Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Favorite Faces

These are some of my favorites of my girl. It's amazing how that smile makes me feel happy down to my toes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where have all the good baggers gone??

Today I took advantage of my awesome friend Amy who babysat Kirsten while I worked from 9-2. After work I called her to find out if she was cool with me doing my groceries before picking Kirsten up, since grocery shopping without a 3 month old tends to be much faster and easier than with one! So I did my best to get through Hannaford as quickly as possible and without spending a fortune (I succeeded only at the first task). As I was checking out, one of life's unanswered questions came to my mind again: "Where have all the good baggers gone?" I remember the days when the bagger smiled and asked you how you were doing. Then they intelligently bagged your groceries and put them in your cart. Sometimes they even asked you if you needed help out to your car. Instead, this is how it went:
No personality bagger boy bagged my groceries similar to how a 4 year old would. Oh no, I take that back, I know some toddlers (namely the very organized Natalie) who could have done a better job. He put cans in with cereal boxes, bagels in with jars of pasta sauce, and so on. I think the only thing he did right was put all the veggies in the same bag. Then when he put the stuff in the cart, it somehow took up at least 50% more space then when I had them in the cart (this is probably due to his inability to group like items together). Finally, no personality bagger boy walked away without a simple "have a nice day" while leaving medium personality checkout boy to hand me the last bag of groceries. So I am supposed to be putting away my receipt, carrying my purse, and finding somewhere in the overloaded cart to put my last bag. Oh the joys. Anyway, I thankfully made it out without too much trouble, but as I tried to load my car with the randomly loaded grocery bags, I found myself wondering what happened to the good baggers of the old days??? Don't even get me started on customer service!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ever Had One of Those Days???

Ever had one of those days when...

  • You want hummus with your chips but your husband ate the last of it...
  • Your baby sleeps only in 20-30 minute chunks all afternoon and evening, so you can essentially do nothing...
  • You get a lot of "no's" and feel that you must be doing something wrong...
  • You have a fight with your husband about money because he wants to buy another camping accessory...
  • You fall asleep on the couch at 9:45 and decide to go to sleep early that night since your hubby got your baby to sleep (which partially redeems the earlier fight), but once he puts her down at 10:15 she wakes up so all chances of sleeping are gone until after midnight...
  • Your little one then thinks it's time to get up for the day at 7am on a Saturday... and you feel like crap with a big headache and just want to have ONE NIGHT of uninterrupted sleep...
  • You attempt to go out to eat at 4:30 in the afternoon and there's a 40-50 minute wait, which is too long when you have a 3 month old sleeping baby...
  • You come home and have PB&J instead...
  • You feel like everyone else's life is somehow better than yours even though you know you have so much to be thankful for...
  • You can't seem to get out of this funk...
My answer: YUP. I've had one of those days. Or two, or three. But, somehow, I am reminded of the simple things. The important things. As Scott holds Kirsten tonight while I'm begrudgingly making my PB&J sandwich, I look over at her as she coos, and she gives me this sweet smile. And I realize, LIFE IS GOOD.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well I haven't blogged in a bit so I figured I'd give an update. It's not going to be real coherent as my brain is a little tired after working today. But here goes:

  • Water Pressure: We FINALLY have both water PRESSURE and HOT water! It's amazing, and I feel like I'm in heaven. Monday our plumber came and fixed the last few issues and got the heat working upstairs again. Woohoo! It was expensive to get all of this done, and I'm thankful that I got a great business paycheck this month which allowed us to pay cash rather than using credit or emergency funds. Praise the Lord! So now we can take hot showers and it doesn't take 20 minutes to get wet... plus I can take baths - oh, how I've missed having baths! And doing dishes is no longer an extremely long process.
  • Kirsten: She's now 12 weeks old! I can't believe it - time is going by quickly. One of the funnest things she's been doing lately is lots of coos and gaas and all kinds of cute noises. She's especially "talkative" in the morning (and sometimes the middle of the night). Speaking of the middle of the night, the other night I fed Kirsten and then went to the bathroom myself. When I came back up, she was mostly asleep again and I wasn't going to bother changing her diaper. Then I smelled something... something not good. So, I unwrapped her swaddle, and saw a big green stain on her sleeping gown. When I lifted the gown up, I saw green poo all over her leg! Oh, it was not good. I very delicately removed her gown while Scott helped by wiping off her leg. Then I changed her diaper as quickly as possible. Wow, the things you see as a mother. That was definitely a good one. Anyway, Kirsten continues to provide tons of joy as well as sometimes frustration and tears... but thankfully we are getting into more of a groove lately, it seems. She's sleeping pretty well at night and rarely needs to be picked up and rocked/walked back to sleep after eating. She usually just drifts back into lala land with a gentle patting, which is fabulous for mommy. And she is beginning to realize that the bottle is not the devil, and it's okay to drink from it. Today she took 1.5 oz while I was at work - not much, but it's better than nothing at all! Then tonight she ate 4 times between 5:15 and 10:00! Yeah, she missed mom I guess. : )
  • Other stuff: Scott & I went on a date this past Saturday night. It was a wonderful time to get out of the house together and focus on each other. It is definitely a challenge to do that now, and we want to be intentional about staying connected to each other. So Scott planned the evening and I didn't really know what we were doing. We left the house at 5:00 (Scott's parents generously babysat for us) and headed to town. Scott informed me that we'd be going to a movie at 6:20, so we didn't have a ton of time for eating. After discussion, we called the Texas Roadhouse to find out the wait time. 45 minutes. Okay, that won't work. Then we decided to head to the Olive Garden. On the way there, I suggested checking out the Longhorne Steakhouse since we'd never been there. Once inside, we realized that wasn't gonna work out: 60-75 minute wait. Alrighty then, let's head to the Olive Garden as originally planned. I didn't even bother finding out the wait time there - the entryway was so full I could hardly find a way to get through the crowd. Finally, let's check Applebees - a favorite of Scott's, and one where I can always find something I like. 30 minute wait. But by that time it was 5:30, and with a 30 minute wait, we obviously wouldn't be making our 6:20 movie (Marley & Me, which our previous attempt to see had been sold out, and I really wanted to see this). So at this point I am starting to feel rather disheartened, and almost in tears because this is our one chance to hang out together and I was looking forward to a nice meal & time to talk. We left Applebees and tried to figure out what to do. So, we finally ended up eating pizza at Little Ceasars in KMart. Okay, not the most romantic thing, but certainly memorable. We had about 10 minutes to chow down in order to head to the theater in time. Once at the theater I had visions of our previous attempt to see this movie with Steve & Jess: the line was extremely long and the theater looked packed. Thankfully, though, most people were there to see Mall Cop instead, and we got into our movie without a problem. I had just enough time to go to the bathroom before the movie started. Steve & Jess had warned us to bring tissues, and I did (well, actually napkins from Little Ceasars), and it was a good thing. I loved the movie and I think it made be cry even more because it seemed like so much of what happened was basically where Scott & I are at right now. The whole process of starting a family and feeling like you're losing yourself, not really knowing what you want to do when you grow up, etc. All stuff we have felt or are feeling currently. Not to mention the relationship with the dog - me being a dog person, I could totally relate to that. Well I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I highly recommend the movie. Although I wouldn't take young children even though it's rated PG.
Okay, I need to go to bed. Really a lot. Tonight I took some time after I put Kirsten down to fold laundry and watch LOST since I missed it Wednesday night. But now it's really time to SLEEP before she wakes up for another feeding!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Oh, the pressure! Not the pressure of being a mom, paying the bills, or getting places on time. No, that's not the pressure I'm referring to. It's the water pressure! URGH! Ever since we moved into our house (5 years ago this month), we have had water pressure issues. I've been able to adjust and manage for most of those 5 years. And it's not just the pressure - it's also the temperature. Not so hot. So last fall, my mom was here helping prepare for our new little arrival, and she was appalled at both the pressure and the temperature. So my stepfather helped out and got the temperature thing fixed - apparently all we needed to do was turn up the mixing valve to totally hot. Anyway, that also helped the pressure issue for a while because it was SO HOT that we had to add in cold to take a shower, wash dishes, etc. And the cold has lots of pressure.

But recently, like in the past 2 weeks, the hot water has become worse than EVER before! It's a trickle. Seriously people, a trickle. Like it takes over 45 minutes for the washing machine to fill up for a SMALL load of hot. And taking a bath... forget it! Definitely over an hour and even then it's not even half full. So your ankles might be covered with water, but nothing else.

So once again, mom to the rescue! She talked to a plumber that she knows and he is over here right now. Who knows if he'll be able to fix anything - but the good thing is that he is charging us a lot less than he usually does. Big help! Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the pressure issues... I'm praying for a miracle because I'd really like to take an actual shower that is both warm AND having pressure (rather than the choice of a scalding hot trickle vs. freezing cold full pressure)!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh the decisions!

