Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear Future Self,

If you are reading this, it is probably because you are in excruciating pain right now, thanks to either Jillian Michaels, Elliptical Monster, or the Total Pain, er, Gym. Everything is going to be okay. Just breathe. (If you can.) This will all be worth it, trust me, your Past Self. As I type this there are two, TWO amazing gift cards in your wallet, just begging to be spent on cute, sassy clothes. However, as I type this there is also a nice, jiggly layer of unwelcome flesh covering pretty much our entire body.

I know, gross.

And NO, we are no longer blaming this on pregnancy weight. It's been almost 5 months. This jiggle is all thanks to the junk we've been stuffing in our mouths, under the guise that breastfeeding will burn off any and everything we eat. (Which, based on how we look in our underwear, is 100% false.)

So, it's time. It's probably going to hurt. This layer of jiggly flesh is extremely comfortable where it is, and is NOT going to want to vacate our premises. The jiggle has a very effective bag of tricks to discourage us from reaching our goals. It's going to slow us down, jiggle and bounce with every stride on the Elliptical Monster, and mock us in the mirror after particularly strenuous sessions with Jillian Maniac. Regardless of how our body looks or how little the scale moves from day to day, repeat these words: IT IS WORKING. IT IS WORKING. Just remember that every time you finish a work out, we are that much closer to being ready to spend those wonderful gift cards, ready for shorts and sleeveless shirts, and one more step closer to letting go of the fear and dread we hold for beach season.

Now, suck it up, shower up, and go indulge in one of those amazing massages DH gave us for Christmas. Cause honey, tomorrow's another day made especially for fightin' the flab!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear White T-Shirt makers,


What's a girl to do? You are really making my life difficult. I am a nice girl. Yes, I've had my moments of questionable fashion choices: the plaid flannel lumberjack shirt fad in middle school still makes me shudder, as does the jelly shoe trend I indulged in as a little squirt. Although I've just had a baby and am still fighting the remaining baby weight off, I don't think I look like a total slob, and I try not to schlep around in sweat pants EVERY day.

However, our relationship is now what you might call "complicated". As I previously stated, I am a nice girl. Unlike some hussies, er, girls, I am morally opposed to thongs to becoming "whale tales" showing out the back of my pants, bra straps showing, buttons gaping too much on shirts, and panty lines in general. Finding clothes in my closet that fit my still adjusting, post-baby body that also don't cause me to sweat (sweaters are OUT-thank you hormones. My application to the Polar Bear Club has recently been accepted.) has been difficult. One look I like is a nice white t-shirt under a cute, preppy cardigan or fitted jacket.

This is where you come in, and how you're making my life hell.

Why can't you people make one, ONE white t-shirt that isn't FRICKIN' see through!? I literally went through FOUR white t-shirts out of my closet this weekend, two short sleeved, one long sleeved, and one button up shirt, and each one presented a different problem. Shirt #1: hmmm...you can see my belly button indentation. Out. Shirt #2: oh, that's what my entire torso looks like underneath my clothes. Shirt #3: Nice bra. I can see the whole thing through the shirt. Shirt #4: See comment for Shirts 1-3. Sigh. Thus, my quest for the perfect white t-shirt continues. I make this promise, White T-Shirt Makers of the World: as soon as I find the perfect white shirt, one that doesn't show my entire bra through it, or my muffin top, or my belly button indentation, I will buy A DOZEN. Short sleeved, long-sleeved, button up. I will shout your praises from the hill tops (or at least post about you on Facebook)and be your devoted customer for life.
Sincerely,
Rookie Mama
PS- Photo disclaimer- NO, that is NOT a picture of me or anyone else I know. I don't do sleeveless. ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Rants from Mommyland...

I heart you. You are my new favorite blog. You are my therapy. You are the reason that I log in to blogger on a daily basis now. Okay, twice a day now. Let me preface by saying I am absolutely in love with my son and my husband. I can not imagine my life without either one. I know that I am so blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom. I would do pretty much anything to be able to avoid handing my infant son off to someone else every morning while I trudged off to teach. It's not for everyone, but it's what I want, DH wants, and it works for us. However, being a stay at home mom is *not* any of the following: 100% fun, 100% easy, a vacation, spit up free, poop free, tear free (sometimes the baby cries too), stress free, nor is it free of swear words, piles of laundry, grimy bathrooms that mock you each time you try to speed clean only to have baby wake up as soon as you get out the scrub brush, just to name a few. The only things that are really free are my services. So, when DH silently shakes his head as he digs through the mountain of laundry looking for a clean dress shirt that doesn't smell so he can stick it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out, instead of whipping around and yelling, "Suck it, Fancy! When's the last time you peed with our son watching you??" I can now calmly channel a past post from your blog and laugh quietly to myself (too loud and DH will really think I've lost it- laughing to myself for no apparent reason), and ahhhh...the world is right again. So thank you. Thank you for being open, honest and letting it all hang out. It's so refreshing to come across a blog that isn't afraid to show all sides of mommyhood, without fear. Too many mommy friends of mine are so preoccupied with being the "perfect mommy" or at least, appearing that way, that I have been feeling a bit lonely during my own Mommy Fail moments or moments of complete absurdity (aka..covered in gooey spit up for the nth time with baby smiling as wide as he can with his beautiful face) in my new life. But that's all over now, because I've found you. So I'll say it again...Rants from Mommyland, you rock my face off. MMMMMMMMMMMMWAH!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WWMD?


Last week, I decided it was time for me to "solve" Patrick's sleeping problems. So, when I face a new situation, I tend to head to the library, check out a bunch of books and start reading. Well, long story short....things weren't working out in real life with Patrick as the lady in the book about baby sleep habits said they should. And I did what I do best- called my sister (mama of 2 amazing girlies) and cried onto her figurative shoulder. Then, she did what she does best- reassured me with words of wisdom and talked me down from the "I'm a horrible mother and my kid's gonna end up screwed up because of me" ledge. One thing she said has stuck with me since then, and I think I've thought about it every day. In our conversation about how being a mother is hard, she pointed out that one of the things that makes it hard is that we have to die to self. Our days of being first are gone. We need to look to the ultimate example of motherhood- Mary- and emulate her. Mary has been on my heart since then. Every time I've picked Patrick up, I have flashed to an image of Mary picking up the Baby Jesus. I feel so connected to Mary now that we have motherhood in common. Granted, her situation was quite a bit different than mine- I'm not raising the Savior of the world-but I think all mothers have something in common: that magical link of tenderness and awe towards their child. Many a night I've changed Patrick, swaddled him up, and cradled him in my arms for a few moments before putting him in his crib, admiring his sweet face, plump cheeks, and long eye lashes. How incredible is it that Mary has done these very same things? How gently she must have stroked his cheek, or kissed his forehead. There are also many challenging moments as a mother, that aren't as sweet as the ones I've mentioned. There are those moments when Patrick screams at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, and all I can do is try to burp him, quietly shoosh him or rub his back, and sometimes those take a while to calm him. In those moments, when I know he has a gas bubble that just won't come up, I feel so bad for him that it makes me want to cry, too. But now, I'm trying to remember Mary. Because along with her gentleness, I also imagine Mary had a sense of calm, and an amazing inner strength. She faced unimaginable challenges, and yet in my heart and from what I've read in Scripture, she accepted the challenges with faith, trust and surrender to God's plan. I'm trying to remember these character traits in my challenging moments as a mother, and in my happy, sweet, amazing moments. It may sound strange to ask "What Would Mary Do?" instead of "What Would Jesus Do?" and I don't mean for it to sound like I'm putting Mary before Christ, because I'm not. However, when it comes to looking for women who were amazing mothers to serve as role models, Mary tops the list. Having a love for Mama Mary is one of the things that I love about being Catholic.
Final thought: I recently heard a man on the Christian radio station saying the following: "God isn't concerned about how much money you do or don't have. God isn't concerned that your baby is keeping you up at 2 am. God doesn't care that you're the CEO of a company. God isn't concerned that you just lost your job. He IS concerned about how you react in those situations. He IS concerned about your heart, and your attitude when facing challenges, or when trusted with great responsibility."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Martha Stewart,

I have always been a fan of your Christmas decor collections. When I first found them at KMart three years ago, I fell in love. Such pretty, classy decorations for such a decent price! It made Christmas the only time I ever visited KMart, often several times in a season to stock up on ornaments, ribbon, or garland. I am such a fan of your green and red tartan plaid ribbon, your matte green, red and gold ornaments, and your hand painted glass ball ornaments. However, I have one request. The next time you decide to take your beautiful collections from one store to another, would you please plaster the news on billboards across America? You see, making a special trip with my four month old in 27 degree weather to KMart for your decorations is a big deal to this first time, rookie mom. What a disappointment it was to me today to find Jaclyn Smith had taken up residence in the Christmas decor aisle, and you were nowhere to be found. I was utterly confused, and asked the helpful KMart lady what the deal was.
You moved to Wal-Mart? I wish I'd known that, especially since I was already at Wal-Mart once this week for groceries. Sigh. I caved and bought some Jaclyn Smith junk, er, decorations. But now I may just have to make a special trip to Wal-Mart to see if I can find you again. If I can, old Jackie's going back to the big K. In the meantime, think about my request. We Christmas lovin' ladies would love to continue ensconcing our homes with your beautiful products, but not if it requires multiple trips and one too many car seat bicep curls.
Sincerely,
The Rookie Mama who loooooooooooooooves Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010

Enjoying the Sights of the Season with help from Shutterfly!

