Luke 10:41-42

"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.'"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


In the spirit of the holiday I wanted to write about what I am thankful for this year-

My husband
He rides his bike 28 miles a day to and from work in whatever weather so I can have the car during the day.  Despite being tired when he gets home from a 12 hour day, he always has a smile on his face for us and is willing to jump in and take care of the munchkin so I can have a break or work on other things.  He is a great spiritual leader for our family and adores our daughter.

The munchkin
I have never learned so much about patience, humility, and sacrifice than in these last 8 months.  I have spent my life around kids but I had no idea how hard it would be until I had my own.  My priorities are completely different now.  I don't take showers and 8 straight hours of sleep for granted anymore.  Everyday is new and I love being able to share new experiences with her.  She is growing so fast, just like everyone told me she would.

God's provision
I am so grateful that I am able to stay home with L and work periodically.  It's been a sacrifice but we've never been without.  We've learned what we have to have, pray all the time about good stewardship, and have been blessed by the generosity of others.

Our church
I love being Catholic, its rich tradition, the beauty of the Mass, the wonderful priests we can call friends, the Sacraments.  My time with God is different now, but thanks in part to iPhone apps, I have my time with Him everyday.

We have seen each other get married, lose and get jobs, travel overseas, have babies, lose loved ones, move all over the metroplex and experience physical and spiritual highs and lows.  These women have made me who I am and continue to teach me how to follow Christ and be a godly wife and mother.  They also are happy to watch the munchkin so we can get a date night every once in awhile.

My best friend from back home just visited and I realized the night before she left that we've been friends for 20 years next year.  We have been through the worst and best of times together. She is one of the most generous and sacrificial women I know.  I can count on her to always tell me the truth and she's the best shopping buddy I could ever have!

Since becoming a mother I've developed new friendships with other moms.  As much as I cherish my friendships with those who aren't parents, there's a different connection with women who understand my life now.  They get conversations about diapers and breastfeeding and making your own baby food.  They are a constant source of advice and understanding about each new challenge.

Our parents
It's been amazing to see how a baby has changed my parents.  They just light up around her and smile so much more.  They've been another invaluable source of advice and encouragement and free baby-sitting.  I'm beginning to appreciate even more the sacrifices they made to raise me.  I am so grateful that my in-laws live close by and that L gets to see them so often.  They also spoil her rotten!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

8 months

The last couple of weeks have been a lot of fun, watching the munchkin change.  She is starting her version of crawling, although she tends to move backwards about half the time. She is also starting to pull herself up onto her feet, using me for help. She stood by herself for about two seconds.  We've also been having a lot of fun with food.  She is doing well with her pincher grasp and feeding herself bites of raisins and her little organic puff snacks. She is eating a mix of puréed foods and other things off the table.  We've discovered she likes eggplant and cottage cheese but fruits are her favorite. One tooth has poked through on the bottom and she's working on a second.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Halloween

This year's pumpkin
We had a great time celebrating Halloween.  The octopus costume was a success!  Little L wore it three times-to a party at her aunt and uncle's house, a party with my moms group, and at the zoo with her friends at the Mommy and Me class.  The extra tentacles made moving a little more difficult but they were also fun to chew on.  The munchkin enjoyed helping her dad carve our pumpkin while "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" was on.  L and I met her grandparents and cousin at a pumpkin patch on Halloween afternoon.  She liked the hayrack ride, trying to eat the hay, and petting a pony.  No trick or treating this year; we don't need the candy in the house.  We also had an All Saints Day trip to the Arboretum and a beautiful Mass that night at my old parish.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun Fall

The last month since I've posted has been a busy one.  We participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's as a family and raised almost $300 for research thanks to the generosity of friends and family.  The next weekend my husband took the munchkin out on his own to the Ft. Worth Zoo for a family birthday party.  It's a lot of work to take her out now.  As we transition to solid food, some days she eats more than others, so I have to keep plenty of food and breastmilk on hand for her.  She's still an impatient eater so timing is everything.  I am really enjoying making her food and seeing her reactions to the new tastes.  All the fruits we've given her have been a hit; vegetables are a little tougher.  She likes peas, carrots, and squash and I'm going to introduce green beans next.

I've also discovered that I'm actually enjoying cooking.  Not at the place where I can regularly look in the fridge and cupboard and just throw something together, but I can look at a recipe, see what we've have and like and make it work.  Never before have I had a pantry, but now I keep staples around so I don't have to run out to the grocery store all the time.  The Crock-pot and Pinterest are my friend.  It also helps that I cook for a man who appreciates and eats whatever I make and loves leftovers.

The munchkin likes coming to the zoo with me for the mommy and me class.  She has a 11 month old friend there to play with and we get two walks there each week.  Last week we got to ride the carousel twice and feed the giraffes.  My job is awesome.

