Monday, September 29, 2008

Did I miss something?

In the last 18 hours or so I feel like I've entered a bit of a bizarro world. Nothing serious, but still...just when I felt like I understood Jacob, he went a little wacky yesterday. First, he would not nap for the longest time. When he gets overtired it's pretty obvious and you know he just needs to sleep before he totally loses it. Five minutes during church, nothing while we were out and about for a bit...and then he got cranky. Despite getting fed and both of us trying to cuddle him, we had no luck for the longest time. Finally at some point during the Bills game he conked out for a couple hours, which was good. Then last night he would not go to sleep. Every time we'd put him down, he'd freak out, which is totally unlike him. He usually goes to bed completely happy, but it took an hour to get him to go to bed. I even fed him once, about an hour and a half after his last feeding, because he seemed hungry...or at least sucking on my neck/shoulder and practically climbing me seemed to indicate hunger. But even that didn't work. Craig sat with him for a long time, unsuccessfully tried to put him down a couple times, and finally got him to sleep a little before midnight. Despite falling asleep so late, Jacob woke up at 5am this morning. Other than the weekend we were out of town for the wedding, that was the first time in four weeks that he's woken up and cried before 6ish. He's had coughing fits wake him up earlier, but he never really cried to be picked up or fed during those. This morning I fed him and he went back to bed (with a little fussing, again) for a few hours. Day care says he's been fine today. He didn't eat much this morning with his first bottle but has been fine since. Hmmmm.

His fussing in his crib was extra crazy because he's getting more mobile. I read something about swaddling being less recommended as babies start hitting the 3-4 month time period because it can hinder motor development. There's also some concern once babies can flip themselves over that being on their belly without use of their hands isn't ideal. He hasn't turned over yet, but you never know when he'll figure it out. Jacob had been getting his arms out of the swaddle most of the time anyway, so I started just swaddling from the waist down to give him more mobility but still give him some feeling of warmth and coziness. I think it's still not cold enough in the house for the sleep sacks...but soon. Anyway...when he was fussing and crying at any point between last night and this morning, he'd get this close to flipping himself over and would eventually push himself up so his head was against the head of his crib. Overnight he worked himself into the top corner. Luckily we have breathable bumpers just in case, but it's still scary. Not to mention that the kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a three month old son that died in his crib last Wednesday. Reading that at 11pm last night when Jacob was screaming didn't do much for my mental state, that's for sure. It hit a little too close to home, and Jacob's out-of-character behavior made me worry there was something else wrong.

Originally I was thinking it was a growth spurt or something...making him hungrier, giving him growing pains, etc. However, my pumping hasn't been quite up to par today, so I'm wondering if he's not getting enough to eat and that's what was causing his issues. I have no idea why my supply would be down. We had a pretty consistent weekend (very few long stretches without nursing), and I'm not feeling sick or on any medication. It's so weird. But seriously, just when you think you've got it down (for now), something else pops up that makes you feel so clueless about parenthood. Let's hope tonight is better.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Health Update

Well, turns out Jacob has bronchiolitis. It's about what it sounds like, an infection in the lung area. I wish they could have figured that out weeks ago when we were at the doctor with him, but at least we can get to treating it now. We've got this crazy contraption to administer the medicine. We have an inhaler ("baby's first inhaler", as Craig put it...something only a parent with asthma could appreciate), and in order to give it to him in a less intense manner, there's this tube with a mask on it. The mask goes over his mouth and nose, and the inhaler connects to the other end of the tube. You press the inhaler and have to watch him take six breaths (there's a little doo-hickey on the tube to help identify a breath), wait 30 seconds, and do it again. He should clear up in about a week. If not we'd have to go back and get a nebulizer type thing. Ugh. He doesn't seem to mind this treatment as long as he's already in a decent mood, but apparently he wasn't a fan of the nebulizer they did in the office. We had to give him the treatment a couple times yesterday at my college reunion event, which probably looked a little funny. Despite that, Jacob did well for most of the day. He got a little fussy a couple times, but usually the solution to that is a good nap. He got rave reviews from everyone and was probably the youngest baby there. It seemed to freak out a couple people to see me with a baby, but then again, it freaked me out to see so many kids there as a whole. We figured out that the per couple average had to be about three kids. I think there were probably 20 couples and about 60 kids. Crazy. And the vast majority of those kids were born in the last 8-10 years. Quite a difference that time made...from college students to parents. Wow. Christians just like to populate the earth, I guess! It was a great event, though.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Bummer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Off to the Doctor...

Jacob is at the doctor with Craig right now and I am at home waiting for my friend Mary to arrive (for the second weekend in a row!) so we can head off to Geneseo for a little reunion event this afternoon. Jacob's had his cough for over a month now, and I'm pretty sure it's an allergy thing. Though they say environmental allergies don't usually show up in babies this small, I've read some first-hand accounts of when they do, and even though those people were told it was other things but couldn't test until their babies were older, it turned out that their symptoms were indeed allergies. Jacob's got it coming from both sides of the gene pool, though we'll just be happy if he avoids Craig's asthma. The cough still doesn't seem to bother him a ton, but it still can't be fun waking up coughing or having a coughing fit in the middle of his feeding. I always feel better when he gets through a coughing fit and immediately starts smiling again.

I had called the doctor yesterday to ask a question about the use of saline nasal drops (though I deduced later last night that his nose isn't the problem...it doesn't run, and for all the congestion he seems to have, it doesn't seem like a lot makes it to the nose) as well as get their thoughts on a new product I saw. There's now a gel that you put around your nasal area to repel allergens. Apparently allergen ions are charged one way, and this stuff is charged the opposite, so when the allergens come close to your nose, the ions repel and less allergens make it into your system...so you end up with fewer symptoms. It seems a little crazy, but a reputable company came out with it and it seems plausible. It's non-medicated so it is sold as safe for all ages, but the doctor didn't recommend it anyway. Hmmm. But they did suggest we bring him in again to get checked out. Another $20 co-pay and probably very little that they can do. I would have gone with them, but this morning we've been running late--from waking up late (Can't complain! We were up at 6am thanks to a coughing fit and subsequent feeding, but Jacob went back to sleep no problem until about 10! I woke up at 9:30, which was about half an hour later than I imagined I would) to a mid-feeding poop that needed attending to. Mary should be here any minute now and I didn't want her coming to an empty house. I also had to get things packed up for our trip to Geneseo today, so I figured it just made sense to stay home even though I really wanted to go to hear what the doctor had to say.

