Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I realized that I never got around to posting the winner of the Christmas card photo shoot, for those of you who aren't on the Christmas card list (and if that's the case and you're reading this, perhaps I should add you...hmmm.)...so here it is :) Definitely captures Jacob's essence! He is an incredibly happy little boy. He smiles almost every time we look at him now, which is such a nice feeling. Of course, we also know when he's not happy...and he's getting ever more adept at communicating that. He's acquired an ear-piercing shriek that he pulls out once in a while when he's extra angry about something. That is going to take some getting used to. But really, it doesn't happen very often and most of the time there's a good reason for it and it can be taken care of fairly easily. Usually he's hungry (once I can feed him he quiets down instantly), sleepy (a good rock and he's usually ready to nap--though he has to get to a certain fussiness before that will work), or bored/lonely (whether it's playing or just standing up and walking around, that usually works for at least a while, until one of the other two issues come up).

The whole smiling at us thing is really a lot of fun. He looks at us like we are the two coolest people ever. Big, open-mouthed grins, dimple in full view...it doesn't get any better than that. He's also been talking a lot lately. Still no real sounds--sounds that could form words--but lots of cooing and babbling. Some of the sounds are SO cute. Oh, and one of the best side effects of the smiling thing? It's a lot easier to get him to smile for the camera! Of course, he's still drooling and chewing on his hands a lot, teeth or not, so getting a picture minus those two elements is still a challenge.

Looking back on my year ago blog postings (I can do that now, which may provide interesting blog post fodder on slow days...), it's amazing how far we've come. From a newly pregnant couple that was totally clueless about babies to fairly competent parents of a six month old...though not to say that we don't still have our moments, most of which involve poop or unexplained crying spells, which I suppose could throw anyone off. And I know there are a million challenges ahead that we haven't even thought of yet...like when Jacob no longer thinks we're the coolest people he knows. Last year at this time we were finally getting the word out to people other than family, and starting to really worry and wonder about the rest of the pregnancy, now that the first trimester was officially over. Now I still worry about things, from making sure I'm doing the right thing for good breastfeeding to keeping Jacob safe. From his clumsy mom to giving him the freedom to sit on his own but trying to protect him from flopping over and banging his head, and from worrying about how secure he is in his carseat to rolling over on his face in bed, there's so much to think about. Just this morning I got a little concerned because I put him back to bed after his 7:30 feeding and some playtime (a little after 9am) and he slept until about 10:45. I was a little worried because that was a little out of character for my little catnapper. Crazy (but awesome!).

Still...I know how lucky we are. I was just watching a baby show this morning (Babies: Special Delivery--there really wasn't much on) and there was a couple profiled whose baby was born with some sort of cyst in her torso, and it was literally sucking the life out of her. Eventually she had a brain bleed and they had to take her off life support. She died. I just can't imagine going through a pregnancy and delivery, only to lose the baby a day or two later (or EVER, for that matter). I just held Jacob close and stroked his hand and face while I watched, knowing how incredibly blessed we are to have a relatively healthy little boy who brings us so much joy. 2008 has been a pretty amazing year, and I hope we experience equally good things in 2009. Have a very Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mouth-Related Stuff

Couple quick notes while I have Jacob standing on my leg fairly contentedly....

We had a really good food night tonight. Last night was okay, but tonight I made it a little thicker so it wasn't so drippy when I tried to feed him. He ate it rather well. I still have to leave the spoon there most bites to catch and refeed whatever he spits out, but I think he's getting better!

Also, today I was feeling around in his mouth when he was being fussy, and I felt something funny. The thing is, if it's a tooth, we have one abnormal baby. Instead of being in the front of his mouth, it's back on the side. Of course, that would explain his constant chewing of his hands on the side of his mouth. But do babies ever get those teeth first? Weird. Something to watch, I guess. The good news is that I think that tooth will hurt less when it comes to nursing than the front teeth, so all the side teeth can feel free to come in first! We'll keep you posted!

Wow...

Just realized that I've now been blogging for over a year. My first post was December 27, 2007, which was a year ago Saturday. Wow. Hard to believe!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas

I feel like such a slacker...Christmas was forever ago and I'm just getting around to posting anything about it. Although, we didn't get home until Saturday night and since then Jacob's been a little high maintenance. A marathon napper he is not.

Jacob had a nice Christmas...busy, but nice. My family's Christmas really got started last Monday with the birth of my niece, Kate. She's my brother's first baby (we found out they were expecting on the day of my first baby shower), which means I'm finally an aunt by blood :) Jacob is also an older cousin at the ripe old age of six months! Here's the first picture of them "together"...

As far as the rest of the week went...wow, was it busy. I felt like a terrible mother, but I had to send Jacob to daycare part of Monday and all of Tuesday just to finish everything up. I had some last minute baking and packing and wrapping to do just so we could leave Tuesday night. It was really crazy! I just felt like he'd be better off playing at daycare than having to run around with me for hours.

We had all of Christmas Eve day with Craig's family. We visited his Aunt Marie's house (which is usually the big family stop but was only a quick stop for us this year, for a few reasons), then went to church and back to Craig's parents for gift opening with the whole crew. This picture is just when we were leaving Aunt Marie's...so cute!

I don't have any pictures from gift opening because Jacob was eating his dinner through it all. Oh well. Still, here's a cute one I took while we were waiting to open them! Jacob did flop back into the tree a couple times while I was trying to get this shot...guess that head of his is just a little too heavy to hold up right now!

On Christmas morning we packed up and headed off for Christmas with my family. It's always quite an affair...a BUSY day. Dinner with my parents and grandma, then gift opening! Jacob loved his moose stocking that Grandma had for him (she's been sitting on it for a few years waiting for us to have kids!), and did pretty well with gift opening...he'd grab the paper and tear a little. Can't wait for his birthday!

This is Jacob showing how much he liked the sweater that Grandma knitted for him!

His big gift from my parents was already at our house, which was nice because it would have been a bear to transport. Jacob got a jumperoo, which he's slowly learning to use. Should have some good video at some point soon! He also got a wagon from some other family members, which will be great for summers to come! He got a lot of clothes (mostly from Craig's parents), and a few other fun toys, most of which make noise and light up! We had two more rounds of gift opening with both sides of my family. He wasn't a fan of all the commotion, but he seemed to survive pretty well nonetheless. All in all, it was good...lots of good gifts but not enough to tkae over the house completely.

He was a pretty good boy for most of the time away, though he's started this fussy back-arching thing, which isn't very fun. We're hoping it's just temporary. He slept pretty good, which was great, and he got to see a lot of people. We did have to keep up a twice-a-day regimen of his nebulizer treatments to try to kick his cough once and for all. He's handling them like a champ. We did put solid foods on the back burner while we were gone, but got back at it last night. We got through what I had prepared, but not without some fuss....still going to take a lot of practice.

Now I'm home with him for four days this week--two and a half alone--so it will be a crazy week. Lots of playing and lots of trying to get the house back in one piece when I can. I've been putting off a lot of projects until this week, so we'll see how many actually get done in between Jacob's needy spells. He's so happy a lot of the time but turns on a dime lately, whether he's hungry or bored. Speaking of which,his power nap is done and it's time to eat! Catch ya later!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Letting Go

I've discovered lately that I have a tough time letting go of the past, at least when it comes to Jacob. Every time he grows out of something, I have a hard time putting it away for the last time. I guess I grow very attached to his little clothes, and I can hardly believe when something that was once so big on him is magically now too small. I probably keep him in things longer than I should for that reason, but then again...things that don't fit him in one part of the body probably fit him in another, so it's tough to make the call. For example, his arms are long so his sleeves get short, but the body of the shirt will fit him. Or his legs are too long for the pants, but his skinny little waist fits in them perfectly. But it killed me to put away his 0-3 month onesies, and the 3-6's are now in the back of the drawer. I still haven't taken the time to put away his summer clothes, though we may need the closet space after Christmas!

I also had some mixed feelings about starting solid foods. It's a big step, and it's generally a great one. It's just...starting that means that he's growing up. He's taking steps toward not needing me to be his nearly sole provider when it comes to mealtime. It's a bit of a loss of control or something. It's a new world of high chairs and spoons and messiness. Definitely dreading the messiness. So far, though, it hasn't been going well. He spits a lot of it back out and then gets fussy. I don't know if he doesn't like it, doesn't realize it will ease his hunger pangs like milk, or isn't down with being confined to a chair instead of snuggling while he eats. We have to keep working on it, but I think for convenience sake we're going to give it a rest over Christmas. No sense dragging everything along if he's only going to get through a little bit before freaking out. We'll try again this weekend.

Ok, time to go get packed for a busy few days...if I don't get a chance to blog, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Six months

I can hardly believe that Jacob turned six months today. How time has flown. He's grown so much. The other day I was looking at pictures from his first couple months and just marveled at how much he's changed. I mean, I still see the same little boy I've always seen, but in reality his whole face has changed. He's filled out, his eyes have gotten wider and darker, and that smile is my favorite thing in the world...particularly when it is joined by a laugh! I laughed at how skinny his little legs were, and I'm so amazed when I think back to how hard those first few weeks were. Being at the hospital that first week was extremely difficult, if only because it was hard to get to know him when nurses were giving him most of his care. I just remember being so overwhelmed by it all...from the sheer discomfort (delivery is really brutal, from the obvious pains to muscle aches from working so hard), to the sleep deprivation, to figuring out nursing and pumping, and of course working out those hospital visits. It was a very disorienting time, almost like being in a fog. The whole first couple months weren't far from that either. Heck, I still have days like today where I feel like I still don't have it all together, for one reason or another. Today there wasn't any specific frustration...just a general fear of not getting it all done before Christmas, I guess. My to do list for the next three days is massive...thank goodness I'm not working. Jacob's definitely going to daycare for at least parts of Monday and Tuesday. I'll start being a full time mom on Christmas Eve!

