Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winston is five months

WOO, this past month was a doozy y'all. The day Win turned 4m, we left for Mexico, were home for two days before heading up to VA and then down to FL after just 3 days at home. My poor baby was a trooper (they both were!) but I can't over exaggerate how much I was looking forward to being home the whole month of December. And, with that stability, the hopes of getting my boy's sleep back on track were certainly fueling that excitement. So what's hs up to at five months (and 4d)?



Sleep: shew, he's a mess. Therefore we are all a mess. He started rolling back to belly a few weeks ago, which meant we had to stop swaddling. DISASTER CITY, POPULATION: 4 EXHAUSTED ECKERSONS. Lordy, he was startling himself awake every 30 minutes for the better part of the night. After 4 nights, I said eff this noise and borrowed Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit and it made a huge difference (thanks Sally !!). That, combined with the fact that we finally found a paci he'll take, made for the best nights we'd had in awhile. However, as the weeks have gone on, he's become more and more dependent on us coming in to replace the paci and give him his lovie back. Not for every sleep cycle, but some nights it feels darn close to that. The good news is that he's able to put himself to sleep for naps and has even done it at bedtime a handful of times, so I know he's capable of putting himself back to sleep too (at least in theory) and I'm hoping he'll figure it out soon. 



Eating: he eats once most nights around 4am, and normally throughout the day upon waking up from naps (he's still taking 4x 30min naps most days). Weight gain is great, despite apparent re attachment of his tongue and lip tie (which has caused some pain for me but doesn't seem to be doing him much harm). I am doing a mild dairy elimination (again?!?!) to see if we can get to the bottom (pun intended) of the blood in his stools. We haven't started solids yet, despite a recommendation from our Ped to introduce rice cereal - I just don't feel like he's ready. 



Activity: in addition to rolling both ways, he scoots all over if he's on the floor or in his crib. He's trying to sit up and can go a minute or so before needing to use his hands or toppling into in the boppy pillow. He's starting to show a preference for certain toys, and loves rattling things and crinkly paper. Car rides are getting slightly more tolerable, as long as we time it correctly. 



Clothing: he's wearing some 9 and even 12 month pieces, though mostly 6m stuff. I love seeing him in London's Christmas onesies, although they barely fit him (and he's nearly a month younger than her when she wore them!). We've recently gotten a couple of adorable monogrammed pieces as gifts, which of course I love. And I went through all his "future clothes" bins this weekend - the dude is stocked until he's 2, I think!! We are so blessed with handmedowns (thanks Carla!!). He's still in size 2 diapers but only because I'm stubborn and want to use them up - we might skip 3s altogether for overnight, they're really way too small but I only have a few left!



Firsts: he went on his first carousel ride, train ride, and met Santa for the first time at the pullen park holiday express. Such a fun night with our little family and some dear friends. 



Weight: he's 16'9" (or he was, a week ago) and 50th % for weight, YAY!!! Despite throwing up SO much still, and all of the latch / tie issues, he's still gaining on a great curve so I am incredibly thankful for that blessing. His most recent height report was 82% I think. Still definitely charting tall & lean but he's filling out and couldn't be cuter. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winston is four months

The past few weeks have been so busy and honestly pretty tough, so I'm very delayed in Win's four month update. But a lot has changed since my last post, and unfortunately not much is for the better. 



Sleep: completely unpredictable. On a good night, he sleeps 6:30-3, then up again around 7:30 for the day. Sometimes also at 5. Sometimes also at 9 and midnight. I'm exhausted. The four month Wakefuls hit us early and we have not recovered. Granted, we've been traveling pretty much nonstop for 2+ weeks, so I'm hoping he'll recover some now that we are home for the month of December. Naps are still almost never longer than 30 minutes but he goes down pretty easily most of the time as long as he is swaddled and rocked and has his paci. Our goals for the next few weeks are breaking the swaddle (he is still double swaddled at night) and doing some gentle sleep training. 



Eating: we are off the nipple shield, hooray! However the pain has been slowly getting worse, despite my pediatrician saying there are no teeth in our near future. Not sure if it's his chronic congestion or gas pains that cause the pulling and tugging and chomping, but it's not super fun. But his weight gain is great and he's over 15lbs and 50% (length is 80%!). We've switched him to Prilosec and it seems to help with his discomfort from the reflux. Giving daily probiotics and gas drops as needed. 



Firsts: Winston celebrated his first Halloween as Tigger and went Trick-or-Treating with big sister. He was baptized, attended his first state fair, has started riding in the Ergo, and took his first trip to SC to visit aunt Kiki and meet uncle Ryan. he got to meet some of his Eckerson family in Florida for thanksgiving and some of his Harris family in Virginia, including his Great Grandmother (Ben's Nana Jeanne) and Great Grandfather (my Grandpa Herb). He also, unfortunately attended his first funeral when we tragically lost my Uncle Sean last week. And he had his first overnight (4 nights actually!) away from mom & dad while we were in Mexico. 



Activity: still not rolling back to belly, but he's getting close. He is very interested in his feet and sucks on his fists all the time. He loves crinkly books & toys, bright colors, black & white, and his tiger lovie from Aunt Kiki. He's starting to enjoy his jumperoo, exersaucer and bumbo seat. Doing better in the car seat, though still cries if there's an adult sitting next to him.

 

Clothes: starting to move to 6m and even outgrowing some of his 6m one-piece outfits due to length. But he is still too thin for some 3-6m pants, so outfits are a challenge. Size 2 diapers but likely moving up to size 3 for night time diapers soon. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

What motherhood looks like the second time around

Something happens when the second children are born amongst a group of friends. It's a play date that once would've been sharing anecdotes and coffee and quietly nursing your babies, but now is a series of unanswered questions, trailing off sentences, and utter exhaustion from managing toddlers who don't quite want to share yet. It used to be easy to offer advice, share a meal and help with house chores when a friend had a new baby. Now it's "welcome to the jungle, buddy" as you take turns wiping snotty noses, popping pacis in your mouths after they fall on a floor that hasn't been swept in ... Days? WEEKS? Who can really be sure. Neither of you even know what day of the week it is, or how many times the baby woke up last night, or how many weeks old he is. You're drinking too much caffeine - lukewarm at best, leaving a baby crying in the bouncy seat to take the 2yo to the potty, and wearing at least 2-3 bodily fluids - not your own - at any given time. 

But something magical happens when the second babies are born, and all of the moms start caring for all of the kids, regardless of who birthed them. You start doling out industrial size buckets of animal crackers and bouncing a newborn in each arm and not apologizing for bringing unsliced grapes. And there are a lot of tears, from the babies who can't be held as much as their older siblings and the toddlers who have ALL OF THE FEELINGS, and the overtired, overworked, overtouched mommies. But somehow, someone always has a free arm to stop your two year old from running in the parking lot or hold a pacifier in the baby's mouth while you pee for the first time in 6 hours. 

It's really quite lovely to watch, as each new second baby is welcomed and each new mom of two manages her own terror with the promise that she CAN do it, because look at all these moms who already are! There's so much grace given for moms of two, so much less judgement. And so much more coffee.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Dude is Three Months!

One fourth of a year. Wow ... It feels so different than it did when London was 3 months, I think because I knew I was going back to work. While he still seems very young developmentally, the weeks have just flown by this time around. 