One of my best friends got married last weekend so there's been lots going on to prepare for her big day.  It was a wonderful celebration of God bringing two people together that are perfect for each other.  I was a bridesmaid for the fourth time in about a year and the munchkin was a flower girl for the first time.  She and two of her little girlfriends rode in a wagon down the aisle.  Even with a couple of practice runs, there was no way of knowing how they'd do for the ceremony but it couldn't have gone better.  They were so interested in the music and all the people watching that they didn't have a chance to get upset.  They're at the age where they sit up well but can't crawl so they were content being pulled by the ring bearer (who was excellent, by the way).

Speaking of crawling, it's going to happen any day now.  Little L isn't content to just sit up anymore and quickly gets on all fours.  She scoots backwards (today, halfway under the couch) but can't figure out how to move forward yet.  And now she's getting frustrated that she can't do it.  I'm trying to balance letting her struggle and problem solve without getting herself too upset.

We're also waiting on some teeth to break through.  They've really been bothering her the last couple of days.  She doesn't cry but yells when it's especially uncomfortable.  We go outside a lot and me singing helps.  That and chewing on anything she can get a hold of.  She's a big fan of paper and plastic; we have to keep a sharp eye on whatever we're holding because she grabs for it quickly.

This weekend will be our annual trip to the State Fair and then it's Halloween.  I'm planning on making her costume like my mom used to do for me.  I don't sew so we'll see what happens.  Fortunately L has a very talented and patient aunt to help me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Halfway there

I cannot believe the munchkin is already six months old.  I was looking at pictures of her on my husband's phone and cannot believe how much she's changed since March.  It's been another month of milestones for our little family.

Little L is sitting up well without support.  I think the big cloth diaper helps her balance a little.  She loves her feet so reaching for those is what usually causes her to fall over.  She can get her big toe in her mouth which makes diaper changes a little interesting.  She's good at scooting herself backwards and still rolls a lot so she gets her way around the living room.  Not crawling yet but she does plank pose so I think it's coming soon!

We got an umbrella stroller recently and it's finally cool enough in the mornings to walk so we're spending more time outside.  When she's fussy, going out always works.  This was the first week to take L to work with me at the zoo.  I co-lead a Mommy and Me program two mornings a week with 18 month-3 year olds and so far she likes it.  My coworker brings her 10 month old daughter who loves this new live doll to play with!

We introduced pureed foods last week.  I've been making it myself which so far has been easy.  We started with sweet potatoes and then introduced whole grain oatmeal and bananas.  She liked all of them but makes a big mess.  She likes to put her hands and her bib in her mouth, reach for the table and pound on her tray and occasionally will get a bite in.  I tried avocado a couple times yesterday and she wasn't a fan.  Getting in feeding times has definitely been an adjustment in our daily schedule.  I'm working on finding times that she's hungry enough to try these new tastes but not so hungry that she's too fussy and won't cooperate.  I've got mixed feelings about this new phase.  On the one hand, I'm looking forward to not having to pump as much so she has food when I'm away working, but I'm also a little sad that I won't sit and hold her as often.  And the diapers smell worse.

It's been a little rough as she goes through teething.  Nothing's popped through yet but I can tell she's working on it.  She's not as drooly as she was a couple months ago but she chews hard on her (and anyone else's) fingers and her Sophie.  We've had bouts of diaper rash and she has more frequent fussy periods.  She doesn't cry but yells.  To calm her down we have to hold her and move around the room or outside.  I haven't used the rocking chair as much as I thought I would; she gets too restless.  I think it's affected her sleeping.  She isn't sleeping for as long of a stretch as she was a month ago.  I do love hearing her when she's awake for the day.  L loves the sound of her own voice and just chatters away.  She is quite the soprano.

I've been thinking about what my life looks like now in terms of rest.  When people ask me how I'm doing, my first response is to talk about the munchkin, but that's not the right answer.  Do I even stop to consider how I'm doing?  What does Sabbath look like now?  I can't just not take care of her, but I could let the dishes stay in the sink or ask my husband to help me with the laundry so I can sit and read or journal for awhile. And in my prayers I need to remember to talk to God about Him and me in addition to praying for everyone else's intentions.  I'd love some perspective from those moms that have been there or struggling with me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

5 months

The munchkin is so much fun right now.  It's exciting to see how she's growing and changing these last few weeks.  She loves to roll, usually in the same direction, so our living room is being taken over by quilts to make it a little more comfortable.  She prefers to be on her tummy now and will grab toys and pull them to her mouth.  We still lay her on her back on the playmat but she grabs the dangling toys now.  Little L is getting better at sitting up but still needs a little help.  We started putting her in the crib at night and she's doing really well. She calms herself down by sucking her thumb and most of the time puts herself to sleep. She typically goes to bed between 10-11 and gets up around 3 and 7 to eat.  She naps once in the morning and afternoon and typically a catnap in the evening.  Our routine is eat, play, then sleep every 2-3 hours during the day.  In the last month she went in the pool for the first time and liked it.  She went on her first plane ride and was restless after about 45 minutes, I think because she couldn't get up and move like we can at home.

