Jun 25, 2014

5 Necessities for Surviving the First Year

Infancy is tough.  And it's also wonderful.  The first year of Ryan's life was both tougher and more wonderful than I could have ever thought possible.  As we approach Ryan's first birthday next week and, gulp, toddlerhood (omg I seriously cannot wrap my head around having a toddler), I thought it would be fun to put together my top five necessities for surviving your child's first year.

Now, I totally understand that these may not be YOUR top 5 necessities.  Every baby is different, believe me, I know this because my friends baby naps for multiple hours during the day while mine takes 30 minute catnaps.  :)  However, I'm sure there will be some other mamas out there in agreement with at least one or all of my top five.

1. Invest in a great nursing chair.

Seriously, this will save your life at your 1am feedings.  And at your 3am and 4am and 5am feedings.  Oh and at the 6-8 other hour long feedings you have throughout your day when your baby is a newborn.  You will spend a RIDICULOUS amount of time feeding your child when they are a newborn and if it's not feeding, it's burping, or holding them upright so they don't puke out half of what you just spent over an hour giving them.  Or maybe just holding them because they fell asleep while feeding them and God forbid you get up and wake them up so you decide it's best just to sit tight and maybe snooze for a minute while they snooze.  And while doing all of this, where are you?  Hopefully in the nice, comfy nursing chair that you invested in because if you are going to spend so much time sitting, it may as well be an a super comfortable chair.

2. Get a breast pump (if breastfeeding) and introduce a bottle.

Moms, I get it.  You are breastfeeding and you want your baby to want to breastfeed.  You hesitate to introduce a bottle because you've heard of that terrible thing called "nipple confusion."  Well guess what, there's also this terrible thing called "my baby won't take a bottle and I can't leave my child for more than an hour because no one else can feed her."  Yes, it happens.  I introduced a bottle around the 5 week mark and Ryan has gotten one bottle a day at bedtime since then.  Introducing a bottle and keeping it as a regular fixture in her daily routine allowed me the freedom to leave the house on occasion knowing that she could be fed by someone else.  It also has allowed Josh and I to go out in the evening for a date because someone else is capable of feeding her and putting her down for the night.  You cannot put a price on that kind of freedom as a new Mom.  Which brings me to this....

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Sometimes, we as Mamas want to pretend that we are not just Moms.  We want to believe we are Super Woman.  We attempt to do it all.  Do the housework, grocery shop, make dinner, do laundry, keep our husbands happy, pay bills, perhaps work from home, and keep a newborn alive all while functioning on little to no sleep with hormones that are running a-freakin-muck.  Here's the problem with trying to fly like Super Woman.  Eventually,  you will crash and burn.  My advice, is ask for help.  Call your Mom, call your best friend, hell, call your best friend's Mom.  Seriously, whatever you need.  Get someone to come over to hold your screaming child so you can walk aimlessly around Target (that's where I like to go!)  Or if you are afraid to leave your little one, get someone to come over and be with you while you hold your screaming child!  You have to take breaks and just because you need some time away from your baby does not make you a bad Mom.  In fact, it probably makes you a better one because you can come back refreshed and re-energized and ready to deal with the fussing and crying and stress of being a caregiver to your sweet baby.

4. Make friends with people who have babies.

It can be a really isolating life when you have a baby.  Suddenly, you spend all your time at home and even when your friends visit, you are distracted by the child that you have to care for.  Then, when you do get the courage to leave the house, your baby has a meltdown in aisle five of the grocery store, or has a major blowout at the middle of lunch with a friend, or pukes all down your shirt at the mall and you decide it's just not worth it and it's easier to stay at home.  Here's the thing.  It IS easier, but it's also going to make you go insane.  We are wired to crave interaction with other people.  There's nothing that will make you resent your child more than feeling like you've completely lost the life you used to live (the life before baby).  But, if you put yourself out there and make friends with other women who have children, suddenly, that meltdown is just considered background noise, the poop blowout is no big deal, and the puke down your shirt, well that's just "normal" Mom smell because those Mom's that you hang with, they are dealing with the EXACT SAME STUFF!  They are tired like you, they understand your frustration when your 10 month old suddenly isn't sleeping through the night anymore, and they feel your pain when you are dealing with a sick child.  And making friends with Moms is actually quite easy because most Moms want to make friends with other Moms.  Join a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, go to your local library's story time, or frequent your neighborhood park.  Make friends with Moms because these women will become your life support.