Sleep: still doing 7.5+ hours almost every night - we even got 10h recently!! He's going down around 7:30pm these days, the same time as London most nights. Sleeps great in the crib at night and doing better for naps. I have to be vigilant about not letting him get overtired or else getting him to sleep is really tough. Sometimes still napping in the swing, out of ease / necessity. He seems to nap every 1.5-2h for about 30 minutes, so we are developing a routine which is very much welcomed in my book. Thankfully he still naps well in the carrier and occasionally can be transferred to the stroller or carseat if he falls asleep in my arms while we are out. Unfortunately needs to be rocked for naps and cannot be laid down even remotely awake - something I'd really like to work on. The middle of the night wake still takes a long time but at least it's [usually] only one time!

Eating: still using the nipple shield for most feedings, though I try to offer it without at least once a day. He is pretty inefficient at moving the milk without the shield so he gets frustrated quickly. I have about 40oz to go for me to feel comfortable with my Mexico stash, and exactly a month to do it - time to get serious! 

Quirks & Habits: he wants to be holding my finger while falling asleep, and grabs at the skin on my chest while he's in the carrier or cuddling. He is such a cuddle bug, although he doesn't sleep soundly if he's sleeping in arms or next to me (or anywhere, for that matter; he's very squirmy and grunty in his sleep). 

Firsts: we took Winston to his first wedding and he was a dream! Slept through the ceremony, flirted with the ladies, napped in the sling and never cried. We even kept him up past bedtime so we could enjoy the after party and he was smiling and cooing in his stroller. Amazing what a different baby he is these days! He also has taken his first stroller rides and likes the aprica but not so much the double stroller. He visited the beach for the first time and I left him with daddy for the first time (to go to a baby shower, it figures!). 

Weight: last I checked, he's well over 12lbs - yay! He's even getting little thigh rolls. Up to size 2 diapers (though they're still a little big). 

Activity: he's not rolling back to belly yet (thankfully, I'm not ready to stop swaddling!) and doesn't roll belly to back all the time. Still seems to enjoy tummy time, his bouncy seat and the rock n play. Still hates the car seat! He smile, talks and coos a lot, but hasn't given us a full-on belly laugh yet. 

Clothes: he's moved into 3-6m though the pants are often huge so we haven't packed up the 0-3 pants quite yet. Thankfully the weather is turning so he's able to start wearing his cute hoodies and long sleeve onesies. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's ok if you don't love it all the time

I went in for Winston's two month checkup a few weeks ago, scheduled with precision to allow me enough time to run through the Starbucks drive-thru after dropping London off at preschool and still arriving ten minutes early (a feat that never happens with two young kids and a chronically late husband). After the standard weight check (11'10 WHAT WHAT!!) and brief questions with the nurse, our pediatrician greeted me the way I imagine she greets old friends. She's warm and candid and actually remembers stuff about me and my kids. We complimented each other's hair (hers, darker and mine, shorter) and talked about our parents. 

And then, she asked how I was doing. Not in a "postpartum depression checklist" sort-of way, but in a genuinely concerned way that is a rarity for me to hear as a new mom of two. I told her the truth - that I was OK - and quickly, guilt overtook me for not giving a canned response about how full my heart was with this new baby, so I added in that Winston was sleeping pretty well at night, so I had a lot to be thankful for. Her response was like a breath of fresh air for my weary mama soul: "just because you have a lot to be thankful for doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time." 

Winston is a tough baby, I'll be the first one to tell you that. But being a mom is tough even when your baby is "easy". And being a mom to two is even tougher. Kudos to all of you who do this three or four times because I just don't think I'm cut out for that. Yet I know that I am blessed to be at home with my littles, while other mamas have to tear their hearts into pieces each morning at the daycare drop off. And as the sleepless nights with the newborn turn into early morning wake up calls with the toddler, and as they take turns crying (or sometimes, in unison, for a lovely little chorus of ear torture), and as the laundry and dishes continue to pile up... It's hard not to let my mind wander about whether it'd be easier to go back to work. To wonder if maybe I wasn't made to be a SAHM. To feel so guilty about not enjoying every little waking moment with these tiny terrorists. 

I know in my heart (especially after I've had a cup of coffee) that I love staying home with these two and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But now, when things get really tough and I feel guilty for not fully appreciating the fact that I get to be a SAHM, I'm trying to remind myself of this:

Just because you know it's a blessing doesn't mean you always feel blessed by it. 

And that's ok. And it's ok to want to throw in the towel or start drinking at 2 some days. It doesn't make me a bad mom; on the contrary, I think it makes me a better one, because it forces me to take a minute and breathe deep and not strangle anyone. A day where I don't strangle anyone? I call that a win. 

So, for those of you who are struggling to be thankful for staying home with your kids - whether you're willing to admit it or not - it's ok. Tomorrow will be better and one of those little psychopaths will ask to cuddle with you on the couch, and you'll thank your lucky stars you get to spend your days looking after them. 



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winston is two months

Two and a half actually. But who's counting. I honestly have no idea how many weeks he is at this point, so at least non-moms are spared of having to do the math when they ask how old he is. 

Sleep: I really cannot [should not] complain. He does 7-8h when I put him down for the night, almost every night. We try to have him in bed by 8 or 9 which means I normally sleep from 10/11 to 4/5. And we just transitioned to the crib after his pediatrician encouraged us to try it at his two month appt. he seems to have no issues and was obviously ready to make the move this time around - Awesome sauce. Unfortunately, his wake-ups still often take awhile but I've stopped changing diapers at that time, so that helps some. And he is an early riser, so he's normally back up 2h later for the day. Naps are a whole different [sad] story. He rarely sleeps more than 15min at a time unless he's held. I try nursing, swaddling, white noise, paci, rocking. I try putting him in the crib, the rock n play, the swing. He either wakes up immediately upon being put down or 10-15 minutes later and we repeat the whole song & dance 2-3 more times until I give up and let him be awake. 

Eating: nursing is going very well, all except for the fact that we are still using the nipple shield and he is an extremely noisy eater; put those two together, and discreetly nursing in public is just not possible. Oh, and he wants to eat constantly / very frequently. But my nipples have finally healed and he's obviously transferring milk well. I'm down to only pumping once a day and not even every day; mostly to prepare for our trip to Mexico in November. I had previously cut out all dairy due to an apparent milk protein sensitivity, and did that for about 1.5m but his pediatrician doesn't feel like it's helping enough to make it worth it , so I'm slowly reintroducing in small quantities. I have noticed a difference in his demeanor since starting him on Zantac for reflux (about a month ago) but he still spits up a ton - he's just not as bothered by it now!

Weight: my peanut is now 11lb 10oz and in the 43%!! Such huge improvements from when we were panicking at his 2w checkup. 

Height: I think he's destined to be tall & thin like his daddy; he's 23 3/4" and 75% for length. 

Activity: he still enjoys hanging out in the rock n play so he can be moved from room to room. He has to be around people constantly. Hates the car seat though he seems to be getting just a tiny bit better about being able to sleep in it (which I have to wonder is reflux related and thus being improved by the right medication dosage). He likes the play may for short periods and doesn't mind tummy time at all. Starting to tolerate the bouncy seat, swing and bumbo. Loves the mobile! He started scooting around his crib at night which I'm a little nervous about, but not rolling yet. 

