Monday, December 28, 2009

The sickies came to our house!

...And I have no idea where they came from!  Neither Max nor I have been sick, we haven't been around anyone sick.  Baffling I tell you!  Poor Staci is all congested and uncomfortable.  Low grade fever and everything.  After a terrible night last night I took her to the doctor thinking she had an ear infection.  Thank goodness she doesn't.  The physician's assistant says it's either teething or a virus.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed she gets better soon--listening to her caugh in her sleep is doing some serious tugging on my heartstrings! 

Mommy loves you, Staci.  Get better soon!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beat the Booby Traps!

You might have noticed a new button boldly (and quite beautifully) displaying the female form sitting off to the right, and I wanted to take a couple minutes and talk about the 'Best for Babies' campaign.  I do not consider myself a great writer, and really, not even a good one, so I'll let them say it for themselves as I believe they say it best. "BEST for BABES is the only non-profit dedicated to giving breastfeeding a makeover and to revealing and removing the “booby traps”- the barriers to breastfeeding that keep tripping women up! New moms don’t need more judgment, pressure, or to be discriminated against for nursing, they deserve to be cheered on, coached and celebrated! BFB is giving moms the boost they need to be successful. We are elevating breastfeeding to a world-class cause and harnessing the power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising, the medical community and the media to break down the barriers." 

As a way to support their campaign, they're asking people to display their adds pro-bono on their blogs and websites and to share their stories of success.  I don't really think my journey to successful breastfeeding is all that interesting or courageous, but I did have my own learning curve and hiccups to overcome.  So here it is, in all its gritty truth.

It would be an understatement to say I wanted to breastfeed.  I NEEDED to breastfeed.  Even before my husband and I started trying to have a baby, I would dream of breastfeeding my babies.  Maybe that's weird, but in my dreams it was the most wonderful feeling.  The amount of love I felt in those dreams could only be surpassed when I gave birth to my little angel and could start nursing her for real. 


With this in mind, I was terrified it wouldn't work.  I had seen friends try to breastfeed and fail, only to have horrid guilt about it not working for them.  (Which by the way, any woman who even TRIES in our society--and many others--should be celebrated.  Not shunned or judged if it doesn't work.  I make it my personal mission to help any friend breastfeed successfully--and if it's possible, I will!)

I was so dedicated to nursing that I studied the Bradley Method and succeeded in having a natural labor and delivery.  This issue is for another post entirely, but to make a long story very short, babies who are born out of a non-medicated delivery have an easier time learning to nurse because they are not drugged.  Even so, many babies born in a medicated delivery nurse just fine and some born naturally still have problems so it's no guarantee, but I wasn't taking any chances. 

So, after the single most momentous occasion of my life in which I became a mother, I set out to nurse my baby.  After many failed attempts to get Staci latched on in the first hours of her life, I had a wonderful nurse come and help.  She was able to help Staci latch on and teach Max how to ensure her bottom lip was folded down to minimize my discomfort. 

Over the ~36 hours I was at the hospital, 5 of which I was in labor, I had to ask for help to get Staci to latch every single time--maybe 13? I can't be sure exactly.  Contrary to popular belief, it is anything but second nature.  Learning to nurse is incredibly foreign to a first time mom and quite difficult!  As my need to leave the hospital drew near (they don't let you sleep there, in case you were wondering) I grew more and more fearful I would get home and not be able to get my baby to eat.  That, to a brand new parent, is a horrifying thought. 

Our original labor and delivery nurse, who I absolutely despised, took one look at my breasts and said,  "You're going to need a nipple sheild."  After all the research I had done, I was determined NOT to use one as I had learned it can be more problematic than the problem it solves.  Also, since I already didn't like her, that made me even more set in my decision that I did not want to use one!  At one point, before attempting to latch Staci at the breast, I was attempting to draw my nipple out.  I had flat nipples to begin with, so it was difficult for Staci as a newborn to find it and latch on.  She actually reached down and tugged and twisted my nipple quite visciously.  It hurt. Bad!  My despise turned to hatred.

Not too long after that, we got a new nurse, who was wonderful, and then a new nurse after that.  Our final nurse, whom I did like very much (as I did all the other nurses I had over my stay) suggested a sheild to me again.  At this point, since we were set to leave in just a few hours, I listened.  I put on the sheild and WAHLA! Instant latch!  It was so exciting.  While nursing was still quite painful (and it continued to be for quite some time) Staci was latching.  I could see the colostrum collecting in the sheild so I knew she was getting nourishment.  I was elated.

As luck would have it, by the time we got home, my milk was already starting to come in.  We nursed for a week successfully, and at 5 days old Staci had already surpassed her birthweight.  I felt like a breastfeeding rockstar! The pain, however, was only getting worse. 

I took my newborn and my 'still can't sit down normally' self to the breastfeeding support group offered through the hospital and learned the sheild was probably too small.  The wonderful lactation consultants provided me with a new sheild and while the pain was still there, it wasn't quite as mind boggling.  Over the next few weeks, the pain lessened to only at latch-on.  It still hurt bad enough that I had to ask my husband to not speak to me during latch on.  Otherwise he would get screamed at.  I'm serious--it hurt THAT BAD.  Even so, it was worth it to me, and I knew if I could just press on the pain would subside. 

Around 4 weeks post partum, I was ready to be done with the sheild--I needed one less thing to remember to bring and to clean.  It took us 4 weeks to get rid of it, and I really just had to wait until Staci was ready.  It happened gradually, and then I had to go through the pain all over again--but it was nothing like it had been at first.  after just a few weeks, we were nursing pain free and sheild free--and have been ever since. 

Breastfeeding has been such a wonderful bonding experience with Staci.  I love that I am able to do this for her.  It's what's best for me, too, as it has helped sheild me from post partum depression and/or psychosis.  I can't believe it's been almost nine months!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why I Cloth Diaper

First of all, let me tell you that I never saw myself as a cloth diapering sort of girl.  I am ALL about convenience, especially when it comes to kids.  Also, I have very little patience, so the idea of having to launder diapers every other day for at least 2 years (probably 3) out of every child's life we are blessed with wasn't real high on my 'things I'd like to spend my time doing' list.  Even so, last September two Septembers ago I found myself entering my second trimester wondering what on earth to do about diapers.  I really was not interested in contributing quite substantially to the landfills when it could be avoided, but as alluded to above, I'm a tad on the lazy side.  And then, as luck would have it, an online friend introduced me to gdiapers.  It was as if the clouds opened up, and a giant ray of sunshine was shining down on these diapers in my mind.  The main reason I loved them so much? umm, hello, they are CUTE! (see pic to the left!) But then reality set in--those puppies are PRICEY!  like, more than premium disposables pricey.  The search continued.