Other things she likes-
Her Sophie teething toys
Ceiling fans
Bouncing on Daddy's knee
Being read to
Having her feet tickled
Blowing raspberries

I was putting away her newborn and 0-3 clothes last week and can't believe how much she's grown!  We are so grateful for the joy she brings to our lives.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In loving memory

My dear friend LEBean and I have many things in common, one of which being that our daughters got to meet all of their maternal great grandparents.  And in less than four days time we also shared mourning one pass away.

My grandma Jolene died on July 30.  The munchkin and I just got home from Nebraska for the funeral. At this time two months ago, our family wasn't sure if Grandma would get to meet her great granddaughter; she was in the hospital fighting for her life.  Thanks be to God, she was back in the nursing home when we were in Nebraska over the July 4 holiday.  While Grandma couldn't say anything to her, I know that she found joy in seeing my baby girl.

I spent weeks in the summer and school holidays at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Grandma was the elementary school secretary so she had the same vacation time.  She would take me to the town pool, the playground, and park.  This little 5 foot tall woman would drive me in the behemoth of a car to nearby Norfolk to go shopping at Gibson's and Sunset Plaza and lunch at Double K.  She played library with me with the books my dad and his siblings read.  I would sit with her and Grandpa in the very back corner pew of the Lutheran church and sing along with her soprano voice.  For my birthday she made the cake of my choice, from scratch, in the shape of a clown, butterfly, rabbit, or elephant.  She would cook me egg mcmuffins for breakfast served with cranberry juice cocktail.  I would help her wash the dishes by hand (there's still no dishwasher in the house) and we would joke that the grapefruit spoons looked that way because my aunt Joni had chewed on them when she was little.  On New Year's Eve she and Grandpa made air popped popcorn coated with butter and salt and we stayed up until the ball dropped in New York; I could never make it any later.  Every time I hang Lexi's diapers on the clothesline outside I think about how I helped her hang clothes out next to the jars of tea and pickles baking in the sun.  She always sent me cards and money for Halloween and Valentine's Day, even once I got to college.  I still got a stocking and Easter basket when I had well outgrown it.  Grandma loved cheering on the Huskers, traveling with her sisters Adrienne and LaRue, and listening to polka music on the radio on Sunday mornings.  She was incredibly generous, always saw the good in everyone, and never complained.  Grandma and Grandpa were married for 60 years.

Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2005, although she was exhibiting memory loss years before that.  I would not wish this disease on anyone.  It was heartbreaking to watch it slowly take away this active woman who was loved by so many, and unfortunately her two dear sisters were also afflicted.  In Grandma Jo's memory I am going to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's next month.  If you are able I would appreciate any donation towards this cause and your prayers for my family as we grieve, for all those affected by this disease, and for those working to find a cure.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Big Girl!

Last week we had some more "firsts".  The munchkin got to see Nebraska for the first time.  We didn't know how she'd handle the long car ride, but she was great.  I pumped in the car and fed her from the front seat when she started to fuss.  She'd stay awake for a little while afterwards but then the motion of the car eventually got her to sleep.  She still slept normally at night, which was a big relief.

Little L met lots of family members, great aunts and uncles, cousins, and her great grandparents.  I am so blessed that all of them are alive and able to see her.  We even got a 4 generation picture from my dad's side of the family.  She handled being held by strangers really well.  Something we've noticed about her is that she doesn't like to be away from the action.  The two days that we spent seeing the most people she didn't really nap but one of those nights she slept for seven hours straight, which was great for Mom and Dad!

We watched fireworks two nights in a row and they didn't scare her.  She loves being outside anyway and really liked looking at the pretty lights.

While we were on vacation she figured out how to roll from her back to her tummy.  Now she almost always does it immediately after we lay her down.  It's been nice because now I don't have to do forced tummy time, she does it herself!  She's lifting up her head well and supporting herself using her elbows.  She also figured out how to roll back onto her back wearing the bulky cloth diapers; she rolled really early on but hasn't done it again until now.  She doesn't do it every time, so sometimes she gets tired and mad and needs a little help. There've been a couple times already where she's managed to roll in the same direction and off her quilt completely.  It's time to give back her little play mat because she doesn't have enough room to move.  Since she's figured out the rolling she has changed her sleeping position and is becoming a side sleeper like her mommy.

The munchkin is talking and smiling a lot more and has discovered the fun of blowing raspberries.  We go through multiple bibs a day!  Next week she has her four month shots and this weekend will be her first time at the pool.

