Monday, February 27, 2012

Where's Waldo?

Rather, Where's Paige? Can you find her? She's channeling E.T. here during her nap.

wherespaige

It should be noted that you can't even see the zillion other "lovies" that aren't even in the photo. We clear them out but she adds them all right back in somehow. Ha!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tubby Time!

Here is Noah in the tubby...the very image I was swooning over in my last post. Yes, a gratuitous "baby in the bath" photo. Withholding this photo would be a crime though. He was 5 weeks old there...

noah tubby

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Shape

We gave Noah a bath the other night (we call it "tubby time") and I was astonished to realize how much he's already grown. He has this cute basketball belly and chub...I about cried from the cuteness and just stared at him with love as he basked in the glory of the warm water. Later that night as I was getting changed, I spotted myself in the mirror and sighed. My body just looks so different than it used to. I have an extra 20 pounds on me right now. My stomach muscles are totally blown out that when I don't suck it in I look 5 months pregnant. My boobs have become saggy beings; compared to how they used to look. And worst of all, I have stretch marks all over my belly. I had them before, but not this bad. I have a genetic predisposition to them...but I DID put stretch mark lotion all over during my pregnancy (to no avail!). They surround my belly button in a sort of spider web-ish pattern. In truth, it makes my belly look like it's hairy. The total effect? My belly looks like the hairy pot belly of an old man. sigh.
I slumped off to bed and stared out in the darkness. This body of mine has been through a lot. It seems like yesterday I was 21 and fit. My body was slim and tight and I totally took it for granted.

I wish I'd enjoyed it more.

As I lay there on my back, I placed my hand on my squishy soft belly. I felt a slight disdain, but I also felt something different...a sense of pride and love. My body has given me my precious children and I am so grateful.

How could I feel anything but good about my body?

I thought back to Noah's tubby time and how I looked at his sweet little body with such love and joy. I thought about my own mother and how she must have felt the same way when she looked at me in the tubby all those years ago. She probably still looks at me in that same light? I would NEVER want Noah to look at himself and think he's anything less than perfect no matter what. I realized right then that I need to look at myself with love and joy the same way my Mom does. The same way I look at Noah.
It's funny how the lessons from motherhood open our eyes to so many things we'd never considered before. I appreciate my body and love it for what it is. (But I don't have to like the stretch marks!)
Is there anything YOU see in a different way now that you're a mother or mother to be?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Juggler

Noah's track suit
Photo to simply show off how cute newborn clothes are.
I laugh at this photo every time.


Hi friends!

Today I thought I would share some insights into my new life with 2 kiddos. For anyone who has been there before: this is old news! But, for those people contemplating a second child or who have one on the way, I thought I would share some things I'm slowly learning as I go.

1. Plan ahead
Obviously, right? But you have to plan waaaaaaaay ahead. Here's an example: Paige had an important appointment at 12:30 in the afternoon. So, I wanted to make sure we were out the door at 11:50 to get to the appointment on time. That meant I needed to be sure the process for getting the baby into the carseat and Paige set to go at 11:30 (allowing time for spit up changes, etc.) Well, Paige usually eats lunch at 11:30 so I had to be sure her lunch was served at 11:00 at the earliest. BUT, Noah's feeding was going to hit at 10:30 (counting 3.5 hours from his last morning feeding). Phew! I figured all this out early on in the day. While Noah slept after his first morning feeding, I ran and got his diaper bag ready for that appointment. Then, between moments of playing with Paige, I got dressed and got my things ready. I then ran and packed Paige's things for her appointment and made her lunch. I threw the lunch into the fridge and continued to play with her. Then, I got her all dressed and ready for the day. By the time Noah woke up for his feeding, everything was pretty much ready. Half way through Noah's feeding, I put Paige's lunch out for her and sat with her while I fed him. Then, he needed "burp time" and time to sit up to let the digestion happen. I then sat him in his little recline seat and put Paige's socks and shoes on her while she finished eating. Then, I ran and put Noah's little coat on him and into the car seat he went. The rest of us got our coats and bags and voila! We made it to the car right on schedule and I made it to the appointment 20 minutes early at that! I had to plan and get everything in motion at 8:30 am just to make sure we were at the 12:30 appointment on time. But that advance planning prevented chaos and stress, so it was worth it!

