Saturday, June 30, 2012

Melt my heart

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mommy Moments: The end of our journey

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. And, if that’s the case, then a really great thing has come to an end around here. I’ve hung up my Medela pump and stored all bottles and related accessories because we’re totally weaned and have been for about a month. I never thought I’d say those words or that I’d be leaving the house without what I came to think of as an appendage in a black bag, complete with a motor, ice pack, and suction cups. Or that I’d be able to wear a bra that doesn’t unassemble.

You may remember reading here that my goal was the nurse (exclusively, if possible) for the first year, as long as it was working for everyone involved. Well, I’m proud to say that we made it! It’s been a journey filled with highs and lows and plenty of emotions, but I’ve never looked back with any regret and I can honestly say that I did everything I could ensure that our journey lasted as long as it was meant to last.

The journey wasn’t always an easy one, but it was the right one for us. Before returning to work I talked to the few working Moms I could find that breastfed the entire first year and gathered as many ideas, thoughts, and as much information as I could. Some of my co-workers, and even some “friends” told me that I was crazy to think I could nurse and pump and work all at the same time, and I’ll admit that part of me wanted to prove them wrong. But, the bigger part of me wanted to do what was best for my baby and for me and I wanted to give it 110%.

There were MANY a time that I’d come home from work with fewer ounces than I needed for the next day and would cry to myself, to Mike, or to my Mom, thinking that I wasn’t doing the best I could and would have to supplement. I mentally knew how many frozen ounces I had at any given time and knew the supply was dwindling, slowly, bag-by-bag of liquid gold. I can’t tell you how many times I decided the stress wasn’t worth the results, but (luckily) I was never brave enough to stop cold turkey. During those times of worry and stress, what I didn’t know was that my body, and Anna, knew what was best and this was just another lesson to be learned in this game of “you’re not really in control anymore” that I’m now playing. As my supply slowed down, so did her needs.

I gradually went from pumping twice a day at work to pumping once a day at work, to pumping for relief only, as I noticed my supply dropping. By 11 months, we were still nursing morning and night, she was getting 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, and was taking small amounts of breastmilk/formula (50/50) at school. At that point I knew the milk was for comfort and not as much for nutrition.  We moved away from bottles at daycare and she transitioned to a sippy cup like a champ about 3 weeks before she turned one year old. We cut out her evening nursing by trial and error; two nights in a row she went to bed without nursing due to sheer exhaustion, so we tried the third night without and the rest is history. She decided on her own that she no longer needed /wanted her morning nursing about a week and a half after her first birthday and from that day forward it’s been 3 meals, 1-2 snacks, and whole milk in sippy cups.

If you’re a new Mom or a soon-to-be-Mom, there’s no reason not to give breastfeeding a try. If you’re a Mom going back to work, I’m here to tell you that you can make it work. Sure, it takes dedication, and it can be challenging, but I can’t even begin to tell you the sense of pride you feel at the end of the journey.

I did the math, and for 20 months I was either carrying a baby or feeding a baby with my body, so I’m going to enjoy a few months of “freedom” until we decide it’s the right time to expand our family. That means “big girl” bras, wearing dresses, the ability to actually sleep in because someone else can handle breakfast, and maybe even getting crazy with two glasses of wine at dinner. Cheers to me!

** Please note that I make no judgement on Moms that can’t or don’t breastfeed, this is simply a post to document my feelings as a chapter in my life closes, and potentially provide information or support to other Moms. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And she's OFF

We officially have a walker in this house.  Be sure to pack your running shoes the next time you visit!

I don't know about you, but I love seeing those little arms in the air for balance!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mommy Moments: Childproofing

That moment when you realize you may have inadvertently locked yourself out of your own kitchen cabinets with the new "less conspicuous" cabinet locks.  (versus the easy ones with less aesthetic appeal)

That moment when you realize you have to plan your trips up and down the steps and can no longer carry 3 folded loads of laundry, because you need a free hand to open the gate(s). 

