Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Currently: August



Oh boy I am on the struggle bus right now. Paul got a nasty virus that turned into an ear infection and kept him out of daycare for an entire week last week. He's on antibiotics and on the mend but he's still not quite himself and is waking up so much (as much as 6 times/night!). I caught his cough/cold so feel extra tired since my body is worn down. I am sooo ready for the weekend and it's only Wednesday. Womp womp. The only silver lining from Paul being sick is all the cuddle time. When he's feeling well, he's way too busy to cuddle with mom as he wants to be looking around/wiggling.







Reading: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I read this for a course when I studied abroad in Australia and HATED it. I gave it one star! I can't remember why I hated it, though. I was 21 at the time, though, and maybe I was too young to appreciate the concepts in the book? I'm re-reading it for book club.



Loving:  watching Paul figure out how to move. He's a ways off from figuring out how to crawl, but boy he's trying to figure it out! He's very good at rolling, though, and can spin around on his stomach so he's sort of on the move.







Feeling: really tired and worn out. These frequent wake-ups are just killing me! I'm glad that Phil and I can split the night up so I'm not handling all of the wake-ups but it's still exhausting to get woken up so much. And it's tough to see Paul feeling so tough. He coughs so hard that sometimes he ends up gagging and throwing up. :(  I keep telling myself - "this, too, shall pass."



Anticipating: the weekend. I kind of live for the weekends right now because naps are saving my life right now. Plus this is Phil's birthday weekend so we are going out for lunch at his favorite local restaurant (Marla's Caribbean Cuisine). We rarely eat out anymore as eating out with a baby is just not fun. But lunch is a good time to go out with a baby since he's in a good mood usually!


Grateful: that we were able to work from home last week so we didn't have to burn through vacation days. I took Monday off as I didn't have my computer at home with me and then worked from home on Wednesday and Friday. Phil worked from home on Tuesday and Thursday.



Working:  on canning some of the produce from my garden. I've been skinning/freezing tomatoes as I pick them and have enough to make some marinara. I'm hoping to can it this weekend so I can free up some freezer space. 25 pounds of tomatoes takes up a lot of room!! I've also been freezing roasted/pureed tomatillos so I can make salsa verde again.


Listening: to the second season of Slow Burn. The first season was about the Watergate scandal. The second season is about the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I was so young when Bill Clinton was in office so I really don't know the ins and outs of what happened.


Wishing: for some cooler temps. Don't hate me, fellow Midwesterners. I'm just over the hot/humid temps we've had lately. I just want to be able to sleep with the windows open!


And here are some bonus pics of Paul!


Looking handsome in his dino outfit - 5 minutes later he puked up his amoxicillin dose. :(

He can hold his bottle for about a minute!

Super smiley even though this was day 2 of being sick.

Daddy's future golf partner








We got our photos back from our 2nd session with our wedding photographer. This is one of my favorites!


What are you loving, anticipating, and grateful for?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Baby Paul: 5 months




 It's hard to believe that our little guy turned 5 months this week. I feel like we've started to hit a 'sweet spot' with him. He's such a happy little guy now and only cries if he is hungry or tired. Otherwise he's in a really good mood. It's fun to watch him learn new things each week! I'll be honest - it's been really hard to be back at work. We get so little time with him during the week as we usually wake him up 20 minutes before Phil leaves to bring him to daycare and he's only awake for an hour when we get home from work. But it really makes me appreciate the time I get with him - especially on the weekends!

Loves:

- Other kids. Paul absolutely loves watching and interacting with other kids, especially my nieces and nephews. He especially has a sweet spot for my nephew Matthew. These two had so much fun together over the 4th. Paul was just so enamored with Matthew. It was the sweetest thing to watch.




- sticking out his tongue. He often sticks it out when he smiles at us.


 
 
- his daddy. Phil doesn't have to do much to get him to smile these days.
 

Here are a couple of times I was trying to get him to smile for me and he was too focused on smiling at his dad to look at me!
 
That dimple!
 - making funny faces. He still cracks us up with his expressions!
 
He looks so concerned in this photo.  Ha.
 
What, you are going to Chicago for work? I did not approve of this!