Firsts: he took his first trip to virginia (which was miserable considering he cried almost the whole trip there and back) and met my dad for the first time. He also took his first flight and did AWESOME. So awesome that people around us complimented how well he & London did. We flew to Pittsburgh so he got to meet the "Erie Elwells". He had his first outing with dad - to the beer store, of course. I've still not been away from him for more than 15 minutes [hangs head]. And most importantly, he has started smiling definitively (around 6w) and coos / talks a lot. He is a very happy baby for about 15 minutes at a time until he gets hungry or his tummy gets upset. 

Clothes: it's almost time to dig out the 3-6m clothing because my tall boy is starting to outgrow his 0-3 onesies! They either barely snap or pull down on the neck, and let's be real, a scoop neck onesie isn't so flattering on a little boy. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Winston is One Month

Poor kid. I just don't even have time to shower, much less blog. But I want to make sure I keep record of his first year just like I did for London, so here's a snapshot of Winston Dare's first month. 

Sleeping: right around a month, we started getting some 4h stretches of sleep which quickly turned to 5h. When I think about the nights that he was up every 25m, 5h straight is amazing! That's what London was doing at this age, too. It makes such a difference. I just need to do a better job of going down when he does! We normally do Jammies  & swaddle around 10pm and he'll sleep until around 3, then it takes a long time to get him back down (sometimes almost 2h) and then he sleeps another 2-3h. There's a skylight in his room and I think that may contribute to his morning waking, because he seems to do better on days when it's cloudy or raining. He is sleeping in the Rock 'N Play, which I hate. We were so big on only ever letting our kids sleep in their crib, but he spits up so much that he needs the incline. At least he's in his nursery - he is the noisiest sleeper ever so there is no way we could room share. Naps are a total crap shoot with this kid. Sometimes he falls asleep nursing and I'm able to transfer him to the couch / bed, or even the RNP, but rarely. He sleeps to prefer belly sleep for nap, which means I basically have to stand there and watch him the whole time. Car naps are a rarity and even more so that I'm able to bring him inside and stay asleep. He looooves to sleep in the ring sling - thank God for a sweet friend who loaned it to me because the kid lives in that thing! The days when he does nap midday (not on me) I try to kid a 30 minute nap while both kids are asleep. So needless to say, my house chores are being really neglected these days!



Eating: we are still using the nipple shield for all feeds, but are weaning away from the bottle so I'm thankful for that. At 2w our schedule was: nurse, bottle feed, nurse, bottle feed, pump - it took about 1.5h and I did it every 2.5h. Exhausting!! We are quickly moving to just using the bottle for bedtime feeds to make sure he's well fed before sleeping. I returned the hospital grade pump (that thing is awesome!) but I'm going to try to pump once a day most days, to help stock up for our trip in November. 



Weight: At two weeks, he was down to 7lb 6oz but had grown almost an inch to 21.6" long. We began the pumping / bottle feeding regiment that day and he started gaining weight immediately. We got his tongue & lip clipped shortly after that and his weight gain continued! A few days shy of one month, he was up to 8'12, a full pound over his birth weight. 



Activity: getting some sleep smiles, but not as much as I wish and no sleep laughter. I swear he's smiled while awake though! He enjoys and does well with tummy time, and has great neck strength - we're working with the chiropractor to make sure it stays even. He puts up with a ton of kisses from big sister and loves to be worn in the ring sling anywhere we go. He's been to church and out to dinner, to Marbles kids museum, library story time and parks. 


Clothes: he's already outgrowing the newborn onesies because of his length - gonna be tall & thin like his daddy! He's worn several things that belonged to London, a sleeper that was Tyler's, and even an outfit that belonged to Ben! London loves to pick out his bibs and insists he wear shoes. Poor kid, at least he'll be stylish! I do try to put him in bins every day because of all the spit up, poor darlin. 


Here's hoping the second month gets a bit easier, these were a tough four weeks! But I love this sweet little man and I can't wait to get to know him more. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Winston Dare: The Birth Story [part two]

I left off with asking for the epidural, which felt appropriate because it seems to be a turning point in my labors. I guess my body just needs that relief to relax and progress on its own. After finally requesting it, every minute seemed to crawl by. I prayed during each contraction that it would be the last one before the epidural. 

Side note, is it just me or are anesthesiologists kind-of mean? The one I saw with London was fine but this guy was a jerk; when he finally showed up, he was snapping at the nurse and wasn't particularly friendly to me either. I think I had 4-5 more contractions while waiting on him to get everything set up once he was in the room - let me tell you how hard it is to labor while bent over the side of the bed and not allowed to move. (Hint: really freaking hard!)

Once it was in (just like with London, I didn't find it terrible to have put in!), I was able to relax and calm down - I even did my makeup! At that point, somewhere around 7:30am on Sunday, I was at 5cm so I was hoping things would move along quickly - which they did, just not as quickly as I would've hoped! At some point my water broke and they found meconium, so the nurse (who, while very sweet, was brand new to the hospital which meant extra staff, extra questions, and a few other issues along the way) alerted us he would likely have to go straight to the special care nursery. Not exactly a great thing to hear when so many of my birth wishes revolved around the first few minutes after he was born! Honestly though, I was really calm about the whole thing and didn't let myself freak out about it (thanks epidural!) because it was 100% out of my control ... That doesn't sound like me, does it?! But I really don't think I brought it up at all to Ben, or if I did it was just talking about what that meant. So, a pat on the back for my type A self giving up control. 

Things progressed, slowly and uneventfully. Where, with London, they were saying "you'll have a baby by dinner. No lunch. No breakfast. Just kidding she's here!", with Winston it was more "sometime tonight. This morning. Hopefully today?" but again, I didn't freak out too much. It gave us time to name him and for me to do my makeup (a luxury I didn't have during my labor with London). They worried I may need pitocin, as the fluids that accompanied my epidural really slowed things down, but once those had run though te labor picked back up again and thankfully didn't have to be augmented. 

We updated our parents of my progress at various points. I sipped ginger ale and had a Popsicle at some point, another luxury I was not offered the first time. I may have even snuck a piece of candy that I had packed for Ben. It was all very casual and calm, until they decided it was time for me to push. Yes, THEY decided. Issue number one, right? Before I knew it, they were wheeling in warmers and tables and FOUR nurses (plus Dr. Segal & me and Ben in a suddenly-very- tiny delivery room). The temperature jumped about 20 degrees and Ben nearly passed out from the chaos and heat. 

Another stark difference in my deliveries; with London, it was calm & quiet, one nurse and the doctor, both of whom we loved. I felt totally in control, even though I was in pain and overwhelmed, I had the reigns. This time, I didn't know the names of half the people in the room, there were questions being asked and orders being given, and they were telling me when and how to push. It all felt very medical and scary. I had no feeling whatsoever in one leg, and absolutely no pressure or need to push. As they began to coach me through some "practice pushes", Dr. Segal discovered there was another bag of waters that needed to be broken. Luckily, this one was clear (no meconium) so they said it was likely he would NOT have to go straight to the NICU (praise God!). 

