Sunday, September 30, 2012

letting go of best laid plans

It took me 8 weeks, but I finally figured it out: if I make list upon list of items I'm going to get done each day and Elden decides otherwise through hours-long fits of fussing it will stress me out. Stress me out infinitely more than just worrying about what's making my baby so unhappy. Make me angry and short with my husband because he's the easiest target to take my frustrations out on.

Blink and it's over: this Mickey outfit is already much too small.
Yesterday was the first day I decided not to stick religiously to my to do list. I decided to appreciate Elden during the time that I have with him and if I am able to get to some of the items I'd like to get done then great. If not, that's okay. And you know what? Yesterday was easily the least stressful day I had spent with him in probably his entire existence. Conveniently, he was also very well behaved and didn't have any long drag of being upset. But when I had just started doing laundry and I heard him stirring on the monitor an hour and a half too early, I didn't grumble about how the universe was out to get me. Instead, I finished what I could and then happily headed upstairs to comfort and cuddle him.


I know this isn't always going to be easy--if you know me at all you know I'm a compulsive planner and list maker--but it seriously makes my days less intense. I'm learning how to put less pressure on myself to have a perfectly clean home with a week of pre-made meals and time for a nap as well. When I am able to accomplish those tasks on weekends, awesome. When I'm not, that's okay. No one is judging me and Jon certainly requires very little of me when it comes to homemaking. If my husband and child could care less about whether the baseboards have been vacuumed, why should I place such an emphasis on it? Each day Elden is getting bigger and further away from being my little baby boy I brought home from the hospital. I want to soak in every second possible with him before they're all gone. I don't want to have regrets. Ten years from now I won't give two blinks about those darn baseboards that always seem to collect cobwebs, wool carpet fibers, and cat hair. But I will care about memories I made with my family.


Friday, September 28, 2012

eight


Heaven help me. Elden will be 2 months old in less than a week. He's almost exclusively in size 2 diapers now. He smiles frequently. He's slept through the night (nearly--first wakes around or after 5 am) the last few nights. In the mornings we usually keep him up with us for a while after he eats and he's quite content to just hang out where the action is. The smiling has only increased and he melted me into a puddle the one night when I came into his room--as soon as I turned on the light he stopped crying and as soon as I was within his line of sight he got a huge grin on his face. Swoon. He is cooing a lot more now and also likes to click his tongue. Drooling is also starting to occur more on the regular, especially during tummy time. Each week brings so many new, fun things that I look forward to the many more to come. That being said, I also dread them because each week means this little guy is less and less of a newborn!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

reality shaken

Yesterday was our first near-disaster with Elden. When I say near-disaster I mean he could have been very seriously injured had things gone a centimeter or two differently.


We had him on the floor on his playmat in the living room. Everything was fine--he was smiling and chatting and Marsala was sitting in the front windowsill as she often does. Then it happened. She saw some sort of creature outside, lost her footing, and fell off the sill. When she fell, she knocked over the vacuum. The vacuum fell towards Elden with the handle grazing his head. It was a few centimeters from his soft spot. He cried, but we assume it was mostly out of fear because it was nothing compared to his pain cry when he got his first shot. I was a mess the rest of the night. Even though he was okay, my idealistic reality that I could protect him from anything came crashing down around me with that vacuum. This was just one of many scrapes, bruises, bumps, and injuries to come--especially if he takes after his accident-prone mama. This realization naturally opened the floodgates and my mind began to wander to the emotional bumps and bruises he's destined to get along the way. The first time he gets made fun of. The first time he gets rejected by someone he has a crush on. If he's like me, the first time he gets a B in school after working his butt off for that A (nerd alert). I can't protect him from everything--not even close--despite what will be my best effort. I just have to be there for him at the end of the day to scoop him up into my arms, cover him with kisses, and let him know how much we love him. And that kills me. Is this really all I can do for him? I can't follow him every single place he ever goes to be on the lookout for potential dangers? For mean children? For ill-intentioned adults? I can't preemptively meet every child that he may want to be friends with or date and tell them just what a wonderful little person he is to make sure they won't reject him, ignore him, or make fun of him?