- his activity mat. He has so much fun playing with the different hanging toys and now that he can roll and spin around on his tummy, he can get to whatever toy he is most interested in. It's kind of impressive how far he can move between rolling and spinning.



- being read to. I'm pretty impressed by how much he pays attention when we read to him. He really looks at the pages and pays attention. He seems really enjoy it, which makes this book-lover so happy!


Reading with Grandma Joan.
Dislikes:




- Sleeping in new places. It was really hard for him to adjust to napping at daycare, which makes sense as he's used to sleeping in a dark room with a sound machine. For the first week he wouldn't nap in the crib there, but he started napping in the crib on Monday and yesterday he took 2 1-hour naps so he's figuring out how to sleep there. For the first 1.5 weeks he was only sleeping maybe an hour total which is not much for a 5-month old baby!


- The Nose Freida. He still hates this but it's a necessary evil when he has a cold (which he got during his first week of daycare).


- There's not much else he doesn't like these days. As long as he's not tired or hungry, he's a happy little guy.


Sleep:


- We made the controversial decision to sleep train when I got back from the lake in early July. I know that sleep training is not for everyone, but it was the right decision for us. Before sleep training he was getting up 3-4 times/night and sometimes as often as every 1-1.5 hours. Now he is up about twice a night which feels manageable now that Phil and I split the nights. Because Paul is so small, we know it's not realistic to expect him to sleep through the night so I think this is as good as it will get until he is a little bigger. His pediatrician said it's not realistic to expect him to sleep through the night until he is 15+ pounds and we are months away from him getting that big!


- The best part of sleep training is that Paul can now put himself to sleep. We just set him in the crib for naps and night time. He might fuss a bit or roll around and coo but he settles down after 3-5 minutes most of the time and falls asleep. He tends to roll over and sleep on his stomach. You put babies to sleep on their back, but once they can roll from back to stomach, it's ok to let them sleep on their stomach.



Firsts:


- Daycare/being cared for by others. I returned to work on July 12th so he was cared for by family and a friend until his daycare spot was available on July 23rd. He handled the adjustment to daycare really well. He never cried with I left him, even when I dropped him at daycare the first day. So that makes leaving him with others much easier! His daycare teachers all said he is a very sweet, happy, "chill" baby. He must take after his dad - ha! (I'm not really described as being chill by anyone!). He's always happy when we pick him up. Like I said in the sleep section, he has struggled to nap at daycare but they said he's still super happy even on days when he wasn't sleeping much.

Hanging out with his buddy Gus while my friend watched him for an afternoon.

- Discovering his feet. Paul found his feet last month and often sucks on them.




- He's gotten much better at tummy time. You can see the progression in the next 2 photos. He has figured out how to prop himself up on his forearms.









He's trying to figure out how to crawl but right now it just looks like he is swimming because his legs don't make much contact with the ground when he moves them. But it's cool to watch him try to figure things out. I think he must be picking things up from other kids at daycare because he's made so much progress in getting up on his elbows since starting daycare. I still think we are a ways from him crawling but I'm ok with that!!

All in all, the past month was a great one for us and I think things are only going to get better and more fun!
 


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Currently: July

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Here's what's currently going on in my life!


Reading:  The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya. This is a memoir written by a woman who fled Rwanda at age 6 during the 1994 genocide. She fled with her 15-year old sister. They move from refugee camp to refugee camp in various countries in Africa. It's hard to wrap my mind around everything she experienced before coming to the U.S. as a refugee. It's a sad, hard read, but an important one as I think our country is sorely lacking in compassion and empathy for refugees.



Loving:  Paul's smiles. I love how his whole face lights up!






Feeling: really tired. Paul is sleeping better but I'm still struggling to get more than 7 hours of sleep. I wish I was one of those people who only needed 6 hours of sleep but that's just not me! I'm sure part of my exhaustion is from adjusting to being back at work full time.



