Monday, February 25, 2013

Surviving the First Weeks

(y'all, forgive me. this post was started months ago ... way back in July ... and I never posted it. shame on me. that's what sleep deprivation / trying to navigate new-mommyhood will do to you. I hope it still makes sense!)

Instead of an updated "London Claire is Three Weeks" post, I wanted to do a special post. I was inspired by Page, who did a similar post months ago, and have been holding ideas for this post in the back of my head since the day we brought London home. And I want to make sure I get this up sooner rather than later, mostly for two special ladies I know who are about to welcome their own sweet babes.

(how'd that work out? good intentions, y'all, good intentions. lucky for me, we always have more friends who are about to welcome new babies into their homes, so hopefully this post will do someone some good, somewhere. if nothing else, it'll be a good reminder for me if / when we have another baby, Good Lord Willing)

Of course, I can't skip out on updating y'all on our girl, but I'll keep it brief. She's been "diagnosed" with reflux and we've started her on Zantac, so hopefully our sweet baby will get some relief soon. In case you were wondering what reflux looks like in a three week old, it's evenings of inconsolable crying, vomiting, swallowing and then crying after burps, and refusal to be laid flat on her back. It is un-be-lievably sad to hold your newborn while she sobs and know there's nothing you can do. But we're trying to fix her, poor thing. In happy news, she's currently 9lbs 2oz - obviously the reflux is not stopping her from eating. And she's starting to wear some of her 0-3 months clothes, which makes mama sad and happy all at the same time.

Now then, back to the task at hand: surviving the first weeks of motherhood. I am certain that this list will change and grow as London changes and grows, but here's where we are after three weeks - the top ten things that have made our lives so much easier.


  1. Boppy Pillow
    This is a staple on all the registry suggestion lists, and for good reason. I didn't pack mine in my hospital bag initially, but I asked my mom to go get it the first morning. I can breastfeed without it, but it certainly makes things a lot easier on my tired arms. And it's really sweet when London falls asleep eating and just lays on the Boppy "milk drunk" as we call it. Get at least one extra cover for it - because babies are messy, for real.
    the boppy is also great for when baby is first learning how to sit on his/her own
  2. Video Monitor
    We went back and forth on whether the video feature is worth it - trust me, IT IS. I'm sure there's any number of brands that are great, but I like ours because it has zoom / pan, and you can independently control volume and video. So a light sleeper like me can just tap a button (almost like a snooze button - which could be dangerous) and turn the video part off and on. This is great for that first night your baby sleeps a ridiculously long time (5 hours?!) and you wake up freaking out that she must not be breathing. Not that I did that, of course...
    if we were buying another one, I might choose this one because it shows the temperature. I go in every night before I go to bed to make sure she's warm enough.
  3. Sleep Sack
    Ben & I watched Happiest Baby on the Block before London was born - I highly recommend it - and utilize pretty much all of the 5 S's to soothe her. Neither of us was particular good at swaddling (that, or L is just a baby Houdini) but we love the sleep sack, especially for middle-of-the-night, half-asleep re-swaddling after diaper changes.
    I recommend multiple sizes and fabrics depending on the season your baby is born. we used these religiously until she was four months old and starting rolling over.
  4. Mobile
    My friend Sloan had told me that black & white contrast is the easiest thing for babies' eyes to see while they're still learning to focus, so I picked a mobile that featured just those two colors. L has loved it almost from day one. She hangs out in her crib and we just keep restarting the mobile over and over again while she lays staring at her sheep - it's pretty adorable.
  5. Sleep Sheep
    This is another one of the "hot" baby items, and there's a number of different white noise machines, but we love the sleep sheep. It's strapped to the crib, and has a variety of sounds and volumes (we use the ocean one). L's godmother bought her a travel sleep sheep, which I keep in the diaper bag at the advice of my mom - it has saved us during more than one car / shopping meltdown, and it will definitely be coming overseas with us!
    when sleep training, the sleep sheep proved to be a downfall because it shuts off after 30 minutes. we ended up using the homedics sound spa with "rain" because it stays on all night.
  6. Swing
    My mother-in-law is the queen of all things consignment, and got this swing at a yard sale to keep at her house. After seeing how much London absolutely loved it, I begged her to bring it to us in a fit of desperation (sleep deprivation will do that to you, among other things). She is sleeping in it as we speak, and has been for two hours. Again, it has a mobile, which she loves, and it's so cozy - perfect for a little snuggly newborn.
  7. Bouncy Seat
    This and this alone is responsible for all of my weekday showers since Ben has been back to work. She sleeps in it, with just the vibration feature, or "plays" in it, with the animals & lights going. It's great for babies with reflux especially, because it's on an incline. And all things vibration are holy in this house. That sounds dirty, but you know what I mean. Or maybe you don't - my baby loves vibration. That's all.
  8. Burp Cloths
    Someone told me at one of my showers "you can never have too many bibs" ... wrong. You can. We do. But you can NEVER have too many burp cloths. We have a variety - nice ones that are embroidered with her name, some hand-me-downs from Sloan that are really thick and absorbent, and some cheap ones that are really cloth diapers but we use them for everything, from wiping up spit up off the floor to laying on the changing pad (so we don't have to wash the whole thing every time she pees or poops all over the place. which is like daily, in case you were wondering).
    try to get some that are thicker than these; they sort-of fold up in the dryer
  9. Muslin Blankets
    These things are stupid expensive so I didn't register for them but thank goodness Sloan is smart enough to know I needed them, so she passed down a few. They go everywhere with us. Covering the carseat to protect from sun, draping over me & the babe to nurse, swaddling in a pinch when she won't nap out on the go. They're awesome, and well worth the money, promise.
    great for playdates when baby is learning to roll over - you can throw it on the ground so s/he isn't laying on a dirty carpet in a public place
  10. Gripe Water
    Poor little London got the hiccups all. the. time. when I was pregnant and it didn't stop after she was born. This gripe water is like magic. I'm not sure if it's just sugar water creating a placebo effect, or if it's just the act of quick swallowing, but a few drops almost always get rid of her hiccups right away. And a baby without hiccups is a much happier baby!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Letters to London: Self Promotion

