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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I’ve Learned as a Mom…

Granted, I’ve only been a mom for 14 weeks and 5 days (but who’s counting J), but already, I have learned a few valuable lessons that I wanted to share. Some you may be able to relate to. Some may leave you thinking I’m a teensy bit crazy. :)
  • Pumping bras are not REAL bras. The day before I went back to work, I realized I was in need of some items so that I could successfully pump at work. I had heard about hands-free pumping bras – although I had never seen one or knew how they worked. I ran to Babies-R-Us and picked up a few supplies including the pumping bra. When I got home, I unwrapped the box, excited to see this new little contraption that was going to be my new best friend at work. I pulled it out, looked it over, and thought…. “Hmmmm…. This doesn’t look that comfortable.” I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my day. The first day of work arrived and I put on this nifty bra. It felt weird, uncomfortable and the seams were in really awkward places. Never seen a pumping bra? Google it. Ya, I wore one of those ALL day my first day of work. I itched, pulled, tugged ALL day long. I kept thinking “HOW do women wear these every day? And can’t you see the seams through your clothing?” That first day I was selective with my outfit so that the seams couldn’t be seen, but I was worried this would severely limit my clothing options. After that first day though, I was done with the bra. Done! So the second day of work I went without the bra (I wore a normal one, don’t worry!). I held the pumps, which felt like such a waste of time. I didn’t think I could continue this whole pumping thing! Was I going to have to hold the pumps every time? Then I had the amazing, earth-shattering realization --- I’m only supposed to wear the pumping bra when I actually pump. Game. Changer.
    All you experienced mommas are probably laughing uncontrollably right now… or rolling your eyes… or thinking that you’re reading the blog of the dumbest person on the planet. And I can’t really blame you for any of that. But here’s the kicker… NO ONE TOLD ME!!!! Of all the wonderful mommas I know, NO ONE bothered to explain the logistics of pumping at work! So you soon-to-be mommas, or anyone who ever thinks they will be a momma in the future, take note. And just know, no matter what mistakes you make along the way, at least you didn’t wear a pumping bra on your first day back to work.

  • Dry shampoo is your new best friend. I’m a little late to this train. I had never used it until my wonderful SIL, Amanda, brought me a bottle at the hospital after having Silas. Holy freaking cow. Where has this been all my life? Goodness knows I don’t have time to wash my hair [every single day]? Ya right.
  • Things are going to change. I’m still working on this one. I struggle with change apparently, because this has been the hardest part for me. In fact, I struggle so much that I decided to break this into subpoints.
    • Change in marriage -- During the last few weeks of pregnancy I became increasingly more stressed about the change in family dynamic. Tyler and I had a pretty good thing going these past 10 years. He is my best friend and we genuinely enjoy just being together (as marriage should be!). We aren’t perfect, and we sometimes drive each other crazy, but overall get along incredibly well! I worried that throwing a baby in the mix might change things for the not-so-good. Silly, I know. Blame it on the hormones, but that’s what kept me up at night. Well I am here to say that things did change. A lot. And we are still trying to “find our groove” with Silas in the mix. But the changes that have happened are incredible. I get to see this man I love step up in to fatherhood and it’s a pretty stinking awesome thing. I have been able to experience the absolute unconditional love from my husband while I’m teetering on insanity. Despite my crazy mood swings and high demands, he has helped with a smile on his face.
    • Change in body – Ok, this one basically sucks to talk about. Friends would say things to me like “Say goodbye to your body as you know it!” all during my pregnancy. I thought this comment was rude and certainly unsolicited! How do you know my body is going to change? I would think. I could be one of those that just bounces back! Ugh! Well friends, they were right. And what I originally thought was rude, I know see as a kind, friendly warning to brace yourself. Brace yourself for the train wreck will be your body after baby. Now, maybe you’re in the .5% of people that still can rock that bikini after baby… and if so? I hate you. J Ok, I’m kidding. Seriously, that is awesome and I’d be lying if I wasn’t jealous. I say if you can, you should rock that bikini. I am just not going to join you! I’m having a “let’s get real” moment here, and it’s not easy to say all of this, so bear with me. This has probably been one of the hardest parts of post-pregnancy for me. While I was overwhelmingly in love with this little baby, I was simultaneously grieving. Grieving the fact that I knew I would never look the same again. I was (and still am) learning how clothes fit me now. What styles, sizes, etc, I should or shouldn’t wear. I find myself tugging, tucking, pulling and adjusting clothes a lot more now, simply because I want to make sure every inch of my body is covered. :) And it’s just a bigger deal than I expected. People said my body would change. I just didn’t expect it to be as painful or difficult of an adjustment as it has been.
  • When you’re not feeling cute, buy something. Ok so this is probably not a great pattern to get into. And could become a bit dangerous for your wallet – so this is all within reason. BUT, I will say, when I have been feeling a little less than cute, a simple purchase here or there has really helped me out! A new haircut? Check. New eyeshadow? Check. New top or necklace? Check check check. So even though I may not feel good about what’s going on under the clothes and makeup, at least I can distract with a super cute top from Target, right? Just don’t tell Tyler!
  • You will eat your words. Case and point – snot suckers. Other moms have been talking about the most disgusting thing I had ever heard of – a tube connecting your mouth to your baby’s stuffy nose. In essence, you suck in and the boogers come out. Gag. Me. Please. Horrified, I swore I would never. NEVER. use one of these inhumane contraptions. Well, two weeks with a stuffy nose, and Silas was sounding worse than ever. And what do you know? I ran to Target and picked up one of these torture devices. I caved. I bought. I sucked. But by golly, his nose was clean as a whistle. So suck it. ;)
  •  You just, quite simply, can’t get enough. Over the years, and especially during pregnancy, I heard over and over about moms with children weren’t “good” sleepers. They needed to be nursed to sleep, rocked to sleep, co-sleep, etc. I have friends that would spend hours trying to put their little ones to bed at night! How horrible, I would think. What a burden. I promised myself I was going to do my best to get my baby as sleep-independent as possible from the earliest of ages. Well, my baby isn’t the worst sleeper, but certainly isn’t the best either. But what I can say is on the nights that he’s a little fussy and takes extra time to fall asleep, I gladly and joyfully rock him, nurse him, whatever it takes. Those nights where he fights sleep and I end up going in his room 3+ times to rock him back to sleep? I do it with a smile on my face. Sure, it’s tiring. Of course, I’m exhausted. But I don’t care. And THAT is the thing I didn’t understand before. I assumed these moms that had “bad” sleepers, or babies that were fussy, were burdened. That their little one’s demands were too much. But they aren’t. I WANT to be the one to rock him to sleep, or go back to rock him to sleep for the fourth time. When he wakes up every 2 hours, sure I’m crazy stupid tired. And the next morning you betchya I’m running full steam to the nearest Starbuck’s. But I love it. And I’m definitely not burdened. I am blessed beyond measure!
So these are just a few little things I’ve learned thus far… I know I’ve forgotten like a million other things. And I will continue to add to this list! That’s the awesome/scary thing about parenthood – we never know it all!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Month Four

