Saturday, July 17, 2010

Too Busy To Blog

It is hard to believe so much time has passed since our last post, but we Bennett’s have been busy, busy, busy.

Cora had a visit from her honorary aunties Becky, Brianne, and Hikari over Memorial Day weekend. I met these wonderful ladies while in college at UGA. I completely took for granted the years we shared the same zip code and in Hikari’s case, the same apartment. We try to see each other at least once a year, but it’s not nearly enough.

I have such fond memories of our time in Athens. One particular memory was after the 2004 presidential election when we all went out to lunch together. Brianne calmly made the statement that she “would like to have a baby by the next presidential election”. I immediately began to hyperventilate thinking we she was not ready for that! She politely informed me that her reproductive decisions didn’t involve me. How ironic that I’m the first one of us to bring a baby into the mix.

While the were in Chattanooga, another former roommate, Kerry, came through with her entourage.  We hadn't all been together for over 5 years, and Chattanooga will probably never be the same.  I love these women, and Cora will grow to love them too, especially when she finds out how much blackmail they have on me.

Soon after what Hikari coined as “Panty Party 2010”, the Bennett’s headed for the beach. Daniel and I honeymooned on Cape Cod, and we were thrilled at the opportunity to return to Chatham, MA with Cora in tow. Cora and I flew up a few days earlier than Daniel and met his mom, cousin Bea, and sister Beth at The Avola. The ocean air was relaxing and has been attributed to Cora’s hair growing like a weed and the appearance of Cora’s first four teeth. Other milestones accomplished during our stay were pulling up and learning how to crack lobsters! Okay, the latter still needs a bit of work, but she’s well on her way.

While in Massachusetts, we met up with a friend from grad school, Heather, and her husband Matt. They were gracious enough to come have dinner with us before Cora’s bed time which technically means we had something more along the lines of lunch, but whatever you want to call it, it was great seeing them.

Once back in Chattanooga, we met up with yet another UGA friend, Mary, her husband, Steve, and their adorable kids Mason and Reagan. We spent the day exploring the Coolidge Park and feasting at Tony’s. There is nothing like out-of-towners making you take advantage of your own back yard!

In addition to a wonderful education, I’m most thankful for the amazing people I met during college. A liberal arts education changes your worldview, but these people have changed my life. Having the opportunity to reconnect and introduce Cora to several of them has been the highlight of summer vacation.

After nearly three weeks, vacation came to a screeching halt. Daniel has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on his MA degree which should be completed by the end of the month. My job as a college advisor is heading into its peak season, so my workdays are so jam-packed that I barely have time to pump the bumps let alone think about updating Cora’s blog. But thanks for bearing with me. More to come soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010


“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. --Elizabeth Stone

I’ve read this quote before but it has never felt more true than the last two weeks. Unfortunately, Cora’s been sick for the past 10 days or so. It started out as a runny nose and resulted in several secondary infections. She’s been such a trooper though. She’s never complained. Not once. I took her to the doctor because her eyes were filled with goop only to discover that she had other things going on too—ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and pink eye. There is nothing more heart wrenching than having a sick baby. I’ve felt totally helpless and must make a point to by stock in Kleenex.

Couple that with taking my first overnight, out-of-town business trip since Cora’s birth, and you have a total basket case on your hands. For three days and two nights, I felt completely preoccupied with thoughts about what Cora was doing. Sure I enjoyed having a hotel room to myself and uninterrupted sleep, but I felt lost without my little one in tow. I had every confidence that she was in good hands, but it’s a strange feeling to be without your child. I will never comprehend how someone could choose to separate themselves from his or her child and not be a part of his or her life. I miss her when I am at work and when she is down for the night. I have to fight the urge to go into her nursery, pick her up from her crib, and hold her because I realize that we both need sleep. Nevertheless, I count down the hours until she wakes up with that HUGE grin on her face. Daniel and I race into her room each morning to see whose eyes hers will catch first and will be the recipient of her toothless smile.

The plus side of Cora not feeling well is that our active baby has become so much more snuggly. She’s content being held and just resting her little, snot-filled head on your chest. She’ll gaze into your eyes and gently place her hand on your mouth, nose, or eyes and explore the contours of your face with her teeny-tiny fingers. As a result, each of us who care for her has gotten her “bug”, but it’s hard to complain when she hasn’t. Plus, I’m so happy to be home and get to hold that squishy little baby body in my arms!
Through these experiences of Cora being sick and me being away for a few nights, I’ve realized that my heart will forever be outside of my body. Yet it’s hard not to feel like a sweepstakes winner. As I celebrate my birthday, I’m so thankful for my family and friends, and especially for my little girl who is on the mend. She is my heart, and I cannot imagine life without her.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I often wonder what Cora will grow up to do.