Dear London,

You learned how to crawl last weekend. It's amazing how quickly our lives changed overnight, now that you are mobile. You see something, and you go after it - whether it's your favorite toy "Kumar the Giraffe", or the space heater (which, for whatever reason, really piques your interest. it fights back, though, as you quickly learned). 

It's scary to know that you no longer stay where we put you, and we have to watch you every second. Especially scary for me, as I'm about to be the one caring for you all day every day. But there's also something really awesome that came with crawling. You are SO proud of yourself for being able to go where you want to go, that you stop and clap for yourself. It might be the cutest thing you've ever done. I couldn't stop taking pictures and video of it, and laughing and crying at the cuteness. 

You have always loved when other people clap for you, and now that you can clap for yourself, you do it all the time. It's the most earnest expression of how happy you are about something. I can't get enough of it.

London Claire, You are fantastic, and amazing, and awesome. And you deserve to be praised. Never stop being proud of your accomplishments, my darling girl. I hope you always know how proud your dad & I are of you. And while I hope we're always there to clap for you, I hope you're not afraid to clap for yourself if no one else does. You deserve it, you're the best there is, and we love you so much.

You're such a special little baby. You make us smile every single day and we are so SO lucky you're ours. 

XOXO,
Your Mommy

Motherhood Confessions: I Love Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant, breastfeeding for me (like many women) was not even a question. I don't entirely know why, but it was one of the few aspects of baby-related care that I didn't even think twice about. Sure, I was worried that - for whatever reason - I wouldn't be able to do it, but I used the phrase "I'm planning to breastfeed" as a placeholder for "That kid will be on the boob the second she's born".

minutes after london claire was born.
literally, minutes.
amazing doesn't even begin to describe it.
My heart breaks for those that want so badly to breastfeed and can't, for a variety of reasons. I now know, thanks to the breastfeeding group I'm a part of, that there are many many factors that can prevent / inhibit the ability to breastfeed and my heart really goes out to you mamas who experience any / all of those. I truly admire your strength and tenacity to keep going, or to know when the right time is to seek other options.

We are so blessed that breastfeeding came relatively easy for both of us. There were days (still are!) that it hurt like hell. I've had to combat supply issues London's appetite with some herbal supplements and depleting my precious freezer stash. Getting a pumping schedule down when I returned to work wasn't exactly a walk in the park. But really, when I see what other women have gone through, we've gotten off easy.