And lastly,

5. Love on your baby the best you can because infancy doesn't last long.

If there's anything I've learned this past year, it's that I may not do everything "right."  I may get frustrated and lose my patience at times.  I may send Ryan to bed smelling like a hot dog because we ran out of time for an evening bath.  She may have eaten some dirt or dust or dog food because I took my eye off of her for one minute.  I didn't hand make all of her baby food and I may or may not allow her to watch TV because it entertains her while I drink my morning (and afternoon) coffee. :)  But, I love my daughter to the moon and back and I truly believe at only one year old, that she knows that.  I tell her every day, multiple times a day.  I play with her and read to her and rock her to sleep and kiss her and hug her and I know that she knows that I love her.  And honestly, I'm sure that that is what's most important.  Love is the most important necessity of all.

Jun 24, 2014


About a week ago, we took a trip to New York City for Josh's medical school graduation.  Josh got to experience New York last February while he did a pediatric rotation, but I had never been.  Ryan, Josh, and I made the 3+ hour drive from MA on Thursday morning and got into the city by lunch time (although it took almost an hour to go the last mile to our hotel)...and I thought LA traffic was bad...sheesh.

Anyway, we met up with many of our California family members who made the flight across the country to be there for Josh's graduation ceremony.  It is always a challenge to coordinate any type of activity with 10 adults and a baby and being in one of the busiest cities on earth only helps to escalate that problem.  But all things considered, the trip went really smoothly and everyone was able to do the things on their NYC bucket list.

New York City is unlike any place I've ever been.  And I've been to some big cities, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona...just to name a few.   It was certainly fun to be there and there is no end to the things that you can do, but man is it overwhelming.  The buildings are massive, the streets are crowded, it's not overly baby friendly, an'd I have to wonder, where do people go to get some peace and solitude?  I guess that's why NYC'ers head to the Hamptons?  I would love to visit again, but I don't think I'd ever want to live there.  It's like Vegas...on super steroids.

So, what did we do?

On Thursday, we did one of those hop on hop off bus tours, which was a great way to see a lot of the city and most of the major attractions, which would be near impossible to do on foot in just a couple of days.
Did you see that Mom?

Freedom Tower
Little Statue of Liberty behind us
On Friday, we walked to Rockefeller Center from our hotel (which was in Times Square).

Then we took a river boat cruise along the Hudson and East Rivers to see a close up view of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building. Oh, and Ryan got to have a few bites of ice cream and she was THRILLED.

Most of the gang!
On Saturday morning, Josh, Ry, and I had a chance to sneak away just the three of us and take a stroll through Central Park and down Broadway.  Since it was Saturday, the streets weren't overly crowded and it was very enjoyable.

On 53rd and Broadway!
Saturday afternoon, Josh graduated and if you missed that post, you can read about it HERE.  We had such a great time in NYC with all of our family and I hope we can make it back again before our time on the East Coast is done.

Jun 16, 2014

MD: Graduation Day

Well, we he did it!

This past weekend we actually closed the medical school chapter of our lives and Josh graduated from St. George's University with his degree of MD.  We can now officially call him Doctor.  He had previously been matched into a residency, finished his 4th year and received his diploma, but I think walking across the stage in a cap and gown while being called Dr. Joshua R. Scurlock really made it the most official.

I'm not going to lie, watching him be hooded by his father, Dr. Scurlock and receive his degree got me pretty teary eyed up in the balcony of Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.  To say that I am proud of this major accomplishment would just be an understatement.  Of course I'm proud of him.