Silas continues to change and grow and surprise us daily --- gosh it's so annoying! Doesn't he know he's not supposed to do that! ;)

This month was probably one of the busiest of the year for me, work-wise. So it has been a challenge to find the appropriate work-life balance. But thankfully, fingers-crossed, things will calm down for a while. 

So here are some of the things Silas, and the family, (but really mostly Silas) have been up to!

Silas had his first stroller ride without his car seat. He loves walks -- and usually ends up asleep before I get to the end of the street!

Silas and John at church. They're just now starting to notice one another. They were so cute just staring!

I get nice little updates from his teachers at day care. I think he's learning to be a good napper there. :)

Well it can't all be about Silas. :) I got the inevitable "mom cut," but actually really like it! I needed a change. Besides, if I can't feel good about other parts of me (ahem, the aftermath that is post-pragnancy) I can at least have really cute hair. 

He has always sucked on his hand, but more and more he is finding his thumb to suck on. I say, go for it! It's like a permanent paci we can't lose. :)

At 14.5 weeks, I made my way up to NWA with Silas for work. I had a two-day, two-event weekend. Whew! I am SO thankful that my mom and MIL were able to keep him so much while I was at work.  I know they didn't mind too much either. :)

Dad even took time off work to keep him for a bit. I loved getting updated from him!

HAD to post this one. I foresee many more joint naps together!

He was so sweet all weekend. Even though he had been dealing with a stuffy nose and cough for several weeks, he didn't let that bother him too much. He still enjoyed being spoiled with cuddles. 

He even got special visits from his cousins! Love those blonde kiddos!

Silas and JoePop!

Jen Linn came to LR for work and we were able to enjoy a dinner out while she was here. It was great to see her in NWA too!

I survived the work weekend (barely!). After working three FULL days in a row, I needed a break! That Sunday I went to church with my family, was able to visit my Grandma Vi (she isn't doing well, was admitted to hospice and probably doesn't have much time left. So it was super important to get to see her.) I took a nice long nap while Joe and Jo Anne showed Silas off at the golf course and then Silas and I headed home. All by myself! On the way up to NWA my coworker rode with me. This was my first trip with Silas by myself! Scary! I had timed it so he would sleep most of the way, and thankfully, he did!

