Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We are moving offices.  Well, kind of.  We are just moving from one set of crummy, sterile cubicles to a different set of crummy, sterile cubicles.  Some of my officemates are really struggling to get all of their stuff boxed up.  However, I'm all ready to go.  I think it helps that I just moved offices in June since we had a new employee start. 

Also, being of the electronic generation, I only keep paper copies of things that aren't available electronically.  I guess that requires placing some faith in technology, but I'm willing to do so.  I keep a pretty clean and organized office without too much junk lying around.  I do have a lot of family pictures up.

So, any ideas for making my new office a little less drab?  How do you jazz up your working space?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy First Birthday to James

Wow, today is a completely surreal day.  My son is now a year old.  I feel like it was just a few days ago that I was on maternity leave, soaking up the smells of a newborn and learning to live with sleep deprivation.  It feels like it was only a couple weeks ago that I was at my desk with my hand on my belly waiting to feel little baby kicks.

I would live the past year over and over again if I could.  It was a year of magic for me.

We celebrated with a wonderful party in James' honor.  The food was all ready, party favors were wrapped and ready to go, and pictures were strung along the mantle.  All of this was under my control.  What I couldn't be sure of was how James would handle the day.  However, he made me so proud.

He ate almost every bite of his smash cake and tore into his presents like he totally knew what he was doing. 

So, here at one year, I want to write a little love note to my son...

Dear James,

You are one year old today.  It's hard to believe that I've had the privilege of being your mommy for a whole year now.  I've watched you grow from a little newborn who always slept if someone was willing to hold him into an infant who always cried if no one would hold him into a toddler who stretches out his arms and grunts if he wants someone to hold him.

When you first came into our lives you were a blank canvas.  We didn't know who you were or who we were as parents.  Over the past year, we've learned a lot.  As parents, your daddy and I relish in you.  We both love nothing more than to come home at the end of the work day, plop you on the rug in the living room and watch you play.  Almost every morning when you wake up, we carry you into our bed and snuggle.  As you slowly wake up, you start babbling, grabbing at our noses and hands.  We have faith in your ability to grow.  We haven't pushed you to sit up or crawl or stand or walk.  We've just sat back and assumed that you would hit all these milestones in time and you have.

I've also learned a few things about myself as a mother.  I'm not a "tough love" kind of gal.  You went through a fairly long phase where you wanted to be held almost all the time.  You were around 6 months old and could even sit up on your own, but you weren't content to play on your own.  I could've just let you cry, but I didn't have it in me.  Instead, I scooped you up, busted out the baby carrier and held you close.  And, you know what?  You got over it.

I love nursing you.  We've made it one whole year without having to supplement at all.  I'm proud of that.  It's given me confidence that, with the right start, women can have a wonderful, fulfilling nursing relationship with their child.  You are old enough now to tell me when you want to nurse, either by tapping on my chest or pulling my shirt down.  It's usually only early in the morning or right before bed and I happily give in.  You still get up in the night, usually around 5:30 am.  Daddy brings you into our bed and you snuggle up against me and nurse until you fall back to sleep.  I love the coziness of it.  I usually rub your back, which is still baby soft and smooth.

I've learned a lot about who you are.  You are a sensitive kid.  If I tell you "no," you always stop what you are doing and sometimes you even cry because you've been reprimanded.  That's how mommy was when she was little.  For your own sake, we might have to work on developing a thicker skin.  Mommy wishes she had that. 

If you are hungry or tired or sick, you just want to be with mommy or daddy, but if you feel well, you want to be with other people.  We were out to eat the other night and you were so intrigued with the lady at the table next to us.  You could not stop watching her, to the point that we had a hard time feeding you at all.  She got up to leave and as she passed behind your highchair, you threw a piece of your food at her.  I think you were trying to share or maybe just get her attention so you could meet her.

You let your happiness consume you and I love that.  When you smile, it's not just a half-cocked smirk or a slight upturn of the mouth.  It's a full grin, teeth-bared, eyes dancing, feet kicking.  It warms me to the core and makes me willing to sacrifice everything I am and everything I have for you.

I want you to be kind and confident.  I want you to be the kid who is nice to everyone, no matter how different or downtrodden they are.  I want you to find a career that you love and someone to share your life with.  I want you to become a father someday because it's one of the most amazing joys in life.  I want you to work hard, but not let it rule your life.  Most of all, I want you to be happy.  I want to raise a child who has the capacity to be happy.

Love you forever,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday

If you're anything like me, you don't procrastinate.  It's a sickness, I swear.  I am obsessed with taking care of things in advance.  I hate having to do things last-minute, so I plan and plan and plan.  Sometimes I think that my need to do things early actually creates more work for me because I find myself getting something done and cross it off my to-do list, only to revisit the decision about 15 times.  For example, James' first birthday party is this weekend.  In preparation, I started getting ready about 3 months ago.  As a result, I have worried about this party for three whole months.  I'm pretty sure I could've ignored the whole thing until about a month ago and still planned an awesome shindig (and spared myself from three months of prep/anxiety/worrying).

Usually, I do all my Christmas shopping in October and have all the gifts purchased and wrapped by Thanksgiving.  By the time my family members are finally telling me what's on their wish list, my shopping is done.  I decided to be a little less anal and do my shopping on Black Friday.  Now, I'm sure you're imagining crazies trampling one another in a Wal-Mart parking lot for a shot at a 19" LCD TV, but this was different.  We bought a newspaper Thanksgiving morning, decided what to buy, and made a list of stores to visit.

We made a day out of it and, dare I admit this, it was really fun.  We woke up around 5:30 am on Friday, treated ourselves to a McDonald's breakfast and coffee, then headed to the stores.  Within 6 hours, I had completed all of my Christmas shopping (except gifts for my mom because she was with me).  That night, we spent about an hour gift wrapping and now I am done.  So much easier than going nuts trying to get everything done early.

The best part of the Christmas shopping was James' doll.  I got him a gender-neutral doll.  Yes, I know he's a boy, but I think the "dolls are for girls" rule perpetuates this silly idea that only women can care for children.  My mom was very negative about the idea, suggesting that it would make him a sissy.  On Friday night when we were wrapping, James saw his doll in the pile of stuff.  He walked over, held its, hand, touched its nose, and leaned in to give it a kiss.  My heart melted and my mom saw the light.  I can't wait for him to unwrap it on Christmas morning.

What are your kids getting for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sick Baby

About two weeks ago, James came down with a stomach bug.  It was pretty much his first time being sick and it pained me.

The worst part was that he was sick on a day when I absolutely had to be at work.  My husband works from home and has decent flexibility, so luckily he was able to take care of James.  But, I wanted to be the one taking care of him.  He needed and wanted his mama.  I had to leave right after he threw up and he was clinging to me with al his might.

That's the struggle of the working mom.  It's hard enough to see your baby sick and know that there's nothing you can do aside from be a source of comfort.  It's even worse when your work obligations force you to rely on someone else to care for your sick babe.

Here we are, exactly two weeks later, and James is sick again with the same exact bug.  I think that he gave it to our babysitter's son who gave it back to James.  Unfortunately, my husband left early this morning on work-related travel, so I was on my own to manage the day.  It came at a bad time.

I took last Friday off to spend some time with James, then I was out of the office on work-related travel on both Monday and Tuesday.  I had lots to take care of at work today, so I brought James along for a bit.  About an hour into the morning it became clear that he was tired and in desperate need of a nap.  I was lucky that our sitter lives nearby and said she'd watch him for a bit.  I figured that if he was sleeping, it would be hard for him to get anyone else sick.  He took a two hour nap, which gave me a great chance to get some work done.

