Friday, October 17, 2014

Living App Free

So I have become more aware recently of how much time I spend on my phone. This little handheld device that holds so much power. Messages, emails, games, social networks, shopping apps, music, pictures...everything is available at the swipe of a finger. And I kind of hate it. I guess it's a love-hate relationship though. I love being able to keep in touch with my friends and family, to see their lives through immediate pictures, videos and messages. I love a good scroll through Zulilly, or the occasional game of candy crush. But I hate how often I find myself checking to see if any of those pictures, videos, messages or new sales have come in.

Most of the time spent on my phone is when I'm nursing. It's hard to read a book because I can't really turn the pages without a certain someone becoming distracted. Instead, I read on my Kindle app, one hand, one finger and I am all set. Even in the dark. But even then, I find myself thinking, put the phone down and stare at this amazing being in your arms. So most of the time, I do. I put the phone down and play with Kennerly's hair, stroke her soft little cherub cheeks, hum or sing to her and marvel at the miracle that is my baby girl. (But if I am being completely honest, this doesn't last the entire nursing session, which at night can sometimes be more than 20 minutes...)

However wonderful that may be, I still find myself on my phone way more often than I would like. And it's not even on purpose. If I open the phone to check a message or respond to an email, my fingers just glide right over to Facebook and see there's a little red number notifying me of some activity on my page. So, I click and get lost in Facebookland. I don't really care what people ate for breakfast or who is drinking a pumpkin spice latte, but my eyes scroll through the page anyway. Then I get lost until I hear a little giggle or shout from my baby because she sees Tiger walk into the room. Then, I put my phone down and watch her interact with her kitty cat. Then she moves on from that to a toy, or to rolling around the living room pulling apart her puzzle play mat. And I think to myself, "she was doing all this adorable stuff while I was sitting her with my face buried in my phone." Nothing like a child to make you live in the moment.

I have taken Facebook off my phone before, many times. And it actually feels good to not have that constant "need" to check what's going on. But then, I end up compensating with Instagram or just more browsing on Zulilly. new goal is to weed out the apps in my life. First to go (again) will be Facebook. Doesn't mean I'm leaving the Facebook world (still have an ipad and laptop to waste time on) but it wont be at the touch of a finger anymore. Which silly enough, feels liberating? It sounds stupid to me even as I write it...but that is how it feels. Then, probably byebye to Instagram and Pinterest. Next would be Zulilly (that's gonna be hard...I am a sucker for cute baby stuff and sales at the touch of a button) then candy crush and dots (which is another favorite time-waster) until I have nothing left really but email and texts. And of course, WhatsApp for my M7 chat because I know I couldn't go a day without that.

The convenience and helpful apps, like waze, weather, music, camera, that sort of thing, those will stay. I don't spend much time wasting away on those. Although I do sometimes find myself watching videos of Kennerly when she is sitting right in front of me...tell me how that makes sense!

Anyhow, I thought I would share. I can't be the only one who feels like this. I look forward to being more present in everyday life. To not sit on the couch with my husband while I peruse the internet on my phone and he reads The Blaze. To watch my baby girl play with her toys and get excited when I read to her. No more living parallel. I'll let you know how it goes:)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Kennerly (Deutschland Edition)

Dear Kennerly,

You are now officially an international traveler! You have you first stamps in your passport, you experienced new places, new faces, new food, new everything! And not just new, but German! Last year, there were talks of your daddy's Aunt Christine (Ina's) birthday party in September. I was still pregnant with you and we weren't sure how we would travel with an almost 8 month old, so we never really said yes or no. After you were born and daddy and I got into the swing of this whole parenting thing, and you got into the whole being a baby thing, we decided we could do it! You're pretty go-with-the-flow so we thought why not?