The trip to Geneseo should be a lot of fun, regardless of how the weather holds up. A lot of people I haven't seen in ages will be there, along with their kids. A lot of them will be the folks I've already seen around Facebook, so it will be neat to see everyone in person. And it's always nice to go down to Geneseo and relive college a bit, not to mention enjoy Mama Mia's Pizza and Aunt Cookie's Subs, which I never fully appreciated in college because I was cheap and ate off my meal plan 99% of the time. We've more than made up for it since, eating at one place or another whenever we happen to visit. It will be Jacob's first trip there, so it should be a fun day. If the weather is decent, we should have some time to take a walk around the campus before the picnic, and it will be interesting to see if I can get his stroller up the hills!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ugh...

That's all I could muster for a title after a conversation I had with one of my many co-workers with a new baby. As you may recall, there were four of us pregnant at once, plus one guy whose wife was pregnant. Jacob was born on June 20, and the rest were born within the next six weeks or so, with the exception of the one who's still pregnant. She just told me she feels "like a cow" and has 29 days to go...and is feeling crappy enough today that she's now off to the doctor. Earlier I spoke with the guy whose baby was born August 8th, and he asked me how Jacob was sleeping. I probably should have been a little less boisterous in my response, but when I respond to that question with most people they're more than ready to celebrate with me, and let's face it, I'm pretty darn psyched that Jacob has figured this whole thing out (for now--no guarantees from everything I read). However, this guy hasn't been so lucky, with either of his kids. The first one took six months to sleep through, and this one isn't much better so far. He admitted that he slept with his older son last night just to get some peace and quiet. He was detailing all of the frustrations they went through with their older son, the crying fits and how he wold never settle down for bed no matter how long you sat with him. I felt so bad for him.

Despite how things may have seemed in the midst of it (lack of sleep makes things so much worse), I know now that Jacob was practically an angel. I try to put those wide-awake-at-2am nights and twice-a-night feedings out of my head these days, but in reality I know that they didn't last nearly as long or happen nearly as often as they could have. While the two to three month period seems to be when babies are physically able to sleep through the night, I know it doesn't always happen that way. We were pleasantly surprised when Jacob started right on target (10 weeks on the dot), and are even more pleased that he's kept it up. These days he seems to have a coughing fit around 5am, but he never cries so I don't know if he basically sleeps through it, or if he's content enough laying there awake for however long the fit lasts. It kills me to hear that, but there isn't much we can do. And if he falls back to sleep on his own, no sense going in to sit him upright and potentially waking him up more. If it starts sounding extra bad, sure, I'll get up and go in. But so far it hasn't been necessary. When we've been in the same room (hotel or at my parents'), I have gotten him up and put him in the boppy next to me, for both of our sanities...it is a strange setting, after all, so I don't mind helping him out a bit. But anyway...his consistency so far is awesome. I just keep hoping it doesn't disappear down the road, during growth spurts or when he's old enough to know better. On the bright side, at least I'll have all these weeks of good sleeping under my belt and won't just be piling exhaustion on top of already existing exhaustion.

It definitely makes me wonder, though...why us? Why is Jacob sleeping through the night and other babies don't? Are we just lucky? Is there some technique that we don't even realize we're doing? Was it that week in the special care nursery that desensitized him to noise, or did the white noise from the humidifier teach him to sleep? Is he just that stinkin' happy that he doesn't mind waking up alone in the middle of the night? My co-worker thinks his baby has colic, and that is so hard. I honestly don't know how those parents do it...Jacob was fussy most of the evening last night (though smiley and happy when I put him in bed), and we were going a little nuts passing him back and forth. But as gassy as he is, we're lucky it mostly manages to come out because I can only imagine how miserable he'd be if it didn't. I will say that I'm relieved that we put him in the crib from night #1, because I think that helped...no battle about that to worry about later on! Still, I can't help but wonder how baby #2 will be down the road. We've been very lucky with Jacob, to the point that it can almost only go downhill from here. My hope is that I will be that much more experienced as a parent by then and know how to deal with issues that pop up...so even if our next baby isn't quite as lovely as Jacob, I'll have some methods ready to compensate for the added stress. Who knows. But yeah, this whole conversation today reminded me how lucky we are to have such an amazing little boy. He's the best.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Post baby body

At risk of boring my brother, who didn't particularly enjoy my many posts about maternity clothes way back when, I figured it was about time to dedicate a post to my thoughts on how my body turned out post-pregnancy. While things haven't quite gotten back in place, I am relatively happy with the way things turned out. At first glance I probably look pretty much like my old self. Weight-wise I'm at or just below where I was pre-pregnancy, but I don't think that's entirely representative of the current state of things. I think I lost a lot of muscle tone during my months away from the gym, and my once a week class probably hasn't entirely recovered it. Muscle weighs more, so I could theoretically be fatter but weigh less because I don't have as much muscle. And to some degree, I think that's the case. Most of my body seems pretty okay (it never really got that out of control to begin with), but my stomach still hasn't quite snapped back into shape. There's definitely an extra layer of flab there. It's merely the difference between looking thin and average...meaning I don't look bad, but just not as good as I did before, and no worse than your average person out there. I just have to be extra conscious of what kind of clothes I put on...things that are fitted around the belly aren't ideal right now. While I don't enjoy looking at the belly and would love to make it disappear, it's not really that bad and I'm not sure I have the time to dedicate to working it off anyway. I suppose I could take in less calories, but I'm enjoying cheating a bit (less than pregnancy, but more than I used to) while I'm still nursing and have a few more calories to burn. I'll have many more years of perpetual dieting ahead of me, so no sense going nuts now.