We are definitely tired at the end of the day but it's worth it.  Our big girl brings us so much joy and it's exciting to watch her reach all these milestones.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Venture

The munchkin is growing fast!  We're constantly marveling at the new things she shows us.  She is smiling a lot and making the cutest gurgling and cooing noises.  Her hand-eye coordination is improving; her hands are often in her mouth and she grabs her bib and toys hanging down in front of her.  She likes to stand up while we hold her and is close to rolling over from her back to tummy.  Little L is getting better at putting herself to sleep; this morning she tired herself out playing on her mat and fell asleep there for about 45 minutes. :)  She's going to bed earlier at night, between 10 and 11, and sleeps for 4-5 hours before needing to eat, then she'll sleep again for another 3-4 hours.

Cloth diapering is going well.  I've gotten into the routine of washing every other day and typically hang them outside to dry.  (One reason to be thankful for Texas summer)  Since she's sleeping for longer stretches at night I put in one hemp insert and it absorbs really well.  Since I've been so pleased with my FuzziBunz I've decided to get involved in their member affiliate program.  If you or someone you know is interested in ordering their products you can order from my link on their site.

I'm also open to hosting a "Diaper Party" where you can see with my little model how they work.  :) I can e-mail you the company brochure that is a great snapshot of their products and how easy they are to use.  Starting tomorrow until the end of the month if you buy 5 diapers you get a 6th one free.

Please pray for this new opportunity for me.  I've considered doing a home business off and on for years and I think this one could be a good fit.  Using cloth diapers has saved us and my friends a lot of money and trash already and I'm hoping others will want to be a part of the growing community!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


So on Sunday morning I checked my email and received about a dozen different messages with coupons for free goodies for my birthday.  I get so excited now when I find deals for free stuff that I wanted to share so you can have an even happier birthday!  And if you know of ones that I've missed, comment please.

Pie Five

 This is our lunch last weekend that cost us $5 and the receipt had one of those survey requests to get 20% off next time.  For your birthday you get a free personal pizza with as many toppings as you want.  The pizzas are big enough that you can share. They were having a special that day and drinks were a $1 and we split a salad and dessert.

Baskin Robbins
You get a free scoop of ice cream the week of your birthday and you get a coupon for another one when you sign up for emails.  They send out BOGO coupons for their featured flavor for the month.

Jersey Mike's
Free Regular sub and drink, has to be used on your birthday with ID.  They send out other coupons pretty regularly.

$30 off, has to be used Monday-Thursday.

Panera Bread
There's a surprise on my rewards card that I haven't redeemed yet, I've got 60 days to do it.

Free brownie sundae with entree purchase.  They send these and free app coupons out a lot, and kids eat free coupons.

Sweet Tomatoes
My favorite restaurant, and they just opened one close by our house.  BOGO with the purchase of 2 drinks.  If you get on their email list you'll get coupons weekly and I get print coupons with the newspaper often.

10% off your purchase and a free piece of chocolate.  Also you can go in once a month and get a free truffle, just give them your rewards card or email address.  I'll take Little L for a walk around the mall and get my treat so we have something to do in the afternoon.

Jason's Deli
$5 off.  I always fill out their surveys on the receipts to get a free cookie.

La Madeleine
Free pastry.  You get a free cup of soup when you sign up I think.

Free 1/3 lb burger with entree purchase.

Marble Slab
Free small cone on your birthday. They do free samples of new products every once in awhile.

Boston Market
Free dessert with meal purchase.  They send coupons frequently.

On the Border
Free queso or brownie sundae with entree purchase.  I get coupons often.

$3 off purchase and $3 off pie or cake.  They also gave me free yogurt on Mother's Day.

Taco Bueno
Free cheesecake chimichangas with combo purchase.  I always use their free taco coupons from Stars and Rangers games.

Which wich
Free regular sandwich.  I think I got a free sandwich when I signed up.

Register a gift card and get a free drink.  They have a star system where you can earn free syrups and drinks. You can register multiple cards to the same account.

Free yogurt on your birthday, just show your ID.  They've started a rewards program.

Bucca di Beppo
Free brownie sundae.  They have print coupons too.

Blue Mesa and El Fenix
A friend just told me about these places last night so it may be too late to cash in this year but I signed up my hubby whose birthday is August...

$5 coupon

Victoria's Secret
$10 coupon

15% off your purchase & they include a cute trinket with the coupon.

I'm probably not going to use all of these, particularly the ones where you have to purchase something, but lots of variety out there.  I'm not bothered by lots of promotional emails; most of the time I check my email on my phone so it's easily to scan and delete them.  And then periodically I check it on the computer and clean out old messages I didn't use.  Hope you can enjoy some of these too!

Update on more goodies 6/12
Dunkin Donuts
Free drink coupon is coming in the mail.

Free creamslush, drink, or tots.  You get to pick.

