Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Our Year for Change

Last year I spent New Years Eve with MacKay only to have to say goodbye to him a few days later. We came into this year as a "long distance family" and end it together and closer than ever.

This year brought many challenges that I never thought I could have overcome.  I was a working mom taking care of a newborn virtually by myself.  If you would have told me that I would have to do that 5 years ago I would have never thought it was possible, but what I learned this year is that you will make whatever sacrifices necessary to take care of your family.

Our big move to New York City was the best thing for my relationship with Harlan and with MacKay.  I thought that Harlan and I were close from living by ourselves for nine months, but now being able to stay at home with her has strengthened our relationship more than I could have ever imagined.  I have learned her many quirks and the ways that she can smile at me to get whatever she wants.

She has grown so much over the past year and has gone from my baby to my little girl boasting with personality.  She is talkative and loves to climb and jump on everything {we call her our little monkey.} She learned to walk this year, talk this year, and also learned the big obstacle of sleeping through the night {one of my favorite milestones ;)}

Her relationship with MacKay has flourished before my eyes.  She went from only wanting me to comfort her to wanting to see her daddy first thing in the morning.  She has become such a daddy's girl and has him wrapped around her little finger.  I cannot wait to watch their relationship grow even stronger next year.

It took a while for MacKay and I to get back into the groove of living together again when we moved to the city, especially in an apartment that was the third of the size of our house in Tampa.  But living in such small quarters has allowed our relationship to explore many roads that we would have never ventured living in Tampa.  I love him more than I could have ever imagined and am so proud of the husband and father he has become.

I am a stronger woman and mom today because of the many challenges I faced over the year.  From flying with a baby on a plane by myself to having to navigate the subway and streets of New York City on my own.  I look back this year with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I am proud of my family and who we have become in the past year.

Even through all of the changes that 2010 brought us we come out of it with a better sense of what family really is.

I look forward to 2011 and all of the surprises and challenges it has in store for us.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christmas to Remember

After a long 12 hour drive that lasted through the night, we made it to Charlotte, North Carolina to spend the holiday with MacKay's family.  It feels so good to get out of the city for a short time and see the suburbs.  Harlan is especially excited that she gets all of the space around the house to run around in.

Christmas Eve was spent taking a few pictures {a must for MacKay's mom ;)} eating a wonderful meal, going to church, and opening Christmas Eve pajamas.
Our family, MacKay's sister and husband, and MacKay's parents


 It is a tradition is MacKay's family to get pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Everyone will open their pajamas and then wear them that night.  Harlan was very excited to get her snowman pajamas this year.





After getting into our pajamas we got out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.  Last year Harlan was too young for this, so I made sure to soak up every moment with her.



Of course right as we start putting cookies on the plate Harlan starts to steal some.  We had to replenish the plate a couple times so that Santa wasn't left empty handed.


She even tried to steal the cookies we left by the chimney.  Good thing RaRa our Elf on the Shelf was there to make sure she didn't take any!



 Santa's cookies and milk and the carrots left for the reindeer



After putting Harlan down we individually bring out our presents for everyone to put under the tree.  The rest of the house closes their eyes and then "oohhs and ahhhs" when they see the gift under the tree. This is another tradition that MacKay's family has passed onto ours.  Santa also delivered Harlan's gifts that night and she must have been on his "nice" list because he left a lot of presents for her under the tree.


Christmas morning started early in our house and Harlan quickly began to pick which presents she wanted to open first.  She didn't like opening the presents as much as she liked playing with them. 





The day after Christmas we woke up to a Winter Wonderland.  It was absolutely beautiful to see everything covered in snow.  This is the second time that Harlan has seen snow, but the first time that she could actually comprehend what it was.  She didn't like it very much and made someone hold her while outside.  We tried to cheer her up by building her a snowman.



Although she didn't like the snow she loved going "sledding" around the backyard.  




Having our family snow day was such a fabulous way to end the Christmas season.  I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family to spend the most wonderful time of year with.

How did you spend your Christmas?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Better Way to Change

 Anyone who has changed a squirmy baby knows that you must do whatever you can to entertain them for that quick second just to keep them on the changing station.  I keep a basket of toys handy on my changing station to keep Harlan distracted and from wanting to roll off.  I have even gone as far as ditching the changing station all together and change her on the bed or on the floor.

Recently, while attending a Big City Moms holiday event, I was introduced to Grace Welch, founder of patemm® pad. These revolutionary changing pads are designed for the squirmiest of babies.  The patemm® pad has a round design so that it will allow you to lay your baby down in any direction.

Grace designed patemm® pads based on her own experiences of the difficulty of changing a squirmy baby on the traditional rectangular shaped changing pads.  Her design solved her problem and she knew it would solve the problems of many other moms.

All patemm® pads are 30 inches and have four handles that allow you to fold an unfold with one hand.  This was one of the things that I loved about this changing pad.  Many times I am holding Harlan in one hand and everything else in the other hand.  I was easily able to unfold this and put Harlan down.

Another great feature is that the inside of the pad is lined with tons of pockets for diapers, wipes, cream, and anything you need during a diaper change.


I was very surprised how much Harlan enjoyed getting her diaper changed while on this pad.  I am always having to find things to entertain her while changing her diaper, but not on this pad.  She actually enjoyed it {as much as a baby can enjoy getting their diaper changed.}  I think it was the size of the pad that helped with this.  She had plenty of room to move around on it and did not feel cramped like she does on the traditional rectangular ones.  