After weeks of planning, purchasing things we would need for you to travel and some more planning, we were packed and ready to go! We headed down to Auntie Susi's house where we met up with Opa and Gigi, boarded our little bus and headed to JFK. We checked in, went through security and headed to get some dinner. You were a champ at the airport and we were called first for boarding because we're a "family with small children!" We got settled in, I nursed so your ears wouldn't hurt during take off, and after the flight attendants set up your bassinet, you slept in there the rest of the flight.

We arrived in Frankfurt at 11 am and Ina and Reiner picked us up to take us the half hour ride to Friedburg (where daddy was born.) We stayed at Tante Ina's house with Pia and Gina (who I knew you would love, because I do SO much:) and Auntie Susi.

We went out for your first German dinner (which also happened to be where I had my first taste of schnitzel from the Vaderland five years ago) and you had your first taste of German food! It was a lovely dinner, you were admired by the couple at the table next to us, they spoke German to you and you gave them big smiles.

On our second day, we walked around Friedburg, had daddy's FAVORITE treat of spaghetti eis and that night we went to the Herbst Markt to have some more authentic German food in the beer tent. You loved the music, the people watching, and Opa's singing! Daddy and I had beers that were almost as big as your body and you kept trying to get the mugs from us. (Disclaimer, no baby's were given any alcohol.) We walked around the fair so you could see all the lights and rides. Daddy won you a bunny by playing a shooting game. Then, Ina and I went on a crazy spinning roller coaster and laughed until we cried. Though I only speak a little German, and Ina only speaks a little English, I realized years ago that laughter is the same in every language. Hopefully you will be able to speak German some day...even if daddy wont teach you. We will have Auntie Susi's help, I am sure:)

Saturday night was the big party, we all dressed up and headed to the party hall to celebrate Ina. You had a lot of fun dancing with Reiner's granddaughter's who just loved you! We took some silly pictures, ate lots of good food and partied the night away with our family!

The next day, we took the train to Frankfurt to have lunch with some more of the family and had a wonderful day exploring some more German things.

On this trip, we didn't have much time for sightseeing, but when we go back at a time when you may remember the visit, we will go see the castle and the fields where daddy used to play, and you can enjoy the spaghetti eis with us!! (All you got this time was a little taste of the strawberry sauce,..and, of course you LOVED it:)

This trip was too quick, but worth every moment we got to spend with everyone. We look forward to more international trips with our little traveling baby.

Love you, Snugs!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dear Kennerly (6 month edition)

Dear Kennerly,

You are six months old today. Six months ago at this very moment I was shaking in the hospital. First, shaking from pain, then later shaking from the epidural. (Nobody tells you about the shaking...but it happened all right!) Daddy was watching a big playoff football game in our hospital room. Nanny and Auntie Susi were sitting patiently and being encouraging at every turn.

Technically you are not a full six months old until 8:31 tonight. After contracting and breathing all day, you were about ready to come out around 8:00, so they said, "you ready to push?" and I looked around the room, looked at Daddy, then back at the nurses and said, "sure? But I can wait if that will help the pushing part move faster." I was terrified I would be pushing for hours. I couldn't imagine what that might be like, but I had heard of it and I wanted no part in it. I think I cried a little and told the nurse I was scared, she asked what I was scared of, I told her and she said that I was ready and asked if I would like to pray before we started. My nurse was awesome. So, a prayer and a few pushes later, 30 minutes and you were out! (THANK YOU, lady:) Dr. Meulenberg didn't even finish putting her gown on when you came sailing into her arms.

So, all of that, right here at the forefront of my mind, yet it was a whole HALF a YEAR ago! In another half a year it will be January 19th again and you will be ONE. Man, oh man. I remember when time was counted by when school started, when was winter break, what will we do for spring break, how many days 'til summer? Now, time is counted by you, my little snugaboo. Kennerly is 1 week old, Kennerly is 3 months old, Kennerly is SIX MONTHS OLD! (Ugh, sorry for all the caps, and I apologize in advance that any blog about Kennie's age will probably all say "I can't believe you're _____")

