Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Grateful

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow so I'd be remiss not to reflect on the many things in my life that I am grateful for. I love this time of year because it reminds us to be thankful. We shouldn't need a holiday to remind us to give thanks for the blessings in our life, but the reality is that we are all human and sometimes, we need a reminder in the form of a holiday!

So, here's what I'm thankful for this year!

1. Paul - Of course, I have to start with this little nugget of joy. Becoming a mom has been the best experience. Yes it's been trying at times and I'm super exhausted but it's all worth it.


A couple people have said Paul looks like me in this photo!

Mmm, pickles! He takes after me and loves pickles.

I am so in love with the latest batch of photos from our wedding photographer

2. A strong partner - It's been so fun to watch Phil become a dad. He had never held a baby before Paul was born but you'd never know from watching him. The work of mom and dad is never divided 50/50 but he helps out as much as he can. He's definitely Paul's favorite!



Paul loves rough-housing with daddy!


3. Our other baby - I can't leave our other/first baby, Oscar, off this list. She gets less attention since Paul came on the scene but has adapted pretty well. Paul loves her so much! She's been letting him get closer to her lately - hopefully they will be best friends some day!




4. Supportive family  - We are lucky to have supportive parents and siblings that offer advice or "I've been there!" comments. And his grandparents can't get enough photos of him! I send photos to my mom and MIL all the time and they seem to love getting them!





5. Friendships - Admittedly I haven't been able to devote as much time to friendships as I have in the past, but I'm still grateful for the good friends in our lives, both near and far. I know they understand that we are in a season of life where it's hard to get together with others. It helps that Phil's friends have similar-aged kids so we see them more often since they are on a similar schedule (i.e. they are all about afternoon/early evening get togethers that end at 6:30!) Because of this group of friends, Paul already has some buddies, like Gus. I can't wait to watch them grow up together!

How does this thing work? 


6. My health and good drugs - 2018 was a volatile year for me between the blood clot in January, my RA acting up so much during the pregnancy and having an unexpected C-section. But I'm thankful for my kind and competent team of doctors. And I'm thankful for the cocktail of drugs I take to keep my RA symptoms mostly at bay.

7. My job and my company's generous PTO policy - Coming back to work has been so hard - harder than I ever imagined it would be. But I know that continuing to work is the right decision in the long run so I am fighting through this difficult and lengthy period of adjustment. It helps that I came back to a job I like and a team that love. I'm also lucky that my company had a generous maternity leave (at least compared to other US companies - not compared to other countries unfortunately) and PTO policy. Taking every other Friday off to get extra time with Paul has really helped! I don't think we'll be taking any big vacation in 2019 so I will continue to use my PTO to get extra time with Paul.

8. Paul is cleared for tubes - We had Paul's ENT follow-up last week and as I suspected, he had another nasty ear infection so they decided to proceed with putting in tubes. He has surgery next Tuesday. It's not ideal for him to have surgery but I'll take that over repetitive ear infections and terrible sleep!

9. Daycare providers who love Paul - It's not easy to be away from Paul for 10 hours each day, but it helps to know that he's being taken care of by women who seem to genuinely love Paul. He's always happy when we pick him up and he doesn't cry when Phil drops him off. Each week they have a curriculum so parents can see what skills they are working on. I'm not sure how much Paul gets out of the curriculum at this age but eventually it will be more relevant.

Paul's first class photo. He clearly loves the camera!!! Some of the other kids look less thrilled. ;) 
10. All of you! - Some days I wonder if I should keep blogging but then I read comments from all of you or get an email from someone who reads my blog and I'm reminded that the community and friendships I've built make blogging worthwhile!

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S. If you live in the US, what are you doing to celebrate? We are going to Phil's mom's for the day. I'll miss seeing my family but it will be nice to not travel! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Day in the Life - My Friday with Paul

I've read many "day in the life" posts on others' blogs but my days always felt a little bit too 'boring' to share - especially week days when I'm gone 10 hours between work and commuting (my job isn't interesting enough to others, in my opinion, to talk about what I am doing during those 10 hours!). But when I was home on Friday with Paul I decided to capture our day in photos so I could finally do a day in the life post! Here's how we spent our day!

