Category Archives: motherhood

Christmas: Holidays, Expectations, Reality

(Also titled: Why I Now Drink Venti Sized  or Emerging from a Fog)

So, we now refer to this holiday season as BF 2011 (Bodily Fluid 2011).  Sweet, right? The past few weeks in our house have been plague ridden with respiratory infections, stomach flu, anti-biotic, and just general ick.  I had planned several posts about this fall.  Then, somehow Halloween turned into Thanksgiving which is now Christmas.  Time is sliding by us.  I refuse to say good riddance to 2011 because that is the year we had our baby boy.  However.  This year has tested us, humbled us, and blessed us.

I used to look down upon those who ordered Venti at Starbucks.  How could someone seriously need all that caffeine? I thought, self-righteously. But now I am one of those with the extra large cup – no decaf – full caf for daily fuel.  Many days this fall just felt like foggy day hours when I could only think to get to my next coffee break.  On pure “function” mode was how we operated for a few months there.  Getting hit with colds and ear infections ruined E man’s sleep, so he often was up in the middle of the night or we were all crashed in bed attempting to get him back to sleep.   We had many great days, but many long nights and even longer days, as a result.

Work. Teaching all day as well as an hour commute each way had its effect on my health.  I’m not proud to admit that I had more than my share of fast food for dinner and lunch, usually on the run.  Workouts fell by the wayside as we attempting to keep our house functioning and rested.  It also had an effect, emotionally.  The perpetual working mom guilt made for some unhappy mornings and serious contemplation of life choices.  (Note: separate post coming on the whole working mom thing.  Luckily – ever so gratefully – I was able to have a full time job with a TON of time flexibility and only had to be gone from my little man 3 full days a week.  Still, it wasn’t easy.) So, as I was operating on Zomombie mode (ha!), my immune system was down.  One bout of food poisoning, one round o pharyngitis, several trips to Urgent Care, one stomach flu, and one trip to the ER led us down a very exhausting path. It’s hard to see your baby sick, and even harder to be sick yourself and try to take care of your baby, too.

Where is this all going? As we emerged on the other side, I kept a diligent eye on ChristmasbreakChristmasbreakalmostalmost.  I had great plans of decorating a sparkling clean home.  Enjoying time to myself and making homemade hot chocolate.  Instead, we careened into break, barely able to eat Saltines and get gross laundry in the washer.

Plans: Why I make them still and subconsciously think I can still be in control?  A question for the ages.  I do this every year with Christmas.  I want it to be just perfect.  I had imagined our family visiting Santa, watching Christmas movies, enjoying the fresh smell of a Christmas tree while eating yummy treats.  Some of that may happen; some of it may not happen. I’m fine with that.

Other family members change plans.  We live too far away for some family to visit.  Florida is warm, not cold and cozy.   Slowly (and I mean molasses slow), I’m learning that it is just about our family time and appreciating our simple, yet essential blessings.  To be healthy (and I mean truly healthy – sure, a cold here or there is healthy), with friends and family is all you can be hopeful for.  I will attempt to set aside the plans, the expectations, and surely, the disappointments to enjoy the time. Reality is no tree, but a happy crawling baby.  Reality is frozen dinners, crawling into bed, used cars, and a full, happy life.  Cue the sappy Christmas music song, here.

Plus, who can’t be happy looking at this little munchkin face?!

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Heck Week

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like everything is being tested and pushed to the limits? Like heck week for athletes, we had one of those weeks.  Our little man has been teething, and we discovered an ear infection last week, along with chest congestion.  I just kept looking at our pediatrician and waiting for him to be amazed by how many sicknesses were hitting our little guy.  First child rookie move – teething, congestion, whining is all normal.  NORMAL.

So, these packaged (yes, probably overpriced) wipes are on every coffee table:
Then, because of the anti-biotics E-man is taking, he got a staph infection from a reaction to them.  As if he didn’t have enough, now he has a rash/infection behind his ear – yes, the infected ear! (Teething = lots of drool = lots of congestion in the lungs = bad cough + ear infection = staph infection = more med = Poor baby!)