In the past six months you have taken many hearts into your hands. Your smile is ridiculously contagious, your giggle even more so. You have the tiniest, jolliest belly laugh. I say tiny because you let out one big giggle at a time, never strung together yet. It makes my face hurt how much I smile when you smile and laugh. Recently, you love a good, "boo!" or "woof!" and even more recently, all I have to do is give you a look and you lose your mind with those giggles! Your smile goes all the way up to your eyes and your little nose scrunches up (but only when something is super funny to you.) Daddy and I will say to each other sometimes, "Oh! you got a nose scrunch!" You love music, and usually any fussing can be contained by a good song, whether on our fun Pandora station we listen to every morning, or just me singing to ya:)

You are rolling. You are able to roll both ways, however you prefer to roll to the left...and then continue rolling to the left until you run into something. Then instead of rolling back, you stop on your back or tummy and just play wherever you land. You started sleeping in your crib this month (okay, this week...) and you are doing wonderfully! You started eating real food a couple weeks ago. Like, real real food, not baby jar food. You pick it up yourself and everything! Such a big girl:) Your favorites so far are peaches and cucumber. You have had pears, avocado, sweet potato, mushrooms, roasted peppers and watermelon. And by "had" I mean it's been in front of you and you've tasted it. By no means are you actually ingesting all of any of this. Mostly right now you smash it up, fling it around, etc. You like to suck the juice out of the fruit or rub your hands all over the food then suck on your fingers. Meal times are super messy and super fun:) We're still learning!

You started swim class this month. You LOVE it. Like, seriously love it. You love the water and I am so so glad! You are a champion, the youngest in the class and going underwater with such excitement. You look a little confused when you come up, but that smile returns immediately. You went in the lake in NH for the first time. It was pretty cold, so you weren't in long, but a first time is a first time!

You sit up, but mostly just lean forward to eat your toes, so not quite sitting up alone yet. You are teething for sure, but Dr. Steery said it could still be a while before they pop through. You still fit into some of your 3 month clothes (very few, but sometimes I will put you in something and see the little 3M on the tag and think to myself I really should go through and take all that out.) Yesterday a 3 month dress became a 6 month shirt cause it was just so darn cute. The 6-9 months are still too big on you and so are some of the 3-6 even! You're a little peanut, but a healthy one (look at those thighs!)

Daddy and I love you more everyday. Even we can't believe that! You wake up with a smile every morning, we look at you and say, "did she get prettier over night? I think she did." You are number one, you are our world and we love you, little Snugs. Happy 6 month birthday!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's Official

Where to begin with this? How about with a fact. Fact: I am officially a full time Stay at Home Momma. How did I get here?'s been tough and easy at the same time.

Before I was married or had Kennerly, as a young girl, I always pictured myself raising kids. My mom stayed home with us until I was in school and I always just pictured that's how it would be when I had children. Cut to real adult life: I went to grad school, got a Master's degree and started my career. A career that I am very passionate about. A career that doesn't make me a TON of money, but that gives me a paycheck. I married a man who is passionate about his career as well. Unfortunately neither of us chose a profession that result in big paychecks, but he insisted that one salary can work for us. I love teaching, it is absolutely what I was meant to do. I love children, I love seeing them light up when they learn something new as I light up inside knowing I am the reason for their epiphany. How do you walk away from that? Being in the classroom is part of who I am. The amount of excitement I get in Staples or the back-to-school aisles of any store, and don't even get me started about the Target dollar bins around August. Using my teacher handwriting and decorating the classroom for the student's arrival. 22 little faces smiling in the morning, little voices saying, "I love you Mrs. Doenges," little pieces of paper with misspelled words and funny little pictures, little hands raised high in the air to answer a question or ask a new one. How do you walk away from that?

You have a tiny, beautiful, curious human being who needs you. Someone who could be with another caregiver, but would much rather YOU. 

Someone recently said to me, "As a teacher, you are replaceable. As her mother, you are not." It resonated. Because it is true. There are plenty of qualified teachers to teach my kindergartners, but there is ONE person qualified to be a mother to my baby.