The more I searched, the more I realized I actually WAS the cloth diapering sort of girl.  I also found myself not just fascinated by becoming more eco-friendly, but actually a crunchy-granola-y attached parent-y nothing artificial for my baby-y mama--and more often than I ever would have imagined.  Other than having to borrow one disposable diaper from a friend in a pinch when Staci filled more diapers than I would have guessed when we were not at home, my baby girl has not worn a disposable diaper since we left the hospital. Here is why:

1) Plain and simple: COST!  Disposable diapers are expensive, my friend. In fact, in just the first year, Max and I will have saved over $700 in diapering alone.  Seven hundred dollars buys a lot of baby toys, clothes, and activities!

2) The cuteness factor. (really, this should take its rightful place at #1) As stated above, it's my dirty little secret as to why I originally walked down the cloth diapering path.  The Cuter Cloth is an excellent example:

Of course, this specific diaper is also pricey, but still cheaper than disposables!

3) Let's talk about toxins. Those yucky things disposable diaper manufacturers would rather you NOT find out about.  Sodium polyacrylate is used in most disposable diapers because of its excellent ability to hold water--up to 300x's its weight.  But have you ever changed a baby's diaper and found an icky gel-like substance coating their most sensitive parts? While no studies have been done (NO STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE!!!! DOES THIS NOT ALARM ANYONE BUT ME?!?!) on whether or not it's harmful to children when it comes into contact with their skin, I personally can't see it being GOOD for them. 

Perhaps the scariest toxin of all that needs to be noted here is dioxin.  It's a known carcinogen, and it's a biproduct of the bleaching process used to get those diapers white and 'clean'.  I do use chlorine bleach VERY sparingly in household cleaning and occasionally on laundry, but I try to limit it as much as possible.  By and large, Staci is not exposed to this little gem.

There are a myriad of other lovelies found in most disposables which studies have linked to asthma--in both babies and the parents that are around them frequently--and to lowered male fertility later in life.  The Diaper Hyena has a great overview about them here.

I realize that there are TONS of toxins and other yuckies that Staci will come into contact with throughout her life.  I am probably exposing her to some of them even through breastfeeding.  This, however, is ONE thing I can control out of all the millions of things I can't.  Hey, I do what I can.

Really, that pretty much did it for me, but let's talk about the eco-friendly issue as well.

4) Cloth diapers ARE better for the environment--I truly believe that.  Over the past 2 decades, there have been a couple of studies bought and paid for by disposable diaper companies 'proving' that there is really no difference between cloth and disposable diaper's impact on the environment when you take into account the water used to launder cloth diapers.  I take issue with this because 1) I find it hard to believe that the creation of disposable diapers with all their toxins described above has the same impact as the creation of cloth diapers--which many are created by work at home moms the old fashioned way-- and 2)--errr hello--water is recyclable!  we may not have figured it all out yet, but I cannot believe we are very far away from figuring out how to clean and re-use the water used to wash diapers with.   Certainly closer than shipping our trash out to space, as we're quickly running out of room here on this rock we call Earth.  Also, as Natural Papa discusses, water conservation is a lifestyle. 

My journey to cloth diapering came on fast and furious, sparking other natural parenting choices and decisions, including my decision to have a natural birth, to breastfeed for at least the first 12 months, and to practice attachment parenting.  I see cloth diapering as part of my identity as a mom, and take pride in my decision.  Plus, it really is the cuter option!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Anatomy of a Supermom'

My very good friend over at Time Flies When You're Having Fun is collecting some data and this post is for her!  you can read her explanation of the 'study' she is doing here.  Below are her questions, and I will instert my answers in pink. 

1. How many Children do you have? ( list their ages)


1, 8 months

2. How old are you ?

27



3. Are you a working Mom or a SAHM?

SAHM



4. Approximately how many hours of sleep do you get a night?

errr good question!  maybe 5?  7-8 on a good night when DH is home and lets me sleep in (saturday mornings)



5. Do you go to bed right after the kids?


Heck no!  need to decompress and have some 'me' time.


6. Do you cook 4+ times a week?

Yes--we usually have diGiorno 1-2x's per week so those are the nights I don't cook.  we very rarely go out to eat or have takeout, so those just don't factor into the equation.  I love to cook though, so it's nice when dh gets home he takes the baby and I run into the kitchen for some mommy-cooking-alone-time.

7. When do you do your Grocery Shopping? once a week? with/without kids? monthly? as needed?

once a week, with Staci normally--I have just enough time to get my act together and get to the store and back before it's time for nap #2.  I find it used to be easier to carry her in the Ergo, (or sling when she was little) but now she's such a big girl she rides in the cart. (or else I can't reach in nd get things from the bottom when it's time to check out) this may change as she begins to make grabs for things on the shelves, though! 


8. Do you exercise regularly? - if yes, give basic details


used to, it was easy when Staci would sleep in her stroller or was happy to sit in her bouncy but now that she is very demanding of my time I have fallen off the bandwagon.  now that her naps are becoming more consistant I need to get back to it.  Not sure when that will happen...


9. Do you have regular "me time"? If yes, when/ how often and what do you do?

I guess I don't really count the cooking--so I'd say I usually have about an hour of 'me time' computer time in the evenings that I spend on frivolous things and stay updated on my online friends :) I usually take some naptime as 'me' time as well, as I'm doing now.



10. What is one ( or more) Mom thing you feel you do really well- your Mom Forté if you will... don't be shy.

being attentive to Staci's needs.  I feel like I can tell what she wants most of the time--whether it's a change of scenery, a nap, to nurse, a diaper change etc etc



11. What is one( or more) Mom thing you feel you would like to improve on?

1) cooking more healthy meals and meal-planning in advance.  As Staci begins to be able to eat even more of the food we eat I need to make sure it's not pizza 2x's a week and many more fruits and veggies.  gonna be hard though.

2) taking a chill pill and not getting so easily frustrated when things (especially naps) go awry.  I am chalking 87% of it up to sleep deprivation though, so as that gets better....

3) keeping the house clean--especially the upstairs.  We are pretty good with the downstairs but I often neglect the upstairs because guests don't generally go up there.  I am considering starting 'flylady' again as a new year's resolution but need some motivation!

12. Do you have a group of other Moms in your area that you talk to/ get advice from/ have playdates with?


Yes! I'm lucky that many of my good friends from highschool and college live nearby, so I have the benefit of enjoying a girl's night once a month and mommy groups as well.  I'm sure playdates will come, but right now we're pretty focused on getting Staci to nap, so leaving the house isn't really on my priority list.


