Sunday, March 4, 2012

Survival Guide

As we approach Palmer's first birthday, I am nostalgic of the past year.  The first year is interesting: it's really tough, really amazing and flies by so fast.  I am shocked by the changes that have happened in a mere 11 months thus far.  Palmer has gone from an 8-pound helpless baby to a very active and already opinionated toddler.  I recently had to answer a survey regarding the healthcare needs of our family and one of the questions was, "Has anyone in your family gained or lost 20 pounds in the last year?"  Palmer nearly has.  That's a crazy amount of growth happening in a short amount of time.

I'm also reflective of the key things that helped me get thru the first year:

1.  DINNER EXCHANGES - Last summer we brainstormed with dear friends and neighbors of ours about the challenges of making a decent dinner when you have little ones in the home.  We decided to try something new: every week I would make a recipe and double it/share it.  In exchange, they would do the same.  It works beautifully because typically I make something on Monday night, eat the leftovers on Tuesday, eat the other family's meal on Wednesday and those leftovers on Thursday.  Seven months later we are still doing the meal exchange on a weekly basis.  This plan has saved so much hassle and headache and sometimes both family even sit down to eat together and socialize mid-week.

2.  PALMER'S EASY DEMEANOR - We are well-aware and fortunate for Palmer's easy-going personality.  He is a laid back kind-of boy and makes life so easy.  We are grateful for his flexibility and adaptability.  His demeanor allows us to still maintain pretty full and busy lives.

3.  HUSBAND - My wonderful husband has helped me get thru this year with his continual support and adoration of Palmer.  I think it's adorable to see the father-son relationship grow, especially as Palmer gets older.  Between "man breakfast" and Rick's high interest in getting Palmer on a golf course, the guys are pretty cute together.  And Palmer just adores Rick.  I love the look on Palmer's face when Rick walks in the door after a day at work.

4.  IN-TOWN FAMILY - We are very fortunate and thankful to have almost all of our family in the area.  Not only are Palmer's grandparents, aunts and uncles able to form close relationship's with Palmer, but we rely heavily on everybody to babysit when we want a night out or when we are in a pinch.  Aunt Samantha was especially a lifesaver last summer when she babysat Palmer for the first two months of my return to work.

5.  PLAYGROUP - My church regularly forms support groups for first-time moms with new babies.  Last summer, I met 12 other moms with babies within a few months of Palmer and we quickly formed a weekly playgroup. These women (and children) have been a godsend for the past year.  We moms call each other to ask advice on anything from medical ailments to sleeping schedules to favorite toy suggestions.  We've grown close and are amazed how quickly our groups have gone from this:
to little toddlers interacting with each other and walking all over the place:

6.  PACK N PLAY - Palmer is really good about going to sleep in a pack n play just about anywhere.  For Rick and my sake, it keeps us sane because we regularly like to socialize at friends' homes for dinner on the weekends.  Palmer joins us for a few hours and then goes right to sleep in the pack n play when it's time for bed.  I can't imagine being cooped up every night and we are so happy that Palmer has been able to adjust well when we visit friends.

It's almost birthday time. Palmer, you look like you can't believe it either!

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