Oliver always assumed I would stay home to raise our baby also. It wasn't really a question for him, it's a huge responsibility and a bigger job than any that would give me a paycheck. He not only wanted me to stay home with our baby, he encouraged it, telling me that my "job" is to foster love, creativity, manners, everything for our daughter. All the while, making sure I knew that it was my choice and if I chose to continue teaching, he was behind me 100%. It's really an easy decision once it comes down to it. Stay home with this amazing little human that we created? Duh. Tell my principal and coworkers that I wasn't coming back to teach? That was the hard part. "Giving up" part of who I am? That's a little what it felt like, but why? I am not giving it up, I will teach again someday, I will get back in the classroom. I will miss it, I already do in fact, but what I am missing will be filled to the brim with new experiences, new responsibilities, new epiphanies being realized by my own child. And I will be here for every second of it. I am lucky. Society tells me that I am giving something up, so really I feel more guilty for not feeling guilty of "giving up my career." People have said to me, "You went to school for this, you have a Master's degree, you are a teacher, it's what you do!" Okay...I don't really know how to respond to that. Now I am a mom, THAT is what I do. And if I get to focus on that with my whole heart and mind I am extremely lucky and eternally blessed. If you want to be a mom AND a teacher, or nurse, or whatever it is YOU do, be both! I applaud every.single.mother that is doing both.

I learned from my brother and sister-in-law how hard that is. When Ainsley and Freddie were 3 years and 3 months old, I took care of them during the day while Jaime worked and Clifton was out of town working. What I did all day long with those two amazing babies was awesome and fun and great...and a lot of work! When Jaime got home from work I marveled at the fact that she was able to do what I was doing with them all day long AFTER she had been working at her job all day long. I can't imagine what that must be like. Having a full time job, working all day and coming home to so much responsibility. When I was teaching, I would sometimes come home at 4:00, get straight in my pajamas and veg out the rest of the evening. Can't do that when you have babies relying on you the moment you walk in the door.

For a while I thought, "what will I do?" That now seems like a silly question...after almost 5 months with this beautiful creature, I've learned there's plenty to do. (I actually probably learned that the first 5 days.) What I struggled with the most was telling my principal. She has been amazing to me, hired me when she knew I was pregnant and planned to take half a year of maternity leave, she was supportive and encouraging every step of the way. She told me teaching is what I was meant to do, she had other teachers come observe my classroom, she held up my lesson plans as exemplars in faculty meetings. She led by example and I truly admire her. She put so much faith in me that I worried at every turn that I would let her down somehow, how could I really be THAT good? I must have her fooled. 

Anyhow, after a bunch of back and forth, and back and I called her and the moment I said, "there's something I wanted to talk to you about." She expectantly said, "yeeeaaahhh???" She knew what I was going to say and once I said it she told me she completely understands. "I am disappointed, but I understand. You will make it back to the classroom when you're ready, you raise that little girl now." Exactly what I needed to hear. She was so accepting and warm and understanding. I needed that. I build things up in my mind so much and give myself such anxiety, then get this amazing response from her. We talked for another ten or so minutes and she completely put my mind at ease. I told her she's the best principal I've ever had and thanked her for believing in me so much. 

So now, I no longer have a principal to report to. I have a tiny little being who loves me unconditionally, needs me more than anybody else in the world and gives me the absolute most joy I could ever have imagined. I will no longer receive direct deposit, but be paid instead by snuggles, smiles and baby smooches. I can't think of a better paycheck:) I am excited to start this new chapter and glad I can now fully embrace my new title of Stay at Home Mom.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Nanny

So, Nanny passed away five days after Kennerly was born. My mom's phone rang just after she finished helping me get settled into nursing the baby. She said, "It's my brother, Billy," as she went to answer and I just knew. We found out a few days earlier that hospice was called in to the nursing home for Nanny.