Thinking back on all of this has me nervously excited for my brother and his wife, who should be welcoming their daughter on Monday. It's so exciting! And honestly, it's nice having been through it and now being on the sidelines seeing someone else go through it. You appreciate it a lot more. Being a parent is overwhelming, and some of it is so hard that it's almost difficult to wish it on someone else...but in the end it's all worth it. It's something hard that you have to go through to make it to the awesome stuff on the other side, once your baby really starts responding to you directly.

Anyway, even with days like today I marvel at how far we've come, and how far Jacob has come. Let's see...some of his more recent milestones...he's definitely sitting up better. He's still not entirely stable, but he's really getting a lot better at staying upright for longer periods of time before that big ol' head of his knocks him off balance. It appears he's also gotten better at rolling over both ways in bed. He used to just roll one way and get stuck on his belly, but I've been finding him on his back again more and more when I go to retrieve him in the morning. He still sleeps on his belly with his butt in the air, though. He's really getting into his toes. He likes to try to pull his socks off and grab and/or suck on his feet. Or sometimes he just sucks his toes right through the socks. He comes by it honestly, though, because I really liked my toes too.

And seeing as today marked six months, we gave solid foods a try. Well, semi-solid. The consistency of the first round of cereal is supposed to be really thin...basically breastmilk with a few little chunks of stuff. Jacob did ok. He spit a lot of it back out, which is normal. He didn't seem to mind the taste, though...no icky faces. We'll just have to keep practicing. He kept grabbing at the spoon, which is going to get messy! Definitely need to buy that mess mat at Babies 'R' Us tomorrow.

We have his six month well visit on Monday morning, so we'll have a new round of stats and percentiles to report. I'd like to go in and complain about his cough again, since he's had it since August, but he's actually got a cold now so there's a reason for it again. It's bad again like it was a few months ago, but considering all that's floating around in there, that cough isn't the worst thing--it's all he has to get it out of there. Hopefully someday it will go away...or we'll find out that there's a reason for it, at least...allergies or asthma, most likely. Not good, but sometimes knowing why something is there is better than nothing. But hopefully we can get some good advice on this solid food thing and make sure all else is well.

We're supposed to get another round of snow tomorrow, which after Friday's horrible experience is the last thing I wanted. Keep your fingers crossed that the lake enhancement is kept to a minimum. I don't think it's stopped snowing here yet. We had perfect gentle Christmas snow all day, but it can definitely stop now that we're assured a white Christmas. I have too much to do in the next few days to worry about getting stuck again. Stay safe and warm, wherever you are!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow and Shiners

Ugh...quite the day today. As much as I love a white Christmas, I'm not convinced this is the way to do it. It's still snowing here. Craig is still working and will have to drive through this craziness to get home. It's a little worrisome. But Jacob's in bed and this is as much peace and relaxation as I've had all day. I'm beat. As I mentioned in my last post, I was worried about today's snowstorm. I got up this morning dreading it, and took a deep breath when I saw the snow gently falling this morning at 8:30 as we left the house. After dropping Jacob off at day care, I came out and my back window was already covered. I had only been in there less than 10 minutes and it didn't seem like it was snowing that hard. Yikes. The roads were ok going in, and I sat at my desk all day staring at the snow. It just kept coming. It never looked particularly menacing...just a lot of small flakes blowing around. But sure enough, it piled up. The office closed at noon but considering this was my last day before nearly two weeks away, I didn't want to rush out. I went out to lunch with my Friday lunch buddies (two guys that work game production for the Amerks) and there seemed to be a good six inches or so in places. Driving didn't look fun, but other than the blowing snow it wasn't bad.

I stuck around the office until 3:30 finishing things up, then headed out. The drive wasn't that bad. Slow, but okay. I mean, if I would have been going faster it would have been bad, but at a reasonable speed it was fine. I was a little scared that there weren't really any tire tracks in the snow on the highway, just patches, but it all went fine. My first problem was when I got up to Greece and started running into piles of snow in the road. When I pulled in to day care, the hill to get in was a little scary, and I got stuck at the top for about 30 seconds. A couple rocks and I was moving again, only to end up stuck in my parking space when I came back out. Oh, and this time my back window was opaque again a minute after I brushed it off. It took me about six tries but I finally got out of my space and back on the road. I was hopeful as I drove down the street because it seemed like there wasn't a lot of plow debris at the end of driveways along our street. However, as I pulled into our driveway, I came to a standstill. Ugh. I was mostly in the driveway at that point, which was good. I opened the garage, hopped through a foot of snow up the driveway, and came back down with a shovel to start digging out. I dug around my tires and tried again. No luck. I think I tried one more time and straightened out a bit, but no real movement. I had no choice but to leave the car running with Jacob in the backseat and start shoveling a path for my car. Luckily he fell asleep again despite having had a two hour nap at daycare, which is almost unheard of for him. Fortunately, our neighbor across the street came over and helped me dig, and after 20-30 minutes, we had finished the path and I got in the garage. I got Jacob into the house and ran back out for five minutes to finish shoveling where my car had been.

Needless to say, I've been pretty exhausted tonight. It's a little scary considering this is night #1 of nearly two weeks home with Jacob. Granted, a portion of that time will be spent with family so we will have plenty of extra arms looking to hold him, but I will have a lot of days home with him, too. Hopefully during that time I can officially catch up on my sleep and keep up that energy with Jacob. He'll also have a bunch of new fun toys to play with, so that should break up the day a bit too. I just don't want to feel like I did at the end of my maternity leave, where I was ready for work again because I needed a break from baby land. I spend all day at work thinking about him, so I really want to enjoy this time off. But I'm actually very nervous about it. I don't want Jacob to be bored, and I don't want to spend all day staring at all of the stuff around the house that I need to get done but can't because Jacob takes up most of my time. We'll see how it goes...God knows I have a ton of wrapping to do in the next few days and Craig will be working for most of it.

As for the other part of this post's title, Jacob came home with his first official boo-boo yesterday. He's had scratches here and there, not to mention his little arm hickey way back when, but this is a legitimate bruise. It's tough to see, but you can see it right above his right eye in the picture below:

He did it to himself, flailing his arms like he does so often these days, only with a toy in his hand. Apparently he didn't cry. He just whined a bit so they knew he did it, and that was about it. At least it doesn't bother him. It looks a lot worse than it is, I think. Just a little tiny shiner for a little tiny guy!

Here are a couple more pictures that I couldn't resist:

Finally, wanna hear something crazy? Six months ago right now I was in some pretty serious labor. Although, at this point I probably couldn't feel it thanks to that fantastic epidural. Jacob will hit the six month mark at 2:40am, and I can hardly believe it. Hopefully I'll have a chance to blog more about that this weekend. This post is already long enough! Stay warm and stay safe!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Random Stuff

Just a few random news and notes today...

Jacob had a massive blowout this morning. I swear there was poop over about 2/3 of his back, at least. It was really nasty. I'm not sure that onesie is ever going to recover. I somehow even gave myself a blister trying to scrub it out. I was feeding him and could tell he was going, but when I sat him up to burp him and could smell it really well, I figured something was up. And sure enough...yuck. Nothing like a monkey wrench like that into your morning routine!

Jacob is really, really cute. I know I keep saying that, but every time I look at him, whether he's smiling or sleeping or just being his goofy self, I can't help but think it. I have the close-up Santa hat picture from my last post as my work wallpaper, and every time I click back to my desktop I can't help but smile. He gets a lot of comments when we go out and people peek into his carrier or see us carting him around. When we got his pictures done the other night, the photographer kept saying how cute he was...though she probably says that about all of the kids.

Speaking of the photos...they went ok. I was a little underwhelmed by their backdrop options. Either Christmas or a black or white drape. Hmmmm. Since I didn't want these to be Christmas specific, it had to be one of the drapes...and since he was wearing mostly black, it had to be white. Ugh. We tried him in all different positions...sitting up (he did remarkably well...I hardly had to support him), on his belly, on his back, with me holding him...anything to keep him smiling...which was a challenge. Normally Jacob is so smiley, and he was at the beginning of the shoot. But as it went on he just sort of stopped. He didn't cry (he whined a bit once), but he just didn't smile either. I don't know if he just wasn't in the mood, or if he was getting bored, or if he was too interested in the camera to bother with anything else. Afterward he was smiling again, so who knows. The other issue was that he's got a bit of a cold right now and his nose is extra runny these days. As a result, he's got quite a dry patch under his nose. I put cream on it a lot and it generally looks better in the morning when his nose has been running less overnight (it all must run into his throat instead, since we're back to a bad cough...poor thing), but at the end of the day it's pretty rough. So, the couple good close up shots weren't particularly attractive in the nose region. Ugh. I did manage to pick one pose that was cute, though, so I guess that's good.

