem to be getting "whispy-er." They can walk and and she can't--on her own--yet. But she doesn't care...she's forever watching and learning, drinking everything around her in. I think she's going to be a very observant, thoughtful girl.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

sleep dep. and other zzzzz's

I wonder sometimes if I will ever sleep for 8 straight hours again. M has been waking up at night again after a nice spell of sleeping 6-7 hours straight. It started when she had a little bit of a cold and escalated from there. For a while she was up 6-8 times a night and I didn't think I'd ever get to sleep again. Now she's back to waking up twice each night now for the most part, while it's not perfect it's a heck of a lot better than getting up every hour. And she's so predictable...depending on what time she goes to bed, she'll sleep 4 hours, usually until 11:30 pm or 12:30 am. I'll get her back to sleep and she'll sleep 4 more hours. Then I'll put her back to sleep and she'll crash out a couple more hours until it's time to get up, usually between 7 and 8 am. Some nights, like last night, I CAN'T get her to go back to sleep unless I bring her to bed with us. The she's out like a light immediately and won't wake up until morning.

While she's great to snuggle up to I don't always love bringing her to bed. I have to sleep in one position as long as she's there. I have one arm around her so she doesn't roll off the bed. I can't put her on my other side as I'm afraid Kevin will smoosh her--he's a pretty violent tosser and turner.

This is probably all my fault anyway, as I'm doing exactly what the "experts" say not to do...nursing her to sleep for naps and bedtime. But the one-on-one time is nice and since I'm home with her all the time anyway I say why the heck not? So I'm invoncenienced for a while, big deal. I'm already seeing just how quickly she's growing up.

But I am starting to think that putting a baby down in her crib and having her fall asleep on her own is a myth.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

hallow's eve

This year was Madison's first Halloween. To all those who told me becoming a parent rejuvinates your interest in various were absolutely right! We had a blast dressing her up and taking her out. She visited a few neighbor's homes (for the record, I declined all attempts to load us up with candy as it was obvious that she's not anywhere close to being able to eat it yet) and received the appropriate "oohs" and "aahs." Here are a few pics of our bzzzzy bee:

Showing off her stripes
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Me 'n Maddi...hey, you didn't think I'd go out without a costume, didja?
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

WAHM? SAHM? What am I, anyway?

Every new mother must, at some point, realize that her (pre-baby) idea of what life after baby will be like is actually very different from her initial expectations. In my case, this situation has been reinforced routinely over the past 7 months. Here's my take on it, at various times:

B.B. (Before Baby)
I led a dual career…my days were spent tending my freelance writing business. I was very active in networking groups and the local chamber of commerce. I had an eagle eye out for clients who might have a use for my copywriting services. I spent the days in my home office working on marketing projects to further my business or writing drafts for assignments already in progress.

My evenings, at least a few times a week, were often dedicated to playing gigs (for those of you who don't know, I play saxophone—mostly jazz music). One afternoon a week I taught lessons at a local music store.

(A.B.) After Baby
What did I expect would happen after having M? Well, I figured I'd cut back on gigs a bit. I have done this—somewhat by choice (I'm a bit more selective about which gigs I take) but also because of various situations out of my control, as the jazz scene is not exactly prospering in Central Illinois (a steady Friday night gig was cancelled and a semi-steady seasonal summer gig got cut back). I do still teach lessons once a week. So I suppose the music portion of my life has remained primarily unchanged (with the exception that I'm pretty sure I won't be able to practice again for the next 18 years).

My "day job," however, is the real shocker. One of the reasons I decided to launch my writing biz was because I wanted a career in which I could work from home, for the sole purpose of when we had kids I'd be able to be home with them. What I didn't know is how little work actually can be done with a baby around. It really is difficult to check and respond to email when you have to keep jumping up to make sure Juniorette isn't sticking her hand in a light socket or something. And it's nearly impossible to embark on work that actually entails thinking…I, at least, need time to get into a groove, and the 15 minutes up for grabs during M's naps just aren't conducive to the process.

So, I've already dropped one of my networking memberships. I'm considering dropping my chamber of commerce membership because the events I need to attend are not at convenient times. Besides that fact, I don't know where I'd find the time to nurture new relationships right now if I did meet prospective clients. So for now, I'm relying on a few existing clients who continue to send me work (thanks, guys). And the work I do have, I conduct at night after M is in bed. I can steal a few hours this way, anyway.