I'll admit it. I am addicted to Christmas. No, I am not one of those girls who is up at 3 am on Black Friday just to get to Toys R' Us at 4 am. In fact, back in my college days, my sister and my mom would get up early (back then the earliest stores opened was 6 am!) and I would always roll out of bed at 8 or 9 to meet them out. No, I'm not addicted to that part of Christmas. However, I was always the girl who started listening to her Christmas CDs in early November. Nat King Cole, Perry Como and The Charlie Brown Christmas collection just moved something in my soul. There is something about all of the trappings of Christmas that make my spirit feel light. There seems to be more of a connection between people at Christmas, don't you think? All year we race around, working, twittering, depending on Facebook as our sole line of communication to our loved ones. (I'm not knocking FB-I'm a little addicted to it, too!) But there is something to be said about a season full of parties, cookie exchanges, and family meals. Also, what can be better than opening your mailbox and finding two or three actual pieces of mail from those we love most? Not bills, or sales circulars, but Christmas cards and letters. Photographs to show us how our loved ones have spent their year, how they've changed and grown. I have always loved opening such sweet little gifts, and last year I fell in love with creating my own photo Christmas cards. I can't wait to send out this year's card, plastered with Patrick's sweet, angelic face, of course! There are so many places that make photo cards, but my hands down favorite is Shutterfly.com. The Christmas card designs are so sophisticated, yet fun! I can honestly tell you that I spent over an hour last night, just playing with the website. It is extremely easy to navigate, and the possibilities are truly endless. I think I actually made 7 or 8 different Christmas cards using our Christmas portraits.
Here are a few of my favorites:


I also like this one:


Check out Shutterfly's options for holiday cards. They have so many to choose from. Half the fun is trying all the different designs! But Shutterfly doesn't just do holiday cards. They also offer such cute designs for Christmas party invitations, so you can invite your loved ones over with style.

My other favorite offering from Shutterfly is their calendars.
My sister and I are planning on using Shutterfly to create cute desktop photo calendars of our children for our parents and grandparents. It is a perfect, practical gift for those people in your life who are so hard to shop for!

I hope you all enjoy your Christmas season, taking care to spend time with those you love most, and admiring the cards and letters from those who can't be with you through this precious, sweet season.

*Shutterfly has generously offered me 50 free Christmas cards in exchange for this blog posting. Thanks, Shutterfly.com!*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Swaddle,

Please forgive me. I've been a silly, silly fool for abandoning you months ago. Little Patrick struggled and fought against you so, and always managed to break free of your grasp. I have pictures of him, just weeks old, with both arms flung up over his head as he slept. I just figured, hey, he loves to have his arms free; he'll be okay. I did notice how much he startled in his sleep when he was just weeks old, and thought it was cute. But now, now we're working on sleeping in the big boy crib. Through the night. With (cross my fingers) only one wake up to nurse through the night. But the poor boy still startles. I was watching him fall asleep the other night, and I swear he startled 5 or 6 times, each time as he was slipping into a deep sleep, as his arms slid off his chest. That was when I knew. I knew that it was time to try You again. So, try You again I have. Okay, I'm slightly cheating. He only has one arm swaddled in, because he does love to suck on his fingers. And I truly think it's helping!! He's startling less, which I think helps him fall asleep easier. So thank you! If God blesses DH and I with any more children (hopefully someday!) I promise I will not abandon you again.
Sincerely,
Rookie Mama

Monday, November 22, 2010

For the next one...

It's amazing how much you learn as you journey down this path called parenthood. As we've been transitioning Patrick from his bassinet to his big boy crib, there are several things that I'd change if God were to bless us with another child.
First, I would register for or purchase a video monitor with more than one camera and or monitor. Right now, we've got one camera and one monitor, which is fine when Patrick is in his crib (where the camera is posted) and I'm in the living room (where the monitor is perched). But if I want to take a bath, climb in my own bed, or be anywhere other than the living room, I've got to unplug the monitor and plug it in wherever I am. Also, our monitor is huge, which is a good thing when I'm in the living room. However, when I plop myself into bed at night with the monitor on my night stand, its bright blue light is enough to keep the heaviest sleepers awake.
Second, I will be more perseverant in swaddling the next child. I registered and received several of the swaddles that use velcro. Patrick hated having his arms swaddled, (in fact he sleeps with his arms flung up above his head next to his ears- has since he was born!)and always seemed to get at least one leg out of this type of swaddle. Plus, every time I had to change his diaper during the night (which I was doing quite a bit at first- I found if I didn't, then he wouldn't be awake enough to nurse) it was a pain to mess with the velcro. I've since done some research and I like the Woombie type swaddle- it comes with two way zippers to make diaper changes easier, plus you can get a "convertible" type swaddle, which allows you to let the baby's arms out if he or she doesn't like to have them bound, or when they get old enough to roll. I think one of Patrick's main obstacles to sleeping through the night is how often he startles, and I think swaddling would help with this. I'm going to try to swaddle him more often (arms free!) to see if that helps him sleep through the night better.
Third, I think with the next baby I will truly try to start him or her in his or her big crib, and skip the bassinet step. I have loved having Patrick right next to me in our room, and it has made nursing much easier. But transitioning him to the big boy crib has been a daunting task. Instead, especially in the beginning when I'm nursing every two hours or so, I might put a small twin bed or something similar in the baby's room to sleep on while the baby sleeps in his or her crib. I have to imagine that it'll be easier for me to transition myself to my own bed once the nursing gets spaced out!
Fourth, I love, love, love my Snap and Go stroller (thanks big sister!)because I can literally take the car seat out of the car, snap it into the stroller, and go. However, I've been doing a lot of neighborhood walking and since this stroller has been through two babies (Patrick and my niece Bridget before him), the wheels are starting to squeak and the wear is beginning to show. So, I'll research a second stroller (because I plan on sticking with the Snap and Go stroller brand for every day use with the next baby) that can also be used with a car seat while the baby is younger, then convert to a big kid stroller, that has big enough wheels to handle neighborhood walking. I'd like to avoid the large travel system type stroller though, so it might take some serious research.
So far, those are the things I'd change. I can only imagine what else we'll learn in this awesome adventure!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby weight blues


Sigh. Here I am, three months post partum, and the majority of clothing I wear is still maternity clothes. I'm ashamed to admit that, but it's true. I had grand visions of breastfeeding being my ticket back to my pre-pregnancy body. (Not that my pre-pregnancy body couldn't have used some improvement, anyway.) But, that hasn't fully been the case. I will say that in the month after Patrick came, I dropped a bunch of my weight, and actually am only a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. But I'm just not satisfied with the way my body looks, and I am so disappointed that my regular clothes are not really fitting! I feel like I still look 3-4 months pregnant! In normal circumstances, I am a huge Weight Watchers believer and have had great success with it. In the back of my mind, however, echo all the stories I've heard of friends' milk drying up because they went on diets or tried to lose their weight too fast. That would be devastating to me! Breastfeeding is one of the best things I do for Patrick, and I'd like to continue until he's about a year old. Also, and maybe this is a cop out, but I simply don't have time to write down everything I eat, to check out points, etc. I've been trying to stick to Lean Cuisines for lunch and dinner (when DH is out of town), because those make it easy to track points. Before I got pregnant, I really started to enjoy going to the gym. It was such a great way for me to pound out the stress of my job, the stress of trying to conceive, and just normal life stress on the elliptical machine or treadmill. I'd clip on my iPod and go for it. Right now, however, Patrick's a little too young for the child care center at my gym, and I'm a little hesitant to leave him in the care of the teenagers that work there anyway. I'm not exactly coordinated, so I tire of workout videos because I feel frustrated and as if I'm not getting much out of it if I can't follow the moves closely enough. So, that leaves walking. Patrick and I have been getting out for about 30-60 minutes a couple of days a week, which has been great. I'm not sure what we'll do once the weather starts getting really cold, but cross that bridge when we get there, right? I just wish I had better self control when it came to my eating. I know part of my problem is I eat because I'm bored, and I'm also one of those girls who "eats her feelings." These feelings could be stress, loneliness, or frustration. DH has been traveling a lot, so I've been having my fair share of all of those feelings. Which, along with convenience, leads me to the drive thru, or to indulge in that pumpkin scone at Starbucks. I guess I've got to quit complaining, suck it up and just DO IT. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our (current) cozy bedtime routine


Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to work out an enjoyable, practical bedtime routine for Patrick. I feel like having such a routine settles him down, soothes him as he becomes more and more tired, and is a special bonding time for us. When I first started this a few weeks ago, the routine started with bath time. Patrick loves being in the water, loves the silly songs I make up, and it was a good time for me to work on ridding him of his cradle cap. The horrible part, however, was when bath time would end. He would be fine when I took him out of the tub, fine with the towels wrapped around him, fine while I dried him off. It was when I would lay him down on the changing table for a new diaper that he would FREAK OUT. Mind you, our changing pad is lined with a nice, warm, soft, fuzzy changing pad cover. So, it wasn't as if it was cold or uncomfortable. He was no longer wet, and it's not extremely cold in our house so it wasn't as if he was freezing cold. But he would scream BLOODY MURDER!! All the way through the diaper change, through being dressed, almost to the point at which I thought he was going to make himself throw up. It would take considerable soothing from me before he'd calm down. At first I wondered if he was just cold, or just disliked the end of bath time. But then I realized it was simply my son being over tired and extremely fussy. A bath at bed time would either have to come a good bit earlier, so that he wasn't over tired, or would have to be removed from the daily bedtime routine. I opted for removing it from the daily bedtime routine to another part of the day. Over the last few days, we've really been enjoying our late afternoon and bedtime routine. I'm not sure how long it will last, but here's how it goes:
Usually around 4 pm, Patrick is up from his most recent nap and I'm looking for a way to get out of the house. Thus, it's time for our daily neighborhood walk! The last few days we've been walking for almost an hour. Some of the time, Patrick is awake, and some of the time he's enjoying a snooze.
Home by 5 or so, and mama needs a shower. So, he enjoys some play time in the bouncy seat while I shower and dress. Then, it's time for a diaper change for Patrick, along with jammies. At this point, he's usually rubbing his eyes or playing with his hair, two cues that he's getting sleepy. Jammies either consist of a one piece sleeper with feet, or a long sleeved onsie, covered by his sleep sack. But, between the clean diaper and jammies comes baby massage! I LOVE Johnson and Johnson's lavender scented lotion, and I make sure to put it on Patrick's legs and feet, (he especially laughs and giggles while I rub his feet!) his arms, shoulders and belly.
After jammies, it's time to read some books sitting in the glider together. Patrick is surprisingly good at being still and paying attention (as much as a 3 month old can!). We've been reading the same books for a while- Goodnight Gorilla, Mommy Hugs, I Love My Daddy Because, Where is Baby's Belly button?, and I Love You Through and Through. We always read I Love You Through and Through last, and it is my absolute favorite!
Then, if he's not too fussy or acting too tired, we list all the people who love him, (an idea I stole from Erin Lane. Her blog is Tales from a Marketing Mama- check the blogs I follow!), we say a prayer asking God to bless his family and friends, and ask Mama Mary to pray for us. Then it's time to nurse, and down to sleep.
Phew! Sounds like a lot, I know, but it has been such a sweet way to spend our evenings together. He's been getting to sleep by about 6:30 or so, and he'll sleep (waking up about every 4 hours on average- sometimes longer- to nurse) then he's up by 7. There are always variations on how the nights go, but right now this routine is working for us, and is a blessing to our evenings!

Such a sweet, relaxed day...

I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, as DH has been traveling for work A LOT. As in, to Chicago. For work. He also has to travel a good bit around the state for work, which leaves me a bit lonely and feeling a wee bit like a single parent while he's gone. Today being Saturday, I was feeling a little more blue because the weekends are our time to be together as a family, and he's not here this weekend. So I decided to get out of the house and try to make the best of it. Patrick and I had such a nice day! We were up by 7, nursed, with him playing on his play mat for a bit while I had breakfast and fed the dog. After he tired of playing on the mat, he spent some time in his bouncy seat laughing at the toys while I showered and got dressed. By then it was about 8:15 or so and he was ready for a nap. While he napped (he only really goes about 30-45 minutes usually) I moved some laundry around, folded clothes, took care of dishes, wiped down the kitchen counters, and brought in the big trash can and recycling bin from the curb. After he woke up, I finished getting ready and out the door we went-- mall time! It was a beautiful fall day, a wee bit chilly when we first got to the mall, but I was loving it. Our first order of business, of course- STARBUCKS. And yes, I indulged in a pumpkin scone, my ultimate weakness. What can I say, I am a girl who eats her feelings. Patrick is at the age at which he doesn't mind the stroller at all, because the motion of it puts him to sleep most of the time, and the rest of the time he simply laughs at the toys on his car seat or laughs at me making faces at him. I realize how lucky I am that I can spend over an hour going into various stores, trying on clothes, looking for Christmas gifts, enjoying Bath and Body Works, etc. with zero fussing from my baby. Oh, and the fact that just about 10 ladies stopped me to peek at him and admire my beautiful baby didn't hurt my mall experience. :) Once home, he napped while I had lunch with my aunt, then we snuggled, played, nursed, he napped some more, went for a walk around the neighborhood, another shower for mama and bouncy seat for him, then it was time for our bedtime routine. It was just a very relaxed day, and to be honest, it was lovely. I didn't really ever feel stressed out today, which was a blessing from the last few days. I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get him into his big boy crib, and it hasn't been going well. Today I just let it go and enjoyed my time with him. Now I've got my sweet slumbering baby on the video monitor and a little time to myself. I pray that tonight goes smoothly and tomorrow's another relaxed day! We miss DH, of course, but I do feel like we made the most of today, and I'm feeling very thankful for my life and the blessings I have.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Approaching 3 months...



I can't believe Patrick is almost three months old! (He'll be 3 months on the 7th.) Every day I look at him and am just amazed at how BIG he seems to be compared to the little bug we brought home from the hospital. As we are approaching this milestone of sorts, I realize that it is coming time for Patrick to sleep in his own room, in his crib. For now he's been in our room, in his Fisher Price Newborn Rock and Play sleeper. He loves it, and so do I. He has just gotten used to taking naps in it, after I lined it with a fuzzy/fleece type blanket. He is addicted to that kind of material. I got the idea after I noticed him stroking the fuzzy part of his swing by his head as he was drifing off to sleep one day. Also, I've been making sure to give him his "lovey" blanket- fleece on one side, satin on the other, with a monkey attached to it. He will rub this lovey against his face and even pull it over his head to get himself to sleep. This still makes me nervous, but the blanket is small and thin, and he can still breathe well with it like this. I'm incredibly nervous and a little sad about starting him in his crib. It's been such a comfort to me to be able to turn over in bed and see his sweet little face, or hear him giggle in his sleep. It's also very convenient for night nursing- I can just pick him up, nurse, and put him back. I don't even have to get out of bed. Once in the crib, I'll have to walk halfway across the house to nurse him. One of my hopes is that by moving him to his own room, he'll begin to go for longer stretches between nursing. At 11 pounds, he's a little big/old to be nursing every two hours as he does most nights. Mostly I figure he does that because he's accustomed, and because it's comforting. I'm also a little scared because the bed he has now is on an incline, which helps immensely with his spitting up. He has spit up much less after eating since we put him in this bed than when he was sleeping flat in the bassinet. I'm hoping if I burp him well enough after each feeding, this won't be a problem. I think my goal for having him in his crib for the majority of his naps and bedtime is Dec. 1. I'm not sure how well I'll do with this goal, especially since we may have a long weekend or two away between now and then, which means he'll be back sleeping in the Rock and Play for those trips. As much as I've enjoyed having Patrick in our room with us, I think if we're blessed with any more children, I may just start them off in their crib from the beginning. It may mean that I sleep in the baby's room on a twin bed or something, but maybe it'll be easier to adjust to sleeping in the crib if they start out that way!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My big boy...sleeping issues...