Anticipating: my work trip to Chicago next week. Honestly, I'm not really looking forward to it as it's going to be hard to be away from Paul for 2 days. But I really need to be at these meetings in Chicago as this is the first meeting of my newly merged team at work and I'll get some time to get to know my boss and new colleagues. It's just a hassle to travel when you are pumping. My (current-soon-to-be-former) boss gave me the ok to use "Milk Stork" to transport my milk back to Minneapolis. It's a service that overnights your milk back home. Otherwise I would have had to travel with upwards of 90+ ounces of breast milk. I feel like that would have make the security process AWFUL.

Watching: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on prime. I tried watching this show on my own last winter but I felt kind of 'meh' after the first episode. But after hearing several people rave about it, Phil and I are giving it a try and so far I'm enjoying it more.


Grateful: that Paul is sleeping better thanks to sleep training. I know sleep training is controversial and not for everyone, but it was the right decision for us. He now wakes up about once a night. Before sleep training, he was waking up 4+ times and sometimes as often as every 1-1.5 hours! Now he only wakes up when he is hungry. I'm tired enough as it is so I can't imagine how much more tired I would be if he was getting up as often as he was in June!



Working: on being in bed with the lights out at 9 pm. I have to get up to pump around 5:20 am and Paul is usually up once during the night so I really need to get to bed at 9 if I'm going to have any chance of getting 7 hours of sleep. Phil and I split the night time wake ups - I get up with Paul if he's awake before 2am and Phil gets up if he's awake after 2am, so I usually get up once with Paul around 12-1 am and then Phil gets up with him around 5:30-6 am.  


Listening: to back episodes of The Mom Hour. I love the 2 hosts of this show. They are very down-to-earth and practical about things.


Wishing: that the time in the evening didn't go so darn fast! Paul is not napping well at daycare so we put him down for a nap when we get home at 5, wake him up at 6, and put him down for the night around 7. So we get about an hour with him on week days. :( Then I pump at 8 and go to bed at 9 so I feel like the nights are sooo short! I'm reminding myself this is a temporary season of life, though. Eventually Paul's bedtime will be later. And eventually, I won't be pumping.


And here are some bonus pics of Paul!


Having fun with daddy!


This is Paul's favorite toy!


What are you loving, anticipating, and grateful for?

Friday, July 20, 2018

My Return to Work

I've been back to work for a little over a week now, so I thought I'd check in and talk about how it's going! So here is a 'bullet-point style' post with my thoughts!


- I'm so glad that I eased back into it with half days. It really helped to have a 'gentle' return to work. I'd highly recommend this to other moms if it's an option.


- We are so grateful for the family and friend that helped us cover the gap between my return to work and Paul's start day at daycare. This week Paul was watched by my aunt for 2 half days, a friend for a half day and my mom for 2 full days. Everyone who watched him said they really enjoyed their time with him.


- Paul spent a half day with my friend at her house as she was home with her almost-6-month-old son, Gus. Last time Paul and Gus hung out, Paul had no interest in socializing. But this time he was so enamored with Gus! I love the look on Paul's face in the photo below! Paul and Gus are only 5 weeks apart - I can't wait to watch them grow up together!


 
- Paul has handled being cared for by different people pretty well. However, he did give me the saddest frowny face when he woke up from his nap after I got home last night. :( My mom went to get him (I was pumping) and when he saw me, he gave me the saddest face. It's like he all of a sudden realized he was with someone else all day. He only gave me the sad face for a little bit but it definitely pulled at my heart strings!


Why must you leave me each day??

- Work has been really busy which has been a great distraction. It's been a bit jarring/discombobulating to be back at work, though. The company I work for was bought by another larger company 3+ years ago and they are getting around to merging things at my level of the company. So there have been lots of changes while I was out and I found out this week that I will have a new boss in September. It's just kind of disorientating to come back and feel like things have shifted and changed. I'm sure that when the dust settles, my role won't be all that impacted. It's just a weird feeling to come back after 4 months and deal with getting back into the swing of things at work + adjusting to other changes. It's been making my head spin.

- Pumping at work kind of sucks. Lugging stuff back and forth is such a nuisance. I'm hoping to buy a pump from a friend so I don't have to haul mine back and forth. Luckily I'm the only pumping mom right now so I don't have any competition for the mother's room. I kind of doubt Paul will exclusively drink breast milk for a year. My goal is to get to 6 months when he will start eating food and then I will start to cut back on how often I am pumping. Babies are still supposed to get the majority of their nutrition from milk when they start eating solids at 6 months so we might have to supplement with formula but hopefully I'll continue to produce enough to give him a couple of bottles of breast milk a day.