As soon as he woke up, I picked him back up and took him home.  My mom drove up tonight and is going to watch him tomorrow.  It's a 3-hour drive, so I very much appreciate her willingness to help.

For all the working moms out there, what's your backup plan when your kid(s) are too sick for child care?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crockpot Turkey Breast

Does anyone else find it absolutely exhausting to cook for your family? I get home each night after a loooong day of work, stare into my fridge and think, "Shit, these people need to eat." My hubby? He's a meat guy. If I even think of serving up a vegetarian dish, he will semi-politely chow down, excuse himself from the table, and heat up a frozen pizza. He must meet his daily quotient of meat!

Baby J, on the other hand, needs his veggies. Did he tell me this? No. Would he even agree with it if he could talk? Probably not. But, mama bear has decided that J absolutely must be a veggie lover. I try to very hard to make sure we have a veggie, preferably green in color, with every single meal.

Me? If I had my way I'd eat a frozen meal or bowl of cereal for dinner. I suppose I should want to eat yummy, nutritious food. I guess I do, but I don't care about it enough to actually cook. When hubby is out of town for work, my staple is a bean burrito. It takes about 2 minutes to prepare and leaves me satisfied.

So, I'm always looking for ways to have scrumptious food around that will satisfy my boys without sucking all my time and energy. Here's a great, easy meal that we had last week...

Crockpot Turkey Breast

Turkey Breast
Stick of butter
Packet of french onion soup mix

Defrost the turkey breast. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the whole thing. Plan a day or two in advance and set the turkey in your sink to defrost for a few hours before sticking it in the fridge to finish the process. Technically, I think it's only supposed to defrost in the fridge, but I broke the rule and we all survived, so give it a shot.

Unpack the turkey, throw away the gizzard packet, and run some cold water over the turkey breast. Pat it dry with a paper towel, then coat it in salt. I used kosher salt, but any ol' salt would do.

Place the turkey in your crockpot. Turn the crockpot to low.

Melt a stick of butter in the microwave. (Sidenote: We have the most awesome microwave. It came with our house and I love it. Why? It has a single button you push to melt butter. I know, I know, that saves me all of 1.2 seconds, but it makes life feel easier.)

Pour the butter over the turkey. Empty the French Onion soup packet into the crockpot. Mix it into the butter as best as you can.

Put the lid on the crockpot and let it cook for about 8 hours on low. If you are home, you can occasionally use a basting brush to coat the turkey with the dressing, but it's not necessary.

Side Dish: Fall Veggies

I'd like to tell you that this started with a recipe, but it didn't. It started with me trying to cut corners and make a meal out of a hodgepodge of stuff that had been hanging out in my fridge too long. Have I mentioned I get produce delivered every two weeks? Yeah, I'll have to post on that soon.

Fall veggies
Turkey drippings

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your veggies into fairly small cubes (about 1" at the thickest). I used turnips, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, and onion.

Place cut veggies into a roasting pan.

Use one of those basting bulb/sucky things to transfer liquid from your turkey breast crockpot into the roasting pan. I transferred almost all of it. You pretty much just want to be sure that there's at least a 1/8 inch of liquid standing in your pan.

Put the roasting pan in your oven. Now, go do something else. Me? Hubby and I are training for a 5k. It sucks and I hate it. So, we went for a run while the veggies cooked.

We came back and ate up the super scrumptiousness. Hubby liked it, but J? He loved it. He could not get enough of the roasted veggies.

The best part? This meal produced so much food that we had leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Geez, I'm bad at this...

I'm sorry, but not too sorry. I started this blog as a place to record my journey, to write when I need to. I didn't start it to make a name or a business for myself. So, I don't update all the time, or even often. I hope you understand that sometimes just living my life takes up all the time I have to offer.

Despite feeling immensely busy over the past couple of months, there's nothing terribly newsworthy. James is growing up right on track. He's crawling like a maniac and even took a couple steps last night. I'm not 100% sure it counts as walking though, because it was really just a gradual fall with a few steps included on the way down.

He's really starting to develop some personality. I think that he's going to be sensitive like his mama. Over the past few weeks, we have started telling him, "No." when he does something unsafe like playing with the bulb of his nightlight or trying to eat the dog's food. When we say no, he automatically stops and looks back at us. And then moves onto something else. Last week, he bit my arm. I think it was a teething thing, not an anger thing because we were just snuggling at the time. I yelled, "OOOOwwww" and then pretended to cry, because I'd read online that this helps babies understand that they've hurt you. James got a very concerned look on his face and proceeded to cry himself.

He's also started making a hilarious face when he eats. It's a little squinty-eyed mean face. When he makes it, he snorts in and out through his nose. It's really funny, especially since I have no clue where he learned it from.

He's sleeping better now, too. We let him cry it out, which really only involved him crying through night wakings for two nights. All in all, he probably cried an hour each night before he started sleeping through the night. He'll go to bed around 8:30, then I'll dreamfeed him around 11:00 pm. He gets up around 6:30 and then will go back down until 8 if I let him,

He's still breastfed and I'm so happy about that. One of my favorite moments of the day is snatching him out of his crib every night before I go to bed. He stays asleep, but instinctively cuddles up and latches on. He doesn't nurse well during the day because there's too much distraction, but his dreamfeed and early morning feeding are huge! I feel like he guzzles so much milk.

My work is going well. I love having the flexibility to take off a day here and there. I've done it a couple of times so far. I usually spend the day hanging with James, going to the store, the park, etc. I think it's all standard stuff, but it's so precious to me.

He's absolutely amazing to me.

Here's one of his 9-month photos.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


My work-life balance is finally getting to a place that I can handle. I met with my boss a few weeks ago and, with tears in my eyes, pleaded for some flexibility. I felt like I was missing out on so much. It wasn't that I worried that the separation was bad for James. It was that I knew it was bad for me.

At the end of a long week, I just felt like I hadn't had my fill of my little boy.

My boss said that he understood where I was coming from, but couldn't give preferential treatment to people with kids. I responded like a professional, noting that I understood his concern and would try to come up with a flex option that wasn't necessarily preferential treatment. Then, as any professional mother would, I went and cried in my office.

I decided to let the issue lie since he seemed reluctant to grant me flexibility. Just in case, tough, I came up with three flex options that involved some sort of pay cut. I thought this would make it clear that it wasn't preferential.

He brought the issue up at our weekly check-in on Thursday and I had three ideas ready to go. The final decision is that I will be able to take an additional 20 days off each year as leave without pay. This is in addition to my 15 vacation days, 3 personal days, and 6 sick days. I'm so thrilled to have the option to take days off occasionally when I just feel like I need to be at home for my own sanity.

Sure, there's a pay cut involved, but my boss also told me the good news that they are realigning salary schedules for certain positions that have been underpaid and mine is one of them. Even with the additional days off, he expects my take-home pay to remain the same as it is now or increase. Woohoo!

It makes me love my job again. Plus, I feel like I can exhale. I don't have to fight and claw to each moment with my son because I can choose to spend a random day at home with James.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fun While It Lasted


I know how much fun it is to wake up and play with mommy in the middle of the night. You get to drink milk from your favorite place, hear mommy sing you songs, get rocked, and sometimes you get a fresh diaper too. However, mommy is getting pretty darn sick of getting up with you twice a night, so I'm afraid these days are coming to an end.