13. Do you have "date night"? Paid Babysitter/Relative/Friend? How often?

hardly ever.  Since Staci was born, 3 times.  A wedding, our anniversary, and recently a Christmas party.  so, that's about every 2.5 months. would like to do it more!  so far it's only been family--one of both of the Grandma's being generous with their time. :)



14. What is your WORST

a) Poop

b) Snot

c) Bedtimes

d) 5pm witching hour - making dinner meltdowns

e) Teeth Brushing

f) Other... please elaborate!

f) other--middle of the nights--Staci is still, many nights except for a couple recently, waking every 2-3 hours at night.  the phrase 'I'm exhausted' doesn't even begin to cover it.  I get so frustrated I've been known to slam doors, stomp my feet, scream at my husband, all out of shear frustration and exhaustion.  I just become a 2 year old and have a melt down of my own.  It's just so hard to not let the stress of not sleeping get to you!


15. Tips and Tricks or anything extra you'd like to share:

I feel like I"m still pretty new at this mom thing, but my best tips would be: nursing cuz it's so easy/convenient once you get the hang of it (and free), babywearing cuz it's--again--convenient and WAY easier than strollering--who needs a stroller when you have a sling?--

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Me/my child Monday!

Not me, nope. I would never....

Who heard her daughter wake up at 6:30AM and listened to her talk and fuss for 30 minutes and then fall back to sleep, only to wake her up at 7:30 so they wouldn't get 'off schedule'?  NOT ME!

Who, even though she's committed to baby led weaning and agrees whole heartedly with Gill Rapley's thoughts on the subject, has been spoon feeding their child even though it never goes well just to try to get better sleep? (to no avail...) NOT ME!

"All babies should be sleeping through the night by 5 months old"--(BS!!) Who at eight months old is still waking every 1-3 hours at night to nurse? NOT MY CHILD......

hmmm anyone notice a theme here?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 8 months old sweet girl!

Dear Anastasia,

Today you are 8 months and 1 day old.  I am so excited to watch you grow!  It's amazing to see how smart you are.  Today you, your Grandma Ellen and I went to Costco to pick up a few things.  They always have snacks and I picked up some pretzels with peanut butter in them.  You aren't old enough for peanut butter yet, but you don't know that!  The way you watched me eat them was intense, and then, when I wasn't looking, you made a grab for them.  It was so cute and I wished I could have given you some. Don't fret, I'm sure peanut butter will be one of your favorite things to eat after you turn one and can have it!

You are getting bigger and bigger each day! I think you will be in the 9-12 month sleepers before we know it because your little legs are so long! (you get that from me!)

-You are wearing 6-9mo and 9mo clothing
-You are still in the middle snap of your one size cloth diaper, but at nighttime we super stuff it and have to unsnap it all the way
-You are still waking up at night quite frequently to nurse, I hope to cut down on this soon so I can get a bit more rest, though, I know I will miss it when you no longer wake in the night and need me and only me.
-You have started dragging yourself about in an army crawl and it is SO adorable.  I put your toys far away from you just so I can watch you slide across the carpet!
-Your absolute favorite toy is paper. Plain paper, ad paper, envelopes, newspaper--it doesn't matter.  you love to crinkle it and rip pieces off and of course, stick it in your mouth. 
-You are not too keen on being spoonfed, though mommy tries every day at least once.  You prefer to feed yourself so you can control what goes in and when.  You love carrots, avacado, bananas, and applesauce. Cheerios are a favorite and you're finally figuring out how to get them in your mouth--where as before you'd get 3-4 in your little fist and then just suck on your fist. Silly girl!
-You still love your jumper.  I think it will be a sad day for you when you learn to walk and can no longer jump in it!
-You absolutely love to dance with Mommy and Daddy.  Lately we've been listening and singing along to Christmas music--and of course dancing, too.  You can't stop smiling and have become quite the giggle box whenever we spin.  Be still my heart!

Always remember that I love you with every fiber of my being and I will always, always, always be here for you.  You and your Daddy are my whole world, and I'm so blessed to have you both.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Day Staci Started (army) Crawling!

Today started out like any other normal Saturday--it's my day to sleep in (YAY!) so Max gets up with Staci when she wakes up, usually around 7.  He put her down for her morning nap about the time I got out of bed and took himself to Fry's to buy his Christmas present--a new computer (since I don't work outside the home and it was the first time he'd EVER said there was something he wanted for Christmas, and he wanted it before the old computer crashed again, I gave him teh go ahead to just go get it!).  He got home just a few minutes before Staci woke up, and we hung out with him while he put together his new game playing console (AKA brand new computer).  Staci must have been REALLY interested in the computer accessories, because this is when she started pulling herself forward. 

So, Staci is moving!  A couple of weeks ago she started getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth, and just today she began dragging herself forward, or army crawling.

Friday, November 27, 2009

So, Where Have I Been?

So, where have I been, you might be wondering? Well, I've spent most of my online time this month doing 'The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt' through Diaper Decisions--a website dedicated to helping home based cloth diaper and natural parenting websites. You can read more about it here. I have officially found all 170 diaper icons and will be entered into all of the drawings, so I'm hopeful to win at least a little something, but if not I still had a blast doing all of the hunts! It's basically a giant virtual scavenger hunt for grown ups, and I got to learn so much along the way.


One of the most interesting things I learned in my 170 natural parenting website scavenger hunt was the idea of Elimination Communication, or EC.  I had never heard of this before, and to be frank, was a little caught off-guard at the idea of it.  However, the more I think about it, the more interesting it becomes.  I haven't done enough research yet to decide if this is something I want to try, but I figure we could start extremely slowly and go for maybe one less diaper a day, or even one less diaper a week.  I just think it would help bring my bond with Staci to another level--learning to communicate with her even more than I already do. 
 
Also, I was inspired by many of the websites I saw.  I even started thinking of learning to sew and trying my hand at making my own cloth diapers.  When we are ready for baby #2, we will at least be needing some newborn sized cloth diapers so I figured I could start with those.  This is just a pipe dream at this point, but *IF* I decided I liked sewing them I could maybe even open my own online store--and Etsy or Hyenacart site. I could potentially even design some of my own skin care/baby care products and use my esthetics background. 
 
It all seems very exciting to me at this point, but first I have to learn how to sew.  And after I've tried a few times at making diapers, then I can decide if it's something I want to pursue.

I'm back!

Whew!  I can't believe it's been almost an entire month since I have updated this! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We had a wonderful holiday.  My mom came over to help me cook and clean in preparation for our family's celebration which I hosted here on Wednesday evening.  It was great fun, and a lot less pressure than the traditional hosting because we opted for a potluck style meal.  Most things turned out wonderful even though we hadn't tried the recipes before, and Mom and I were very proud of ourselves for cooking a turkey for the first time!  Usually, my dad is the one to take over in the kitchen but he was on the way to Baltimore to visit with a friend's family so we were on our own. 