Dairy Queen
Blizzard BOGO

Blue Mesa
Free Sunday Brunch

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Latest Adventures

Last weekend was our first time away from home since bringing L home from the hospital.  We spent two nights out at her grandparents' ranch a couple hours away.  She had a great time being loved on by Grandpa and Grandma.  It was a nice break for all of us, to be away from the bustle and noise of the city and sit outside looking at the stars.  Little L loves being outside; if she's fussy it's one of our go-to options to calm her down.  I think she likes to hear the birds and the rustle of the leaves and feel the breeze.  Maybe she'll be a hiker like her dad!  She slept great out there, went down earlier and stayed asleep for longer stretches than she typically does at home, I guess the different setting tired her out.

What else have we been up to?
Went to a minor league baseball game with her God-family
Walked around an arts festival with our cousins
Spent an afternoon at the zoo as a family
Gone to Mass and listened to Mom and Dad serve as lectors
Hosted a Memorial Day cookout and got to see her 2 "sisters"

It's been a busy month!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Moving On

A departure from my usual posts, not pregnancy or baby related, there are occasionally other things on my mind that I want to share!

I realized over the last week how important this month is for a lot of people in my life who are graduating.  Here's a breakdown:

Pre-school-a old friend's little girl
Elementary school-my husband's cousin
Middle school-a friend's daughter and my students from last year
High school-3 of my cousins and my first class of students that I taught in Texas
Associate's degree-2 of my husband's cousins
Bachelor's degree-a cousin of mine and one of my husband's

Some of these milestones have been more significant to me, particularly the high school grads.  To see their senior pictures and remembering them as babies, toddlers, 4th graders...

It really doesn't feel like I was in school that long ago myself, but when you do the math-
14 years since high school
9 years since college
3 years (in August) since graduate school  

Time really does pass so quickly.  So many people when they meet Little L tell me to cherish every moment, that it goes by fast.  If I feel nostalgic and sentimental now about my loved ones, I can't imagine how it's going to be when our daughter reaches all these milestones.  I marvel already at how much she's changed in 2 and a half months.  Ok, so this post ended up being about her just a little.

Congratulations to all graduates, at whatever stage!  Praying that God will guide you as you move to this next step in life.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More milestones

Little L had her two month check up this week.  She's gained about 3 pounds and almost 2 inches she was born.  She took the shots like a champ and they didn't seem to bother her after the initial pain.  She's definitely starting to show more of her personality and we get more interaction with her.  She's like her dad in that once she's up for the day, she's real smile-ly, making all sorts of cute little noises while I'm getting her dressed and plays on her mat while I pump.  A morning person!  She's like me in that she has a late bedtime.  It's not consistent but more often than not it's close to midnight before she goes down for the night. A night owl!  It'll be interesting to see as she gets older if she becomes more like one of us.

Speaking of sleep, we've graduated to the pack n'play at night.  Only took us two months from the initial plan.  L has been good about sleeping in the swing but one morning this week I heard her stirring but not crying so I let her be.  When I got out of bed awhile later, the child had wiggled herself about halfway out of the swing, which was at about a 45 degree angle.  So, no more swing at night!  She's getting used to sleeping in a bigger space although sometimes it takes a couple of times before she doesn't startle herself awake.  We're not using the swaddles as much anymore, they're getting too small and some evenings it's been too warm for them.

The cloth diapering is going well.  I do laundry every other day and have been taking advantage of the warmer weather to hang them outside most times.  She hasn't had any blowouts, a couple of little leaks but it's been my fault for not changing her sooner.  It has prevented her from rolling over, I think her center of gravity is off now, though this morning she ended up sleeping on her side so she may figure it out pretty quickly.

Speaking of movement, L is not a big fan of tummy time.  I don't blame her, I don't like exercise either.  The doctor said she needed three ten minute sessions a day. We're lucky to get her to last three minutes, but we're working on it. I do think it tires her out faster.  She does like going on walks with her dad in the carrier and with me in the stroller.  She & I are venturing out more during the day.  Most of the time she's asleep, from the motion of the car and the shopping cart.

I've started back to work a little.  Last night was a daddy daughter night while I was at the zoo and next week she'll be with grandma while I sub.  Thank God for camera phones so I can stay connected to her.  I've been working on building up a milk supply and it's a good thing, she went through about 14 ounces in 7 hours.

Feeling so blessed to celebrate our first Mother's Day together.  She is truly a miracle.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Growing Girl

Little L is about 7 and a half weeks old now.  We've graduated to a couple new things this week-cloth diapers, and partially because they give her a big ol' butt, size 0-3 clothes.  She is definitely growing; it was getting hard to snap her onesies even when she had on the regular diapers.  We think she's about 10 pounds now.  Almost every morning when I pick her up I think she's looks bigger.

So far the cloth diapers are going fine.  Of course our washer isn't working at the moment, waiting on someone to come out this afternoon to look at it.  Thank God for community, particularly those living on our block that are letting us use their washing machine.  Another way having a baby has changed my life-I do A LOT of laundry, not just her's but my own, since I can't manage to keep an outfit clean all day on me anymore.  But now laundry isn't as quick of a chore as it used to be, even when the machines are working at the house.  Like everything else I have to time it around feedings and non-fussy times. So far I've been able to keep up with it.