The helplessness I felt. I saw that vacuum fall in slow motion. The words couldn't escape from my lips in time. Helpless is a big, empty place. As a parent, it's the last place I ever want to be again, but I know I am helpless to that. All I have are my words. I can warn Elden about what to look out for in life: physically dangerous objects and places, strangers, risky behavior. I can do my best to keep an eye out for him, especially when he's young, but beyond that I just need to let him go, grow, and trust that I've prepared him every way I possibly can to face the world and make wise decisions. That, and a whole lot of trusting God and praying every live long second of the day that Elden will be kept safe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

disaster date

Yesterday we went on our first date since becoming parents. My work bought Brown's tickets for those interested and while I originally declined thinking Jon wouldn't care, he soon corrected me and I revised our number to '2'. Elden went to my parent's house for the game. My coworkers were tailgating starting around 8 am (kickoff was at 1) but since I'd definitely be missing his 3 pm feeding I didn't want to miss his noon feeding as well for the sake of my boobs. As such, we made our way to my parent's house and got there around 11:30 so I could feed him and we could get out the door as close to noon as we could. I had made his bottles, complete with breastmilk, early that morning and had them ready to go for while we were gone.

And then we got to my parent's house at 11:30, 45 minutes from home, and realized I had forgotten the bottles.

Cue epic fail parenting moment. We realized if we ran home, ran back, then went downtown the game would pretty much be over. I cried and said I guess we wouldn't be going to the game. Then my genius husband reminded me of the fact that I had brought my manual breast pump with me (in case missing his 3 pm feeding meant mama got all sorts of engorged) and there is an abundance of drugstores in this country. Jon ran out to buy a bottle while I nursed Elden and went over how dumb I was in my head. OF ALL THE THINGS TO FORGET. For pete's sake.

Jon went to 2 drugstores because neither had the bottle El normally takes. We ultimately had to chance it and try a new one (which he luckily ended up taking). When I finished nursing him I proceeded to pump out every drop I possibly could, which only amounted to 3 oz--about 2 oz less than he normally takes. We made due and headed from my parent's around 12:30 to sunny skies and pleasant weather (which is what we were dressed for). Yeah, I think you know how this one ends. We took public transit downtown and we stepped off the train to torrential downpours and 45-50 degree weather. I was wearing fabric shoes. We got into the stadium and were drenched. We immediately headed to the restrooms to dry off. At this point it was the end of the first quarter.

We lasted until the middle of the third quarter. Then I couldn't take it anymore. My feet were frozen and I had already been feeling a bit under the weather with the beginnings of a cold. We got back to our car around 3:30 pm and blasted the heat. I think that was easily one of the best parts of our date. We stopped at a little place on the way to my parent's called Brown Bag Burgers and got some food to go. Good thing we got it to go because about 7 minutes from my parent's house and we got a call that little man was fussy (due to hunger). As soon as we walked in I nursed Elden and then Jon and I ate and were very impressed with the food. It was definitely not an ideal date with regard to weather, timing, etc., but it was definitely nice to get away for a few hours just the two of us. The icing on the cake? My parents and grandmas must have worn him out because he slept until 6 am, at which point we had to wake him up to eat. It was much needed because the night prior we had some spitting up disasters that kept us up from 3-4:30 changing sheets, baby, etc. Last time Elden slept through the night the next day was terrible (awake and crying all day) so we'll see how today goes because his colic also seems to be getting better and we kept him up for a good hour after he ate this morning. Big thanks to my family for taking care of our boy while we reconnected a bit!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

woodwork

I had mentioned previously that the woodwork on the exterior of our house was in dire need of repainting. Some (such as the front door landing) are rotted and just need replaced, while other woodwork was headed in that direction. As such, we made this a priority before winter comes. We could only do so much on our own with our insane schedules and Elden in the house, so we had to outsource to a local painting company. They just finished yesterday, and we are so pleased with the results!