Most of my old clothes fit me again, though I still have some issues with short tops due to my larger chest from nursing. Some of my pants, which were big before, are finally big again. Good problem to have, I know. I don't quite have the free time I used to have to go out and work on my wardrobe, but I discovered during my pregnancy (and reaffirmed when I was out shopping recently) that there was a secondary reason that I always shopped the clearance racks. Besides being cheap, it made for less decision-making. If I were to shop the entire store, there's just so many racks and so many styles to choose from. Many of them were newer shapes and I'd have no idea (and not enough patience to figure out) what styles would work best on me. Shopping for maternity clothes was nice, because it really narrowed down my options. I could do a sweep of the store and be sure I had covered everything. Now that I'm pretty much back to normal, I have two problems. First, I have to figure out how to work around my belly. Second, I feel like I'm so out of touch with current fashion and my own body that I'm not even sure where to begin when I do shop. I can once again shop the "normal" racks, and still limit myself to clearance for the most part, but I feel like I have no clue what I should be wearing at this point. Does being a mom matter? If you watch "What Not To Wear" it does. Where I used to be able to get away with it because I looked young, now with a baby in tow, I'm not so sure I want to get away with it. And again, not a lot of opportunities to figure all of this out since clothes shopping is nearly last on my to do list right now (middle of the priority list, but actually being able to get out and do it just seems to fall to the end of the practicality list). Oy.

Long story short, I'm glad I did all the work I did while I was pregnant to ensure that I had the best shot at getting back in shape. I'm not sure I could have done much more. It turned out pretty much as well as could be expected, and for that I am grateful. I have more work to do, however, and will go through these same fears the next time I get pregnant (not for a couple years, at least)...because they say the second time around it's that much harder to snap back into shape. Ugh. But at least I look normal now. Whew.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Too short

The weekends are officially too short. It never ceases to amaze me how much different weekends are now than they used to be. It always used to be about sleeping in and getting things done, and while that's still the case, it's all done under such different circumstances. Sleeping in now either means that I wake up early and feed Jacob before going back to bed for a couple more hours, or just sleeping later than my usual 6:15-6:30. Running around to do errands takes a lot more coordinating than it used to, and most of the errands are baby related anyway. Yesterday we ran to Babies 'R' Us and Target, and 95% of the stuff we bought was baby-related. It's crazy but fulfilling nonetheless. Makes my old weekends seem rather self-centered. Now when I look forward to the weekend it's mostly about hanging out with Jacob. It's always nice to know that for a couple days, he's all ours...no work, no day care. And as I've said before, it's getting tougher to take him back to day care each Monday because the weekends are generally becoming more and more fun.

This weekend was no exception...lots of smiles and a little playing, though he's still trying to figure out how toys work. We keep trying to help him along by putting things into his hands. He'll get it soon...after all, he can pull hair and necklaces like crazy. Let's see...other highlights of the weekend...two very good dinners with my college roommate Mary...we'd have hardly known he was there, except that we stared at his immense cuteness the whole time. We read a couple books at bedtime, which he sat patiently through. After a week of waiting we got a big BM yesterday...no blowout, thankfully. This stuff was VERY stinky...darn formula. I know this is probably nothing compared to what's in store for us come solid foods, but still, it was pretty nasty after all these months of less stinky breastmilk poo. He did well with all of his bottles this weekend. I'm hoping he's still interested in breastfeeding come Wednesday morning, because he's becoming quite the bottle pro. I will say that it was nice to not always be the go-to-girl every time he got hungry. Craig and I switched off quite a bit with the feeding, which I think was good for both of us...good bonding time, a little bit of freedom, and good practice with bottlefeeding in general.

On our big shopping trip yesterday we got some new sleepwear for Jacob. He's pretty much over the swaddle thing at night...he manages to get his arms out every night now. That wasn't such a good thing when he was sleeping in onesies, because his arms would end up chilly in the morning, but now I have him in long sleeved onesies so it's not so bad. However, heading into the winter I wanted something more substantial that kept him cozy but gave him the freedom to move a little...apparently important for his motor skills as well as for safety once he can turn himself over. I found these great sleep blanket things from Carter's that are basically like a sleeper up top and a sleeping bag on the bottom. And thankfully, Babies 'R' Us had their Carter's stuff Buy One Get One 50% off...and gift cards are truly great things to keep handy. Anyway, the SwaddleMe folks have a similar product with no sleeves, just armholes, but I wanted sleeves so I could put him in a onesie inside it, until the house gets colder come winter. Then, once he's in sleepers inside it, if it appears he's getting too hot I'll have to check out the other ones without sleeves. We'll see. I'm still trying to figure out winter outerwear right now, too, so we have a lot of learning to do in the coming months.

But anyway, it was a great weekend. Next weekend will be considerably busier, with a couple trips down to Geneseo for this big reunion weekend, but it will be a LOT of fun. I always like showing Jacob off, and going to Geneseo is always great...and I haven't done that in a while. Mama Mia's, here I come! Or maybe Aunt Cookie's...hmmm....maybe both! But I still have a long work week to get through before I can look forward to that. Ugh.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Three Months

Well, it's officially been three months. Three months ago today, I gave birth and Jacob came into our lives. We blissfully slept through 2:40am this time around (this sleeping through the night thing is amazing and we feel VERY lucky that Jacob's doing it. Especially when I talk to people with older babies who don't!) and woke up fairly late this morning. When we were all hanging out in bed this morning around 9am, when I realized that by that point in the day he'd already been whisked off to the special care nursery,which started one LONG week. Just thinking about that time in our lives (and the couple months or so that followed), I get tired. I just remember the sheer exhaustion at that point...from my physical recovery, breastfeeding issues and sleep deprivation to the emotional challenges of new parenthood and having a baby in the hospital, it was a rough time. It definitely took a while before I really saw the whole "children are a blessing" thing. I mean, he was amazing from the beginning, and I knew that, but sometimes it was hard to get past all of the craziness and just enjoy him. Somewhere in the last month things got a heck of a lot easier, between him sleeping through the night and eating every three hours instead of two. I'm sure the smiles we've been rewarded with have helped as well. Interestingly, my boss asked me yesterday if I wanted to have another one anytime soon. I think the way I was gushing about him and how big he's getting already, she probably figured I was wishing for another one. I'll definitely do it again, but it's going to take a couple years before I'm ready to go through any of it again--pregnancy, childbirth, or 2am feedings. I did get a little wistful when I was at the doctor this week, though. Even the smell of their soap reminded me of all of my visits there over the nine months, and the excitement building up to the end. But still, I know better.