How do I feel about this? I'm not sure. Some days I'm kind of bummed about it. I feel like I worked so hard to build up a client base and now it's merely being tossed to the wind. I feel that maybe I could maintain some of these relationships if I only worked a little harder…but by the end of the day I'm so exhausted that I don't have the energy to put the time and effort towards finding new business. And I'm afraid that, if new business started to come to me, I'd not be able to find the time to meet my obligations. I certainly don't want to make a commitment and not be able to follow through.

Other days—most days, actually—I'm thrilled to be the primary caregiver of M. I'm with her everyday and I enjoy watching her explore and learn. She doesn't have to spend her hours in daycare with a bunch of other kids, seeing Mommy only in the morning for a bit and at night for an hour or two. It's just that every now and then I get so tired…being a mom is hard work, harder than I ever imagined. The 24-7 parenting thing is a very real thing.
I know my situation is far from unique. But it's new to me, and I'm still figuring out how to adjust. Maybe in January I'll look into having someone come to the house a couple of afternoons during the week to look after M while I devote more time to my biz. For now, though, I need to make peace with the fact that I've gone from gung-ho businesswoman to homebound matriarch. I've decided that the matriarchal position can be a self-esteem booster, though. I have a family to take care of now, not so much by bringing in money, but by meeting everyone's needs in a variety of ways: physically (hugs, kisses), emotionally (encouragement, reassurance) and by doing things women have been responsible for for years (putting dinner on the table, keeping everyone's clothes clean, etc.). I resisted this role for quite a while, but now it seems like I have a reason to take pride in these tasks which once seemed so mundane. I've got my own family…not just the family I grew up in, with my own mother and father and sister, but a family I've helped to create. And that's something to be very proud of.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Madison visits Madison

We took a trip to Madison, WI this weekend and had a super time (never mind the little love tap our rear bumper received early in the drive--we're ok, it's ok). Our first stop was Starved Rock State Park...thought we'd take in some hiking. As you can see from the picture below, M enjoyed this immensely. :)

Madison (the city) was nice, although the weather could have been a little better. It was a bit breezy but we all dressed warmly. Here are a few pics from our trip:

Enjoying the soothing sounds of the UW campus fountain

At Governor Nelson State Park, Lake Monona

Chillin' after lunch at the UW Student Union

First stop: Starved Rock State Park (wake up, Madison!)

Is it bedtime yet? We're sleepy and that king sized bed looks awfully cozy....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

welcome to wail fest

Ah, silence. I'm enjoying it as I sit at my desk and listen to nothing. But I'm not relaxed, not quite. Any moment a wail might be emitted from the other room. After about a month and a half of sleeping great, M has returned to waking up at night and crying. The only thing that calms her down is to bring her to bed with us, which is something I'm not really wanting to get in the habit of doing. Although I guess we're already in the habit seeing as how we've used this solution for the past two weeks. But both mommy and baby need their sleep, and if this is the only way to get it, so be it.

She might be teething, but her gums don't seem swollen. And she's fine during the day--it's just at night that the extreme fussiness ensues.

She sounds anxious/scared when she cries, not uncomfortable or in pain. Maybe she's having nighttime separation anxiety? She calms down when I go get her and pick her up, but as soon as I try to lay her back down in her crib she starts up again.

Oh well, I guess this isn't anything new. I'm sure all mothers go through endless months, on and off, of sleeplessness. I will grin and bear it, and hug my little snugglebunny, because next thing I know she'll be off to school, then hopping in her friend's car to head to the mall, then packing her bags for college. Everyone says it happens that fast and if the last 6 months are any indication of how quickly time flies, I've gotta believe them.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

are you a baby person?

I totally wasn't, until Madison came along. People would ask me if I'd like to hold their babies and I'd always find some excuse not to. I pretty much pulld from my own supply of stock excuses, like:

  • I'd love to but I'm getting over this cold...
  • I dunno, babies just don't seem to like me and I'd hate to make him/her cry.
  • Wish I could but I'm such a klutz...I'd hate to drop your baby! And you'd hate me if I did so...thanks but I'd better not.

Then we had our own little live sugar booger and I couldn't use these excuses anymore. After all, it was our kid. And I was the mommy. Mommies are expected to snuggle with their babies. There's just no way around it.