There you have it! All in all, my return to work has gone pretty smoothly. I'm nervous for his first day of daycare on Monday but I know we'll all get through it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

4th of July Highlights

It's been a week since the 4th of July holiday but I wanted to share some of the highlights from my time at the lake! I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have but I tried my best to capture as many as I could!

- Watching Paul interact with my nephews and niece. He was particularly enamored with my nephew Matthew, who is 10. They had a bit of a mutual admiration society going on. I was surprised how excited Matthew was to see Paul. I guess all summer he's been asking every week when he could see Paul. Paul absolutely lit up when he was being held by or interacting with Matthew!

Matthew wanted to hold Paul the way Phil does! Matthew really likes Phil and clearly wanted to interact with Paul the way Phil does.

My blue-eyed beauty!


- Seeing so much family, including my aunt, uncle and cousins from California and my grandma. My Grandma got 2 opportunities to hold Paul during our time at the lake as she was at my parents place on the 4th and my aunt and uncle's place over the weekend.


I hope I look this good at 95!!

- Handing Paul off to my mom every morning. Paul did not sleep well at the lake so I was very glad that my mom willingly took care of him each morning so I could get an extra 1-1.5 hours of sleep! It was also nice to have her watch him while I pumped. Pumping + watching a wiggly 4-month old is challenging at times! My mom absolutely adores Paul so this was a win-win situation as she can't get enough of him!

- Finally getting to hear some laughs from Paul. We've gotten some little bursts of laughter but this was the first time he gave me some true giggles! Best sound ever!


- Eating delicious home-cooked food. I failed to take any pictures of the meals we ate but trust me when I say I ate very well. I think my favorite meal was grilled crappies (pronounced crop-pee for those not familiar with this kind of fish). It's a delicious, mild white fish. My BIL caught some on Saturday that he cleaned and sent home with us which was so nice of him!

- I got to see 5 of my 7 nieces and nephews. It amazes me how fast they have grown up - especially my Godson James who will be 14 (!!!!) later this month. He has matured so much over the last year and now he has this deep voice and broader shoulders. Gone are the days of burping and telling fart jokes at the dinner table! I know many of you probably wonder how I could miss that phase but it's just crazy to see how quickly he has grown and changed. But he is the nicest young man and I told him multiple times over the weekend that he's a perfect and terrific kid.

- Seeing Phil on Saturday morning after being apart for 4 days! I know he appreciated his uninterrupted sleep, especially since he had a super busy week at work with long days. But we sure missed daddy and he missed us, too. Plus he was all on his own while we were gone as Oscar went to his mom's for a couple of weeks.

What was the highlight from your Canada Day or Independence Day celebration?

Maternity Leave Goals Review + What's Next

Just like that, today is my last full day of maternity leave (sob!). I won't lie - there have been plenty of challenging days during my leave, especially in the last month+ when Paul started to take catnaps which meant I spent so much of the day putting him to sleep. But even though there were challenging/frustrating days, I am still sad to see my time at home with him come to an end. That said, I *think* I will do ok with going back to work. I say think because I don't really know what it's going to be like until I go back to work. I think it will help that I love my job and co-workers. I am nervous about how little time I will get with Paul during the week as he'll go to bed between 6-7 and I'll get home around 5... but I'm reminding myself that his bedtime will get pushed back as he gets older. And this will force us to really make the most of our time with him on the weekend.

Our smiley little guy

Paul has discovered his feet. They are his favorite thing to play with these days!

I'm going to miss this little guy so much!
Months ago I set some goals for my maternity leave so I thought I'd review them!

1. Swap out maternity clothes for pre-pregnancy clothes = complete. I not only swapped out my maternity clothes. I also moved my dresser and all my hanging clothes from the guest room to mine & Phil's bedroom as the guest room is now Paul's. This was a big job but I got it done a couple of weeks ago and it's really nice to have all of my things in my bedroom. I didn't think that my clothes would fit in Phil's closet, but I've paired down my wardrobe quite a bit, especially since many things don't quite fit yet.