Patrick is now about two and a half months old!! It's hard to believe how fast time rolls by. We are having a lot of fun together, and it's true that babies change constantly. Just when I think I've got things figured out, he throws a curve ball at me. He definitely keeps me on my toes, which is a good thing. Lately we've been working on sleep patterns. I have to admit that although I've been following doctor's orders by putting Patrick into his bed content yet awake at night so that he can get himself to sleep, I've been letting him take all of his daily naps in my arms. Honestly, it's something I've loved doing, first because I love holding him, and second, because many of those naps are for both of us. I will fall asleep sitting up on the couch as I'm holding him. Not the best thing to do, I know but it's the truth. So lately I've been wondering if Patrick sleeps too much during the day, as he will often fall asleep in his car seat while we're out, and the same goes for if he's in his stroller. Last week I devoted a few days to just staying home to see what his natural rhythms were, and it seemed to go as follows: eat, be awake/play for about 45-60 minutes, sleep for 45-60 minutes, then start all over again. So, I know I've got to start planning my day around his natural schedule. I'm just not sure how. I mean, it would make sense to let him sleep at home during his natural nap time, then pack him up for errands during his awake time. Thus, he'll be getting quality sleep at home, in a quiet space, as part of a nap time routine. My fear is that if I do that, he'll sleep during his nap time, then end up falling asleep MORE when we're out, as the movement of the car and stroller seem to lull him back to sleep. I don't want him to sleep TOO much during the day, because I'm afraid it will affect how much and how well he sleeps at night. This being a mom stuff is hard!! Any advice? We're also working on transitioning nap time from mommy's arms to Patrick's bed. I'm glad we're working on it now, because after one day of it, I think it's going to be kind of difficult. He falls asleep SO much faster in my arms than in his bed during the day, which is nice, but I don't want to have a 10 month old who still needs me to hold him for his day time naps. I figure, the longer we keep going with him napping in my arms, the harder it will be to break the habit. Tomorrow and Wednesday are also going to be spent solely at home so I can continue to work on this. The last thing I'm trying to do is to skip his late afternoon/early evening nap (which happens about 6 or 7ish each day) and instead start a bed time routine with a bath, diaper change, book reading, nursing, then an earlier bed time. Otherwise, sometimes it's almost 10 pm before he gets to sleep since he's wired from his evening nap. Tonight's the first night of trying this, and he's currently (fingers crossed!) asleep. We'll see how long he stays down for before his next feeding, and if the nights go smoother this way. Wish us luck!
The pictures are all pretty recent. I love the one in his bouncy seat. I haven't used it in a while because he pretty much hated it when he was younger. He loves being outside, though, and I decided to put him in it outside so he could check out his surroundings. Instead, it was obvious that he was seeing the little hanging animals on the bouncy seat for the first time, and he just stared at them and giggled. It was wonderful!
We're working on tummy time, which neither of us like. Patrick doesn't like it because, well, it's probably just not comfortable, so he whines and fusses. I don't like it because he doesn't like it. But, we're determined to strengthen that neck and arms, so we continue to do it.
Things Patrick is doing these days:
Laughing, cooing, "talking" and squealing with delight when he's awake and happy.
Smiling
Noticing hanging toys and objects more
Many nights he'll sleep for one stretch of up to 4-5 hours, which is wonderful for mommy!
Spending more time awake
Practicing holding his head up during tummy time
That's all this sleep deprived brain can think of for now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Two month check up


I can't believe my little guy is already two months old!! I was part dreading, part looking forward to this appointment. I was looking forward to it because I couldn't wait to see how much he'd grown, and because I knew he'd be getting immunizations, which makes me feel that much better having him out in public. (I know, I'm a germaphobe!) Of course, I was dreading it because of the immunization shots he'd have to get. :( I didn't know what to expect as far as how Patrick would be feeling or acting after the shots, and I was very glad that DH came with me!!
The appointment went well. Our little man weighs 10 pounds, 14 ounces. His birth weight was 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and the doctor seemed very happy with his progress. He hasn't grown in length a whole lot- he's now 21 and three quarter inches, up from 18 and a half. All of his measurements put him right in the 45th percentile, pretty much in the middle range, which is fine with us.
Then came the shots....there were three of them, and the nurse asked me to hold down his little arms so they wouldn't flail so much. I felt horrible having to do it, but I did.
Let me tell you, my guy has a set of lungs on him! He screamed and screamed..after the nurse was gone, getting him out the door, all the way to the car. I finally started nursing him and he calmed down a bit, with the occasional pitiful whimper while he nursed. It was a heart breaker! He slept a good bit the rest of the night and was a pill the following day, but I am so grateful for infant Tylenol. It is a life saver for my little crank!
The doctor also reminded us to try putting him down to bed (especially at night) when he's awake and letting him get himself to sleep. She said that by doing that, he'll sleep for longer periods instead of shorter periods when I let him sleep in my arms and then try to transfer him to his bed. I was a little skeptical and nervous about this, but I tried it last night. I waited until he had nursed and was showing some sleepy signs (yawns, eye rubbing) and set him in his bed. Each time I would walk away for a minute or two (by each time I mean after each feeding throughout the night) to use the restroom and come back. Most of the time when I returned, he was already asleep!! Hallelujah!! I do think he slept better last night, but we'll see if our success continues when we try the same method tonight. He did fuss one time, and I followed the doc's orders by picking him up, burping him and soothing him a little, then putting him back in his bed.
Things Patrick is doing these days:
Holding his head up a good bit
Staring at any and all lights and ceiling fans
Smiling (!!!) and cooing, especially when you talk to him in a "baby voice"
Using his lower lip to pout when he's not happy
Using his crying to communicate what he's feeling
Tracking moving objects that move past his line of vision
Batting at toys on his activity mat
Kicking the musical foot keyboard at the end of his activity mat
Squealing when he's happy on his activity mat
Grabbing mommy's hair and shirt
Things we do together:
A daily walk (okay, he sleeps, but we do it together!)
Lots of singing
Reading books
Snuggling/naps
Giving him baths (working on eliminating cradle cap!)
Dancing around to various songs
Travel all over Columbia- to the library, Target, Wal-Mart for groceries, etc.
Attend Bible study with lots of other nice moms and their kids each week
I hope to add baby story time to this list soon! I'm just not sure he's old enough yet. I'm pretty sure he'd sleep through the whole thing!!
TTFN!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seven weeks old tomorrow!





PHEW! I can't believe that Patrick will be seven weeks old tomorrow! This motherhood thing is incredible, and incredibly hard! I can't tell you how many times a day I look at him and think about how beautiful he is, or how cute, or how grateful I am to have him. I think back to all those months of trying to get pregnant and just say a prayer of thanks. It's amazing how connected I feel to him. I will say, the first two weeks of his life were the hardest weeks of mine so far. I was exhausted, partly because of labor and partly because I couldn't sleep once we were home- every peep or grunt he made had me jumping out of bed to see if he was okay. On top of that, breastfeeding! Whoa. I had no idea how painful it would be when my first milk came in, or how much anxiety I would feel over making sure he was eating enough, making sure I was recognizing his "hunger signs" and giving him what he needed. It was a lot of pressure, and there were MANY times those first two weeks that I regretted trying breastfeeding, wanted to give up, and decided I'd never have another baby again, because I couldn't handle the stress. I cried more than I've ever cried before, several times a day, about the most silly things!
Thankfully, with the passage of time and a little help from Mr. Zoloft, things began to even out with my hormones, I started getting the hang of things, and started to actually enjoy being a mom. There are still days when I have to secure Patrick in his swing and walk down the hall for a second because he's crying, and I've tried everything I can do to make him comfortable or console him to no end. Sometimes moms just need a break, even if it's only 5 minutes. There are also some nights when I can't believe how tired I am, or how much this little guy eats. But, I'm still amazed that when he wakes up at night and cries to eat, his cry strikes a chord through me-it's almost a physical experience-and I'm up and ready to feed him.
I am also officially a "stay at home mom" as I resigned from my job last week. It was a harder decision than I realized it would be. Especially during those first two weeks after Patrick was born, I would start to day dream about getting my classroom ready, putting on decent looking clothes, having adult interaction, having a purpose other than to be the main food source and caretaker of this little guy. (These day dreams would happen usually during a crying fit, or when I'd been without adult interaction for a while!) But then came the question: who in the world can possibly take care of my son better than me? With more love? I'm sure I know plenty of capable friends and family members that would do an excellent job of taking care of him during the day while I worked, but I just couldn't imagine handing him over to someone every morning and being away from him all day. After things started to smooth out, I started to realize that I could handle being at home all day. I've lined up a few activities-weekly mall walks with a girlfriend, a Bible Study for moms, a weekly date night with my hubby. With those things, on top of the business of doing a mom and house wife's work- keeping order in our home and taking care of our little guy, I'm plenty busy! I will admit that I started an "accomplishment journal" in my daily planner. I've started listing all of the things that I accomplish each day, just so I can look back on it and feel good about my whole day, and avoid feeling like all I've done all day is sit on the couch and hold my child. It may seem silly, and I may not always need it, but as I'm just starting this new job, it's something that makes me feel good to do, so I'll continue to do it.
My friend Angela, who has a blog of her own which follows life with twin girls, has an incredible talent for photography. She was kind enough to come over and do a "photo shoot" with Patrick! Hope you like them!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

He's here!!!!!