You are so good about going to sleep easily and at a consistent time each night, but you are also good at waking up to nurse every three to four hours during the night. Why?


Anyone out there had experience with frequent night wakings? My pedi says that it's all just a habit and we need to pick a night and let him cry through the night. The problem is that he is genuinely hungry when I go in and nurse him -- he drinks like a madman, which he hardly does anymore during the day since he's too busy playing. I worry that I'll be depriving him of much-needed nutrition if I don't nurse him at night.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love, Love, Love

Sometimes I just can't believe how much of it I have. When I look at that little boy, cuddled up beside me on the bed or crawling like a wild man across the kitchen floor, my heart nearly explodes.

Remember those first days and months with a new boyfriend? That feeling that your relationship was full of *new.* You fell asleep thinking of him, slept dreaming of him, and woke up counting the minutes or days until you could see him.

As Brett and I near 12 years together and six years of marriage, that adrenaline rush is, for the most part, gone. Rather than being the relationship equivalent of a new pair of heels or a flashy leather jacket, Brett's my sensible yet cute flats or my cozy cable knit cardigan. My heart may not skip a beat at the sight of him, but I swoon in a different way when I crawl into bed with him and gently drape my foot over his.

I'm just fine with that.

But, James, he's my exclamation point in life. He's the one who consumes my thoughts, whose birthday I've been planning since the day he was born. He's the one whose room I creep into to stare at before bed. I think that's exactly how it's supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is It Fair?

Is the way that we talk about motherhood with one another fair? I think that we tend to glorify it. We paint it with bright colors. Say things like, "it's a moment that will change your life forever." We take pictures of grinning moms holding little bundles as they're discharged from the hospital. Newborns resting peacefully on bare-chested daddies.

All these moments happen and they're wonderful. However, my recollection of the first six weeks of motherhood included lots of other moments. The nights upon nights when I woke up every two or three hours to nurse. The afternoon when I sat sobbing, bare-breasted on the hallway floor. The two empty bags of pads that I'd soaked through. The night that I excitedly texted my mom at 4 am to let her know that James had slept for an entire 4 hours straight.

It's not that I'm complaining because all those moments were 150% worth it, it's just that I'm wondering whether we adequately prepare women to become mothers. Did any of us really, really know what we were getting ourselves into when we became pregnant? Aside from a few flip comments, like, "Sleep now, while you can," did anyone pull us aside and tell us the dirty secret, "The first few weeks? They suck." Maybe "suck" is the wrong word. As James has gotten older, I find myself nostalgic for those maternity leave days when I could spend a whole day in bed, unshowered, with a tiny baby on my breast.

Maybe people tried to warn me, but I wouldn't listen because I was so excited to become a mom. It wouldn't have mattered had I understood. I would gladly and repeatedly take on those first six weeks for my son. I just think being mentally prepared for it would have been handy.

I just think we owe it to each other to be honest that those first six weeks will pretty much kick anyone's butt. But how and when? I don't have the answer, but I just can't stay tight-lipped and watch another women get blindsided by just how hard this mommy thing is.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

{Tranquil Tuesday} Working Less

I just finished reading this awesome article from the NY Times, called "But Will It Make You Happy?" Here's a short exerpt...

"One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff. "

The basic gist of the article is that the recent economic recession has forced many people to rethink their spending habits. People are cutting back, getting rid of cable, staying home with their families, working less (oftentimes out of necessity.) Interestingly, research shows that a lot of these changes will make people happier. Rather than a focus on accumulating things, people are happier when they have more time, leisure, experiences.

Thus, we have Tranquil Tuesday when I plan to share some little thing I've done to make life just a little simpler. This one isn't done yet, but it's a work in progress that I'm so excited about. I'm planning to "buy" some more time with my son.

I have started discussions with my boss to give me more time with James, either by working from home once per week or even working few hours each week. I assume there may be a pay cut involved in this decision, but I'm okay with that. I'm not quitting or even going part-time, just getting a little more time to spend with my boy.

I'm nervous about how it will all turn out. My boss is older and not super-flexible, so the idea of working from home is totally foreign to him. At the same time, I think Brett's concerned about our household budget taking too much of a hit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

{Manic Monday} Here's how it's all gone down...

I'm going to try something new, that I will likely do just this once and fail to repeat, because that's just the way I operate. I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into my life, by just plain listing the way my day has gone...

  • Wake up at 1 am, nurse James for all of 10 minutes before he falls back asleep
  • Wake up at 4:30 am and listen as Brett gives him a bottle of milk, changes his diaper, and he cries for 20 minutes before falling asleep
  • Wake up at 6:50 am and nurse James in bed where he promptly falls asleep
  • Shower, give up on doing my hair since I'm "growing it out" due to an inability to find the time for a haircut
  • Put on makeup. Teal shadow is just the cure for a melancholy Monday, no?
  • Pack for the day -- four empty breastmilk bottles, three full ones, baby breakfast: mango, peaches, and oatmeal; baby lunch: squash, tofu, cheerios. For mommy: one banana, one Lean Cuisine.
  • Am all ready for work, but baby James is still asleep in ourbed and I firmly believe in the "never wake a sleeping baby" adage.
  • Download James pics that my cousin sent me.
  • James wakes up, has the stinkiest poo ever. Slips into an adorable orange plaid romper.
  • Kiss the husband and the dog
  • Drive to work listening to knick-knack paddy-whack, which is amazingly catchy
  • Drop James off at the baby-sitter's
  • Head to work, where I am somehow responsibly for planning about 50 events that all seem to be taking place in the same two-week span
  • Have a meeting about an event
  • Have a phone call about an event
  • Respond to emails about an event
  • I hate planning events
  • Drive to baby-sitters house where James has tears in his eyes and hasn't napped all morning, although he did eat his whole breakfast
  • Nurse him, which causes him to fall right to sleep.
  • Sit in the glider for 10 minutes while little man sleeps peacefully on my chest
  • Drive back to work, simultaneously calling Brett to see if the home repair folks have come out yet to fix our flooding basement
  • Eat my lean cuisine. Yuck!
  • Work some more

8 Months Old

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trying to Keep My Perspective

I was about to title this post something sad and whiny like, "Some Days the World Hates You" or "When It Rains, It Pours." Then, I tried to step back from my so-called problems, which include leaving for a week-long trip to Hawaii this weekend and needing to hire a nanny.
  • So, the bad news is that I'm starting to feel super anxious about leaving James for a whole week, like perhaps needing medication anxious. I totally trust my mom to watch over him and James is so familiar with her that I think he'll be fine. He'll be with my MIL during the days and I know she'll take good care of him, but James is simply not as familiar with her. He sees my mom every other weekend, sometimes more, but he only sees my MIL about once a month. Yeah, this is a pretty whiny, petty problem. On the bright side, I'm going to Hawaii for a whole week with my loving husband and family. I have two people who have jumped at the chance to watch James.
  • My other piece of somewhat bad news? I even feel bad for calling it that, but I'm in a selfish mood. Our child care provider just told me that she's 3.5 months pregnant. I am really, truly 100% happy for her, but it does mean we need to find another provider. Fortunately, we have the means to pay for a full-time, in-home nanny, so I think that's what we'll do.
Now that I've written this up, I feel like a real baby. My bad news is that I'm going to Hawaii and can afford a nanny. That's nothing compared to what so many other people are going through.

Bad Jess. You can stop feeling sorry for yourself, buy Andrea a baby gift, and start getting excited for Hawaii.