In other news, I'm getting a little extra nervous about tomorrow's weather forecast. We're supposed to get like, 6 to 9 inches of snow during the day. Overall it's just terrible timing. For one, it's my last day of work this year. I have a lot to do and even if we got released early, I probably wouldn't be able to leave. And now that I have to pick up Jacob (Craig's got a game...that no one will be at if this thing is as bad as they say it will be), it makes me even more nervous because I don't like driving in weather like that, nor do I want to risk getting stuck somewhere and not be able to get to him. It's that much scarier with a child now....who knew? And the other issue? I won't be able to shovel. I'd hope I'd be able to get in the driveway, but if the plows come out during the day I could be in trouble. It'd be awful if I couldn't get in the driveway or if I got stuck, because I don't want to just leave Jacob in the car, nor can I just leave him in the house if I had to shovel out. Hmmm. I shouldn't worry about it yet, but it crossed my mind and has me a little concerned.

I guess that's about it for now...like I said, random :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Card Rejects

Hi, I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Ours was busy as usual. Jacob and I went to the hockey game on Friday night so he could see Santa. I figured it was his shot to see a non-creepy Santa (the ones at the malls bug me...not to mention that waiting in line is awful). Staying up late totally screwed up his schedule for a couple days, but oh well. He didn't particularly enjoy Santa, however. No tears, just no smiles.


Here's a pic I snapped of Jacob when we got home that night...couldn't resist :)


My parents came to visit on Saturday so they could hang out with Jacob while Craig and I went Christmas shopping. It was weird being out and about without him, especially since it seemed like everyone had their baby out at the mall, no matter how young. Crazy. While I did miss having Jacob around, it was nice to be able to move around as quickly as possible (in spite of the slowpokes all over the place) and to not worry about when he'd need to eat or what to do if he got cranky. We had a fairly successful trip, though there's still a lot more to do!

Craig had another game yesterday so Jacob and I were on our own. We ended up going to the children's Christmas program at church in the afternoon, which was nice. Jacob seemed to enjoy it...he was very content the whole time. Once we got home it was time for our Christmas card photo shoot. I'm keeping the winner under wraps since most of the people that read this blog will be getting a card....and perhaps will post it later on once the cards have gone out. But for now, here are some rejects...the best of the rejects, anyway...so many cute ones, but there could only be one winner...

It was fun playing dress up and getting Jacob to smile, until he decided he wanted to suck on his hands non-stop and the drool started showing up on his shirt. We have some "official" pictures tomorrow evening, and I am SO hoping that he's in a good mood for them. We shall see. Happy Monday :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

So awesome...

I really have a pretty awesome little boy. I know that sounds really parental of me, but honestly, the kid is amazing. He's so cute, really sweet, very content, and a great sleeper. He smiles all the time, laughs a lot, and is really pretty flexible. We went to the Amerks game tonight, and he was such a good boy. It was a late night and quite a bit of a change from his normal routine, but he was awesome. And then we came home and he went to bed without incident, even though I didn't get him from his carseat to the crib without waking him up. He just smiled as I put his pjs on and put him in his crib.

I figured it was time to go to a hockey game because we hadn't been there since Halloween. He's grown and changed a lot in the last month and a half, and I wanted to show him off again. In addition, Santa was at the game tonight. I'm creeped out by mall Santas so this seemed like a good opportunity since we know the Amerks' Santa. And seriously, you won't see a more authentic looking one anywhere. I'll post a picture soon. Jacob didn't smile, but he didn't cry either. Wait until next year!

Anyway, the whole time we were at the game people (even strangers) were remarking how cute he is. We ran into one of the teachers at Jacob's daycare (she's a season ticket holder) and she was saying how much everyone there loves him. And while I'm sure they love all the babies, he does seem to get a lot of love there. I think it's the dimple! Or perhaps it's just that he's so easy-going and only cries when he really needs something. Nice change of pace from some kids, I suppose.

The last couple nights he's been so happy, laughing a ton and keeping me laughing myself. He's been going down to sleep really well lately, too (knock on wood), and it's given me some decent time in the evenings to get things done or just relax with Craig like we used to back in the day. I spent a lot of time today talking to people at work because we had our Christmas party all afternoon. There was a lot of baby talk, and Jacob is definitely the king sleeper of all the new babies. He's also the oldest, but still...not by so much that he's getting in two hours more sleep each night than his next closest competitor. I feel bad for the rest of the parents, but I am immensely grateful for Jacob's sleep skills...rest assured.

While I know I have my moments of frustration when he gets cranky or I just don't feel like running errands with 18+ pounds of baby stuff, I wouldn't change a thing. He's such an amazingly good baby, completely adorable and endearing, and I just can't get enough of him. He makes me smile, makes me laugh, and makes me so grateful for the amazing blessing he is. Every time I'm with him I marvel at how great he is. Again, I know this sounds so parental...and parents are totally allowed to be proud of their kids. But I just know I have an extra special baby...and I can only pray that he continues on this path and becomes a very special little boy--genuinely nice and sweet, well-behaved, and completely adorable. Of course, with all of those characteristics we'll have to make sure he's humble as well! For now, though, I am content to just enjoy him. Still can't wait until Christmas week...only one more week of work and then I have almost two weeks to enjoy him...YES!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One year ago...

One year ago today Craig and I were just getting settled on vacation in Florida. As much as that life is a world away now, sometimes it just seems like it wasn't that long ago...certainly not a year. So much has changed. There are days when I can hardly believe that I've gone through an entire pregnancy and have a nearly six-month-old baby since we were in Florida last year. It was somewhat of a last hurrah for us as far as getaways go, so it was definitely a special time.

I have a lot of random things that come to mind from that trip. I was so nervous about traveling pregnant, from imaginary risks of flying to real risks of riding rides, from worrying about feeling good enough to enjoy it to fears of what would happen if something went wrong while we were there. I won't lie...I did have this random thought about how horrible it would be if, say, the plane crashed and Lori would have been left with the issue of telling people I was pregnant. Yikes. Fortunately none of that was a problem. We had a wonderful trip that was only besmirched by horrific travel on the way home (a canceled flight, missed connection, and 10 hours of delays due to LOTS of snow).

I vividly remember the joy of getting down there, taking in the warm weather, giddily changing out of my jeans and hoodie, relishing the feeling of flip flops on my feet, and heading off to lunch at CiCi's Pizza (yummy pizza buffet, for those of you who have never seen the commercials on TV) while we waited for our FREE accomodations to be ready (golf tournament prize that Craig won years ago). CiCi's was a planned stop because I had been dying to go to one and it was right down the street from our apartment. I was still in my bottomless pit phase, so the buffet was awesome and I ate a ton. Miraculously, I starting coming out of my first trimester blahs right in time for the trip, so that was a relief. I think I had a couple mornings where I wasn't feeling particularly chipper, and I think there were a couple evenings where I conked out a little early, but that was about it. I remember being a little self-conscious about my belly when I put on my swimsuit, though I wasn't really showing at the time...a bit bloated maybe, but that was about it.

I agonized over not being able to ride rides at Disney. I had been waiting years to ride Space Mountain and so many other rides, and most of them had pregnancy warnings. Ugh. At that point it probably wouldn't have been an issue (a placenta detachment from jarring motion or G-forces might have been the biggest fear), but I figured it wasn't worth the risk. The only exception I made was the safari ride at Animal Kingdom because, well, isn't that the whole point of the place? I did some research online and people said it wasn't that rough and was fine for (early) pregnant women. And thank goodness, because it was really great. My energy level held up really well with all of the walking we did, and we really covered a lot over the course of the week.

We did a lot of Christmas shopping over the course of the trip, which was a godsend in the midst of not having had the energy to do much shopping prior to the trip. We also looked at all of the baby stuff with a newfound appreciation, though we didn't buy anything since most was either pink or blue and we didn't know what we were having...and I think at that point we didn't want to jinx it. As we went through the various attractions at the parks, we talked a lot about coming back someday with our kids, noting in particular things that we thought we'd all really enjoy and appreciate more with kids than we did as a couple. I do think it was a little sobering to look around and see people juggling kids and all of the stuff that they require, not to mention the thought of how much it costs to feed kids there. Yikes. Definitely intimidating.

But here we are a year later with an amazing little boy. While a vacation would be nice I don't know if I could be away from Jacob for too long. On the other hand, I'm still a little nervous about traveling with an infant. I can barely get myself through an airport, let alone a baby, a car seat, and whatever else. Oh well. It's been a whirlwind year, but what an adventure. I'll leave you with some pics from the trip, as well as a very holiday-appropriate video of the fantastic light show at Disney-MGM....awesome.

Cinderella's Castle...pretty :)


All Legos...except Craig, obviously!

Me with Figment...my favorite character from my last trip to Disney!



The only picture we had of us together, in front of Canada at EPCOT.

And now...more Christmas lights than I have ever seen in my life...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeling better...

Fortunately I am feeling better today. I am still scared that Jacob is going to catch whatever I had/have. He's at daycare today so it's been nice to just recover a bit and not worry about getting him sick. I will be going to get him in a few hours, so I'm sure I'll worry about it again tonight. Even though the worst appears to be over, my body went through quite a bit yesterday....I probably ate 20% of what I usually do, and all of that forceful ejection of what was in my body wiped me out. I am still recovering a bit today. I feel good enough that I can get some things done, but I usually need a bit of a rest afterward.