6:30 am - Paul wakes up for the day. Normally I would be up at 5:30 am to pump on week days but I 'sleep in' until he gets up on days I don't work. I get him a bottle and feed him while pumping. He's super wiggly after finishing his bottle so he plays on the floor while I finish pumping. I pumped for about 40 minutes that morning - on work days I only have time to pump for 30 minutes.

7:30 am - Breakfast time for Paul and me! After a hesitant start to eating, he's doing much better. He mostly eats purees, though. We give him things like peanut butter toast strips but he pretty much just plays with it.

What's for breakfast mom?

Oatmeal cereal for Paul; peanut + jelly toast and coffee for mom
While he's happy in the high chair, I figure out how much excess milk I can freeze that day. Fortunately I pump more than he eats so we have quite the freezer stash - over 1,500 oz! If my supply remains where it is, I *should* have enough frozen around Christmas time to stop pumping! Woo hoo! I might keep pumping once a day until he's a year so he can get some fresh milk each day. Frozen milk is great but it's ideal for him to get fresh milk as the antibodies in fresh milk helps him fight whatever he is exposed to in our current environment.

The milk area of our freezer. I fill a shoe box with bags of frozen milk. When the shoe box is full, they go in a gallon bag and Phil takes them to his mom's (she has a deep freeze).
 8:15 am - we are done with breakfast and it's play time for Paul!

He loves this baby faces book!
Now that he is mobile, he wants to be by Oscar. He's still army crawling as he hasn't figured out how to get up on his hands and knees. He's gotten faster at his army crawl but is still pretty slow.


Oscar is more tolerant of him than she is of other kids. She's never hissed or growled at him. But when he gets close to her, she runs away.


He has finally mastered sitting up! He was behind on this skill but that big head made it extra challenging for him!
9 am - It's time for Paul's first nap of the day. I give him a bit more milk and then put him down in his crib awake. He fusses for a bit but falls asleep pretty quickly. This is our first day of dropping down to 2 naps. He only takes 2 naps/day at daycare but at home he usually takes 3 naps. His 2nd and 3rd nap have been really short lately so we are going to try to transition to 2 naps/day.


During his nap, I work on laundry and clean our 2 bathrooms. I'm tempted to relax and read but I need to be productive today as I am planning to can salsa verde the following day so I need to get all my chores out of the way!

10:30 am - Paul wakes up from his nap. He napped for 1.5 hours so it was a good nap! I change him out of his sleeper and we cuddle for a bit. He's very very wiggly and not interested in cuddling anymore so I savor the times when he is willing to cuddle.


After giving him a bottle, I put him in the jumper while I clean the kitchen. I'm glad he still likes this toy as it's nice to 'contain' him while I clean! Gone are the days of putting him on a blanket with toys and leaving the room for more than a couple of minutes.


One reality of pumping is alllll the dishes. I feel like we are always washing bottles, jars that we keep the milk in, and pump parts.

11:30 am - The kitchen is clean so it's time for lunch! Paul has some pureed sweet potatoes and pears and I have leftover lentil soup.
Sweet potato mustache
 After lunch I fold another basket of laundry while Paul plays on the carpet. He's more interested in the laundry basket than his toys, though.


After the laundry is folded and our bed is made, I read some books to Paul. Little Blue Truck is definitely his favorite!


Then it's more floor time for Paul. One of his favorite games is to push the truck and then follow it. He does this with his ball as well. It's so cute to watch!


1:30 pm - Time for his 2nd nap of the day. I sit down to pump and pump for about 35 minutes.


After that, I get his diapers in the wash. We are still loving cloth diapering. It's a bit grosser now that he's eating solids. But we bought a diaper sprayer last month so that has helped make dealing with poopy diaper much easier. We just spray them in the toilet.

After getting the diapers in the wash, I end up laying down in bed to read my book until he wakes up. Our room is across the hall from his room so we don't need a baby monitor up there as we can clearly hear him cry.

2:30 pm - He's up after an hour nap which is decent but not as long of a nap as I would have liked! I give Paul a bottle and then we spend more time playing on his blanket.


4:30 pm - Daddy gets home. And then I slack off on taking pictures for the rest of the day. Whoops!