2. Include both kids
When Paige was a baby it was easy to just feed her when she cried to eat. Now, Noah cries to eat while Paige might be crying because she pooped at the start of her nap. Who to go to first? Well, I grab the baby and start the feeding and go upstairs to Paige's room. I then talk to her softly for a moment to tell her that I will change her diaper once Noah has had some food. When I can safely do so, I lay the baby down and change her diaper quickly and tuck her back in. Then, out I go with the baby and finish his feeding elsewhere. This also works in the morning when he cries to eat at the same exact time Paige wants to get up for the day. She can wait longer in that case, so I bring the baby into her room while she plays for a while. It also teaches her all about waiting. When the baby wants to be held and have his awake time, but it's time to play with Paige (for example, we are doing a puzzle together) I will bring Noah's seat down to the floor so he can sit with us and watch. Paige loves including the baby in her activities this way, as long as I am there to supervise. Another way to include the baby when I need to do other things is to put him in the infant carrier (Baby Bjorn or Ergo Carrier as examples). I then can satisfy his wish to be held AND get the pressing things done that need to happen right then too.

3. Use your time wisely
Like I'd said before, you need to plan everything in advance. You know an infant feeding will hit around dinner time? Prep the dinner at lunch time and refrigerate to make it quicker to prepare. Or, make the whole dinner during nap time and just heat it up come dinner time. Then, you can get all the dishes used to make dinner cleaned in the afternoon. Less to do in the chaos of the evening what with bath time, feedings, cleaning up toys, etc. My first pocket of free time is in the morning after breakfast. Paige likes to play by herself for a little bit and the baby is usually sleeping. I then run around and grab all the laundry, dirty burp cloths, bibs, etc. and throw a load into the washer. I then quickly get dressed in the clothes I put out the night before. (Let me quickly say that doing as much prep as you can the night before is a big help! You can set out stuff for breakfast, lay out clothes for the next day, pack bags, take your shower, etc.) If I have any more time at that moment, I quickly do the morning dishes and keep the sink cleaned out. You never know when you'll need that sink for a sudden bath! I hustle around during my free moments to make sure those silly little chores are taken care of so I can spend the rest of my free time relaxing and enjoying life! After all, the rest of my time is spent playing with and caring for the kids.

4. Make a list for success
My mother in law gave me a great tip: Sit down and make a list of the few things that MUST HAPPEN each day in order for you to feel like it was a success. Then, if you do everything on the list you can feel proud. If not, you can say that "tomorrow is another day." I sat down and wrote out all the days of the week and put my MUSTS under each one.
For example,
Mondays: Laundry load, dishes, Prepare and cook dinner, Shower and blow dry hair (usually right before bed), floss (I never floss and have made it a resolution for every day).
Tuesdays: Pretty much the same as Monday, no laundry unless needed, but I'm adding in "exercise routine" to the day. I also add in "blog posting and photo editing". I can do more because Paige has more Early Intervention services that day, so people are here playing with her.
Wednesdays: Same as Monday, but no dinner prep or cooking. Wednesdays we eat Monday's leftovers! Time saved!!!
Thursdays are the same as Tuesdays, but again, we're eating Tuesday's leftovers. More time saved!!! And less dishes to do!
Anyway, the point is, each of us has a thing or two that must be done to keep the house afloat. We also have a thing or two for OURSELVES that we must do to stay sane. Showering, putting on makeup, or even just getting dressed.
Make your list and stick to it. Then, if anything else gets accomplished you feel even more like a superstar.

