things nobody told me about motherhood

I swear motherhood is the most insane, trying, emotional, beautiful and exciting adventure of my life. People tell you certain things, but I'm convinced they purposely forget to tell you others, as well. For example, nobody tells you that you really can love someone so much that it can actually physically ache and hurt when your child cries and you can't figure out the cause. Truth, my friends. It happens.

Nobody tells you that everyone and their mother will have an opinion on how you should crib train, feed, bathe, change, lotion, introduce your child to public (and so on and so forth). There are people who will judge you for taking your child out in public prior to him reaching 6 weeks old. For the record, my son's been pretty darn healthy! So there!

Nobody tells you that babies are like the world's best ice-breaker. Everyone wants to see the cute little nugget under the hood of the carriage that's snoozing away.

Nobody tells you that sleep begets sleep. I've been told everything about sleep-training, and the one thing that stuck is that if Spencer is too tired, he can't sleep. And so, I let him nap. If he's screaming and wants a nap, by all means, sleep little man! It works…we're down to 1 wakeup early in the morning to nurse now.

Nobody tells you how much your heart can grow…or that baby fever will strike again as you pack away those newborn clothes. It's true.

Nobody tells you that breastfed babies have stinky poos, too. That's right, friends. Everyone said their poos don't stink. False. My son has some pretty nasty farts, and those poos? Yeah, if they've been boiling in his guts a while, they are ripe

Nobody tells you that you'll love your husband or partner more than ever. Watching my husband with my son makes my heart swell with pride and love for him. He gave me the most beautiful (handsome), perfect son, and that's the best gift ever.

Nobody tells you that you're going to leak all over when you hear other babies cry. Yes, it happens.

Nobody tells you how much Omas and grandmas help. From advise to listening to just showing you that there really is a light at the end of that sleep-deprived tunnel, it's the most beautiful thing in the world. 

Nobody tells you that you'll truly begin to decipher your child's cries. Spencer has a whiny cry, a gassy cry, an "I'm faking it for attention" cry and his super-distressed exhausted cry. It's hard because they sometimes combine, but no child will have the same cries.

Nobody tells you what a guessing-game parenting is. Your baby has bad gas? Figure out what might be wrong in your diet. Baby doesn't want to sleep at night? Figure out if he's overtired, gassy, fussy, teething, cold, etc. It's trial and error, and there really is no one-size-fits-all solution.

I love parenting. It's exhausting and trying, but I'm getting a hang of it, and I love my little man and my family more every single day :)

thoughts on crib training

Crib training is such a strange process, and I can't say it's one that I'm particularly enjoying. In fact, I've been dreading it for quite some time. Up until now, Spencer has been sleeping in our room in his Rock 'n Play. When he was a newborn, it made things a lot easier with the move, plus he was soothed by the gentle vibrations. Honestly, it was a godsend, but at 11 weeks old, we know it's time to start severing that little cord. 

The cry-it-out method isn't for everyone, and I really haven't loved it myself, but I know that it's not harming my son either. With the go-ahead from his pediatrician, we moved him to his crib yesterday, and he's been doing both naps and his nighttime sleeps there now. Last night was night number one, and it was not easy…like at all. He cried every time he twitched and woke himself up. And while I know it doesn't harm him to cry, it still breaks my heart to hear his wails. 

Cold-turkey crib training is probably not the way to go either, but here's the thing…if I don't do it all at once, I'll be the person to keep him by our bedside till he's 18 - more for my own sanity than his. As I write this, he's screaming bloody murder, having just woken himself up by extricating his arms from his swaddle and having a Moro reflex strong enough to wake him with terror.

And yet, while I hear his screams and every fiber of my being is telling me to cuddle him, I can also hear his cries start to diminish as he learns that he can self-soothe. I know he's okay, and that's what's getting me through.

Mama's…do you have any thoughts or input on crib training? I know it's very subjective, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

life lately

I'm really not the best at blogging anymore, but our little man takes priority. I'm very slowly finding a balance between work, watching our peanut, working out and managing the house. It's not easy, and I think I definitely underestimated just how much work everything was altogether. This past weekend, Ryan and I drove to NH to visit family, and got to share little Spencer with his Aunt Nikki, Uncle Adam, Oma and Opa. It's so special seeing him with all of the.

Time is flying so fast. I really wish I could slow these moments down because it seems like every time I turn away, Spencer grows, or changes, or learns something new. It's crazy. I love this phase of his life. We do maybe one wakeup a night now, and we're about to transition to his own crib in his own room this week. I'm terrified and excited all at once. I can tell you one thing - this peanut is a precious little love. He is truly SUCH a good baby.