Patrick Kevin arrived on August 7, 2010, at 7:41 am. He weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 18 and a half inches long at birth. We are doing well, and are adjusting to this crazy, amazing, wonderful life with our little man!! Pictures and more info to come soon, as soon as I get more than a minute!!! He looks JUST like his daddy- which I love.

Friday, July 30, 2010

37 week photo


Large and in charge! Please pay no attention to the lack of make up and messy hair. I did actually shower the day this picture was taken, I just didn't get much farther than that in the primping phase.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The waiting game

As of today, I'm 37 weeks and two days along. According to everyone I've talked to, I'm officially "full term" at this point, which is cool! I'm feeling...decent. :) Over the last two weeks I've been dwelling on the fear factor associated with labor-the pain, the issues that could come up, the unknown. But now, at this point, as I'm feeling like all of baby's clothes are washed, all of his 'equipment' (bassinet, crib, glider, swing, etc.) is assembled, our bags are packed, relaxing music has been downloaded for labor, and so on, my mind is starting to change. Being pregnant is one of the coolest, most unique blessings a person can experience. But I'm getting to the point where I'm feeling more ready to meet our guy. I am SO curious about what he looks like, what his little personality will shape up to be, to see DH interacting with his son. I also wouldn't mind not feeling like I'm hauling a giant sack of rocks around my middle, or the back ache either. :)
I am really trying to cherish these last few days and weeks with my hubby, though. I don't want to wish away our final days as "just the two of us." I am a bit sad and scared that this twosome time is about to be over, because it has been absolutely incredible. We have traveled all over the world, thrown parties and get togethers for friends and family, and grown together so much. I know that the next chapter is also going to be incredible, but there is the "unknown factor" that always exists with change that can be a bit frightening. We have been spending a lot of time together the last few weeks, just talking about everything under the sun, watching movies, and just enjoying each other's company. I know my husband is a sweet man, but his sweet side has come out even more over the last few weeks. He's started just spontaneously saying these surprising, touching things to me, seemingly out of nowhere. This time together has been lovely, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
The other interesting thing I realized today-I've actually been having some BH contractions. I've noticed my belly feeling really hard now and then throughout the day, as well as some, ahem, pressure (down there!). I thought the belly hardness was just baby's body pushing out because he's running out of room. But as I looked back through my childbirth class notes and talked to my sister, I think these are actually BH contractions. WHOA! The other bit of news- (I think I've shared that I'm a "high risk" pregnancy because of a heart condition I have. Pregnancy has been fine and my heart has done absolutely beautifully so far, thank God!) But this week I've noticed a few short (10 sec) fast heart beats, being a little bit more out of breath than normal, etc. Doc asked that I let them know if this starts happening, because it may mean it's time to pick an induction date. I go to see the doc tomorrow, so we'll update him then. I have been praying to avoid an induction, because I think it's usually best when baby and your body kick in to labor naturally. At the very least, if he wants me to pick an induction date soon, I hope he'll let us wait until early next week when my sister will be here, and my mom will be back from out of town. Anyways, that's the latest! Going to try to post a 37 week picture soon, if I can. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

35 week check up

According to the doc, Baby's head is "very low" and I'm about 1 cm dilated, 90% effaced (ACK!) and plus 1 station. WHOA!!!! I'm only 35 weeks and I'm at plus 1?! 90%?!
I'm feeling nervous now and have decided to put myself on partial bed rest...I just want him to stay put for at least 2-3 more weeks, so that he can have more time to grow and develop. I really, really, am praying that he's not premature and doesn't have to spend time in the NICU.
PRAYERS, please!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A brave new goal

I have loved to read everything I could get my hands on and I've loved to write ever since I was a kid. I loved to write stories, and to journal about my life, achingly analyzing each event all through middle and high school. As life became more about writing papers in college, reflection essays in graduate school, or letters to parents at work as a teacher, my passion and time spent writing waned. I've kept up the journaling a bit, especially as a way to relieve stress and to unburden my worried mind in times of conflict. But I still love language, love to read, love to tell stories. I have also always harbored a dream of being the next Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder, or (dream big!) J.K. Rowling. Have I nurtured this dream by studying creative writing in college, or working on stories in my free time? No. Have I worked consistently to bring this dream to reality by attending writing conferences or courses? No. I got caught up, as is understandable, in creating a life for myself that followed the path of college and a financially stable job. I know, excuses, excuses. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Well, I can feel this urge to write more welling up in me. I have no idea if it'll go anywhere, or if I'll end up a published writer or anything as amazing as that, but I've set some goals for myself. Here we go:
Goal 1: To begin writing a minimum of three days a week. My focus will be on trying different fiction story ideas, specifically for children or young adults.
Goal 2: To find some resources that offer tips and guides about how to improve my writing skills.
Goal 3: To study 1 children's author's craft a month, by reading at least 2 of his or her books and looking at his or her style.
Goal 4: To eventually, within the next year, join the South Carolina Writer's Workshop, attending at least two of their meetings.
Goal 5: Within the next year, to attend the South Carolina Writer's Workshop conference in Myrtle Beach.
Now, I know you're probably saying I'm insane because I'm due to have my first baby in about 5 weeks, and I have no idea how much work that's going to entail. I agree with you. But, it's good to have goals, right? Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How baby entertains himself these days...Lopsided belly!


My little guy really seems to have taken a liking to my right hand side, and a few times a day I can look down at my belly and tell exactly where he's pushing on me. I tried to catch the "lopsided belly" phenomenon this morning...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ow.

So, it seems that my little buddy has found a very comfortable spot in my belly. Specifically, on the right side of my belly, pressing his head into my hip and broad/round ligaments. OW! The cool part is when he presses on my belly and makes it look lopsided. I don't know why this entertains me so much, but it really does. The downside to this is that it hurts, plain and simple. The pain got so bad a few days ago on vacation that I had to sleep sitting up! I just could not get comfortable on either side in order to actually rest, so I propped some pillows behind me and made it through the night. I have so many pregnant friends right now, but it doesn't seem like any of them are having these issues. ???? Most that I talk to just tell me that they're mainly tired (yes, me too) but I haven't heard much about them being in pain from the stretching their bellies are doing. Oh well. I am definitely feeling much more pregnant these days. I'll be 33 weeks on Monday, wow! Much more often these days, I feel like my little guy is a full grown guy...heavy! I know he's actually still a peanut, not even five pounds yet, but it's just amazing how different I feel now than I did a few weeks or a month ago. I am SO thankful that the school year has ended, and I've been able to take it easy these last few weeks. I'm just not sure how other ladies do it- work right up until their water breaks. Vacation pictures hopefully coming soon- waiting on my sister to email some to me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I'm looking forward to...for me...

A few things I've been missing lately..
Red wine, white wine, beer. Okay, I promise I'm not an alcoholic.In fact, before I got pregnant, I had cut out most alcohol anyway, because we were trying to conceive. If I drank, it'd be maybe a glass of wine or two. It's just been a strange ride not being able to partake at all. It's the whole wanting something you KNOW you can't have thing.
Groucho's. If you know anything about Groucho's Deli sandwiches, you know what I'm talking about. I miss their special "45 Sauce" SO much! A visit to Groucho's Deli was our standard Saturday lunch before I got pregnant. My fear of deli meat (even though Groucho's heats up their sandwiches) made me decide to abstain. It is at the TOP of my list for a post-delivery meal!
Sleeping on my stomach and back. Enough said.
Working off stress at the gym. For those that know me, you may be questioning this. But, for several months before we got pregnant, I started making regular trips to the gym to really work out work related stress, as well as my anxiety over how long it seemed to be taking us to conceive. I actually think my time on the treadmill and elliptical machines helped us conceive when we did!
Feta cheese, bleu cheese, etc. YUM.
Dessert. This is mostly due to the gestational diabetes diet. I've been able to work in a few sweets here and there, such as 100 calorie fudge pops, but it's not quite the same.
Sonic's Cherry Limeades. Again, due to the gestational diabetes diet.
Twizzlers at the movies-GD diet. :) Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?
Starbucks, diet soda, artificial sweetener in my coffee and tea. I've been abstaining from these to be sure that they don't affect baby's health. I bet it's probably healthier for me, too, but I still miss it.
SUSHI. OH MY GOSH, that is ALSO on my post-delivery list of meals!!
Hot dogs. Yes, I know what they say about hot dogs, but I don't care. I want one. With chili. Or coleslaw. Or relish. Or all of the above. Yum.
Hot stone massages. My absolute favorite, in fact I don't like regular massages because I always wind up with pinched nerves from overzealous hands!
Being able to shop at several stores in a row. Now, 30 minutes into Target and my feet, back and hips start hurting. :) Although, I am aware that I probably won't be able to return to this hobby for a looooong time once the little guy arrives! That's okay. :)
Wearing my wedding rings. I can still get them on, but they have started leaving marks on my finger, and I'm afraid to leave them on too long, for fear they'll get stuck.
A little caveat- please don't take this as complaining, because that is NOT my intention. I would give all this stuff up permanently if I had to for my little guy. It's just been a bizarre world of change since I got pregnant, and I suppose that this is almost like training for mother/parenthood. Maybe these sacrifices we make while we're pregnant are a small, small, indication of what kinds of sacrifices we will make once we become parents.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things that I'm freaking out about...(Pouring my heart out, in honor of my sis' blog!)

