Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Thoughts On a Friday

So, I'm horribly behind on this week's update. Oops. I have it mostly written, it's just that I've been too busy/lazy to download the weekly pictures off the camera. Oh well. I'll get to it eventually, and I really want to start posting shorter more frequent posts anyway. Those weekly marathon posts get overwhelming to read (and write). So, anyway...

Today I am exhausted! It's been a busy week. I've been working on a project that will be used as decoration for the Welcoming tomorrow and then used in Turtle's room. That has taken up a lot of my time in the evenings. Then on Wednesday Turtle had her 2 month appointment and got her first big round of shots. When I got home from work she was super-duper cranky, slightly feverish, and her legs were sore. Our pediatrician had recommended that we avoid giving her anything if possible since it's best for her little body to fight the vaccine in order to build up the immunity to the disease. So, I quickly abandoned my plans for the evening and spent the rest of the night with Turtle sleeping on my chest.

I'm happy to say that I finished my project last night and it looks almost as good as I hoped. I'm looking forward to getting it up into her room. Tonight I have even more stuff to get. Today I got my first post-maternity leave pay check! Woot Woot! We've been living on a wing and a prayer for the last 9 weeks so it feels nice to have my salary coming in again. I held off buying stuff for the Welcoming until today though so I have to stop at the party store and the grocery store on the way home to get the supplies. Then tonight I'm making cupcakes for the party so they will cool before I have to ice them tomorrow.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what Turtle's personality will be like. I wonder if she is showing hints of it now or if she will be completely different? Will I look back and say, "You've been like that since the time you were born?" But I won't remember what she was like if I don't write it down, so, Turtle, here are my personality predictions.

Independent: I've learned recently that sometimes you get to were you are just over being held. Sometimes you will be super fussy but if we will put you down on your back beside us on the couch or on your changing table you stop crying and start smiling. You also love to spend time in your crib, on your changing table, or in your bassinet just looking around. You are very good at entertaining yourselves a lot of the time and don't need someone right there entertaining you every minute of the day. We are also extremely lucky in that not only do you sleep through the night, but if we will put you down when you are sleepy but not asleep, you will coo and talk to yourself until you have put yourself to sleep without any problems.

You know what you want and aren't afraid to demand it: You love watching your owls on your mobile and the birdies on your swing fly around. When they stop, you aren't shy about expressing your displeasure with them. :-) If you are in your swing and grandma or I are in the kitchen we know when the cycle is over and the birdies have stopped because you will start yelling at them. We we start them back up you go right back to watching and talking.

Observant: You love to look around and if we put you on our shoulders and you aren't tired you lift your head up so you can see better. Now you've even started pushing up with your hands and arms. You love to sit facing outward so that you can see everything and everyone and really enjoy all the cool things to look at in your nursery. You also love looking at the bright colored pictures in the books grandma likes to read to you.

Pleasant: Overall you are a very happy baby crying mostly when you are hungry, wet, or too tired. You give out lots of smiles and mommy gets lots of coos and "talking" in the morning.

Outgoing: You will pretty much let anyone hold you and are often times even more calm and smiley when we are out with people you don't get to see very often.

We'll see if these are indicators of what her personality will be when she's older or not. I can't wait to watch as she develops into the person she's meant to be! Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcoming Ceremony

Since I want to save my update on my first week at work for the next weekly post, I thought I'd take a moment to tell you about the Welcoming Ceremony we are having for Turtle next week. Although I am not religious, I believe very much in the role of ceremony in our lives. Especially in the fast paced world that we live in, it is often times too easy to just let life fly past us. Ceremonies force us to stop and really savor important milestones in our lives, acknowledging that this moment in time is sacred and our lives will never be the same.

This is why I love weddings so much. It's one of the few life transitions that our society formally recognizes for both the religious and the non-religious alike. But having a baby as an atheist/agnostic is a different story. There is no justice of the peace to officiate your Baby.... I mean what do you even call it. A Baptism? Obviously not. A Dedication? No then people think it's a religious alternative to infant baptism. A Blessing. No, still too religious sounding. Thankfully, I have a wonderful friend who is very well versed in life "off the beaten path". :-) While I was pregnant I talked to her about my thoughts and struggles finding something that felt right. She was the first to use the term Welcoming. It was perfect! Just like our wedding, I wanted this to be an opportunity for our community, and therefore Lily's community, to come together to welcome it's newest member.