It's amazing to think how our lives have changed in the last three months, but thankfully things seem a little more normal now. It's still a challenge to go out and do things freely, but other than Jacob's explosive BMs and the threat of a meltdown (and still little ammunition at this point to contain it), I'm way less nervous than I was about taking him out. When we are out, he gets a lot of smiles and "awwww"s, with lots of people asking how old he is and what his name is. He's a pretty darn cute kid. He's a favorite at day care because he's such a good snuggler, and pretty much every time I get there to pick him up, someone is cuddling with him. He's a really good boy and I couldn't ask for anything more.

In other news...I'm very happy it's the weekend, because I feel a heck of a lot less stressed. I have more time to get things done than I do on any given evening, and it's just nice to hang out with Jacob. The no-nursing thing is still killing me and I can't believe I have to do it for three more days. Despite some fussiness, Jacob's done well with his feedings. He's still missing breastfeeding a lot, though. Any chance he gets he'll turn toward my chest, looking for his next meal. Poor guy. I can't decide whether he'll be uninterested by the time he can do it again, or will suck the life out of me in excitement. Pumping and dumping isn't too fun (seems like such a waste!), but I had the realization I could have a drink without a problem! I haven't yet, but maybe tonight at dinner. It's been fun having my college roommate Mary here this weekend, even if it hasn't been for long. We had a nice evening last night, but she's been at a conference all day today and will stick around through dinner before going back to Syracuse tonight since she's got some stuff going on tomorrow. No worries, though, because she'll probably be back next weekend for a big InterVarsity Christian Fellowship reunion down in Geneseo. It should be a really great time and it will be nice seeing people I haven't seen in years, complete with their kids. I've gotten a preview with this whole Facebook thing, but in person will definitely be cool. Anyway, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the weekend! You do the same!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who knew?

Apparently I've come to like breastfeeding. Not that I hated it before, but early on it was really demanding and all along there are these moments where it's like, "Is it really worth it?" But this morning I realized how much I enjoy it and how hard it will be to stop down the road. Here's a quick round-up of my last 18 hours or so, and how I'm feeling sort of sub-par as a mom right now. I know it's nothing to really worry about, but still...it's a blog...I'm sharing my feelings at this moment.

I picked up Jacob from day care yesterday because Craig had a work function. We went right to Wegmans to do some shopping and pick up a couple prescriptions. More on that in a bit. Anyway, Jacob was great until we had to wait for the prescriptions, at which point he started crying. I picked him up and held him while we waited, which worked for about 10 minutes. By the time we got to the register he was screaming and crying louder than I'd ever heard him. He kept going all the way through checkout, out to the car, the drive home, and me putting away the cold groceries once we got home. I finally got to feed him but felt horribly guilty he'd cried for that long...and that hard. I had to finish cleaning the house last night because we have company this weekend (it sorely needed it, company or not) and Craig's event went way longer than he thought, so I was trying to alternate between playing with Jacob and vacuuming the whole house. I felt horrible that I couldn't just hang out with him, particularly after the crying fit.

Now back to the prescription story...I went to the doctor the other day for a little checkup because I had a couple minor lingering issues from pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding. I got a prescription to help with one, and then I got a call yesterday that I have some sort of infection. It's just an overpopulation of normal bacteria, but still...another medication. In both cases I wasn't exactly given a vote of confidence that the meds were breastfeeding-friendly. The one is prescribed to nursing moms quite a bit, apparently, and after some convincing I decided to take them at their word. The one for the infection, however, just had really iffy wording about nursing mothers using it, and after a lot of tossing and turning overnight and a quick internet seach this morning, I decided to stop breastfeeding for the five days I'm taking it. I have a supply of frozen breastmilk that will help, and we may have to do formula a bit as well. I can't breastfeed again until Tuesday night, so it's going to be a pump-and-dump weekend. I need to keep my supply up but ditch whatever I pump. How unfulfilling. It's safest for Jacob, but I couldn't help but feel awful this morning when I got him up (he was so smiley and making happy noises) and then had to give him a bottle. He fussed a lot and finally I had to pass him off to Craig, since he's used to bottlefeeding with him. So not only was Jacob unhappy, but so was I. I desperately wanted to breastfeed him, both for his comfort and for my sanity. It's a nice bonding thing and I guess it's nice to know he enjoys it too. It's going to be a tough weekend and I'm just hoping Jacob doesn't forget how to breastfeed or decide he's done with it when we get back on track on Tuesday. The thought of not being able to do it all weekend is making me a little nuts, which just proves how much I've come to enjoy the experience now that it's not painful or so demanding. I'll still get to hold Jacob and play with him, so I should be fine...but I guess that's one bonding thing that just can't be equaled by any other experience. Who knew?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sky's the Limit

It's amazing to look at Jacob and think of all the things he's going to learn and experience in the years to come. Knowing that you were there from his first moment of life, when his knowledge of the world was at zero, and having the opportunity to build up that knowledge, is such a huge responsibility. Even just in the next few months he's going to pick up so many new things, from rolling over to playing with toys. Beyond that I can't wait to have him experience the world, like opening up gifts at Christmas or petting his first animal or enjoying the changing seasons. I hope he likes thrill rides like his mommy and finds out he's got athletic ability like his daddy, because both will bring him a lot of joy as he grows older. I want him to grow into a loving, intelligent person who has the drive and ability to do amazing things in this world. I want him to be a strong Christian.