So, these are just a few things I've discovered in the past few weeks that have had to happen to keep things moving smoothly. I've had some days where only one thing on my list got done. Oh well; you can plan for everything (sudden barf-fests or crazy terrible-two tantrums).
I wanted to share so you can see that more than one kiddo doesn't have to be too stressful, as long as you put in the time to plan ahead. (It helps to have a baby who isn't colicky, I will admit right off). I hope this helps anyone out there who may be worriers like me!
Have a great day my friends!

Paige thinker
Hmmm. How can I make Mom's life more difficult today?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Month!

IMG_5171

Dear Little Noah,

Hi Little Fella! You are one month old today! Time has flown by; I can't believe how big you are already getting! Here's your stats from today's 1 month doctor checkup: 10 pounds, 21.5 inches, and 15 cm head measurement. Yay! To quote the doctor: A growing baby is a good baby!
You are more than a good baby. You are superb and excellent. The sweetest and the cutest! I'm biased, I know. But it's still true!
You spend your sleepy times swaddled in your Miracle blanket and the rest of the time is spent eating, burping, or quietly peering around at the world. You only cry (yelping is more like it) when you are ready to eat; we are so lucky so far! Your stretches between feedings right now are around 4.5 hours or so. Sometimes 5 hours or sometimes 3.5 depending on your growth spurt of the moment.
You have been putting up with my taking constant photos and videos of you; I just want to capture every little moment because I know how fast they go. Thanks for obliging me! I love the little squeaky gulping noises you make as you eat. I love the little grunting noises you make while you're trying to burp. I love the little soft sighs you make when you lay on my chest. All things I try to capture on video so I can watch and cry over one day.
You seem to enjoy joining us for dinner at night. We bring your little recline chair onto the kitchen table so you can sit and be with us. Paige loves watching you kick your legs while she eats (or while we shove bites into her mouth...more like). We've also starting giving you some tummy time on your little neck pillow. Your neck is getting stronger every day! You look like a little baby bird peeking out of the nest.
The truth is, you fit into our family so well. Like a missing puzzle piece...you just plopped right into the middle of things like you've always been here. Maybe you always have, right inside my heart and dreams. I'm so glad you've chosen us to be your family and ME to be your Mama. I'm still shocked you are here; part of me is still living back at just finding out I was pregnant with you! But, time has flown by and now you are here. I look at you and wonder why I was ever worried about the extra work you might bring my way. There should never have been any doubt or worry because you are absolutely perfect and so easy. I learned my lesson...to trust in God and know that He will provide what is best. I hope you can carry that lesson with you as well. Trust in God enough to allow Him to create greatness in your life and know that he wants to make all your biggest dreams come true if you will let it happen. If you do your part, He will do His.
On another sentimental note, here is the text from a card that your Grammie sent to you to celebrate your birth; it so perfectly fits all my feelings and thoughts into such a neat package:

IMG_5193
(His first smile! Too bad the darn paci was in the way!)


His fingers are so tiny, so marvelously perfect.

Soon they will reach out to touch the smiling faces of everyone around him...
These little hands will explore, discover, and bring the world to him for his inspection and delight.
With these hands he will throw balls, capture bugs, and build castles in the sand.
He will use them to open books and unlock the doors to knowledge.
These are the hands that may someday sculpt, make music, or cuddle children of his own.
His hands are so tiny now, and yet within them lie the future and the fulfillment of all his precious dreams.
So hold him gently and watch with pride as he reaches out in love and joy to all of life.

I look at your tiny hands and wonder what your future will bring. It all seems so exciting and filled with possibilities.
On your one month birthday, I wish for you much happiness, love, and fulfillment in your life. That you chase your dreams and wishes with excitement, vigor, and with your best efforts. I will always be so proud of you. Reach for the stars with those precious hands that I love so much. I will always do my best to hold you up toward them.
I love you always and forever,
Mama

IMG_5167



P.S. Happy first Valentine's Day! We gave you a card with a note in it, a little book, and some cool "foot discovery socks" and wrist rattles. In case you wondered in the future. We love you!