Mahalo and aloha.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hello July

And, how are you? I haven't blogged the whole month and lots has been going on. Hence, the no blogging. Here are some of the snippets:
  • We took a trip to the lake over the 4th of July. In a most welcomed turn of events, Brett and his mom were a huge help with James. It was such a great trip and I even felt relaxed for most of it. James got in the water, went on the boat, and even went on his first tubing tide. Don't worry, it wasn't as dangerous as it sounds. Brett and I sat on a double pull-behind tube and held James in between us. Uncle Ben drove the boat at the slowest possible speed. The major goal was a photo op, which we got.
  • James now has 6 teeth! I have been shocked at how fast they've come in. After he got his bottom 2, I thought there'd be a break, but it seems to be tooth after tooth.
  • We've been struggling with our child care situation, but it's almost getting back under control. Our sitter, Andrea, is awesome but James has been behaving badly for her over the past couple weeks. I think it's just the beginnings of separation anxiety, but Andrea's making it worse by trying to make him "cry it out." She's also not very good at giving him as much napping as he needs. Her 9-month-old doesn't nap at all, so I think she doesn't really appreciate how much James needs sleep. She is starting to watch James at our house everyday, which is nice because Brett works from home and can make sure he's getting enough naps. Also, I sent her some articles on how to handle separation anxiety (hold the baby!!) and that seems to be helping.
  • We are leaving our baby for a full week. I really would never have opted to leave him for so long at such a young age, but it's my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary and they are paying for all their kids and grandkids to take a 7-day Hawaiian cruise. They are paying the cruise fee for Brett and I, as well as our airfare. I thought about bringing James along, but there's no child care for children below 2. Plus, I'd worry about him getting sick or overheated or a bad sunburn. We are leaving James with my mom and Brett's mom. They live close to one another, so my mom will have James in the evenings and overnight and Brett's mom will watch him during the day. I know I'll miss him terribly, but he'll be in good hands and I'll get some much-needed rest.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deadly Sin or Completely Understandable?

I know that pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, but it's also one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about James. I am so intensely and unendingly proud of him.

Here's what I am proud of...

  • His adorable little grin
  • Dimpled elbows
  • Little whimpers while he nurses
  • The way he rocks back and forth when he's thinking about crawling/scooting somewhere
  • How he nestles into my neck when I pick him up in the morning
  • His two cowlicks that result in hair sticking straight up off his head
  • The way he kicks his legs when he gets excited
  • How he is so easily distracted by whatever colorful object I flash in front of his face
  • His penchant for rubbing my face and playing with my lips
I just adore this kid so much. He lights up my days and nights and fills me with such joy. I treasure my time with him so much.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who's In Charge Here?

Oh, crap, it's me. I'm having an off-day, following an off-weekend. We went to the lake this past weekend, which had lots of super-fun moments, like James swimming in the lake for the first time and liking it! Also, I slalom skied for the first time ever, even if it was for about 5 seconds, I did it!

It also contained a kernel of familiar frustration. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that, no matter what, I'm in charge here. The ultimate responsibility for my son rests on my shoulders. I know, I know, that's how it's supposed to be when you have a kid, but I've always held out hope that the burden would fall equally on my husband and I. But, it does not. I could sit here and try to convince myself that he needs to step up, but I think I'm realizing that the right thing to do is to acknowledge that biology has made child care and rearing primarily my responsibility.

We've been going to the lake every summer for the past 7 or 8 years. We try to make it there two or three times each summer. The day is almost always structured like this: wake up late, eat a small breakfast, swim in the lake/lounge on the dock, have lunch, go on the boat to swim/ski/wakeboard/hang out in a cove, have dinner, drink, drink, and drink.

In preparation for this trip, Brett and I talked about how things would have to be different this time because we are parents now. We just can't stay up until 2 or 3 am drinking and still be the parents James needs the next day. James woke up at 6:30 am every morning when we were at the lake and I looked after him every morning, which meant that I didn't really get to stay up late with the big kids and drink. Brett did. Yesterday morning, even though I had gone to bed around 11, I just wanted to sleep in. I was, plain and simple, tired.

At 6:30 am when James started crying in the pack 'n' play, I turned to Brett and, for one of the first times since I became a mom, asked plainly for what I wanted. I said, "Brett, will you watch him for an hour so I can sleep longer?" Bam, there it was. My request, my needs from my husband, states plainly and clearly. It was his opportunity to rise to the occasion and he said, "Maybe if we wait longer he'll fall back asleep" and then rolled over and went back to sleep himself. As I expected, James continued to fuss in the playpen, so I woke up with him.

I felt so deflated. I'd finally done what's so hard for me to do, which is to admit that I need help. I think of myself as some kind of superwoman who can and usually does find a way to squeeze in everything. But I was finally ready to admit defeat and it didn't work out.

Of course, I was a confusing mix of angry, disappointed, and flat out sad. I cried while I changed James into his clothes and cursed myself for asking for help. Brett felt horrible and spent much of the day trying to make it up to me. As upset as I was at him for not pulling through when I needed him, his solution to this problem upset me more than anything. He said that he thinks we need to plan these things in advance. That, if he'd known I was going to need him to watch James the next morning, he wouldn't have drank so much and then he would've been more able to get up early and watch him.

And, there it was, spelled out so clearly. If I needed help from him, I needed to ask for it, in advance. On neither of the two previous nights had he pulled me aside and said, "I'd like to have some fun tonight, so you'll need to watch James tomorrow morning." It didn't need to be said, it was the assumption, the default. Without a word exchanged, we both assumed that I'd be the one taking care of James each morning. And that, my friends, is the difference.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Brett's a bad guy. Rather, I think he's probably a lot like almost every other husband out there. Despite all the advances we've made in achieving gender equity, the basic assumption is that women will take care of their children.

Do any of you have similar feelings or are your husbands all amazing superstars? Any working moms feel like they're teetering on the brink of breaking down? I feel like I have no energy left for myself anymore.

On that bitter, sad, depressing note, I will leave you with an absolutely dashing picture of my boy, for whom I would get up at the crack of dawn every morning for the rest of my life...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Baby Food

Before I had James, I heard people say that they made their own baby food. To be honest, I thought they were a little crazy. They talked and talked about steaming, pureeing, freezing, storing, etc. and it all sounded so difficult to me. And, frankly, it sounded difficult for no reason. Was store-bought baby food bad for their kids, because I eat store-bought food all the time and I'm doing fine?

Well, here 6-months later, I've learned a few things...

I want James to have pure and simple foods. I don't think store-bought baby food is bad for him, I just think it has lots of ingredients. Given that Brett had horrible allergies as a kid and that James has pretty severe eczema, his pediatrician and I suspect that he's going to be allergy-prone. I worry about giving him food with multiple ingredients, simply because if he has an allergic reaction, it will be that much harder to pinpoint what he reacted to -- was it the sweet potatoes or was it the food coloring?

It's amazingly easy to make your own baby food. I've been cutting corners all over the place, but that's made it completely do-able for me. So far, James has had rice cereal (store-bought, organic), peas, avocados, and green beans. We are starting spinach on Friday. For the peas, I bought frozen peas, boiled them, mixed in a little breastmilk, and pureed them. I put them into ice cube trays (which, by the way, is the perfect serving size for baby food) and froze them. A day later, pop them out and store them in the freezer in a plastic bad. To serve, microwave on defrost for 35 seconds and you're done. The avocado I handmashed. I also handmashed a banana that was on the verge of turning brown, so that's waiting in the freezer. I did spinach and green beans too. Again, I started with frozen veggies, microwaved, and then pureed with a hand blender. One frozen bag of green beans yielded 20 ice cube-sized servings.