Now that he's smiling a little more and slowly but surely figuring some things out, I'm starting to see the potential his little life holds. It also helps that I'm getting more sleep these days and am not so distracted by the massive demands that come with a newborn--my brain has more ability to think about stuff like this, rather than how I just need a nap! In any event, I see Jacob's wide-eyed curiosity and can't wait to encourage it with all that life has to offer.

Of course, there's always the paranoia that you're not going to teach them right, or give them enough stimulation. As a parent you theoretically know best, but there's a whole big world out there and even you only know part of it. Communicating all you know and have experienced is a daunting task. You want to make sure that you give your child a well-rounded, rich life experience, and you still don't want things like expense or parental hang-ups to get in the way of that...but despite your best intentions, they probably will. Maybe you won't get to take your child on some amazing culture-rich vacation, or maybe they just won't try a certain food because it's something you don't eat. I'm still trying to figure out when it makes sense to start bedtime prayers or eating at the kitchen table, to make sure Jacob gets in good habits right away. I know, no time like the present...

Sometimes when I'm in the midst of thinking about all he can accomplish, I hear a story about someone else's baby that tears my heart out...mostly because I can't even fathom what I would do if that child was Jacob. Whether it's a kid with cancer or autism, or those poor little babies with kidney stones (or worse) in China after consuming bad formula...I just can't stand the thought of anything preventing Jacob from reaching his potential. When a good kid goes bad (or worse, never even has the chance to because their life was cut short) I always wonder if the parents think back to their perfect baby and just wonder what happened. I pray I never have to do that with Jacob. He's just so amazing and each day I look forward to him learning and developing more and more. I feel so blessed to have him.

And with this face, how could I not?

Notice his adorable Moose shirt. Yeah, Mommy & Daddy's preferences are getting pushed on the poor kid. He's not even three months old and he has two stuffed moose of his own, not to mention a couple moose-oriented articles of clothing. The thing he's cradling (he was holding it by the arm a few seconds before I got this picture) is Potato Pete, one of the pierogies from the famous Pierogi Race at the Pittsburgh Pirates games. He's a little beanie and we had a great minute or so watching Jacob wave him around by his arm. Every little Polish kid should have a stuffed pierogi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Great weekend

We had a pretty awesome weekend. Craig was off to Pittsburgh with his dad and brother to take in some baseball, and Jacob and I headed to NT for a weekend with my parents. They're always so excited to see Jacob, and I figured it would be nice to have some support in case Jacob tired me out! It was extra fun because old friends of the family had a party on Sunday and I got to see some people I hadn't seen in a while...and show off my little boy!

Jacob really had a great couple days. He was in a great mood a lot of time, slept pretty well (other than that pesky cough--gotta be allergies, poor thing), and smiled up a storm. He's getting really good at that, as long as he's in a good mood...which happens more than you'd think. As long as he's been fed and has slept a bit, he can usually be coerced into smiling. And it is so incredibly cute. He makes me laugh half the time because the big gummy grin just cracks me up. It's a good ego boost to be able to get smiles out of him, but there are still moments where he'll just be staring off into space smiling, and who knows what is making him so happy. He's making a lot of new noises lately, getting into the cooing and squealing...it's really funny to hear him when he's just hanging out alone in his crib doing that. He loves laying on a blanket on the floor and just flailing around. He's not too coordinated yet and hasn't really figured out how to respond to toys (pretty much stuffed animals and things that make noise at this point) but you can tell he'll get there soon.

Jacob got to meet another baby, as my parents' friends' daughter who lives down the street has a five month old little girl. He should be used to other babies from daycare, but he seemed to be a little extra grumpy at that point and ignored her attempts to reach out and touch him.

Warning: Bodily Fluid Update - He did have two rather large (one explosive) BMs on Saturday (first ones for a few days, and none since...of course). The second surprised me, since it seemed like the first one cleaned him out. If only we could get that regulated a little better. Oh, and the second one wrecked this outfit for the day...bummer. But at least I got a good picture of him in it (see below). He wore his Bills onesie on Sunday, but managed to pee on himself while I was changing him before the game was over.


It was fun showing him off to a bunch of new people, and he got rave reviews as usual. He's adorable when he's awake, and he's an angel when he's asleep. He slept through a lot--a trip to a car cruise fundraiser at church, a Sunday lunch at Taco Bell, a walk to the grocery store, and church, among other things. He slept for most of the drive each way, but had a really fussy 15 minutes or so each time. That was a little more stressful on the way home, since it was crazy windy (thanks Ike) and I was paranoid about deer. He was great at the aforementioned party, though hungry, much to the dismay of a little girl (the hosts' granddaughter) who wanted to hang out with him but couldn't when he was hiding under the blanket eating. My mom almost attempted to explain breastfeeding to her (she's 3-1/2), but stopped short...I think that would have blown her mind.

We had a great time, and Jacob was so much fun to watch and play with. It's getting better and better every day, but now we're back to the same old same old for the week, where I just want to hang out with him but have to work all day and battle a ton of things that take over my evenings. This week it's thank you notes and cleaning. I'm the queen of procrastination, so I really do have to strike a balance somehow so the procrastinating doesn't take over and months have passed since my house got a good cleaning. Oh, wait...that's already happened. Hmmm. But anyway, he's really awesome....and slowly but surely the exhaustion of those first couple months is fading and the fun is taking over. Thank goodness.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blessed...

