Sunday, October 26, 2014

2 Months for the Diaper Diva!

I won't lie. Month 1 could not have gone by any slower. Being a new mom was/is hard work. However, dare I say things are actually getting a liiiitle bit easier to figure out?! The days and nights are going a tad bit smoother, and time is really starting to fly by.

I am now seeing what people mean when they say to enjoy it, because it goes by too fast! In fact, Preston turned 2 months over a week ago on the 18th, and I'm just now having a moment to blog about it. I took some 2 month shots of him, which turned out pretty cute considering I had about 3 minutes to get them before he started losing interest. He got all excited once I put down the golf tees and balls next to him, which is definitely a good sign for dad...

We're getting lots of smiles these days, and his personality is really starting to show.  I've a feeling we've got a little lady killer on our hands. I can't wait to see more of his little personality reveal itself.

Preston's 8 week check-up went really well...much better than I'd anticipated. In fact, I am the only wuss in the family apparently. The minute the nurse came in with the tiny silver tray of needles, I started tearing up and had to walk to the corner of the room while hubby stepped in to be with P. There was a really loud cry as he received the shots in his legs, but he was perfectly fine 1 minute later before we even left the office. His new wubbanub has proven to be a Godsend. The minute we got in the car he was out cold, with puppy paci in tote...

He had a very low grade temp over the following 24 hrs, but we gave him Tylenol a couple times and he slept it off fine. No horror stories or major fussiness to speak of THANKFULLY. Preston weighed 13 lbs. 3 oz at the apt (80% for growth) but is now over 14 lbs!

A week later we thought it was high time we ventured into public, although I was kind of hesitant. We're still being extremely careful about public places and strangers wanting to hover. There is just too much nonsense out there going around. A friend told me about these cool little signs that you can hang above baby to nicely say "Back the F off!" haha!

I felt better having the signage although I'm not sure we needed it. Although we made sure P was fed, changed, and happy before we left, we had 3 wet diapers with hissyfits for each in the course of 45 minutes, and he was hungry again and eating in the car by the time we called it quits. Exhausting much?

I seriously don't think I can handle taking him out in public places by myself yet, because it took both hubby and I to accomplish the mission. Hubby took him twice to change him while I bought diapers at Target. The boy does NOT like sitting in wet diapers and lets you know the minute he goes. Such a diaper diva! Apparently, he also doesn't like hand blow dryers that sound like an airplane is landing in the restroom either, as it scared the living daylights out of him and made him cry. It was also 87 degrees out, and he was sweating and uncomfortable in his carrier, poor thing.

Next time, I think we'll take his Baby Bjorn and strap him onto me instead. At least we tried though, and we were proud that we managed to hit 3 stores quickly. We were determined to say the least! Perhaps we should expose him to some new people in the comfort of our own home for now, before bombing him with so much stimulation all at once. He was so darn happy to be back home, and it was obvious.

Speaking of outings, I have a question for moms with babies who HATE wet diapers. We used to at least take walks around the neighborhood and P would sleep, but this is no longer guaranteed since he's awake more these days. What on earth do you do if you're out walking and a wet diaper occurs God forbid? We have a few little parks around our neighborhood with benches to change him on (which I've done), but if it occurs a mile away from home (which it has), I can't exactly just whip him out onto someone's front lawn and change him! So then, I am the crazy lady walking around the hood with a screaming baby. This has put a crimp in our walking plans as of late, and I'm really hoping this "Get this pee diaper off me NOW!!!" phase dies out. All suggestions are welcome if you've experienced the same thing, please and thank you!

Needless to say, we've been trying to stay as busy as possible and get outside while at home. Preston looooves being outside, especially now with a couple cooler mornings. The other day we picked roses...

He likes having his Rock n' Play outside with his toy arch attached. We sit outside and enjoy fresh air and birds chirping in the mornings...

Always guarantees some smiles...

Practicing grabbing and pulling on things...

Spending time sitting in his bumbo chair, although his fat little pork chops are already getting stuck in it when we lift him out...

He still snuggles with his favorite stuffed fox (and of course his puppy wubbanub)...

And since the pedi says he has the head control of a 4 month old (yes, a little humble brag), we are enjoying our new jumperoo too...

He loves spinning the wheel while mom or dad helps him bounce. And by the way, he's pretty smitten with his dad too...

Snuggamonkey play mat time on the daily...