We've ventured out more, just the two of us.  I had to take her to the zoo this week a couple times, so one morning we walked around after I got my work obligations taken care of.  It happened that those days there were a whole bunch of school groups out on field trips (state testing this week so littler kiddos are "kicked out" of the building so it's quieter).  It was a day I was grateful to be staying home instead of teaching.  Otherwise I would've been spending my day either proctoring a test, keeping poor kids silent or constantly doing a headcount in the midst of big crowds.  Keeping track of 1 is enough for me right now. And lifting that heavy stroller and carseat in and out is a workout!

I also got to show Little L off to her dad's co-workers, walked around the mall one evening as a family, and visited her godmother.  Tonight is our first baseball game (my dad will be proud!) and tomorrow the Arboretum.  This kid gets to go to way more places than I did as a baby.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So how have I spent my day so far?
Folding and hanging laundry on the clothesline. Seeing little onesies flapping in the breeze is one of the cutest things ever.
Made my own granola bars using a recipe on Pinterest. They're cooling right now, so I'm not sure if they were worth the effort or not.
Doing dishes from the cooking.
I did all these things while Little L was in her carrier. Fabulous to be able to use two hands again!

So it got me thinking about how much has changed in the last three years. In April of 2009 I was single, not talking to any guys. I had made a commitment to God a few weeks earlier that I wasn't going to compromise what I really wanted (a strong Catholic man) anymore and if that meant not dating, then so be it. Little did I know that I'd be set up with one two months later, we'd be engaged in less than a year, and pregnant six months after getting married.

Being a stay at home mom was not a goal of mine in college. My mom was one only for my first year, so my role model was a working student who eventually earned her PhD and I wanted to be the same. It wasn't until I started teaching that my mind changed. I loved my job because of the influence I had on children everyday and when the day came for me to have my own, I wanted to devote my energy to my kids instead of someone else's. I'm not judging working moms; many are forced to work to make ends meet and I'm still hoping to do a little of it part-time. But I can't imagine being away from Little L for 10 hours a day and having to work while getting only broken sleep. Do I miss adult interaction and my freedom during the day? A little. But this where God is calling me right now and I have a lot to learn about doing it well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A few firsts

Little L is already four weeks old today! Last week was Dad's first week back to work so at this point we've settled into a bit of a routine. It was tough for me to get used to being at home with her by myself all day. I will never again take for granted the ability to use both of my hands at the same time. She likes to be held when she's awake so I've had to figure out how to feed myself, go to the bathroom, get dressed, and attempt some chores while lifting an 8 pound person who can't completely support her head.

She also likes to eat. All the time.

So much of our time is spent doing that. I've been working through giving myself grace about my "lack of productivity". I know that I'm being productive, you know, keeping another person alive, but it's not how I'm used to spending my time, filled with activity. My husband has encouraged me trying a couple of things to help make it a little easier.

I started pumping about once a day so that way someone else can feed her. I figured given her appetite she wouldn't have any problems taking a bottle, food is food, and I was right. It's kind of depressing how quick she sucks it down though, when it took me half an hour to fill the thing, and sometimes she's still hungry after that. I'm working on building up a supply so I might be able to be away from her for a couple hours starting next month.

Right now L is asleep inside her sling. One of the things I've been paranoid about is dropping her so I was nervous about using it, afraid she'd fall out. Dad actually used it the first time and showed me how to use it. It does give me a little relief and it is really nice to be able to look down at her while I'm doing stuff; when I hold her she's facing forward.

I've been laying her down on her playmat for a few minutes at a time, that's all she has the patience for. Dad does tummy time with her and on Sunday night she rolled over onto her back three different times! Of course when I tried to record it she wouldn't do it. But it was no fluke, she did it again once last night. Her neck is definitely getting stronger and she does these cute little frog kicks. Such a big girl!

She hasn't slept with us at all for over a week, staying in her swing. We've had two nights in a row where she's stayed asleep for a five hour stretch, a big blessing for Dad when he has to get up for work. Her naps aren't consistent during the day but I'm sleeping enough at night, probably around 7 hours, that I have enough energy during the day. I'd rather use her naptime to get stuff done rather than sleep myself.

I took her out for the first time last week, to a work meeting. Unfortunately I had to drive during rush hour on a Friday evening, lots of stoplights that she was not a fan of. I thought I was going to have to turn around and go home, she was so upset, but eventually she calmed down and was great at the meeting and slept on the way home. Still keeping our outings to a minimum and not taking her anywhere myself unless I have to. Her first restaurant trip was over the weekend and I don't think we'll be doing that again for awhile. She eats really often in the evenings, which makes it difficult for me to eat anyway, let alone in a public place.