I'm thankful that it wasn't too long or painful but it was extremely disheartening to not feel in control of Winston's delivery.  I really don't remember how long or how many times I pushed, but it was less than 30 minutes. They wheeled out the mirror to help me focus my pushing, so I was able to watch him be born, all purple and gooey and tiny and perfect. So tiny, I kept saying; he's so tiny (he wasn't; 3oz bigger than his sister! but tiny in comparison to the 30lb toddler I was used to lugging around, yes). He didn't have nearly as much hair as we expected but his head was a lovely shape and his tiny lips favored his daddy. Actually, everything did - almost immediately I noticed how he looked just like Ben! 



They immediately put him on my chest and he latched right away while his umbilical cord was still pumping; such an amazing feeling. He nursed while I delivered the placenta - much easier than the first time! - which they preserved to be encapsulated for me. We kept his arrival and his name to ourselves as we chatted with the nurses through his bath, measurements, tests, etc. and got to know our new son. He had no problems finding his voice and had a sweet raspy cry just like London's. 


We made it back to our recovery room just in time for the start of the World Cup championship game, and he was introduced to his immediately-smitten big sister and the rest of our family & friends via social media. He was just perfect, and our family was complete! We are so lucky to have our beautiful girl and our handsome boy, both healthy and happy. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Winston Dare: The Birth Story [part one]

Oh, second babies. You get shafted in so many ways. I mean, sure, there's the benefit that your parents are more relaxed and you'll probably get away with more stuff in the long run, but the downside of that is hand-me-down onesies with spit-up-stained necks and me popping your pacifier in my mouth after it falls on the floor instead of sterilizing it in a steamer. So, you know, I'm sorry. But I digress, it's a month (boohoo!) tomorrow since this kid was born and I have yet to blog his birth story. Or make a single entry in the baby book. I remember feeling guilty that I wrote about London's birth story too late and I think it was only two weeks. Yeah, second kid syndrome. Anyway, here it goes. May be a multi-part story depending on how long the kids sleep... Praise God for both kids napping at the same time, am I right?

My cervix started to dilate & thin out at my 36 week check-up, which I thought was a great sign considering it never did either of those on its own with London. As it turns out, it meant nothing, because I was somehow LESS dilated & effaced at my 39 week check-up (which was a Friday). I asked the doctor if she could strip my membranes, and was told my cervix was too high for her to reach, so basically "good luck, you're going to be pregnant forever!". She to me to expect some irregular contractions that day but that they meant nothing, so I ignored them for the rest of Friday and most of Saturday. Ben volunteered to take London out to his parents' house so I could run some errands & relax, so I spent Saturday leisurely getting ready and checking items off my to-do list, sans toddler, which was basically a Caribbean vacation at 39w pregnant. 

By Saturday afternoon, I noticed the contractions seemed to be coming a bit closer together. Ben was painting the changing table while London & I made brownies, when I told him casually I was going to start timing them. Eight minutes, ten minutes, sometimes twelve. I thought / hoped this was the very early beginnings of labor! I continued to contract as we went to a friend's house for appetizers and drinks (I even had a hard cider!) but was able to work through them so I knew I had awhile to go. When a friend of ours asked about the baby pool, I (only halfway) jokingly told him to pick tomorrow! We came home & put London to bed, and when the contractions started coming closer together, the on-call OB advised we come in to make sure he was head down. 

The problem with a second baby is that you can't just quietly sneak over to the hospital to see if you're in labor, saving yourself the false alarm embarrassment from family and friends. Someone has to sit with the first baby (who was sound asleep and oblivious to the impending arrival of her baby brother). We had friends come over while we went to Rex (I was tidying up the house before they arrived - should've known it wasn't the "real" thing!) and the doctor & nurse confirmed that there was no change from the day prior - too high to even check dilation, not in labor, you're going to be pregnant forever, etc. So frustrating and embarrassing for a second time mom who had been having regular contractions for eight hours!

We sent our friends home and got into bed, with the discouraging news that these quasi-contractions could last for days or longer! No sooner had I fallen asleep than an intense cramp woke me up. I couldn't lay down, couldn't stand up, couldn't find a comfortable position. It passed, I fell back asleep, then another one. And another. I asked Ben to help me time them because they were so intense - three minutes apart. I was sick to my stomach and had terrible cold chills, and I remember telling Ben, "If this isn't labor, I think I have the flu!". After a few hours of alternating between the bathroom and being doubled over our bed, he suggested I take a shower - I think it took me 45 minutes because I kept having to stop & brace myself on the wall. Each contraction, I prayed to let them be "real" (productive) or let them stop. Around 3:30am we decided to call the doctor back (who reluctantly instructed us to come back in) and Ben's parents (who drove 40 minutes to stay with London). At this point, the contractions had been around three minutes apart for close to four hours. They started to build, one right on top of the other. I could barely move, much less speak, and I thought for sure I was going to walk in and have them tell me I was 6 or 7 cm dilated. 

The drive to the hospital was excruciating (I remember asking Ben to drive carefully but quickly!). The look from the hospital security guard, knowing we had just been sent home a few hours earlier, was almost as painful! But when the head nurse, who was our angel delivery nurse with London, saw me come back in, she took us back to the room without any questions and could tell I was in active labor. This was encouraging, I thought ... Wrong. Three freaking centimeters. After two days of contractions I had progressed a centimeter?! But baby was head down and engaged, so that was something, and they were willing to let me stay even though I wasn't at 4cm yet (which is their normal policy). With that discouraging news, I began to heavily consider an epidural, which I finally got about two hours after getting checked. After hours of that intense pain, I just didn't want to do it anymore. I was hoping for a natural labor this time, but I was also hoping for the super quick second-baby labor the nurses & doctors kept talking about - so since that wasn't happening, I went ahead and asked for the drugs. 

[to be continued]

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Terrific Two's

London is so ... Two. She's defiant, stubborn, messy, and constantly negotiating with us to get her way. But she's also so clever and funny. Today, she was in the playroom with Ben while I was in the living room with Winston. She climbed up to the piano and gave the following performance:

"First, itsy bitsy spider!

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Down came the rain and washed the spider out. 
Now London knows my ABCs!"


Thursday, July 31, 2014

19 days into our journey

... Which could also be called "I get it now" or "a lesson in humility". 

I've posted before about how much I loved being able to breastfeed London. The benefits I found from it, the convenience and bonding it allows. While I tried very hard not to ever be too "in your face" about breastfeeding, I was open about it and also about how important I think it is. So it's only fair for me to be open about my breastfeeding journey thus far with Winston. 

I didn't understand why mothers chose formula. I knew that it was often not so much a choice as it was a Plan B when breastfeeding didn't go well for whatever reason. And I tried to be respectful and not overtly judge any mother for how she saw fit to feed her baby. But inside, I thought it was a selfish decision not to at least try to nurse. And I didn't understand why a mom would go straight to formula without really giving breastfeeding much effort. 

I get it now. 

It's easy to say "breastfeeding is hard" but it wasn't really that hard for me so it was an easy decision, for the most part, to stick with it and stay away from formula. I didn't fully appreciate how easy my breastfeeding relationship with London was. 

I get it now. 

I understand why mothers walk away from it. As I sat in my son's nursery at 2am, 5 days postpartum, delirious from feeding every 25 minutes all night, holding a baby who refused to be put down, crying from exhaustion and throbbing, cracked & bleeding nipples ... I would be lying if I said I didn't hate nursing a little. And no one would've blamed me for offering him some formula in that moment. 