Not only is making baby food easy, it seems easier to me than buying it. I feel like being able to make it myself gives me a lot more options. James' next food will probably depend on what fruits and veggies we have around the house.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have no idea whether to chalk it up to nature or nurture, but there it is, James has his own little personality. He loves to sit back and study things, especially random household objects. He loves to play with the wicket thatching on the back of the rocking chair. When I set him upright to burp him, he immediately brings both hands to the chair back and pokes his little fingers around, runs them back and forth, listening intently to the sounds his hands make.

Sometimes he's goofy, which I just adore. He'll get in "moods" where he's just seeking excuses to laugh. I can tickle his toes, make a surprised face, or rub my nose to his and that's all the encouragement he needs to let out a full, glorious giggle.

When he's sleepy or hungry or overstimulated, he just wants his momma. He can't bear to be set down, even in his favorite toy -- the Johnny Jump Up. If I wrap him to the front of me, he just sits there contentedly, looking around.

It makes me so curious and interested to see who he'll be a year from now, five or even ten.

Monday, June 7, 2010

6 Month Video

Here's a video recapping the past month. I've been doing one of these every month, but I think this is the first time I've shared it on this blog. Today is James' 6 month birthday! I can't believe how fast time is flying.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder why I still work. At the end of days like this when I'm sick, tired, and feeling stressed by my job, I can't help but wonder why I do it. Yesterday was Brett's first day in his new role at work. He's now making 20k more than he did previously.

I still make a pretty hefty income, but am no longer the "primary" breadwinner. I just feel so frustrated in my job. I leave my boy for more than 40 hours each week, but I don't feel like I'm making much difference in the world, which is very frustrating.

At the same time, I know that time really does fly and James will be in school in no time. If I stopped working now, I worry about what it would do to my career in the long-run. I'm making 65k a year right now and the reality is that we could cut our household expenses to absorb the loss of my income but we'd have to give up certain things we really enjoy and sacrifice future big purchases we hope to make (like a second home where we hope to enjoy lots of special memories with our son).

I just feel so depleted right now. It feels like somebody or something always needs more from me than I can give. I work really hard to fulfill people's needs and expectations, but at the end of the day I have no energy left to take care of myself.

My Boobs

I'm going to jump onto my soapbox for a second or two, but I promise to step down after that...
  1. I love breastfeeding. I love, love, love it. Sure, there were a couple weeks at the beginning when my nips hurt and it felt like there was a kid hanging from me all the time, but now that we are passed that stage, I love it. James has started to open his hands and place them on each side of my breast when he nurses. I swear he thinks it's just an oddly shaped bottle. He makes the cutest little noises while nursing. He's starting to be distractable and if I so much as hiccup while he's nursing he pulls off to look up and give me a big grin. Right now he's sick for the first time and I feel like such a source of comfort to him when we curl up and nurse together.
  2. I have had an easy time breastfeeding. I recognize that it's not so easy for everyone. I've got 200 ounces of milk in the freezer and have been able to exclusively breastfeed James all this time (we started rice cereal on Friday). Maybe, I'm "blessed" with a bountiful supply, but I also think that part of the reason I have great supply is that I allow James to nurse on-demand. There were times during those first six weeks where I thought, "Seriously, you're hungry again?" It seemed like I was nursing him all the time, but I just kept giving him the boob when he wanted it and I think that's part of the reason breastfeeding has gone so well for me.
  3. My boobs have gotten huge. I was a 34C and am now a 38DD. I only hope that they deflate after I'm done nursing and that they aren't too saggy.
  4. I'm just 5 days away from the 6-month mark, but I plan to continue nursing as long as it continues working for James and I. I hope to make it to his first birthday and even beyond. I've heard plenty of people say things like, "You'll stop once he _______, right?" Insert "has teeth," "can ask for it," or "is walking." I don't have a hard and fast rule about when I'll stop, but I think that it will happen gradually, naturally, and on a timetable that works for James and I. My only hope is that I can stop pumping at work by the time he turns 1.
  5. I know they're a little extreme at times, but I have used a local La Leche League leader multiple times over then past 6 months. She's been so kind and full of helpful advice. I oftentimes check in with my pediatrician about something, check in with the LLL leader, and then form my own opinion that's somewhere between the two extremes. As an example, my pediatrician said that I could begin introducing solids at 4 months, but that I should wait until close to 6 months, if possible. The LLL leader said not to begin solids until around 9 months. I split the difference and decided to start close to 6 months, especially since James already had two teeth and could sit unsupported.
I guess all this is just to say that I'm a total BFing advocate. I don't think any women should feel bad or guilty about the choices they make (why are we always doing that to each other, by the way?). I simply think that the breastfeeding experience has been wonderful for me and I hope other women can have similar experiences. Having the support of a lactation consultant and a lengthy maternity leave helped me so much. I attribute our great breastfeeding relationship to the success of those early days.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gratuitious Photos

Wow, was the last time I posted pics really back in February? That's a shame. A real shame. Here are some more for you to enjoy. They are in order of newest to oldest and they are all courtesy our lovely babysitter Andrea who sends me a couple pictures each week while I'm at work. And, since I'm blogging at work, these are the only pics I have to upload.

My boy just yesterday, sitting up on his own.

Playing outside with Andrea's son.

"Talking" in his Exersaucer.

In the cutest little star bunting.

Sleeping like an angel.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crying It Out

I never thought I was the cry it out type of mom, but it turns out I am. When he slept through the night for the first time at the young age of 10 weeks, I thought I was lucky. He continued his good, 9-hour straight sleep pattern for a solid six weeks. It was during my return to work, so it was perfect timing. But, he suddenly started waking up once or twice a night and hasn't stopped since then.

Things came to a breaking point over the past two weeks. Not only was he not sleeping well at night, he was also on nap strike, leaving him horribly tired. Considering how little sleep he got, he was in a pretty good mood, but he just seemed tired all the time. Brett and I decided that we were worried about his health and development because he was so sleepy and tired all the time.

On Friday night, my sister-in-law watched James while we went to a concert. I mentioned to her that we were considering letting him cry it out because his sleep was so off kilter. She took it upon herself to let him cry it out (pretty presumptuous, but it worked out) and he only cried for 7 minutes. He cried again for less than 5 minutes around midnight, ate at 3:30 and slept until 8:30.

Last night, he cried for about 30 minutes total (we checked in every 10 minutes) and then slept for 9 hours straight. Tonight it took only 7 minutes. Not too bad. I never thought I was the cry it out type and I'm still not 100% sure that I am. I wouldn't have done it for my own convenience, but when it became clear that he was really suffering from lack of sleep, I decided to get serious.

We are also moving to a 2-3-4 nap pattern where we are aiming for a nap two hours after waking up, then a nap three hours after that, then bedtime four hours after that. So far, it seems to be working well.

I just feel good to have a plan in place.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Short Posts = Posts

I've somehow convinced myself that I need to be providing long, interesting, witty posts. As a result, I have barely posted anything. I have a new strategy -- I'll post more, but they'll be much shorter. Maybe people will like that. I always feel somewhat exhausted when I get to a blog and there's a huge update that I don't really have time to read.

So, today's topic will be James' weird skin. It all started when he was about 2 months old and my mother-in-law found some dry patches on his legs. My friend who's a family practice doctor happened to be in town and said that it was eczema. We treated it with OTC hydrocortisone for a couple weeks and switched to mild Aveeno lotion.