IMG_5155

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why I Don't Breastfeed

Hi friends!
I've gotten emails and comments from many readers over the times asking me why I didn't/don't breastfeed my kiddos. It's quite a hot topic, isn't it? Although, maybe it's not anymore. It's a topic that has been beaten to death, that is for sure. It seems to me like most people breastfeed these days...most just assume that everyone else does. So, when asked if I'm nursing and I say "nope" I often get a raised eyebrow.
I get it. It's what has been proven to be the best choice and yadda yadda yadda. I get it.
But, you know, I feel like asking someone if they are going to breastfeed is a personal question. And usually the people asking me are strangers. These people don't know me from a hole in the wall. But they want to know if my baby is going to be breastfeeding? It just strikes me as odd. Maybe it's just me?
Did you know, a stranger scolded my cousin for her choice to bottle feed her baby. She was at the grocery store and a stranger commented that she should be ashamed and that "The breast is best." My cousin was shocked and told her to mind her own business. Well, I would have added a few more choice words to the conversation!
First of all, what we choose to do in our own lives is our own business and not up for others' judgement or advisement unless asked for. Furthermore, this woman had no clue about what my cousin's circumstances are. What if she were seriously ill and on medications? What if she were suffering from depression, and again, on medications? What if she'd had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy? What if she just well didn't want to breastfeed? Do people ask themselves these things?
We can't know what someone is going through just by looking at them. We never know the back story. That being said, I now think carefully when I feel like I want to judge someone when I see something I don't agree with. Unruly child? Perhaps the child has a behavioral disorder and isn't just a pain in the neck. Crazy person cut me off in traffic? Perhaps they are rushing to get to the hospital to see their dying mother (although unlikely! Hmph). My point is, we can't rush to judge others and we must let their choices be their own and be supportive. Or, "zip it" if we don't agree (once we know the whole story of course).
All that being said, I should end the post here.
But, in the spirit of sharing I'll continue.
I'm not breastfeeding because I suffer from Pressure Urticaria. It's a condition that developed when I turned 22. In a nutshell, I am allergic to pressure on my skin. Any weight or pressure on my skin causes a burning itchy hive to appear there. They also cause pain and swelling. I'm often covered with them. I've spent the past 11 years dealing with this ailment and there is no treatment. No cream helps; no special concoction can fix it. It is what it is. I'm always itchy. Always swollen. Always scratching and bleeding. Needless to now say, adding a newborn attached to the breast would make the condition WAY WORSE. I don't think I need to go on.
I knew I wouldn't ever breast feed because of this, so I never got the feeling that I SHOULD be breastfeeding or felt guilty about it. I DO get defensive because people have judged me over it when they don't know anything about me or what kind of mother I strive to be.
Truthfully, I LIKE bottle feeding. It's easy to do (We make up a bunch of bottles to store in the fridge each day and take one out to warm up well before it's time for the feeding). I always know how much food is being taken so I don't have worries. I still feel bonding, even if it's not so physical. And Chris gets to participate in our newborn's daily feedings. I go to bed nice and early these days (shooting for 8:00 pm)...and Chris does the feedings that go until midnight. I do the feedings that go after that. This way, we each get a chunk of sleep. I get lots of rest so that I can function positively the next day. Important when you suffer from depression! I enjoy the convenience of being able to come and go as I please and not have to worry about being the only source of food...see? Lots of positives. Obviously, I'm not knocking breastfeeding. But, I'm here to say that bottle feeding isn't a horrible alternative. I've had so many friends beat themselves up when breastfeeding didn't work out for them for one reason or another. That made me sad for them. Why is there so much PRESSURE? It's just not right. I just wish everyone would just let the whole topic drift off into the wind. But here I am, discussing it. AGAIN.
Here's my 2-cents: You do what ya gotta do. The kiddo has to eat. You gotta make it happen one way or another. You go ahead and choose what is right for you, your kiddo, your family, and your situation. When that all aligns, you have what is best. And I applaud you, whatever that choice is. If the kiddo is able to eat anything and grows, you are in success! Otherwise, I'm sure you are dealing with bigger fish to fry.
I'm off to prepare the next bottles for my 3-week-old now! It's been 4.5 hours since the last feeding; time to go again!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

an update

3 weeks old


Hi friends!