Well, no one except for over zealous breastfeeding moms who say they don't judge, but secretly are a little bit judgey. Moms like me. The me from two years ago would've blamed me. And that's not cool. So I'm saying it here, not that any of you need any approval from me or anyone else, but I think it needs to be said: I'm sorry. 

I'm sorry if I gave you a disappointed look as you pulled up to the check-out counter in Target with Similac in your cart, while I purchased breast pads and lanolin. 

I'm sorry for shaking my head at the Facebook picture of your husband feeding your newborn a bottle, as I nursed my daughter for the 5th time that night. 

I'm sorry for assuming you didn't give it your absolute hardest try before making the decision that was best for your family. I'm sorry for assuming you didn't lose sleep over introducing formula. I'm sorry for assuming there wasn't an underlying factor that made it damn near impossible for you to continue a healthy breastfeeding relationship. And I'm sorry for even giving it a second thought because it's none of my damn business how you choose to feed your baby. 

But please know that I get it now. 

Winston latched immediately after birth. The nurses were impressed at the fact that he stayed on the breast for close to 40 minutes in our delivery room. The lactation consultant called his latch "beautiful" and offered little advice other than congratulating me on how much colostrum I had already. By day two, I was sore but my milk had started to come in, so I assumed all was well and normal, that the first few days of breastfeeding are supposed to be painful and I knew it would get easier. By day three, I began to suspect something wasn't right, and at our pediatrician appointment on day 4 I knew there was something off. But after our third pediatrician and two lactation consultants, as well as multiple hospital nurses, said everything was normal, I went home and waited for it to get better. 

By our follow up appointment on day 6, my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I cried almost every time he latched. The pain was toe curling, like he had a mouthful of razor blades and was chomping my nipple off. I took prescription strength Motrin around the clock to get through the next nursing session. I tried different holds, re-latching, massaging, everything I could think of to help with the pain. They offered to clip his frenulum, which was heartbreaking for me and offered no improvement in the nursing. The following week, he started losing weight. I got desperate. I introduced a nipple shield, and a prescription cream to help heal the sores, neither providing much relief from his bad latch. 

At his two week appointment, he was continuing to lose weight and I was devastated. I had cried every day since his birth. I felt like I was failing him as his mother, and I was frustrated that all my effort seemed to be for nothing. After attempting to finger / tube feed with little success, we decided to start a regiment of pumping & bottle feeding. So now, our routine is bottle feeding 1.5oz of breastmilk, nursing until he falls asleep , bottle feeding another ounce of breastmilk, nursing again, and then I pump to try to keep up with him. I'm still using a nipple shield to nurse, a special slow flow nipple to bottle feed, a hospital grade pump, and I'm up for an hour and a half every 2.5 hours. And while I am proud that he is still exclusively breastfed and finally gaining weight, it is HARD. If breastfeeding wasn't so damn important to me, I'd probably have thrown in the towel by now. 

So for those of you who have had similar struggles, or worse, or maybe not at all ... And you've chosen to stop breastfeeding ... I get it. And I'm sorry if I didn't offer you more support in your journey, whatever that looked like. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

[almost] two weeks with Winston

I really need to blog his birth story and my 39w update, but for now, here's a random collection of thoughts on where we are with this little man. 

I'll start by saying, he's adorable. So sweet and cuddly. Loves to be held or worn. Likes being swaddled and white noise. Doesn't like having his diaper changed or a bath. He's done really well with some of our errands so London is able to have some sense of normalcy in her life (we've been to story time twice and went to Marbles today!). 

Nursing him is one of the hardest things I've ever done. By Day Five, my nipples were cracked and bleeding and the pain was so bad I couldn't shower without crying. Every time he latched was torture. To date, we've seen four Lactation Consultants, three Pediatricians and a Chiropractor. We had his frenulum clipped last Friday in the hopes that it might help (it didn't) so, much to my dismay, I'm using a nipple shield and Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment to try to help the nips heal until his latch gets stronger. He's not effectively emptying the breast so I'm basically massaging the milk into his mouth at every feeding. I've had multiple clogged ducts already. It's a struggle, y'all. The good news is, I have such an awesome support system who has provided me a world of suggestions to try - I'm so fortunate that these difficulties are happening with a second baby because I know what to do and who to talk to. At this point, I would really appreciate prayers for solid weight gain at his 2w appt on Monday. Otherwise, I'm taking it one feeding at a time. 

In a related note [I think], he's sleeping horribly. I often fight with him for 2-3h trying to get him to sleep longer than 15m at night. He can't stay awake long enough to get a good nursing session, so he wakes up hungry a few minutes after I lay him down. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit he slept in the rock 'n play for most of the night but I got 2x 2h stretches of sleep so that makes it a little easier to swallow the fact that he's not in his crib. 

My recovery has not been ideal, what with a 2x second degree tear and the fact that I'm certainly overdoing it, chasing a two year old and trying to keep up with at least a little bit of housework. The uterine cramping has been much worse this time and my bleeding seems to be worse as well. I've been taking Motrin pretty much around the clock to combat the cramps & breast / nipple pain, and taking advantage of a 30m nap with the boy while L takes her nap. 

I'm trying to give him and myself some grace, since we are less than two weeks postpartum and having so many feeding issues, but it's hard. Real freaking hard. Add a wild toddler who's acting out and having lots of potty accidents and you can understand my patience is a bit thin, at best. Several nights I've only gotten two hours of sleep. But, again, we have an amazing support system of friends and family who have been feeding us and coming to entertain London so I can focus much of my energy on getting this boy fed, a blessing for which I'll be eternally grateful. All I can do is keep feeding the baby and thank God for each day we all survive! I know it'll get easier (at least I am clinging to that hope!) and that I'll miss this sleep-deprived, snuggly newborn days, but when you're in the thick of it, it's hard to remember that. 

Thanks to everyone who has wished us well, sent gifts or cards, brought a meal or cup of coffee, or just played with London for a few hours. We wouldn't be able to do it without you ! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recipe: pizza pancakes

Can't really take credit for this one. Ben & his friend Billy found the recipe, I just brought it to the kitchen. It turned out well, makes for a quick and easy dinner, and you can modify it to whatever you would want on your pizza!

Original recipe found here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pizza-pancakes

Ingredients
2c bisquick baking mix 
2tsp Italian seasoning
1c milk
2 eggs
1/2c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
Handful of pepperoni, quartered (about 1/4c)

Directions
Combine baking mix & seasoning in a large bowl
Combine eggs & milk in a smaller bowl; combine with dry ingredients until just moist 
Fold in cheese and "toppings" (tomato, pepper & pepperoni)
Heat a greased skillet on med-low
Spoon mixture into heated skillet and let cook until bubbles pop, a few minutes on each side until golden brown
Optional: serve with warm spaghetti sauce 


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Letters to Baby: Hurry up and Wait

Dear Baby,

First, let me start by saying, I'm sorry you don't have a name yet. It's not that we don't care - quite the opposite. For some reason we are obsessing over weird details we never even considered when choosing your sister's name. It's hard to name a boy! Something strong & masculine, but not doesn't sounds like a pit bull or super hero. Something that goes with "London Claire" but nothing that rhymes, starts with L, or has geographic origin. What will your nickname be? Should we use a family name? Will people mistake it for something else? Will there be 4 others in your kindergarten class? It's a lot of pressure! But I promise, the names we've narrowed it down to are all pretty awesome and I know, soon, it'll just hit us which one is perfect for you. Maybe after you're already here, but I'm (finally) ok with that. 