That moment when you realize that home-cooking and clean laundry are overrated and you should just enjoy the fact that you've childproofed yourself our of a couple of chores : )

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy's Day

Happy Father's Day to the three best Dads we know!  We love you SOOOO much!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spoiled rotten

Mike's Dad hasn't been able to visit Cincinnati since we moved two years ago due to some health concerns, and we were nothing short of elated when he was able to make the trip for Anna's party last month.  Someone else was pretty excited too, it seems, and spent a lot of time wrapping her Grandpap even tighter around her little finger ...  she can't wait for his next visit!

Feet are apparently allowed on the table when Grandpap is here ...

Showing off a few of her her many, many, many toys
Winding down after a big party with her birthday book and her favorite Grandpap!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Letter to Anna: Month Thirteen

Dear Anna,

Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’re officially living with a toddler and long-gone are the days of having a newborn, baby, or infant in our home. You are developing more and more of your own little personality each day and it’s amazing to see what a fun, happy, observant, and loving little girl you are becoming. You are *this* close to walking and routinely take 4-5 steps on your own. Your perfectionism keep shining through and you will quickly lose confidence and resort to crawling or grab onto the nearest hand, couch or table. Just like with crawling, though, I have a feeling you’re perfecting your moves in that head of yours and one day we’ll turn around and will be running after you, scratching our heads and wondering when *that* happened.

You love to spend time with adults and other kids alike, but you are also starting to really enjoy independent play and will often sit by yourself at home and read a book, talk to your stuffed animals, or play with a puzzle. You especially love to read and have favorite books, favorite pages within those books, and big ideas on how fast to turn the pages. Your favorites at the moment are anything with other babies, animals, and/or Brown Bear Brown Bear. You continue to be a perfectionist and will get frustrated with yourself at times if you can’t make something happen right then, and will occasionally let out a squelch of irritation or frustration. This usually happens if you can’t work a puzzle the way you want it, turn a page fast enough, stack blocks “just so”, or fit a shape through its respective hole. You’re also becoming independent in other areas and at times I feel like I’m wrestling an alligator. Like diaper changes, or putting your jammies on after a bath; talk about cruel and unusual punishment! That’s really the only time you fuss is when we’re “forcing” you to put on a clean diaper, get dressed, or divert you from that power cord in the study that is calling your name.

You’re more interactive by the day and it’s amazing to see how quickly your mind works.  You can clap your hands, give us five (or twenty-five, we like to say, because you don’t stop with just one) and give a kiss and/or hug when we ask.  You also recognize toys, food (you squeal when you see the Cheerios box), people, and places.  You love to imitate noises we make such as coughing, blowing raspberries, and some animal noises.  You love to laugh with (ok, most likely AT) me when we read your animal books and I tell you the sounds each respective animal is responsible for making.  You *especially* love the pig and will imitate that immediately; it’s just about the cutest thing ever.  You also love to play peek-a-boo and will take charge if we’ll let you, waving whatever is hiding your face so quickly that we can barely get “peek...” out before you’re laughing at us with that toothy grin.  You will routinely crawl or walk into a room and just start laughing; your giggle is infectious! 

You and your Dad have a strong bond and have developed several “games” that are special between the two of you, meaning that if I try to blow raspberries on your tummy during the middle of playtime, it’s just not nearly as funny as when Dad does it as he’s pretending to “get you.” If Dad’s home when we get home, you squeal when he opens the car door to get you out. If he’s not home, you start to jump up and down and squeal when he walks in the door and will move as quickly as you can to get to him. It’s pretty adorable and I could sit and watch you two interact all day long.

Physically you’re growing up as well ... you moved up to the Jellyfish (toddler) room at school where you are learning even more, have a ton of toys to play with, and have outside or gym-time twice a day. The change was hardest on me, and you moved over like a champ and are thriving. You’re fully weaned and are drinking whole milk out a sippy cup at meals and with snacks. You decided to drop the morning nursing session right before we left for Florida a couple of weeks ago and although I was nostalgic when it happened, it was the right time for everyone. You love most table food, have six teeth (4 on the top, 2 on the bottom) and are even starting to explore using a spoon to feed yourself. It came as no surprise that you knew exactly what to do the first time I gave you a spoon with food on it, you love feeding yourself.