But, I'm more than proud.  I was witness to the entire journey.  I know first-hand the time and effort involved in Josh becoming a Doctor.  I was there for the days and nights of endless studying, for the stress of Biochemistry and Pathology midterms, for the intense 8 weeks of studying for the Step 1, for the 24+ hour call shifts, the time consuming residency applications, and the agony of not matching into a residency initially.  I know how much effort has been given this past four years.  I know how much money has been spent, how many loans have been taken out.

I know how much has been sacrificed.  We have missed weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, graduations, and babies being born.  In England we missed Summer, in Grenada we missed Winter.  We had to say goodbye to new friends family, almost every year when we moved to a new place.  We had to "start-over" in a new home more times than I care to count.

So,  I'm not just proud of Josh for his dedication to this profession, I'm honored to have been by his side throughout the journey.  And I'm proud of us.  Making it through medical school is tough.  Making it through medical school while keeping your marriage intact is even more difficult.  And making it through medical school while staying married and raising a child...well....honestly...we both probably deserve a medal.  A BIG ONE.

I hope Josh felt celebrated this weekend in New York City (more on NYC later) as we honored his very big achievement with many of his family members who flew out from California for the occasion.  He definitely earned it.

So, the school chapter of Josh's life is closed and although residency (which started today) will still require a lot of learning and studying, we are so excited to finally be moving in to the next chapter.  And receiving a pay check for all of his time spent in the hospital is of course, a huge plus!

Jun 8, 2014

Ryan: 11 Months

I say it every single month, but what with moving out of our apartment in California and making the cross country move to Massachusetts this past month, Ryan's 11th month just sort of passed in a blur. I cannot believe that she will be a year in a few weeks.  I've heard the saying before that when you have children, the days are long but the years are short.  After having a child for almost a year, I can definitely say that that is so true.
Headband: RyleighandRue
How most of our photo shoots go these days.
Eating and Sleeping:
Nothing exciting to report here.  These are pretty much the same as they have been the past few months.  She sleeps good at night most of the time, naps twice a day for 30 min to 1.5 hours each nap, still nursing, and eating three meals a day.

Ryan is now cruising along furniture at quite a fast speed.  She also perfected the art of walking with her walker toys and it is so funny to watch her push her big pink jeep around the house and down the hallway.  She stands easily now and has even begun standing without holding on to anything.  She hasn't really taken any steps yet but I imagine it's coming soon.  Exciting!  And scary all at the same time.
Our matching Christmas TOMS from Daddy finally fit!


  • Bath time (especially with Dad)
  • Where's Spot?  book.  She loves to lift the flaps herself now which is completely adorable if you ask me.
  • Watching Mickey Mouse Club in the morning while snuggling, usually with Daddy.
  • Raspberries!  Oh my word this kid loves them!  I however, do not like the stains they tend to leave in her clothes.
  • Doggies
  • Playing with just about anything she's not supposed to, like Mom's make-up and Dad's computer.
  • Leaving the house.  She loves to go out and socialize with literally anyone and everyone.

Other Randoms Tid-Bits:
  • First plane ride all the way from CA to MA.
  • Became a Massachusetts resident.
  • Walked with a walker.
  • Standing on her own.
  • Kisses the phone when we FaceTime with anyone from California and now thinks she needs to kiss the phone all the time.  Cute and totally hilarious at the same time.
  • Babbles non-freaking stop!  I'm pretty sure she's telling us stories that only she understands.

Julie's birthday...we sure miss them.
Mother's Day 2014

Ryan Cathleen, you become more and more of a joy to your Dad and I every single day.  Though there are moments with you that are challenging, there are so many more that I just wish I could capture on film so that I will never forget them.  We can't wait to celebrate your first birthday next month.

And I'll leave you with these pictures because it's probably my favorite "outfit" to date that she's worn.