And a few close-ups:

We ultimately need to replace that front threshold. We also still need to do the second coat of paint on the shutters and hang them. A next year project (probably) is painting the front door a different color that is still to be agreed upon by the mister and me. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

seven


Elden is 7 weeks old today. Lately he's earned himself the nicknames Stinky and Boog (short for 'booger'), and we also call him 'Buddy' a lot. At an unplanned doctor's appointment on Wednesday (we thought he had an infection; he didn't) he weighed 12 lbs 9 oz. He's still a fan of baths and smiling. He only takes about 1.5-2 oz of breastmilk at daycare but when Jon has him he'll suck a bottle with 4 oz dry. He still nurses 4-5 times per day/night when I'm there and definitely prefers this method of eating. Sometimes if my milk lets down too fast or he is a little too eager to eat he'll spit up everything he just consumed. He's still colicky and has spells of 2-6 hours where he will just cry and can typically only be comforted by the Moby wrap. He's also growing hair on the front top of his head now. We can't believe this boy is growing so fast!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

winston

Not quite sure how to break it to Jon that Winston Churchill is Elden's real dad...


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

growing up

These are the things working parents miss:


This is the first time Elden held his head up for more than a few seconds during tummy time. We knew it was a matter of time until he did this because whenever we burped him over our shoulder the previous few weeks he would hold his head up. However, I missed the actual event since I was at work. Luckily, Jon was home with him and was able to tape this for me. It's bittersweet--I'm so glad Elden is developing and growing but it's also a reminder that there's a decent chance I'll miss a lot of his firsts--the first time he crawls, walks, etc. That bums me out in the biggest of ways. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

on stranger advice

One of the things about being a new mom that I've discovered really bugs me is when strangers offer me unsolicited advice when I'm in public and Elden is crying. Typically, the go-to response when someone I don't know sees me trying to comfort my screaming baby is "he's probably just hungry." I usually just politely respond with a 'maybe' and continue tending to little man. What I really want to say is, "Oh, why thank you person I don't know who happens to know nothing about my child. I just fed him before I came out into public for thirty minutes. But I'm sure you're right because I couldn't possibly know what my baby needs." I also love it when Jon is with me and Elden is crying so Jon takes him outside. There has been more than one occasion where I hear people remark about the "very young baby" that someone dare take out into public. Oh, you're right, we should just stay home, forget about groceries (and our sanity) and just wait it out until he is at an acceptable age to be introduced to the world.

Elden is just a baby who happens to get gas and cry at typically inopportune times. When he is like this, there is literally nothing we can do to make him stop crying. We just have to wait it out until he is able to burp, fart or poop. It's tough. The last thing I really care to hear at these moments is some random guy at Giant Eagle telling me he simply must be hungry because "boys are always hungry."

I TOTALLY welcome the advice of family, friends and even acquaintances, especially those who are parents themselves. Maybe it's because I know they're coming from a genuinely helpful place and not judging me for having a screaming baby in public. Either way, if you ever see someone struggling with a crying baby in public, please don't offer advice. Just tell them they're doing a great job (you know, unless they're screaming profanities at their crying baby... then tell them they suck at life) because odds are, they are. You don't know their story, you don't know if that baby has colic or a medical issue or some other underlying issue that simply can't be fixed with the snap of your fingers. So just stop it.

----

In other news, the first day of daycare went okay. I cried more than Elden, as expected. I was also the helicopter parent who called before lunch and was so. tempted. to call again after lunch. He didn't eat much - 1.5 ounces in the morning, 2.5 ounces at noon and 2 at 3. From what I had read online this is to be expected when a breastfed baby is away from his mama all day, but it still troubles me since he normally eats 3-4 ounces in a sitting. He also cried a bit and had a hard time sleeping--again, not a surprise. As soon as Jon had him in his carseat he fell asleep. Breaks my heart to picture him alone (or at least away from familiar faces) in an unfamiliar environment. The first day of work was also okay. Spare the 38 new voicemails (and thankfully <100 inbox messages as I had kept up on emails while I was on leave) and insanity of new projects, it was an uneventful day that went by pretty quickly.