I could go on and on about other things we've noticed, how her hair's getting longer, all the funny facial expressions, distinguishing her cries, but that's enough for now. Going to try and lay her down and see if she keeps sleeping.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Science of Parenting

The little one is two weeks old today. It's been interesting to see her personality showing through. She definitely has her likes (eating, looking at light) and dislikes (having to be changed, sleeping by herself at night). Every time I think I've figured out a pattern for her day, she changes it. For the most part, though, we're in somewhat of a routine. We don't get out of bed until pretty late in the morning. That time tends to be her quiet, alert stage where she's just content being held and looking around at things. She'll take a couple of naps in the afternoon/evening and then settle down for the night around midnight and wake me up to eat a few hours later, sleep some more, then repeat. Her feedings haven't been at consistent times or duration, although it ends up being about 5 hours of our day total. For now we've embraced the co-sleeping so we can get more sleep ourselves. We trade off holding her throughout the night but I'm not sure how that'll go when Dad goes back to work next week. Neither of us is looking forward to that.

Little L was baptized on St Patrick's Day. It was a beautiful ceremony performed by a priest we're good friends with. The small chapel was overflowing with our friends and family. She was so quiet the entire time, didn't cry once. We cried for her, both of us overwhelmed by this great Sacrament that changed her life. We had a nice reception afterwards and she got to wear the little St Patrick's Day outfit I bought for her over the summer, the only outfit I let myself buy while being pregnant. We've been so overwhelmed with everyone's generous gifts and support of her new life.

So things have slowed down a little for us now. All of my family is back at their own homes and it's just the three of us figuring out how to live together. We went to Mass together as a family and she slept the whole time. She went in the stroller for the first time, just down the block, yesterday. We head back to the doctor Thursday for a checkup. Next week brings the next test, taking care of things during the day without any extra help.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hardest Week of My Life

So the little one decided to share a birthday with Michaelangelo. In not taking after her parents, she arrived early, by one day.
Many have already heard the labor story but if you haven't, here you go-

I went to bed Sunday night with lower back pain, right in the center of my back, different from the pain I'd been having during pregnancy. I woke up about 2:30 with cramping. I laid there, trying to decide if it was coming in a pattern or not. When my husband woke up about an hour later, I told him I thought they were contractions. A little after that we woke up my mom to let her know. We got ready to leave and monitored contractions, turns out there is an app for that. At 6 we called the doctor on call, notified our parents and close friends, and headed to the hospital. After filling out all the paperwork they took me back to a triage room, hooked me up to monitors to watch her heart rate and the contractions. The nurse checked on me a couple times, the doctor came once. About two hours later, the decision was made for me to go home because the contractions slowed down and I didn't dilate any further. At the time I was devastated; I felt like such a failure but ultimately I'm so glad we weren't at the hospital all that time.

So back home we went. And we were there all day. I updated friends and some asked if they could come over. We spent the rest of the day walking up and down the block, had lunch and ice cream, watched a movie, and told stories to keep my mind off of the contractions increasing in frequency and intensity. Check out The Bean's perspective on this day. My husband and I never envisioned going through a labor day this long and with friends and my mom there, but I'm so thankful we weren't alone, let alone stuck at the hospital where I wouldn't be able to eat or drink anything. Finally we made the decision to head back to the hospital at 11 Monday night.

This time around was very different. I had 4 very loud contractions just during the paperwork process and was in triage for maybe 20 minutes before they had us in a labor/delivery room. Originally we had planned on having a natural childbirth; after being in labor for nearly 24 hours I'd changed my mind. The call was made to the anesthesiologist for an epidural. The nurse checked me one final time and it was too late to get one. So I ended up getting what I wanted originally, funny how God does that. During the worst contractions my wonderful husband prayed the rosary for us; he was amazing that entire day, so positive and encouraging. The urge to push came on really quickly but the doctor wasn't there yet and the room wasn't prepared. He made it just in time, as she was crowning. Our little girl was out within a few minutes, born at 1:47 Tuesday morning. After we were both cleaned up, the grandparents came in to meet her for a few minutes. Awhile later little L went to the nursery, I got settled in the hospital room and by about 4am, it was the three of us starting this whole family thing together.

We were in the hospital until mid afternoon Thursday and received excellent care from the staff. I wish I had taken more advantage of sleep there, like I was told to, but the emotions from the delivery day and anxiety about the baby kept me from resting as much as I could. My husband took advantage of the time there to finally shave off his beard. He typically grows one in the winter time and decided around Christmas that he was going to grow it out until she was born. I'm much happier with the goatee.

So, since we've been home every day has gotten easier. I'm sleeping more, partially out of exhaustion but also I know that I need to let go and let God take care of this little baby just as He did before she was born. We originally planned to have her in a pack n'play at night but she doesn't like it, too much space and she fusses as soon as she's in there. She sleeps soundly when you hold her but then we don't sleep well because we're worried about her rolling off or getting smothered by covers. We tried the co-sleeper but in a queen size bed, there's just not enough space for the three of us. Last night my mom suggested trying the swing. She liked it while we ate supper and it worked well overnight. She woke up to eat, about the time I'd expected, and that was it. We'll see if we get the same results tonight.