The UNKNOWN. SO much is unknown right now.
Is this going to be too hard? The labor, the pain, the delivery?
The fact that we are utterly responsible for our little guy's safety, health, well- being, development.
Am I too inherently selfish for this job, this role as mother?
Will I be a good parent? Will DH be a good parent?
Will we agree on discipline?
How will my relationship change with DH? We believe strongly that the marriage is and should be the center of the family, and that our roles as husband and wife should come first. But, there are guaranteed to be big changes for us on the horizon. What will they be? How will they affect us, our relationship?
Will I become boring to my husband? Especially when my role as mom is going to be very time consuming and exhausting?
Will we run out of things to talk about? Will we turn into one of those couples at restaurants that simply sit across from each other, chewing, not interacting?
Will I have the energy to do this?
Will I have the energy to stay ME throughout this transition?
Will anxiety get the best of me when it comes to my child?
I've always imagined having several children- 3 or 4 at least. But really, truly, do I have the temperament for that many? What about money? Kids are EXPENSIVE!
I'm going to miss the 'just the two of us' time, the ability to hop in the car or on a plane and go somewhere fun and exciting.
How do people do this? We want a good sized family, but this pregnancy journey has worn me out emotionally. There is so much unknown, so many fears throughout each stage of pregnancy. People actually do this more than once or twice?? Does it get easier with each pregnancy? And I haven't even really HAD a difficult pregnancy. I just get myself so worked up with worrying about the baby's health, how my choices are affecting him, what I eat, how he's growing, is he moving enough, will he come early? (God forbid!) How will I deal with labor and delivery? How will nursing go? What if it is too challenging for us to nurse?
How do these women do it? These women that seem to 'have it all, to do it all'? The women that have babies, go back to work that they seem to love, maintain their sense of identity, keep up their hobbies, go on trips with their husband and child(ren) as if nothing has changed? Where do they get the energy? Do they worry about the caretakers that are with their children while they're at work? Not just about their child(ren)'s safety with these caretakers, but about whether the caretaker is taking THEIR place in the child's life? I'm seriously curious. I wonder if I'm too neurotic to leave my child with anyone like that on a regular, all day basis.
That's just some of the worries that streak across my brain at any given time throughout the day. I love, love, love my child already and only want him to be healthy and well, but this is the honest truth of the other things I'm feeling emotionally.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I'm looking forward to...

I love the library. It's part of my geeky, language arts teacher genetic makeup that I absolutely feel at home and at peace in the cool quiet of the public library. I love it so much that I have many times thought of going back to school to become a media specialist and work as a public school media specialist. But that's another blog post entirely. I was visiting my favorite place a few days ago, and all around me were moms and dads with their children, looking at different books, signing up for the Summer Reading program, and generally exploring the library. It was wonderful! As I was checking out, one mom was securing library cards for each of her children. How cool! It got me thinking about the things I can't wait to do with our little guy. I don't want to rush through life just to get to these events and activities, and I know that there will be amazing milestones each day of his life that I haven't even thought of yet. But, I think one of the best things about being a parent is showing your child the world, and seeing him experience things for the first time. So, here's just a brief list of the things I can't wait to experience with our son.
-Visit the library with him on a regular basis. Attend story times, puppet shows, check out books and DVDs, and explore the world through books!
-Take him to the zoo and let him see those animals we've read about it in person!
-Take him to an aquarium. I have witnessed the awe of an aquarium through my niece's eyes, and can't wait to see my son's reaction when we get to see penguins and fish and sea turtles, oh my!
-Watch him play and conquer a playground. I'm sure I'll be a nervous wreck as his bravery and physical ability grow and he's able to (gulp) swing by himself or hang from the monkey bars, but it'll be worth it.
-Visit my Aunt Emma's house in Pennsylvania. This house has been in my family since before I was born. It's where we've had Christmases, funerals, family reunions, birthday parties, and where I spent a few weeks a year as a child. It is a magical place to me, and I can't wait to take him there.
-Take him to an annual Apple Festival in Maryland with my mom and aunts. This is a craft type fair, with all kinds of food, hay rides, animals, music and fun.
-Watch him play his first sports- whatever they may be.
-Take him to Carolina football games, especially once he's old enough to appreciate what's happening on the field.
-Take him to sit on Santa's lap.
-Make Father's Day cards for DH with him.
-Take him trick or treating!!!
-Experience Christmas Eve mass and Christmas mornings with him.
-Take him to swim lessons and watch him become more confident and able in his swimming abilities.
-Watch my husband interact with him in a million different ways, from diaper changing to soothing him when he's fussy, to feeding him solid foods, to teaching him how to hold a golf club, and so on.
That's all I can think of for now. Did I miss anything big?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The gestational diabetes diet...so far

So, I sat through the gestational diabetes class with a nurse and a registered dietician. After a brief consultation about my lifestyle, taking into account my height and weight before pregnancy, the dietician created a nutrition plan for me. Basically, I have 6 main eating times a day- 3 meals and 3 snacks. For my meals, I'm allowed 45 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein. For snacks, I'm allowed 25 grams of carbs and 7 grams of protein. The dietician wants me to keep my calorie intake at 1700 calories daily, which I didn't think was very many!! I know one thing for certain- that's quite a few less than I was taking in before this diabetes diagnosis!! Thus began my journey into the world of carb counting. I had NO idea how many carbs are in so many of my easy, "go-to" foods. Uh, cereal? Pretty much OUT, especially for breakfast. Even the high-fiber cereals, like Kashi brands, which are supposed to be 'healthier' versions of cereal (as opposed to my favorite: Cocoa Crispies!) have atleast 40 grams of carbs. This means that milk, at 12 grams of carbs per 8-oz serving, was out of the question to go with the cereal. I've had to totally rethink my meal planning, and change my list of "go-to" foods. I am not a protein person, especially first thing in the morning. But that's a big change I've had to make. Pairing protein with a suitable (read: fiber filled, whole grain version) of carbohydrates in the morning is SO essential to keeping my blood sugar level. It's been a big learning experience for me, and so far it's going pretty well. I've had the occasional glucose reading that was a little high (no more than 2 points outside the ideal range), but I've been pretty solid, thankfully. I'm slowly learning different snack and meal combinations that allow my blood sugars to stay level, while maintaining some level of variety. And, an interesting tidbit- I've lost 3 pounds in the last two weeks or so, following this plan. I've heard this is normal, and as long as my doctor's okay with it, so am I. I definitely don't feel hungry, which was a concern I had when I first saw the 1700 calorie limit on my nutrition plan. Some of my favorite food choices:
(Of course, I pay attention to serving sizes!!)
-Thomas Bagel Thin with scrambled egg whites, mixed with shredded cheese.
-Reduced fat wheat thins with either peanut butter or cheese
-Morning Star Italian Herb Chik Patties
-Flat Out whole wheat wraps, with chicken salad, tuna salad, or a Italian Herb Chik Pattie cut up
-Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
-Reduced fat cottage cheese with watermelon and strawberries
-Fiber One Banana Nut muffins
-"Emily's Chai Tea recipe": Choice of tea bag (mine is decaf Luzianne), with tablespoon of Silk French Vanilla Creamer (a soy coffee creamer), with mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. YUM!!
-Kashi frozen meals when I'm in a pinch- I always pay attention to the carb and protein content.
Those are just a few!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Showered with love!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The dreaded glucose tolerance tests

I had been nervous about my glucose tolerance test for a while. There are a few other pregnant girls at work, and I overheard one talking about how she failed the one hour and how she was dreading taking the three hour. Being a first time preggers, my imagination went into overdrive, wondering about the Glucola drink and how it would taste, whether I'd be able to keep it down, and then of course, whether I'd pass it. So, the one hour glucose test came and went, not really much of a big deal. The Glucola drink was fruit punch flavored and kind of reminded me of super sweet fruit punch flavored Gatorade. My main concern was passing the test, I just reeeeeally wanted to pass that test. I tried to make sure I ate more protein in the days before the test, stayed away from sweets, etc., basically trying to "cheat" the test. (Not the best idea, in hind sight, not to mention pretty much impossible.) So, you guessed it- I failed it. BOOO!!! But, I was buoyed by lots of friends who told me they failed the first test and passed the second, three hour test with flying colors. That reassured me enough to allow me to focus my fears not on not passing the three hour test, but on the fact that

1. I'd have to fast from midnight the night before until after the test. I don't do well without breakfast, folks.

2. I'd have to drink more of that Glucola crap. In five minutes, instead of 10 minutes as with the one hour test. On an empty stomach. Talk about a recipe for vomitousness.