Monday, September 17, 2012

the end

I'm writing this blog on Sunday but delaying publishing it until Monday morning. I know I'll be in no condition to blog on Monday as that is my first day back at work and Elden's first day at daycare. Just typing the latter part of that sentence made me misty.

Now I get to pack my lunch, Jon's lunch and Elden's lunch each day. I desperately hope tomorrow (or as you're reading this, today) goes well. I pray he takes his bottles and doesn't have terrible gas and doesn't even realize he's around total strangers.

This outfit was actually mine as a baby.

I just can't get over how quickly the last 6 weeks went. I will miss the cuddles, the smiles, and believe it or not, the crying. While I will continue to pump so that he can receive the benefits of breastmilk, it won't be remotely close to the awesome that was nursing him (once the pain stopped) and getting those thirty minutes together just to sit quietly and stare at all his little features. Again with the waterworks!!!

I'm hoping tonight goes as well as Saturday night--Elden slept from 9:30pm-5:15am!--so that I'm not totally exhausted on Monday. I will be thinking of him often throughout my day and praying I can hold it together long enough until I get home.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

easy greek pasta

I am a major feta advocate. By itself, added to anything, you name it--I'll probably love it. I often make a Greek-inspired pasta (kind of) when there is little else in the house since I'm almost guaranteed to have feta in the fridge. It's simple and delicious. Simply cook some noodles (I prefer bow tie pasta to make it look fancy). Once cooked, drain and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand--I usually include tomatoes, peppers, pine nuts, spinach, and sometimes chicken. Pepper to taste and enjoy! This is exactly what I had once Jon left for class the other night. I didn't have spinach but our neighbor brought us fresh tomatoes so I immediately began cooking the noodles after he left.


The pepperoncini added a nice kick that usually isn't there. I'll definitely be including it in future batches!

Friday, September 14, 2012

six


Our precious baby boy is 6 weeks old today. Our estimations are that he's surpassed the 12-pound mark and as a result we will be switching him to size 2 diapers when our last size 1 pack runs out (although he does still fit in size 1). One of Elden's favourite things is bath time. He is usually content to 'swim' for about 15-20 minutes and in general if he's fussy at bedtime we can count on his nightly bath to calm him down. He's still loving his new-found ability to smile and he's also starting to chatter more when he's awake. He's still sleeping 3.5-6 hours at a time at night and when we give him a bottle he drinks up to 3 ounces. He's better in his carseat lately (knock on wood) and as a result has been easier to take out of the house when I need to run errands. I'm so bummed today is my last weekday at home with him but I know it will make the time I do get to be at home so much more appreciated. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

courtesy of amelia

My Photoshop-savvy friend, Amelia, made my wildest dreams come true from my last post:

Yesterday went incredibly well. Little man is all setup for daycare. I'm already getting misty about sending him. What if he forgets who I am? Will he feel abandoned? Needless to say, I know Monday will be filled with waterworks and then lots of cuddles when I do get home from work. 

I also have other fantastic tiny human news: Elden no longer despises his car seat! The first week of his life was great--no problem driving anywhere. Weeks 2-5 he would be content the first ten minutes then scream until we reached our destination. This was particularly stressful for visiting our families, all of which live 45+ minutes away, and resulted in us basically not leaving the house with him/together. Then we moved up the shoulder straps to the next notch and he has handled the last few outings like a champ. We went to Old Navy, the market, Bath & Body Works, and TJ Maxx last night and he didn't even stir. It was fantastic and a much needed leisurely break with my husband. 