Of course, I didn't know that would be the case going into it. Nor did I know half the battles that breastfeeding mothers face. So why was I so adamant about breastfeeding? After six eight* months and zero ounces of formula, I'll tell you why I think I made the right decision for my family, and why I'd happily make it again if we have another child.

*sidebar: how sad is it that I started this post TWO MONTHS AGO?!

So Why Do I Breastfeed?
  • Intimacy It is instant, and consistent, bonding with your baby. They put London on my chest immediately after she was born. IMMEDIATELY. Cord still attached, covered in ... stuff ... naked as a little jaybird (the cutest little naked jaybird you ever did see, of course). They delivered her from my body, laid her on my chest and she was silent and calm. When I placed her near my breast she immediately knew what to do. And from that moment on, it has been a solace for both of us. It's a time that no one else gets to share, and it's so intimate that I feel the urge to just stroke her soft skin or kiss her hands & face constantly. 
  • Comfort Those first few weeks when I was exhausted and hormonal and had not a clue what I was doing, I could always count on the early morning nursing sessions to cheer me up (read: allow me the emotional release I needed to sob great big alligator tears onto my sweet baby's head). Holding that sweet tiny baby, watching her drift off to sleep "milk drunk" with a half smile, and knowing that you are sustaining that sweet life all by yourself - there is nothing like that feeling. I would just sit in the recliner and weep over how wonderful it was. Now that she's older, that intimacy continues, as she looks up at me and strokes my face or hair, like she's just making sure I'm still there. Heart. Melting. It's extremely calming for London as well. If she's hurt or sick (ie: just got a vaccination), or way over-tired, sometimes nursing is the only thing that calms her down.
milk drunk, sleepy smiles
  • Weight Loss It is a great way to burn calories. Supposedly you burn an extra 500 calories a day while breastfeeding. Well, London takes 28oz of milk at daycare plus 3-4 nursing sessions, so by my logic, I'm burning like an extra 1,000 calories. At least I eat like I am. I eat more than I ever have in my life, and I'm 12 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant. Did I mention I have not worked out one bit since the baby was born? I was more active at 9+ months pregnant than I am now. And yet all my pants are too big! Of course the downside of this is that when I stop breastfeeding, it's all going to pile back on. Which is why I'm just planning to nurse her through college.
  • Cost It's free! A girlfriend of mine had to stop breastfeeding around 6 weeks and she said she spends about $50 a week in formula. That means, to date, I've saved my family nearly $2,000 by breastfeeding. My breast pump was a gift from my very generous mother, so if you tally up the costs of freezer bags, breast pads, and other nursing accoutrements, it's probably less than $100 total. That is insane.

    Unrelated to breastfeeding, but we didn't have to buy diapers until London was six months old, thanks to the generosity of friends and family. Needless to say, this having-a-kid thing has been pretty inexpensive so far. You know, minus that whole daycare-payment-that's-the-size-of-a-mortgage thing.
  • Convenience I always have London's food with me. It's always ready to go. No heating water, pre-distributing formula powder into tiny little tupperware and finding space for them in our already-too-full diaper bag. No worrying about throwing out a bottle if she doesn't drink it that day. I don't even know all the ins and outs to formula, but I am certain I would've forgotten to bring it somewhere about 4,506 times by now. Need proof? The other day, I forgot to bring bottles to daycare. You know, my child's sustenance that I work so hard each day to provide? Yeah. Left it in the fridge. Good work, mom. It's also way more convenient to travel while breastfeeding ... minus the part where they make you taste your breastmilk to prove it's not explosive. Yeahhhh that happened.
  • Health Benefits I'm not a doctor, but I've had plenty of them tell me how good breastfeeding is for my baby. When she had her first ear infection and was so miserably sick, the pediatrician told me, as he was writing a prescription for an antibiotic and I was nursing my girl, "You're already doing the best thing you can for her". What an awesome reassurance! When she was pretty new, this article was shared with me and I've clung to some of the statistics like a life preserver when things got rough. My favorites? "By breastfeeding for at least three months, you have given your baby a 40% reduction in the risk of asthma if you have a family history of asthma" (which I do - both my brother and sister have it) and "By giving nothing but your breastmilk for the first four months, you have given your baby a strong protection against ear infections and respiratory tract diseases for a whole year". There are a ton of additional health benefits, a lot of which are cited in that article.
chubby baby arms from a healthy happy baby
  • I'm Selfish Breastfeeding gives me and the baby an excuse to get away. When we're at a family gathering and things are just a little too loud and chaotic, we get to dart away to a quiet room and have time to decompress. If I want to steal her back from a well-meaning family member who's been holding her too long for my liking, I tell them she has to eat and no one (especially men) asks any questions. Even at work, I get to spend 30 minutes 3 times a day thinking about my baby. Especially when the baby is tiny, people want to hold him / her constantly and it can be a nice break for the new mother for awhile. But then, it's like "Hey, that's my kid, give it back" and breastfeeding totally gives you the right to do that. 
I hope this can be an inspiration to future mothers - I'm happy to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and the challenges and joys you might face. I also have a great group of women in the Triangle who meet as a breastfeeding support group, if anyone is interested.
the sweetest moments are when she falls asleep in my arms
skin to skin
each time it happens, I worry it could be the last
so I hold her for just a few minutes longer than I should.
I'm sure there are thousands of other reasons that I, or billions of other women, breastfeed. What are some of your favorite reasons?

