Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Just Love It . . .

A lot of us, myself included, seem to do quite a lot of complaining.  I decided to turn things around in my life and be more positive.  I plan to write at least five things I love and/or am thankful for each week.  No order, no specific rhyme or reason.  Some things will be serious and some will seem trivial. Nonetheless, here it goes.

1)  I absolutely love being a Mama.  There is no greater joy or love I can ever imagine.  I don't sleep much and I have no alone time. . . . but I love it!

2)  I am thankful I have a dog that tolerates and loves on my munchkin.  Seriously, the kid can put his hand in her mouth, crawl on her and pull her tail and she doesn't care much.  Jabber loves Nathan and has even taken on the roll of enforcer: when we say no and Nathan does it, anyway, she is right there grumbling at him.  She nips at him to play and he laughs.  What a great big sister!

3)  I love that we have not one, but two, working vehicles.  Sure, the older of the two isn't going to be with us much longer as she won't pass inspection, but she has gotten us through the last 8 years without breaking down.

4)  Just-washed sheets.  LOVE them!  So cozy, fresh  . . . . ahhhhhhhhh

5)  I love that my son much prefers his Grammy's homemade applesauce and Shamrock rolls to any store-bought fake stuff.  The kid knows the good stuff, and I'm glad.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Building Up and Tearing Down

It all started when someone I was speaking with started bragging about their "natural birth."  Now, what that person meant was that they had a pain-medication free vaginal delivery.  Good for her.  Does this not somehow imply, though, that those who opt for pain medications or those who have to have cesarean sections have had UN-natural births?  Why do we try to make ourselves sound like better mothers in such a ridiculous way?

That thought led me to another . . . .

Why do we brag about our children's development, something over which we have no control?  Oh, Suzy started crawling at 2 months and was running independently at 6 months?  Wow, Petey was potty trained in 2 days by the age of 8 months?  Oh, Johnnie was fluent in 4 languages by the time he was 9 months old?  Wow, Ariel had 10 teeth at 6 months old?

Well, good for Suzy, Petey, Johnnie and Ariel.

C'mon, people.  WHY are we bragging???  Did you somehow make your child's teeth come in?  Did you give your child motor skills crawl/walk/potty train "early?"

Don't get me wrong:  there are many things about every child that are impressive.  I know first-hand how exciting it is to see your child learn and grow.  (See my previous post on "firsts.")  However, you wanna know what's impressive to me?  Not how old your kid was when they first did whatever.  No, not at all.  What's impressive to me is if you've managed to raise a creative, obedient, loving child who cares about others, who takes his turn, who encourages other people.

Right now, my Nathan is 9 months old.  He is 21.5 lb, 28.5" long and has a giant head.  He has 8 teeth and army-crawls everywhere.  He rarely crawls "for real."  He loves to stand and pull himself up to standing on things.  He loves to be tickled.  He likes waving to people.  He loves to be held.  He hates it when I'm in the room and NOT holding him.  He is insanely stubborn and gets very moody when he's sleepy.  He rubs his eyes exactly like I do.  He is fearless and is a thrill-seeker.  Do I find all that to be impressive, especially considering his rough start in life?  Absolutely.  What's most impressive, though, is that he is a child of God and NO ONE loves him more than He does.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the Firsts

As I sat down to write tonight, with an old episode of Glee chirping in the background, I realized that I am probably the worst blogger ever.  No posts in over 2 months is generally taboo in the blog world, but I don't care.  I have been too busy and enthralled in experiencing some "firsts."

There are many things that I have had the joy of experiencing with my now 9-month old peanut.  I will never forget his first non-gas related smile, his first belly-laugh, his first tooth popping through, the first time he rolled over, the first time he ate solids, his first army-crawl or the first time he pulled himself up to a standing position.  One of the biggest fears I had, not being able to be a stay-at-home-mom, was missing any one of the aforementioned events.  Those fears are still there, but lessening day by day.