So, I turned to my trusty Google and was excited to find lots and lots and lots of alternative baby ceremony ideas! With Google it's always about finding the right search terms. I started with an open mind. Reading about various ceremonies that people had created, and I started making notes in a Google Doc. Just like our wedding, I was able to see the ceremony slowly take shape over the course of a few weeks. I will be forever grateful to the officiants and participants who were willing to put up the text of their ceremony. I read over a bunch, copying and pasting the things that really struck me and then edited and edited until it really looks nothing like any one ceremony I read. Here's the basic flow of there ceremony.

Upon entering, everyone will be given a river rock to hold in their hands and warm with their blessings as the ceremony takes place.

We'll start off with an introduction, then move into a "naming ritual" where she is officially presented to the community for the first time and her name is announced. We explain what her name means and a little about why we chose it.

Then we start with the blessings and the vows. I wanted this part to have the feel of water rippling outward after a stone is thrown in the water. We start with  Jay and I since I'm a firm believer that the parents are the foundation of family (parents being used not in a strictly biological sense and without regard to gender even). We will have a chance to reaffirm our commitment to each other and to supporting each other in our new role as parents. 

After that we'll affirm our commitment to Lily, acknowledging that she possesses her own unique gifts and promising to raising her to find her own path. Then we widen the circle to include the grandmothers who are asked to commit to sharing their wisdom and experience.

Then we widen the circle even more to include the rest of the community. I feel very fortunate to have friends and family who have such unique lives, opinions, beliefs, etc. and I fully plan to take advantage of that as Lily grows up and wants to explore different things on her life's journey. So, we will be asking our community to commit to giving Lily the benefit of their diverse knowledge and experience and to support Jay and I in our role as parents and Lily's grandmother's in their roles as well.

Everyone will then be asked to come up and place their river rock (which they have been warming with their love and blessings, you remember) in a bowl of water. This water will then become "sacred", consecrated not by an external Deity or power, or because a person of faith says so, but by the love and commitment of her friends and family. This water will then be used to bless her starting with her head and working down to her feet.

Then the community is thanked and the same Irish blessing that was read over us at our wedding will be read over everyone as a benediction. Then we'll eat!

Since we are majorly short on cash right now, I'm keeping the food simple. Cupcakes and soda/milk/coffee. I've found some super cute ideas for making cupcakes that look like owls and I'll probably make some cupcake picks to stick down in others.

As for decorations, again, we are super tight on cash so It's going to be minimal. But there's a project I've been wanting to make for the nursery and decided it would be perfect as decoration for the party. So, that became the motivation I needed to get off my butt. I cut out triangles (bunting) from the patterned fabrics I used in the nursery and then letters out of solid brown. I'm going to string them on ribbon and it'll say "Grow wise little owl". I'll hang it over the main table for the ceremony and then it'll move up into her bedroom over her crib. I may bring down the owl lanterns I have hung in the nursery as well.

So, that's the story of how our Welcoming Ceremony came about. I can't wait for this Saturday. I've been thinking about and dreaming of this day for almost a year now. I really have to find the power cord for our video camera because I definitely want it on tape and then I promise to upload it to YouTube and post it here. And I'm sure there will be lots and lots of pictures!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Today, I am first and foremost thankful that my transition back to work has been wonderful. In fact, I couldn't have really asked for a better experience.

I'm thankful for the increadible family I get to come home to every day.

I'm thankful for the amazing smiles and "coos" I get to experience in the morning when I feed Lily.

I'm thankful that she is sleeping through the night!!! Getting to sleep from 9-10pm until 5:30am-ish makes all the difference!

I'm thankful that my mom is not only willing and able to watch Lily during the day but that she (my mom) is the happiest I've seen her in years because of it.

I'm thankful that Jay has an opportunity for a new position at his company that would make his life a lot more enjoyable. ::fingers crossed::

I have so many things to be thankful for. I could really go on and on! But I'll stop there for now. What are you thankful for this beautiful Thursday?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Savor, Savor, Savor (Week 8)

Being my last week of maternity leave the name of the game this week is SAVOR. I'll be very honest. I never imagined myself as a working mother. For as long as I've wanted a baby, I've wanted the opportunity to stay home and raise them. But alas, this is not possible at the moment. So, I'll learn to roll with this too, just like I've done with so many other things that have happened over the course of the last 8 weeks.