And for moms who choose formula, I'd love to know your reasons for making that decision! I know it's not always a choice, but I also know that some women are just as adamant about NOT breastfeeding as I was about doing it - so if you're one of those women, please chime in and educate me!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe: Potato Soup

I had some not-great luck with a recipe for cashew chicken the other night, and was feeling somewhat defeated (even though my sweet husband told me it was fine). I needed a win. Potato soup, how could you go wrong? YOU CAN'T. Trust me on this one. About halfway through the process, I was like "this is going to be a gross mistake" but I was wrong. It was amazing and delicious and so easy and I ate so much I had to unbutton my pants. Yeah, that good. I don't know what your pantries / freezers look like, but this was all stuff I had on hand, so that's an added bonus, and I imagine it would freeze really well.

You could do this in the slow cooker, but I decided to make it for dinner at 6pm so I made it on the stove top. You also could use vegetable broth and cream of mushroom soup to make this vegetarian. And finally, you could use low fat / low sodium everything EXCEPT the cream cheese. Don't do that, it won't melt.

Recipe was inspired by Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour (I seem to be using a lot of her recipes for inspiration recently).

Ingredients

  • Bag of frozen shredded hash browns (between 24-30oz)
  • 2 cans chicken broth (28-32 oz total)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (approx 14oz)
  • 1/4 large onion, finely diced 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 block of cream cheese (approx 8oz)
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, chopped bacon

Directions

  1. Add hash browns, broth and soup to a large stock pot; cook on medium heat until all the hash browns are loose
  2. Add onions and pepper; reduce to medium-low heat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring regularly (hash browns will start to dissolve and get very mushy)
  3. Add cream cheese and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring regularly, or until cream cheese is completely melted and hash browns are very mushy - almost dissolved



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

London Claire is Eight Months

My My My, what a big month it's been for our girl - and for us! With every milestone comes a new set of a challenges, and I am so thrilled to be able to face them all full-time as her mommy starting next month. Her personality is really starting to flourish these days and she is such a joy to be around. She loves to entertain herself and anyone else who will give her the time of day (which is everyone - how could you not pay attention to this kid?!). She definitely keeps Ben & I laughing and as sweet and funny as she is, she grows more and more beautiful every day. We are so blessed with the perfect baby for us!

One thing I'd like your help on - we are looking for a new soft carrier. She has always done so well in the baby bjorn but girlfriend is HEAVY. So we need something new. Preferably something that goes back and front and allows a pretty high (45lbs?) weight limit. I'd love your suggestions on carriers that do / do not work well for older babies.

