Monday, September 16, 2013

A few goals

Mostly I have been using this blog to document Freyja's first year of life...but now that she is over a year old, I think it's time for me to mix it up a little bit. While family is definitely my priority, I think that sometimes I put my own wants and needs on hold or I dismiss them as less important. For the next few months, I want to incorporate these in to our schedule and look at the big picture. A few things include: 1. Exercising regularly and signing up for a 5k or 10k race, likely in November 2. Going on a 2-day vacation with Nick (likely in October) where Freyja will stay with my parents for the weekend. 3. Organizing the basement so the space is more usable and enjoyable. 4. Reading a book from start to finish, and this does not include any of Freyja's storybooks. 5. Getting a babysitter and having a regular date night with Nick. 6. Planning meals & snacks for the week prior to going grocery shopping. 7. Keeping on top of the mail and organizing papers. 8. Continuing with self-improvement--including timeliness, organization, managing anxiety, and less stress with allocating time (sometimes I over-plan or under-plan things with friends, etc) 9. Verbalizing my appreciation to my friends & family (I don't take you for granted, but maybe I forget to tell you how much you mean to me!) 10. Asking for help when I need to, but also finding my inner strength to do some things on my own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

(Happily) Status Quo

It may not last for long, as life can definitely throw curveballs and is not stagnant, but I have been enjoying the past few months without "big changes." My focus has been family and work, and I am trying to find time for friends too! I usually get home from work around 6:15/6:30, then the next 1.5 hours are spent making dinner and/or feeding Freyja (with Nick's help), playing with her, and overall household stuff. I would love to say we get out for a family walk, but it doesn't happen most nights.

The biggest change with being busy now as compared to 10 years ago is that as I've gotten older, time doesn't equal energy. When I was younger I would see how much time wasn't scheduled with commitments and I would fit things in. I could be busy day after day and evening after evening; even though I liked my occasional afternoon nap, I could survive in college on anywhere from 4-6 hours of sleep per night. Now I do much better with at least 7 hours.

This change brings me to this conundrum: I may have time to clean, but not the energy, and sometimes vice versa. Since bedtime used to be more of a struggle, I really have enjoyed this time and lately have been spending the majority of it as "me" time or time with Nick. I also fit in some time to clean the kitchen, do laundry, pick up, and relax...but it has been hard to get things done with Freyja even more now that she is walking. She doesn't sit still, needs constant supervision, so I'm very glad I have the support of Nick. It's a two-man job!

Something Nick and I have enjoyed is getting "free time" when Freyja goes to bed at 8pm. I feel like most of the day I do fairly well energy-wise, but by the time we put Freyja to bed my productivity falls. Sometimes I find my second wind, which usually then causes me to stay up too late, but often I tell myself if I need to do something that night I should really get it done before 8, otherwise it is a gamble if I will find the energy to do it.

It's crazy how fast the house can get messy after a weekend away, or multiple weekends in a row! We have had a fun summer with family and a few different cabins in Minnesota. Freyja, too, has loved the outdoors, the water, and the time with family.

As I mentioned recently, Freyja celebrated her first birthday at Camp du Nord, one of my favorite places. Just a few weeks later, we drove back up to Ely for my best friend Julie Ann's wedding to Dan this past weekend. It was wonderful to be part of her special weekend and to be surrounded by friends & family. My parents, brother, and sister-in-law came too. Julie Ann has been a close friend for many years and is like family to me. I am so happy that she found the love of her life and gets to share her adventures with him. I am lucky to have her as a friend, and Dan is lucky to have such a wonderful wife!

The bridesmiads/matrons


Being goofy

All dressed up!

Auntie Michelle & Freyja
Playing with boxes is fun!

I feel much more connected to nature when I am near the Boundary Waters.  I feel more like a carefree child as I wade and splash in the clear lake water, as I sink my bare feet into the sand and draw pictures with my toes, and as I breathe in the clear, pine-smelling air as I look up to the magnificent sky. At night it is hard to make your way without a flashlight, unless you walk slowly and wait for your eyes to adjust. The night sky has its own magic, with the expanse of stars and the moon reflecting off the water. "Up North" as I call it, I temporarily forget about global issues and local news. With the pervasiveness of technology, it's hard to get away--but at Camp du Nord it's possible as my cell phone doesn't work except on top of a rock that seemed to also be a gathering place for all the mosquitoes in Ely. It was nature's way of telling me to turn around and turn off my phone.