Another great update from him teacher. He occasionally will get a good grip on his bottle and hold it like this. I just loved that he was doing it while sleeping. Ha!

I made a nice little contraption that allowed both dogs to share a leash. I wasn't sure how well it would work, pushing a stroller AND walking the dogs. But it actually worked really well! I'm so excited to get to take all my boys out together for a walk -- and we have enjoyed doing this as much as we can. 

Silas has really started playing with toys! He's grabbing them so much easier, and immediately brings them to his mouth. Ok, he pretty much brings everything to his mouth -- his toys, my jewelry, my hair, my clothes, his diaper (yep, yep that happened...). Just another cool milestone to watch him learn!

I've started being able to carry Silas on my hip -- gosh, like a big boy! He wraps his whole body around me like a little monkey. And it's super adorable. So we've started calling him our Little Monkey. 

Tyler thought this was hilarious. And over the top. But Silas had school pictures and we got the proofs. Ah, they are so cute! Thankfully they were doing pictures first thing in the morning. So I was able to   Help make sure he was on his best behavior. And he was! I can't wait to order them. Now just to choose which one!

On Silas' four month birthday, we took him to the LR Food Truck Festival. Bo and Bess were able to join us -- so fun! And the food was delish. Like, wow. I love how Silas was seriously staring at my hot dog. He even made a grab for it a few times!

John and Silas holding hands. :)

Things to remember:
-Silas had congestion for the entire month. It has been tough! Lots of snot-sucking (I even got the nosefrida, which I swore I would never use. I mean, come on. The concept is freaking disgusting. And then your baby is sick and you'll eat your words and suck snot like it's your day job.)
-We are on the verge of a full blown laugh. And. I. Can't. Wait. Were getting a few giggles here and there. And every once Ina while we get a belly laugh. But they're short. I think we will have full fits of laughter soon!
-He loves for me to hold him above my head and then lower and kiss all over his face. He gets the biggest grin!
-He also loves when I go in to kiss-attack him. He's starting to understand the "game" and will brace himself for the kisses. 
-I feel like he kind of knows who I am. I swear he gives me extra big smiles when he sees me. Makes this momma happy!
-When reading books to him, he reaches out trying to grab the pictures. 
-we are getting on more of a schedule. I use that term lightly though. The teachers at day school have really made that possible. He's napping about the same times every day and we are trying to get him down earlier than we had been. 
-For about 2 weeks, Silas was a TERRIBLE sleeper! He was basically up every 2 hours. It was ROUGH. It must have been a growth spurt, or maybe because of his congestion. Either way, I'm glad it looks as if things might be making a turn for the better. 
-The pups have started to learn the danger of standing too close to Silas. He's gotten a hold of their tails and ears a few times which has resulted in some squeaks and squeels. 
-Silas has just started to dislike his carseat, and by dislike I mean hate. Every time I pit him in, he gets the saddest look on his face and begins to cry. It is making car rides super enjoyable. 
-We have transitioned from the swaddle blanket to a sleep sack. I made the dumb mistake of trying to cut it cold-turkey. That made for one terrible night of sleep. Thanks to a lot of wonderful fb mommy friends, we got a sleep sack and it has seemed to work well. 
-Cooing is a constant noise in our house -- and I love it! 

Until next time!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Month Three

Silas was 9 weeks, 6 days when I went back to work. Because I needed to get back to work by a certain date, I had taken maternity leave a week before his due date. He ended up coming two weeks late, so that meant I started back when he was right about 10 weeks. 

Many people were kind to ask how going back to work was going. Was it hard to leave him? Where was he going to day care? Etc. 

I had heard horror stories about going back to work. How terrible it was and how gutwrenching every day care drop off was ever single day. Well, maybe I'm a terrible mother who doesn't love my child as much as other moms [ahem, I doubt it] but to be perfectly honest, it wasn't as awful as I expected. 

At 6 weeks old, I was going a little stir crazy being at home all day. Ready to socialize and get out of the house. By 8 weeks, Silas and I had gotten into a rhythm and I was really loving being at home -- not the bit interested in going back to work. 

So when week 9 was coming to an end, I was a bit panicked. Thankfully, I have the most AMAZING sister-in-law ever who gave me the sweetest, most thoughtful gift anyone could have given me -- she offered to come down and keep Silas for the first week I went back to work. Amanda, Georgia Kelley and Mallory all came down to watch Silas Tuesday (my first day back) - Friday. They went back up to NWA for the weekend and Amanda and GK came back for Monday and half of Tuesday the following week. I honestly can't put into words how much this helped the transition. That first week was TOUGH trying to figure out our new "normal." Getting ready in the morning is quite the challenge with a newborn! So being able to have that extra help was huge. Plus I didn't have to worry about dropping him off anywhere. I simply got ready and left him, knowing he was in great hands! I was getting updated all throughout each day which absolutely made my day so much easier!