Around 4 months he got a rash in his neck, which our pediatrician said was a yeast infection. We used an antifungal cream on that, but it never seemed to go away. We went back to the pedi who then thought that it was eczema and gave us a prescription hydrocotizone. She told us not to use steroid any longer than necessary because it can thin his skin. The problem is that every time we stop using the steroid cream, the rash comes back.

Poor little guy. There's some chance it's an allergic reaction to something I'm eating, so I've stopped eating cow's milk. I just hope this isn't a precursor to bad allergies or lifelong skin troubles. Anyone else's baby had skin issues?

Friday, May 7, 2010


Yes, simplify, simplify.

My coworker once told me that her biggest motherhood regret was that her house was too clean. That really stuck with me.

There are so many demands on my time right now. I have a job that I love but it consumes so much of my time! 40 hours a week of actual work time, 5 hours a week for my lunch break, 10 hours a week commuting, and 5 hours a week getting spiffy-ed up to look presentable. That's right, I spend about 60 hours a week on work. Ugh.

I have an amazing husband and we have both committed to weekly date nights and weekly, ahem, playdates. I, of course, do everything in my power to spend every spare second with magnificent little James. I try to to exercise a few times a week and still like to spend a little time doing things just for me -- a night out with the girls, a stolen episode of Real Housewives, reading a little before bed.

The stuff I hate doing is the rest -- the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, etc. I simply don't have the time. So, where do I find it? The simple answer is that oftentimes I don't. My floors are dirty and there are most definitely water spots on the bathroom mirror. Someone comes once a month to clean for us, so I at least know that it gets cleaned sometimes, but it's not immaculate.

I only do laundry when it's really time to, meaning that I'm out of clean bras and undies or that James no longer has sleepers in his size. And the cooking, oh the cooking. If there's one thing that I feel guilty about, it's the cooking. I can't tell you the last time I cooked a real, fresh meal. Instead, we're living off gracious leftovers from parents, a crockpot soup here and there, and an occasional good day when we brown up a few pounds of taco meat.

I'd like to say that I'm resolving to do a better job of cooking for my family, but the truth is that I don't know where that time would come from. I just wish there were some little fairy that could come to my house every day around 5 and cook us a healthful scrumptious meal.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hello, Blog

Long time no see, but I've been a wee tad busy, what with raising an amazing little boy during the nights and weekends and obsessing over the new health reform bill during the day. I feel so sad that so much has slipped by the wayside -- this blog, the gym, my ability to remember to take a multivitamin once a day. But, I have found the key to successfully balancing work and home -- you simply have to cut out the things that are not necessary.

The hour-long workouts four times a week that I faithfully did until mid-way through my pregnancy ? Those were nice and kept me looking svelte (even if I didn't realize it at the time). But, that's four whole hours a week I'd need to be away from my boy in addition to the 40+ hours when I'm working. You know what'll work instead? A nice long evening walk a few times a week, with a whopping 16 pounds of bouncing baby boy strapped to the front of me.

Scrumptious home-cooked meals for the hubby and I? Those simply aren't happening. James can't eat, so I am satisfied by frozen pizza or cereal.

This blog? Just not a priority right now. In fact, this post is coming to a quicker stop than expected because my boy keeps looking up at me from his Exersaucer with eyes that say, "Play with me." His single tooth is glinting in his gum line and he keeps doing his fake cough that always attracts my attention. Off I go to play and take a nap with my son. See you in a couple months.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So Very Tired

Day 2 of work is now done. So, what's the hardest part? The nagging guilt? The tearful goodbyes? For me it has been the lack of sleep. James continues to be an angel, sleeping from 9 pm to 6 am last night. I, however, am a ball of nerves, making sleep difficult to attain. It began Saturday night when I slept from 10 pm to 2 am and could not go back to sleep. It was agonizing to lay there in bed for 6 hours, thinking, "I should sleep. I need to go into the work week rested. Why am I not sleeping?"

Sunday to Monday, I got up at 4 am and couldn't go back to bed, so I just decided to go into work early, which meant I got there at 6:30 am. At least I could leave at 3 pm. Today was terrible because I got up at 2:45 am and couldn't go into work early because I had a doctor's appointment at 8 am. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. I know the poor sleep is 100% related to going back to work.

I find myself waking up in a sweat, then unable to go back to sleep. I've spent a lot of my sleepless hours worrying about my job and trying to find careful, crafty ways to carve out another hour or two to spend with James.

I like my job, but am a little stressed because I heard through the co-worker grapevine that our CEO wants to reallocate my time between my two job functions. Pretty much, I spend 1/2 of my time selecting grants to fund and ensuring that they are executed properly. I like this part of my job because it's straightforward and I feel like I'm good at it. For the past year, I've been spending 1/2 my time doing "advocacy" work. Our CEO is super nice, but he's constantly changing his mind about what "advocacy" work entails. I like the advocacy part of my job less because it's unclear what I'm even supposed to be doing. Anyhow, I heard from a coworker last week that the CEO wants me dedicated 100% to the advocacy work. Ugh.

I'm also worrying about child care. After all the research I've done, the two providers we were on wait lists for have told us that we won't be getting in. We are signed up to have James start at a day care center on Monday (my mom's here this week)|. I'm confident that he'd be safe there, but I'm not so sure they'll have the time to give him any individualized attention. In the meantime, Brett got a big raise, so hiring a nanny is almost an option for us. Also, a girl in my mommy and baby yoga class is looking to babysit one child a week at her home, which is just 7 minutes from my office. So many options and so many things to consider. That's probably a post for another day. I could write way more about this, but I'm too sleepy.

The good news is that pumping is going fine. I got 18 ounces yesterday between two pumping sessions and 22 ounces today. I thought that would be plenty, but James eats 7 ounces in a feeding, according to my mom. I think that's a crazy huge amount of milk for a 3-month old to drink in one setting. It almost makes me worry about my milk supply keeping up with him.

I find myself tearing up a bit when I'm pumping because it makes me think of James. I took a unisom tonight to help me sleep, but first I checked to see if it's okay to take while breastfeeding and it appears to be.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

RIP to Grandma

My grandma passed away this past Saturday. Being the oldest granddaughter, her and I were extremely close. She was so good to me and so good to my son. I told her I was pregnant last year on mother's day. At the time, she was fairly sick and had been in and out of the hospital a number of times before finally being moved into a nursing home. I told her that she had to make it until December and she said she couldn't make any promises.

She obviously lived until December and even felt well enough to come visit us in the hospital. She ooed and awwed over James and said he was the prettiest baby she'd ever seen. A few days later once we were home, she came to see us again and took such joy in hold her great-grandson. She had 5 kids, 9 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids already, so she was a pro with James.

A couple days before Christmas, my mom and I brought James to see her at the nursing home. We dressed him in a Santa suit. When she saw him, she was so proud that she asked us if she could sit in her wheelchair and hold James while we pushed her around the home. She stopped everyone in the hall, saying, "What do you think of my little Santa baby?" Even though she was never able to breastfeed any of her kids, she was so proud of me for it. She kept telling random people at the nursing home, "Doesn't he look big and healthy? It's because she breastfeeds him."

She started getting sicker after that, but we still squeezed in a few good visits with grandma. She bought James a $1,000 savings bond and was so excited to give it to him. She said, "You'll never really know who I am, but your mommy will tell you." It was so sad and true. Once she got really sick, we kept coming to visit, but she wasn't well enough to hold him anymore. Even as recently as a couple weeks ago, she told him that she was trying to get stronger so she could hold him again.