Luckily, we got the little guy medicated and thought we were in the clear.  NOTE: To any parents, don’t ever think you’re in the CLEAR about anything.  Once it’s smooth sailing, something will disrupt.

Mama possible ingests old guacamole and/or ground beef and gets food poisoning.  Suffice it to say, that is 24 hours I would never, ever wish on my worst enemy.  Not as bad as child labor, but, um, it is up there on horrible pain list.

Thankfully, we had a lot of this hanging out and I’ve been consuming a lot of it.  Also, thankfully, we have a dad/husband who can swing around CVS, ped office, and shuttle me to the doctor during the day.

House? Dirty.  Laundry? Being cleaned.  Being on the mend? Hoping so! Here’s looking towards a week of not being sick, not canceling classes, and a happier baby.

Life defined by children; it is always changing. Symbolic of this is my “Day in the Life” post I’ve been attempting to write since E was 4 months old.  Life is moving, rushing, changing, and pacing so fast.  I want to write it down and by the time I do, it has changed.  I’m an impatient person, by huge default.  I don’t like to be sick – I want to know when I’ll be better.  Can’t stand for my child to be sick – when will these antibiotics work?? I’ve probably put my face in the sand more than I should’ve the past few months of our baby’s life.  Sleepless nights, crying, an exhausted family of three, work/jobs, and time to workout (hahahah, joke  – never!)? It’s no wonder that my impatience lets me put blinders on to the “next week”, “next phase” that will surely be easier. Surely!

However, sick days at home are good reminder of the body saying, “Slow down.”  Snuggle on the couch.  Life probably won’t get easier, but it does get sweeter.  So, amidst this Heck Week in our house,  I’m looking around and thanking our blessings.

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Weekend Miscellaneous

A sick weekend means that our house spent more time indoors, than out! However, we did do some deep cleaning as well as napping and soup eating.  Thus, a general lack of exciting plans leads me to some link love this weekend!

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Health and Lifestyle: Eating a Paleo Diet

Paleo, Primal, Ancestoral, Caveman: A way of eating and thinking about food

Is this a trend? Perhaps. For me, it will and already is a lifestyle change.  It is very hard, but yet, very easy after seeing and feeling how great I feel.

Disclaimer: I am not, and will probably, never be PERFECT.  However, I believe the science and arguments behind what I’ve read.  For the most part, Paleo “experts” will tell you to follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent on track, 20 percent “off”).  While I do believe in this way of eating and living, do understand that I am still a work in progress. This is my journey to feeling healthy and getting into great shape!

My history with eating Paleo (in our house we call it “cavemen”):  Spring of 2010, my husband ran across The Primal Blueprint via Mark’s Daily Apple (the original blog place for swapping ideas and recipes) after getting into Crossfit work out regime (most people who do Crossfit recommend this type of eating style).

He researched and proposed we try it out.  My first reaction, “I am not giving up (FILL IN THE BLANK)!”  What’s a life without pasta, french bread, dessert, milkshakes, you name it – I was not going to give it up.  Until I did.  (Now, did I eat 100% perfect all the time.  No, we still had pizza on the weekends, random sandwiches here and there, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Slowly we migrated to a more Caveman diet, rather than Conventional Wisdom (Conventional Wisdom = Traditional low-fat, high fiber and grain diets. Think food pyramid).

We cut out processed carbohydrates (cereal, bagels, oatmeal) from our breakfast and moved to eggs, bacon, and fruit w/yogurt (rookie mistake, more on this later).  Lunch moved from sandwiches to salads with whatever protein we had (leftovers, tuna salad, etc.)  Dinner was more of the same; although, many times, we made stir fry type dinners with veggies and meat.

