Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Currently: April

Hey there! I'm struggling to find the time to sit down and write blog posts. Paul is quite the demanding boss and keeps me on my toes much of the day!  ;) Here's what is going on in my world these days!

Reading: Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen. Quindlen is one of my favorite authors so I was really excited to see that she has a new book out! 

Loving:  my daily stroller walks with Paul. I've been waiting (not-so-patiently) for nicer weather to arrive and it finally arrived this past weekend so we got out for a nice long walk on Saturday. There was still a lot of snow on the ground at that point but it has mostly melted since then thanks to the warm, sunny weather! We've been out for daily, hour-long stroller walks every day since Friday. The fresh air and sunshine feel SO good.

Feeling: grateful that I am able to take a 20-week maternity leave. The first 8 weeks have gone by so fast since we've had soooo many doctor appointments. I'm actually looking forward to feeling a little bit bored but I'm not sure when that will happen as we still have quite a few appointments to get through this month. 

Wondering: what the pediatrician is going to say about Paul's weight at his 2-month appointment next week. When I weighed him this past Monday, he was 8 pounds 10oz. That's sooo small for 7.5 weeks and below the 5th percentile. But I don't feel like we can get him to eat more than he's currently eating. I'm also wondering how he'll handle the vaccinations he'll get at that appointment. I'm kind of dreading watching him to get all the various shots! 

Anticipating: our first anniversary! We will be going on our first date that night as 2 college friends graciously offered to watch Paul that night. We're going to our favorite special occasion restaurant, 112 Eatery, which is where we went the night we got engaged. I can't wait for a night out with Phil. It's pretty crazy that we will have a 2.5 month old on our first wedding anniversary. We are so very, very lucky. Side note: We are going to share an anniversary with Prince Henry and Princess Megan, which is kind of fun. I'm looking forward to watching the wedding coverage. I can't wait to see Princess Megan's dress!

Watching: The Crown on Netflix. Phil resisted watching this but I finally talked him into it. We are really enjoying it so far!

Grateful: for the moms I've met through the new mom class I took. We had our last class this past Monday but our group is going to continue to meet weekly until we are back at work. It's been really great to get to know a group of women who are in the exact same stage of parenting as we are. 

Working: out again finally!! I ended up purchasing a 12-week post-baby program from Gina of Fitnessista. I'm really starting over from ground 0 since I wasn't able to workout during my pregnancy between the subchorionic hemorrhage bleeding early in the pregnancy and the relentless RA flares. So I wanted to be smart about getting back into working out, hence the reason I splurged and spent $97 on this program. Plus my parents had given me money for my birthday which I had earmarked for for classes of some sort. I started the program this week and am really loving it. It's great to follow a program that is designed for a post-partum body. My body when through so dang much between pregnancy and the C-section so I know I need to be careful about my return to fitness. The 12-week program is broken out in to 3 4-week segments and the intensity gradually ramps up. The cardio in the first segment is stroller walks which we are loving!

Listening: to "Best of Both Worlds" podcast which is all about being a working mom. I listened to a few episodes and loved it so much that I decided to start back at episode 1 and listen to every episode. It's so great and something I highly recommend to other working moms!

Wishing: that my complexion was better. The only thing that has worked in the past is birth control plus another drug called spironolactone. I can never be on birth control or any hormonal supplement again due to the genetic mutation that makes me prone to getting blood clots. And spironolactone is not safe to use while breast feeding. My dermatologist gave me a topical antibiotic but it hasn't done much good. I hate how awful my complexion is right now so I've decided to eliminate dairy as that has helped in the past. I'm hoping that it will also help with the silent reflux Paul has. I can tell he's in pain after eating which is tough to see so hopefully I can kill 2 birds with one stone by eliminating dairy! 

What are you reading, watching and wishing?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Baby Paul's Baptism

Baby Paul was baptized this past weekend. We had planned the baptism for April 15th before he was even born. At the time we were hoping that the weather would be nice enough for our guests to hang out on the back deck. Our house is pretty small and we were expecting 15+ people so the extra outdoor space would make things more comfortable.

Well, that did not happen because we got the 12th biggest snow storm in Minneapolis's history on Saturday-Sunday.

Our back deck on Saturday in the early afternoon
Luckily my parents and sister and her family that were traveling from North Dakota/NW Minnesota made it. I did not expect either of them to make it but they lucked out and were able to arrive in the Twin Cities before the snow really started to fall.

My mom came over on Saturday afternoon to help with the meal prep. I tried to keep it as easy as possible. I was only about 6 weeks post partum so I didn't want to overdo it but I also wanted a special and delicious meal for our guests. We made 2 egg bakes and a spiced coffee cake. A couple of weeks earlier I made a couple of batches of homemade granola which we served with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries. Phil's mom provided a fruit salad. Unfortunately she was not able to make it as she hadn't been dug out by Sunday morning and the roads were still awful.  :(

On Saturday afternoon my mom and I got were pretty busy in the kitchen. Phil was running errands and doing other things around the house, so I put Paul in the K-Tan carrier so I could have both hands free to help out in the kitchen. In the past he has hated being in the carrier but he now likes it! Score!