Anyway, the point of this was that we are not ready for you to come. 

NOT. 

READY. 

Beyond just not having your name picked out, your nursery is not even close to finished. Your closet is empty, the crib isn't set up, sheets haven't been washed. I don't have your coming home outfit washed. I have no idea if we own any socks for you. All of this stresses me out quite a bit. You see, your mama is what some people would call a bit of a control freak. Type A. Whatever. So to have all these things left undone is unnerving to me, and causes me to hope you stay inside for at least another month. 

But yet, for some strange reason (maybe because I hate being pregnant and I'm relatively sure if you don't come out soon you might actually break my ribs), I'm so ready for you to be here. I'm over analyzing every possible pre-labor symptom. I packed my hospital bags (sort-of) tonight. I RSVP to things in the coming weeks with the preface that we'll attend if you haven't made your arrival yet. So I guess as much as I am not ready for you, I am as ready as I could possibly be to meet you, and hold you in my arms, and stroke those sweet tiny feet that have been threatening to crack my rib cage for so many weeks now. From as much as I can tell, things are pretty cramped in there so I think you're ready to come out, too. 

And since I'm "full term" and you've been measuring plenty big enough, I'll just go ahead and give you permission to come any time you're ready. Which, we all know, by me saying that means you'll be two weeks late. But hey, maybe then you'll have some socks?

Can't wait to see your sweet face, and watch your daddy meet his son for the first time. We love you so much already. 

Xoxo,
Your mommy

Friday, June 27, 2014

Recipe: yummy burgers

So we bought a cow, right? But would you believe that this week was the first time we've made burgers on the grill with the *amazing* ground beef? They were delicious, cooked to perfection (way to go B!) and London even loved the mini-burger I set aside for her. And for the three of us, it was enough to freeze dinner for another night (read: to be enjoyed in my post-baby sleep deprivation haze). 

Inspired by this post via Pinterest: http://www.littlemissmomma.com/2011/10/best-burger-ever-recipe-with-secret-sauce.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/vlrRO+(Little+Miss+Momma)

Ingredients
1.5lb lean ground beef
1 heaping tbsp BBQ sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Onion powder and black pepper to taste (I use both of these pretty liberally)

Directions
Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl
Form patties approx. 1-1.5" thick
Press firmly with your thumb in the middle of each patty to create a significant indentation; this will allow the burgers to stay "flat" and cook more evenly
Grill each side to your liking OR sautée 4-6min on each side in a buttered pan over medium heat 
Serve on buns and top with lettuce, tomato, etc. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

36 weeks

How far along?: 36w3d
How big is baby?: the size of a large cantaloupe; approx. 19-22in and 6lbs
Weight gain?: none since last week; 21lbs total
Stretch marks?: none
Sleep?: terrible. I have a lingering cough plus the reflux makes me wake up choking and often vomiting, so the sleep is interrupted and normally quite uncomfortable
Best moment last week?: London's 2nd birthday celebrations. Two is the sweetest age! Don't get me wrong, she's a total diva and the tantrums wear me thin, but she just loved celebrating her birthday. 
Food cravings?: nothing of note, besides beer and Italian subs
Symptoms?: reflux, more aches & pains than I could ever list, and one less than pleasant symptom I will spare you the details of
Exercise?: yoga and chasing London
Movement?: I'm constantly feeling his little heel up by my ribs
Belly button?: no change but definitely visible through clothes 
What I miss?: sleep
Labor signs?: as of today, my cervix is starting to thin & dilate and baby's head is low. Great news, considering I never got that far on my own with London, but not necessarily indicative that he'll be here any time soon. 
What I'm looking forward to?: continuing to work on his nursery. Ben is working hard to get it ready!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

34 weeks

How far along?: 34 weeks 4 days
How big is baby?: the size of a pineapple! 19-22 inches and about 4lb 9oz. He has likely reached his birth length and is now packing on the pounds. He obviously had a growth spurt since my last appt because I went from measuring 30w to 34w in only two weeks!
Weight gain?: back up to where I was a month or so ago - overall I think I'm at 19lbs, so on track to hopefully gain only a few lbs more than I did with L
Stretch marks?: nope - even the dr commented on how lucky I was not to have any!
Maternity clothes?: refusing to buy any more but I did get some super comfy non-maternity pants (http://m.target.com/p/mossimo-supply-co-junior-s-soft-pant-assorted-colors/-/A-15128697) from target last week. And I'd like to get some nursing-friendly tops and gowns or pajamas before the hospital. 
Sleep?: ugh. Getting very tough. I'm fighting a cold or allergies, so I'm snoring like a chainsaw (poor Ben even slept on the couch!) and the heartburn (or whatever) is still causing me to wake up choking & vomiting. I tried sleeping propped up but ended up with a horrible headache. And most nights I have to get up 1-3x to pee. But at least I don't have insomnia!
Best moment last week?: we had a nice little adults-only getaway in Virginia Beach last weekend! 
Food cravings?: nothing to note
Symptoms?: aside from the previously mentioned, my pubic symphysis pain has flared up again and the mid-back / rub pain has started. I can tell it's getting crowded in there! Hoping to see a chiropractor to help alleviate some of the issues. 
Exercise?: signed up for 6 more weeks of yoga!
Movement?: frequent and often painful but at least I know he's healthy & active!
Belly button?: out mostly, but didn't stop me from wearing a bikini this weekend
What I miss?: adult beverages 
Labor signs?: he's head down (confirmed by ultrasound yesterday) but that's all for now - and hopefully for awhile!
What I'm looking forward to?: London's second birthday party next weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014

32 weeks

... Which means 10 weeks (at the very most) to go! Hoping for only 8 weeks but you never know - this little guy seems to want to do things differently than his sister. And London is so much like me, so if he's anything like Ben he'll be ... less than timely. 

How far along?: 32 weeks
How big is baby?: according to WTE, he's the size of a head of lettuce (approximately 3lbs 9oz) and about 19in long, which means he's almost reached his birth length and now it's time to pack on the pounds 
Weight gain?: lost 3lbs since my last appt
Stretch marks?: nope
Maternity clothes?: picked up some used pieces from another mama in exchange for making her daughter some hair bows. Win!! Hopefully I'm done buying maternity clothes forever. 
Sleep?: interrupted, sometimes by waking up choking / vomiting. The joys of heartburn. 
Best moment last week?: some of my nearest and dearest hosted a beautiful "sprinkle" to celebrate me & the boy. It was such a fun afternoon with some of my favorite ladies, and we were so blessed with kindness and love!
Food cravings?: tacos
Symptoms?: heartburn is still kicking my butt. The pubic symphysis stuff seems to be getting somewhat worse, so I can really tell if I've overdone it with too much walking. 
Exercise?: yoga
Movement?: getting crowded in there! The movements are starting to become uncomfortable, especially if I'm sitting down and he's pressing into my ribs. Hiccups are more frequent too
Belly button?: partially popped
What I miss?: I can't bend over to put London in her crib anymore, can barely buckle sandles on myself, and it's very difficult to get comfortable in child's pose
Labor signs?: Baby is not currently breech, hooray!
What I'm looking forward to?: heading to the beach this afternoon ... Assuming I ever get out of this doctor appointment. I've been here over an hour and still haven't been called back / not awesome for an appt that shouldn't take more than 15min total. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For the mamas who aren't mamas

Maybe that's wrong to say. What I mean is, I firmly believe you can have a mother's heart without having a child, or without having one who is here on this earth. 