I know I'm not the only one, but there are countless other things that Adam and I have discussed at length that WE want to be the first to see with him, get him or do with him.   There are things that we want to keep special for just us. Here are some examples:

1) The zoo/aquarium.  We want to take Peanut to his first trip to a zoo and/or aquarium.  We are such animal lovers and can't wait to see his face when he sees real-live animals other than a dog or cat.  I just hope he doesn't try to crawl over them like he does the dog . . . .
2) To school.  We want to be there to put our squirt on the bus for the first time.  Likewise, I want to pack his first school lunch for him, complete with yogurt, veggies, and maybe a homemade Mommy cookie.
3)  I want to bake his first . . . . and second . . . . and third . . .  birthday cakes for him.  I love to bake.  I love my son.  He can pick his flavors/decorations, but I want to make it for him. Enough said.
4)  We want to get him his first of different kinds of toys--his first tricycle, his first bike, his first coloring book and crayons, etc.  For example, we got the squirt a Build-a-Bear a few months ago to give to him for Christmas.  We wanted to get him one that Mommy and Daddy made special for HIM and only him, that he would understand that we went to the mall (yes, Adam went) and spent time picking out the perfect bear and "making" it just for him.  We hope he has siblings some day and I know the vast majority of his toys will rightfully be used to death, but it's nice to have something that's all yours.
5) His first birthday.  A controversial one, I know.  The Squirt's birthday is on a Sunday in 2013, and we fully intend to spend the day with just the three of us, possibly doing something like #1.  We know family and friends want to see him, and we do plan on having a small party for him--the day before.  I doubt that it'll ever be able to be just the three of us for his subsequent birthdays, and I want to do nothing but love on him and reminisce about that wonderfully terrifying day.

Some day, in the all-to-near-future, Nathan will have his own firsts that he will want to experience with his child(ren).  I know he will want to be the one to buy his son his first bike or take him to school.  I know that he and his wife may want to spend that child's first birthday with their own family . . . . and I never want to take that away from him because I understand.  When that happens, I will consider how Adam and I raised him to be a success: he would have grown into a man who loves his child more than anything and wants to soak up every tiny ounce of his child's wonder and awe.

First smile caught on film

First "piggy-back ride" from Daddy

First time rolling over

First time pulling himself up
First finger foods

Sunday, July 22, 2012

my Alma Mater

I am not ashamed to say that I went to Penn State.  I completed my bachelor's and my master's degrees at Penn State and, given the choice to do it all over again, I would choose Penn State again.

Here's what Penn State is to me (in no particular order):
-a place where I was able to follow in the footsteps of my brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents
-the place where I met the love of my life
-the place where I got married
-the place where I accepted Christ as my one and only Savior
-the place where I got to know one of the coolest roommates I could've ever asked for
-the place where I was diagnosed with cancer--and found the best support system I could have ever imagined
-the place I used to study in the library for hours on end in the stacks 
-the place where I used to meet up with my little brother in the dining hall, just to chat over supper
-the place where I learned how to eat healthy and exercise regularly
-the place where I got to cheer on my team with over 100,000 of my friends
-the place where I would type all my notes from class and make notecards with all the information on them
-the place where I could just walk a block and be near some of my closest friends
-the place where I struggled with the hardships I was facing
-the place I used to have girls' nights, complete with vanilla cappuccinos and chick flicks
-the place where I discovered who I was and what was important to me.

Say what you want about Penn State.  Here's what I say:

WE ARE, and I AM, Penn State, now and forever!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Are we that weird?

We have some amazing family members and friends in our lives, for whom we are extremely grateful.  Said family and friends have offered dozens of times to watch our baby for a day or evening so we can "get out and have time to ourselves." Thank you for the offer, but no thank you.

Adam and I talked about this phenomenon several times:  is it weird that we don't want to leave our 5-month old at ALL?  Is it bad that we're happiest at home with just the 3 of us playing together?  Are we horrible people for not wanting "couple time" if it means sacrificing our time with our baby?

I fully believe that someday, we will want to leave our baby to go out on our own.  I also fully believed that that day would have come already.  It hasn't.

