Monday, November 24, 2014

Where we've been

All's well in our part of the world.

Apologies to the three people who read this blog. I'm alive, promise. Days filled with this little guy... and a job and a host of other things.

Why the absence? Good question. We had a falling out with some family. It's still going on. So many things to be said on this. I've struggled with this, and in the process of that, I didn't post. 

I think it boils down to "what is family?" and "how should family treat each other?" After every visit with someone you have ten nice things to think about and two awful ones, how much forgiveness do you give? If that family is generous, should that weigh in? If you have family who greatly disapproves of how you live, is the struggle to move past that worth maintaining the relationship?

Is family ALWAYS forgiven? What if you've been repeatedly hurt by things that have been said? What if you see them hurting other family?

This isn't the first time there have been issues and I've imposed a moratorium on contact. I've been cursed out, spit flying, as I've driven away. They have been sad parts during some of my happiest times in my life. They've told me awful things about people who have passed, tainting my memory of them but being unable to fix it. They've had such awful fights with me that I have dry heaved. 

But when things are good, I enjoy them. They're family. I relish closeness. 

But then they started in on one of my closest family members too (outside of James and my husband). How could I be ok with that? This behavior had to stop-- what if someday they treated James this way?

I'm family, not a verbal punching bag.

So, I put a moratorium on contact until I sort things out. I asked them to please tell me their side of the story. They never did. It's been 3.5 months and I've heard nothing from them. 

It's left me feeling like I wasn't worth fighting for. 

It's left me feeling a mixture of sad and mad. Sad that they're missing out. Mad that they don't seem to care. 

All this is going on... and so it just seemed weird that I continue on here, telling stories and posting photos. That'd give them contact-- they'd know stories and they'd see photos, and that didn't seem fair.

So, I've been quiet on here. I'm sorry, because there's so much I want to post. How much I love my little family up here. How fantastic a dad my husband is. How much James amazes me. How much I love this little boy. 

But, those stories will have to wait. Thanks for understanding as we grapple with things.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Legacy

Don't worry, I'm not sick. But I saw this post this morning and thought it was interesting. I do think that children are an important part of one's legacy (unlike what the author says in her first statement). But the rest of this article hits it pretty well on.

Though I'd always call first before stopping by a friend's house. Unless we had a very very good understanding. :)

A friend of mine recently lost his wife who was in her mid-30s. She left behind two young boys, one in first grade, one in preschool. Maybe it's that loss that makes me constantly think about "what's really important" these days. My patience for hate is minimal. I'd rather be good and be surrounded by good than deal with judgment and drama.


http://www.howdoesshe.com/what-her-death-taught-me-about-my-life/

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be Grateful Instead of Lacking

Along with my post yesterday about fixing up and maintaining (rather than constantly improving) (with the exeption of the backyard which needs some bigger help to make it more usable) goes this article. I'm putting it here because I need to remember this when my mind goes to "IMPROVING ALL THE THINGS."

As I said: we need to fix and maintain, but otherwise, focus a bit more on ourselves and our family.

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fixing up

Bob and I sat down this weekend and pieced out the house, room by room. We made a LONG list. Not of big projects or remodels. Instead, it was what needs to be fixed and improved in each room.

We have a few projects in the yard to finish up this summer, and we finally have a plan for the backyard.

Other than those yard projects though, we've decided to just focus on improving and maintenance.

Oy, it's a long list.

We're tackling the upstairs first because Bob's sister is coming to live with us in a few weeks. I don't expect to have everything done anytime soon, but we're getting started. I'll try to chronicle things here, as we go room-by-room and improve.

Maybe we'll finish up by the time James is crawling or walking. We'll see...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Crazy

I am plumb drunk crazy over these boys.
 

Oh my James. My happy happy James. He's so actively soaking up the world like a little sponge. His eyes follow me around the room. Yesterday, he was playing in his chair happily while I sat and talked with him. After a bit I went and sat down across the room. James stared after me and later got so excited upon my return.

After two fussy sleep nights last week (an oddity for this child), James slept last night from 10 until 6:30. He drank a little milk at 6:30, and then snuggled up against Bob. When I left those two cuddlebugs at 7:40, they were still all snuggled up.

James now routinely "hugs" you as you carry him, and it's such a joy to feel this happy little guy cling onto me.

On the special news front, James met his other grandparents (Bob's folks) for the first time yesterday. More on that later, but it was such a joy to share him with them.

Oh honey, just freeze time, ok? I'm loving this so much.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sleeper!

James is a sleeper. And BOY, have we been LUCKY.