I did get a bit flustered and overwhelmed when it was time to sit down and eat.  Staci was fussing (had refused her afternoon nap, so this was inevitable), and I had no clue how to carve a turkey. Thankfully, my mom took over and all was right again in the world, LOL. 

After the meal, we all sat around visiting, and Quinn--my 17 month old nephew-- was the life of the party.  He was so funny!  He loved my mom's phone, and she called her messages and let him listen to them, and he walked around pretending to talk on the phone for a good 30-45 minutes.  He was hilarious, babbling, gesturing, pacing, and at one point went to go have some privacy in his 'office' (the stairs).  Whenever someone would call the phone and it would play a song, he would dance.  It was so cute!


On Thursday we went to Max's aunt's home and enjoyed a wonderful meal with them.  Staci was a good baby and didn't cry a single time!  She even went down for a nap while we were there without being rocked--now that is a real miracle. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I wanted to share some pics my good friend Mandy was kind enough to take for us.  one of them will be our Christmas card shot, I just can't decide which one!  Check out Mandy's blog here, she does amazing work!

Thanks Mandy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Waving and other cool tricks

Yes, that's right, Staci is WAVING! It's few and far between, and if you aren't me you might not *quite* believe it, but I SWEAR she is waving.  In the past few days, if she has been doing something else and I get her attention, she will wag her little arm at me and GRIN.  It just warms my heart!

Eating is getting better and better.  The second I put her in her high chair she starts banging on her tray as if to say, "WHERE is my food? How long do you expect me to wait?" Some of her recent favorites have included rice (not sure how she managed to get that in her mouth, wonders never cease), cucumber dipped in plain yogurt, and avacado spread on a rice cake. 




On the sleep front I'd love to say that things are fixed, but they aren't.  They ARE getting better and moving in the right direction I *think*.  Last night was awful and she was up almost every hour.  But, besides last night, we get at least one 4 hour stretch most nights and at least one nap every other day is longer than an hour.  It's a lot of back and forth right now, so I'm hopeful if we just stick with the program and keep doing what we're doing things will continue to get even better.

In other news, Staci discovered the add section of the paper this morning and it was so cute we had to film it.  I'm fairly certain it's one of the videos you only find cute when you're the parent, but if you have about a minute to spare, check it out! (see the sidebar at the right)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just had to share

I did not come up with this cartoon, but I wanted to share!  Before breasfeeding my daughter, I always thought I would be discreet while breastfeeding in public.  The more I have to hastle with the stupid cover, the more I feel the urge to ditch it and just not care.  It's just a boob people, seriously! If more women breastfeed without covers in public, it will become commonplace and not so taboo.  So, please, I urge you, if you are a breastfeeding mom, throw caution to the wind and feed your baby without a cover!  Breastfeeding truly is a beautiful thing.  It's not something to be shunned, breastfeeding should be celebrated.


So, what is it that you DO?

This is quite possibly one of the most difficult questions for me to answer.  I find myself saying things like, "oh, I'm JUST a mom" or "I stay at home with my kid".  The problem with statements like these is that unless you have been a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM)--and wife, you truly do not understand how difficult it can be.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do.  I feel like all the schooling I've had and the life experiences I've been blessed with have prepared me for this moment. 

Without my undergraduate degree, I would not have a developmental psych, class under my belt, nor would I be able to help Staci learn musical instruments such as the piano and classical guitar--which I wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn had it not been for college.  Also, I'm quite versed in the theory of ballet--even if my technique is amateur at best, and can explain what terms (French terms) mean in English.  So, if she does decide she likes dance and sticks with it, I can explain that 'pique' means 'to prick' and 'port de bras' means 'carriage of the arms'. 

My graduate degree in social work has helped me in many areas of my life.  It has enhanced my interpersonal skills by making me more understanding and more open minded.  Most importantly, it taught me how to research.  I wrote lots of research papers in undergrad, but I truly learned the art of research in grad school.  As a mom, it has helped me research when the best time (and way) to introduce solids, find anwers to my breastfeeding questions, find answers to help us overcome our sleep deprivation, and has taught me that reaching out to others in a time of need is crucial. 

As Staci's mom, I'm her nurse. I'm her main source of food, fun, comfort, and care.  It's my job to ensure that, when the time comes, she's ready for kindergarten.  It's my job to make sure she feels loved.  It's my job to teach her how to eat food so that when she is three she's not still on puree's.  I'm her personal chef, her maid, and apparently responsible for helping her fall asleep (this I did not choose, but I will do it with pride). 

I write this because I often find myself frustrated that I spent (wasted) so much time, energy, and money on schooling.  Our society puts so much emphasis on going to college, yet most of the jobs you can get from a liberal arts degree don't pay a penny more than a job obtained with a high school diploma.  This is not true across the board obviously, but as a high school student I was led to believe that college would solve all my problems and not to worry about student loan debt because it would easily be paid off.  56k later I'm a SAHM who, many times, would gladly trade in my diplomas to have that debt erased.  This is when I must remind myself that without these experiences, I would not be who I am today.  And, to be honest, I like me!  So, in celebration of SAHM's everywhere, I wanted to leave you all with an email I received.  I did not write this but I think it is very accurate!

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office,

Was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.


She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
'What I mean is, ' explained the recorder,
'do you have a job or are you just a ...?'


'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman.
'I'm a Mom.'


'We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,
'housewife' covers it,'
Said the recorder emphatically.


I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself
In the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
Efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'
'What is your occupation?' she probed.


What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
'I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
Looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words..
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
In bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.


'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest,
'just what you do in your field?'


Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
'I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers
And the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'


There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
Completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.


As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
Testing out a new vocal pattern.


I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more
Distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mom.'
Motherhood!
What a glorious career!


Especially when there's a title on the door.


--auther unknown

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

That is what we seem to be doing here!  We make progress, and then all of a sudden we are back to square one.  more on that in a moment!

NCSS Day 8 Update: implementing white noise in Staci's room was part of my original plan.  I finally took the humidifier we received as a baby shower gift out of the box, promptly neglected to read the instructions (as per my usual), set it up, filled it with water, and turned it on. It is not loud, but I was happy with the quiet hum it created and hoped it would do the trick for Staci.  After 6 nights, and at the recommendation of a friend, I turned on the radio in between stations just to listen to the fuzz.  It didn't seem to change anything last night, as she was up quite frequently.  Today, however, she took her very first multi-sleep cycle nap all on her own!  One hour and 40 minutes.  YAY! 

That success was oh-so-short-lived!  Nap number 2 was a measely 28 minutes.  This seems to be what we do.  Two nights ago, we got a 3.5 hour stretch and a 4 hour stretch.  Last night, nothing longer than 2 hours and quite a few stretches that fell far short of 2 hours.  Then, today, with the morning nap success and the afternoon nap giant failure I just don't know what to think!  Two more days and I will do the 10 day evaluation of NCSS. 