I’ll call this our phase one: we really worked hard to cut out that processed carbs from our Everyday diet.  We still relied heavily on organic yogurt, fruit, nuts, and nut butters.  Also, I still drank red wine, had chunks of dark chocolate, and ate “out” on weekends.  This phase was hard though.  Why? Because I love cereal – LOVE IT.  My go to snack and breakfast.  My husband loves sandwiches.  Also, learning how to prep fresh food was challenging. However, we made a huge amount of progress this phase (I’d say it was probably over 6 months).

But it worked! It really worked.  We als0 integrated vitamins and fish oil supplements in our diet, as many primal experts recommend.  Energy went through the roof! (At this time, we were also working out about 5 days a week, Crossfitting).  Granted, at that time, we also lived in an adorable house, loved where we lived, and worked quasi part time (husband was job hunting, I had odd hours and wasn’t full time).  Life was stressful, financially, but we were in a great place physically and mentally.

Main areas to avoid:

Dairy

Wheat/Grains

Sugar/Fructose

Legumes

Summer of 2010: We uprooted to Florida, both got new jobs, and I got pregnant.  As you can imagine, the healthy regime we had worked so hard to create got pushed aside.  Generally, we kept with our protein, veggie, fruit, and low processed carb diets.  Time for working out got pushed out.  My first tri-mester nausea and exhaustion meant I slept a lot and ate lots of saltines! Then, we had our sweet boy and learned the meaning of parenthood.  Parenthood = Survival on no sleep, no food in fridge, and whatever we could do to get through the week.

Image via Mark's Daily Apple

By the way, I think all primal experts and enthusiasts should remember that Cavemen had lots of time to catch up on sleep when they added new little ones! Ha. Seriously though, it took us about a 5 months to get back to a schedule where we were actually getting sleep and could think coherently.   As we attempt to focus more on our food choices and working out, it has become even more important because we have this little person for whom we want to give the most healthy life.

Our eating style now? We are in a new phase.  Taking what we know, with a much more jam packed schedule (less time to workout and eat healthy).  It is Challenging.   If I were to be totally honest, I would say we are about 60/40.  Many late nights and early mornings inhibit the choices we could and should be making.  However, living in Florida makes produce choices easy and great (straight from farmers).  We aren’t in the budget world to afford grass fed beef every week, but we stick with reasonable, organic meat choice.

As we get better about our eating choices, I will post regularly about what and how we do.  This is our journey and I hope that in documenting it, it will help us become better! My favorite quote I’ve heard lately and is now my mantra:

PAY THE FARMER, NOT THE DOCTOR

Fabulous recipes websites, with articles thrown in:

Robb Wolf

The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate

Nom Nom Paleo

Everyday Paleo

Excellent article links (These links answer a few, but not all, questions about Primal/Paleo):

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/scarlet-letter/comment-page-1#comment-11179

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/treat-yourself-right

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/07/27/why-isnt-this-working/#more-2723

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/06/22/attention-scale-addicts-part-2/comment-page-2/#comment-12663

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Baby Stuff: What We Used for the first 4 months

ETA: Of course, I began compiling this list when our little one was around 4 months old.  I’ll add a few things at the end which we’ve used from month 5-6.  Also, I enjoyed reading these lists to gather ideas about what our baby may like.  Figure out what works best for you and your baby!

We believe in swaddling, and our baby loves it! (In fact, we are trying to transition away from using it now and it is not fun!) We tried swaddling ourselves, and this Woombie is a great purchase.  Easy to zip up and stretch enough for him to move around.  Well worth trying for those babies who like to swaddle.

Woombie

Pack n Play

We use ours for going out of town, and we plan  on using as a play pen when E gets older.  I know some people who use their quite a bit more than us, but I think it will get more use down the road.

Noise machine (old alarm clock): Our E man likes white noise (plus it helps to drown out the rest of the noise in the house).  There are many available for sale; but, we just happened to find a setting we liked on our old alarm clock.

Humidifier: When E was about 2 months old, he got a bad cold and this really helped with congestion.  We will use it frequently if he looks like he’s getting sick.  Good, useful purchase.