Perhaps it's because I work full time and Adam is tackling school and work: as we already spend 8-hours a day away from Little Dude, we can't imagine spending one more second away.  I'm not convinced that this is it, though--even when I was on my 11-week maternity leave, the last thing I wanted to do was to leave him.

It has nothing to do with not trusting others to take care of him, even though we all know that no one takes better care of him than Adam and I do ;-)  There are plenty of people that I would trust to (temporarily) watch my baby.  I honestly think it's because we've wanted the little one for so long that we don't want to waste a precious second of our time with him.

So, what about couple time?  Admittedly, we do need to do more things with just the two of us.  We used to go mini-golfing, bowling, to the movies, out for dessert, etc.  We don't anymore.  We do, however, have every evening together, with just the two of us, after baby goes to sleep.  

As of this fine June evening, we're happy with how things are.  We're happy to spend all of our time with our baby, and our baby, only. He won't be 5 months old forever, after all, and we want to cherish every second, every one of his coos and smiles.  It won't be long before he's a mouthy teenager and we'll need these moments to look back upon to keep our sanity.  

My favorite things

(I started this post a few weeks ago, so I thought it was about time I finished it!!  Some things regarding timing are no longer, true, but it's the essence of it all that counts).

As I was preparing supper this evening while the baby napped and Daddy was attacking the mutt, I realized that I haven't blogged very consistently or often.  I'm not so naive to think that anyone has noticed this or cared, really, but I also know that this helps me think and appreciate my family more.  Hence, I blog.

Yesterday and today have been great days for us.  I have been able to spend the past 48 hours with my two loves, and my two loves, only.  I feel like this doesn't happen nearly enough: there is always somewhere to go, someone to visit, something to do.  The past two days, however, have been filled with glorious nothing-ness.

Adam and I have been so thrilled and blessed with our latest addition.  Every day certainly has its challenges, but we'd do it again in a heartbeat, and Lord willing, plan to!  Since the first several months of waking every 1-2 hours are behind us, we have really begun to enjoy things more.  (Things really are nicer when you can sleep . . .)

First, the little dude is teething and drooling like crazy.  Bibs and onesies are getting soaked within minutes of putting them on.  Since it's been so warm out lately, it's nice to let him just play around in his diaper.  Baby in diaper = favorite thing #1.

He is also talking and babbling ALL the time.  It's so cute to see how responsive he is getting to things and how he "answers" our questions and comments.  Adam and I will often sit and talk to him while he plays for 10-45 minutes at a time.  When he babbles, it's like the world stops for us.  Baby talking = favorite thing #2.

Next, the little dude is also smiling.  All. The. Time.  It's relatively difficult to get the smile on film, just because he alternates his smiling with babbling.  Baby smiles = favorite thing #3.

Tubby time has, and likely will continue to be, an end of the day family-fun activity.  The munchkin has learned to splash and kick more than I ever imagined.  He is joking with us back and forth, too: he kicks/splashes, waits for us to laugh and cheer him on, then continues.  Baby splashing in a tub = favorite thing #4.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Mother's Day

It's May 13, 2012.

My very first Mother's Day as, well, a Mommy.

I'm finding that several of my friends and family members seem to have the most glorious and fantastic Mother's Day plans: they go out to brunches, get fancy jewelry, go on trips, get spa days etc.  Here's what we did today:

(Preface: we were in Canonsburg working on cleaning our house and moving our final pieces out before our closing from late Friday night through this morning)
0130: little dude woke up to eat
0600: Adam and I woke up after sleeping on a very uncomfortable air mattress for the second night in a row.   We put dirty clothes back on because we didn't bring enough clean clothes for the additional night--we were going to leave Saturday night, but someone wasn't having that.
0615: little dude work up, for good.  We were SO thankful he slept for two 5-hour sessions last night after literally screaming bloody murder forever the evening before.
0705: on the road back to Harrisburg
0910: rest stop break.  Someone needed to eat and was getting restless.  I took him out of his car seat and carried him into the rest stop.  I entered the door to the "family" restroom with him and promptly strapped him down to the changing wall unit.  He giggled, I smiled.  A stranger told me Happy Mother's Day.  I smiled again.
0930: back on the road again.
1100: arrive at our home in Harrisburg.
1100-1400: unpack, organize, clean, change two blow-out diapers, work on laundry, nurse, get fridge out of the U-haul, return the U-haul.
1430: Adam was trying to find somewhere that was open to find a Pandora charm for Mother's day to add to my bracelet.  No where was open.
1435: Giant trip to get milk, yogurt and a movie from Redbox.  They didn't have Thor or the Hulk, so Adam got the Vow for me.  (A chick flick, yes, but I've been wanting to see it since I saw it advertised.)
1500-1630: back to laundry, cleaning and baby changing/feeding.  Tried tummy time for a bit without luck, so we put the little one on his mat to kick around for almost an hour. 
1630-1700: Supposed to be watching the Big Bang Theory while little dude was sleeping.  I also fell asleep.
1705: little dude wakes up, screaming.  It's not time for him to eat, but he nurses for a few minutes, anyway.  He calms down and sleeps on Daddy for a little while longer.
1710-present: more laundry, lunch-packing, dishes, bottle-prepping, etc. 

Does any of this seem glamorous?  No, but it's my life and I wouldn't change it for the world.  I got to spend the whole day with my husband and the little dude who made me such a proud Mama 4 months ago.

Mommy with the chunk-a-munk cutie!

Tubby time love!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Balancing Act

Life is hard. Period. It's an ever-challenging test of balance and priorities. I never realized that more than I have since I went back to work.

I love being a CRNP, no questions about it. I love being able to meet people from all different walks of life. I love listening to them and I love helping them achieve optimal health. I loved being a CRNP so much that I used to arrive at work at least an hour early and stay as late as I had to get things done. I was always on the edge of my seat, waiting to leap up and go above and beyond.

I don't do that anymore.

I don't do that anymore because I love something else more. What I love more is being a mom. Without question, it's the most difficult but rewarding thing I could ever imagine partaking in in my life. I don't feel like I ever get a break, but then, I don't really want one, either.

Here's my daily schedule now:
~0200: baby wakes up. Baby gets changed, fed and put back to sleep.

~0500: baby wakes up again. Baby gets changed, fed and put into bed with Daddy to snooze for a little while longer. Mommy smirks at Daddy and Daddy's mini-me, snuggled in the bed.

~0530-0645: I shower, get ready, eat breakfast and pack my lunch. Baby cries while Mommy is trying to get ready, so Mommy tries to wake up Daddy enough to pay attention to him. I try to find something that fits my postpartum chunk. I hope my socks match and that I don't end up with mascara in my hair. I've already done that twice this week. I also had on brown pants with black shoes all day today before I got home and realized it.

~0650: baby gets up again and gets changed again. It's too early to eat, so baby gets a new outfit and gets put on his piano mat to play. Mommy sings crazy songs to baby and Daddy teases Mommy. He doesn't realize that I learned all these songs from MY mom, and that my goal is for baby to sing the same songs to HIS kids, someday.

~0700: leave for work . . . and cry a little inside at the thought of leaving my baby.

~1500-2000, depending on the day: I leave work, often without saying goodbye to anyone. As terrible as it sounds, I feel I shouldn't "waste" the 10 seconds it takes to close out the day when I could be getting home to my baby that much sooner. To everyone at FCLP, I'm sorry, it's nothing personal. Consider me a selfish mommy.

~1700: I make supper, start a load of laundry, wash bottles, feed the baby, change the baby, play with the baby. If she's lucky, the dog gets some attention, too. Sorry, cat, it's not your day.

~1900: tubby time with the baby!

~1930: final feeding before bed. Daddy reads us a Bible story and an additional fun story. Daddy wonders how Mommy has most of the Dr. Seuss books memorized already.

~2000: bedtime for baby!

~2000-2200: more chores, errands and spending time with the hubby. Sometimes I will use this time to catch up on emails (or blogging). Other times I fall asleep on the couch as I think about how I need to exercise more regularly.

And repeat.