We stayed Thursday until Sunday and had a great time catching up with friends and enjoyed delicious food at the Groom's dinner and at the wedding reception. Freyja went to bed at a decent hour and my mom stayed back at the cabin so that Nick and I could hang out with our friends. That was a great gift to us! I was a bridesmaid in the wedding, so on Saturday we started the morning in Ely at the local salon to get our hair done (complete with pastries and mimosas courtesy of Julie Ann's sister-in-law). The day started out cloudy but quickly turned to sunshine and was a perfect day. Freyja dressed up and attended her first wedding. After the wedding the bridal party paddled a few canoes and got pictures taken on the beach by our friends James and Kelly, who are married and live out in Colorado (as I learned, the part of the state she is from they pronounce it Call-o-rad-o (the ending like it rhymes with bad and then add an O). I also learned that I can be an honorary Broncos fan if the Vikings don't do well, and the Broncos will be going to the Superbowl this year (did I get that right Kelly? ;).

Brian and Michelle paddle boarding
The wedding weekend brought back memories of my wedding to Nick, and when I got back home I enjoyed looking through pictures from Nick's and my honeymoon. It was fun to reminisce. The pictures also remind me how lucky I am---to have traveled and to have enjoyed it with a wonderful guy! I haven't been good about uploading and organizing pictures this past year, so I started working on that last night. I wanted to make a surprise photo book for Nick for Father's day, but that unfortunately didn't happen...hopefully I can do this sometime soon!

"I'm a Happy Camper" onesie from Tony & Abby

11 months

I just noticed I haven't written her 11 month update, so I want to do that before I do a post about her first birthday. I don't regret being a working mother and having Freyja in daycare 5 days a week, but I worry I will forget as the days go by so quickly. Keeping this blog/journal has been a good way for me to reflect on motherhood despite my busy life!

The biggest new development at 11 months old is she took her first steps. It was quite comedic watching how excited she would get to walk, even though "walking" at first meant putting her arms in the air, taking quick steps, and looking like the leaning Tower of Piza before crashing on the carpet. With each week she gained balance, and before her first birthday she was at about 6-8 steps unassisted. If you needed a picture to define the word "busy," I could give you many of Freyja. It's hard to get a clear picture because she is rarely just still (unless she is sleeping). I don't have much to compare her to, so it's hard to say if she is more or less fussy than other babies. However, it is rare that she is not consolable, either with eating, sleeping, or picking her up. We have seen a few glimpses into what a tantrum may be like (such as when she is playing with something I don't want her to keep playing with and I take it away), but I can distract or re-direct her. She very much dislikes getting her diaper changed, but once it's over she is all smiles again.

I think she has a great personality. She loves to interact with others...waving, clapping, saying hi and bye, dada (not "mama" as often), and recently has started pointing at everything! She will even point at animals in the book--and once I say what it is, she will point at the next one. I think she will be curious just like her mom & dad! Regarding foods, she will try new things. She likes watermelon again, so I really can't think of a food she refuses to eat right now. She has two teeth on the bottom, and four teeth coming in (not all the way in) on the top. She is able to gum more foods and does great feeding herself for the most part once the food is cut up. She even has a pouch on her easy-to-clean silicone bib (it can go in the dishwasher), so she can find leftovers later in her meal :)

She claps when she is proud of herself, she can throw a ball, and says "zoom" when pushing a car or truck around. She likes her Fisher Price car that she moves around with her feet (she is a little too short to reach both feet on the ground at the same time) but she also likes pushing it while she walks. It has a "trunk" in the seat, which of course is fun for stashing toys. At this age, repetition is not boring, but how they learn! It's fun to watch her figure out the toy (such as holding up the trunk with one hand and reaching in with the other). She hasn't mastered the shape sorter, but she likes to put them in the bucket with the lid off. Large wooden puzzle pieces are more fun to bang together or to get a taste of than to put together or onto the puzzle board. Toys still go in her mouth, but she tends to play with them more with her hands (it's usually a quick "taste" and then she moves on!).

Social interaction:
At 11 months was the first time she cried (for only a minute or less!) when I left daycare or when I would leave the room, even if Nick was in the room with her. She looks to me when new people are around, and takes a little while to warm up. When it's loud, she is quieter, and when it's quiet, she is louder (she will babble, and say "hi" and wave until you say hi back). Even with her socialness, she still will play by herself while we watch her too. Often she will show us what she is playing with, wait for a response, then go back to playing. One of her favorite things at 11 months was knocking over blocks after we stacked them.