Age: Eight Months
Height: Still Unknown. Mom Fail.
Weight: 18lbs 14oz as of last week
Hair: Ashleigh is insisting I let her cut the back. She has these strands in the middle of the back of her head that never fell out and they're pretty terrible. Thoughts on haircuts before a year? I never thought I would care, but it makes me a little sad to think about!
Eyes: No change. Can I take this one off yet? Moms whose babies' eyes changed color: how late did it happen?

killin' me with those eyes, kid
Favorite Outfit: My cousin Daniel bought her these jammies for Christmas that have mop-like attachments on them. Now that she's CRAWLING (?!?!?!), they were perfect. Get her started on house chores early!
Sleep: Cold + Teething meant she started waking up around 5 to eat. I gave in, because I knew her congestion wasn't allowing her to eat as much during the day. So our norm now is putting her down at 7:30 or close to, feed sometimes between 4:30 - 5:30 (sometimes as late as 6) then back to sleep for an hour or two. Of course I wrote this yesterday, then last night she slept 7:45 to 6:45. Praises!! Napping is still not great, but she always naps in the car, and I actually got her to nap in her crib yesterday so we're making progress. Really hoping I can get her on a solid nap schedule once I'm home. Wishful thinking, probably.
Eating: Oh my. This girl loves. to. eat. I can't imagine where she gets it from (ha ha!). She still adores cottage cheese, and we use animal crackers to keep her occupied during church, etc. She was eating strawberries last night and couldn't get enough - was grunting and slamming her high chair tray because Ben wasn't cutting them fast enough for her liking. She loves dill pickles and has recently tried turkey bacon, chicken, limes, mandarin oranges (she ate an entire can at dinner the other night. word to the wise, they don't fully digest), pancakes, refried beans, tater tots, hush puppies ... pretty much anything we eat. We're so blessed she's a good eater!
eating pumpkin bread at school
Illness: After a two-week cold, I finally took her in to find out she has another mild ear infection. So we're back on antibiotics, but hopefully getting her out of daycare will prevent many more of them. She never ran a fever and never acted like her ears were bothering her, but had a consistently runny nose and was up all night coughing, poor baby.
she entertained everyone at the pediatrician
Development: She got her first tooth last week, but does not want me to see it. She runs her tongue along her gums from time to time, and I can feel its little sharpness cutting through (not too bad when it comes to nursing yet, thank goodness). She loves to clap, especially for herself (after crawling, while looking at pictures of herself, etc). She's starting working on "B" sounds and talks all. the. time. Again, don't know where she gets that from!
Movement: Crawling! It's a funny little wobbly crawl but I definitely think it counts. It gets her where she needs to go, that's for sure - she's into everything, overnight. Opening drawers, pulling things down / over, we have to watch her constantly. And she can get from laying down to sitting now, which means when she wakes up she sits straight up in her crib and often times stares into the monitor and yells at us. Not awesome. She loves to walk / stand, and jumps ALL the time!
video
Favorite Toy: This giraffe thing. No one really knows what animal it is, but this is pretty much the exact one we have and she adores it. So much so that I had it line-drying (he was a spit-up victim) in the kitchen while I was feeding her dinner and she started freaking out when she saw it. It attaches to her wrist or a stroller / high chair, has a mirror and other hard discs for her to chew on, and has a crunchy neck, soft nose, all those good things babies like. Bright Starts has a lot of great baby toys she likes, as does Sassy.
Funniest Habit: She crawls a few steps, then claps for herself. Clapping is pretty much her favorite thing. Honestly, it warms my heart because it means we're giving her so much praise and encouragement that she does it for herself - I hope she never stops being proud of her accomplishments!
Best Moment of Last Week: Learning how to crawl, of course. She celebrated her first Valentine's Day and looked adorable as always, wearing a shirt from her best friend Estie Jo. No major events, but she makes us smile every day.
her shirt says "born to break hearts"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Motherhood Confessions: Sometimes Marriage is Scary

Maybe it'd be better to say "Sometimes LOVE is Scary". I think you can have a real, earth-shattering, life-changing love without being married. But, and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, things change when you get married. Shit gets real.

Let me start by saying I have never EVER, even for one minute, had even one ounce of worry that my husband would ever EVER cheat on me. Ever. Can I say it one more time? 

EVER. 

He is the most loyal human being on the planet. He worships me like a queen, physically and, lately, emotionally as well. When we first were introduced by my cousin, he told me, "Ben is a walking Valentine's Day card". All that aside, when I hear about friends or acquaintances or even bloggers I follow who are dealing with infidelity, it makes me sick to my stomach. It's like a punch in the gut - not because it makes me worry for my own marriage, but because I cannot even fathom what they must be going through. And then, it's like a slap in the face, because I realize I should be thanking God, and my husband, every. freaking. day. for the peace of knowing that will never be us.