When I was in college (?) there was this little book that was hugely popular in the business community. It's called Who Moved My Cheese and is basically about dealing with change and learing to roll with the punches because in the rat race of life it constantly feels like someone is moving the cheese at the end of the maze. I feel like my life has been a moving target for the last few weeks and I constantly find myself wanted to yell, "Who moved my cheese... AGAIN!"

I've gone from being insistant on having a natural childbirth to getting a highly medicalized birth including Pitocin and an epidural. I've had to let go of my dreams of breastfeeding my child for a minimum of the first 6 months of her life and now am a proud formula feeder. I thought I'd be a hard core Attachment Parenting baby wearer and yet I find myself thankful when she is willing to take a nap in her swing or crib so that I can have my body to myself for a few minutes. I thought it would be easier to parent "compassionately", always putting myself in my daughter's shoes before making any judgements on her behavior until she screamed for 3 hours straight and I got to the point where I had done everything I possibly could think of to sooth her and I didn't really care what was wrong with her, I just! And now I find myself going back to work next week.

Thankfully, I've had a long time to adjust to the idea. We figured pretty early on in the pregnancy that it was going to be impossible to live on one income. I fought and fought and fought. I insisted that there was some way to make it work. But alas, there was no way. Right now our expenses require two incomes. It is what it is. So, I had no choice but to figure out a way to make it work. We are so lucky to have my mom who not only loves Lily like her own, but is available to watch her during the day. My mom is a professional tutor and therefore has a flexible schedule. She is going to be able to come over and watch Lily at the house keeping her (and me) from having to be bundled up in the morning and taken somewhere.

I've tried to look at the bright side of going back to work. I look forward to going to the bathroom by myself, to being able to ensure that I get lunch every day, to having some adult interaction, and to be honest I get very bored at home alone all day. But just thinking about being away from her makes me cry. I'm thankful that I was able to hold off the feelings until the last week or so. I worked very hard in the first few weeks to keep the saddness away so that I wouldn't ruin the time I did have with her. But here we are at the end and it's hard not to be sad.

I worry about a lot of things. I worry that she'll forget who I am. I worry that she'll get so attached to my mom that she'll cry for her in the evenings. I worry that she'll feel like I don't love her any more since I'm leaving her. I worry that I will be so miserable at work all day that it will make my life unbearable. Again... I just never imagined myself having to do this. :-( I feel very stuck, forced to do something I don't want to do but know I have to.

Mom took Lily over night on Sunday so that my first morning could be easy. Adjusting to getting up again is going to be hard since I've been sleeping when she sleeps in the morning. When I dropped her off I just kissed her head and cried and cried. I tried to explain to her that I loved her very much and that me being away didn't change that. Jay was very supportive and reminded me that she wasn't dying, I was just going to work. When we got home I took a big glass of wine out on the back deck and had a chance to breath deeply.

Hopefully, the anticipation will be the worst part.

We didn't get to take many pictures this week, but our friend Dan got this one with his cell phone on Saturday after we went to the gun and knife show. Yes, I'm the mother who took her 8 week old daughter to the gun and knife show. Just wish I wouldn've had an Obama 2012 onesie to put her in. Hehe!

I fall in love with that man a little more every day! Have a great week everyone!

Wordless Wednesdays

How could you not love this face?!?!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

She's Still Got It Folks (Week 7)

This week I got to do something I love doing and something I haven't done since finding out I was pregnant. I got to plan and throw a party. It was awesome! See there seems to be something in the water in our circle of friends. Including me, we have 5 friends who are either pregnant or just had a baby. One of them is my friend Beth whose wedding I helped plan last year. She has four girls from a previous marriage, and I had been cheering for her and her new husband to get pregnant for months this past summer. I was so excited to hear that they had gotten pregnant and ecstatic that after 4 girls she was finally having a boy.

Against Beth's insisting, her best friend decided to throw her a baby shower, and I got to host it at my house. It was so much fun to be able to be creative again. After being so amazingly exhausted pretty much the entire pregnancy, it felt good to have the energy to do some projects. I'll admit, most everything I did was copied directly from some of my favorite blogs, but for my first event after almost a year hiatis I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, I was so busy getting everything ready I forgot to take any pictures, so you all will have to wait until I get pictures from the other co-host.