Finally, this is what my morning has looked like and I am perfectly fine with it:


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

wednesday

I can't believe I go back to work in just 5 short days. As a result, I'm getting in as much possible time with the world's most adorable (and bored) businessman:
All that's missing is a coffee mug in his right hand.
He's currently nestled in the Moby wrap, sleeping soundly against my chest. Jon and I are testing a theory that if he's carried for at least a few hours a day in the Moby he'll sleep better at night. Last night seems to hold true to that theory but it also helps we went to dinner with my entire immediate family (a rarity!) at my gram's building about an hour away. In other news, I get to run errands with little man today to get everything all finalized for his daycare. We're also beginning the process of painting the woodwork outside--well, the fine gent we hired is! Happy Wednesday :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

fall

Autumn is hands down my favourite season. We'll probably have this conversation at least three times this year. There's just something about sweater weather, pumpkin flavored everything, the changing leaves, and the scents that get me. It also helps that my birthday is in October and that some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around trick-or-treating and the awesome homemade costumes my mom made us. Either way, I've now had two pumpkin spice lattes, busted out the fall candles (currently burning, you guessed it, pumpkin!) and brought out my warmer weather clothes/packed up my summer wardrobe. I peruse Pinterest on the daily for fall ideas and decorations but I know myself well enough to know I will not be the type to get all artsy fartsy and put out all these adorable throw pillows and knick knacks. I'm just too lazy to go through all that effort with the exception of a few fall things that decorate the dining room table:

I typically avoid turning on the heat until the last possible moment, but now that we have a tiny human to watch out for we caved and turned it on yesterday since our area was seeing lows in the 40s and our thermostat was plummeting with the temperatures since I had absent mindedly left the windows open the night before. We've also been scrambling to get Elden some warmer clothes since he outgrew so many items so quickly. Luckily, we took advantage of an Old Navy Labor Day 30% off sale and those items are out for delivery today, my mom picked him up an adorable sweater with bicycles on it and she is also making him flannel-lined corduroy overalls. I'd like to think that will be enough to last him at least a few months but we'll need to play it by ear and see if he continues to grow at the pace he has been.
"Ma, it's so cold out here!"
In other news, I went to my OB on Friday for my postpartum checkup and despite the PTSD that my virginia was most certainly suffering from, everything went off without a hitch. The nurses took Elden during my exam and he was a well behaved little man. Probably didn't hurt that I nursed him as my blood pressure was taken which put him into a serious food coma (just like his mama). We laid out a birth control plan to prolong creating a baby numero dos (despite the fact that Jon has had dreams we got pregnant right away and my sister had a dream our next one was a girl I do NOT plan on making another person any time soon) and scheduled my annual checkup for a few months from now. It's so weird not to have to go there every week and pee in a cup at every visit. Not that I'm complaining. Glad to have those days behind me!

Friday, September 7, 2012

five


Another week older. This fragile heart can't bear it! Today marks Elden's fifth week of life outside the womb. I think yesterday was the first day he consistently smiled because he wanted to, not just because he was tooting. We were able to get several smiles from him yesterday by talking to and interacting with him, and he's also a lot more interested in us/our faces as opposed to everything else in the room. His eyes are still a deep blue and his hair a dirty blonde, but as it gets thicker and he grows more it looks darker. He usually eats for about 20-25 minutes every three or so hours, and at night we've been getting 4-6 hour stretches of him sleeping at a time which is wonderful. He's also consistently able to take a bottle and finish it so we feel great about that since he starts daycare in about a week. This tiny human brings us so much joy on a daily basis and we can't imagine our lives without him!


Video evidence of his smile. Also, I HATE the way my voice sounds on video. Is this how it sounds in real life too?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

sh sh shutter

Our house came with super janky shutters. By janky I mean one was missing entirely and one was falling off the house. We researched the cost to buy new and while the cost wasn't staggering (we estimated somewhere on the order of $150 total for bottom-end shutters) it was still $150 more than we had. After we started really getting settled, my dad removed all shutters so we would just be shutterless. Then Jon discovered the missing shutter tucked up on a shelf in the garage. Cue his brilliant idea to just paint the shutters so as to save some cash.