But I don't spend every day grateful for this peace. I take advantage of it, just like I've taken advantage of my marriage. I think, deep down, everyone can say that at some point, they became complacent in their marriage. It's easier than we'd like to admit. Life gets in the way, jobs, social lives, friends, family, kids [especially kids!]. We take advantage of the fact that our spouse will always be there 'till death do us part. It's normal, I think. Sad, but normal. 

However, I'm quickly learning that part of what makes a truly successful marriage, one that will one day celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary [and do it happily!], is how we react to these little valleys over the years. And that starts, I think, with admitting it's happening. Admission of guilt, fault, whatever you want to call it. Coming to grips with yourself, and your spouse, that you're not giving your marriage 100%. That is scary. And that's not fair to either of you, and you don't want to do it anymore. And then finding ways to fix it, before it's too far broken. 

I'm not pretending I'm a marriage or relationship expert. I'm not pretending my marriage is perfect. It's far from it, in fact. But I'm hoping this will be a gut check for me now, and down the road. I think marriage, like all relationships, go through seasons. I have always been in love with my husband, and always will be. Part of being in love - to me - means figuring out what the other person needs during that season, and being with them. Not "there for them" or whatever people say during a hard time. But really being WITH them during whatever they're going through. Going through it together. Being what they need most from the person closest to them. Figuring out together how to overcome and be stronger on the other side AS A COUPLE.

Being new parents has definitely brought on a new season to our marriage, but I am taking this moment to realize how incredibly grateful I am that my husband loves me enough to prioritize me, and our marriage, above all else. And I only hope that I can bless him with the same peace he has given me. But I'm confident, in the same way that I'm confident it was God who handpicked us for each other, that HE will lead us through to be stronger on the other side, and show us how to be the spouses that each other needs. It's really not anything that I'm going through or that Ben is going through, because we are a couple, a unit, that God has brought together. Stronger together than we could ever hope to be on our own, Amen?

Matthew 19:6 "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Motherhood Confessions: I am not afraid. I was born to do this.

I read that quote on Momastery this morning and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Supposedly Joan of Arc said it. Who knows if she really did. Who cares. It is, or should be, true for any one of us at some point (and hopefully multiple points) of our lives.

I am not afraid.

I was afraid. I got sick to my stomach and shaky every time I talked about quitting my job. I asked my best friend if perhaps I was making the wrong decision. She told me what I already knew - that only I could decide that. But that if I felt it was the right decision, it would become the right decision. And when I finally did it, I started to realize that I wasn't quitting my job. That's not what this is about. It's about choosing to stay home with my daughter. My precious gift from God who is changing by the minute. It's about accepting the gift my husband is giving me. The opportunity to focus 100% of my time and energy on our child and our home and things that make me happy if I can find the time for them, free of guilt for the fact that I'm no longer contributing financially to our existence. I am not quitting. I am choosing a different path, and I am not afraid of it.

I was born to do this.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. Always. Even when I saw my own mother screwing up, or when I felt like she wasn't being the kind of mother I saw on television, I loved who she was. I loved what she did for us. I understood, at nine years old, the sacrifices she made to give me and sister a better life. She gave away the life she knew to save us. That is being a mother in the most raw sense. Sacrificing yourself, for your children. And while it's easy to see this decision to stay home as a selfish one, it's a sacrifice for me to care for London. I will be giving up a lifestyle I've gotten very accustomed to - eating out whenever we choose, going out for drinks, shopping, traveling, setting a budget but never adhering to it. I will be losing a part of myself socially and emotionally, through I'll try to find new ways to augment those and other portions of myself in my new life. But I am so happy to do it. Thrilled, in fact. Because I was born to do this. I was born to be a mother. London's mother. And hopefully, someday, someone else's mother, too. But for now, this is what I was born to do.

I am not a talented musician but if I was, I'd find a way to express my thanks for this new chapter in a beautiful song. For my husband, and for God, and for London. Ever since I made the decision to leave my job and stay at home with my girl, it feels like the chains around my body, especially my heart, have been broken and my heart is singing for joy

I am not afraid. I was born to do this. I hope you find what you were born to do. And I hope, when you find it, you are not afraid. Because there is no greater blessing than being who you are, and doing what you were born to do.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"How's She Sleeping" Part Two

I should've posted this months ago, because I know you were all hanging on the edge of your seat waiting to hear how CIO worked for us. But in seriousness, someday we will (God willing) have another child and I'll need to remember that IT. GETS. BETTER.