It's been an odd day being home alone. I haven't had this experience in a long time. To nap uninterrupted, to clean things up at will without having to think about what to do with Jacob....it's strange. I may still try to get one more nap in before I head off to go get him. I've been pumping as usual today, but I'm getting very little out. I think the dehydration is impacting my milk supply big time. In two pumpings I only have six ounces, and usually I have about 10. I will probably try to pump one more time before I go get him, too. We made Jacob an additional bottle this morning because he still seemed hungry but kept popping off, presumably because there wasn't anything there for him. Poor guy. Hopefully we'll get back on track soon.

I'm grateful that this illness didn't last longer, partly because I'd go nuts (couldn't help but cringe at the thought of feeling like I did yesterday for three months...SO incredibly thankful I didn't have morning sickness!!) and partly because I have a lot to do at work in the next couple weeks before a blissful week and a half off! I feel bad not being there, but obviously they don't want to catch what I had either. I am definitely looking forward to time off at Christmas...lots of uninterrupted time with Jacob, which will be awesome.

Well, I'm off to nap and maybe get the tree decorated...since that didn't happen yesterday!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sick Mommy :(

Today was not fun. This morning on the way to church I just suddenly didn't feel well. My stomach gurgled a bit during church and although I was starting to feel tired, I did some running around with Jacob while we were already out and about. Long story short, by mid-afternoon I was not doing well. Craig was on the road for a lacrosse game, so I was feeling really stuck. I called Lori and had her come in to take care of Jacob. It was a lifesaver, because I was puking by this evening. All I can do is hope that it's not something contagious, because I do NOT want Jacob getting this. It's hard enough when it comes out of both ends, let alone when a baby can't run himself to the bathroom. After two rounds worshipping the porcelain god (or the plastic garbage can--plus some earlier lower digestive issues), I seem to be doing better (knock on wood). All I've had since breakfast is a couple crackers (one came back up), a little bit of jello, and a freeze pop, so I'm a little weak. I've had a bunch of water to stave off dehydration and keep my milk supply up. Lori fed Jacob one bottle because he'd been fussy nursing all day and my theory was that the dehydration had already kicked in, plus I didn't want to go near him. Wish I could have stuck to that earlier today before I felt this crappy. Craig tried another bottle earlier but that didn't go well and I ended up having to nurse. Jacob had a hard time going to bed, but it could have been the disruption in his schedule that did it. Who knows. I'm just hoping that we're both ok in the morning. Being a sick mom is not fun and I am so grateful to Lori for being able to come over and help out. I would have had one miserably crying baby without her, because I could hardly pick him up. That is a scary feeling. Keep us in your prayers...

Friday, December 5, 2008

"No"

I keep wondering when it's appropriate to start disciplining. I know Jacob still doesn't have a concept of right or wrong, but if we don't start now, will it be a problem down the road? Fortunately right now I'm just talking about basic stuff...telling him no when he goes to touch something he shouldn't--primarily food or beverages--or when he pulls hair or glasses or squeezes a little too tight when his nails need trimming. I feel funny telling him no at this point, but again, if we don't start it now, will there ever be a good time? Should we just get him used to the word now before he knows enough to ignore it?

I definitely worry about him getting older and more mobile and learning how to disobey. One of the bloggers I follow discussed that today...that she's finding raising a toddler to be harder than going through cancer. As much as she loves him, she's at the end of her rope when it comes to keeping him under control. He runs everywhere, gets into everything, and has a bit of a daredevil streak. Stuff like that scares the crap out of me. I just don't know if I'll have the patience or the energy. Right now, even though he can get frustrating at times, I know Jacob doesn't know any better when he's being difficult. That's the only way he knows how to react. I know that the experts say that manipulation can begin around now, where babies figure out how to get mom and dad's attention with a little extra crying or some other similar device. There's definitely a fine line between giving your child prompt attention and giving them the chance to resolve something themselves. You don't want to ignore a crying baby, but you also don't want to get them too used to parents that drop everything the second the baby lets out a peep.

I like having this "perfect" child right now and will be a little sad the day he knowingly disobeys. I know it will happen but I just hope that we can be good, strong parents that teach him right from the beginning so we can minimize those moments. The better the foundation, the better he'll be as he gets older. I had a strict but loving upbringing and I hope I can find that balance with my own children.

It should be a fun weekend ahead. Tonight Jacob spent a good chunk of the evening napping on me--must have been a busy day at day care! After a bath he went to bed pretty much without incident. Craig is off tomorrow, which is also his birthday. We're going out to dinner and a movie and leaving Jacob with Lori. She's definitely looking forward to it, and I think we're both excited for a night out alone...only our third since he was born, I think. Sunday Craig has to work so it will just be me and Jacob. At some point I hope to get our tree decorated. I got most of the house done tonight after Jacob went to bed, but the tree is still empty. Jacob was pretty entranced by the lights tonight, though. He just couldn't stop staring for the longest time. Very cute! Off to bed now....happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another point...

I don't know if this was the point I was forgetting about earlier, but I meant to mention this last week when I posted about Jacob's fever so I guess I'll do it now since it seems like a logical next point after today's earlier post. Last Wednesday was the first time I felt like I let my job suffer for the sake of my child. I've always tried to be a team player at work--staying late when necessary (and sometimes when it wasn't), working on projects until I'm losing my mind and my eyesight to make sure they're done in time, and just doing what I could to help my two bosses out. Most of the time I can do all this and still be a pretty good mother because I'm still getting home at a reasonable hour and I've had all day to live a normal life before coming home to a Jacob-centric world.

Ever since I went back to work I've been a bit limited, however, because three days a week I have to leave by 5:30 in order to get to day care in time. I'd get to work earlier if I could, but I'm already getting up at 6:30 and barely getting in by 9 as it is. I don't think I could take any less sleep. Still, I think I've done pretty well despite the limited schedule and sleep deprivation. But last Wednesday we had a huge project going on, one that I was supposed to do a lot of work on, and I just couldn't do it. I had to leave early to take my afternoon shift with Jacob and his fever. I felt terrible that I couldn't be more helpful to my boss, particularly because my other boss was on vacation and I was the only hope to get this project done in time without her spending her whole thanksgiving working on it. I would have liked to do some work from home, but I never did figure out how to make my laptop work. I suppose I should work on that ASAP for the next illness. I just felt bad. I've always prided myself on being a good, reliable employee, and this time I just couldn't come through. I know that it was for the most important reason possible and that I shouldn't feel guilty, but still...it's hard.

When I worked in sports I used to say that even though people can do their job, it doesn't mean it's the best fit for them based on their circumstances. Basically...it's great that you can do your job, but that doesn't mean you're doing it well...and if not doing it well means that it's impacting other people negatively, sometimes you just have to take the high road and know what's best for everyone involved. I got to a point in that job where I just felt like I was too frustrated to do the job at the level I wanted to, and I left because it just wasn't a good fit anymore. Kids or other interests can have a similar impact. Your priorities change and it affects how your view that part of your life. While I'm nowhere near feeling like I need to rethink my current job, I'm always mindful of how much my home life impacts my work life. And the day it truly starts impacting people negatively on a regular basis will be the day I figure out if it's still the best fit...for me, for the company, and most of all for Jacob.

Now if I could just figure out the best way to use the rest of my vacation this month without leaving people hanging...

Coincidence or a reason to feel extra guilty?

Over the weekend I had over four days straight to spend with Jacob, for the first time pretty much since my maternity leave. Sad, isn't it? Alas, the realities of being a working mom. Anyway...it seemed to me that he was really aware and more active than ever before, and that feeling has continued since the weekend. Whether it was his non-stop stream of smiles and laughs on Sunday, or his increased grabbing at things, or just a generally heightened awareness of his surroundings, it seemed like all of a sudden he was a whole new baby. Maybe it's a coincidence that he happened to cross this threshold over the weekend...or maybe not.

As I've thought about it in the last few days, I've been trying to figure out if it was just that I had never had a chance to string individual occurrences together as a trend because my time with him is limited, or if those four days with Craig and me (and the rest of our families) gave him such a jolt of interaction and stimulation that all of a sudden he started coming out of his shell. Either way, it leaves me feeling a little guilty. If I just never noticed, then shame on me. I'll admit it's tough sometimes. I try to play with him as much as possible during the limited time we have, but maybe our play activities never allowed him to show his new skills. If the increased activity helped him along, then I feel bad because me being at work prevents him from getting full days like that on a regular basis. I think day care is giving him sufficient care and interaction, but Mommy and Daddy are definitely different. It's just unfortunate that we can't afford to have either of us stay home (at least, not if we want to maintain our savings and have a shot at giving Jacob and any future kids a hand with college), and neither job is made to be part time. Definitely a tough spot. I can't wait until I have a full week or so off at Christmas!

I swear I had another point to make on this, but for now, enjoy these pictures from the weekend. The shirt was a gift from godmother Lori, and the pants were a clearance rack find at Baby Gap...Jacob's first pair of cords! These pictures are yet another piece of proof that Jacob is a boy of many looks...I think he looks so different in all three pictures! Such a big boy, isn't he?



Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend Aftermath and the Holidays

Well, it's back to work today. It was tough leaving Jacob at day care because I had so much fun with him over the weekend, particularly yesterday. He had some bedtime and overnight issues, but really, the amount of smiles and laughs I got from him totally overshadowed all of it. I wish I had some great pictures of the smiles, but he seems to stop smiling when I pull out the camera. I still need to pull them off my camera and see what I have. Hopefully soon. He's growing a ton so he's probably changed since the last time I posted pics. Sorry about that.

We did a lot of running around over the weekend to get a head start on Christmas shopping. I think I've mentioned here before that we used to do a lot of 10pm shopping trips in the past, but that we know that trips like that with both of us are probably a thing of the past since Jacob's in bed by 9:30. I did some running around on my own last night because so much of it was quick, easy, in-and-out stuff that I knew would take forever if I had to pull Jacob out of the car every time. If nothing else I had to get Craig's birthday present, so I had to be alone for that part no matter what. We still have a long way to go, but we made progress.

I didn't, however, make any progress on getting out Christmas decorations. I'm still on the fence (for the 3rd or 4th year in a row) about getting a new tree. I want a new one that's bigger than my 6-foot, $20 tree that I bought my first year on my own. It's better than you'd think, but considering the number of ornaments we have (and the number we're sure to get with a third member of the family), we definitely need a bigger tree. There are a couple I have my eye on, and I may very well go get one tonight, but regardless, I guess my evenings this week after Jacob is in bed will be spent hauling up my Rubbermaid bins of decorations and getting as many in place as I can. I am really looking forward to Jacob taking it all in.

I got to thinking this weekend about all of the holiday traditions. We already have some in place from our own experiences, but I look forward to adding more as Jacob gets older. When I was a kid I loved all of the advent services at church, from the school advent programs to the Sunday School and Candelight services on Christmas Eve. In a few years hopefully Jacob will get to do things like that at church or in school. I don't know if we'll ever get in the habit of visiting Santa (depends how creepy the mall Santas look, I suppose), but I guess we can always write letters. Maybe we'll get into baking Christmas cookies or building snowmen. Who knows what he'll take to? I do look forward to doing an advent calendar or two...I loved that as a kid and still enjoy it now, and I think the excitement of what's behind each door (on whatever calendar we use) is something every kid can appreciate. I used to like going to the Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, so maybe there's something around here like that. Who knows?

I do know that his experiences with Christmas morning are going to be different. My family was all in town, so I always woke up Christmas morning at my own house. Since we've been married we've always spent Christmas Eve with Craig's family, slept there, and headed to my parents' house by noon on Christmas Day to start a crazy day with my family. It saddens me to think that Jacob and any other future children may never have Christmas morning at our house (but maybe someday we'll get back to Buffalo), but family makes it even more special so maybe it will be cool in its own right. I did mention to Craig that we might have to work out a schedule to do every other Christmas morning at my parents' house, so both sets of grandparents can appreciate the Christmas morning excitement. That would probably mean a late-night drive from Hamburg to NT every other Christmas Eve (hopefully with sleeping children in the backseat), but I think my parents would definitely appreciate it to see Jacob run down the stairs like my brother and I used to. I think we at least have a couple years before Jacob fully grasps Christmas morning and Santa, so we have time to figure it all out, but I think some of this stuff was stuff I never thought about before we had kids.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this as the holiday season progresses...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a weekend...

Well, despite the fact Jacob is crying right now, it was a pretty great weekend. Fever and current bedtime fussiness aside, we really had a very nice 4-1/2 days together. It was nice having such a long uninterrupted time with him. It's rare to have that. Today was exceptionally fun, with lots of smiles and happy time. He was a really good boy, other than when he was so tired that he got fussy--this kid can fight sleep like few others--but for the most part he was downright awesome. He was so much fun to play with. He seems to be getting to the point that I can simply look at him and he'll start smiling...let alone if I make a funny face, blow raspberries at him, or give him a toy to play with. He's also getting to be quite the grabber. On Friday he grabbed a spoon off the table very swiftly, and later he knocked over a (closed) 2-Liter bottle of soda/pop (pick your word--I grew up in Buffalo but live in Rochester so I'm torn) just by reaching out for it while he was in my arms. Oops. Yesterday he did the same with my plastic glass at a restaurant (just ice). Today he was reaching for all sorts of stuff. It's funny to watch him fixate on something and start exploring. We're definitely getting into a new frontier with that stuff. He's becoming more interested in grown-up food, but I think I'm still going to hold out on solid food a little longer. No sense rushing things. Maybe a couple more weeks and we'll give it a shot, just so we can get in a decent groove before we're off for another few routine-jarring days in Buffalo at Christmas. I forgot to mention that he weighed in around 16-1/2 pounds at the doctor yesterday...so he's definitely getting bigger by the day. He's a lot to cart around sometimes, but when he falls asleep in your arms or hangs on to your neck (another new thing--nice to not always have to support him completely when I need that extra hand), it's worth it. Anyway, it'll be tough dropping him off tomorrow. It definitely makes me look forward to the whole week I'll have off at Christmas, not to mention any additional vacation days I happen to take between now and then. Long weekends rock...now more than ever.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not quite how we planned it...

In case we needed another lesson on how having kids changes things, the Thanksgiving holiday provided it. Regardless of everything that happened, we still managed to have a nice couple days and two awesome meals. Jacob was quite entertaining when he was in a good mood, and we had a nice time hanging out with both sides of the family. That said...

Jacob's fever stuck around until Thanksgiving night. It really didn't seem to bother him too much, but he probably didn't eat as much as usual and it was painful knowing how warm he felt. Still, he seemed to do pretty well. We kept him medicated with Tylenol, and that seemed to keep the fever at bay. The first night away he did ok, just waking up once, I think. Nothing too bad. The second night was a little worse, with him waking up twice. I fed him a bit both times because nothing else seemed to work. Craig slept with him on his chest for a bit, and later on I slept with him cradled in my arm. Far from ideal, but considering he was sick and we just needed to sleep, it worked out ok.

He seemed ok in the morning, but by the evening he seemed a little cranky and uncomfortable, so I tried Tylenol again in case he was having pain from an ear infection or teething. He seemed ok after that. We put him in bed around 10, but he woke up around 12:15 or so screaming. I've never heard him scream like that. He stiffened up, arched his back, threw back his head, spread his arms, and screamed bloody murder. Nothing seemed to calm him. After a while I think he started tiring himself out, but it took a long time before he was calm enough to fall back to sleep. In the meantime, we called the doctor and talked to the nurse. She didn't have much to say except to keep giving him Tylenol if he seemed uncomfortable. He woke up again around 3:30 for another half hour of painful crying, and I think for the rest of the night he slept on Craig's chest. Needless to say, Craig is napping as I type. We got up this morning and got on the road by 10 so we could make it back to Rochester before the doctor's walk-in hours ended at noon. We had planned to stay in NT until at least this afternoon, to hang out with my parents, maybe do a little shopping, and whatever else. Not so much.

The doctor didn't have much to tell us. No ear infection, at least. She chalked his discomfort up to congestion, which he has had a lot of, but he's been congested since his bronchiolitis episode in August. I'm not sure what would make last night turn so ugly compared to any other night with congestion, but it still may be that he's teething. We can't feel anything yet, and although he's been chewing on his hands and fingers a lot, he does that quite a bit anyway. I guess if it happens again we'll have to try a teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth. I have a feeling, though, that if it is teething pain, it may be the teeth inside the gums moving around. For anyone that's ever had braces, I think it's probably like that...just an ache you can't do anything about as the teeth migrate around your mouth. Who knows.

I will say that the crying fits were probably among my scariest moments as a parent. The fever was scary on Tuesday night, but the way he was crying so inconsolably was truly frightening. When attempts to soothe him didn't even register, it just seemed like he was completely consumed by pain. He was oblivious to anything going on around him and just screamed like crazy. As a parent you want to take away your child's pain, even if it means bringing it on yourself. But even more, you just want your baby to be okay. You just want to know that whatever's causing the pain is temporary, that it won't permanently harm them. You want answers...desperately wishing that you could read minds or that your baby were extremely advanced and could point to where it hurts. Jacob wasn't giving us many clues, so it all just felt very scary and out of control for a while.

He seems better again today and is taking a nice long nap right now. Hopefully he'll be in a good mood when he wakes up and will be ready for some running around as we attempt to brave a few stores in the midst of the holiday shopping season's opening weekend.

We hope everyone had a very happy thanksgiving, and hopefully we'll get to see more of you at Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Fever

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Jacob has come down with a fever. Apparently he was a little cranky, extra sleepy, and a little warm at daycare yesterday, and by the time I got home Craig was having a rough time with him too. He definitely felt warm, and after some less than successful temperature-taking early on, I decided that the digital thermometer that came with a baby toiletry kit wasn't going to cut it. We had used that thermometer to try to take an underarm temperature when we were afraid Jacob was overheating in our hot house, and it just never seemed to get a solid temperature. So...off to Walmart I went to buy an ear thermometer, which Jacob is now old enough for and I had been meaning to get sometime soon anyway. When I got home and finally figured out how to use it, he had a temperature of 100. I called the doctor and they said to give him Tylenol. If it sticks around for three days, we need to call back to make sure he doesn't have an ear infection. The Tylenol worked like a charm for the fever. He ate fine, cracked a few smiles and went to bed without much problem. He woke up once at 5:30, but a little snuggling and he was fine until I woke him up to eat this morning.