Last Wednesday, she was taken off all her meds and put on morphine to control the pain. The following morning, she was conscious and alert for the last time in her life. I happened to be there with James. She was having a hard time making sense of things and kept asking if she could take her hospital gown off. She was so terribly confused, but when I put James in front of her, that made sense. She remembered his name and mine and played peek-a-boo with him and I was lucky enough to capture it on film.

We buried her yesterday. I gave a eulogy, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'll miss her terribly, especially as James continues to grow. She was an excellent mother and every time I think about taking a shortcut with my boy, I'll remember that grandma's watching, so I'd better do it right.

I go back to work on Monday, which is a dark cloud hanging over me. I'd really been hoping to spend some quality time with my boy, but the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of sitting in the hospital and preparing for the funeral. Even though I technically go back Monday, there's an event tomorrow that I planned, so I'll be gone from 9 am until 3 pm, so it's almost a full workday. Boo.

Here's the peek-a-boo video, as well as a picture of me, my mom, James, and my grandma on Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeping It Real

I was inspired by a fellow blogger's post today about how there's so much pressure on moms to act like they have their acts together. In an effort to show the dark underbelly of new motherhood (and no, I'm not referring to my stretchmark-riddled underbelly), I'd like to do a post about the things that have just plain sucked.

First off, my relationship with my husband is suffering under the strains of new parenthood. The reality is that being a mom is a crap-ton of work. I know that and almost any other mother out there knows it, but I'm not always sure that husbands can understand it. To compound matters, I'm chronically horrible about wanting things done and expecting my husband to read my mind. It's not really that I expect him to be able to do that, it's more that I refuse to be a nag. Sure, I could straight-up ask him to watch James every Saturday from 8 am to 10 am, thus granting me the supreme luxury of sleeping in, but that would involve nagging him and I'm so afraid to do that, so I suffer in silence until I reach my breaking point.

Said "breaking point" this week involved me getting up in the wee hours of Sunday morning, feeding James who apparently thought that 5:30 am was an appropriate time to become uber-alert, complete with smiles and cooing. Cute, right? Well, not with so few hours of sleep under your belt. I kept wishing that Brett would hear the baby and come spend some time with him so I could sleep. He never did and I ended up attempting, through tears, to read James a story.

I just got the book "Babyproofing Your Marriage," in hopes of dealing with some of these issues. I did tell Brett that I simply need more help. Oddly enough, I'm also looking forward to being back at work because it seems like an equalizer. If we are both working full-time, there's no reason we can't both help equally with house and baby care.

Some snippets of suckiness:
  • I have internal hemorrhoids from the baby and have not been able to have a peaceful bowel movement in almost three months. I went to the doctor yesterday and began a four-step process of having them fixed.
  • We've had sex just once since the baby was born. It didn't hurt, but my boobs stared spewing milk partway through. If you want to feel unsexy, try gaining twenty pounds, having stretchmarks everywhere, and leaking bodily fluids onto your partner. This explains why we've only done it once.
  • My grandma is in the hospital dying right now. She's been in and out of the hospital for the past month with congestive heart failure and liquid-filled lungs. We finally decided to just keep her comfortable and let her go.
  • I go back to work in just one week. I love my job, make decent money, and frankly live a lifestyle that requires my income. That doesn't really make it any easier to imagine being away from my little man for 10 hours straight.
I know this all sounds kinda crappy, but I do want to keep it real. As fantastic as motherhood is (James slept 8.5 hours straight the last two nights, by the way), there are some crappy times.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

So far, James hasn't been a great sleeper. He'll usually give me one 4-hour stretch at the beginning of the night, then 2 and 3 hour stretches after that. He really surprised me this past weekend by sleeping for 6.5 hours! We had dinner with friends Sunday night and stayed kind of late. I assumed he would sleep in his car seat or in my arms once 8 or 9 rolled around. He nodded off occasionally, but was awake most of the time. We finally got home and got him into bed around 11:30 pm (way too late, I know). The great thing was that he slept from 11:30 pm to 6:00 am!! I was so shocked that he was suddenly able to sleep so long.

I thought it was probably just a fluke, but then last night he slept from 9:30 pm to 4:30 am, 6 whole hours!! I'm so excited that he's getting to be a better sleeper.

In other news, I've started pumping after the first feeding of the day in order to get a stockpile going for when I return to work. I am apparently closely related to dairy cows, because I have some serious milk production going on. I can usually feed James, then still get 6 to 7 ounces pumping. I feel blessed to have such great supply, especially since going back to work is supposed to reduce your supply.

I have noticed that James tends to cough/choke a lot when he first latches on. I called my LC and she said that I may have a forceful milk ejection reflux, which means that once my milk lets down it comes out too fast for James. We've also been getting lots of green stools lately, which she said is a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and may be related to having too much milk. When James nurses, he never can drink enough to get to the good, fatty hindmilk. She suggested block feeding. This means that I'll divide the day into four-hour chunks and only nurse from one breast for an entire 4-hour block. I'm hoping this makes it easier for him to feed and maybe relieves some of the crazy leaking I have going on. I leak all over the place. I woke up Saturday night and my whole shirt front was soaked, as well as the sheets where I'd been laying. Gross.

I was thinking of trying Lilypadz, silicone nursing pads that completely prevent leaking by applying light pressure to the breast. The LC said they increase the risk of plugged ducts and mastisis, so I'm not sure I want to try them. Anyone out there on the interwebs have any ideas to manage leaky boobs?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Things I've Bought

Going into this whole "baby" thing we had received or purchased everything off our registry. i thought I was as prepared as any woman could possibly be, but I've still found a few odds and ends that I didn't know I'd need. I thought it might interest some future mommys out there to know the things you may want/need but not realize you do.

they are:

1. Medela soothies. These feel so great on sore nips.
2. An extra changing pad cover. Make that two extra changing pad covers. Especially at the beginning, James was peeing and pooing a lot on the changing table and three changing pad covers was what it took to keep me from having to do laundry all the time.
3. Another swaddler. We have the miracle blanket and really like it, but sometimes he'd spit up on it or pee on it in the night. We bought a SwaddleMe Summer weight swaddler as our backup.
4. A Wubbanub. I like using the Soothies pacif
ier because the LC told me they are the closest thing to a breast and are unlikely to interfere with BFing. James has a hard time keeping the paci in his mouth and the Wubbanubb helps. Plus, it's cute to see him wrap his little hands around it.
5. Burp cloths. We had a few of these, but they weren't absorbent enough. I bought some cloth diapers with a little pattern on them and those do the trick.
6. Diaper genie refills. Have lots of these on hand. You'll use them all eventually and it's one less thing to make a pharmacy run for in those early days.
7. Sleepers. I actually didn't have to buy any more sleepers, but I was only saved by the fact that my coworker gave me a bunch of hand-me-downs at the end of my pregnancy. There have been nights when James will go throug
h two or three sleepers, so I like having enough that I don't have to do laundry every day.
8. Diapers, size 0. We had to make a few trips to the store for more of these. i only had one box on hand since I was expecting a big baby. James was indeed 8 pounds, but he continued wearing the size 0 diapers until he was about 11 pounds.
9. Trumpette Johnny's. This was a splurge purchase that I could not resist. These little socks that look like sneakers are the cutest stinking thing I've ever seen.