As a new mother, there is one thing we are never lacking - advice! Be it unsolicited or not, there are always plenty of opinions to be shared by others who have walked this road before us. Of course, most of the time this advice and opinions are shared in the most well-meaning manner and with the desire to simply help the sleep-deprived, exhausted new mom like myself! As a new mom, we have to weed through all the advice and figure out which things we want to use, and what we want to perhaps discard, or what things we want to file away for "later use."

So this post needs a disclaimer: In the following paragraphs, I am in no way attempting to demean or criticize others who have chosen to use or not use the methods I will be mentioning. I realize that parenting is an extremely personal process and each person has their reasons for the choices they make. So in this post I am simply going to be sharing some of my personal choices and preferences and the reasons why I am making these choices. I am not attempting to create a debate, although am always open to a healthy exchange of ideas.

Decision #1: Schedule or no schedule? As a new mom freshly home from the hospital, I was overwhelmed with the task of taking care of this little baby. And part of that was figuring out whether to develop a "schedule" for Kirsten or not. There are some books, such as Babywise, which advocate using a schedule for your newborn. Many other moms that I know have recommended this book or at least the concept of putting your baby on a schedule. While my personality and lifestyle is generally pretty scheduled and organized, I have decided against this concept with my baby. Part of the reason is that I want to be sure to be focused on my baby's needs and not my needs. If I were using a schedule, I believe it would primarily serve my own need for structure, etc. The other reason is that I have read and researched a lot and found some reasons not to follow this method ( Another reason that this schedule concept is promoted is to get the baby to "sleep through the night." While it seems that people have different thoughts on what that actually means, most of what I have read indicates that this means a 5-hour stretch. Again, I have to consider whether sleeping through the night at this young age is serving my own needs or my baby's needs. There are studies that show that a young baby shouldn't go excessively long without eating, especially breastfed babies. So I don't feel an urgency to have my baby "sleep through the night" because I want to make sure she is eating when she needs to. That's not to say that I don't absolutely enjoy when she does sleep a longer stretch (which, by the way she has been doing even though we haven't been doing a "schedule"). But it's not my ultimate goal to get her to "sleep through the night" anytime soon. Even we adults don't typically sleep through the night - we wake up or are in lighter states of sleep throughout the night, but we quickly fall back asleep.
In all of this I believe there is a balance. I am choosing to create a routine based on my baby's needs. But I will not attempt to have set times for eating, napping, etc. I will follow her cues and recognize when she is getting hungry, tired, etc and help her get what she needs.

Decision #2: Feed on demand or on a schedule? Another decision is the question of feeding "on-demand" or based on a schedule/time frame. I determined early on that I wanted to breastfeed on-demand. This is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as La Leche League. Again, I believe that my baby knows when she is hungry and it doesn't really matter to me if it's 20 minutes or 3 hours after her last feeding. Another reason a schedule is promoted is to make sure our babies don't comfort nurse or "snack". Again I have to ask myself - is this about my needs or my baby's needs? If she comfort nurses, is there really something wrong with that? I actually enjoy the emotional connection during nursing and knowing that she is feeling safe, secure, and loved when she nurses. And why not have a snack? I know that I wouldn't enjoy it if someone planned my day out and told me I could only eat within certain time frames, even if I just wanted a little snack.

Decision #3: To let cry or not? Another challenge is figuring out whether or not to let your baby cry. This can apply to various situations, but the main one people think about is whether to let the baby cry before falling asleep vs. holding/rocking/wearing the baby to sleep. The argument on the "cry-it-out" side is that baby will learn to fall asleep on their own and develop the ability to self-soothe. And if the baby is not hungry, wet, or otherwise in pain, then it's okay for them to cry. The other side says that you should respond quickly to the baby's cry, and that babies often need help to fall asleep in the form of walking, rocking, etc. I have made my decision based on two things: 1. The research I've checked into - many articles and studies show that babies left to cry (even for a short time) may experience trauma and learn that their needs will not be responded to consistently. Sure, they probably will fall asleep eventually - but what do they learn in the process? Do they actually learn that they are safe, secure, and loved and it's okay to fall asleep? Or do they learn that crying, their only form of communication, will not result in a response? Here are some of the sources I've checked out:
-Dr. Sears Article on Sleep Problems
-Mothering Article
-Storknet Article
-Children Need Touching
There's lots more, of course, but those are some that I found helpful.
2. My gut. You know people tell you to trust your gut. Well there's something that just tells me to respond when my baby girl cries. Even if it's when she's going to sleep and I know there's nothing major wrong - perhaps she just wants to be held, comforted, etc. I know there's times when I want that even though I can't pinpoint what I'm crying about it - I just want to be held. So my choice is to help Kirsten get to sleep until she is old enough to be able to go to sleep on her own. At this age, I don't believe that her crying is manipulative and I don't think I can spoil her by responding to those cries.