Thankfully, Ms. Lily helped by sleeping a lot this past week. She is still sleeping from around 11ish till 5ish. It's been really nice and I hope it keeps up after I go back to work. We are starting to get into a routine during the day too. We are also starting to get more adept at soothing her in the evenings.

Having been without my income for almost two months now, we are starting to get really tight on money but we are also learning to live more simply. I'm cleaning out the freezer and using the food we have at the house. One thing I am looking forward to about going back to work is the added income.

Well, this is a short update, but it was a rather uneventful week other than the party. I promise to post pictures as soon as I see some. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Colic... Super Awesome! (Week 6)

Well, this week brought us our 1 month pediatrician appointment. She weighed in at 9 lbs 2 oz (up from 7 lbs 10 oz and in the 25-50%) and measured 21 1/4 inches (up from 18 inches at birth and in the 25%). She basically average just like her mommy and daddy.

I love, love, love our pediatrician! She is so positive and encouraging. She is always so good at putting my mind at ease. We talked about Lily's fussiness issues and she started asking me questions.

"Is she fine in the morning and then it gets worse as the day goes on?"... "About the time Daddy comes home from work?"... "Nothing consoles her and she pulls her legs up?" Mom came with me to the appointment. She looked at me and said, "Sounds like she lives at your house!" The Doctor said, "Yep! That sounds like Colic." Awesome!

We discussed the possibility of it being reflux or a milk sensitivity but she said that if it were one of those, and we needed to change her formula, then she would be crying after every feeding and not just ones in the evening. She would even being crying during feedings and pushing away the bottle like it hurt her to drink it. I was so thankful for her reassurance. She said at most Lily would grow out of this after a few months.

She also put my mind to rest about our feeding. I had been very hesitant to feed on a schedule, but felt like we had ended up feeding on a schedule after all. The pediatrician said that formula feeding is different. And feeding on a schedule is fine. Formula fed babies don't cluster feed like they do if they are breast fed and since you know how much they are getting at every feeding if she is crying after an hour then it's not because she's hungry. The doc even said that feeding her more often then every 2-3 hours could cause her to be over stuffed and cause her to have reflux. It actually becomes a vicious cycle. So, I keep an eye on the clock and any time she gets fussy within the 2-3 hour time frame I feed her. I feel that's a good compromise.

She also recommended that we make sure we are waking her up at least every 3 hours during the day to eat which will help Lily keep track of day and night. And since we know she's getting plenty of food during the day and she's continuing to gain weight, we were given the green light to let her sleep as long as she wants at night.

So that night we fed her the last bottle at around 10pm and she slept through the night until around 5am. It was glorious! And the even better part is that she has kept it up. She usually gets her last bottle some where between 9 and 11 in the evening and then sleeps through until sometime between 4 and 6 am. I'm really hoping she'll keep this up since it'll be a nice routine once I go back to work.

Ms. Lily also got her second round of the Hep B vaccine. Mom was holding her when the nurse came in and they let her stay there. I had fixed a bottle while we waited for the nurse so that as soon as she got her shot I could feed her which would hopefully be comforting. It was so hard to watch her get the shot because it obviously hurt her. But the bottle worked really well. By the time she finished eating she was good as new.  She'll get her next round at her 2 month appointment.

I'm learning more and more that sometimes Little Bit has to cry. I've been so ingrained by the Attachment Parenting concept that I do everything I can to keep Lily from crying. Don't get me wrong, I still believe that you can't spoil a newborn and I'm not a fan of the cry it out method of sleep training but I've come to terms with the fact that she's not going to become a serial killer if I let her cry long enough for me to make her a bottle. The importance of this became very apparent the other day when I fell down the stairs. Thankfully I didn't have the baby with me. She was buckled into the swing in the living room and I was running up and down the stairs trying to wash bottles so I could fix her one. She kept screaming so I was running up and down the stairs trying to put her binki back in her mouth. Well, one time I lost my footing on the top stair and bounced about 3/4 of the way down on my butt. You know how time goes really slowly when you are in a situation like that, well, I kept thinking, "PLEASE just don't let me brake anything!" I had no idea how I would take care of a baby with a broken arm! Well, thankfully, I didn't brake anything and just bruised my tail and left hip. It shook me up pretty badly though. I kept thinking about what would have happened if I'd had the baby with me. When my mom came over later that day she showed me that I wouldn't have been running up and down the stairs if I'd had her.