3. I'd have to be pricked four times. Four. I've only got two arms! You mean you're going to re-prick the same arm?? I know, I'm a wuss.

4. I'll have to sit in a hospital lab waiting room for several hours throughout this process.

Looking back on these "fears" of mine, it all seems so silly. My child's health, and my health, are absolutely worth all of those tiny little inconveniences. It was really quite a painless experience, the ladies (phlebotomists?) were very sweet, and I got to take the rest of the day off to nap, read, run errands, etc.

That is, until I got the call from my nurse yesterday. I had failed the three hour test, putting me into the "gestational diabetic" category. I tried to contain my sobs as the nurse talked me through what this meant, my first thoughts being along the lines of, "What have I done? Is my baby okay? I thought I was eating decently! How is this affecting my little guy?" My immediate emotions were fear and guilt. I went back through the last 27 weeks and all the sweets I'd allowed myself to have throughout, kicking myself mentally. After talking to the nurse some about my fears and doing some research, I'm feeling better. I've ordered a few books on Amazon to help me figure out meal plans, and I will be attending a gestational diabetes education class this week where I hope I can find some help and answers. I am not looking forward to having to test my blood sugar every day, several times a day, but I'll do what's necessary for the little boy and for my health. Now I'm just praying that we will be able to keep the diabetes under control with diet alone, and that we won't have to resort to insulin shots. When the nurse called, she said two of four of my blood tests for the three hour glucose test were "out of range" but one of those two was only out of range by two points. She said that fact, along with the fact that she knows "what a smart cookie" I am, made her very confident that we'll be able to keep this under control with some dietary changes.
So, a new set of rules to learn. When I first got pregnant I went out and read the "What to Eat When You're Expecting" book and did research about what to eat and what NOT to eat, noticing some of my staples seemed to be out: cold cuts (turkey sandwiches were my go-to lunch), things with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or Splenda seemed out, too. I just kept hearing and reading that there wasn't "enough conclusive evidence about the effect of artificial sweeteners." Thus, I switched my yogurt over from light (with aspartame) to organic (with organic milled cane sugar). I've been drinking more water and milk instead of Crystal Light (aspartame) since I got pregnant, but apparently there is such a thing as too much milk-it's got a good bit of lactose in it. A part of me wonders if I've messed myself up by cutting out things with artificial sweetener and allowing myself a bit of real sugar, since that didn't seem to have any negative effects on my baby. (Before gestational diabetes reared it's ugly head, that is.) I wish I had thought more about gestational diabetes before now, and had been taking measures to prevent it from being an issue. It's too bad "they" don't counsel newly pregnant women on nutrition (other than not eating soft cheeses, sushi, cold cuts, hot dogs, etc.) to help women keep a reign on their blood sugar as much as possible. One thing I do know: now that I've been diagnosed with GD with this pregnancy, I have a much higher chance of being diagnosed with it in later pregnancies. I'll be sure to keep that in mind and maintain a GD type diet long before it's even time to take the glucose test.
So, wish me luck in my new adventure trying to learn the "rules" of GD eating, and please, leave any hints or tips that may have helped you or someone you know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

26 week belly pic!!


DH took this picture on Mother's Day, my first "official" Mother's Day. I don't quite feel like a mother, and feel like I have a long way to go before I know what it means to be a mommy. I am enjoying the baby belly, to be sure. I don't feel that big, but I look at this picture compared to my 16 week picture and am just amazed. Notice my arms- I refuse to put them by my side in these pictures. I'm trying to make them look as skinny as possible!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Prayers for a friend needed

Hello, bloggy ladies. I have a heavy heart tonight. I'm Facebook friends with an old high school acquaintance. He is such a sweet guy, and although I don't know his wife well, from what I have seen, she is also incredibly sweet. Last summer, his wife was on her way to go blueberry picking with their two young children when they were involved in a horrendous car accident. Her minivan was crushed, killing both of their children and critically injuring her. She has had several back/spinal surgeries and continues to endure physical therapy. To say that the last year has been a tough road for them would almost be insulting to the tragedy that they have endured. However, through it all, their faith has been stronger than I think I've ever witnessed. I simply can not imagine losing both of my children and then being strong enough to pick up the pieces, but they have. They are an incredible example to me. A few months ago, they announced that God had blessed them with another pregnancy. It wasn't something they were trying for, just something they decided to leave up to Him. This week, they found out their little girl has spina bifida. They continue to have faith through it all that the Lord is in control and that everything is going to work out for the best. I am asking for your prayers. This couple needs as much prayer support as they can get- prayers for their emotional and spiritual health, as well as physical health. My friend's wife is still healing from her injuries, and they need prayers for that as well as for the health of the baby. Prayers for their marriage, for their future, and yes, prayers for a miracle. If you're a praying person, please keep them in yours. Their names are Craig and Crystal, and I know they would appreciate any prayers you can spare.
Thank you, Lord for this baby boy kicking around in my womb, and for his health. Please continue to bless him with healthy development and growth, as well as for my health. We lift Craig, Crystal, and their baby girl up to you in prayer. Cover them with your strength, your love. Be their rock and their fortress and help gird them up with strength in the months ahead. We know, God, that you are all powerful and all knowing and can do ALL things. Bless them with a miracle, and heal their little girl. Amen.

I promise, I'm done slacking!

So, I'm back. At least, I'm going to try and jump back on the blog bandwagon again. It's just been a busy couple of months, and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. I am now 25 weeks along in this pregnancy, 26 weeks this coming Monday...YAY!!!!! So far, everything has looked and sounded good with each check up, praise the good Lord in Heaven. DH and I have been busy registering, figuring out baby room stuff, signing up for classes at the hospital, (Baby Basics, Childbirth workshop, Breastfeeding 101, and Infant/Child CPR). Also, my sister was here for the last few months with her two children, while her husband has been away. I've been trying to soak up as much time as possible with them over the last few months before they went back to Florida. As of today, they are settled back at home and her DH was scheduled to land this evening. I can't WAIT to see the pictures and/or video of their reunion. I know my three year old niece is going to go ga-ga when she sees her daddy. She has missed him SO much over the last few months. The school year is finishing up, and I'm trying to figure out maternity leave plans for next year, as the baby is due in August, a few days before school starts! Also, my team is moving classrooms AGAIN this year, so that'll be interesting in a few weeks. We'll take a 26 week picture in the next few days, and I'll try to post it ASAP. Meanwhile, is it me or does it seem as if EVERYONE I know is pregnant?? FIVE girls at work, plus one fellow teacher's wife are all pregnant. THREE girls that are friends from my last job, plus two old friends. And it seems like everyone is due between the end of this month and the end of September, with a few exceptions. It's CRAZY! Crazy in a good way, though. It's been nice to have some girlfriends to talk about all this pregnancy stuff with. I don't know what I'd have done if one of my girlfriends hadn't recommended the book Baby Bargains to me when DH and I were getting ready to register. She and the book were lifesavers!!! There is just so much you don't know about all the stuff out there for babies. Those big baby stores are pros at making you feel like your baby needs all of this junk. And as a first time mom-to-be, it's easy to be overwhelmed and suckered into registering or buying a ton of stuff, most of which isn't necessary and some of which may not be as safe as you think. (Giant fluffy crib bumpers, for example). So, that's all for now. I'm hoping to spend more time on this blog this summer, once school is out, my classroom is moved, and maternity leave lesson plans are finished!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Coupon Crazed

A few months ago, a few of the girls at work were talking about their weekends. Specifically, they were comparing how much each of them had saved at the grocery store that weekend, which sales they found, where they found coupons, etc. One of the girls had saved almost 50% of her original grocery bill! I commented that I wished I could 'work' coupons like that, but I always ended up buying products I wouldn't normally buy, that were more expensive than the store brand, simply because I had a coupon for them, so I never used coupons anymore. But, my lovely coworkers would never let me give up so easily! They gave me some great websites to visit and tips. The best tip they gave me was to visit the following website:
wwww.southernsavers.com, which is a free website for all interested in finding the best deals and coupons! The woman who runs the site, Jenny, also puts on couponing workshops for a small fee ($10) all around the southeast. She is great about posting the major grocery stores' weekly ads, printable coupon links, and posting different sales and coupon scenarios in order to get the biggest bang for your buck. I attended one of her seminars a few months ago and it was GREAT! There is so much to learn, and like blogging, I'm still learning each week I go to the grocery store. Her website is really helpful to those in the southern states- SC, NC, GA, FL, etc. If you don't live in this area but are still interested in couponing, visit her site and maybe email her. She might be able to point you in the write 'web' direction to find a similar site for different areas of the country. I took a few months off (read: first trimester!!) because I couldn't even make a grocery list without feeling gross, much less think about coupons. The hubz and I are back on it, and we saved $25 at Publix last week. Not bad, for just getting back in the saddle! My goal is to save more money each week than I did the previous week. I'll let you know how it goes! Fill me in on any tips you might have-I'm open to suggestions!