Mamas of babies who sleep through the night, can I get an "Amen"?

We had two really rough nights. REALLY rough. I asked the pediatrician if there was a limit on how long we should let her cry, and she said no "but it's not like they're gonna cry for three hours straight". Obviously, lady, you don't know my kid! 

Night one: down relatively easy, then the first middle-of-the-night waking she cried. And cried. And cried. FOR THREE HOURS. and I finally cracked because oh my god she's going to explode or something so I went in and nursed her. Bad idea, I know, but what could I do, the pediatrician said she wouldn't cry for three hours and THAT LITTLE MONSTER CRIED FOR THREE HOURS?!? Then back to sleep for the rest of the night. No fucking wonder, she wore herself out, I'm sure. 

Night two: Again, down easy. First waking comes and wouldn't you know it, she did THE SAME THING DAMN THING. three hours. How did we get through it? A free white noise app ("white noise lite") on my iPhone, turned up as loud as it would go, and an alarm set in intervals to check the video monitor. And when it hit three hours (really, when it hit two hours and fiftynine minutes because ohmygod icanttakethisonemoresecond) I nursed her again. 

Night three: blah blah blah, wake up, cry for 45 minutes, then back to sleep. Only 45 minutes, you say?! I KNOW!! God bless America, this mess is working. 

Night four: I don't exactly remember all the fine details, but it went something like goodnight London, see you in the morning ... And then we saw her in the morning!! 

Has London slept every night since then for 12 hours straight? No. Because there's evil demons like teething and colds and traveling and any other excuse you could think of whose sole purpose is to fuck with your kid's sleep and ruin your life. And because she's a tiny human, and tiny humans like to mix it up on you just when you think you've got this parenting thing down because they can't have you getting too cocky. But overall, she's a good nighttime sleeper. And we know when there's something legitimately wrong versus when we need to let her "work it out on her own" (it sounds nicer than cry it out) and reset her little system. 

I'm not going to tell you it works for every baby, but it worked for us. I hate hearing my baby cry as much as the next mama but when it comes down to it, something has to give. I don't judge the parents that co-sleep if it gets them and their baby more sleep, and I appreciate the parents that don't judge us for sleep training. We're all just trying to do the best we can for ourselves and our kids, right? 

Motherhood Confessions: I hate Sunday nights

(It's funny, because I started this post several weeks ago and I never finished it. Never finished, because I was too busy trying to juggle. My life was, and still is a circus. I don't have delusions of grandeur that I'm going to wake up on March 1 and my life will magically be in order, but I do know this: On January 29, I felt my entire body sigh with relief. And while I know not all of my problems will be solved on March 1, it's the first day of a new chapter in my life. A chapter I'm pretty darn excited about.)

Sunday nights are pretty much my least favorite part of the week. Most of you would probably argue that Monday mornings are far worse than Sunday nights, but hear me out.

Sunday night means the house is never as clean as I want it be to start the week, I've never done as many chores or run as many errands or thought of anything to have for dinner for the week. I'm always too tired to be starting a new week. And London is too tired from a busy weekend that I have no choice but to put her to bed on time, when all I'd rather be doing is snuggling on the couch as a family of three and letting her fall asleep nuzzled in between us.

On Sunday nights, I have nothing to look forward to besides the start of the work week. The start of the work week means dropping my precious baby off at school and watching my husband walk the three blocks to his office. In a matter of moments, the two people I love most separate, and I feel like my heart is being ripped into a million pieces with each block I drive from them.

Sunday nights seem to be a culmination of how much I don't have it together. How I thought by now, this many months in, that I would have it under control. That things would be manageable. And instead, I feel so overwhelmed that I hide in the solace of a dark beer and catching up on DVRed shows. Because I treat irresponsibility and chaos with more irresponsibility and chaos.

If you're one of those people who sees Sunday night as an exciting time, a fresh start to a new work week, the end of good times over two days off - how do you do it? How do you find the silver lining? Because I'm sort-of at a loss right now, and the pit in my stomach grows, week over week, to the point that people might start thinking I'm pregnant again.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet The New Boss

As of March 1, this is my new boss.
She's a tough client, with somewhat unreasonable deadlines.
But I have a feeling the ROI will be worth it.