Lately I've just been feeling really blessed to be Jacob's mommy. He's such a sweet, adorable little boy and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to be a part of his life...and have him as part of mine. He's still not as interactive as we're looking forward to him being (I know, we need to enjoy every stage, and we do...but it will be so much more fun when he actually responds to the toys hanging above him in his little baby gym, as opposed to just accidentally swatting them when he flails), but what signs of recognition we do get are really nice. Yesterday he seemed to be hugging back. May have just been that he was upset about something and was gripping a little more fiercely, but it was different and it was nice to feel needed! Smiles are always the best, and it makes me smile with amazement every time he flashes a big grin. Every time I click back to my desktop on my work computer, I smile because I created wallpaper for myself with the four pictures I've posted here from the Saturday morning "I slept through the night" photo session. It just makes me smile no matter what. Even just watching him sleep is enjoyable...he's like a little angel. Everything about him is just too cute. I thought this morning that me telling him how cute he is is going to have to stop once he can talk, because he'll go around telling people just how cute he is! There's a certain energy inside me every time I think of him growing older and learning new things, and seeing what kind of person he will become. And, I'll admit, I cringe at even the slightest thought that anything would ever prevent me from seeing that happen. He's just so amazing and I just keep wanting to know and see more. When I can put the exhaustion aside and just enjoy him, parenthood is the best thing ever.

Ok, enough of the heavy stuff...just a funny little story to head into the weekend. Until this week I hadn't taken any of the token bath time pictures of Jacob. I think the first time around we were too nervous, and every other time I've pretty much gone solo and there's no free (dry) hands for a camera. This week Craig was home at bath time so I asked him to go get me the camera once I had Jacob in the tub (which is when I always remember that I want to take pictures--and once he's there, I'm obviously not going to leave him). So, I took a couple pictures of him on his belly holding his head up, and then I turned him over to take one face-up picture. Craig scolded me for taking one that showed his, umm, stuff, but I insisted that pretty much everyone has that one (or more) embarrassing shot of them naked in the tub...and far be it from me to deprive Jacob of that embarrassment 20 years down the road! I dunno, maybe that's bad of me, but seriously, it's cute. I will, however, save him the embarrassment of publishing it here!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fascinated by Facebook

As I mentioned at one point, I recently signed up for Facebook. For those of you who don't know much about it (and honestly, I was one of them until I actually did it), it's a site where you can connect with friends. You can post pictures, leave people messages, and enhance your profile page with all sorts of stuff to show your interests or personality. I have 60-some "friends" right now (mostly means you can access their profiles and get updates when they add pictures, leave messages, etc.), which is nothing compared to some people. However, I don't just make friend requests randomly...I really want to try to keep it to people that I really am/was friends with, unless they request my friendship first. The majority of my friends are people I know from high school or college or work (past or current).

It's been an interesting couple weeks playing around with the site, and downright bizarre looking through people's photos. See, there are a lot of people from high school and college that I haven't seen at all or have seen sparingly since then. These days many of these people have kids. Over the weekend my college roommate Mary said she felt like she was in bizarro world, since I have a baby and she never saw me pregnant, and our friend Lois is married and she didn't meet Lois' now-husband until the day before the wedding. The last time she saw either of us things were just normal...and now, they're totally different. It's much the same with the pictures I see on Facebook. I never saw any of these friends pregnant, or in some cases haven't even met their significant others, but all these years later people have these completely different lives with kids and jobs and whatever else. It's not like I expected everyone to stay the same...but it's just weird to look at pictures of kids and see both of their parents in their faces and marvel at how far we've all come since school. It's just odd. Even weirder when I see people who were younger than me with one or more kids (like, they were just naive freshmen when I was a senior, and they ended up with kids before me!), or people with many kids. I can't get past one kid right now and I have friends from college with 3-5 kids. Wow.

For the first time the other day it started to sink in how fast life really goes. It's been speeding up pretty much since the end of high school, I think...to the point that the past 12 years have sped by like crazy. I'm already 30, which just blows my mind because that's always been an "adult" decade in my mind...that by 30 you're pretty much an adult whether you like it or not. It always seemed so far away, and now it's here. The next milestone I face is the dreaded 40th birthday, complete with various Over the Hill-imprinted gifts, and as fast as my 20s went, I can't believe I'll hit 40 that quickly. On the bright side, I did cram an awful lot into my 20s, so I can only imagine how full my life will be in the next ten years now that we've entered the kid era of our lives. Everyone says it only goes faster once that happens, so I'm holding on for the ride. This summer alone has gone so quickly. The crazy thing is that I'm getting ever closer to the point where I can actually remember my parents when they were my age. Not yet, but close. Of course, I'm sure there are moments where they look at me and can't believe it's been 30 years since they were holding me as a baby.

Long story short, Facebook has provided me an interesting opportunity to catch up with people after 8 or 12 years apart, and it's been quite a jarring experience, almost like being in a coma for a while and waking up to a whole new world. It's been fun, though, and at least I have my own little jarring surprise for anyone who hasn't seen me in a while! It's been a nice way to show off Jacob, and he's received rave reviews!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting harder...

I've decided it's getting harder to drop Jacob off at day care each day. I actually hadn't had to do it so far this week because Craig was working from home and did it for me, but last week I found it tough and again this morning I hated leaving him there. Now that he's more fun and less demanding, the thought of spending all day with him doesn't evoke the fear of frustration that I had near the end of my maternity leave. Near the end I was starting to feel a little isolated, missing the daily social interaction of work. Jacob would eat every two hours, so every hour and a half (or even less in the evenings) I was stuck back on the couch for another half hour or so. As much as I tried to nap, I still didn't sleep much and it was starting to wear on me. I was tired and feeling like I was in a bit of a rut. I was afraid to go out much on my own, and didn't want to strand Craig with a potentially hungry baby in the evenings if I needed to go out for a bit. Every time Craig had a work commitment in the evenings it drove me nuts because it meant that I'd be home alone without a break for that much longer. The one day I was so determined to get out of the house and feel like I had a life that I took Jacob out to this bar/restaurant where Craig's event was, in a torrential downpour. I probably gave the hostesses quite a laugh when I lumbered up to the place with my umbrella in one hand and the baby carrier with a blanket over it in the other...I wasn't exactly the epitome of grace, and to bring a baby to the bar (shades of the movie Sweet Home Alabama - "You've got a baby...in a bar...") on a night like that must have seemed crazy. But I had been looking forward to it for days, getting myself psyched up for the trip out, and I did not want to spend four more hours home alone!