6:30 pm - We put Paul to bed. Our bedtime routine is pretty quick. He eats a bottle downstairs and then we go upstairs to bed. I put lotion on him and put him in his night time diaper, sleeper, and sleep sack (every other day he takes a bath but he had one on Thursday). Phil and I take turns reading him a book each night, then we put him down in the crib awake. Some nights we read 2 books - it depends on how tired he is. Friday night is my turn to read and we only get through one book - Good Night Moon. I'm honestly not a huge fan of this book but he seems to love it. It was also Phil's favorite book when he was a baby and one of his first words was "moon." So I guess Paul is taking after daddy with his love of this book!

6:45 pm - Phil and I warm up leftover stir fry and we eat dinner on the couch and catch up on our days.

7:30 pm - I pump while we watch a couple episodes of season 1 of Catastrophe on Amazon Prime. We don't love the show but it's entertaining enough to keep us engaged. We have the hardest time finding shows we both like!

8:30 pm - I head up to bed to read before turning in around 9:15. My bedtime is pretty early these days as I know Paul is going to be up a couple of times. We still split the nights - I handle wake ups before 2am and Phil handles wake ups after 2am.

9:30 pm - Paul is up and hungry. I wish we could get him to go longer before his first night feeding but we've tried letting him cry for a bit and he will crying for 10-15+ minutes so I feel like he's truly hungry. Some day he'll sleep through the night but it seems a looooong way off for us. :/ One upside to his night wake ups is that he is cuddly during this time. After I feed him I usually lay back on the guest bed with Paul on my chest which is the best feeling.

All in all it was a really good day. If it had been nicer outside, we would have gone for a walk at some point but it was snowy/icy and cold. Now that he's down to 2 naps and awake for 2.5-3 hours, it would be ideal to get out and do something like go to the library but I couldn't motivate myself to leave our warm house! I got 3 loads of laundry and all of my cleaning done so it was an especially productive day!

Friday, November 9, 2018

TGIF

Yay, it's Friday, and I'm off today so I have a 3-day weekend with Paul to look forward to! It's been awhile since I've done a TGIF-style post! Here's how my week shaped up.

The high of my week was going to bed last night knowing I didn't have to get up at 5:30 am to pump and that I'd have 3 days at home with baby Paul. I'm using my PTO to get extra time with Paul. I'm taking every other Friday off for the last quarter of the year. I won't be able to continue to do that in 2019 as I'll burn through my vacation way too fast but I'm hoping to take every 3rd or 4th Friday off. It's been hard to return to work and see so little of Paul but I know that I need to keep working and push through this difficult stage of seeing so little of Paul so using PTO to spend extra time with him is the solution I've come up with to make this working mom thing work for our family.

The low of my week was dealing with a pesky case of pink eye that just won't go away. I've had it for 10 days and while it's gotten better, it just won't go away. The other low was seeing Paul in pain from bad constipation. That's maybe TMI, but welcome to life as a mom! His stomach has not adjusted well to solids. :/ We are giving him prunes twice a day until things get sorted out. Luckily he actually likes prunes. Such a weird duck!



A book I'm reading is Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny. It's the 6th book in her Inspector Gamache series. You don't *have* to read them in order but I'm glad I am because the story line of this book is very related to the story line of book 5. I just love this series so much. It's the perfect series to read when the weather gets colder as the books are just so 'cozy.' I never thought I was a mystery person but this series has made me realize that I do like mysteries - especially ones like this series that are not at all gory.

Recipes I made were chipotle chicken for tacos and cashew chicken stir fry. I make both of these recipes about once a month as they are easy and delicious!

The best money I spent was on a salad at a local salad place. I bring lunch 4 days a week but treat myself to lunch out once a week. This salad place started off as a food truck and now they have 3 locations downtown and are opening a 4th in my building. They have the best salad combinations. I always get the thai salad with chicken. It's soooo good and worth the $12!

My plans this weekend include absolutely no social plans! I was supposed to go visit a coworker who had a baby a couple of months ago but I cancelled that visit as I don't want to risk giving them pink eye. A low key weekend sounds wonderful to me, though. I'm all about plan-free weekends now that we have a baby. One big thing I want to do this weekend is make/can salsa verde with the 20 lbs of roasted/pureed tomatillos that have been in our freezer since August!

Here are some bonus Paul pics!


I love sleepers with things on the butt!


He loves the little people animals so much - especially the cat one. He was "talking" to the cat when I took this photo
We are raising quite the little reader! He especially likes the 'baby faces' book from Grandma Joan.