Feeding is also getting easier. I'd been praying about breastfeeding these last few months, not taking for granted that it would just come automatically. The nurses at the hospital were very helpful and I discovered apps to help me keep track of feeding and diaper changes. Little L and I are starting to figure out each other's cues and what works best for us. She likes to put her hands in the way, thinking that it's helping when it just causes her and me frustration. Reminds me of myself and my tendencies to control when God wants to take of me in His way. I'm trying not to stress about her weight; I know it's typical for her to lose a little within the first couple days of birth and by next weekend she should be back to her birth weight. That was another surprise, everyone thought she'd be bigger than 7.5 pounds. I'm excited she gets to wear all the newborn clothes and diapers people bought her. The feeding time has been great for me to pray and read (downloaded books on my phone) and just be with her.

I have so much to be grateful for. My husband has been incredible. He keeps me hydrated and taking my pills, runs errands. He loves changing her diaper so they have their time to bond and is constantly taking pictures. My mom has been cooking, cleaning, taking care of the laundry and keeping me calm when I get anxious. My inlaws and our friends have been great about visiting and bringing meals or whatever else we need. And this little life we have now is just amazing. She is so beautiful, makes the funniest faces and noises; we are totally in love.

So while this week has been physically and emotionally exhausting, it's all been worth it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Now a week away from the due date. My father-in-law was really hoping for a Leap Year baby in honor of his mother whose birthday is today. Not out of the realm of possibility but looking doubtful. My husband and I were both late arrivals to the world and are generally not punctual anyway so we'll see how this 39th week goes.

I've now cut myself off from working and have managed to keep myself busy getting last minute things done before the baby comes. The doctor and hospital are paid and my husband's time off work was approved, both things causing me a little stress last week, so I'm grateful they are taken care of. We had the house cleaned a couple days ago and for the most part have the baby's room in order.

We were very grateful to get this dresser from a friend of a friend. One of the disadvantages of an older house is the small closets. The closet of her room is already filled with all of my clothes, shoes, crafty things, etc. so the large dresser is for her clothes, blankets and diapers. We went with a Noah's Ark theme, hence all the cute little animals people have given her.

If you're my friend on Facebook you may have seen the rocking chair and crib when my hubby put them together. We got her diaper pail, hamper (it's in the corner where you can't see it) and the rug from Ikea. All of her other items- swing, vibrating chair, toys, play mat, stroller are in the office half of the room. Decided not to post a picture of them since many of them will probably be moved into our bedroom or the living room as we need to use them. The empty wall space over the crib is where we'll have letters spelling her name. We've got a frontrunner but months ago decided not to set our hearts on a name until after we see her face to face.

So what else have I been up to?
Trying to stay stocked up on food and items around the house so there will be fewer errands to send people on later.
Pampering myself with a haircut and color and pedicure.
Maternity photos
Getting time with friends.
Watching childbirth dvds.
Reading "The Happiest Baby on the Block". Even got to try out some of the techniques on a friend's baby and they worked!
Buying items we didn't get from the showers and then figuring out where to put them.
Going to bed early and sleeping in until it's just too uncomfortable or I get too hungry.
Visiting the doctor for checkups.
Getting the car washed.
Writing in my journal and her baby book.
Lots of prayer.

According to the almighty internet, here are some famous people our daughter could share a birthday with in March-
1-Justin Bieber, Zach from Saved by the Bell, and my dad's favorite, Harry Caray
2-Bon Jovi and Dr. Seuss
7 (the due date)-Pam from The Office
10-Chuck Norris (he lives in TX, maybe he'd come visit us in the hospital!)

I'm not looking at any dates past that!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Final Countdown

We've got two weeks to go now. I told my husband last night that I was actually feeling more ready but then this morning, when I could've slept in, couldn't because I was thinking of all the things that I need to do today.

I've been working occasionally the last two weeks but have had much more time to do the whole nesting thing. It's ironic that it happens at this point in pregnancy. I have all this motivation to work on things in the nursery, but my body keeps me from doing as much as I'd like. I get short of breath quickly, bending over to pick things up is a challenge, and I can't lift very much. But I've been able to do A LOT of laundry; I just keep finding things that need to be washed. This girl has so many clothes.

My husband and I went to the childbirth, baby care, and CPR classes. It was very amusing to watch him give a doll a "bath" and dress it, and then he just kept the baby in his lap while the teacher continued to talk. We both feel more confident now that we've had a little practice.

In case you're wondering how I'm feeling physically, overall just slightly uncomfortable. Haven't had any BH contractions yet and don't have that "dropping" feeling. But, the bag is packed and loaded in the car with the carseat just in case. Praying daily for a safe, natural delivery and trying to remember that she'll come when she's ready. Makes planning a little difficult but learning to be flexible now!