Maybe your baby is not here yet, but you've been praying for him every day. Maybe it's been months, years. Wondering if it will ever happen for you. Wondering if your heart will ever truly be at peace, if you'll be able to fulfill the longing to look into your baby's eyes and stroke her hair and know that this. THIS is what you had been waiting, hoping, praying for. What you already knew, in the depths of your being, was meant to be. 

Maybe your mother's heart aches for a child that never was. For a lifetime of wishing, and finally accepting it will never be. Always wondering what kind of mom you would've been, whether he would've had your husband's dimpled chin or your blue eyes. Mourning the loss of someone who you never really knew, and yet knew better than anyone - all at the same time. 

Maybe your child was on this earth, but has gone on to be with our Heavenly Father. Perhaps she was here for an hour, a day, or even years. Perhaps he never lived outside the comfort of your womb. And you wonder why God would bless you with such an incredible gift, only to take it away too soon. Because, when it comes to losing a child, it is always ALWAYS too soon. Your heart may now be filled with precious memories but also with sorrow for a loss that will never, ever fully heal. 

Whatever the case may be, if you are one of these women, I imagine this weekend was incredibly painful for you. I imagine the cards, flowers, brunch reservations and macaroni artwork was all just too much for your broken mama's heart. And for that, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you didnt receive a card with finger painted flowers or a beautiful bouquet, and that no one brought you breakfast in bed. I'm sorry that you were inundated with the reminders of your child that isn't. 

My heart hurts for you because I know

I have a hard time even putting these words in writing for fear that someone may feel I am trivializing their pain. Believe me when I say, I'm not. Your pain is real and nothing I can say can take it away. But while I'm having pancakes and opening gifts, my heart is aching, too. I lost my first baby on Mother's Day a few years ago and, as too many of you know, it's a hurt you just don't forget. 

We had grand plans of telling our own mothers that they would soon become grandmothers; that their Mother's Day gifts would soon be accompanied by toddler artwork and candid baby photos. But instead, a few days before, I was told it was not to be. That I wouldn't be having this baby. And on Mother's Day, I began to miscarry the child that would've made me a mother. The physical pain was intense, to say the least, but the emotional pain was tenfold. I spent a day that should've been a grand celebration curled in a ball, going in between broken sleep and crying. It was hard. And it got harder before it got easier. 

I am one of the lucky ones, I know. I am beyond blessed to have quickly gotten pregnant and delivered our perfect London Claire. And I am doubly blessed to be carrying, and hopefully soon deliver, a son whom will fill my heart like I never knew possible. But that doesn't take away from my baby that wasn't. And it doesn't take away the hurt of all the women who should be mamas, but aren't. 

So let this serve as an open letter of apology: I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever the reason your baby isn't here. And I'm sorry for the hurt you feel in the darkest parts of your soul. I'm sorry. I pray, pray, pray it gets easier for you. But I know that your mama's heart will never stop being a little bit broken. Because mine still is. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

30 weeks

Three quarters of the way there! I had a doctor's appointment Friday morning and things are going great. I had a great Mother's Day and I can't believe I'll be spending next year's with TWO kids. 

How far along?: 30w2d
How big is baby?: according to WTE, baby is 17in, 3.1lb and the size of a butternut squash. It's funny; in the past month, I've been lectured about how much weight I was gaining, talked to about how big baby is, and told I looked / was measuring small... All by my doctors. So I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing unless they tell me otherwise and assume baby will be average size like London was. 
Weight gain?: 17lbs - back to averaging a pound a week which I'm ok with! Hoping to stay below 30lbs total. 
Stretch marks?: nope
Maternity clothes?: nothing new or exciting. Anyone have recommendations for shorts?
Sleep?: back to being interrupted, either by heartburn or having to pee. Averaging 7ish hours of sleep with at least one wake-up. Tough to get comfortable, especially bc of the awful heartburn. 
Best moment last week?: I had such a fun Mother's Day today! Breakfast with Ben's family, church, strawberry picking, shopping, an awesome dinner, and visiting with my sister & Greg. 
Food cravings?: curbed my Indian craving tonight :)
Symptoms?: heartburn, peeing constantly, heartburn, feeling like I've been kicked in the crotch, did I mention heartburn?
Exercise?: yoga is helping quite a bit with the pubic pain, so that's a relief
Gender?: still a boy, still no name
Movement?: much more frequent and starting to get a little uncomfortable. He's had the hiccups a few times, and gave me a panic last week when I woke up in the middle of the night Friday morning. I waited around to feel him move before falling back asleep, after a pretty slow moving day Thursday, and never did - so the doctor did a non-stress test at my appt, during which I vomited, so she then ordered a cervical check (ugh). Good news: his heart rate and movement is consistent with 32-34w so the dr isn't worried, I'm not having any contractions, and my cervix is high & closed. Bad news: having a cervical check. "A lot of pressure" is the understatement of the century. 
Belly button?: uggggly. I'm wondering if I should reconsider my plan to wear a bikini in two weeks at the beach!
What I miss?: sushi, alcohol, cold cuts (I've indulged in both of the latter recently)
Labor signs?: nope
What I'm looking forward to?: our "roommate" is moving out (Ben's childhood friend who's been staying with us for about a month), and while we will miss having him here (especially London!), I'm ready to get started on this nursery. Only 9ish weeks to go!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chicken Salad

I honestly can't remember if I ever posted the chicken salad recipe I used for London's baptism, so I apologize in advance if there are now two chicken salad posts on this blog. Blame it on pregnancy brain, and the crappy search feature that blogspot uses. I've been craving chicken salad and finally got around to making it - yum!! I made about enough for two decent-sized sandwiches (Ben doesn't care for it) but you could obviously modify the recipe based on how much you need. 

Ingredients 
Two small cans of chicken, drained
Two stalks celery, finely diced
Salt and LOTS of black pepper 
1 tbsp lemon juice
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 medium tomato, diced
1/2 green onion, diced 
2 tbsp (more to taste) mayonnaise 

Directions
Mix everything together, making sure to really mash up the chicken
Taste; add more Worcestershire, pepper or mayo to your liking
Serve on lightly-toasted honey wheat bread, or rolls, or as a lettuce wrap - the possibilities are endless!

This is a great one for parties because you can make it ahead of time! Might also be a nice choice for a new mom; everybody brings dinner, but this could be lunch for several days for her. 

Banana (and strawberry) Muffins

We are big muffin eaters in this house, mostly because our mornings are busy and Ben & I aren't big breakfast eaters. I've been buying mixes & adding my own fruit, but decided to give this one a try (found here via Pinterest: http://www.welltraveledwife.com/2012/09/oatmeal-banana-breakfast-muffins.html?m=1 ). You can easily adapt this to make it gluten-free if that's your thing!

This is a great recipe to modify to your liking. The "(and strawberry)" is because I only had strawberry Greek yogurt in the house, but you can use plain or any flavor you like. You could add chocolate chips. You could throw a few fresh strawberries into the mix (I chickened out but now wish I had tried it!). It's pretty easy and definitely something I'll be making again. 