I have to be honest though.  I have been so tired I have not been able to implement the Pantley Removal Technique, so I fear there will still be frequent night nursings.  The thing is, I simply do not have the energy in the middle of the night to try to go to remove my breast from her mouth when she's not asleep, because I don't want to be up with her all the rest of the night.  I just want to do what is easy and get her to go to sleep, so I can go back to sleep! It does seem as if daytime naps are truly headed in the right direction, so I'm hopeful that once those are under control, the nighttime wakings will lighten a tad on their own, and I will be able to focus more on getting the night time wakings down.  There is just so much to fix I can't seem to focus on multiple avenues of 'treatment' all at once.  Maybe if more caffeine was an option I would be able to do that, but since Staci is nursing that is not really an option.  I have a favorite drink that I have cut way down on, and in fact haven't had any at all in 2 days.  I will be so pleased when I can have as much caffeine as I want!  I miss Starbucks...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 4 of the NCSS

We are seeing some success!  It is definitely slow going but I *think* we are headed in the right direction.  On Monday night, evaluation night, Staci's longest sleep stretch was 1 hour and 54 minutes.  Last night, we got a 3 hour stretch and a 3.5 hour stretch.  There were lots of shorter stretches mixed in, but that is progress.  Also, we have more or less transitioned to getting Staci to fall asleep on her own in her crib.  She did it for the first time in a long time last night, and then for both naps today.  She wasn't able to make it through more than one sleep cycle either nap (one was 40 minutes and one was 50 minutes) and so after the second nap I rocked her for an hour to get some more sleep in her.  At this point, I'm not sure what the best thing to do is.  After she woke up from the first nap I tried to give her a bit of time to put herself back to sleep, but that made her extremely angry and we had to nurse in order for her to calm down.  Then, she messed her diaper and no amount of rocking or back rubbing (I tried for a half hour!) was going to get her to fall back to sleep.  The second nap, I didn't want to chance anything and just went ahead an rocked her until she woke up, because I knew she needed practice sleeping more than one sleep cycle at a time.

So this is my question to all of you.  I know Staci needs 3-4 (if not 5!) hours of sleep per day on top of 12 hours at night--not only from what I've read in sleep books (a few different ones all agree on the amount of sleep an infant needs) but also from when I've seen Staci get that much sleep, she is so much happier.  So, what do I do? is it more important for her to practice sleeping in her crib, or should I rock her to ensure she gets the sleep she needs?  Today I did a combo and it seemed to work out OK, but she still only got ~2.5 hours of sleep, falling a bit short of where she should be. 

Thanks for your help!

Monday, October 5, 2009

yeah. about that.

It really shows you how desperate we are for sleep around here when we resort to cry it out methods.  I know there are lots of kids who learned to put themselves to sleep that way and they turn out just fine, and that method works for lots of families.  It just doesn't work for ours.  At least not until I truly have tried EVERY other method available.  Yesterday was a terrible day, filled with barely any sleep and lots and lots of crying.  I realize it was only day 4.  I know that in order to see results, no matter which method we choose, we need to give it a full 2 weeks.  However, I could literally feel myself detatching from my baby, so that I didn't get so emotional when I heard her cries.  I could see the way she looked at me when I went into get her after a full hour scream-a-thon and I just knew she was wondering why on earth her mommy had abandoned her. 

Enter--Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution.  I haven't finished reading as of yet, but am far enough in (about half way) to at least get started.  Today was eval-day--and tonight will also be an eval-night.  I have kept track of when she fell asleep for each nap today, how she feel asleep, where she slept, and when she awoke.  Despite my best efforts to get her to sleep for 3-4 hours, I was only able to get her to sleep for 2 hours and 38 minutes total.  Guess how much time she spent in her crib? a whopping total of 55 minutes.  (the rest was spent in my arms in our glorious apholstered swivel glider).  Well, at least I was able to get some reading done. :-\ 

I did begin to implement some of her strategies and I really think this will work for us, as long as I have the energy and the PATIENCE to keep going.  It is so hard to do after MONTHS of sleep deprivation.  I don't think I've slept longer than a 5 hour stretch in, oh, say... 9 months or so.  I know Staci is only 6 months, but those last few months of pregnancy are so uncomfy sleeping long stretches was rare.

Some of the techniques I'm going to implement are the Pantley Removal Technique (a way to help Staci learn she doesn't have to suck to fall asleep), teaching Staci little by little how to fall asleep without me (or any other warm body), introduce a lovey, and getting her to sleep as much as possible (at least 3-4 hours) during the day.  I have to create a schedule and that is something I will most certainly struggle the most with, but I know it is very important so that Staci knows what to expect and when to expect it. 

Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 3: gagging

Today Staci got to try sweet potatoes!  I cut them into small wedges, like french fries, tossed them with a little extra virgin olive oil and roasted them at 425 for ~30 minutes.  My oven cooks hot so this proved to be a bit too long and most of the pieces were too crunchy (i.e. burnt to a crisp... woops!) to give to Anastasia.  No problem, there were still a few and Mommy got to eat the rest! yum! 

Staci is such a fast learner, it totally blew my mind!  the second I put her down in her high chair she immediately started banging on her tray looking for a bit of food to taste.  I set a few fries in front of her and she grabbed one immediately and brought it straight to her mouth.  She was able to demolish 3-4 fries by gumming them and then sucking the sweet inside out. 

She had her first gag, which had me out of my seat in a flash to swipe her up and smack her back, but I didn't have a chance before she skillfully (and forcefully, might I add) threw it and a bit of milk from her prior feeding right up.  This and a bit of caughing happened 4-5 times today.  It is certainly a little nerve racking but I know how to deal with it if it becomes a true situation, so at least I am prepared.  From what I understand, this is very normal and expected for the first couple of months until they really learn how things work. 

All in all, I think she really liked the sweet potato!  Much less messy than the broccoli, as well.

Friday, October 2, 2009

6 month stats and BLW has begun!

At 6 months and 1 day old, Anastasia Kensington is 26 and 1/4 inches long (60th%), 15lbs 11oz(50th%), and her head size is at 41.5 cm (25th%).  Such a big girl!

Today is the second day of BLW and I'm really impressed at how quickly Staci is picking up on this whole eating thing!  We started with avacado yesterday, for no real reason other than I read about the health benefits of this fruit long ago and how wonderful it is as a 'first food' for a baby.  It proved to be a bit too slippery for Staci's taste and upon getting it into her mouth did one of those 'wtfrenchtoast' looks and set it right back down. LOL! Today went much better.  We gave her broccoli (no need to do the 4 day rule if you wait until 6 months to introduce solids, so long as there are no allergies in the family history) and I kinda think she liked it!  Well, she was interested at least. Check the side bar for a cute video.  Here are a couple pics for your viewing pleasure:





Isn't she the greatest? :) :) :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Half-birthday, my darling girl!