After much back and forth, Craig and I finally figured out that he would take the morning and I would take the afternoon. He had to be home to wait for a plumber anyway (our bathtub faucet is leaking a bunch--nothing a few hundred bucks won't fix), so he just stuck around until I could come home at 1. I would have gotten out of work early today anyway, but took a sick half day so I could be home sooner. His temperature was probably low enough that we could still have sent him to daycare, but 1) I don't want anyone else's sick kid there, so I shouldn't send mine either; and 2) He was so cranky with Craig this morning that he didn't want to "dump him off" on them. He wouldn't eat much for Craig earlier, but he had a very good feeding when I got home and was happy and laughing for a good hour, I think. Then he started to get a little cranky and I rocked him to sleep. He woke up a bit when I put him down, and has made a bit of noise twice since then, but each time he seems to drift back off. When he wakes up he'll be due for another dose of Tylenol, and hopefully I can finish packing his stuff up for our Thanksgiving travels.

I don't know what's causing the fever at this point. He's always pretty congested--it's never really let up since the bronchiolitis. His cough is less frequent and usually less painful-sounding than it used to be. Hard to tell if he's just going to have they daycare perma-cold for the rest of the winter now, or if the bronchiolitis remnants just happened to run into a couple colds and the fever is part of this particular cold. It crossed my mind that he might be teething, since he seemed to be sucking on his fingers a lot today. I didn't feel anything, but I have no idea how much you can feel before a tooth actually breaks through the skin. In any event, I'm hoping this clears up soon. We have a few very busy days ahead and I was really looking forward to hanging out with my normally happy little boy! I guess we'll just be packing the thermometer and Tylenol, once again hauling the humidifer along for the trip, and hoping for the best.

If I don't get a chance to blog tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Holidays

The holidays are coming and I can hardly believe it. Practically seems like a couple months ago that I was nervous about seeing family at Thanksgiving and not letting on that I felt like crap because I was in the middle of my first trimester. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was dragging myself through decorating for Christmas and packing for our trip to Florida feeling sooo exhausted. I remember marveling at the thought of having a 4-6 month old baby by the holidays this year, looking at our nephew Grant and thinking our baby would be right around his age by this year. And sure enough, here we are. We have an amazing five month old little boy and we've survived parenthood pretty well so far.

I remember thinking last year as I struggled through Christmas shopping and decorating that doing the Christmas thing exhausted and nauseous was one thing...but doing it in and around a baby's schedule would be something entirely different. And from what I can tell so far, I was absolutely right. Gone are the days where Craig and I could head out to the mall together at 9pm to get in an hour or two of shopping minus the crowds. This year we'll either be going early or going solo late, with one of us staying home while Jacob sleeps. Lately I've been doing my grocery shopping at 9 or 9:30, once Jacob is fed and in bed. It's just easier to do that than to work around his feedings or cart him around (he's HEAVY these days) and hope he doesn't freak out in the middle of the store. For the most part he's a good baby and doesn't even cry that loud most of the time, but it's still a helpless feeling when you're out in public and your baby is screaming. I can go out with him just fine, but a lot of times I simply choose not to. It just makes the quick in-and-out running around I used to do a lot harder. There are days I'm willing to attempt it, and some days that I'm just not.

As a result, Christmas preparations are going to need to be more organized and streamlined than ever. I'll need to get my lists together ASAP, figure out if any trips can be combined, and focus on the best uses of my time. I am still probably going to take one day of vacation in the next couple weeks (hopefully my lists are coming together by then) where I send Jacob to day care, get as much shopping done as possible, and go pick him up a little earlier than usual. I think that's going to be the best way to get things done. I tried shopping with him a little this weekend at the mall, and I just wasn't into it. I was worried about him getting hungry and I just didn't want to take the time to try things on or really look around. And manuvering a stroller through some stores is nearly impossible. Based on running around this weekend, I think weekday shopping is wise. Crowds were already terrible this weekend. Annoying when it's just you, but extra inconvenient when you need to have a stroller or cart and everyone else's carts are blocking everything! Add a crying baby into that and I'm headed to the insane asylum.

Even getting decorations out at home is going to be a challenge. I think once they're up Jacob is going to have a blast with them, but just finding the time and energy to get up all of the bins and put everything out is going to be tough. And just wait until next year when everything needs to be baby-proof...yikes! But for this year I am looking forward to his reaction to all the lights, and hopefully he'll be ready to do a little tearing of wrapping paper in another month. He may not get it yet, but he may like that sensation nonetheless.

There's so much to do and I have a lot to organize in the next month. Holy cow, it really is a month...one month from right now we'll be hanging out with Craig's family for their annual Christmas Eve get together. Wow. It's coming quick...and I better get ready!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why do I always choose wrong?

I swear, I am so bad at reading Jacob sometimes. Or at the very least, I have bad luck. For whatever reason, when Craig brings Jacob home, they always manage to have a nap together. Jacob falls asleep in the car on the way home, and somehow Craig gets him in the house, out of his seat, and on his chest without too much trouble. They nap until I get home, and Jacob is in a good mood most of the night because he's well rested. I never can get him to fall asleep. I carry him around, rock him, try to lay down with him, put him in the swing. He cries if I put him down and squirms if I hold him. I know he's tired, but he fights it like crazy. I'm convinced that part of the problem is that with me he can smell the breastmilk...he gets tired and would rather eat than sleep. I can feed him and he gets sleepy, but the moment I try to move (generally to try to lay him down), he wakes up and starts fighting all over again.

Tonight we got home from daycare and I tried rocking him a bit, walking around with him, anything to get him to take a nap before he got too cranky. I could tell he was tired, but no dice. Eventually he melted down and I had to feed him. He was sleepy afterward but sure enough, wide awake shortly thereafter. I desperately wanted to eat dinner but nothing was working to get him to sleep. Finally, after letting him cry while I ate a Hot Pocket with one hand, I rocked him a LONG time (which was so hard with my sore arms from last night's workout), and he conked out. I figured he'd sleep about a half hour or so (his norm), wake up before 9, eat and go to bed. I let him sleep on me because I hadn't done that with him in a while and I didn't want to wake him up. Well, over two hours later, he was still asleep and I was well on my way. So much for waking up and eating. I finally got up, took him into his room and changed him for bed. Of course, he never fully woke up and instead was writhing around half asleep, making it almost impossible to change him. I managed to get him in bed still half asleep and without much fuss, but now I'm wondering if he's going to wake up hungry at 3am or something crazy like that.

The point of all of this is that even with a wonderful and generally predictable baby I still have a hard time guessing what to do. The other night I had a similar situation...I can't remember the circumstances exactly, but I just know that I felt trapped by decisions. Like I misjudged timing in something and it left me in an awkward position for something else. I just feel like I never read him completely right, and it drives me nuts! This sleeping thing is at the top of the list.

My mom was talking to me last weekend about putting him in his crib to nap. I haven't done it a lot, to be honest. When I was home on maternity leave I used to try to get him to sleep in his pack 'n' play or he'd fall asleep in the boppy (supervised by me, of course). I had read somewhere that keeping the crib for night time sent the signal that it was time to sleep longer, and that seemed like a good plan. And honestly, that seemed to work well. If I were still home with him during the day I would have had to switch to the crib at some point, but obviously that only happens on weekends. On weekends there isn't a lot of opportunity to get a good schedule. Either we're out and about and he sleeps in his carseat (many times he'll be sleeping when we get home and we'll leave him there until he wakes up--he's comfortable, right?), or he'll fall asleep on one of us and we're just so happy to be with him that we'll just sit there and let him sleep. Times like tonight when he's fussy, I'm hesitant to use the crib for two reasons...first, it's dark out already and I don't want him thinking it's bedtime and falling asleep for good at 7:00, practically right after we get home. Not only does that leave him no time with us, but it would probably set him up to wake up at 5am. Second, if he's cranky and I try to put him in there, I don't want him to start having a negative association with the crib because of naptime and start giving us trouble there at bedtime. It's such a tough call sometimes.

So, yeah, weird night. I'm just hoping he sleeps ok despite a less than routine bedtime process and an early last feeding. We should have fun tomorrow, though, as long as I can read him well enough to get through the day unscathed!

Forgot to mention...

Yesterday Jacob officially turned five months! Crazy! I can hardly believe it. Though it feels like he's been around forever now, it just blows my mind to think that five months and two seasons have gone by since he was born. He's getting to be such a big boy with his own little personality (a fun one for the most part, thank goodness!). We celebrated the big day by going out to the Chinese buffet. Yeah, I know...but I had worked out and we were starving by the time I got home at 7...and buffets don't make you wait for your food. Plus, I had been craving Chinese forever. I was shocked later on when I realized it has been at least six months since we were there last. We haven't been there since Jacob was born, and I don't know if we went there in the last month or so before that. Even still, we used to go there once every month or two (whenever we had a coupon) and it was amazing to think it had been that long.

