We catch up with Kristal as she tries to keep up with her little sweetheart Kate! Only a week away from her first birthday, she’s on the move, chatting up a storm and growing fast. How does mommy keep up?
What is the most rewarding part of being a mom?
Seeing my daughter’s face light up when I walk into her room to get her up in the mornings. Hearing her call me mama. Making her laugh with absolute abandon.
What is the hardest part of being a mom?
Balancing the mommy-me and the wife-me, as well as finding time to do the things that I enjoy. Then there’s the “using nap-time wisely” part… so many days I want to just chill out on the couch, but there’s so much to be done – quiet time, work-out, shower, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning, etc, etc, etc.
When did you first consider yourself grown up?
Somedays, I still don’t think I’m all grown up! When we decided to pay off our debt (other than the house, of course) and be more financially secure, that was a day I realized I’d grown up! Wow! That was a real feeling of leaving behind the old, irresponsible, childish me.
How do you destress and relax?
Running has become my new destress activity. I put in my earbuds, turn on some great music, and hit the sidewalk. I wish I was better disciplined at running three to four days a week, but for now, I’ll take what I can get. It’s awfully hot outside in the evenings (when I prefer to run, since it’s a great time to destress after a busy day with my little one), and I’m just not enough of a morning person to get up early and run before Jim leaves for work.
What is your favorite memory of when your child was a baby?
So many memories, it’s hard to pick just one! When they laid her on my chest right after she was born. The first time she rolled over. The first time she said “mama.” Snuggling with her at naptime. Watching her play hide-and-seek with our cat (hilarious!). The first time we fed her carrots – they were EVERYWHERE! There are tons more, but I’ll stop there!
What is your favorite sound? Least favorite sound?
Favorite sound – my daughter’s laughter. By far, this is the most amazing, fun, beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. Least favorite sound – hearing a child (especially mine) cry from pain. It always breaks my heart when I hear the obvious sound of pain.
Do you have a bedtime routine?
Yes! We start with bathtime (two to three times a week), then put on jammies. After changing into jammies, either mommy or daddy will rock Kate and feed her a bottle while the other attempts to read a bedtime story. After her bottle we brush her teeth, then put her in her sleep-sack in the crib. We say a good night prayer, then turn off the light.
What is your favorite book to read to your child?
Without a doubt, my favorite book to read to my daughter is “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. I used to read this to my students when I was teaching. Back then, it was just a story. Now that I have a child of my own, this book has taken on a whole new meaning. I am nearly in tears every time I read it to her. “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” There is no other way to say it… she will always be my baby!
How did you come up with your children’s names?
We started with the traditional list of names we liked, then started narrowing the list down. We tried to include family names as much as possible. When we were finalizing our choices, we both kept coming back to Kate. My great-grandmother’s name was Kathryn, but she went by Kate or Katie. We really struggled to come up with a middle name we both liked, since most of our family names just didn’t have the right “ring” to them. I really liked Kate Olivia, but then realized that her initials would be KOW… I just couldn’t do that to my child! While talking to my sister one night, she told me that her eight-year-old said we should use her middle name, Elisabeth. I said it out loud – “Kate Elisabeth” – and LOVED it!
What advice do you have for new parents?
Trust your instincts! There are a lot of controversial decisions that you have to make for your child – cloth/disposable, paci/no paci, vaccines/no vaccines or delayed vaccines, breast/bottle, formula/breastmilk, cosleep/crib/bassinet in mom’s room, just to name a few. You are Mom. You will figure out what is best for your baby and your family. Do your research, talk to your husband and pediatrician. Then, make the decision that is best for your baby and your lifestyle. When you have questions, call experienced mommy-friends, your pediatrician, etc. We’re all in this together… we all want the same things for our kids – we want them to be happy and healthy.
Also…be flexible! No matter what your schedule looks like today, tomorrow it will probably be different.