Well, this week's update feels a bit disjointed, but at least it's finished. Now for your moment of cuteness. Have a great week!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wraps, Slings, and Carriers... What Would We Do Without You? (Week 5)

The best way to sum up this week would be fussy-butt! Yep, our pleasant, content, quiet baby has turned into a demanding, unhappy tyrant! Well, not all the time but we experienced more screaming episodes this week then any before. It's really been a challenge to keep our sanity in tact.

One night we spent a couple of hours passing her back and forth as she screamed and screamed and screamed. We fed her, changed her, dressed her, undressed her, swaddled her, sang to her, walked her, bathed her, bounced her, every.single.thing.we.could.think.of!! Finally she cried herself to sleep but not before Mommy and Daddy added a few gray hairs to their heads. It's been a challenging and stressful week, but we've learned a lot about Little Bit. I have to say thank goodness for swaddle blankets and the Sleepy Sheep which plays different sounds like rain, the ocean and a heart beat. It helps calm her down so much!

The other thing we've learned is that when all else fails, put her in a carrier of some kind and walk her around. One day after walking around the house for an hour I decided that if walking was what I had to do I'd go to the mall. Thankfully, walking and having her in the wrap works wonders so I haven't had to worry about her screaming when we are out. My poor mom got a frantic call from me on Wednesday saying that I was at my wits end and had to get out of the house. I was getting in the car right that minute and going to the outlet mall did she want to come. Her tutor student for the evening had just called and canceled so she was free as a bird which was awesome! By the time I'd driven the mile or so to her house Lily was already asleep and we hardly heard a peep from her the rest of the trip. We walked around the mall for a couple of hours while she slept and then had a snack at Chili's.

Don't let that innocent face fool you folks!!! She'd been a tyrant that afternoon! We ended up having a great time and I was so glad to be able to turn a stressful, difficult afternoon into a beautiful one. We looked at pretty dresses for Lily's Welcoming Ceremony but decided that it would be better to wait a couple more weeks before buying one since we don't know how much she might grow by then.

I also got to try out a different carrier. One of my shower hostesses had gotten us a sling.

Although it's not as comfortable for long trips as my Bekaboo it is much quicker and easier to put on and worked great for this and a couple other short trips I've taken since. It's also a lot more compact and can be stored in my diaper bag in case we ever get out and need a carrier. My Bekaboo is just way too bulky to carry with me, that's why I put it on before I leave the house if I'm going to use it. This works perfect for that unexpected trip into the grocery store!

To round out our repertoire of carriers, I purchased an Infantino Balance baby carrier. 

This is a structured carrier and I really got it more for Jay than anyone else. If we are going to survive this fussy stage, he's going to have to have a carrier he's comfortable using and my girlie ones are just not cutting it. Unlike a Baby Bjorn this one has a wide base so the baby sits on their bum instead of dangling by their crotch which is supposed to be more comfortable for both of us and better for her spinal positioning. We are still getting used to this one, but I think it's going to become more and more useful. I will start using this one too once she starts getting too heavy for my Bekaboo.

Even with a fussy baby, I was able to get one major accomplishment done this week. Lily's Birth Announcements went out, and I'm proud to say that other than postage they cost us nothing! I was able to design them using stuff I already had in my crafting room. Jay was very happy about that! I'm actually really proud of them since I not only designed and assembled them but I also took the picture too. Since everyone has probably already gotten theirs, here it is.

Friday night we were able to go out and have dinner with friends. It was so nice since we haven't been able to do that much since Lily joined us. We passed Little Bit around while we waited for our food and drinks and then I strapped her in when the food got there. It was so nice to have some sake and some sushi.

That night both Daddy and baby crashed hard though! I thought I wasn't going to be able to get them up stairs since they were both so sound asleep, but finally they roused and we all went to bed. Is there anything more precious than a daughter asleep on her daddy?!?! Especially when she's wearing an outfit with ruffles on her butt?!?! I don't think there is.

Happy Weekend everyone and enjoy your moment of cuteness!

Why yes... that's a bib that says, "Star of Mommy's Blog". I just couldn't resist!