Obviously, as I stated at the beginning, all of these things are a very personal choice and also something that I believe is a learning process. Five years from now, my ideas may have and probably will have changed. Overall, as for right now, my approach leans towards the Attachment Parenting method. This method makes a lot of sense to me and a lot of the concepts are things that I think I would have been inclined to do anyway. So, feel free to comment, criticize, engage, whatever! It probably won't change my mind but you never know...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2 Months into Motherhood...

Well, I am now a little more than 2 months into motherhood... and it's hard! I always knew that being a mom would be a HUGE challenge and that I would need to learn so much. I guess I just didn't realize how big of a challenge it would be, or just how much I really need to learn. In honor of my friend Amy's blogging honesty, I thought it's time for me to share some of those challenges that I've had lately. Let me preface this by saying that my daughter is so beautiful, a gift from God, and I am so thankful for her. But assuming that you all know that I love her deeply, here are the hard parts:

  • I have been commited to breastfeeding Kirsten since before she was born. I knew I wanted to for so many reasons - the health benefits for her, the bonding, the fact that it's free, etc. The first few weeks were definitely hard, and I wasn't sure if she was getting the right latch, etc. I also experienced a lot of pain and wasn't sure if that would get better. We got through the first couple weeks, and at her 5 week appt. she had gained almost a full 3 lbs, so I know she was getting what she needed! However, the challenges of breastfeeding have continued. Here are a few other examples: sometimes she refuses to eat on my right side, which leads to engorgement and then needing to pump, etc. Sometimes she latches and then comes off and SCREAMS and won't relatch. Sometimes she just won't eat at all for several hours (like up to 6 hours) and I get worried that something is wrong. She almost always screams when I attempt to burp her in the middle of a feeding, but if I don't burp her she almost always spits up a lot. So there are moments when I think, "Is this really worth it?" and I feel like giving up.
  • I am generally a very driven, organized (at least in some areas), scheduled person. I like to accomplish things and have "success." I was always a straight A student and graduated college summa cum laude. Having a baby, however, has been the hardest thing I've ever done - not just the labor, but the actual day to day experience. I often times find myself at 4 in the afternoon, still in my PJs, surrounded by piles of laundry, paperwork, dishes, etc - all undone. I find myself walking Kirsten - holding her or in her sling - yet unable to do much else because the moment I stop moving, she starts crying. I find myself thinking, "I just want to sit down! I just want to read a book, take a nap, catch up on blogs, shower, or even EAT! When will I ever have time for myself again???" Selfish, yes, but nonetheless those are my thoughts at times. I am learning that I have to give up on a lot of my "to do" lists and just allow myself to be focused on my most important task - caring for and loving my baby girl.
  • Kirsten is overall a challenging girl, it seems. She has her happy moments, usually more so in the morning. She does smile, and sometimes I can sit with her and play or read a book when she is awake. And I can put her down on the floor or in her swing IF she is in a good mood, and she might be content for 5-10 minutes. However, the majority of the time, I am needing to walk with her, hold her, etc in order for her to be happy. This is especially true when it comes to sleep. She gets extremely fussy before going to sleep, and really needs mommy or daddy to help her off into lala land. I am okay with this, because I know she just spent 9 months having 24/7 contact with me. So I don't expect her to be able to go to sleep on her own yet or not need a little snuggling. However, it does get exhausting and even frustrating at times, especially when she SCREAMS before going to sleep (which happens almost every night and sometimes during the day as well).
  • Having a baby also puts a strain on your marriage. I feel less able to attend to Scott's needs now that I have this little one, and that makes me feel guilty. There are also days when both of us are stressed, lacking sleep, and we end up getting upset with one another over little things. Sometimes one of us needs a break but the other is not really wanting to help out. And we don't necessarily always agree on approaches, so we also have to resolve how we are going to do this whole parenting thing. It's hard, and I don't know how people do it who don't have Christ in their lives or in their marriage. Much of my day (or night for that matter) is spent uttering small prayers about the situation at hand, whether it be Kirsten not taking the bottle from Scott, or me just being overtired and cranky, to not knowing what is bothering Kirsten when she is screaming and not knowing what to do to help her. It is a GOOD THING that I have God to turn to or else I probably would go crazy, for real.
Well, I am now realizing that it is late and I need to sleep!!! Kirsten is asleep, thanks to my WONDERFUL husband who told me to just relax as he got her to sleep tonight. So I better head to bed before she wakes up and needs to eat again.