These days I'm a little more confident. I'm still a little nervous taking him out, and it's not always the easiest to cart him around, but for the most part I do it as long as I can work out the timing around his feedings. My biggest fear is that he'll do one of his massive poops while I'm out, but I did survive one of those when we were on the road on Friday, so I suppose I could anywhere else...assuming I'm not holding him when it happens.
Now that I am feeling more confident and Jacob is more fun to play with, I'm constantly wishing I could spend more time with him. I try to carve out at least a few minutes each morning after his feeding to play with him before getting him dressed and rushing him off to day care. In the evenings there's always so much to do, but I do my best to make time to play with him as much as I can while staying at peace with my to do list. Work is great, and I still know I couldn't stay at home full time, but to get even a couple extra days out of the week to hang out with him and make sure he likes me more than the people at day care would be awesome (I know, I know...I'd just like there to be no question!). It's definitely made me appreciate weekends more. They're so much more than just a chance to sleep in now...though they're still good for that now that he sleeps through the night and will go back to sleep after the 6:30am feeding. I'll take what I can get! This past weekend was tough because I didn't get a lot of face time with him, but I think this weekend will be fun since we'll be hanging out with my parents and they get such a kick out of him. It's the best of both worlds...I get to spend time with him, but I have some backup when I need a break as well!

Even with a good weekend with him, I know it will be hard to drop him off again on Monday. He's just getting so cute and I don't want to miss any great moments! Just look at the picture below (4th and final in the series of the Saturday morning photo shoot), and think just how tough it is to say goodbye to that face every morning!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The weekend

Well, we survived. It was quite a busy weekend with a lot of driving, and I am exhausted today. Jacob did pretty well on the drive, with only a couple fussy times on the way down (both completely allowed because he was getting hungry and we were just trying to get to a rest area or the hotel to feed him) and a few more on the way back. But as a whole he was good considering he's only 11 weeks old and 5-1/2 hours is a long time to sit in a car for anyone. Arranging the weekend around my motherly duties was interesting, but in the end it wasn't too bad. Having Lori there was a huge help. I couldn't believe how much we had to pack, and most of it was Jacob's! There was a bag for his bottles, a bag with extra burp cloths, diapers, and wipes, my breast pump bag, a bag with the boppy pillow and the Baby Bjorn carrier (since we couldn't fit the stroller, just in case), and the pack-n-play, plus he also got a quarter of my suitcase for his clothes. You can never be too sure with a baby. And good thing for the extra clothes...he chose the drive there to have another of his massive poops. Only a little snuck out of the diaper (enough for a clothes change, though), but there was a LOT in it. Could have been worse.

He also chose this weekend to stop sleeping through the night (though he picked right back up where he left off when we got home...whew). I'm not sure if it was the lack of the white noise from his humidifier, the lack of moisture making him cough more, or not being in his own crib, but both mornings he was awake at 4:30. I fell back to sleep on Sunday, but no such luck Saturday...making it an extra long day. Thank goodness for adrenaline and caffeine!

I pumped three times on Saturday (twice before I got dressed and once about 6 hours later at the reception--ouch, not fun to go that long), handed off the milk at the wedding, and even got to have a couple glasses of champagne since I wouldn't be feeding or pumping again for hours at that point! Other than a bottle at rest stops along the thruway each way, I managed to breastfeed him the rest of the time on Friday and Sunday, which was good because I missed seeing him on Saturday and needed whatever bonding time I could get. I started to get nervous when he was fixated on Craig at the wedding and would only smile at Lori on Sunday morning, but he seemed happy to see me by last night and this morning.

I did get a lot of compliments on my figure, which was nice. This wedding was a bit of a target for me throughout my pregnancy, as I wanted to be looking good by Lois' wedding. I found out she was getting married the day before I found out I was pregnant, so it's been this constant goal ever since. It's now come and gone and while I'm not 100% happy with my figure at the moment, it's not too bad and I can camouflage it well. I still attribute that to some good genetics and a lot of working out for eight months of the pregnancy. The bridesmaid dress helped too...very fitted so I had to have good posture, but it covered the areas that needed covering.

As a whole Jacob did well at every event we had him at...the rehearsal, the wedding, and the breakfast. He got rave reviews from everyone (neither Mary nor Lois had seen him yet), and it definitely added a go-to conversation topic for any of those awkward "I don't really know you that well but feel like we need to be social and chat" moments that happen so often around weddings. Craig and Lori kept him happy or at least moved him out of the room whenever necessary. He tired Lori out on Saturday night, but she had a lot of fun with him and got a couple great pictures of him smiling. No such luck for me...I don't have any pictures of him from the trip :( I do, however, have these:
Mommy & Daddy's first night out alone!

Mary, Lois and me (don't we all look so nice?)


We had a really good time and I couldn't be happier for Lois! I'm also excited because I may see Mary twice more this month (when it rains it pours--I hadn't seen her or Lois in almost a year, and we hadn't all been together since June '07), so that could be really awesome. One of my goals upon having Jacob was to not let it totally change who I was. There's all these stories you hear of moms losing themselves. I know why it happens, and to some degree it's not a bad thing. You become consumed by your child and their world, partly out of need and partly because you want to. My girl weekends have always been fun and they're one of the few friend interactions I have at this point, so I didn't want to lose those just because I had a baby. Now I'm pretty sure that one way or another I can pull them off. This was a great start, at least! I will say that I'm happy to be home, and once I catch up on my sleep, I will look back on this weekend even more fondly. It was really great.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Big weekend!