I have more to say, but I'm going to wait till another day. I want to spend this evening with our family here in NH before we drive back to Fort Drum tomorrow. My blog has been a bit quiet and dead lately, and I'm sorry for that, but one day, we'll have things going again :)

two months of spencer bruce

Two months. Our little Spencer Bruce is two months old today. There's a part of me that's crying inside as a write this because our little peanut really is growing up. He's developing a little personality, he has the funniest little quirks and as we navigate parenthood, I think we're learning as much about ourselves as we are about our son. It hasn't been easy by any means, but it's been immensely worth it.

Baby's Milestones: Spencer has officially learned to roll over from his front to his back - with a good bit of ease. The fun fact of it is that I've yet to see it. Though I work at home and see him 12-13 hours a day, he's only done it while Ryan was watching and I was cooking dinner. He's a big-time smiler, coos at the toys on his playmat and I swear sometimes he's trying to giggle. 

One of the biggest milestones, however is in regards to sleep. He's down to 1 (sometimes 2) wake ups per night. I usually nurse him around 3 AM, after he goes to bed around 9:45-10. Then Ryan gives him a bottle around 6 or 7, just as I'm waking up to start working and getting ready for the day. This is loads better than the 3-4 wake ups we were doing there for a while.

Baby's Loves: Spencer still adores his Rock 'n Play. I'm ashamed to admit it, but he's still sleeping in it because we figure one transition to his crib is better than multiple transitions from that, to his bassinet and then the crib. He sleeps like a boss in it, and that's what's really worth it, right? He absolutely loves his Bright Starts play mat and looking at all the toys. 

Mama Favorites: We've transitioned from the mittened newborn clothes to 0-3 month clothes, even though he's swimming in them. He has a little frog belly, and it was a little squished in all those newborn pants, so we're going up. It kills me to pack the newborn clothes away, but we'll be saving them for a potential sibling someday. 

Right now, I'm loving our Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack, more than ever. This gem perfectly dries and airs out all his bottles and the multiple pump parts that really need to breathe after being washed. Plus, it's not an eyesore on the counter.

image via

Mama Thoughts: I'm still having a hard time some days getting adjusted to our new schedule and routine, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. The lack of sleep makes some days more difficult than others, but as he grows a little more independent and cheery, things start to even out, and that makes life better. Pumping has also really been a lifesaver for me. Ryan jokes that I should sell my milk, but I think it's perfect for those days we need a sitter and such - and that's amazing.

Motherhood is so challenging, but it is beyond rewarding. I can't believe this little guy has been here for 62 days yet - and we've kept him alive that long (I kid…sort of)! I told Ryan yesterday…I think I could do this again. And I meant it :)

innermost thoughts on fatherhood from ryan

Hello ladies, and gentlemen if there are any husbands who secretly or quietly peruse the blogs of their wives and friends.  This is definitely not Missy.  This is the man who was lucky/blessed enough to marry her through a mix of seduction and trickery; her husband.  Missy has been asking me to write a guest post for awhile now about fatherhood.  

It's been 8 weeks and three days since my mini-me came crying and peeing his way into this world, straight out of my sweet wife's lady bits.  I feel like I've been a father forever already.  We were sitting in church today, surrounded by noisy, crying and generally obnoxious children.  For the entirety of my life, these distractions would have annoyed me to the point of silent judginess, and resentment.  Resentment of the undisciplined rug rats, and the obviously horrible parents who had failed to instill any manners or reverence in their tumultuous offspring.  Sitting in the chapel today, gently rocking and swinging my son in order to appease his fussiness, I still heard all of those children make their noises.  But it is plainly obvious that I have changed in the last 8 weeks as I was able to contently sit amidst the cacophony of kinder and be grateful to be with my wonderful wife and handsome little boy.

Before Spencer made his long awaited arrival, I used to spend weekends doing absolutely nothing of consequence.  Hours would be spent reading articles on Slate, Vox, the Wall Street Journal or Business Weekly.  I watched all NINE seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix in the space of six months.  I could take an hour, or up to two and a half hours at the gym.  If I wanted to go for a run, it was a matter of simply changing into some comfortable clothes, lacing up the Asics, popping in the ear buds and firing up the endomondo.  These days are over, and I don't think they're every coming back. 