GK reading to Silas. 

GK and Silas watching TV one morning. :)

All the girls going for a walk. 

Of course, they had to raid my stash at some point during the week! :)

At the neighborhood pool

Needless to say, having Amanda there was the best blessing!!!

My mom had planned to come down that second week for a few days (Tuesday through Thursday) but my grandmother was admitted into hospice the weekend before so plans changed. I know she wished she could have been here but she was absolutely where she needed to be. After all, we were paying for day care -- it was ok if we needed to actually use it. :)

Amanda stayed through midday Tuesday. The night before I came down with good ol' mastitis. What is mastitis, you may ask? Oh it's a nasty infection some women get while breastfeeding, resulting in flu-like symptoms. I went to bed Monday night and woke up at midnight with a fever and terrible chills. Like, shaking in bed for hours, kind of chills. I woke up Tuesday and thought I was going to die. So I ended up staying home  from work. On my second week back. Ya, I felt pretty terrible to have to take a sick day already. Not to mention, on myself! I had thought all future sick days would be taken for Silas! Nope. Wrong-o. 

So Amanda kept Silas that morning while I slept a bit more. I took Silas to his first half-day of daycare in a complete fog so that I could go to the doctor and get some more rest. Needless to say, I didn't get any cute "first day of school" pictures like I had wanted. But I do think it was good for him to have a half day to get his feet wet. 

He went on to daycare that Wednesday and Thursday for full days. Jo Anne, my mother in law, came to watch him Friday. I was SO thankful because that was the day of my big work event. Jo Anne and Tyler even brought Silas over to the event during set up for a bit! So I at least got to see him a little that day. 

Silas and I at Taste of the Finest. 

Jo Anne stayed the next day to help me clean and pick up. Let me tell you! This whole working with a newborn thing basically means my house is disgusting all. the. freaking. time. So if you do happen to stop by sometime, please keep your expectations low. Like really low. Or just don't look around too closely.   

So all in all, when people ask how it's going, being back at work, my answer is kind of 50/50. And I've started saying this more and more --"it is what it is."  Of course I would love to be at home with Silas. I miss him every minute. I'm insanely jealous Tyler gets to pick him up in the afternoons. But it's just not in our cards for me to stay at home. Maybe one day? I just continue to pray about it. I also think it has made me cherish my time with him that much more. I don't want to miss a second! 

We ended month three with his first time to small group. My 10th grade girls ADORE him. And he does really well! For now. :) so while he's still small enough to tote along, he will be our newest group member. I don't think the girls mind! ;) Plus, it let's him get to know his future babysitters a little better!

Some additional things I don't want to forget:

He really started to get those big, over-the-top happy grins that I just love. 

He went to church for the first time. (We did wait until he was pretty old to go to church, I realize. We just heard a few horror stories of newborns getting sick too early and decided we would wait a bit.)

He officially found his toes! He hasn't quite mastered pulling his socks off just yet, but he is mighty close. 

Some mornings when he wakes up a little early, when I'm particularly tired, I bring him back to bed with me so I can feed him in bed. We both get a little more sleep that way. Not to mention some extra cuddles. :) I will usually get up and start getting ready, leaving this little guy to sleep a bit longer. Isn't this just adorable???

Dressing him up in Tyler's baby clothes brings me just as much joy as any little girl dress up (I can imagine). 

That grin!

So far, I've been able to stop by his day care several times a week to either feed him, play with him, etc. This particular day I just rocked him to sleep. Not a bad way to spend lunch!

He has also started really reaching for things. When he's being held he we grab my hair (ouch!). Or while he's feeding he will reach his hand up on my check (my favorite!). He's also learning to grab for toys or anything that makes noise. 

We tried out an excersaucer. He's still a bit too small, but if I sit with him, he enjoys trying to reach for all the different toys.

His "focused" face. 

We got to visit with Tyler's aunt Jill and uncle Phil. 

Other things to remember:
-We began dream feeds. I'm getting a bit more sleep (sometimes) so that is a lovely thing. 
-He still hates tummy time. 
-He has begun burying his face, or rubbing his eyes, in my chest or shoulder when he's tired. So cute!
-I think he is one of his teachers' favorites. He's just such a happy baby! 
-Every morning on our way to day care, he falls asleep. I love / it breaks my heart to get him out of his car seat when he's so peaceful! 

Until next time!

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