When I think back on my childhood answers to the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I have a hard time recalling all of the occupations I mentioned throughout the years -- garbage truck driver, orthodontist, superhero, psychologist, Oprah – you know, the usual’s. The truth is I can be very indecisive. Once in college, I changed my major at least a dozen times only to eventually decide that my experiences in being so indecisive comfortable in a variety of majors was the perfect foundation for a career in helping others choose their academic programs and professions. Go figure.

Daniel, on the other hand, was a notoriously horrible student. He was never a behavior problem in class, but he absolutely never applied himself either. School was boring, and homework was stupid. Summer school was his vacation vocation. Ironically, he is now a teacher.

Of course we are all more than what we do for a living, and as can be seen from our histories, one’s career choices can be surprising. Yet I sometimes find myself trying to glance into the future to see what Cora Wren might be up to when she’s our age. Yikes!

My hope for her is that she can find herself with a big ol' smile on her face. She’s getting lots of practice these days at doing just that, and her smile is contagious too. If you don’t believe me, just watch this:

New Year, New Adventures from Amanda Bennett on Vimeo.

I can guarantee that neither of us ever dreamt that we would be lucky enough to be mom and dad to the sweetest girl on the planet.  Those are the jobs and titles we’re most proud of!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crying It Out

Cora isn’t much of a sleeper. She averages about 12 hours of sleep per day, and she racks up the most zzz’s during the nighttime. She doesn’t like to nap, and if she does doze off during the daytime hours, it’s usually for a 30 minute power nap. And the true kicker is that she will sleep in her crib at night, but refuses to sleep alone during the day. Despite her sleep deprivation, she’s a very pleasant and happy child. But I’ve marveled at other parents who seem to schedule *their* lives during their children’s naptimes. We’re usually up and at ‘em by 5:30 a.m. and don’t stop until around 10:30 p.m. Cora has a strict 8 p.m. bedtime. The other hours in the day are hers for the taking.

Getting Cora to sleep at night has been very tricky too. Once she’s down, she usually doesn’t wake more than once during the night. The pediatrician says she should be able to sleep 11 hours without waking, but that almost never happens. Getting her to sleep has proven to be the source of much debate and turmoil for us. We started a “bedtime routine” when she was about 3 months old—our version of the 5 S’s: soap (warm bath), swaddle, story, snack (nursing), and then the sack (crib). I was guilty of using the "snack" part to get her to sleep and then putting her in the crib and quietly exiting the room in hopes of not being detected. It worked for a while…until it didn’t and then I realized why every parenting book on the planet says “don’t nurse your baby to sleep”. Because when it doesn’t work, you’ve got nothing except a very unhappy baby on your hands and a bad habit to break.

The past few weeks, we’ve gone back and forth on the best way to get Cora to sleep. We tried EVERYTHING to no avail. More out of defeat than anything else, we began letting her cry it out. During the beginning, I think we all cried ourselves to sleep. It goes against everything I thought I believed in. Fortunately, Daniel and I are a pretty darn good team. When one of us is weak, the other seems to muster the necessary strength to pull us through.  I usually left him in charge of listening to her and checking in on her every little bit, and I tried to find a place in the house where I couldn’t hear her screaming and could partake in some self-loathing. I’m not going to lie, the beginning was horrible. But I realized we had to stick with the plan. Pretty soon she was going to be able to pull herself up in the crib and stand screaming. She, too, would soon have words to scream.  We needed to get this under control quickly.

After a few days, she has begun to go to sleep without much of a fight. She’ll frequently wake up in the night and put herself back to sleep. The results are in and crying it out has worked for us.

This little lesson has taught me so much about being a parent. First, parenting isn’t always easy no matter how effortless some people make it look. Also, what worked yesterday, may not work today. Additionally, theories are useless until you’ve had an opportunity to test them. And perhaps most importantly, doing what is best is sometimes unpleasant, but it needs to be done no matter how difficult it may be.  Then you go and put her in a frog outfit and sunglasses and suddenly it's all worth it.

Until next time, you’ll find us all resting a little easier.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Luckier than the Irish

Our little Cora is growing right before our eyes. She was 16.4 lbs and 27 inches at her 6 month check-up. She’s eating more and more “solid” foods and less and less mother’s milk. She uses rolling as her primary (solo) form of transportation. She can sit unassisted for a few seconds before falling over. She’s incessantly jabbering and reaching for things. I constantly have to pull things from her hands. I now see the world through a “potential choking hazard” lens. She can splash a lot of water these days--she’s graduated from the kitchen sink to the bathtub for bath time.  And here she is on St. Patrick's Day sporting a cool outfit that is sure to make you smile.