Don't misunderstand me.  We still find time to watch an hour or so of Netflix a night when we unwind.  I still manage to go for a run and get to the gym from time to time.  I peruse articles on google news or things of interest on Facebook daily.  But more often than not, when I find myself staring at my phone at something of nearly no importance,  my attention is called away by the most important thing in my life: my son.  It's easy to get a little frustrated.  I've actually said out loud, "Hey! Can't you see I'm very interested in this article of little to no importance?"  Then I pick him up, swing him around, make any combination of words, noises and pitches in an attempt to placate this little human being who wants to make his existence known to everything within ear shot.  I hold him, stare at him, kiss his head and face.  I'll talk to him, to try to explain my thoughts and feelings, but really I'm trying to figure out what I'm actually thinking and feeling.  In these little monologues with my individual audience, here are some realizations I've come to about this new part of my life.

I love being a father.  I love this little guy.  I'm so grateful that he is in our life.  I'm grateful he is a healthy little boy.  I'd have loved him if he weren't healthy, or if he was a girl.  But I'm grateful that he is a generally easy going, healthy little man.  The fact that he is handsome is just a bonus.  And the issue of him being my ginger clone is ridiculous.  

I love my wife more than ever.  She loves being a mother, and she is so grateful to have had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy.  But I know she has sacrificed to bring him into the world.  She had to delay her training in her athletic pursuits, she feared the changes to her body, and the hormonal roller-coaster caused her to fret, worry and panic on more than a half dozen occasions.  She would sob, wail` and cry and I was powerless to allay her fears.  The only thing I could do was hold her, and let her grief crescendo and crest until it receded like the tide on the shoreline.  She would always feel she was a burden for these episodes.  What she doesn't really understand is that it makes me love her more.  Can these episodes be inconvenient?  Sure.  Do I feel annoyed and frustrated in the process when I'm trying to solve the problems she describes to me and I realize I'm powerless to do so?  Yes.  Do I feel like a good husband when I just hold her and let it happen until it passes and I can reassure her afterward that everything is alright?  Absolutely.  It makes me feel like her hero, and I'm grateful to her that she allows herself to be vulnerable enough to help however I can.  And for all of her sacrifices, taking care of him everyday, breast feeding him, bathing him, I know that I married the right woman.  Just another confirmation that I found the right one, even if it was on a cheap dating site on the internet. ;)

I'm going to be open and honest with my son.  This has a big caveat of age appropriateness.  I never want my son think I have a perfect past.  I've made some big mistakes in my life.  When he is old enough I will share these mistakes and let him know what I've learned.  I'll tell him so that when he finds himself in similar circumstances, he will have better awareness than I did.  I hope it will help him make good decisions.  And I want him to know that if a normal guy, a flawed man like me could get through and succeed, that he can too.

It's okay to make mistakes.  It's okay to suck at things.  You always stink at something new.  Don't worry about it.  Do what you're interested in.  If you love it, stick with it and keep doing it until you're good at it.  Try lots of different things.  He might love Japanese calligraphy, cowboy poetry, free diving or rally car racing.  But he'll never know what he loves unless he is exposed to it.  And he will never be good at it if he doesn't try and suck at it for awhile.  If it interests you, get in there and do it.

Work hard.  A good plan and hard work is the key to making anything happen in this life.  And it can't be a one time, or a once in awhile kind of thing.  Hard work has to be consistent and habitual if its going to bear any fruit.  Its good to work hard until it hurts.  It's good to push yourself to the point of discomfort.  This is where progress and achievement happens.  I don't ever want to save my son from skinned knees, tears, bruises, hurt feelings and disappointment.  The things worth achieving in life take the kind of effort and result in the things listed above.  Find what you want, make a good plan, and get after it.  Every day, every week of your life.  

Love those you're close to, and serve as many people as you can.  Take care of your family and those closest to you.  Let them know you love them through acts of kindness and service.  Write thank you cards, give lots of hugs, and tell people you love them.  This world needs more grateful, service oriented individuals to make it better.  Start with yourself and those around you.

Don't EVER disrespect your mother.  I might love you unconditionally.  But I CHOSE your mother.  She is my wife, my queen and my lady.  Don't ever take her for granted.  She has done more for your well being than you will ever know.  When you have children of your own, you'll have a better appreciation for the sacrifices she made.  Love her.  Respect her.  Honor her.  Don't do anything that would reflect poorly on her.

I think that's pretty good.  If I can get four main ideas across to him, he'll be better off than I was coming up in the world.  We'll make sure to keep him in church, where he will learn about the redemption of Christ, and where he will be surrounded by positive individuals who will help cultivate his character and reinforce our values.  

I love this guy.  I love being a dad.  I hope somebody else finds this insightful or helpful.  God bless.