It was not an easy call to receive, I saw the gut wrenching pain of a daughter losing her mother wreck itself through my mom. The moments that followed are all still clear in my mind, but it has taken me months to be able to put things into words. Nanny's service wasn't until last weekend, so I guess I felt like I could kind of "put off" mourning. The first few days after she was gone weren't easy, I cried a lot and was feeling so sad for my mom and her siblings, and myself, my siblings and our cousins. But after those first few days, it was easier to pretend nothing had changed. Easy isn't always right, but it's just that...easy.

Nanny was a huge part of our lives. But that was a long time ago. For more than the past ten years, Nanny had been living a life that was not the one we want to remember. What I want to remember is my soft spoken yet exuberant grandmother snapping along with a song and tapping her toes to the beat. I have a vivid memory of her teaching me how to keep the beat in my childhood bedroom with my huge boom box blaring. That same memory includes when she told me she wanted to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. Later that day, she told my mom, "Caitlyn said I could walk with her down the aisle when she gets married!" It will always break my heart that she wasn't even able to be at my wedding.

Nanny loved ceramics, she loved Buffy, she loves taking us to sliding rock, she loved walks along Tom's Drive. All the memories that came flooding back when Gramps passed away just a few short months before, came to the forefront once again. I wasn't surprised that she went so soon after him. I think that's how God works. Even though they spent most of the end of their lives separated, I always pictured them reuniting in Heaven and being together the way we all remember them.

Their love story was one for the books. They met when they were young, just barely teenagers, had their first date to see Gone With the Wind, then out for shakes afterward. Nanny told me the tale of how they fell in love and were married before Gramps left for the war. I remember hearing this story from both of them, but my mom recently found a report I did on the differences in dating when I was a teenager and when my grandparents dated. I interviewed Nanny and wrote a paper on it. Throughout the interview she kept telling me (as she often did when I was in high school) that just because she was married at seventeen didn't mean that I should even think about it at that age. I laughed every time she gave me this warning, because I had zero thoughts of marriage when I was seventeen, but she was so serious about how things were different back then. She called it "an age of innocence."

Anyhow, the memories I have of Nanny don't hurt to think about anymore. All that time that she and Gramps were in the nursing homes, it was hard to remember how they were before, hard not to wish they were still that way as we got older and had our own children. While it's difficult not to wish things were different, now that they are both at peace, it's easier for me to look back, remember and smile at all the times Nanny's smile lit up a room or her hug embraced me like only a grandmother's can. So many memories go flashing through my head and they all make me smile and tear up at the same time. I was so so lucky to have this woman in my life, to get to be her granddaughter. I miss her with all my heart.

Kennerly is just as lucky to have her Nanny, my mom. They share the same mannerisms, the same forgetfulness (in the form of putting things in places that make zero sense, then being surprised to later find those things in those places) and even the same snapping fingers and tapping to keep the beat to a song. I see so much of my Nanny in Kennerly's Nanny and it makes my heart happy again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dear Kennerly

I have about 5 unfinished, unpublished posts on here about and to my baby girl. Most of which were written before she was born. Now she is here, has been here for three whole months and I have yet to post. I want to remember everything, and I have been doing a good job at taking it all in and appreciating the moment. But having things written down is the best way to preserve those memories. Which is why Jaime started her blog after Ainsley was born and I intend to do the same!

Dear Kennerly,

You have been here for three months but it feels like you have always been a part of me. I always knew you were there and that you would come when life was ready for you. I believe that souls are all up in heaven and prepare to come into life as little babies when God intends. So I know you were up there with loved ones and God just waiting to come into our lives. I pictured you up there watching me and your dad forever, watching us meet and fall in love and decide to bring your into our lives. When it was time, you said, "okay guys! Here I come!"
So on January 19th, 2014 our little angel came flying into the world. The doctor wasn't even finished putting her gown on when you came sailing out into her arms. In the past three months, you have shown us what love is. We thought our love for each other was strong, but what we feel for you is so intense we couldn't have known it existed.
When I see the way your daddy looks at you, I melt...because he's melting. You can see it in his eyes. You are so precious to him and it is the most wonderful thing in the world to see. You captured his heart with your first smile and he lives waiting for your next one. You recently began to giggle and I'm not really sure I can even express in words how that makes our hearts soar. And you have daddy wrapped right around your little finger. A smile, a giggle, any look at all really and he is done for.
You are starting to roll a little, you hold up your head like a champion, you're holding things in your tiny little hands and hitting all kinds of milestones! I love every minute with you and am excited to watch you thrive.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You did/didn't do WHAT?!