As chaotic as every day has been, I wouldn't trade being a mom for the world. There's nothing better than getting home from a long day and snuggling with my baby as he nurses.

Well, there's one thing that's about as nice . . .
. . . seeing this sweet face learn something new all the time . . . and
. . . .watching his face light up when he realizes just how much Mommy and Daddy love him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Mom Club

I knew it existed, but I never REALLY knew it existed. It's the Mom Club.

It's interesting to watch social networking sites like Facebook to see what's important to people, what people are up to, etc. You can see who is dating, who broke up, engagements, marriages, babies, job changes, school changes, etc. To be honest, I only paid attention to such matters for those who were in my same demographic--that is, I was interested in other engaged couples when I was engaged 5 years ago, other married couples' photos when I was recently married, etc. The same thing goes for those you work with--it's easiest to identify with those in your current life stage. Naturally, I'm now most interested in those with little ones. That number is growing beautifully every day.

This interest in others with little ones is just the beginning of what I have been referring to as the "Mom Club." The Mom Club is something you cannot even begin to understand until you have the joy of becoming a mom. The Mom Club is amazing. It's every mom that looks at you, knowingly, when your little one just won't stop crying. It's every mom that glances at your babe in his/her car seat when you're at the store, trying to guess how old he/she is. It's every mom who can offer you tidbits of advice on what worked, or didn't work, for them. It's the moms who tell you where to find the best deals and what products to avoid.

It's the people that can understand what a '6-wiper" is. As I said, it's an amazing club.

My sweet Nathan is now 11 weeks old, 23" long and weight 13.8 lb. He smiles all the time and loves his tubby-time. His head control is fantastic. He doesn't sleep too well most nights. He often waits until you *just* unhook his diaper to pee everywhere.

I'm sure you don't care. I didn't care too much about such things (other than while working and checking growth charts) until I became a mom. I love hearing how others' babies are growing and changing. I love talking about how my little dude is growing and changing. I love finding out when a friend is expecting.

So, here's to you, fellow moms. Thank you for all your stories and all your support. I'm so thrilled to be one of you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reasoning with a 9-week Old

I know it's impossible to do, but I sincerely wish I could reason with my sweet baby. I wish I could explain to him that he will not have his pacifier to suck on if he keeps grabbing the stuffed animal attachment and throwing it. I wish I could explain that diaper changes are a good thing and will keep him from getting such a bad rash. I wish I could make him nurse for longer periods of time so he wouldn't be "starving" again in 1-2 hours. To date, our reasoning efforts have (obviously) not worked.

One thing has been a godsend for the past 3 nights: Nathan slept for 5 straight hours each night! We didn't really change anything--the evening always consists of tubby-time between 7:00pm and 8:30pm, starting just before he's due to eat again. Tubby time is followed by his baby-lotion massage, getting sung to by Mommy and Daddy, a long nursing session and off to bed it is.

This routine never did anything for his sleep before, but it has recently: we will put him in his crib, he will lie there, wide-awake for about 30-45 minutes, then fall asleep for almost 5 hours. 5 beautiful hours! When he wakes up around 2:30am, he nurses again, then proceeds to wake up every 1.5-2 hours, but that first 5 hours is fantastic. Due to sleeping more, he has been much more awake and generally happier during the day--just as any adult would be!

I wish I could reason with him about sleep, too. I wish I could say, "see? Isn't sleeping nice? Don't you want to sleep for TWO 5-hour stretches so you (and Mommy and Daddy) can feel so good and refreshed?"

Naturally, Nathan doesn't understand this any more than he understands anything else. One day, he'll like to sleep. He'll learn to find ways to soothe himself without chucking his pacifier across the room. He'll learn that clean britches are oh-so nice. For now, though, I'm just tickled pink about my 5-hours.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweet Tub

Because he does not seem to enjoy sleeping at night or in his crib, in general, we've been trying to keep a routine so our Peanut will learn to sleep at night. Our routine starts with "tubby-time" just before he is due for another nursing session. Nathan absolutely loves the tub and is learning to splash in the water.