At 11 months, Freyja often went to bed between 7:45 and 8:15 pm, and would wake up 1 or 2 times at night (often around midnight or 1 am and 4 or 5 am), then sleep until sometime between 6:45 and 8:00 am. Prior to our vacation during the second week of August, I wanted to try letting her cry some at night before responding. If she cried out a little I waited, and she often put herself back to sleep. If she didn't or it was after 4 am, then I would feed her (& she acted hungry) and she would go right back to sleep. I would say by the end of 11 months, half the time she would wake up before 4:30am, and the other half she would wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 and then go back to sleep. I'm just glad that she goes back to sleep and doesn't start her day before 6! Since she gets sick with a cold at least once a month, if not more often, her sleep isn't exactly consistent. Being sick means waking up more frequently...but it all blends together! I definitely am not sleep-deprived like I used to be, and it has been very nice having her consistently go to bed well. Most of the time she doesn't cry when I put her to bed, and even if she does it's often for just a minute or less (more of a "hey, you're leaving me...ok, I'll go to sleep because I'm tired"). Her bedtime routine consists of getting in her PJs, brushing her teeth, turning off the lights around the house, reading a few books in the rocking chair, then breastfeeding and putting her in her crib (often putting her in her crib awake but tired). Sometimes if she is in a cuddling mood she may fall asleep in my arms, but she can put herself to sleep. Her comfort items are her pacifier and her blankets (she has several Aiden & Anais blankets which are soft and not too hot, and she likes holding them at bedtime and naptime at daycare). She also has a few stuffed animals, which she likes but doesn't cuddle with as much when she is asleep.

Health: At 11 months she had one cold, a few diaper rashes & topical yeast infections (she has sensitive skin), and hand-foot-mouth disease--with this she developed some mouth sores, making it hard for her to eat. She usually LOVES to eat, but she would refuse to eat much for a few days. Thankfully she would still breastfeed so she didn't get dehydrated. Her thyroid tests have been good and she remains on synthroid (levothyroxine) for congenital hypothyroidism. She keeps her glasses on except when she is tired or upset, at which point she will hand them to me or rip them off. For a while we were doing cloth diapers (with some disposable), but lately because of her sensitive skin and frequency of using creams, we have just been using disposable diapers. I think the warm weather has something to do with it. Even frequent diaper changes don't seem to be enough, so for right now we are holding off on cloth diapers. It worked well for a while and I like that I wasn't adding a bunch of diapers to landfills, but it's not worth the skin irritation. I was disappointed, but just like some women try breastfeeding but for one reason or another it doesn't work out--some things just aren't worth stressing about. Freyja has been wearing both 9- and 12-month pants but mostly 12-month clothing. Some 9-month onesies fit for a while, but I realized they were getting stretched out and they are now in storage. I set aside any neutral clothes in a separate bag so that if next time I have a boy I don't have to dig through all the pink/girly things then!

Camp du Nord & Freyja's First Birthday

Written August 29, 2013 (A longer post with more pictures--photos courtesy of my dad Randy & my aunt LeAnne)

Freyja had her first trip up to Camp du Nord on her half birthday (at 6 months old) back in February (picture on the right), and she made her second trip up during her birthday week in August. It has been a tradition ever since the 1960s for the Hobbs family, and I was excited to introduce Freyja to one of my favorite places!

August 2013 (12 months)
Feb 2013 (6 months)
We are looking forward to heading up there again in just over a week for my close friend's wedding. The only downside to going up north now that we have a baby is that the drive is about 4 1/2 hours. She gets antsy and needs to get out of the car seat and play. The 4 1/2 hour-drive became about 5 1/2 hours, and towards the end, a meltdown was imminent. One way I have found helps get her to nap is if I put my head down and rest too, which usually leads to me falling asleep too. Nick often prefers to drive rather than entertain Freyja in the backseat.

Next week my mom will be joining us on the ride up, which means Nick will have someone to talk to in the car, and Grandma Deb can hang out with Freyja some so we aren't stuck at the cabin when she goes to bed at 8:00 pm. I was slightly hesitant at first to agree to my mom coming up early, because I don't want people to think we can't handle watching Freyja on our own. I really enjoy my time with Freyja, especially on the weekends or holidays. My mom wants Nick and I to have fun with friends and some alone time, so I decided that was a good reason for her to come up early. My dad, my brother Brian, and my sister-in-law Michelle will be coming up later on Friday.

Freyja--1 year old

Freyja--1 year old at du Nord

We had a great time at Camp du Nord in August. The week included:

1. Freyja turning 1 on August 15!
2. Freyja playing at "age group" (like day care) for an hour or two a few of the days while Nick and I had time to nap, read, walk, relax, etc.
Playing soccer with my cousin Rachel
3. Freyja catching a cold
4. Nature walks with the family, and a special shout out to Grandma Deb
5. Nick earned his Polar Bear Plunge (running into the lake each morning at 7:45 am). Brr!
6. Wood-fire sauna and jumping in the lake
7. Nick carving a walking stick for himself and for Freyja
8. Freyja enjoyed her first canoe ride. She also liked kicking the soccer ball and hitting the tetherball.

For the past month, she points at what she is interested in or wants

Mom and dad helping blow out the candle before Freyja could grab it

Dainty first bites...surprisingly it wasn't that messy!

"How big is Freyja? So big!"

Sweet and sticky!