Ingredients
2 1/3 cup instant oats
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 container (6oz) strawberry Greek yogurt
2 ripe bananas
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use liners (makes 12 muffins)
Put all ingredients in blender (I added the oats about a 1/2 cup at a time) until totally mixed
Pour into muffin tin - they will be pretty full
Bake 15min (check with a toothpick around 13, may need as long as 20; my oven cooks pretty hot)
Remove from tin immediately and place on cooling rack
I recommend storing these in the fridge because there's yogurt and fresh fruit in there!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Third trimester!

Where has the time gone?! Can't believe I have 12 weeks (give or take) left of being pregnant with this little (err, big - more on that later) man. It's true that second pregnancies just fly by and we have a ton to do in the next few months, but I'm thankful and excited to meet this sweet boy. We had a good doctors appointment after our follow-up ultrasound this morning so all is well in babyland. 


How far along?: 28 weeks
How big is baby?: 2 lbs 9 oz according to the ultrasound. He's in the 73% which means they had to have a little chat with me because he's measuring big, but there's so much room for error and time for all that to change, so I'm just glad he's healthy. In the grand scheme of things, it's awesome to know that he'd be 2 1/2 lbs if he was born now!
Weight gain?: I *think* I saw the number on the screen, and I think it was 16lbs or so, so I'm feeling good about it. I'm just going to pretend that's what it is regardless. 
Stretch marks?: nope
Maternity clothes?: I bought some hand-me-downs and a new maxi dress so I'm feeling like my wardrobe is refreshed!
Sleep?: not great, between allergies and frequent urination and heartburn
Best moment last week?: today, finding out the placenta previa has completely resolved itself
Food cravings?: nothing to note
Symptoms?: I have pubic symphysis diastasis which basically means it feels like someone kicked me in the vagina. Apparently it will only get worse and the only resolution is to have the baby. Yay!
Exercise?: prenatal yoga is going well and I'm excited to be cleared for all stretches & positions (bring on the squats!)
Gender?: still very much a boy, she confirmed today!
Movement?: often, but still not painful or annoying. So far he's breech but they don't worry too much until 34w so I have plenty of time for him to swim around. 
Belly button?: sort-of in ... Barely
What I miss?: beer
Labor signs?: lots of Braxton hicks but that's it
What I'm looking forward to?: *hopefully* date night tonight to celebrate all our good news

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eating for two

I'll admit it: although I am not, nor have I ever really been, 100% happy with my body - I honestly don't give it too much thought. I've never had to work out, eat what I want, and can always find clothes that fit (even if I'm not totally thrilled with what size). My height works to my advantage, so 5lbs here or there doesn't even register. I don't get on the scale at home, so pregnancy is the only time I am acutely aware of changes (read: increases) in my weight. And it. is. hard. 

I know I'm growing a human. I know the old adage "eating for two". I know the baby weight fell off after London was born, due largely to breastfeeding. But I can't help but freak out a little as the numbers on the scale continue to creep up. Maybe creep is not the right word ... JUMP might be more appropriate for the rate which they are climbing. 

They say no two pregnancies are the same, but as a second time mom, I expected to know what I was getting into. And gaining almost as much as I did during the whole 40 weeks with London, with 13 weeks to go, is not what I expected. Especially after starting out 10+ pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant with L. Especially after an emergency room visit, a hyperemesis diagnosis, and a very concerned conversation with my obstetrician about my weight loss at my 16 week appointment. Not what I expected at all. But then again, I didn't expect the placenta previa thing either. This little boy is keeping me on my toes, that's for sure. 

I've learned, and it has become more apparent during this pregnancy, that I am an emotional eater. I eat when I'm upset, bored, sad, angry, not feeling well. Pretty much all the time. And while I'm not always making unhealthy choices (I've been drinking tons of water and eating lots of fruits and veggies this pregnancy, plus fixing plenty of healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner - a luxury I didn't have with the last pregnancy), sweets are my weakness. So, if nothing else, I'm making a concession to this kid (and my doctor) and saying goodbye to my nightly bowl of ice cream. Not to say I won't still have some now & again, but three scoops a night is helping no one. 

Farewell dear friend, we had a good run. 

That, and I'm really hoping the placenta previa will be cleared at next week's ultrasound so I can at least walk or something for exercise. I mean, I've never exercised regularly before, but I'm sure I can figure it out, right?

Friday, April 4, 2014

25 weeks

How far along?: 25 weeks
How big is baby?: the size of an eggplant: 1.7lbs and 9in long
Weight gain?: I don't really feel like we need to discuss that. Ha, let's just say it's coming on fast!
Stretch marks?: none, thankfully
Maternity clothes?: went an bought a few things at Walmart of all places (not maternity) to help stretch my current wardrobe a little longer. The biggest problem is finding shirts long enough!
Sleep?: wake up around 6:45 or 7 bc of the sun coming in. Maybe someday my husband will put up our curtains!
Best moment last week?: sweet friends of ours surprised us with a membership to the local kids museum. Such a generous and thoughtful gift, and one we will certainly put to good use!
Food cravings?: egg salad (finally made some!) and chicken salad
Symptoms?: a little bit of spotting (normal, according to the ob) and I've recently been having these horrible sharp shooting pains down low! Hoping they don't stick around for too long. And the heartburn. Good Lord, the heartburn. I'm taking Pepcid in the morning and sometimes again at night, plus tums. Good news, ice cream helps! I do think my skin is a lot better this time than it was London - maybe the old wives tale is true and girls do steal your beauty!
Exercise?: starting my yoga class Monday! London and I have been to the park a few times and went swimming earlier this week, which she loved.
Movement?: he moves the most when I'm relaxing, so mornings and nights are fun. Nothing too painful or waking me up yet. I do think I felt hiccups for the first time. 
Belly button?: getting shallower by the day! Won't be long before I have an alien belly. 
What I miss?: sleeping on my right side 
What I'm looking forward to?: my best friend / London's godmother is coming to visit this wknd! Looking forward to some girl time with her. 
This is actually 24w but close enough. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A possum held me hostage once

I always said that would be the name of my autobiography. Not that my life is interesting enough to warrant an entire book. Just a self-absorbed, stream of consciousness, random-ass blog ... Right?

Anyway, it's true. A possum held me hostage once. My college boyfriend ended up in the ER late night, which was basically my fault. I came back to his then-empty fraternity house to get his wallet (the doctors wouldn't release him without an insurance card) and when I tried to leave, there it was. A possum. Sitting on the front porch. Staring me down. Refusing to let me leave. Threatening my life. My arch nemesis, my biggest fear, looking me right in the eye. 

Ok, that story isn't really exciting. The headline is much better, I'll keep working on the autobiography. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recipe: Four Bean Salad

This was 100% thrown together but a big hit with everyone, even London. I guarantee you can easily adapt it to your tastes / what's in your fridge and it still works! It's certainly a summery side dish but I was serving sloppy joes and I think it worked out, even in 30 degree sleet. 

Ingredients
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 cup cooked green beans, cut into bite size pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped 
1 container feta cheese crumbles
3 tbsp (more or less to taste) balsamic vinaigrette

Directions
Drain & rinse all the canned beans
Cook, cool & cut green beans if using fresh or frozen (if using a can, just drain & rinse) 
Chop all the veggies
Mix all veggies / beans in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat
Mix in dressing & cheese when ready to eat