That was the 'before' picture. They were black(ish) but definitely worse for the wear. I ran to Home Depot and bought some Rustoleum satin spray paint in wildflower blue. To paint them, I leaned two shutters at a time against the back of the garage and draped them with a drop cloth. I then used a spray paint trigger to get a first coat on there.
I should probably preface this with the fact that we had to give each shutter a good scrubbing--they were dusty and covered in cobwebs. They still need a second coat, but I love the contrast the blue gives against our red brick:
The picture is a little deceiving--they're not nearly as neon as they come off in that image. Jon isn't sold on the color yet but I think once we have them hanging against the freshly painted window frames (this isn't done yet but should be complete within the next 2 or so weeks) he'll fall in love. I was also able to give the downstairs a pretty solid cleaning today which makes me very happy with myself. I'm hustling to get as many house projects done as possible before my maternity leave ends in just over a week. Also? I've always been a fan of spring/fall cleaning and now that autumn is around the corner I've been bit by the tidy bug.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

on productivity

Today during Elden's nap I was itching to be productive. Our house is a disaster--we're talking dust along all the baseboards, things laying everywhere except their proper home, boxes of still unpacked clothes in the attic, etc. The first half of the day was rough and little man refused to nap anywhere but my arms thanks to another bout with gas, and I barely was able to eat, let alone clean. When I finally got him to go down for his 1 pm nap I went a little crazy on my to do list. I was able to:
-mop & vacuum our upstairs, including getting on my hands and knees to dust all the baseboards
-fold the laundry that has been sitting (clean) in our laundry basket for a week; start the next load of laundry
-dust the dressers, nightstands, etc.
-make a haircut appointment (haven't had one for at least 8 months)
-take Elden's bassinet to the attic since he doesn't use it anymore and it's just been sitting in our bedroom
-bring down my non-maternity nicer clothes from the attic and hang them
-organize the closet
-shower

Don't mind our classy beach towel curtain we use when we have the window fan in.
Gone are the days of the bassinet!
Next project: get rid of the majority of these items since I haven't worn them in 3+ years 
Sleeping baby tucked safely away
Folded clothes on the bed
My additional goals for today include:
-dust/vacuum/mop El's room when he's doing activity time with Daddy
-finish laundry and actually put it away
-scrub and prime our janky shutters (more on this another day)
-if I'm feeling particularly ambitious (unlikely), begin cleaning downstairs (dust, mop, vacuum, sweep, etc.)

In other news, since I'm feeling listy today:
-we found a daycare for El! Breaks my heart I won't be staying home with him anymore in less than 2 weeks, but my returning to work is the best thing for our family
-I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with our hardwood floors. They sure are pretty but they get dirty and dusty and gross so freaking fast I can't keep up with them.
-I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season yesterday. It was every bit as glorious as I anticipated.
-Elden's 1-month well check went great. He's 11.5 pounds (90th percentile) and 22.5" (75th percentile). Did I also mention that little man is now wearing size 3-6 month clothes? Ugh.

Monday, September 3, 2012

lots of firsts

There have been many firsts around here lately. We've been trying to get Elden to take a bottle in preparation for beginning daycare in 2 weeks. We've tried three different nipples and while he successfully sucked on them/knew what to do, he wasn't sucking hard enough to get any of my breastmilk out. More on that in a second.

Yesterday was Elden's first day at church (he did great!) and after church my parents stopped at Target to pick up a few additional bottles.

We tried one that afternoon and we had success! He drank at least an ounce (I know, not much, but progress) and I was able to capture it:

Last night Elden also had terrible gas and would wail the second we'd lay him down. I went out and bought gripe water by wellements baby (another first--we previously tried to avoid administering him any type of gas remedy). I'm not sure if it helped or if the big fart he let out while I was nursing him about 20 minutes later was what did it, but one way or another baby boy stopped crying.

In other news, Elden has mommy's taste in music:


Finally, a big thanks to my parents for helping us cross of some items on our to do list (my car fits in the garage now, we had a solid go at scraping the paint off the exterior first floor woodwork, and there is now a light bulb in our giant above the garage flood light) yesterday! Today I plan on getting more stuff around the house complete. What better way to spend Labor Day!?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

elden's newborn pictures

We got the CD from Liz (of Elizabeth Videc Photography) yesterday and I decided to share with you our favourites. There were so many it was hard to choose but these are definitely our top picks!


I actually made that Elden sign for our maternity pictures:

And yes, whenever we do have a little girl (it will happen one way or another... with time!) her name will indeed be Maisie.