While we were bundling Jacob up to go, he got into this awesome giggle fit. He had just woken up from a nap, and as I was putting on his winter hat and mittens, he just started laughing. I don't know if he was laughing at anything in particular, but anything I did was simply hilarious and he'd just bust out in giggles. Good laughs like that are still few and far between (but getting more frequent every week), so it was really fun while it lasted. I have looked forward to moments like that for months, because it's nice to know when your baby is really truly happy, particularly after those first few months of expressionless contentment. You know your baby's more or less ok because they're not crying, but beyond that you have no idea if they're feeling great or just so-so. Finally the smiles start and you get more of an idea what's going on with them, but laughs are a sure-fire way to know they're happy. And that's a good feeling.

Today is his last day with his normal late afternoon caretaker, who is leaving to be a stay-at-home mom. I'm sad she's leaving because Jacob really seems to like her a lot, and I enjoy talking with her when I go to pick him up. I have no idea if Jacob will know enough to miss her yet. If not I suppose that's good, but on the other hand it's a little sad because he won't remember that she was an important part of his world for a few months. I'm happy for her that she won't have to use the services of his soon-to-be-former employer, but it's sad to see her go. But man, she's got a great base of knowledge for a first-time mom, eh?

Should be a relatively pleasant weekend, with enough to keep us busy but nothing too crazy. Probably some shopping with Godmother Lori tomorrow and hopefully some time with Craig in and around Knighthawks training camp. Then we only have a three day week before four whole days with Jacob...woohoo! Happy Weekend :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Puppies

The other day my mom sent me a link to a camera watching a litter of puppies. Turns out there were a few others as well. For your viewing pleasure:

Golden Doodles

Havanese Harbor

Shiba Inu

White Miniature Schnauzers

Belgian Tervuren

All of them are so incredibly cute. Remember back in the spring when I compared my webcam viewing of hatching birds to my impending parenthood? Same deal here...I look at cameras like these cameras from a whole different perspective now that I'm a mom, for many reasons:

1) I can sympathize with the mama dog when she's nursing. However, she's got it much worse...she's got 6-8 puppies chasing after her, and they've got teeth! However, it doesn't appear she spends a ton of other time with them, so I suppose on that front she gets off easy. She did have to carry around all those puppies though....and I can't imagine having that many legs kicking me from the inside. (Often thought about that while watching Jon & Kate Plus 8, too.)

2) The puppies' cycles remind me of Jacob. They have their active playful periods, and then the next thing I know, they're all sleeping. It's funnier to watch en masse, when suddenly all these active puppies are down for the count, sprawled all over each other. It reminds me of Jacob and how he does much the same sometimes...wide awake to a complete "I'm tired" meltdown. Unfortunately, Jacob tends to fight it rather than immediately plopping down and sleeping.

3) They sleep in funny positions, and so does Jacob. He's now taken to sleeping with his butt in the air. No matter how we put him in his crib or how many times we go back to flip him over, he ends up on his knees with his butt in the air. Still scary to have him like that, but we can't fight it at this point other than to flip him when we can. Most of the time it seems like his face is turned to the side so he can breathe ok (once in a while I wish he'd turn it just a little more!), but I suppose the fact that he's up on his knees means less pressure on his chest when he breathes. The puppies are classic, though....on top of each other, on their backs with feet in the air...so cute. And in both cases, sleep looks oh so peaceful.

4) All the little movements remind me of Jacob. Puppies have the famous "chasing a squirrel" dream that gets their legs moving in their sleep. Jacob only moves in his sleep once in a while, but he smiles a lot...enough to make you wonder what he's dreaming about. When the puppies are awake, you can watch them explore, find a chew toy, and take in the world around them. I see Jacob do much the same--trying to figure out how all these body parts work in his own clumsy way, looking around at the world with wonder. He's slowly getting better at grasping toys, and he's discovering his toes. So cute to watch. The one thing that differs is that the puppies are a lot more mobile than Jacob...but I have this feeling when I watch them run and climb around that if Jacob could do those things, he totally would be!

I also find it funny that lately in the comic strip For Better or For Worse, they've been covering this topic a bit--the similarities between puppies and babies...from getting peed on to teething to the high energy level that both possess. I think when it comes right down to it, babies and puppies are both so sweet and innocent to the core. They're these tiny little beings, so ready to learn and grow that they expend all of their energy in one big burst and head off into a peaceful sleep....only to wake up and eagerly do it all over again. They're a blank slate, so full of potential and so excited to explore it. And lucky us that we get to watch it all happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Good and Bad of Breastfeeding

Every day when I shuffle off to the bathroom at work to pump, I seem to do it begrudgingly. I know it's a good thing to do, and I should be happy to have the break from work, but there are some days that I just don't like doing it. However, I know that ultimately it is a good thing, and making it almost five months is pretty impressive. Now that I've had so much time to adjust and I'm not the sole feeder (one of the bright sides of daycare, I guess), I can have some objectivity on this issue and say that breastfeeding isn't too bad. I know why it's not for everyone, but as I've said before, I still think most people should give it a shot. There are good and bad things about it, and here's my rundown.

The Bad:
1) I miss certain things - Drinking among them, but only rarely. I miss milk, thanks to what appears to be a cow's milk protein sensitivity. I also miss peanuts (or at least peanut butter with chocolate), which I'm trying to avoid since the jury's out on whether or not peanut allergens in breast milk create an allergy.
2) Being the #1 feeder - It's hard sometimes to be stuck on the couch for a half hour or more, or worse, up in the middle of the night at least once for a half hour or more. Luckily those days are (hopefully) done. It's a privilege, but it's tiring at times.
3) Engorgement - This was obviously worse in the beginning, but there are times when I wake up in the morning and notice that "things" don't quite feel like themselves. I described it before as what I think bad implants feel like. It's a weird feeling and not very comfortable. Fortunately I don't have to deal with it too much...just when nursing or pumping isn't convenient over the course of 4 or more hours, or a bit in the morning...but that's short lived because I have a hungry baby who wakes up about an hour after I do.
4) Clothing - As I've complained about before, the larger chest means my clothes don't fit right. Someday, maybe. In the meantime, nursing bras are not my favorite thing in the world.
5) They're functional, not sexy - Nothing wrecks the moment like leakage...or so I hear. Haven't really wanted to find out so I've taken precautions.
6) Pumping's a pain - Self-explanatory

The Good:
1) It's good for Jacob - Antibodies, allergy protection, etc.
2) It's convenient, as long as I can find a semi-private place
3) It's cheap - Formula is so crazy expensive...just five bottles a week and I still cringe every time I have to buy it.
4) I can eat more - 500 more calories a day...woohoo! And my instructor at the gym told me that it burns fat from the rear end area. Nice. Maybe that's why I'm now below my pre-pregnancy weight...even if I don't look the same.
5) Bonding time with Jacob - Now that he's a little squirmier, it's one of the few times I can just get him to sit and hang out with me.
6) Jacob's funny faces - I can't help but laugh when Jacob stops eating long enough to smile at me...cracks me up.
7) Breastmilk isn't stinky - Spitup isn't too smelly when it's coming from breastmilk...formula is gross.

Ok, as much as I'd like to sit and write more, my bed is calling. Have a good night :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

I have a very good little boy. Can I just say that? While he seems to have developed a car phobia (more on that later), he was so good this weekend in the midst of a lot of running around! Friday night was tough, because once we got home I still had quite a bit of packing to do. Traveling with Jacob is a pretty high maintenance prospect. Besides extra clothes, diapers, wipes, burp cloths, etc., I had to pack his Baby Bjorn carrier, humidifier (that was for my own sanity, since he seems to sleep so much better with it and I wanted to up the odds that we'd sleep well despite being in the same room), a few toys, a bottle and some formula, and more things I'm sure I'm forgetting. Oh, and I needed our birth certificates too, for Jacob's first trip to Canada (and IKEA!). The packing process seemed to take forever, and I kept having to put Jacob down somewhere so I had full use of my hands...poor guy just wanted to play, I think. Once we got on the road (after a couple runs back into the house), the trip wasn't bad. Jacob cried a bit but fell asleep rather quickly and stayed asleep for the whole trip. He was up a little later than usual since we wanted to stay up and play with Grandma and Grandpa a bit, but he went down fairly easily and slept well other than a couple of whiny periods that resolved rather quickly.

We got up the next morning and headed out to the St. Paul church bazaar. My mom wanted to show off Jacob to everyone who has changed churches in recent months thanks to problems at my parents' (now former) church. We were there for a while and he was content just hanging out in the Bjorn and watching everyone. Now that his head and neck are strong enough to face out, he's loving the view from that thing. We found a couch where he could sit and eat (awkward though it may be, breastfeeding is pretty convenient sometimes!), and after my mom and I grabbed our own food, we headed off to IKEA. I had been wanting to go there for months. I hadn't been to one since my Pittsburgh trip last November, the weekend before I found out I was pregnant. So...it was a whole new world of baby stuff this time around. I ended up with some little stuff, like a stool that I can sit on at Jacob's bathtime, and he will one day use to reach the sink and toilet, I suppose. I got a tray to go under his leak-prone humidifier, a toy to give him at Christmas, and a cool hanging storage thing for his stuffed animals...basically a cylinder made out of netting that has holes in it for access. He survived the trip through the store until the very end when he conked out (still in the Bjorn). He was fussy on the way back and we finally stopped at a rest area so I could feed him. He was still fussy after that but finally fell asleep until we were about 10 minutes from home. That evening we headed out for a quick dinner and went to see the Canisius College women's volleyball team (coached by my cousin's wife). Jacob was once again taking it all in, and didn't seem to bothered by all of the noise. He fought sleep for a long time but finally gave in. He didn't even flinch when the winning cheer erupted around him!