I just read an article about "expert sleep advice" for new moms and newborns. This woman pretty much hit it right on the head. All the things you hear when you're pregnant or a new mom seem to ALL contradict one another and everyone has so many opinions. It just got me thinking, so clearly I'm gonna blog about it:)

Women tend to be super judgy about a lot of things, and actually not only women, I have heard some dads-to-be say some pretty judgmental things about others in their situation as well. I guess it is easy to judge when there is so much unknown. I try very hard not to judge other people's decisions. They aren't my decisions, if they don't effect me, why spend my time worrying about what other people choose to do with their pregnancy or child?

Some things I have come across during my pregnancy...finding out the sex, what you need for baby, and pregnancy health. There's plenty more, but I can tell already that this might be long...

First of all finding out boy or girl. This has been a huge thing with me for some reason. EVERYone has their opinion on this and I am just a sensitive person so whenever someone makes any kind of comment, I take it personally (my problem, not theirs...unless they are being snotty, then yes it is your fault for trying to make someone else feel inferior to you simply because they do not share your belief.) I honestly NEVER thought I wanted to find out the sex before birth. I always had this vision in my mind of finding out the moment the baby comes out, the doctor saying, "It's a ____!!" and getting all excited and weepy and whatever other amazing feeling it brings. I was pretty firm in my belief that this is a moment I wanted. I also admit that a younger me did kind-of judge when couples wanted to find out because who wouldn't want that amazing moment?! However, experiencing pregnancy myself, I have found that "that moment" can occur at any time, it doesn't have to be when baby comes out. Even our ultrasound tech said, "are you sure you want to find out right now? It's so exciting when you wait," even after us saying we want to know now, afterward, she said, "see? can't you tell how exciting it would have been if you waited?" Through my tears and giggles of joy (and we have this on camera) I said, "well, it's pretty exciting right now!!" I even had someone say to me at my baby shower, "What am I supposed to look forward to?! You found out the sex, you're telling everyone the name!" To which I said, "do you know what' she'll look like? What her personality will be like? Anything else about her?" What do we have to look forward to...psh.

Anyhow, my reasons for changing that thought process were personal and somewhat medical choices. From the moment we found out I was pregnant, I wanted to know. Oliver wanted to know as soon as we could also, but he would have waited if I was adamant about it. But nope, all the waiting went out the window and I wanted to know asap. So that was our choice. And we are extremely happy with that choice. I was able to connect more, picture a future more, and really just wrap my head around the fact that  there was a child growing inside me. On the other hand, I think it's just as great if you want to wait to find out until the baby comes out, just don't look at me and say with a condescending smile and a 'tude, "oh no we're gonna let it be a surprise." Um, I was surprised too, thank you. Now, don't get me wrong, there are those couples who decided to wait who just stated that that's their choice, "We're not gonna find out til the birthday!" you could tell they were excited about their choice, not judging us for ours and we all lived happily in a little baby convo.

Then it came time to register. Oh boy. Supposed to be fun, right? Wrong. It was not fun for me. I research things like crazy before I make any type of purchase, I stroll through the shampoo aisle forever reading labels, smelling caps, picking things up and putting them back on the shelf...and that's just for shampoo! Thoughts like, "do I need the thousand+ dollar stroller to be a good parent? Can I go with a mid-priced one and be okay with it? Am I going to be judged if I don't buy the top notch wifi baby monitor?" That's where consumer reports came into play. Can't even tell ya how many hours I spent pouring over that website comparing all things baby, to find safe, affordable products. Here again, people had their opinions; "get a swing, babies love swings. Don't even bother buying a swing, get a mamaroo, they're a million times better. The mamaroo is a rip off, my baby hated it." "A wipe warmer? Waste of money! Definitely get a wipe warmer 'cause those cold wipes on the baby are just cruel!" My head was spinning.