Nose Squirt

Don’t Leave Home Without It! Our doctor gave us two of these, and I scoffed, thinking “why would I need these things?” Well lesson learned on our first trip out of town and E man needed  his nose cleared at 2 a.m.  Seriously, I keep one in his bag at all times.

Boppy :I would recommend every new mom get a Boppy (whether or not for breastfeeding).  It is such a great little pillow that the baby can use as a head prop or tummy time.  Great buy for most babies.

Doughnut: Not sure what the real name of the “Doughnut,” but made by the same company as Boppy.  We really got our money’s worth out of this.  It is like a little lounger pillow and our 6 mo. old still fits on it.  He actually takes naps in it (with my supervision) and loves lounging on it.  (Our baby actually outgrew Bumbo pretty quickly, so we use the Doughnut and put the Boppy on it as a little baby recliner – he loves it when we are all hanging out at the house).

Jumperoo: Would have paid ten times as much for this.  Our baby LOVES the bouncer and will bounce till his heart’s content.  When he was too short for it, we just put a few books underneath.  We ordered it when he was about 3.5 months old and has been using it ever since.  We can tell he’s ready to be mobile on his own and is close to outgrowing it.

Fisher Price Swing:  No bueno for our baby.  He didn’t like swings OR vibrating chairs at all (hence, why we were thrilled with the bouncer). I see many great reviews and I think it is just one of those things that parents will have to wait and see if their baby likes it.

Burp Cloths: We were given a few monogrammed burp clothes as gifts, and boy – do we ever use them! Keep a pile close by because they are necessary for spit up and drool!

Stroller: My husband did the research for the car seat and found this popular Chicco System.  We got the car seat, base, and stroller.  We really love all the pieces, thus far.  (We know that we will have to change his car seat once he outgrows.)  He loves his “bucket” and we would take it with us to restaurants, etc, and he often falls asleep in it.  He is just now at the point now where we use the stroller by itself (without the bucket).  It IS bulky (for throwing in and out of the car) and doesn’t have a lot of bottom storage space when the bucket is in.  However, we are still really pleased with it all. We may look into a BOB down the road, but for now, this suits all of our needs.

Baby Bjorn: Our favorite carrier, by far.  He would often go to sleep in it while I did household chores and fixed dinner. Easy to snap and go!

We heard this seahorse was helpful for sleep, but not for our little man! It is a cute toy, and that is the only way we’ve used it.

Wish we would have purchased: This is the Fisher Price Lamb swing, I believe.  We were given two swings, neither of which did our baby like to be in.   I read so many reviews of this swing and really wished we had had it the first two months based on the great reviews!

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So Much Going On: Daycare, Life, Etc.!

I’ve gotten a few posts prepared, and I had a plan for “What I’m Loving,” but then a job offer got in the way.  Short story: I work from home, which is a blessing.  However, I got an offer for a short term contract that is really an ideal semi part time offer.  I didn’t want to make the “daycare” decision until our E man was 1 yr. old.  But, here is this offer that came not once, but twice to my door.

 

I have no idea how this will pan out, but our E will be in daycare (that we like, visited, and is a part of our church) maximum 4 days a week.   Both of our schedules are flexible, so we are going to work to help him be in daycare less.  Ahh. Regardless, this mama has been a MESS.  It hurts the heart, even though he probably won’t even remember. Plus, it is a short term contract, so my husband and I agreed that this will be a “trial run” and if I don’t want to do it again, we won’t.  All I can say is: Best for our family, right now (My only little bit of “new” parent advice…this is how my husband and I have learned to roll).

 

Theme of Parenting: I thought pregnancy was hard, until I went through two day labor/C-section.  I thought labor and hospital visit were hard, until I had to comfort and feed my newborn.  I thought having a newborn was tough, until I had to figure out going back to work.  Friends, I’m getting that, this – the parenting, does not get any easier.