Fortunately, my fear of holding an infant diminished as soon as Kevin handed her over to me in the delivery room. And now I'm just another baby-ga-ga female. We go out and I'm following strollers with my eyes, trying to sneak a peek at what's inside. Is it a boy? Girl? How old? Does he have any hair yet? Are all her limbs present and accounted for?

I guess it just took me a little longer to realize how cute babies really are. Of course, I think M is the cutest baby ever, and she gets cuter every day. She's got this little round head and cute eyebrows, cute tiny fingers and toes. And she does the cutest things. Ok, so they are kind of weird pasttimes, but hey, whatever keeps the kid occupied. For instance, she loves shoelaces. She's really into untying shoelaces. And paper...she's got a thing for paper items. Newspapers especially. And magazines. I think she likes the crinkling sounds they make, but they must have a pleasant flavor 'cuz she also likes to eat them. No, scratch that, she likes to try to eat everything. Like bathwater...since we started bathing her in the big tub, she thinks it's fun to try to drink the bathwater. Yuck. I try to discourage that. Especially since I don't know if she's peed in there...drinking her own urine? That can't be healthy.

So anyway, since I'm going on and on about cuteness like a crazed mommy, I might as well post another pic of our cutie. Enjoy and until next time...mommy on!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

yes, we do still exist

And you thought this was one of those blogs that had only a handful of posts, only to be abandoned and hogging a precious corner of cyberspace. Well, almost, but the Jazzmom Mommyblog has been resurrected. It's just difficult sometimes to sit down and get anything done at the computer these days. When I am able to steal a few minutes here and there I tend to spend my time on my personal addiction, a message board for preggos and parents.

So here's the update...Maddi is now 6 months old! She sits up, she laughs, she smiles (a lot), and she's creeping and getting into stuff. The girl has a penchant for newspapers. She likes to eat them. Well actually, she likes to eat anything she gets her little hands on. New fascinations include shoelaces (untying them) and books (pulling them off the shelf). She's a part-time solids eater now (dinner only, she's still primarily a booby baby), and has like everything except butternut squash. Avocados took some getting used to, but now she'll chow down on them with gusto.

It's time to share this blog with family and friends who may be interested in what's going on in the Hart household, now that I'm making a commitment to update a bit more regularly. Just beware that, since my prime computer time is late at night these days, some posts may be full of nonsense, dribble, and more of the like. I'll try to include some pictures so you can ignore the words and just enjoy pics of our little Cute Bunny.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

milestone madness


We're well into Maddi's 3rd month and boy, are things ever happening! I think she's really starting to become aware of the world around her. She's smiling a lot, she loves "talking" to us, she can sit up (with help to get into position, of course), and apparently she rolled over today from back to belly. I missed it, I was teaching lessons this afternoon. And Kevin missed it, because he was in the other room for a sec (not to worry, she was on the floor).

Another big milestone is that we moved her into her own room a few days ago. The poor thing really was too big for her mini-crib...she kept getting her legs stuck between the bars and hollering when it happened. I miss having her in our room, but I know this is the way things are supposed to be. And now she sleeps GREAT (once we get her down, that is...which is another story). I'm the one who keeps getting up every hour to check on her. Sheesh. I've become a paranoid mommy. Is there any other kind?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

welcome to adventures in mommy-ing!

Another blog?

Yes, it's true. I've just set up blog #3, the other two being my professional blog (which is miserably out of date) and my "fun" one. During my recent pregnancy I maintained a blog to keep family and friends from afar updated (archived at, but since it's now inactive and, not being preggo anymore, kind of obsolete, I decided to start a new one.

Here I intend to post my adventures in mommydom. As a first time parent I'm learning new things every day. In sharing these observations in a public space, I figure:

(1) Occasional venting will serve as therapy for a sometimes frazzled new mommy

(2) My own lessons learned will be passed on for other folks to learn from

(3) Certainly there are other benefits but I'm unable to grasp them currently. Need more sleep. Urghh...

Wish I were creative enough these days to think up a better title for this blog, but the other ideas I had were already taken. Knowing that, I guess my ideas have even less originality than I thought. Thus we have, as an offshoot of my Jazzwriter blog, a URL entitled The Jazzmom Blog. Hey, it works. Although I'm not above changing it if inspiration slaps me in the face sometime soon. I'll keep you posted.

Until next time, let the adventures continue.

Mommy on!