The sheet they give you at Babies R Us of "must haves" for a new baby is two sides of a page with like, 3 pt font. Oliver and I looked at each other and were like, "what??" We walked around the store for over half an hour, registered for a car seat/stroller system that we tried out and loved (and that I had already done my research on) then looked at each other, returned the scanner gun and left the store. Overwhelming is the only way to describe registering for what baby needs. Thank you to those friends and family who helped without being pushy, "So-and-so did love the swing/bassinet/baby wrap/whatever, but all babies are different and you really just don't know what they will like until you try it. Get what you like, what you think your baby might like, try it and see." Diplomatic while still giving opinion of what worked for them. I appreciate you more than you know (one of whom deserves honorable mention: my ever-experienced sister-in-law Jaime...who also isn't a fan of judgy people;)

And how about what's allowed/not allowed during pregnancy? Alcohol, cold cuts, sushi, soft serve ice cream, types of cheese or fish, changing cat litter. Oof. The list of do's and don'ts is pretty long. I like how my doctor explained it. At our first appointment, she handed me all the required paperwork, "I'm Pregnant, Now What?" then took back one sheet, crossed off  the list titled "DO NOT HAVE" and wrote in "IN MODERATION." She explained that after 12 weeks it is pretty difficult to mess up a pregnancy just by those "do not's." She explained that listeria (the bacteria which leads people to not be allowed to have cold cuts) is extremely rare and if you are at a reputable deli, not some bodega in a back alley somewhere that never cleans their equipment, you are fine to partake in a turkey sandwich. Even sushi was on the list of "if you're at a reputable restaurant, it's fine." Every doctor I have spoken to has also said alcohol in moderation is fine as well. Do you honestly think women in Italy stop having their wine every night? Doubtful. Women in Japan not eating fresh raw fish? Doubt that too. Does this mean I went out and ordered a tuna sashimi platter and downed some bud light? No...I actually didn't eat any raw fish while pregnant and had maybe one beer and a glass of champagne throughout the whole time. Does it mean I am judging the pregnant woman  next to me for having a glass of wine with her dinner? No. I did hear one father-to-be state how he knew someone who's wife "drank the whole pregnancy, had like 3 or 4 glasses of wine when we were out" and then made a comment about how he thinks that baby will turn out. I will worry when I see a pregnant woman taking shots at the bar or stumbling around after those 4 glasses of wine. I don't think you should overindulge when growing a child, but again, that is your choice. Unless you really are taking shots and getting shmammered...I will probably not feel so great about that.

Oh, and I forgot the cat litter doc actually even said there are times when that is fine too. There can be a bacteria in cat poo that is detrimental to the health of a pregnant woman. It is rare for cats who have been inside their whole lives, who have had their shots from kitten-hood, etc. So she said it's okay if I changed it every once in a while. I did not tell Oliver this (though he did see the paper where my doc ok'd it and said, "oh reeaaally?") I have changed Tiger litter maybe two times in 39 weeks:) Thanks, O:)

So, bottom line, my advice to pregnant women is to do what you feel is best and not judge others for doing it differently. And do you have to take that advice? Nope! This is my blog and I get to say what I say:) I have just found that the most helpful advice has come from those women who have experienced what they've experienced, shared that experience with me and allowed me to form my own opinions about it. (Jaime, Jess, Margie, Devon, Annie Couns, just to name a few:)

Every pregnancy is different, every baby is different. Because something worked for you, doesn't mean it will work for me, but I am glad to know what has and has not worked for everyone. Fill up my bank with your experience info! Then I'll see what works for us:)