2. Lose my maternity weight = incomplete. This was probably an unrealistic goal to set but it was something I had really hoped to achieve. I still have about 8-10 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose but I don't know that I will lose them until I am done pumping/breast feeding. I'm not eating perfectly, but I'm eating pretty well overall and I'm trying to exercise 3-5 times/week. But the weight just doesn't want to budge. I'm trying to be patient with myself and I frequently remind myself that this is a season of life and I won't always look the way that I do. It helped to buy a few new items for work, though. I didn't want to buy a lot more clothes as I'm hoping this isn't my new weight but I definitely needed a few more pairs of pants that fit well and were flattering as my super fitted pre-pregnancy pants did not look good or make me feel good about how I looked.

3. Clean out the rest of our kitchen cupboards = complete. This was harder to achieve than I thought it would be as I put it off until the last 6 weeks of leave and then Paul started to take micro naps. I managed to clean the remaining cupboards this week while he was playing on his activity mat. It felt good to clean out the cupboards as I don't think some of them had been wiped down since Phil moved in 4 years ago!

****

Several have asked what we are doing for daycare for Paul so I thought I'd give a little "what's next" update. I return to work tomorrow and my first week back is half days before returning to work full time. His daycare spot doesn't open up until July 23rd so family and a friend will be watching Paul for the next 1.5 weeks. Phil is working from home tomorrow and Friday so he can watch Paul in the afternoons when I am at work. Having him watch Paul the first 2 days will really help with the transition. Plus, we are in the midst of sleep training and the first week is really important so I am glad Phil will be with him so we can adhere to the sleep plan.

Paul's daycare is a Spanish Immersion daycare that is located between our house and downtown where we work. Our plan is for me to do drop off and Phil to do pick up. We will see how this goes. The stretch of freeway between our house and downtown is a DISASTER as they are doing a major renovation project so we are going to *try* to still take the bus to work. There is a bus stop a couple of blocks from daycare so I will park our car, drop off Paul, and take the bus. If we needed to go back to daycare mid-day (like if Paul got sick) we could take an uber. We will see how this goes, though, and adjust as necessary. I think we will probably drive to work for the first couple of weeks as we are adjusting to our new schedule, but I’m really hoping it works well to take the bus because traffic is so awful right now but they have special lanes and exits open for buses so that would make the commute shorter.

I'm pretty nervous about how hectic our mornings will be between pumping, feeding Paul and getting ready but we'll find our groove. I'm going to have to get up at 5 am so I'm worried about how long the days are going to be but I keep reminding myself that countless other women have figured this out and I will, too. Pumping just makes it a little more complicated (if I was nursing I would just nurse Paul when he woke up which is much easier logistically).

Send us some good thoughts tomorrow and in the weeks to come as we adjust to our new reality! And I'd love advice/words of encouragement from other moms who have been in my shoes!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Baby Paul: 4 months

The 4th month of Paul's life was another more challenging month, all because of sleep. He hit the dreaded 4-month sleep regression when he was around 3.5 months. During this regression, the baby develops adult-like sleep cycles. Us adults might not realize this, but we awake after our sleep cycles but it's so brief that we fall back to sleep without even realizing we are awake. But when babies wake up from a sleep cycle, they don't know how to get themselves back to sleep. We had a couple of nights where Paul was up every 1-1.5 hours for most of the night and every 45 minutes towards the end of the night. It was EXHAUSTING. Additionally, he started to take really brief naps - like 25-30 minutes! 4-month old babies can only handle about 90 minutes of awake time, so when Paul takes short naps that means I spend all day putting him to sleep as he could take 4-5 naps during a day. I also no longer had any idea when his long nap of the day would be so I wasn't able to really get anything done during his naps.


I know you want to take my picture but I'd rather chew on my sleeper!

He doesn't sleep well but he sure is cute!

I'm really hoping that his sleep improves in the next couple of weeks as I return to work in about 1.5 weeks. I'll be working half days in the afternoon for the first week and then I go back full time after that. Paul's daycare spot doesn't open until 1.5 weeks after I return to work so he'll be watched by friends and family for those first 1.5 weeks. I'm hoping that aids in the transition but I know it's going to be hard no matter who is caring for him!