He had a good night's sleep again, other than one short fussy period, and Sunday morning we were off to church. He was pretty good during church but kept whining whenever I'd try to make him stand. He normally loves that but wasn't into it at that moment, apparently. We snuck off to the bathroom to get a feeding in while Grandma and Grandpa went to their Sunday School class, and then it was off to Moe's for lunch. He was in a great mood, laughing and smiling on the way in. He stayed happy but took a rather large poo while we were eating. He smiled right after, though...he knows what he's doing, I swear. :) Once we got home I was off to the Aud Farewell event with my cousin Kim, and Jacob spent the afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa! Kim and I had a great time reminiscing about our glory days as hockey fans, and Jacob did well hanging out at home. He was extra happy after a nap and a meal, and we had a blast playing with him before Jacob and I had to pack up and go.

As a whole he was so well-behaved all weekend. It seems that when he's happy, he's really happy...lots of smiles and some good laughs. When he's content he just seems to be taking everything in...looking around, reaching out, chewing on his hands. When he's not so happy it's obvious, and in most cases he's either tired or hungry (or maybe just looking for a little attention). Hungry is an easy fix, as long as it's a convenient time or place. If he's tired it's just a matter of getting him to relax enough to fall asleep. The one thing I don't get is why he's suddenly fussy whenever we get in the car to go somewhere. My mom's theory is that his carrier cover prevents him from moving his feet, but that happens before we're ever in the car, and he mostly starts crying when we start moving. That used to be a good thing for him, but apparently not anymore. It was tough to deal with it repeatedly this weekend (particularly when I'm in the front seat--at least he had company in the back some of the time this weekend). Maybe he's just uncomfortable in another way...Lord knows bundling up isn't very fun as an adult either, let alone when you're strapped into a car seat, too. Poor thing.

Back to the real world today, though. Hopefully he had fun at day care watching the snowflakes fall outside! Now it's just the countdown to a couple days off for Thanksgiving. I can't wait!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tough Day

...More for me than Jacob, but he didn't have such a great evening himself. Jacob was exceptionally fussy last night, crying a lot. Even when he was being held, he tended to either cry or whine a bit. He didn't feel warm and didn't exhibit any signs of illness beyond his still-present cough and congestion. As unpleasant as that stuff is, I'm grateful he hasn't yet had one of those massive runny noses you see so many kids with. Knock on wood. But regardless (particularly in light of the stories below), I couldn't help but be concerned that he was so much fussier than usual. I kept asking him, "What's wrong?", hoping he'd magically answer. In between crying spells he still had his moments with smiles here and there, and he went down to bed pretty well after about two minutes of fussing. Seemed better this morning, so I can only hope. I'm concerned enough about how this weekend's visit to Grandma and Grandpa's will go...first trip away since his overnight meltdown at Craig's parents' house a few weeks ago...but I think I'm going to bring his humidifer with us (worth the hassle if it helps him sleep, and based on what I've experienced, it does.) so hopefully we'll be ok.

As for me, yesterday was a tough parent day, emotionally. It seemed like I kept running into unfortunate stories about sick kids and the impact on their parents. Two of the blogs I read each day dealt with this topic--one discussing miscarriages, the other talking about a two month old baby (the nephew of the blogger, as told by her sister, the mom) who was having seizures and was diagnosed with this horrible problem--though a second opinion gave them a little more hope that he could still end up pretty normal. Even still, not something you ever want to think about. The miscarriage one obviously had less of an impact since (for now) I'm past that stage, but now that I have a baby and know the joy of watching this little baby turn into a little person, the thought of losing one and wondering "what if..." is hard to think about.

Just those two blogs alone made me feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy baby, and slightly fearful that something could ever happen to Jacob. As I've mentioned here before, the mere thought of it makes me absolutely distraught. You never want to expect something to happen to your child, but there's always the thought that things happen to very ordinary people, and who's to say it couldn't happen to you? Why one person over another? This particular family has already been through cancer three times (once for the blogger and twice for the mother of this child), so there's obviously little justice in the world sometimes. So while you shouldn't expect it, there's always that little part of you that thinks about it and prays that your family is spared the pain.

As if that wasn't enough, last night's ER nearly brought me to tears. The appearance of the long-deceased Dr. Greene was pretty cool, but the general topic of the show was sick children. One storyline took place in the present, dealing with a little girl who feel into some freezing water and was unconscious. Of course her parents were devastated while they were doing everything to revive her. That storyline ended pretty well, but I don't know if they ever discussed what shape that girl's brain might be in after all that trauma. The other storyline took place in the past, with one doctor thinking back to when her otherwise healthy son was started having seizures and ended up at that same hospital (with Dr. Greene as his doctor). After one particular seizure, as the boy woke up, he started vomiting blood, and it all went downhill from there. Ultimately they discovered that he had leukemia, which caused a stroke. The boy died. Healthy to dead in one afternoon. I know it's TV and I know they do stuff like that to get a response from the viewer, but as a parent, it's hard not to put yourself in their shoes. Even if the stroke wouldn't have done him in, the leukemia would have been a tough battle on its own. And we've all come across stories of kids with cancer and been heartbroken at the thought of it ever happening to someone you love. But at the end of the storyline, the dead little boy on the gurney hit a little too close to home and I was moments away from breaking down. Sad, scary stuff.

From cancer to autism to accidents, there are so many things that can happen to kids--so many that are completely sudden and shocking--and when you have something so precious, the thought of losing it is horrifying. And from the moment you find out you're having a baby, that is your existence. It intensifies when you have the baby and can hold it in your arms, and from what I can tell so far it becomes even more intense as they grow and develop into a complete person with so many different qualities to love. No matter the stress and problems of the day, I know I should be grateful for every single moment I have with Jacob. Even when he's crying, I know I should be thankful to have that crying baby to hold and comfort. It's not always easy, but deep down I know it.

Parenthood is an amazing experience, for better or for worse, and I don't think you can ever grasp what it all means until you're in the middle of it. A friend of mine just told me that he and his wife are expecting. When I asked if it was planned, he responded that they weren't doing anything to prevent it, but they weren't specifically trying, either. It's not my place to make a judgment on their intentions, because he's a tough guy to read sometimes and there's probably more going on below the surface, but I genuinely hope that deep down they really did want this to happen. Parenthood is not something to be taken lightly...there's way too much that goes into it and it's a lifelong commitment. I'm sure they will take a lot of joy in their baby once it arrives, but my hope is that they know (as best they can) what they're getting into!

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Diaper Issues

Now that Jacob is choosing to sleep on his belly or his side most of the time (not that I still don't go in and flip him once in a while), a new problem cropped up. Quite a few mornings he'd wake up wet, like he was peeing out of the top of his diaper. I figured out that the way he was laying must make the top of the diaper gape open, and when he pees there's nothing there to contain it. Not cool.

I've stated before on this blog that the internet has greatly changed/enhanced baby life. Perplexed about what to do, I went onto Yahoo Answers and asked about this issue. I got about 10 answers within a few minutes, ranging from using a larger diaper to getting overnight diapers to folding down the front of the diaper into the diaper to create a barrier. Since we had some size 3 diapers waiting in the wings (thanks Cousin Lynn, for the gift you gave us ages ago!), I decided to give the one-size-up diaper trick a try.

Although he's had some diaper blowouts recently as well, he doesn't really seem ready for a bigger diaper yet...based on weight, anyway. The 3's start at 18 pounds or so, and he's not even close...let alone that he's always been fine in a smaller size even when he was above the weight range...that skinny waist! Size 3's seem huge on him, though I know he'll grow into them soon enough. However, they fit enough that he could wear one, though it seemed awfully bulky and like it took over his whole body--like old man pants, pulled all the way up to his chest! Regardless...this morning I got him up and he was dry! And the diaper even performed well with his mid-breakfast poop :) Thank goodness. It remains to be seen whether or not this method will continue to work, but so far so good. Kudos to the internet folks who suggested it!

Not much else to report these days. It seems like he's getting bigger every day, and he's obsessed with faces now. Whenever he's laying down and we're looking down at him, he grabs for our faces...mouths especially. He even does it when he's nursing (speaking of which, he's easily distracted these days which makes getting in a good, solid feeding tough...though I can't deny that when he looks up at me and smiles, it cracks me up). He's had some irrationally cranky crying spells this week, but in general once they're over (either because we do something or he just stops), he goes right back to being all smiles. Gas maybe? I experimented for the second time with soy milk over the weekend because I miss cereal so much, and that might have triggered it. As you may recall, I decided Jacob must have a cow's milk protein sensitivity because he was so gassy early on, and gave up milk a while back (just couldn't do all dairy...cheese and ice cream are too hard! His first major spell was on Sunday, followed shortly thereafter by some massive gas passing. I have no idea if the soy did it--many babies with the milk protein sensitivity have the same issue with soy--but I don't know how long it would take to get out of my system either. Hmmm. But for the most part he's still a happy boy...and I can't wait to spend another weekend with him starting tomorrow night! :)