 

So! Any Daycare tips and/or advice? I know he will have to have everything labeled…any good places to go for stickers/clothing labels, etc?  Things that we will need or want to have him take? Also, I’m worried about his nap schedule – and good tips for helping him with that? Thanks in advance!

Now, for more fun tidbits!

Random Wednesday:

San Pellegrino Aranciata.  This is a delightful drink for beating those ridiculous temperatures we’ve all been having lately.  Serve it in a cocktail class to make it even more swanky.  (Or fill up a beer glass half with pilsner and half with San Pellegrino lemon for a refreshing toddy).

Jack Rogers in platinum.  Classic, comfortable, go with literally all of my summer outfits.

This picture explains why I wish I could just G-Chat Reese and have her be my very best friend.  Outfit: Classic. Comfortable. Stylish.  And do I spy one of those J.Crew snap totes from a few years ago (of which I have about 3)?

Bought this dress from Land’s End Canvas two weeks ago.  I followed the reviews and this does have a generous/comfortable fit.  The material is a like a stretchy pique knit.  On sale now for $34.99.   So glad I bought it.  Cute enough to feel pulled together and comfy enough to run around with my infant and bear the heat (i.e. not show the glow of sweat).

Finally:

Love Sheridan French’s blog.  Fabulous style: I want this vest she blogs about in her latest post.

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Unecessary Worry & Unsolicited Advice

Unnecessary Worry & Unsolicited Advice:

Being a mother has introduced to me to all sorts of new social norms and ideas
1. Worry: I have always been a worrier.  As a child, I was cautious.  As an adult, I worry about my grandparents aging, my parents and their happiness, my brother’s direction, our financial state…and it goes on.  I also tend to worry about offending people and making them happy.  All of these things are really a waste of time.  And now, with an infant, that “worry” list has probably increased ten-fold.  I wake up every day thinking of something that could happen to our baby and things that I don’t want him to do.  (Getting lost, forgetting who I am at daycare; feeding him too much or too little; turning the t.v. on; kidnapped by strangers; diseases and sicknesses; riding in cars with stupid teenager friends; drinking too much in college; not wearing his seatbelt – you get the idea).

This is all ridiculous thinking, of course.  I know this; yet, I can’t turn off the “worry” thoughts I have.  My husband, thankfully, is more of an analytical thinker and researcher.  He balances me out; but, we both know this “worrywart” gene is directly from my mother and grandmother, who obsessively worry to the point of unhealthiness.  How can I bypass this, especially as a mother? I wish I had the answers.

I workout, pray, and take time out for myself.  I remind myself that essentially worrying is a sin of vanity because it means you have lost your faith in God and his plans.  How do you deal with the worry that accompanies becoming a mother?

2. Unsolicited Advice: (from family and strangers alike).  Thankfully, I escaped the “Hi, I’m a stranger and you’re pregnant, so I’m going to give you stupid advice” for the most part.  However, I am now amazed as to what people will say about an infant to his mother! Our sweet boy is a happy, chunky, healthy baby.  For this, I am thankful everyday. Now, why is it that people love a chunky baby, but feel the need to say “Oh, when he starts walking all that baby fat will fall off.”  Why? He’s 5 months old, a ways away from walking.  He’s charming you with his smile and yet, you’re telling me this? Because I’m secretly feeding him pureed Oreos and Mt. Dew.  People have a hard time not projecting their own insecurities onto others, especially by way of judging someone’s child through a back handed comment.

Oh, and another? “He’s probably going to be teased a lot because of his name.”  Oh yeah, the name that I just explained to you was important to our family because it was his “great-great grandfather’s name.  The name that is old fashioned and not quite “in vogue” but is beautiful to us.  Gee, thanks lady.  However, I plan on raising my child to have self-confidence and tact, unlike you.

Ok, rant for the day is over! (And look for more “fun” posts this week – but, I can’t be the only “I worry about everything – don’t you dare look at my child cross eye mama, right?)

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