Other milestones for the Bennett’s include moving into our new house. The 30 minute versus 5 minute commute to work has taken a little getting used to, but community and neighborhood are completely worth it. I can’t imagine a more ideal neighborhood for our growing family. A fence is going into the backyard this week, so the cats can rejoin us soon. Anyway, we LOVE our new place and can’t wait for more of our family and friends to come visit. We’ll post pictures soon I promise. Additionally, Daniel’s still working hard on his master’s degree through TN Tech University. It’s mostly a distance education program with the majority of classes online and few here in the Chattanooga area. He should be finished by December 2010!!! And I’m looking forward to my friends Cora’s aunties Becky, Brianne, and Hikari coming out for a visit in late May.

Life hasn’t slowed down, and I suspect this is the pace to which I must acclimate. But these days are so precious. I want to savor every single second of every day, but inevitably day turns to night before I’ve truly had a chance to appreciate it fully. All the while, I realize we are so fortunate. Please don’t pinch me because if this is a dream I don’t want to wake up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happily Homeless

As I walked through the house for the last time, I tried to collect all of the memories that had occurred within those walls and take them with me.  Unlike all of the boxes neatly packed and labeled, I'm sure there are memories that will be left behind forever.  I'm truly saddened that you will have no personal memories of living on Crompton Street.

You won’t remember:
  • My disheveled appearance rushing to work the morning after standing in the bathroom for over an hour, holding a pregnancy test that said “positive” trying to let it sink in.
  • The expression on your dad’s face when he learned exactly what I meant when I said we’d “gotten a souvenir from our trip to Chicago”.
  • Playing footsie with the cats as they napped on my growing belly.
  • Us hanging the pink “C”, “O”, “R”, “A” letters above your crib or the tiny birds in your nursery when we found out we were having a girl and naming her Cora Wren.
  • Our joy in bringing home a healthy, beautiful baby girl from the hospital and welcoming her into our world.
  • The droves of people who came to meet you.
  • Granny Pritchett singing Miss Mary Mack to you when you were just days old in the same fashion she had done for me when I was a little girl.
  • Trying on your first Halloween costume.
  • Enjoying tummy time while gazing at your mutt puppy.
  • The smell of your first cedar Christmas tree or the sound of the crinkling paper as we opened your first Christmas presents for you.
  • Playing with the gorgeous and hilarious girl in the bathroom mirror.
  • Seeing your first snowflakes.
  • Sitting on the kitchen table in your Bumbo chair, under the Rosie the Riveter poster, eating your first bite of bananas.
You won’t remember these things, but they all took place in your first house-a house that you won’t have memories of either. You'll see all the pictures and think that you remember, but at 5 months old, it's an impossibility.  I’m sure, throughout the course of your life, we’ll drive you by a few times a year (definitely around Christmastime because your dad is sentimental) and tell you about your first house and all of the good, the bad, and the ugly things that happened there. Without a doubt, even though we’ve lived there for over 5 years, my favorite memories are those that happened in the previous 5 months with you.  You truly made our house on Crompton Street a home, but we are off to bigger and better things.  In a few short weeks, we'll move into your new house.  This will serve as the backdrop to most of your childhood.  I so look forward to all the memories to come!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hollaback Girl

A few weeks ago, I promised pictures of Cora and her first tastes of solid foods. Let me begin by saying that I don't know what all the rice cereal hype is about. Cora concurs. She didn't even eat a true bite of the stuff. "Mostly milk on a spoon? No thanks."

But oh bananas (and you thought beans were the magical fruit)!!! She can't get enough of them. We've tried avocados, apples, strawberries, green beans, pears, green peas, and carrots. She'll eat all of them as long as there is a banana chaser. I must admit that bananas are the ideal "first food"; they are convenient because they come in there own packaging and are easily transformed into "baby food". But everyone is worried that she might be getting too much of a good thing. So far, things seem to be "working out", if you catch my drift.

In other news, Cora has mastered the art of rolling over. She's been doing this trick for several weeks now, intermittently. The true problem arose when she began to rollover, from her back to her tummy, at night. We've been drilled to ALWAYS put her on her back to sleep, but she wouldn't stay there. After a rough couple of nights, we called the pediatrician's office and they suggested this trick with the towels. So far, it works.