It's a big weekend, with Jacob's first BIG trip. I'm in a wedding for one of my best friends from college, and it should be pretty awesome. It's going to take a lot of coordinating since I'll be pumping periodically tomorrow and having to pass it off at some point. Godmother Lori is coming along with us so we can have an adults-only evening, which will be weird but nice. I'm sad that I won't see Jacob much tomorrow, because I'm off to get my hair done around 8:30, then I'll see him for a few minutes after the wedding (though I'm afraid to hold him for fear I'll wreck my dress before pictures--you never know what might come out of him! Also the reason I'm exclusively pumping and not nursing him), and then that'll pretty much be it for the day. Today and Sunday are long car rides, but at least I can look in the mirror on the backseat and catch glimpses :) It's been a lot of packing and coordinating (I think Jacob's got 1/4 of my suitcase and about 4 bags--boppy and carrier in one; diapers, wipes and extra burp cloths in another; bottles in another; my breast pump; plus the pack-n-play and a cooler to keep the milk cold.), but it will be worth it! Speaking of which, I need to finish getting ready. Here's another picture from Saturday's photo shoot to get you through the weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Is it fall already?

It hit me this morning as I looked out my kitchen window and could vaguely see cars in the school parking lot behind our house that today was the first day of school. Seems like just yesterday I was looking out that same window wondering when school was going to be over...because for those students it didn't end until June 27th...a full week after Jacob was born.

Needless to say, this summer has been a bit of a blur. I liken it to the summer Craig and I got married, where we spent the beginning of summer waiting for the wedding, and by the time we got back from our honeymoon in early July, the 4th of July had passed and summer was already on the downswing. Even worse, we spent the next month packing to move into a new apartment, so by the time we were settled, it was well into August and summer was almost over. This year has been much of the same, with similar timing. We waited for Jacob all through June, then spent all of July trying to get used to life with a baby. I went back to work in early August, and suddenly my birthday's passed, Labor Day was early this year, and we're already three days into September. Kids are back to school, the trees are starting to turn (yep, seen a bunch already), and fall is well on its way. I don't want to say that I feel gypped, because it's really been quite an amazing summer as far as life experiences go. However, the weather is only good for so long around here before it turns to crap for about eight months, and I feel like I've missed out on a lot of usual summer stuff. I didn't get to ride my bike at all this summer, Craig and I didn't get to do our annual trip to the drive-in (though Jacob will definitely enjoy it for years to come), I hardly got a tan (a couple sunburns did fade into a tan I couldn't sustain, though), I never got my blond summer highlights, and I still haven't been on a roller coaster for a couple years. I tried to enjoy the nice weather by taking walks with Jacob while I was on maternity leave, but even that took more coordinating than I expected so it didn't happen much. If the weather was good, I was inevitably more interested in a nap. If Jacob was finally fed and changed and ready to go, it clouded up for one of the many freak thunderstorms we had this year.

I know all of that stuff will come back in the summers to come. I'm not upset or anything--how could I be when I have such an amazing little boy to show for it?--but it's just an odd feeling knowing that summer came and went so quickly. I think mentally I was waiting for some of those summer traditions to happen, and now that they never did and summer's ending, it's like, "Wait a second..." I'm thrown off by all of the Halloween decor in the stores already, and hearing and seeing things about fall, fall colors, or the coziness of fall make me feel like I'm losing my battle to hold on to summer. The weather hasn't turned yet, thank goodness, but I'm sure that's not far away. I'm not even remotely prepared to dress a baby for cold weather right now, so I'm dreading that even more than usual, I think!

It also blew my mind, by the way, that it's been two years since Craig and I took our trip to Seattle and Portland. We left the Wednesday after Labor Day (in essence today, though it was the 6th or something that year) and had a fantastic time in both cities. The weather was perfect, but by the time we got back to NY, it seemed like fall had set in here. That was a bummer...hopefully it holds out longer this year. Amazing to think how much has changed since then, with us having a baby and my brother and his wife (our hosts for the Portland leg) getting ever closer to a baby of their own. How time flies.

Anyway, for today I'll leave you with another photo from our "Jacob Slept Through the Night" photo shoot from Saturday morning...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a weekend!

It started out great with Jacob sleeping through the night, and the weekend ended up being pretty fantastic. Saturday was busy with running around preparing for Sunday's baptism, but we had a good time and Jacob handled it like a pro. Sunday was really nice. Everything just worked out great. Jacob did really well during his baptism, and we had a nice time at the party afterward. My aunt (my godmother and the mother of Jacob's godmother) and uncle hosted it, which was so helpful because I can't imagine what I would have done if I had to clean the house last week and set up the party that day, in addition to everything else. The weather was perfect, the food was great, and we were so happy to have so much family around to celebrate. I will say that it's tough when you have both sides of the family around, because it's hard to split your time. The guest of honor was in high demand as well, so coordinating people's opportunities to hold him in the midst of running around checking on party stuff was a little crazy, but I think it all went pretty well. It was just nice of everyone to come out. That night we went to the Red Wings baseball game, mostly because Craig had a Rattlers' player set up to throw out the first pitch. We figured it was a good opportunity to take Jacob to his first game, and Godmother Lori came with us. We had a lot of fun and once again Jacob was pretty well-behaved...and when he fussed it just took a little walk around (he was in the Baby Bjorn carrier) to chill him out. We decided to leave a little early because we thought Jacob might not be a fireworks fan just yet.
Yesterday was a great day as well, running around to do some errands and just hanging out. It was tough to drop Jacob off at day care this morning because we had such a fun weekend. Sometimes it's a relief to drop him off, like after a long night constant feedings or lots of crying, but this weekend was so much fun ('cause he's getting cuter and more smiley every day) that I wanted more! Next weekend's going to be interesting, when we head off to my friend Lois' wedding and have Lori as our "nanny" for the weekend. Eleven hours (at least) in the car with a 2-1/2 month old and arranging feedings and pumpings around my wedding duties will be quite interesting, I think, but I am SO looking forward to it. That was my consolation this morning as I dropped him off, that I only had to do it for three days this week before getting him back for three more.
Sorry I couldn't offer up more, but I have to get back to work...all so I can get home quicker to my two favorite men :)