Here's how his 4th month shaped up.

Growth:

- Paul weighs 11 lbs 13 oz (1st percentile), is 24" inches long (6th percentile) and his head is 44 cm (98th percentile). He gave us quite the scare at his 4-month appointment. His doctor was slightly concerned that his head circumference went from 85th to 98th percentile so she ordered an ultrasound to make sure there wasn't any fluid in his head. Luckily we were able to get in that afternoon and she called with the results around 4pm - his head is just fine, it’s just really big!! But it was quite the stressful day! Other than worrying about his head, she was really happy with how he's doing with developmental milestones and thought he was a really social, charming baby. He's definitely very small for his age but she isn't concerned as he's following his curve and meeting all his milestones.

- He wears size 0-3 month clothes but is getting a little bit long for some of them. He wears cloth diapers except overnight when he wears a size 1 disposable diaper.

Loves:

- his daddy! Phil gets the biggest smiles when he comes home from work each day. We usually put Paul in the boppy lounger between us and he just smiles and smiles and smiles at his daddy. It's so sweet.

- his activity mat. He probably spends at least 30 minutes under it throughout the day. He can grab toys and now that he's rolling and more wiggly, he can spin himself around 90-180 degrees.



- being sang to. He will stop crying as soon as I start to sing. It doesn't matter what I sing. I often make up songs. Maybe he will take after his mama and love music!

- playing with toys. Now that he can grasp things, he's more interested in toys so I picked up a few new ones for him last weekend.




- laying on a blanket so he can kick his feet and play with his toys. Oscar is getting a bit more interested in him and Paul has started to notice her, too. Oscar still keeps her distance, though!



- the swing at my parents lake home. We don't have a swing at home and after I saw how much he liked it at the lake, it made me wish that we had one but it's not worth getting one/borrowing one from a friend at this point since he'll likely outgrow it soon. He loved looking at the toys that hang over the swing. When we'd put him in the swing, he'd look up right away even before we moved the toys above him. I think it's pretty cool that he knew to look for them before they were there!


Dislikes:

- He still has a touch of stranger danger and will stick out his bottom lip and start to cry when a new person tries to peer at him in his car seat. He seems to do better with new people when we are in our house, though, as long as he isn't overtired. A new/unfamiliar place + new people is a bad combination!

- He doesn't like tummy time anymore and he can escape tummy time by rolling over.

- He's still adjusting to sleeping on a flat, firm surface. We moved him from the rock-n-play style bassinet into the halo bassinet this past month and it was a pretty rough transition. But he was outgrowing the rock-n-play bassinet so it was time to make this move. He transitioned into a mini crib over the weekend, so there have been lots of changes for our little man lately.

Firsts:

- He sleeps in his own room now. We moved him into the guest room around 3.5 months. I know it's recommended to keep him in your room for 6-12 months but the guest room is so close that it's almost like he's still in our room as we can hear any peep he makes.

- He learned how to roll over the day he turned 3 months but he got better at it over the course of the month and can roll over much more quickly/with less effort.

- He also learned how to roll from back to stomach but he doesn't do this very often. Most of the time when he rolls from back to stomach, one arm gets stuck under him! He rolled from back to stomach in his sleep once last week so I am glad we had already transitioned him out of the swaddle because swaddles aren’t safe once they start to roll to their stomach.

How do I get my arm free?

- We had our first outdoor play date with his buddies Gus and Anja (we didn't get a picture with Anja). Gus was way more interested in Paul than Paul was in him. Gus (who is seriously the happiest baby) kept grabbing Paul's hand which was so cute. Paul seemed a bit oblivious to the fact that there are other babies besides him. Ha. Gus and Paul are only 5 weeks apart (7 gestationally) but they are on VERY DIFFERENT growth curves!


The beautiful blanket we brought to the park! My friend Mandy's mom made it for us. It's perfect for this cat-loving family!

***

This month presented some challenges but it was also fun to watch him grow and change. It's so exciting when he learns something new like how to roll over or how to grasp toys.