The patemm® pad we received is CPSIA-certified laminated cotton and is waterproof.  They are PVC, LEAD, PHTHALATE, LATEX, BPA, AND FORMALDEHYDE-FREE. The laminated pad made it super easy to wipe clean and they are even machine washable for that really big messes.






Once you are finished changing you can easily fold the pad back up {one handed} and it turns into a compact carrier.  Perfect for those short trips that don't require a full diaper bag.

This changing pad is definitely one that I will have on hand for a long time and is one that I will recommend to all of my mommy friends.  The durability and design make it a must have for any mom.  

Patemm® has generously given me an extra patemm® pad to give away to one of my readers.  One reader will receive one of their limited edition prints: East Coast Momma in Black, Chartreuse or Amazon.  

They have also generously offered a 20% discount exclusively for A Mommy in the City readers.  Just use coupon code "MOMMY" at check out.  The offer will expire on January 15, 2011.


TO WIN (Open to US Residents only):

Mandatory Entry:  Email customerservice@patemm.com and tell them which changing pad you would like to win.  Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did.  

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:

"Like"  patemm® pad on Facebook and leave a comment here on the blog that you did. (1 entry)

"Like" A Mommy in the City on Facebook and leave a comment here on the blog that you did.  (1 entry)

Follow patemm® pad on Twitter and leave a comment here on the blog that you did.  (1 entry)

Follow A Mommy in the City on Twitter and leave a comment here on the blog that you did. (1 entry)

You can tweet about the contest using the following phrase and leave a comment here on the blog that you did.  You can tweet the phrase once per day.  "I've entered to win the a patemm® pad from @amommyinthecity.  http://bit.ly/ef7HEV Ends 1/12 #Giveaway"

Subscribe to my RSS Feed and leave a comment here on the blog that you did (1 entry)

Become a friend on Google Friend connect (on the right on the page) and leave a comment here on the blog that you did.  (1 entry)

Giveaway ends on 1/11 and I will choose the winner via Random.org. 

Good luck!

Disclaimer: A Mommy in the City was not compensated in any way for this post.  I received the product for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Pup Edition

Hudson, our silky terrier, loving the snow.



Toby, our yorkie, hating the snow. So much he had to be carried by my father in-law



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding My Reason for the Season

As the holidays started to approach I was so nervous that I wouldn't get into the Christmas spirit because I didn't have my big house to decorate or all of the Christmas ornaments that adorned our artificial tree in Tampa.  Part of what I loved most about the holidays was decorating making my house inside and out making sure it was with the holiday spirit. 

My "fake" sense of Christmas is all so apparent to me now.  Now that we live in this cramped apartment with less than half of the stuff we had back in Tampa, I am feeling the Christmas spirit more than ever.  Christmas isn't just about hanging decorations or making my house smell like  cinnamon or a Christmas tree. It's about all of the wonderful things that are happening around me that I've never come to realize.

These past two weekends we have spent time touring all of the wonderful things the city has to offer around the holidays. 

MacKay's office had a holiday party on Friday and it did not disappoint.  Mickey, Minnie, Spiderman, Mary Poppins, and The Grinch were just a few characters to make an appearance at this wonderful gathering.  Although Harlan seemed to like them from afar and would wave at them with a smile on her face, when we took her up to them she quickly turned into a very scared little lady. Santa also made an appearance and she was quite scared of him as well.  It was so funny to see her reaction this year as opposed to last year.  She really doesn't like St. Nicholas man this year.  She did love the little characters that were displayed in the front of the room {probably because they were her size} She spent a good 15 minutes pointing at the and talking to them,




The next morning we decided to pay another visit to Santa, but this time at Macy's Herald Square.  We made the trip last year and absolutely loved it.  They have a wonderful set up there and it you go early enough there is no wait.




Even if you do have to wait, the set up before Santa is amazing.  They have toys and lights and Christmas trees galore. 



 It's amazing how much can happen to our sweet little girl in just a year.  Last year she was admiring all of the Christmas lights with a cute little smile.  This year she still has the cute smile, but now wants to talk to all of the lights and teddy bears she saw in line.

2010

2009


2010

2009
 We also made a trip to see the puppet show in Macy's.  Harlan  has a fascination with puppets and I knew she would be amazed with this show.  The show had real marionettes that told us the story of Miracle on 34th Street.  Harlan was in awe the entire time pointing at everything ,saying "woah" and even getting up to dance during the musical numbers. 



MacKay and I went back to Bryant Park after Macy's just to enjoy the shops while Harlan took a nap. We strolled along looking at local artists showing off their work and local foodies cooking up their food.  It felt so amazing to be out admiring everything and everyone. As much as I can find tourists annoying this time of year, it is so great to see so many people gather together in this city to celebrate this joyous time of year. 


We got home and MacKay had to go out and do some more Christmas shopping so Harlan and I had some time to ourselves.  We turned on Christmas music and danced around the living room.  Dancing is one of her favorite things to do and I love to watch her spin around.

As I sat watching her dance around the Christmas tree and saw the grin on her face, I quickly realized that this is all I need. Although the only decorations we have right now are our tree and stockings I looked at Harlan with her sweet smile and felt complete. This is what the holidays are all about.  The amazing warmth and butterflies that I get inside when I see her full of joy.  No amount of decorations can replace that.



Had to include this one. The look on her face from Hudson laying on her shoe is priceless.