And as much as P hates wet diapers, he loooves it the minute he has a new fresh one on. Immediate contentment...

Taking the cake is bath time. What was once a hit or miss event, has now earned a 100% hit rate for happy baby...

Last but certainly not least, we are enjoying plenty of extra snuggle time these days. Looking back on these pics, it's just crazy how much he's progressing and learning and growing in such a short time. I am cherishing every last snuggle that I can while he still wants to be in my arms...

It's safe to say, I'm falling more head over heels in love the sweet little man that Preston is becoming each day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Power of a Praying Wife

When hubby and I got married, I would always hear how "marriage is hard work." I'm sure you've heard this saying too. The funny thing is that I never understood that phrase. Marriage wasn't hard work for us. I guess we were extremely lucky, because it always just worked really well without the hard part.

Maybe it's because my mom prayed my entire life that I'd meet the exact man God had chosen for me. Maybe it's because we lived together for quite some time before getting hitched. It wasn't like we moved in together for the first time. In fact, my husband was living in London working for a tech company and I was teaching 6th grade in Orlando at the time we got married. We'd lived together, apart, and had survived a lot. I'd just lost my mom to cancer a few months prior and my step-father to cancer 6 months before that. That to me, was HARD. Marriage was not.

We had YEARS of living without much worry; financially, health-wise, emotionally. We moved a lot for his company yes, but outside of that, life was gravy. We went where we wanted, when we wanted, and did things how we wanted.

Then, came the unexpected 3 yr+ journey to parenthood. Never could we have prepared for the bumps in the road. I have seen marriages end a result of embarking on this excruciatingly tough road. Not ours thankfully. However, I think it was the first time in a long time where life (which includes marriage) required work. I know I don't need to explain. You guys GET IT.

So here we stand, arriving at the place we've worked so hard to get to. Our dreams of becoming parents have come true. We have a beautiful, healthy baby boy who lights up both of our worlds the minute he opens his eyes every single day.

Why then, does it feel like I'm sometimes drowning in a mess of emotions still...or maybe again, just in a different way? I find myself floundering to figure out this parenting thing. I'm surprised at how well I'm learning to mother in certain areas, yet feeling completely defeated in others. Am I doing this right??

One of the places I know I can do better is being a better wife. I have caught myself a lot lately being someone I don't want to be...someone who makes sarcastic remarks, or corrects my husband, has to have things "my way", or becomes a smart ass when someone wraps a piece of pizza in tin foil because it's too loud and will wake the baby sleeping in the living room. Yep, that happened. To my defense though, why must tin foil be so loud?

I know without a doubt much of it's due to getting literally only 3 solid hours of sleep each night (usually 9 pm-midnight) until my shift for baby watch begins again from 12-6 am. My body is getting so used to lack of sleep it's even become impossible to nap while P's napping, whether it be day OR night. I won't lie. It's wearing me thin, and it presents itself by highlighting all of my most flawed character traits, bringing those into the forefront. It doesn't help that I am a textbook Gemini. Whoever said life is like a box of chocolates must have missed greek mythology and the story of Pandora.

However, this too shall pass. The life of a first time parent, and especially one of a newborn, is going to present challenges that no one could prepare us for. And for one of the very few times in our lives, marriage may actually require some work. It may require me to hold my tongue more often, to ask myself how what I'm about to say or do affects my spouse and my family, and to be comfortable with not being right. I am working on it though, and am committed to being a more laid back wife who points her finger a little less.

Recently, I started reading a new devotional, The Power of a Praying Wife. I'm only a couple chapters in, but this book couldn't have come at a better time. I am absolutely loving it! I want to share with you the first prayer from the book.

If you take the time to read it, I promise you won't be disappointed. I hope you get as much from it as did I...

Lord, help me to be a good wife. I fully realize that I don't have what it takes to be one without Your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mind-sets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22-23). I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only You can transform me.

Show me where there is sin in my heart, especially with regard to my husband. I confess the times I've been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him. Help me to put aside any hurt, anger, or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way You do-totally and completely, no looking back. Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, and healing in this marriage. Enable us to communicate well.

Make me my husband's helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support. Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to. Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him. Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make the the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife.

I lay all my expectations at your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You. Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him. I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could. I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only You, Lord, are perfect, and I look to You to perfect us.

Teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love. Where love has died, create new love between us. Show me what unconditional love really is and how to communicate it in a way he can clearly perceive. Bring unity between us so that we can be in agreement about everything (Amos 3:3). May the God of patience and comfort grant us to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus (Romans 15:5). Make us a team, not pursuing separate, competitive, or independent lives, but working together, overlooking each others' faults and weaknesses for the greater good of the marriage. Help us to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Romans 14:19). May we be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement" (1 Corinthians 1:10).

I pray that our commitment to You and to one another will grow stronger and more passionate every day. Enable him to be the head of the home as You made him to be, and show me how to support and respect him as he rises to that place of leadership. Help me to understand his dreams and see things from his perspective. Reveal to me what he wants and needs and show me potential problems before they arise. Breathe Your life into this marriage.

Make me a new person, Lord. Give me a fresh perspective, a positive outlook, and a renewed relationship with the man You've given me. Help me see him with new eyes, new appreciation, new love, new compassion, and new acceptance. Give my husband a new wife, and let it be me.

In Jesus' name I pray.

No matter what we're going through in life, I've always known that our marriage needs to come first. Even with Preston now here, my husband still comes first and always will. We are the foundation that this family will be built upon, and as everyone knows, a house that's broken will not stand. I want our house to be solid. I want to be the wife that my husband wants to be around 24/7. I want Preston to feel the unmistakeable love that exist between his mom and dad and to find that same love for himself someday.

Love this man!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No More Pumping, No Regrets

I know this title may come as a shock if you've been following and know how much effort has gone into providing breastmilk day and night for little P. Let's see...there have been at least 3 lactation consultants at the hospital and 1 at home, renting of a hospital grade pump, supplements that were causing more gas than good, baking of enough lactation cookies to feed an army, and a virtual non-stop rotation of feeding, burping, calming, pumping, hand expressing, and washing pumping parts 7-8 times per day...and yes, I am tired just reading my own writing.

So, how does playtime and snuggling with a newborn fit into all that chaos? Well, it doesn't very easily at all. Even if baby adhered to some predictable sort of schedule (which he shouldn't be expected to this early) the whole pumping routine would be difficult. Add to the mix days when baby is going through a growth spurt and cluster feeding (eating every hour practically). It's extremely difficult to least for me.

Correction: It's been difficult for US. I have an extremely helpful husband who has cared for P countless times so I could pump.  He's been soooo amazingly supportive, from being up all night helping with those dreaded SNS feedings, to being part of the LC consults, to dropping whatever he's doing at a moment's notice to support my ability to pump. I was spending about 4 hours each day on the entire process, so without hubby it never ever could have worked as long as it did.

4 hours. That's a lot of time that could be spent in a precious snuggle or reading a story or singing Itsy Bitsy Spider....the list of things I could be doing with Preston and would RATHER be doing with him just became much too long to ignore. And if I can be just a tiny bit selfish, there would also be more room for SLEEP, eating better, and caring for myself and our home...all things that would help me be a better mom anyway.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not do things half-ass. I put a lot of energy into things I set my mind to in general, and giving P as much breastmilk as possible was one of those things. However, there were enough rough and sleep deprived days that both hubby and I had to re-examine what we could do to make things less stressful. And while I realize it didn't have to be all or nothing, without a doubt we agreed that pumping was just something no one would miss...not even Preston.

I felt guilty at first that breastfeeding was not the picture perfect experience I'd hoped for, complete with rainbows and butterflies. Pumping wasn't nearly as sustainable as I'd hoped either. Of course I want the best nutrition for my child, but I am also open to the fact that giving him formula (the most expensive kind on the market might I add) does not make me a bad mom. As my dear friend Amber reminded me, "Want to see a bad mom? Turn on the news!" Right you are my friend!

I began the process of weaning off the pump last week and was already down to 1 pump yesterday. I do believe I'm officially done as of today, and I don't think my body was fighting me much on the decision to stop obviously. It seemed very happy to hang a "closed for business" sign on the door and begin getting back to normal in record time. Other things I won't miss are arthritic hands from all the hand expressing, rashes on my boobs, blisters on my swollen nips, and the uncomfortable heaviness of boobs my body wasn't designed for. I can tell you with 100% certainty now that I will not ever be getting breast implants. I have never been so grateful to be an A cup again and regain admittance into the IBTC!

Furthermore, I am beyond content with our decision and won't allow myself to feel guilty for making the best choices I can for our family...even if it's not someone else's path. Our path to parenthood was not conventional in the first place, so I am used to rolling with the punches by now. Surely there will be many more things that turn out differently than what I envisioned at first...and that's O.K!