Dear Anastasia,

  You are six months old today.  When I look back on the day you were born, I marvel at how much you have grown in only half of a year!  I can't know for sure, but I'd guess you are in the 17ish pound range, nearly 3 times your birth weight!  Your little thighs are getting so chubby you're getting rolls on your knees, and your little wrists look as if you're wearing a hair tie around them.  It seriously is the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen!  You are still exclusively breastfed, but we will be starting solids today or tomorrow.  I can't wait!  You still love to blow raspberries at your dad and I, and you absolutely love your Jumpster. 

We've been having some sleep issues and neither your dad nor myself are getting much sleep because of it.  I am fearful I'm not being the kind of mommy you deserve due to my sleep deprivation, so we have started the cry it out method with you.  I know you won't remember it, but I want you to know I love you so much and hearing you cry makes me cry, too.  Nevertheless, getting sleep is very important for all of us as a family.  I wish I could bring you into bed with me for every nap time, but the fact of the matter is you don't sleep all that well there anyway, and it seemed that the more I did that, the less sleep you actually got. 

Onto the fun stuff!

-You are in 6-9 month clothes, and have already gotten too long for a few of those sleepers.  Crazy, isn't it?
-You are still on the middle snap of your one-size cloth diaper. 
-You are just learning to use a sippy cup
-You can sit up all by yourself!
-You used to hate tummy-time, but are really starting to love it now!  You scoot all around the house, but you have only managed to go backwards so you never know where you are going.
-You also love to scoot on your back, you get your little feet underneath you and kick off.  it's quite entertaining to witness!
-You are still enchanted by our animals, and have managed to get a few fistfuls of Rascal and Shania fur.  luckily they are good animals and have let you do your thing.and not showed any signs of retaliation.
-You are starting to teeth.  there is a lump on your lower left side.  Upon further investigation, I am pretty sure it's just a cyst--kinda like a pimple--but I'm certain teeth aren't far behind.
-You squeel and laugh in delight when we tickle your belly, kiss it, or blow raspberries on it. 
-Peekaboo is old hat now, I am pretty sure you learned object permanance a couple of weeks ago.  you used to love it, but now you look at me like, "Silly Mommy, hiding behind your hands!  I know you're there!"
-'This little Piggy' is a favorite of yours.  I think your toes are ticklish!

I'm floored at how much I can love a tiny little person.  Every laugh, smile, giggle, reach, every first fills my heart with joy.  I can't wait to see what you love to do as you get older!  Watching you grow is a true miracle.

Love,
Mom

Ok, I give

We started sleep training this morning.  I hate it. It's horrible; but here's the deal.  I've tried everything.  I've tried the go in every 5 minutes and paci pop, I've tried the rock to sleep, I've tried the co-sleeping, and nothing is working.  I cannot continue to nurse every 90 minutes to 2 hours at night.  Don't get me wrong, I love nursing Staci, and will do it when she's hungry and even for comfort if it's truly needed, but I'm starting to think it was more out of habit than anything. 

Even though I only started the new routine 2 days ago, b/c she was getting so much 'help' sleeping, she has refused to sleep until well after 10pm the past 2 nights in a row. (unless of course she's rocked constantly) That's just crazy.  A baby needs to sleep 12+hours at night (yes, every baby.  don't pull the whole 'some babies just don't need as much sleep' schtick with me b/c it just isn't true.  do your research!) Plus, Max really needs to start studying for his exam and hasn't been able to because I've needed him to take over with Staci after 7:30 so that I can have a much needed (and well deserved, IMO) mommy-break.  So, we will do what we have to do.  I feel terrible about it but I know it is the right thing at this point for us.  she needs to learn to sleep on her own!

This morning was insanely rough on me.  She really just fussed for the first 20 minutes or so, but then REALLY got going.  After 40 minutes more (so, an hour after I laid her down) I went to get her.  She was still pretty upset and awfully mad at me.  I would have been, too, if I'd been used to getting rocked to sleep and then all of a sudden have this rude awakening about naptime.  I had to nurse to calm her down, and then of course she barfed pretty much everythign up because she wasn't really hungry.  But you know what? She's currently down for nap number 2, and she fussed for 10 minutes and I haven't heard a peep since.  Amazing.  I know there will be more crying to come, but I'm so thrilled she is getting this nap!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sleeptraining is for Sissies (NOT!)

{sigh}. As some of you know, sleep has been a HUGE issue for us over the past few weeks.  It used to be that Staci would sleep 7:30ish to 3:30, wake up to nurse, and then right back down till 7:30ish.  it was wonderful.  there was no rocking, no swaying, no nursing every hour, it was divine.  During the day, she'd sleep 40-60 minutes out of every 2 hour period.  it was tiring because her cycle was so short, but she was sleeping and doing well at night so I was aprehensive to change anything.  Around 15 weeks old, she started waking more at night.  I attributed this to the '4 month sleep regression' and didn't do much about it, just continued to nurse and she would go right back down.  no biggie. 

Over the past few weeks, Staci has stopped sleeping during the day almost completely.  You might think this would make her nighttime sleep better.  Au Contraire.  As per usual for the past month or so, she has been insisting on being rocked to sleep.  It's so weird because we never did that in the past, but in order for her to fall asleep she had to be rocked.  It's not as if she was fussing and so I'm not even sure if CIO (cry it out) would have been an option.  She would just roll over and play with her paci or tag blanket, kick her legs and grunt at us 'till we flipped her over. (at which point she'd flip right on back over, and then be upset she was on her belly).  This would go on for 40ish minutes at which point I'd try to rock her because it was so evident how tired she was.  She'd go to sleep, I'd put her down, and 15 minutes later she'd wake up.  I attributed this to her being overtired, and gave in to rocking her every time for naps, just to get her to sleep.  This worked, for a while.  Gradually, over time, these naps became shorter and shorter, until we got to the point of the past couple of weeks and her notorious 15 minute naps.  I reached the end of my rope when she took a 6 minute nap, and was clearly SOOOO tired.  It's time for me to be a parent, and teach her how and when to sleep if she's not going to do it herself.

I do think there are a few developmental things going on here: (1) she has just learned how to sit up on her own and while still a little wobbly, can sustain it for quite some time; (2) the six month growth spurt; and (3) teething.  She has a lump on her lower left side, I think she may be sprouting her first tooth!  it's either that or a cyst (common in babies), we'll know for sure in a few days. Regardless of these reasons, she needs her sleep (and I need mine)!