He's very serious about learning his ABCs. ;)





Friday, November 2, 2018

Baby Paul: 8 Months

Our little guy turned 8 months yesterday. The last month was a healthier one for him, thank goodness!
Firsts:
- He's on the move! He started to army crawl over the weekend and gets better and better at it every day. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks forwards and backwards but hasn't quite figured out how to fully crawl. I'm guessing he'll figure it out in the next month. For now it's fun to watch him army crawl - it's so much work so he does a lot of grunting. Ha!


-He got his 2nd and 3rd tooth this month so now he has two on the bottom and one on top. You can see the bottom teeth in the photo below. Another tooth is coming in on top so I imagine he'll have 4 teeth by the end of this month!




- He celebrated his first Halloween. He dressed up as a hedgehog. We only went to one house - our neighbors - on Halloween as Paul goes to bed around 6pm. They thought he was super cute and we got lots of comments/reactions when I posted his picture on facebook.



- He's much better at sitting up and can sit independently but he doesn't really like to sit up so he doesn't do it very often. He seems to prefer being on his belly so he can move around!


Challenges:
- We're still struggling with fluid in his ears. We had his ears rechecked mid-month and while he didn't have an infection he still had fluid so it seems like a waiting game until the next infection arises. We see the ENT later this month and I think they will proceed with tubes if the fluid is still there since it's impacting his hearing.

Eating:
- His daycare teachers starting giving him solids this past month as he was showing interest/signs of readiness. They have had WAY more luck than we have. He ate all of the oatmeal cereal they gave him the first day so I tried giving him some at home and he pushed it out with his tongue. So I bought the (organic) brand daycare serves and he eats that. I guess he has fancy tastes. ;)

- On week days he usually only gets solids at daycare (cereal for breakfast and a veggie or fruit puree for lunch). On the weekends I give him cereal in the mornings and let him "play" with other solids at lunch time. I say play because he really does not eat much when he feeds himself. I was so sure I would take more of a baby led weaning approach where they eat what you eat and feed themselves but since he barely eats what I give him, we are relying more on purees. We tried giving him hard boiled eggs and toast with peanut butter and jam a couple of weeks ago. He ate some of the peanut butter off the toast but he wouldn't eat the eggs and made his usual 'why are you torturing me' face when he tasted the raspberry jam. Another day I gave him some GF pasta and he had no interest in that. I ended up giving him another pickle since he loves to gum and suck on them.

Pickles > GF pasta



Growth:
- He weighed 15.5 pounds at his mid-month appointment which is almost 5th percentile for weight!
- He's still in 3-6 month clothes. Maybe by December we can move up to 6-9 month clothes? He doesn't have a ton of clothes so he wears the same things over and over and over again.

- Sleep remains a challenge. For the first half of the month he was waking up 4-5 times a night. After we confirmed he didn't have an ear infection, we started to let him cry for 10 minutes before going in to feed him. Now he's waking up about 2-3 times a night which is an improvement but still a lot of wake ups for an 8-month old baby. Hopefully he starts to sleep for longer stretches soon because mom and dad are tired!!

- He's more and more interested in toys each month. My mom and dad got him some "little people" animals for Halloween. He loves to look at them from every angle - he twists the toys back and forth to get a full view of them. It's funny to watch him discover the word. I put the animals in his shape sorter bucket - he loves sorting through them and dumping out the bucket of toys.



- He loves "rough housing" with daddy. He was giggling and squealing with delight when Phil hung him upside down.


- He also love bath time! He giggles and shrieks when we take his clothes off - especially when it's an outfit we can pull off of him, like a one-piece romper or onesie. Phil has made a game out of this and he just loves it.


- He's still small enough for his whale bath tub. We don't have any bath toys since it's such a small tub but he likes playing with the wash cloth and the measuring cup I use when washing his hair.

We love bath time!
- Really there isn't much Paul doesn't love. He is a very smiley, happy little guy as long as he isn't really tired or hungry. We are very lucky to have such a sweet, happy boy!

The months fly by and each one gets better and better. In my mom's group there are several moms that feel sad about their baby growing/changing but I can't say I feel that way yet. I just love watching him grow, change, and figure things out. There are aspects I miss from the newborn days, like how he would sleep anywhere and how cuddly he was. But overall, I MUCH prefer this stage and I think it's only going to get more fun! I *think* we will have a second so maybe I will feel more sad about my baby growing when I know it's our last? We'll see!