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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

There's More Than Corn in Indiana (Week 19, Day 6)

Saturday in Chicago is absolutely gorgeous, and we decide to make the most of it by driving down to the Indiana Dunes and going for a family hike. After packing up a lunch and getting Maddy ready for the trip, we head off. Now, a more reasonable parental unit would probably choose a short, easy hike as their first outing in the Dunes, much less with a small child. But not THIS parental unit. We choose a moderate route consisting of a 4 mile loop, and head off. 
Bernard family trip to the Dunes!
When we get to our first climb up a sandy dune I’m thankful we didn't choose a more rigorous route - it’s a fairly steep incline, and difficult to navigate alone, much less with a baby strapped to your chest. Phil is carrying Madeline as I've somehow managed to get tendinitis in my bicep - most likely from lugging around a giant car seat on a daily basis.
At the top of the Dune is a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, and a steep drop down. We admire the view, but don’t stay long as there is no shade and it’s hot in the mid-day sun. The path leads us along the top of the dune, along a very small sandy path. While I’m grateful I’m not carrying Maddy, I can’t help but constantly look back to make sure Phil is okay and watching his step - there are a few legs of the trail that are a bit nerve racking.
Once past the treacherous ridge, the path gets easier and more shaded, and we enjoy a nice leisurely and very secluded walk - in fact, we don’t see anyone else for most of the trip! The last mile of the hike becomes the hardest leg of the whole hike - not because of the elevation; in fact, the last leg is mostly downhill, and an easy path. It’s the hardest because we are now tired, hot and ready to be done. Phil is covered in sweat from the hike and carrying Maddy, and his back is starting to ache. I've been lugging the diaper bag on my one good arm, and now have 2 sore arms. Maddy is now well past her nap time, and has no intention of sleeping while there is so much to see and do. She spits out at least two binkies onto the sandy path, leaving us dangerously low on pacifiers to calm her down. Perhaps a 4 mile walks WAS a bit of a gamble for our first hike!

In the end we made it back to the car, and got Maddy (and Daddy) changed out of their sweat drenched clothes. The car ride home was quiet, as Maddy got some much needed rest.While our execution of our hiking plan didn't go quite as planned, it was still a memorable and fun day with the family, and a great way to spend a gorgeous day outside.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Daughter Hands (Week 18, Day 6)

It occurred to me today that Madeline is now double the size from the day she was born. It shouldn't be that surprising at 4 months, but it's amazing how gradually it happened, and now her she lies, sprawled across my lap, all body and legs and so much bigger than that first day we brought her home.

The thing that amazes most his her hands. Not only have they grown in proportion to the rest of her, but they've also woken up and come alive just as Maddy has as she's grown. Where her balled up, tight fists used to be, there are open palms and extended fingers, always reaching and grabbing and exploring the new textures. These new appendages have little experience holding anything - and have the worlds softest palms to prove it. But that won't last long. When she is awake those little hands don't stop moving, and even as she falls asleep, her hand wanders across my face, grabbing my nose and exploring my chin, trying to make sense of it all. I think these little hands will always be a wonder to me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two Month of the Grind, Grind, Grind (Week 18, Day 5)

Night Night Baby Girl!
We are now into month 2 of Mommy being at work and Maddy at daycare. It seems Maddy is fully immersed in daycare and has no issue with her daily routine. I wish I could say the same for mommy - while the mishaps and forgotten items have gone away, the feeling of constantly rushing, being behind and not able to catch up have not. It's slowly getting easier. And I have to remind myself that getting promoted while on maternity leave and starting a new team is an amazing opportunity, and I would be bored coming back to my old job. But I have to remind myself a lot, as being bored sounds a whole lot easier right now.

The end of the work day is always the hardest, as it's the time when meetings are running over, I haven't sat down at my desk to check email in hours and could sit down and crank out some good quality work for a while. Instead I'm rushing out the door so I can pick up Maddy, get her home, changed, fed, and spend a few precious moments with her prior to her falling asleep somewhere between 5:30 and 6. Which is exactly what I want to be doing, and therefore find myself working at night just to keep up with the daily grind.
The great thing about the end if the day is the few minutes of quality time I do get with Maddy. She is overjoyed to see me at the end of the day, and her hugs and snuggles make any thought of work disappear. She makes it easy to focus on all the good things in life. And when she does fall asleep all too early for the night, her sweet innocent face reminds me of what most important in life and why I rush out the door every day to get to her.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ear Infections and Medication Time (Week 18, Day 2)

Maddy's Sick Face
It’s Sunday night, and after a long and busy weekend, mommy and daddy are exhausted. Maddy’s 4 month doctor’s appointment happened Friday morning, and rather than getting her 4 month shots as originally intended, we got a prescription for amoxicillin - our little girl now has an ear infection. After 3 weeks of a cough and cold, this was not the news we wanted to hear. Luckily, the medicine seems to be doing the trick, and her fever and fussiness immediately died down after her first day on medication. 
We had a jam packed weekend of friends and family visits, both to us and travelling to see friends, as well as hosting a cookout for the other new moms I met on maternity leave. As always, Maddy was a champ through the whole thing - she of course had her moments but all in all went with the flow and was happy as could be, even with her first experience with medication. Talking to my other friends that have older children and they trials they’ve endured with daycare, sickness, colic, and general infant fussiness, I’m reminded about her laid back and relaxed nature - very few things seem to get her riled up, even  though I anticipate with anxiety large tantrums at each new experience. I have to remind myself how easy I have it with our little girl!