I absolutely have to do something or I might start fantasizing about throwing my kid out the window.  It is incredibly frustrating to spend 15-30 minutes rocking her to have her awake less than 15 minutes later.  At this point I figure I have a couple of options. The Sears' method (attachment parenting--AP) or the CIO method/sleep training method (think babywise, the baby whisperer, etc etc).  BOTH sides suggest that a consistant naptime routine during the day will lead to better sleep at night.  I find myself most often on the 'attachment parenting' side of the coin, so for now I'm starting with AP, or the Sears' Method.  In the book written by Dr. Sears' (et al) The Baby Book, they suggest bringing the baby into bed with you.  Since I'm hopeful to have her take 2, 2 hour naps per day and possibly a short nap in the evening, I'm bringing her into bed with me for the first nap, and rocking her for the second.  Since I am not getting much sleep, that morning nap is a lifesaver for me. 

I started implementing this yesterday, and it went really well.  She slept for a little over 2 hours in the morning, while I slept a bit and then just watched her sleep, in awe.  For the afternoon nap, I rocked her to sleep and then set her in her crib.  She slept alone for about 20 minutes (as per her usual) and then I rocked her the rest of naptime, for which she slept in my arms.  Today, the morning nap went much the same way although I was able to sleep the whole time, which was amazing.  The afternoon nap was a bit shorter (90 minutes) , but we did get her down  around 6 for a 20 minute nap in her crib, so that adds up to almost 4 hours during the day.  This, compared to the 90 minutes of sleep she was getting per day (total) is absolutely tremendous and has made a HUGE difference in her mood.  My plan is to get her in this daytime routine and keep my fingers crossed it translates to better nighttime sleep.  Once she's sleeping better at night again, we can start transitioning her to her crib for naps.  For now, the most important thing to me is that she's getting the sleep she so desperately needs.  I enjoy sleeping next to her, and when I'm rocking her for the second nap I just started reading--something I haven't had time to do since she was born.  Since I love to read, this is a great 'mommy break' even though it's not really a break.

I wish I would have realized how harmful not sleeping during the day was to my precious baby girl!  In fact, studies have linked restless sleep patterns with ADHD later in life, as Mark Weissbluth discusses in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  (look at pgs 393-4)  I'm a bit nervous because her naps, after ~40 minutes, are extremely restless.  I have to be next to her or she will wake up.  For the afternoon nap, if I so much as turn the page too loudly in my book her eyes are WIDE open.  It has only been 2 days, so I'm hopeful that as she gets used to sleeping during these times and becomes more rested, she will eventually begin to have more restful sleep.

I will keep you all updated as we progress.  Wish us luck that I don't have to actually go into sleeptraining, because I'm quite certain I will do as much crying as she does if we end up needing to resort to CIO.  It just doesn't appeal to my style of parenting, but I do think daytime sleep is essential to her well-being so if we have to, we have to.  As of now, my fingers are crossed this gentler method works!   Other suggestions are welcomed! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby led Weaning

In my excitement to start introducing solids a couple of weeks ago, I was researching recipes and how to get started on http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/.  There, I read that many moms were now starting to introduce solids using baby led weaning-or BLW-instead of purees.  This intrigued me and sparked a mass-raid of the internet and anything I could find involving BLW. 

Let me clarify.  I am not discussing weaning Staci from the breast just yet.  We are nowhere near ready for that!

There is a lot more to it, but the most basic explanation of BLW is that it is simply giving Staci suitable sized pieces of food, soft enough for her to gum at this point since she has no teeth.  It is not important for her to get many nutrients from solid food at this age, because breastmilk is the most calorie and nutrient dense food available.  It's imperitive that in the first year she receive the majority of her calories from breastmilk alone.  That being said, the motto of baby led weaning is 'If it's before one, it's just for fun'.  BLW mothers take mealtimes and view them as play time.  A time to try new things, explore, and learn to chew and swallow because frankly, food is yummy!

The whole point of introducing solids to a baby is so that they learn how to feed themselves, i.e. pick up food, bring it to their mouth, chew and swallow.  Clearly, a puree-weaned baby is simply learning to suck and swallow food from a spoon.  While they are experiencing lovely new tastes, they don't have the luxury of experiencing the new texture as well.  There is also the potential to overfeed that lies in spoonfeeding.  Often, moms may feel pressure to get that extra bite of food in to finish the jar or bowl of mush, even if the baby is not hungry. 

BLW babies, on the other hand, get to pick and choose what-and how much-goes into their mouths.  This encourages a healthy appetite to try new things.  Studies have shown that BLW babies are far less picky and much more willing to try new things than puree weaned babies are, as discussed in Gill Rapley's book, Baby-led weaning.  As many of you know, this is a HUGE reason for me to try this method of introducing solids.  My husband is one of the pickiest eaters I know, second only to his mother, who refuses to eat anything green unless that's the color of the icing on her store bought cookie-cake!  (Ann, you know I love you!)

Some of you may worry that she may choke.  This angle is also discussed in the book, and it's important to note that a baby's gag reflex is actually located further forward in their mouth than it is in an adult's.  Gagging is actually an important part of learning how to eat, because it teaches them how to move food around in their mouth to chew it, and helps them learn to take smaller pieces instead of cramming the entire chunk in all at once.  It is also pointed out that, in actuality, spoon feeding is more likely to be a potential choking hazard, simply because the baby is not in control of what goes into their mouth, how far, and how much. 

A great quick resource I found is this pamphlet, a quick overview of the book: http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/blwleaflet.pdf. If you are interested, there are quite a few videos on youtube of babies having their first meal BLW style, and it is really neat to watch! 

I can't wait to get started.  I am leaning towards introducting avacado first, simply because of all it's health benefits and (bonus!) ease of preparation.  All I would have to do is slice it! And of course eat the other half. :) Stay tuned for updates as Staci learns to eat like a big girl!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Modeling debut and a visit with the grandmas

About time for an update, huh?  Anastasia's six month birthday is just around the corner, and Max and I are having a blast watching our teeny tiny baby turn into a chubber with personality!  Today was the Bellies and Babies Expo at the Convention center downtown.  Staci was a model in the fashion show!  here are a couple of pictures of her outfit:


and then she had to show us her model face:

LOL!
If only we were allowed to keep the outfit as a reward!  After the show, Max and I visited with Grandma Ann for a little while and Staci showed off her new trick.


sitting up!

Then we went to Half Price Books and scored a couple more Dr. Seuss books.  Max and I both love those and they seem so well written when compared to many other kid's books.  Reading at this age is really just for the benefit of hearing the language, so it helps Max and I when it's something we enjoy!  We rounded off the day with a trip to see Grandma Ellen at Kirk Furniture.  It was really fun to meet everyone and see the store, and Staci was a hit!