Speaking of Florida, your Dad and I survived our first trip without you, four days, three nights, and a plane-ride away. Your Gigi came to Cincinnati and stayed with you and you had.a.blast! We had to leave before you were awake to catch our flight, but had a text picture proving you were up, happy, and ready to have a ball with before we even got to our gate. You didn’t fuss once, and the videos and pictures we received proved that you were having the time of your life. I love that you have a special bond with your Grandparents and as I told your Gigi, to know your child is in good hands is priceless, but knowing that they are having *so* much fun while you’re away is like winning the lottery 100 times over.

You’re growing so much every day, it’s just amazing.  It’s hard to think of you this time last year and remember that your days were spent snuggling with Mom, nursing and sleeping.  And now you’re almost ready to walk.  The last few nights before bed your Dad and I have set up camp about 5 feet apart from each other and for 10-15 minutes we’ll let you walk between us.  You’re hilarious with excitement and thrilled beyond belief, it’s definitely the best part of my day.  You generally take 2-3 good steps and then lunge toward us, expecting to be caught, and laughing the entire time.  I love that you want to be so close to us and want you to know that whatever happens, ever, we’ll always be here to catch your fall. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Assembly not required

On her actual birthday, as we were playing amonst her new toys, I saw the box that housed her new push-car and thought, "it can't be *that* hard to assemble, right??" and off I went opening the box with high hopes of pushing her around the cul-de-sac in a matter of minutes.  Clearly I was high on sugar from leftover cake, because, HELLO, have you tried to assemble a child's toy lately?  You need an advanced degree from MIT, an undergrad from Harvard, and the ability to decipher English written by someone that speaks it as a third or fourth language.  There were waaaayyyyy too many steps for my ADD brain that was also trying to keep an almost-toddler out of trouble.  So we decided to save the actual assembling for Dad, but I'm proud to say I did place all stickers on the car by myself.  All this said ... sometimes toys are just as fun UN-assembled as they are put together : )

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Splish Splash (the first in a series)

Who knew that gettin' clean could be this much fun?!?!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Growin' Like a Weed: Month Twelve!

And now, for our final installment ... from newborn, to infant, to toddler, it's been a year of some serious growing around here!  Anna's final stats last month were a whopping 18 lbs 4 oz (5th-10th%), and 28 1/2 inches (25th-50th%), meaning she's gained 11lbs 4oz and grown 9 1/2 inches, but is still our petite string bean.  As I was creating the banner decoration for her party with all of the monthly pictures, I couldn't help but to repeatedly stand back in awe, she's changed so much over the span of twelve short months. 

The blanket lines up almost exactly in this side-by-side ...
Ahhhhh-mazzzzing to see how much she's grown!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Birthday Princess

Anna was blessed beyond belief last month when all of her immediate family gathered to celebrate her first birthday on a beautiful afternoon.  This little girl loves attention and was literally on *cloud nine* with so many people in one spot and all of those eyes focused on her!  The theme was "You are my Sunshine" because it's a song that she hears it everyday and has the print in her room, and, well, she literally is our sunshine.  I also thought it might be the last party I'd be able to host that didn't include an explosion of pink. 

We kept it simple with cookout food, a delicious cake, edible favors, and accents of sunshines and daisies all around.  We included proof that she'd grown over the past year with her printed monthly pictures as a banner on the mantle; and it was so much fun to look at each month and remember what she'd been up to or getting into for that short amount of time while still growing, growing, growing all year long.

The daisy-shaped iced-cookie favors included a tag that read "Thank you for making my birthday brighter!  Love, Anna" ... but in reality, each of us should have been thanking Anna for making our lives *that* much brighter over the past year.  Here's to many, many, many more years, of loving, laughing, and living well with our little ray of sunshine!   

In between her birthday party and her actual birthday was Mother's Day where I was the one spoiled for the day, but then we celebrated her actual *birth*day, this time in true princess style.  We started with pancakes and strawberries in a tiara, played all morning, found ourselves at Chik-fil-A for lunch where Anna tried her first chicken nugget and loved the fruit cup even more, then the park, and then even more playing.  We ended the day with her favorite meal including (turkey) hot dogs and mac 'n' cheese and forced her to stay wide-awake until her birth timeof 6:53pm while we recounted our fondest recollections of those crazy 19 hours of labor (and, nope, she'll never hear the end of that).  All in all, it was a pretty perfect day for a pretty perfect girl! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Funny