Monday, March 8, 2010

:)

Everything is sounding great! The doctor found baby's heartbeat right away, thank goodness, and it sounded beautiful!! We hope to find out the baby's gender in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'm excited about two major baby consignment events going on in my town. Even though we don't know the gender yet, I am still hoping I can find some deals on basics that don't need to be gender specific. Has anyone else had good luck at baby consignment shops or events? Any advice for a newbie?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

16/17 week doctor's appointment tomorrow!

DH and I will have my 16/17 week doctor's appointment tomorrow. I call it that because the docs call it my 16 week, although I tend to measure about a week farther along than what the appointment is called. I am always incredibly nervous about appointments-we can use any prayers that you can spare. Until I hear baby's heartbeat loud and clear, it's very hard for me to relax. Tomorrow they'll only be using the Doppler, and not doing an ultrasound. If any of you moms to be or moms are out there, I think you know what I mean about being scared and nervous. Please say a prayer that baby is healthy and well! Thanks!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

DH's Comment of the Week

Throughout my pregnancy, my dear husband has been amazing. He dotes on me, encourages me to rest, has gone to every doctor's appointment, has picked up the slack from my lack of energy and kept the laundry and dishwasher going, etc. He is so excited about Baby, and is genuinely awestruck every time we see Baby on an ultrasound, or by my belly growth. He is absolutely terrified of saying the wrong thing about said belly, because I have been a weepy mess for a while now, at the slightest remarks. So, he generally refrains from commenting on how I look at all, except for this morning. After I showered, DH came into the bathroom as I was getting dressed. He took one look at me (from behind) and said, "Is it possible that as your front gets bigger, your butt gets smaller?" It was so funny, and I know he was trying to give me a compliment in his own way about how my behind is looking smaller (yeah, right!) but the look on his face as soon as the words escaped his lips was priceless! All I could do was laugh. Poor, sweet DH. How I love him!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So, how do I look?

12 week belly picture (red shirt), and 16 week belly picture (green shirt). Lately I've been driving myself crazy, wondering if my belly is still growing, is it growing enough, is everything going okay in there? I know it's just because it's been about 4 weeks since my last appointment and I'm anxious for Monday's appointment, so I'm trying to relax. I have to say, I absolutely love having a pregnant belly, and I can't wait for it to get rounder and bigger! I absolutely want to look pregnant! :)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So far....

Once I got pregnant, I was very hesitant to tell ANYONE. DH, of course, in his wonderful, excited way, wanted to shout it from the top of the Chrysler Building. (I almost wonder if this excitement is in part because he was proud of himself, but who knows. ;) ) But slowly, as the weeks go by, as we've had more ultrasounds with strong heartbeats, we've told more and more people. Now, my students have all figured it out (it took my sixth graders longer than I expected to notice my bump!), my coworkers know, it's out there on Facebook, and my extended family and in-laws know. It feels so nice to have people excited for us and praying for us. That was step number one. As the weeks progress, we're starting to think about the bigger questions, mainly, where are we gonna put this bambino or bambina? We've worked out a plan to rearrange DH's office from the second downstairs bedroom to an upstairs room, and he's working on that little by little. I'm in no rush at this point, because I know we have plenty of time. But each week there seems to be a new topic to discuss or a new plan to make. Generous friends are offering to throw a shower, when would I like to have it? We'll (hopefully, if baby is feeling uninhibited!) find out the sex at the end of March, so when will I register for baby stuff? What in the world kind of baby stuff do I actually need from the plethora of 'stuff' that gleams from the fluorescent-light soaked, albeit somewhat breathtaking halls of Babies 'R' Us?? That place is like walking into an alternate universe, a universe in which each product is irresistible. EVERYTHING is precious. EVERYTHING seems useful. (at this point.) Thank GOD I have a knowledgeable sister who has two babies of her own and is willing and unbelievably able to help me with those decisions. These are just the logistical things. I haven't even touched on the emotional things- what in the world kind of mother am I going to be? How will DH handle everything? I wonder how we'll change or grow as a couple once baby arrives? Like I said before, somedays, I get by simply minute by minute, or hour by hour, because it is so easy to be overwhelmed. Thankfully, most of the overwhelming stuff is wonderful, joyful and exciting.

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!

Hello, friends! I am trying to get back into the swing of blog things these days- after lots of pushing, I mean, encouragement from my blogger sister, and after I realized that blogging does actually help with my stress level. Currently I'm 16 weeks and two days pregnant (woohoo!!). Each of my appointments to this point have gone very well, thank the good Lord. My next appointment is next week, and as it's been almost 4 weeks since my last appointment, I find my anxiety growing. I just want to hear baby's beautiful heartbeat again! I am trying to stay positive, to surrender the worries, and to remind myself that everything is in God's hands. But, wow. This whole experience has been a lesson in surrender! There are some days when it is minute to minute, because I have a tendency to worry and let my imagination run wild with all of the negative possibilities. Thankfully, I have many wise, wonderful and positive friends and family members who encourage me to simply be grateful and enjoy my pregnancy. They are absolutely 100% right! I am so blessed, and here I am wasting precious time and energy in fear?? What's up with that? So, I'm going to try and be back on the blog circuit, figure out how to "follow" other blogs and basically everything else that goes on with this whole blog world.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The most beautiful sight and sound

My lima bean is beautiful. Our appointment went very well today, without a hitch, praise the Lord!! I am so grateful and so relieved after my appointment today! Just to see the little bean in there, and to see that fluttering heartbeat-Thank you, Father!!! Today it sank in- there is actually a baby inside me. I saw it with my own two eyes today. We also were able to hear the bean's heartbeat, which was incredible. I don't have words, I just don't have words to describe how I feel right now. We love our bean so much already. Both DH and I got teary (I was a little more weepy than him :)). I am just so grateful and so happy today. We had a good visit with the Fetal Medicine doctor, who was great. He spent so much time talking to us about why my doc would be a bit concerned due to my heart condition, and was also very positive. Thankfully, I haven't historically been very symptomatic of my heart condition throughout my life, which the doctor is taking as a good sign. Also, my pregnancy has been going well so far in terms of my level of energy and not being out of breath too much. So, here's to more hope and many, many, many more prayers as we continue on this journey to parenthood! My next appointment is with my normal doc on Jan. 19. It's just a routine appointment (actually my first with her since I found out I was pregnant.) I believe there will be all sorts of peeing in a cup, maybe a blood test, etc. Thanks for all of the prayers. Please know how much we appreciate them, and how much they are still needed.
Thank you, Father!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Scared

On Wednesday, DH and I will go to the Fetal Medicine doc for our very first ultrasound. I am terrified. This whole experience has felt like a dream, surreal and thrilling on one hand, but frightening on the other because I'm afraid that one of these days I'm going to "wake up" to realize it hasn't been real. After spending time with some loved ones, it has become very clear to me just how trying it is to be a parent, and how exhausting. This last week, it has hit me that having a baby changes EVERYTHING, and that things between DH and I will never be the same again. I'm ashamed to admit it, but that has inspired some pangs of fear in me. I'm NOT at all sad that we're having a baby by any means. It's just that the unknown is scary. I wonder how well we'll communicate, how we'll handle the inevitable discipline situations, and handle the extra work and responsibility around the house and with the baby. But, let me state that I am really happy with the fact that things will never be the same. I've seen DH interact with some of our younger family members lately and I've just about busted at the seams because it is just so darn CUTE! I can only imagine and can't wait to see him interact with our child, hold our child. God willing, of course. Two of my very good friends are also pregnant, one due in June and the other due in July; I'm due in August. I don't know what I'll do or how I'll feel if something goes wrong with this pregnancy, and there are my two good friends, with brand new babies when I should have one too. See how my mind works? My mom keeps telling me I need to have positive expectations, and to be positive. I agree with her, but I'm also scared to get my hopes up too much. I just don't know how to balance my hopes with the reality that something bad could happen with this pregnancy. For now, I'm trying not to think about it too much, but to focus on other things. I keep reminding myself that there's nothing I can do about this except pray, because worrying does nothing positive at all. I am also trying to remind myself that God has a plan for us and that I just need to have faith in His plan. Please pray for us, friends, as we prepare to see the doctor on Wednesday.
Have a very Happy New Year.