It's so amazing to see my baby girl grow and learn new things.  I definitely miss the newborn stage, but I love the stage she is in right now, as well.  We will be starting solids this week since she is now able to feed herself. Baby led weaning--or BLW--is probably where we will start since we waited until 6 months. More on that in my 'baby led weaning' post!  in the meantime, check the side bar for a video of Staci enjoying her Jumpster :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

bye-bye 6mo, hello 9mo!

I can't believe my baby girl is already getting into 9 month clothing!  It seems all brands run differently, but she was beginning to look like a stuffed sausage so it's time to get out the 'new' (well, new to me) clothes.  I must admit, it's really fun to go through the bins of clothes and find all the cute stuff!  I have only bought one or 2 new things in this size.  Everything else has been from Craig's List or consignment sales.

The part I struggle with is how to arrange the clothes in drawers.  with the 3-6mo stuff, I put all the onesies in one drawer, pants in another, jumpers in another and all the sleepers together.  This time I'm going to try something a little different.  I've gone through and made outfits out of everything and will put them in drawers so my husband can dress his daughter and *not* have her look like Punky Brewster.  Seriously.  Yesterday, she came downstairs in rainbow striped leggings and a longsleeved striped onesie.  But the onesie wasn't rainbow striped more of a pastel.  it was attrocious!

With this transition to new clothing, I start to wonder how big she really is getting.  We don't own a baby scale or a grown-up scale, so I have no way of knowing.  We weighed her 2 weeks ago at the reunion and she was 15lbs5oz (fully dressed) but I am guessing she is over 16lbs by now.  It just seems within the last 2 weeks she has grown and every time I pick her up she feels like a ton of bricks!

Our next appointment with the doctor is still a few weeks away, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how much she's grown.  We will also be starting solids soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

'After' pics

Some pictures from the reunion were posted on facebook by Stephanie, so I 'stole' them, and here they are!!

The 'after' picture, in order of babies born from right to left
All the daddies

Ava and Eliam, so cute!
Landon and Staci, playin' footsie! Dana, our class instructor, is holding Landon
Thanks Stephanie for posting pictures!! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bradley class reunion!

I have been waiting to write this blog until Cassey, another member of the class who happens to be a professional photographer, posted the pictures she took so I could link some of them here.  It's been a week and a half now, and if I don't blog about it I will forget everything!  So, here goes:

I guess I should start by explaining that Max and I attended a natural birthing class (the Bradley Method, perhaps better known as Husband Coached Childbirth) for a few months prior to Anastasia's birth.  It was very important to me to at least try to have a natural labor and delivery and I knew I would need to be prepared in order to reach this goal--seeing as I'm a total wimp!  I firmly believe that if anyone is interested in having a natural birth, this is absolutely the way to go.  There are other methods out there, but this one has been around the longest and has the highest studied success rate.  Also, for any soon to be mom, I highly recommend at least reading the book "Childbirth the Bradley Way".  If you plan to have an epidural or pain medication, just ignore what it says about these things.  Honestly, no one really talks about labor and delivery, so I had no idea what to expect.  This book taught me pretty much everything I needed to know!

I digress...

A couple of Saturday evenings ago Max, Staci and I all loaded into the car and met at Amy's house for a potluck reunion. It was so much fun to see everyone and their babies!  especially since the last time I'd seen some of the girls, we all looked like this:

It is so much fun to look back and see all the cute preggos, and to now have met the OH so ADORABLE babies!  We are lined up in order of EDD's (estimated due dates) from the right.  Meagan, Cassey, myself, Amy, Stephanie, and Becky.  We all had our babies pretty much in this order, though Cassey and I managed to beat Meagan.  Although I think I only beat Meagan by a day or so. :)   There was also another mama who happened to have her baby in January, only a few classes in!  Her name is Kara, and she and her hubby and baby boy did join us for the reunion. 
So, as soon as Cassey makes those photos available, I will post the 'after' shots. :)
Perhaps the most fun part of the reunion was rehashing some birth stories (I am addicted to these now) and discussing topics with other like-minded mamas.  Things such as breastfeeding, cloth diapering, eating organically, and living green aren't things you can always talk to just anyone about because of prejudices and frankly, closed-mindedness. 
Anastasia of course had to insert herself into the conversation by >LOUDLY< blowing raspberries in all directions.  It was SO adorable, if I do say so myself!  We ended up having to duck out early due to Staci's inability to fall asleep anywhere but her own room, but all in all it was a very fun evening!  It was so wonderful to see Dana, our instructor, again after having learned information very dear to our hearts from her!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Turning 27 at the Indy Zoo!

Today is a landmark day.  I turn 27 today.  I'm not sure what it is about 27 that is so much older than 26, but I've officially moved into my 'upper' 20's.  I am making it a personal rule to soak in every last moment of my 20's, and enjoy them to the fullest. In honor of this, a good friend from my natural birthing class, Becky, took us to the zoo today!  We had a blast!  We started off at the dolphin show. (check the video banner at the right for a short, like 2 second vid of the dolphins flipping!!)
After, we took a short break to nurse the babes and do some diaper changes.  We made our way through, stopping tor some fun pics along the way.
My favorite part of the day was probably getting up close and personal with this elephant!  I love elephants, I just think they are amazing creatures!  We got to see this one cross his legs, touch his nose (to his nose, LOL) shake his head, and then we got to 'pet' her!  I had never been that close to an elephant before.  very cool!
Thanks Becky for a wonderful birthday out and a fun trip to the zoo!
Max came home and treated me to dinner out (we NEVER go out to eat, I could probably count on one hand how many times we've been to a sit down resteraunt this year) and then to a DQ treat.  I'd turn 27 every day if I got to have days like this!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

pictures!...and I'm already sore!

Today was such a fun family day!  We had a lazy morning and then got our act together and went to visit with Mandy and Bella.  Mandy and I have been very close friends for about 11 years now.  She is a personal trainer and budding photographer.  Check out her blog, Fitness and Family, here, and her photography blog here.  She took some gorgeous pictures of our family today!  I'm so excited because besides these, the ONLY picture I have of all three of us I am about 7 hours post partum and wearing a hospital gown.  Not. Cute. Here are a few sneak peaks!
I am so impressed with these.  It is so fun to be friends with Mandy!  After the photoshoot, Mandy kicked my butt in her home gym and I'm already sore.  Max got Staci down for a nap and played with Bella while we worked out.  I'm not really sure what they were doing, but they MUST have been having fun with all of the running back and forth we heard above us.  It sounded like they were competing to see who could run to the other side of the living room faster!
Mandy was also nice enough to take some artzy phartzy photos of Anastasia breastfeeding.  I wanted a few shots to remember this special time by.  Don't worry, I won't be posting these online!  I feel so blessed to have made it through the rough patches in the beginning and to have fallen into an enjoyable breastfeeding relationship with my daughter.  She is such a good baby, and I feel so lucky to be her mom!