During the day, we aren't always as lucky. He loves to sleep, but during the day he wants to sleep next to us. At night? No problem, crib is fine (the crib is in our bedroom). But during the day? NOOOOO!!! NOT THE CRIB!!!!  Much nap sadness.
 We're working on that crib sadness. But oh, the snuggles. The snuggles are so fantastic. I know we have to get him used to taking a nap in the crib though... (so that Mama and Dad can get things done while the baby sleeps).
 Still, morning time is for snuggles. While 11-4:30 has been the norm, James seems to have increased that this week, with a typical nighttime sleep the last two nights of 10 to 6:15. And, when he gets up at 6:15, he just wants some milk, and then to snuggle in bed for another couple hours. Yesterday, he snuggled with Bob until 9!
 (James with his Auntie Laura in what she calls his "Little Prince" nightie.)


Since James has been almost 100% solidly sleeping at least 5 hours through the night since four weeks old, we know we are darn lucky. The fact that it's increased to over 8 hours the last two days is phenomenal. We'd love for that to continue... we'll see. Right now we're doing every baby sleeping dance and chant and life appeasement we can think of.
 (again with his Auntie Laura for morning "baby snuggle time")


He's such a happy boy. We know that if he's fussy, clean, and fed that he's sleepy. Pretty easy here.


I just hope it stays that way. But kiddos like to throw curve balls, so we'll see!

(James barnacled on Dad in the pack)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Breastfeeding Update

It's incredibly hard to believe this little guy is 11 weeks old. In a mere week and a half, he'll be three months. Where has the time gone!?
 
I'm happy to say that we're still breastfeeding, albeit still through our roundabout pumping way. The Freemie system is still a lifesaver, and I even ordered their quiet pump! I gave up my middle-of-the-night pumping, and my supply hasn't dwindled (in fact, my first pumping of the day has increased to make up for not having that 3am pumping), and I can stretch it 3-4 hours in between pumpings during the day. The results in 5-6 pumps a day, and that's more than enough to feed James.

So yup, we're able to exclusively feed him breastmilk. I realize it's not horrible to feed him formula if we needed to supplment, but still, given all our issues with him feeding, I'll take this 100% breastmilk fact as a huge source of pride and accomplishment. I know many aren't so lucky. We stopped supplementing (it had been between 10-20% supplementing) around him being 4 weeks old, and I think he got an once or two of formula when he was six weeks old. But now we're over five weeks later and no supplementing in that time. And, there are 13, 5-oz. bags of frozen milk in my freezer!

As he's settling into a more predictable routine of eating and sleeping, it's easy to determine when James will be hungry. Though he and I don't have the traditional one-on-one mommy nursing time, it is really nice to be able to have a bottle nearby when he decides to drink, get distracted, drink, stop for five minutes and grin, drink, etc. Less stripping for Mama!

What was so difficult in the beginning (made no easier by the cumbersome Medela system with their dangling bottles) has now become so much easier. What was a far-off, exhausting 6-months of breastfeeding initial goal is now an achievable one.

My schedule looks like this:
7am: pump
10:30: pump
2:30: pump
6:30: pump
10:30: pump

If I pump earlier at 1:30, I can squeeze another pumping in at 4:30, then do 7:30 and 10:30. However, I ususally stick the the five pumps above, unless I'm feeling the need to do it six times. It's pretty nice too-- James is asleep at 7am, I'm at work for the 10:30am and 2:30pm pumps, Bob usually has just come home from the gym at 6:30pm, and James is asleep for the 10:30pm pump. It is so less stressful than it was when I was home alone with the cumbersome medela dangle bottle system.

So, we'll keep on trucking with this as it is. It's clearly working James is thriving, and no one is stressed out. Amazing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

James's Fantastic Life

James has it pretty great.

Snuggles in the morning.


Happiness on the changing table.


Ok, sometimes there is some sadness, but we're right there to fix it (and slightly baby mock!)...


And he gets to be carted everywhere in a pack, peeking out.


Which means warm cuddly surrounds while he drinks milk. Not so shabby!


Then he gets to go for walks.


And, of course, watch his boy Bailey get a tennis ball.


Then it's back home for a quick nap (which is usually pretty hard to convince him to do.).
 
Yup, pretty rough life. :)
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dining Room

We had this dining room table for over three years: 


It worked... but it was HUGE. It could easily fit 12 people (5 easily on each bench). Bob liked it, so I kept it... but I started noticing one thing: we never used it unless we had people over.

Plus, it took over the entire room.



I really wanted a table where we all routinely sat down as a family. This also would mean less TV in the evenings, something I really want to accomplish.

We also found that our stuff and the baby's things began to accumulate on the floor on the right-hand side of the table. And, the table was a gathering place for us to stick stuff, from mail to gardening supplies, to bags, to you name it.

So, we decided to tell our behemoth table. I ordered our new table and posted our old one. It sold pretty quicky, so we were down to the patio table outside for a dining table for about five days. :)

And, here's our new dining room with our table (we got it from West Elm):
 
The table looks small, but it isn't. It can easily sit four people, and it's 42" across. We could have bought the 60" diameter one, but that would have taken up a lot of room, and we wanted a more open feel. The chairs I found used at St. Vincent's for $30 apiece. I figure that with a baby, they'll get pretty abused, but the pricetag made me go for them anyway! I need to scotch guard them so we can more easily clean them. They are super super comfy. And, the table style is great because you can put your feet up on the legs on the inside!