As much as he loves his tubby time, Nathan does NOT like getting out of the tub. After his tubby-time today, he was hysterical, as per usual. Naturally, I picked him up in his towel and carried him into his room to re-diaper and dress him.

What I love and can't get enough of is the following: he is so small and so scared when he gets out of the tub, but as soon as Mommy wraps her arms around him, he clings tightly and calms down. As frustrating as it can be that he cries seemingly uncontrollably, I can't get enough of his tight grip on my shirt. It's as if all he wants is to be in my arms, where he knows he is safe.

I will not miss waking every 1-2 hours every night. I won't miss getting peed on or thrown up on. I won't miss doing laundry 2-3 times a day.

I will, however, absolutely miss my clingy 2-month-old baby when he realizes that getting out of the tub isn't so scary and that he doesn't need Mommy to hold him so tight anymore.

When it Rains, it Pours

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like things couldn't get any worse? For my family, that's been the case for us for the past 8 months, financially speaking only.

We seem to keep having expenses come up on us. Let's face it: we all have bills. We all have mortgages or rent (or in our case, both), car payments, electric bills, water bills, grocery bills, etc. These payments will, for all intents and purposes, never go away. Sure, your car may be paid off, but it still requires maintenance, much like your house.

For us, this is what it has been like . . .
1) several months of paying full-household bills in two locations
2) NICU bills x 1000
3) general healthcare bills
4) major car repairs . . . times two
5) large amount due at tax time . . . potentially . . . depending on the first-time-home-buyers tax credit pay-back rules
6) my computer is dead and should be replaced

I won't give specific amounts, but all this cost us . . . a LOT . . .

To top it all off, our dog decided to eat another "dog" the other day, forcing us to pay half of said "dog's" emergency vet bill. (To make a long story short, we love our neighbors, but they apparently don't believe in leashes. Thus, their "dog" keeps running over to Jabber and Jabber, who is leashed, keeps pinning the "dog" down and biting it to the point of causing puncture wounds. . . ). (I say "dog" because the thing is really a glorified hamster . . . and I think that's exactly what Jabber thinks it is . . . ).

Anyway, I'm not sharing all this to get sympathy or anything of the sort. I am so thankful that I have a good job that helps deflect these issues and thankful that Adam is able to pick up hours between classes to help, too. I am thankful that we have generous family members who we know would help us if we asked them to. Why I am sharing this is because of something Adam said the other day when I was in tears over how on earth we're going to afford all of these things without one of us selling a kidney. . .

He said, "why are you worrying? Has God not always provided for us?"

Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, yes.

I don't need to list the times He has provided for us in one way or another. I don't have another 27 years to write it all out. But He has taken care of us. And He will continue to do so. He provided me with a kind-hearted husband who reminded me that I don't need to worry . . . because He is there for us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things New Moms Need to Know, part III

I am a big discount-type shopper. I refuse to pay full price for anything, and I will NOT pay shipping in either direction. Period. Thus, here are some sites that all moms need to know about to get the best deals for their little (horribly expensive) bundles of joy.

You can find ANYTHING on Amazon. If you sign up for Amazon Mom, you also get free 2-day shipping for a year. If nothing else, use it for the free shipping! It's also nice to be able to compare Amazon's prices to the stores!

Possibly the most dangerous site I learned of from my sister-in-law. They send emails with 20-80% off very nice, but very expensive baby-or-mom-type items. That AMAZING, large Saranoni blanket that retails for about $160? Find it through baby steals for about $60! That set of Leap Frog books, retailing for $80? Try $30! Robeez socks and shoes? They have them 50% off!! Now if they would only put the Petunia Pickle Bottom bag I'm after on there . . .

They have coupons and price comparisons for all that is baby--diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, gear, bedding, etc.

Very similar to, but it's another resource when you're looking for all the fun things!

Now if we could only win the lottery . . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For Every New Mom, Part II

As promised, this is part II in an unknown-part series. Again, these are my opinions and observations only.