10. Pouch sling. I have an infantino carrier, which I like to use on long walks and a Moby Wrap that's great when I'm getting stuff done around the house, but I felt like I needed something compact and easy to get him into. When I run errands, I prefer to wear him rather than lug around the back-breaking car seat.
11. Nursing bras and tanks. I had one nursing bra and one tank before he was born. I thought this would be plenty because I used to alternate between two bras and then wash them both on the weekend. Well, that was before I continually leaked breastmilk, which inevitably ends up all over my bras. i now have three nursing tanks and two nursing bras that I wear. When I wear one of the bras, I usually put a Bella Band on too so that I can nurse in public without people catching a glimpse of the stretchies on my flabby tummy. I am thinking about getting a sleeping bra too. I've been wearing regular nursing bras to bed but they aren't comfortable. I'm a really bad leaker, so going braless at night just wouldn't turn out well.

And last, but certainly not least, here's a recent pic of my little man.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Days Without Writing

It's been awhile since I've posted. Not for any particular reason except that there's not a lot to update on. Although he did a 4.5 hour stretch of sleep a couple weeks ago, I'm thinking that may have been a fluke because it has not been repeated since then. He is consistently sleeping between three and four hours at a time during the nights, but we still get up twice. At least when he gets up we are pretty quick at getting him back to sleep. I can nurse him, change his diaper, and get him to sleep again within about 30 minutes.

We are still breastfeeding and it's going well. He has started to be satiated on just one breast, which is more convenient, but it made me a little nervous at first because I worried he wasn't getting enough to eat. He's turning into quit a chunk. He weighed about 12 pounds this past Wednesday when he was just over 6 weeks old.

He also started to smile over the past week. He has the most precious smile I've ever seen. Some of the time it's crooked and only on half his mouth. Other times he opens his mouth in a big, wide grin. I have some great video of it that I'll post soon.

The biggest challenge I am dealing with is that I return to work in about 5 weeks. I know that I will miss James and it will be a big transition to be away from him for 8 hours each day, but I think that I will get used to it after a week or two. What I am most nervous about is how I can maximize my time with him on the evenings and weekends. I don't want to spend the few hours a day I'll have with him working on laundry, dinner, or cleaning the house. Luckily, we already have a cleaning lady, so that cuts back on some of the "extras" we have to manage.

A few nights ago I got up to feed James and couldn't fall back asleep for three hours. I was worrying so much about squeezing in work, time with James, exercising, cooking, etc. The next evening, Brett and I sat down and made a list of all the different areas of our lives that create work for us. We divided up all the tasks so that he has responsibility for some (picking up the house each night, cooking once a week, dropping off James at day care, making sure Champ is clean and healthy, our laundry, etc.) and I have responsibility for others (planning our menus, cooking once a week, picking James up at day care, baby laundry, groceries, etc.) Just talking through things made me feel much better.

I feel so lucky to have a husband who is supportive of my desire to continue working. Not only will he "let" me keep working, he's also committed to being an equal partner in all the work that remains to be done at home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm Walking on Sunshine

We had a great night last night. I mentioned in my previous post that James was feeding a lot in the early evenings and then waking up more frequently during the night. I was one tired momma, but I think it was indeed just a growth spurt. Last night was his best night yet. He fed for quite awhile between 10 and 11, then fell asleep at 11 pm. He didn't wake up until 3:30 am, making it a 4.5 hour stretch! I nursed him and got him back in his crib within about 45 minutes, then he slept another 3.5 hours. I feel so great to have gotten a decent rest and I really hope this is the start of a new sleeping pattern. Previously, the longest he could sleep was 3 hours, but usually he only made it about 2.5 hours.

Yesterday we went to mommy and baby yoga again. He was so well-behaved this time. Right as we got there, he became super alert and spent most of the class time just looking around at the room and the other kids. I nursed him once part way through, then he just laid on my chest during the relaxation poses. It was so much fun.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


James had his one-month pediatrician appointment on Thursday. He weighed in at 10 lbs 6 oz, 22 inches long, with a head circumference of 15.5 inches. He was in the 75th percentile for all of these measurements. Everything else seemed healthy.

Our only challenge right now is that he is wanting to nurse a lot. I'm hoping it's just a growth spurt, rather than an indication of low supply. He seems to be cluster feeding in the evenings before bed and sometime in the early morning hours. Mommy is getting very tired from all the nursing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yoga, Playdates, and Rolling Over

James and I went to Mommy and Baby yoga this morning. It's pretty much like regular yoga, except that since all the other participants are moms, it's completely acceptable and expected that you'll have to pause to nurse, change a diaper, or calm a fussy baby. The instructor was super nice and held fussy babies so that their moms could continue with the poses.

After yoga, we went to visit Kelly from our birthing class and her daughter. The funniest thing is that I was sort of nervous to admit that I got an epidural since going "natural" was the whole goal of our birthing class. At the same time, she was nervous to admit to me that she is formula feeding due to low supply. I, of course, have absolutely no judgements on that. If there's one thing I've learned as a new mommy, it's that we all have to do what's best for ourselves and our babies and that's different for different people.

The last big news item is that James rolled over today!! While I was eating lunch, I put him on his activity mat for some tummy time. He slowly worked his way onto his side and then flipped onto his back. Thinking it was just a fluke, I put him on his tummy again and he rolled over again! By the end of the day, he had rolled over six times. Apparently, it's pretty early for him to be rolling over, which makes me nervous that we may have a very active little boy on our hands.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happiest Baby on the Block

James is now officially the happiest baby on the block. Not much of a feat, considering that we're pretty sure he's the only baby on the block. Over the past week, Brett read Happiest Baby on the Block. I cheated and got it on DVD. Although I think Dr Harvey Karp seems a little like a fish oil salesman, I really do think his 5 S's technique works. For those who are unfamiliar, Dr. Karp says there are 5 S's that can trigger a baby's calming reflex. They are:

  1. Swaddling: which he recommends doing first so that the baby's hands don't distract him/her from being impacted by the other S's. Dr Karp has his own recommended swaddling method, but we use the miracle blanket and I think it accomplishes the same thing.
  2. Shhhing: He recommends a loud shhshing noise a couple inches from the baby's ear. The sound should be as loud as the baby's cries. We make the shhhing noise ourselves during the day, but turn on a loud white noise machine at night. I went to Target for the white noise machine. It was $42 for the white noise machine in the baby section and only $25 for a similar item in the home spa section. We got this one.
  3. Swinging: Karp says swinging, but it's really more like a jiggling motion. We accomplish the same motion by patting James' upper back as in burping him.
  4. Side/Stomach position: Dr. Karp likes kids to be held parallel to the ground and on their side or stomach. He still recommends laying them on their back to sleep. I hold James upright against my chest and I think it accomplishes the same thing.
  5. Sucking: Last, but not least, sucking really calms infants. Dr. Karp says you can use a pacifier or breastfeed. We generally opt for breastfeeding.

Although Dr. Karp says that these methods will improve a baby's sleep, I haven't noticed James sleeping for any longer stretches at night. However, I have found that I can get him back to sleep faster when he does wake up. Rather than taking an hour to and hour-and-a-half to nurse him and put him back down, I am probably averaging about 45 minutes now. He is still waking up about twice per night and sleeping in two to three hour stretches.

In other news, I've found a Mommy and Baby yoga class in town. I'm planning to check it our Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon we have a play date with Kelly and Ava from our birthing class. On Thursday, we go to the pediatrician for James' one-month appointment.

Brett went back to work today, but he works from home, so it's not too big of a change. I was very careful about not bothering him, but it was easy to do since my mother-in-law is here for a couple days to help out.