The past week has been much easier and more enjoyable to say the least. Now when I feed Preston nothing pulls me away afterwards. I'm not watching the clock and can just cradle him in my arms and take an afternoon catnap. I will admit though, that most times I stay awake and just watch him nap and snore and breathe. I notice every little hair on his head and wrinkle on his chunky little fingers. Many times I just sit there with tears in my eyes, grateful for every last thing about him. I couldn't have asked for a better little boy, and I'm going to cherish every free moment I have with him.

These little piggies = Perfection

Snuggling in my lap as we speak

Friday, October 3, 2014

10 True Things About the First Year of Parenthood (via Girl of Cardigan)

I did not write the following pearls of wisdom, but I really needed to read them today. I hope you like this post as much as I did. It's from an amazing blog called Girl of Cardigan. Grab some of these and enjoy...


I did a ridiculous amount of reading when I was pregnant.  I read natural parenting books and baby scheduling books and how to make your baby happy with no crying and eating is good for everyone led by the spirit of your baby your self books.  If there was a book to read, rest assured, I gave it a go.

I thought I knew everything I’d need to know.

How much of that information did I actually use?  Some.  A little.  The best bits of this, a quick trick from that, but no single book was spot-on accurate, and nothing was anywhere near as easy as all my reading had led me to believe.  Fable was just herself, and apparently she hadn’t been reading the same stuff I’d been bingeing on.  All that reading was mostly a waste of time.

These are the words I wish I’d read instead, before jumping headlong into the mommyhood with my books and my charts and my ideals and my high horses.  They’re flawed, and they aren’t all pretty, but they’re hard won and honest and as true as I can get’em. 

Here’s what I wish I’d known:

1. You are going to suck at this parenting gig and be awesome at it at the same time, all the time.  You will be a different parent every morning to a child who will also be different, sometimes changing in just hours, or minutes, or before your eyes.  There will be good days and bad days, good minutes and bad minutes, good choices and not so good ones.  You will do some things, probably a lot of things, wrong.  Be gentle with yourself, because you are wildly loved and incredibly needed.  You are climbing Mt. Everest with basically zero conditioning – expect to be kind of terrible at it for awhile.  You are beautiful.  We are for you.

2. Post-partum bodies are squashy and wobbly and dimpled and stretched and foreign and embarrassing and difficult and painful and gorgeously imperfect, and they tend to stay that way for quite awhile.  You made a human.  Now make your peace.  Eat good food.  Walk around when you’re well enough.  Listen to the people who tell you you’re beautiful.  Take them at their word.  Remember where your worth comes from.

3. Your baby is not like the other babies.  Your baby is the only one of herself who has ever been, and you and your partner are the only experts on her.  Your baby will not behave like the books say, won’t like what she’s supposed to like, won’t do what she’s supposed to do when she’s supposed to do it, and that’s normal and great and perfectly okay.  The best thing you can do is put down your literature and get to know your baby.  What does she like?  What makes her laugh?  How does she best fall asleep?  What does hungry sound like?  The discovery of these things will serve you so much more than any stranger’s care instructions ever will.  You don’t have to make your life or your family look like any particular model – you don’t have to follow the rules.  You just have to create a life that works for you and fosters love and security and a whole lot of laughter.  If that looks like 2am pancake parties, I’m not going to tell on you.  I might actually admire you and be just a little bit jealous.

4. We have got to stop telling people that things should be easy and painless.  We live in a culture that equates ease with value – the easier it is, the better it is, if it hurts you, something is wrong.  Reality check: sometimes things that are hard and painful are also really, really good.  Every once in a while as a parent, one of the things that you thought would be really difficult turns out to be incredibly easy and drama-free.  This is called a miracle, and though it might be somehow related to some book you read and the alignment of the stars and a magic way you pat the soles of your baby’s feet and the tea you drink on Thursdays, it’s still mostly a miracle, and the odds of that same miracle happening to EVERY OTHER PARENT EVERYWHERE are pretty slim, even with books and stars and tea and so much foot-patting.  We get excited in our victories, and want to share them, but it’s important to remember that we are all struggling with different issues.  One daddy’s easy is some mama’s nightmare.  And just because your baby doesn’t sleep through the night at five weeks or eat with a fork by her first birthday or cries a lot or your boobs get sore from breastfeeding (even though her latch is perfect) – just because it isn’t EASY and PAINLESS – it isn’t necessarily wrong.  Sometimes hard is okay, sometimes, often, it’s even good.  Hard is how we grow.  And guess what, kiddo – parenting is hard.  Any book that tells you otherwise deserves the big fat sticker of bullshit.