"Num num"

The rental cabin "Sunshine" in the background

Grandma Deb

My dad helping serve the cake
Playing with the pinwheel. "My 1st Birthday" shirt from Gigi
9. Nick took Freyja on a birthday hike along the trails
10. Stitching our own felt wool slippers (which we still need to finish!)
11. Each couple cooked two dinners for the cabin (7 of us, including my siblings and parents)
12. Board games with the siblings and cousins.
13. Naps
14. Family volleyball and other activities ("Du Ga" with the Ga-ga ball, paddle boarding)
15. Celebrating my cousin Justin's 16th birthday at the yurt with my extended family (on my mom's side)
16. Beach time--Freyja loved the water and playing in the sand.
"Here's a bite for you, mama"

"You're funny"

A rare picture with Freyja looking at me--she is getting harder to capture now that she is on the move!
17. Freyja worked on walking, up to about 6-8 steps at a time. She also enjoyed climbing the stairs by herself (with supervision of course!)
18. Reading (I think I have only read one book in its entirety since Freyja was born, unless you count Freyja's board books! Then I'm up to about 3 per night).
19. Visiting multiple rest stops and Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet for burgers, cheese curds, ice cream, and the playground.
20. Going for walks and even a few runs!

We had a Clark favorite for her birthday dinner--chicken fried rice with green beans. Freyja loves to eat and was spoiled with lots of delicious meals and even some cake. I made two cakes for Freyja's birthday, and it was my first time frosting/decorating a cake so I kept it simple. We even taught her to put up her index finger (showing she is 1) when we asked her how old she was (we started working on this a few days early so she could do it in time for her birthday).

Cake #1, using a baggie to write the lettering

Cake #2, my attempt at frosting the Sesame Street cake mold
"I'm one!"
After her birthday cake we headed to the Camp du Nord auction. Each week, campers and staff donate to this and the proceeds raised go towards the camp. This August my mom bid on having 5 poems written about the subjects of her choice. She gave information to the award-winning poet, and he wrote a poem about Freyja! (at bottom of post). Overall, we had a great time with our family. I think it took us a week to "recover" from our vacation (i.e. catch up on sleep and get the house back in order), but it was worth it!

Here are some more pictures and Freyja's poem at the bottom:
My brother Brian and sister-in-law Michelle
Grandma Melanie with Freyja--8/18/12 (3 days old)

Grandpa Randy and Grandma Deb with Freyja--8/18/12
Grandpa Randy and Grandma Deb with Freyja--8/15/13

Four generations 8/15/13
Hobbs family August 2013
Clark family (+ Kremer
Kremer family on Freyja's first birthday

Bunny stuffed animal from Aunt Michelle and Uncle Brian. So soft and cuddly!

Xylophone from grandparens

Hobbs' yurt

Family fun at the beach

Polar Bear Plunge

"I'm one!"
Freyja's inaugural canoe ride

Headed out toward Northland Island

Singing canoe songs

Burntside Lake

Kremer family, Freyja at 10 days old (August 2012)

Kremer family, Freyja at 1 year old (August 2013)

Freyja’s The One
August 2013
If there were a girl
who came into the world
with a smile, Freyja’s the one
Cooing and grinning
right from the beginning
enchanting everyone

The day you were born
was a beautiful morn.
Dear Grandma – too happy to sleep!
Pilot House views
she captured for you
and safely for you does she keep.

At Sunshine this year
with Mom and Dad here
I don’t think that I need to mention
with Brian and Michelle
and the grand-folks as well
Guess who’s the center of attention!

And when you turned one
there at Sunshine – what fun!
Pancakes by Grandpa, for starters
Learning the songs
at the camp sing-alongs –
every day you’re a little bit smarter!

Two dozen and three
from the Hobbs family tree
assembled to see you turn one!
The family is growing
we’re confident knowing
the good times have barely begun.

Two cakes are more fun
when a girl’s turning one
All your friends there from Sesame Street
and kinfolk and cousins –
two tables! – with dozens
to help make the party complete

Happily greeting
the people you’re meeting
in hiking with Grandma each day
you’re just about walking
and already talking -
charisma and charm on display

And when you’re not cooing
you love to be DOING
kicking and throwing the ball
towers of blocks
your sturdy hand knocks
to the ground, to the amusement of all

You had a great view
when you rode the canoe
your Dada’s own lap the best saddle
and Grandpa was there
shooting pictures to share
while Grandma and Mom worked the paddles

Your nearsighted eyes
cannot compromise
your passion for seeing it all
For a one-year-old girl
your embrace of the world
and of people is anything but small

We’re here – the Hobbs clan!
Four eras we span
since Marilyn and Earl first came north
Each generation
to the same sweet location
And Freyja, you count as the fourth!

We’re Hobbs pioneers!
We gather each year
the line of tradition grows longer
Each link in the chain
our love will sustain
And you, Freyja, make the line stronger!