Yes, we actually purchased something new! But, I did have a 15% off card, and they messed something up, so I got $33 of shipping reimbursed. So, while that's still not a cheapie table, it's not too bad. Plus, we have a table we'll use for a long time.

(now we just need to get those prints in the background reframed...)

For our stuff that accumulated in the right-hand corner of this room, we made another purchase. I had a gift card from Target and bought this table.

So, our cluttered corner is no more!
 
We're working on the organization, but it's getting there. I had originally thought about putting two baskets underneath for shoes, but now we're seeing if something else works instead since underneath that table is a perfect place for Bob's briefcase and my purse.

So, our once-filled space is now a lot more open and airy. We LOVE it, and, proof that it works: We ate dinner at the table last night together.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Before and After: Inside My Head

I like to think of myself as tough. I have a picture on my wall at home that says "WE CAN DO HARD THINGS." I thoroughly believe that if you put your mind to it, you can make it happen.

I still believe those things... but I was totally unprepared for many things when it came to being pregnant and with having a baby.  And the old me would have totally rolled her eyes at that last sentence.

I must admit to thinking people "weren't tough enough" when they took time off in the weeks before having a baby. I thought that I'd never do that-- I'm tough and won't mooch the system. It took me being nearly knocked off my feet and extraordinarily uncomfortable for months in the third trimester to open my eyes as to how ignorant I had been.

Then there's having a baby. I thought we had figured out what would be hard: The lack of sleep. Don't get me wrong, that wasn't a cakewalk... but it totally surprised me when other things were the ones that ambushed me. Things like:
  • FEEDING the baby. Who would have thought that woudl be the issue? But with our breastfeeding issues, I was quickly thrown off-kilter by having to adapt to our situation rather than the picture-perfect one in my head. But, there's also the frequency of it. Babies don't eat three times a day. They eat every three hours (at least), AROUND THE CLOCK. That leads me to my next point....
  • It doesn't stop. You think you know this before you have a child. It seems obvious... kids don't come with an off switch. But it's still a rude awakening when that stuff you did at a minimum three hours ago? Has to be done all over again. And again. And again. Your life becomes a constant rotation.
  • Your time is not yours. That project you wanted to do? That cleaning you wanted to do? That sit and not do anything you wanted to do? MUCH harder with a child. I figured I'd baby wear. Well, that works great because James LOVES being worn... but you can't move as well with a baby on you, it's heavier with a baby on you. You can't carry as much with a baby on you. Your baby likes you to move, and certain things require you to hold still (like folding laundry). Your baby may not like you to bend down. Very quickly you realize that keeping a baby happy may not mean you can do the things you want to do.
And then there's work.

I always thought that we'd eventually have a child in daycare and that woudl be the new normal. But that's hard. Hard to realize that daycare will get 9.5 hours of your child's life a weekday (8-hour workday, plus 1 hour lunch, plus time picking up and dropping off). Assuming a 7pm bedtime, you'll get about 1.5 hours, plus the time it takes to get ready in the morning. It's an ungodly sacrifice. And it's one that Bob and I are trying to figure out how to adjust in order to get that 9.5 hour amount lowered.

And I fully admit to being someone who would have shaken my head to myself if I knew someone who lowered their work schedule for their child. What was I thinking? WHY have I been allowed to develop this mindset that putting family first is the "easy" route? It's not easy.

I could do a lot of blaming. I could blame the media (totally usually not on the side of staying at home). I could blame our goverment (totally not helping to create an atomsphere where people bond and put families first). I could blame student loans (the payback and interest rates and gouging which greatens our indebtedness and leads to moreso needing two incomes).

But in the end, no matter the blame/cause, the result is the same: I was wrong.

I totally underestimated pregnancy. I'm tough, and it knocked me down. I now have a newfound respect for my body and for anyone who is pregnant. And I will defend the justifiedness of that respect to anyone who doubts it.

I totally underestimated what would be difficult with having a baby.

I totally underestimated how little things going awry would make me feel with having a baby.

I totally underestimated how my perspectives would change.

But here's the kicker: All of the above has made me a better person.

I know I can change. I know now not to let my preconceived notions control me. I also am rewiring myself for what is really important in life: sometimes it's me, sometimes it's not. I'm increasingly aware of my one life to live and how do I make the most of it (clue: It doesn't always involve me being "tough."). I'm increasingly aware of time and how fast it flies by... and thus also how much I'm missing when I am stubborn and absent from where I want to be. I know now that change is inevitable, but it involves me changing into a better person, so I need to accept it and not try to avoid it.

And I'm now more ok with admitting I was wrong and then moving forward.

I always heard the saying "Having children will change you." I never realized how much that was true, or that it would change me into a better person.