5. Speaking of bullshit, oh mylanta, the poop.  They warn you.  They tell you.  And despite every warning, it is still baffling and alarming and downright awe-inspiring how much of your next year is going to be spent dealing with, assessing, smelling for, washing off, evaluating, discussing, logging, and transporting poop.  Get good and comfy with poop, friends.  The poop cometh.  For whom the poop tolls.  The hunt for poop-tober – you get the idea.

6. The sooner you can figure out how to accept unwanted advice gracefully, the easier your year is going to be.  For whatever reason, people love to weigh in on babies – everyone has an opinion, and everyone wants to share.  I believe that most of this advice is pretty well-intended – most of it falls into the “it worked for me and I am so happy and I want to share my joy joy joy with you because you look very tired” category, which is at least only mildly offensive and really very sincere.
Here’s the thing – you can stumble through this crazy first 12 months in defense mode, snapping witty comebacks at judgey old ladies or know-it-all childless people, or you can decide to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, smile and say thank you, and become very zen and confident about knowing what’s best for your child and not giving one ounce of your abundance of poop about what anyone else says.

If I were you, I’d aim for zen.

Nobody is out to get you.  Everyone wants you to succeed.  And screw them all anyway, because you are raising a child, and that is awesome.  Did your kid eat something today?  Is she relatively hygienically sound?  Smiles occasionally?  You win all the things.  You are awesome enough to absorb any and all commentary, keep the bits you like, and toss the bits you don’t.  How sweet of them to care.

7. Start stretching, because it’s time to get flexible.  I’m not a big fan of general statements like “All babies like swaddling” or “Co-sleeping is best for everybody,” but there is one I can get behind – babies are really inconvenient.  Your schedule, your sleep, your stellar punctuality record, your deadlines, your best shirts, your relationships – everything is about to get messy and complicated.  You have two choices – become a weepinghungrytiredmess of doom, or swallow every ounce of pride you have and become flexible.  Ask for help.  Admit failure.  Be late.  Stay in your pajamas.  Ignore the dishes.  Let slide what can slide and rejoice when you make it through with all your bare necessities intact.  You are going to miss a few parties and a lot of snoozes and probably many other important things, and it will be okay.  It will be better than okay.  It will be amazing.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be one of those parents who gets a magic baby who responds to the methods in whatever book you read or is just naturally benevolent and fits like a glove into your fabulous and organized life.  Again, this is called a miracle.  We love you and are happy for you.  Now please, shut up.

8. The most important thing to get for your baby is not a Rock n’ Play, nor a good set of swaddling blankets, nor a high-end stroller.  The most important thing to get for your baby is a village.  Your village will keep you afloat.  They will carry you when you are tired, feed you when you are starving, forgive you when you are unkempt and hours late and a neglectful friend who can’t remember to wear socks let alone whose birthday it is.  They will love your baby when you are too tired or frustrated to hold her at the moment, because you are imperfect and human and have imperfect and human failings.  They will remind you who you are when you start to think your whole life is only about poop.  They will lift you up.

9. We have to lift each other up.  Raising babies is the hardest thing many of us have ever done.  We can tear each other to bits, criticize choices, and turn up noses, or we can love each other, admire adorable babies, offer a hand, and celebrate victories.  This is not a difficult choice, people.  Nobody cares that your way is better.  Everyone cares that your kid is gorgeous and let’s chat over coffee and what have you been doing with your hair lately because, girlfriend, you look fabulous.  Don’t be horrible.  It isn’t really that hard.

10. Success is found in being willing to grow.   Here’s the truth: you don’t know much of anything.  A year from now,  after your fantastic kid turns one, you won’t know much of anything still.  Gather wisdom around you.  Learn from your mistakes.  Stay humble.  Stay open.  When you know better, do better.  Be a better parent tomorrow than you were today, always, everyday, as often as you can.  Try things out and leave them behind shamelessly if they don’t work out.  Life isn’t a contest or a game – it’s simply only beautifully life. Live the minutes instead of scoring them.  Love that incredible baby.

Oh, lovely – you are going to have so much fun!