I'm on day 2 of being by myself with the 2 kiddos. So far so good! Yesterday was hard; I won't lie. Not hard work, but I guess it was just stressful for me with lots of juggling. Laundry, dishes, Paige's needs (she has a cold just like me and her dad), her providers coming in and out....the exterminator making his monthly upkeep visit; Noah's needs, MY needs. I managed it all, even during Paige's several afternoon tantrums; some overlapping with Noah's crying for food. The only thing I left out was to eat my own lunch. Oh well.
I'm finding that I'm at the mercy of little Noah's feedings...I cannot control when they fall so it's hard to plan the day around anything. And little Paige has to learn to accept that I'm out of commission during these feedings and that she has to wait. A hard lesson for her, but she's doing better than I thought she would. Paige is extremely loving and caring toward her brother. Whenever she sees him she sends many tender words and pats his way. She also likes to kiss his head and sing him songs. Such a lucky brother!
Noah has been a dreamboat. He sleeps in 4-4.5 hour chunks, wakes up and gives a little raptor-like yelp for food which I oblige with a bottle. He's already taking about 5 ounces per feeding! He's not even a month old yet. Yikes! He's so calm and quiet and just peers around while he's awake. So, I un-swaddle him and let him watch us play. When his kicks slow down, I re-swaddle him and he zonks back out in his little 30 degree recline chair (placed in the Pack N Play in the living room). That's pretty much it! We'll see how that changes as he gets older, but for now I'm soaking in the honeymoon of his disposition and hoping it lasts! I'm very grateful for his calmness!
I have so much I want to write about in this space. I just need to organize my thoughts and get typing! Thanks for visiting and for checking in. Thank you, also, for your kind words and letters. They mean so much to us and I'm so thankful for YOU!
I'll be back soon with the organized thoughts I mentioned. Hopefully. We'll see how these next feedings go!

Friday, February 3, 2012

On the Other Side

Hi friends!
I'm so sorry I've been missing around here; we've been so busy with Baby Noah and adjusting to our "new normal." We haven't really FULLY figured things out yet; my wonderful Mom was here helping us for the first week and my wonderful Mother in Law has been here for this past week. I'll be alone next week and then Chris is taking a week of vacation to be here. I'll get a more realistic picture of things next week when I'm alone all day! In the meantime, my physical recovery has been difficult and slow. I injured my tailbone AGAIN with this delivery; I believe it is broken again. So, it's hard to get up and around but I'm doing fine. My hip pain is relieved though! My sciatica is also gone. HEAVEN!!!!! I can walk! I CAN WAAAAAALLLK!!!!!!!
In other news, my poor Mom caught a nasty head cold while she was here, so that was a bit of a rough week. And this past week? I caught that nasty stomach virus that's going around here. The throw ups plus "other things" if you catch my drift...it lasted 2 days for me. Then, Chris caught it. And then Paige. Now, we are praying the baby can avoid it. It's been such a stressful week to say the least. Thank God for my Mother in Law being here to help!!!! We never could have kept up otherwise since the bug was so severe.
So, it's been hard to get a picture of what real life is going to be like. But, I CAN say that this little fella has been a dream. He sleeps in 3.5 to 4 hour chunks. He eats his bottle and then has some awake time peering around at everything while I sing crazy songs to him. Then, he zonks back out. We love him so. He will be 3 weeks old tomorrow and he is heavenly. I'll be sure to elaborate on him in my next post but just wanted to let you know we are here, we are alive, and we are looking forward to getting into our "new normal." I'll be back asap with more!
Siblings
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