Things Moms Need, II
1) Diaper rash cream.
Specifically, I recommend Weleda Calendula Diaper Care cream. It is more expensive than other diaper rash creams, but I promise this is superior. After my little Peanut had a horrible rash, we tried a different brand of diapers and creams from Aveeno, Burt's Bees, Johnson & Johnson, Butt Paste, etc and none of them helped. We used the Weleda cream after every diaper change for ONE DAY and it was gone. Trust me, you need this miracle cream. I think I'm going to order about 10 more tubes of this stuff . . .

2) A Confidant.
There is nothing I love more than being a mom, and there's nothing that's more helpful than having a friend/relative who is also a mom to cry to when you feel overwhelmed or to smile with when you've had a great day. It's most helpful if said confidant has a child the same age as yours or fewer than 5 years older. These are the same people that can give you a head's up on the best brands of things to buy, coupons, etc. (Thanks, Kristi!!)

3) A Dog.
If nothing else, a dog is good training to be a mom. It's not the same by any stretch of the imagination--dogs can be left alone for a few hours, babies can't. (It's so sad that I have to say that, but after reading the news, apparently it's not common knowledge.) It is, however, preparing you to take care of another being, no matter how exhausted you are. Our dog gets up to pee and barks all night. Our son pees/poops all night and cries all night. It's nice they have each other.

4) Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
A comfort food that also helps to increase breast milk supply? What could be better???? (Something I learned from my continuing education class yesterday!)

5) A Hobby.
Sounds strange, I know. I don't care what the hobby is--shopping, sewing, painting, scrap-booking, playing an instrument, talking, exercising, etc.--but you need one. I will never say that caring for a newborn is anything BUT a full-time job. I eat, sleep and breathe my baby Nathan. However, that being said, it is nice to have something you can relax with that's just for you. I'm still not 100% sure what mine is . . . I used to love taking walks, but that's an ordeal now and I haven't figured out how to control an insane mutt AND a stroller. It's just nice to have something that makes you feel like you're still (partially) you.

6) An Adequate Amount of Maternity Leave
If you are fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home-mom, I am very envious of you--that's my ultimate dream. But, since bills call, I will be returning to work in about 4 weeks. I absolutely LOVE what I do and I love where I work, but having 11 weeks off to just get used to being a mom has been a godsend for our family. (and because our little one doesn't understand the concept of sleeping at night yet, it's nice to know I don't have to make any decisions the next morning that could potentially kill someone . . . )

7) Easily Prepared Meals/Foods
I'm not a small person, nor have I ever been. I love food, even if it's the kind of food my husband classifies as "tree bark" or "rabbit food." That being said, I have noticed that it's pretty difficult to actually sit down and eat . . . anything. I have realized that the second I think I have a second to sit and eat something, someone ELSE wants to eat, needs to be changed, or just wants to be held. I have found my Trader Joe's granola bars (almost out of these! AHHH!) and hand-fruit to be some of my best friends. And chocolate. I can't forget my chocolate!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

For Every New Mom

As you know, I am a first-time Mom, and I love every minute of it--even those minutes that make me want to rip my hair out. I've been a mom for only 5 weeks now (or, 9 months, really), but I wanted to share my opinions of what new moms need to have and/or know. Again, my disclaimer is I've been doing this mom-thing for only 5 weeks and these are my opinions only!

(This is only part one of a part-who-knows-what series)

Thing You Will "Need" . . . Part 1 (in no particular order!)

1) Diapers and wipes. Please don't get 10 boxes of any one size or brand of diaper. I encourage you to get about 1 pack of two different kinds to try out. The reality is you don't know what you or your baby will prefer and you also don't know how big your baby will be for sure. Don't get 3 boxes of Pampers for a newborn only to find out that you just gave birth to a 10-pounder!
2) A car seat carrier. It's so nice to have one item fulfill more than one purpose . . . and it's cheaper, too.
3) At least two halo sleep sacks. Anyone who has had a baby in the last 3 or so years will agree.
4) At least 4 burp clothes. I made the mistake of thinking 2 was plenty since I did laundry so much. Let's just say . . . newborns eat about every 2 hours and spit up often. It doesn't take too many of those spit-up episodes before that burp cloth is saturated with curdled-milk goodness.
5) Granny panties and sweatpants . . . for Mom, obviously. There's no getting dolled up for a few weeks and you don't want to wear anything tight for awhile. Trust me.
6) A breast pump if you are breastfeeding, which I encourage you to do. It may take some time before you and your baby get on the same schedule for feedings and you don't want to waste that precious liquid gold!
7) A Hooter Hider. (See #6). Even if you aren't shy (and you won't be after you've had a baby!), other people tend to be squeamish if they see a woman breastfeeding her child . . . even though you really can't see anything!
8) A good camera--self-explanatory, I know, but you not only want to have a camera, you want to have that camera OUT and ready to go at all times!
9) A baby medical book, a friend in the medical field or medical knowledge yourself. For the record, YES, a baby's poop is supposed to look like THAT.
10) Cute clothes. Let's face it, this one is just so Mom and Dad can show off the cutest thing they've ever seen!

Things New Moms need to know . . .Part 1

1) You will have a monitor with you to keep track of what your little one is doing. This monitor will be the loudest thing you have with you. If, however, the monitor ever goes quiet, you will immediately run into your baby's room to make sure he/she is still breathing.
2) There is no longer something called a "quick errand." As such, please allow an addition 5-45 minutes to get wherever you are going.
3) Do not try on your pre-pregnancy clothes within the first month after giving birth: even if you are at/below your pre-pregnancy weight, the clothes won't fit and you'll just feel depressed. Your body has changed.
4) They call it labor for a reason. I don't think I need to elaborate here . . .
5) You will never love something more than the little bundle you brought home.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2 Weeks of Love and Prayer

As my little man is sitting quite comfortably and quietly in his lamb swing, I decided to take some time to reflect on the events of the last two weeks . . .

On, January 6, 2012, my sweet Nathan was born! I won't take the time to write out his birth story just yet, but that will be coming in the near future, too. The basics:
1/1/12-1/5/12: horrible back pain
0500: water broke
0530: arrived at the hospital
0530-0820: contractions every 1-2 minutes
0829: c-section and a sweet new baby boy!

As you may already know, Nathan spent the first 9 days of his precious life in the NICU at Pinnacle's Harrisburg Hospital. While Adam and I knew we wanted to deliver somewhere that had a phenomenal NICU, we never once imagined that our baby would actually need such services. After all, the NICU wasn't supposed to be for babies born at 36.5 weeks to an otherwise healthy mom, right? Needless to say, though, we were (and are) utterly grateful for the awesome nurses and doctors who helped our sweet boy get healthy. We can never repay you!

In those 9 days, I don't think we did anything besides cry, pray and worry. I have always been a worrier--according to my mom, I was born with a worried look on my face. (This is apparently something that runs in our family because Nathan was also born with a worried look on his face).

This, however, was a different kind of worry. This was a worry that made my heart ache like I never knew it could. I ached because I couldn't help him, even though I work in the medical field. I cried because I couldn't take his pain away. I couldn't make his digestive system work. I couldn't breathe for him. I wondered if this is how my own mom felt every time I had to have knee surgery, when I was diagnosed with cancer or was getting radiation. If it was, then she's even stronger than I ever realized. I even told my mom that she should've warned me better that being a mom would show me emotions I never knew. She laughed and simply said, "just wait."

After I was discharged from Pinnacle 4 days after my c-section, Adam and I continued to visit sweet Nathan in the NICU twice a day--those were the hardest trips we ever had to make. We were always so anxious as to what condition he would be in when we got there. Would his oxygen needs be down? Would he be taking in any more milk? Would he have fewer wires or tubes hooked to him? I must say, I never felt a higher high than seeing his medical needs decrease a little bit each time we visited him. We continued to long for the day we could take him home.

Finally, on January 15, 2012, we got to bring our little boy home with us. I have never seen Adam drive more carefully than he did the day we brought our love home.

Nathan will continue to bring us heartache for lots of different reasons. . . I'm just so thankful that he's healthy and will be around to do so.