My mom was planning to go back to my brothers that night since they have a roomy suburban home, but we ended up getting about 15" of snow that day and it was still snowing in the evening so she ended up staying with us. Luckily she had left her bags in the car when she came over on Saturday so she had everything she needed! I don't think she minded getting stranded at our house as she got lots of extra cuddles from Paul!

The baptism was on Sunday morning after mass. I bought an outfit for Paul when he was just over a week old. At that point I thought he would be in 0-3 month clothes so that is the size I bought for him. Everyone always says that babies are barely in newborn clothes...  turns out that is NOT the case for us as he'll be in that size for at least 2 months since he is such a peanut! So his outfit was pretty big on him but we just went with it because I had nothing else to dress him in.

Paul's expression = how he feels about wearing something besides sleepers
The baptism was really nice. He was baptized by one of the priests who officiated at our wedding. It's pretty crazy that he was performing this sacrament just under 11 months after he married us! We ended up baptizing Paul at a church 2 blocks from our house instead of the church we got married at. We both prefer the church where we got married but convenience rules right now (the other church is downtown so not a super convenient location to get to). We were VERY glad we only had to drive 2 blocks (we would normally walk but that was out of the question with the amount of snow we received - plus it was STILL snowing on Sunday morning).

With Father Park

Paul's Godparents - my brother Kevin and SIL Julie

With grandma and grandpa
After the baptis, everyone came back to our house. We ended up having 11 guests in addition to Phil and me. Phil's mom was snowed in and he told his aunt and cousins who were planning to come to stay home and meet Paul another time since the road conditions were so bad.

I was too busy to take any pictures of the food, besides the cake that we ordered from a local grocery store. In hindsight we could have skipped dessert as not many people ate cake but oh well. My sister-in-law made homemade vanilla ice cream and I enjoyed a large serving of that as her ice cream is so good (the cake was not GF - GF cake sucks so I just ordered a regular cake).

Paul got to meet 3 more of his cousins! As you can see, we quickly changed him out of his fancy outfit and into a cozy sleeper!

Evelyn, my youngest niece

Charlie and Paul

My Godson James and Paul

After brunch everyone headed out. It was still snowing so the out-of-towners wanted to hit the road so they'd have plenty of time to get back home.

By the end of Sunday, we had about 20" of snow, I think.

It's soooo depressing to look out our window in mid-April and see all this snow. I know it will melt fast but it's just insane that we have so much snow on the ground. This snowstorm was the 12th biggest snowstorm Minneapolis has ever experience. Additionally, it set a record for the biggest April snowstorm on record and made this the snowiest April on record. It also made this season the 10th snowiest winter ever, and 1/3 of the seasonal snowfall happpened in the last 2 weeks. :....(

We tried to get out for a walk today as I *thought* that sidewalks would be shoveled by now (you are required by law to shovel your sidewalks within a day or 2 of a storm). I tried walking along a road that is lined with commercial businesses as I thought for sure the sidewalks would be clear. NOPE.

But I guess this weather is what makes us midwesterners so hearty. And it really makes us appreciate beautiful summer and fall days. I'm just ready for those beautiful days to be here!

Nonetheless, Paul's baptism was a very special event, even with the terrible weather and the missing family members!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Baby Paul: 6 weeks

Baby Paul turned 6 weeks yesterday! I haven't written an update since 3 weeks as life has felt really busy. I have yet to feel the least bit 'bored' during maternity leave. We have had a lot doctor appointments between me and Paul and my mom's group meets twice a week so between all of those trips out of the house plus visitors, the first 6 weeks have felt pretty busy. I'm really hoping things slow down soon as I don't want my whole maternity leave to fly by as fast as the first 6 weeks have!

Weight gain has continued to be our chief concern so far. He's finally starting to consistently gain weight, though, so that is a big relief for mom and dad - especially for mom as I have worried so much about his weight. As of Monday he was above 8 pounds, but just barely which means he only gained 12 ounces in the first 6 weeks of life (plus the weight he lost after he was born so he's gained over a pound when you factor that in). I expected breast feeding to be a challenge but I never imagined how challenging feeding a baby would be.  We saw a speech pathologist a couple of weeks ago for a feeding consult (this is something pediatric speech pathologists specialize in - a lot of people have been confused when I say our 4 week old saw a speech pathologist) and we saw an OT and ENT this week. The OT gave us some things to work on to strengthen his ability to suck and swallow and the ENT confirmed that he has a mild case of something called Laryngomalacia, which makes it harder for him to suck, swallow and breath efficiently. Luckily it's something he will grow out of, though. 

He started to smile in the last week or so which has been so fun for Phil and me. There's nothing like having your baby lock eyes with you and grin! Some are just little smiles but we've gotten a few big smiles that I haven't been able to catch on camera.


He still likes to work his legs out of the legs of his sleeper so he can pull them close to this body. I am impressed that he can still do this because a lot of his sleepers are getting snug lengthwise. He's quite the little Houdini!

Yea! I got my legs out!
He still loves to move his arms around. He'll even move them around in his sleep if he isn't swaddled. It looks like he is conducting an orchestra!

He also likes sticking out his bottom lip in the most adorable way when he is upset, his pacifier, bath time, his swing, and laying on his side to fall asleep in mom's arms.

Dislikes: eating right after he wakes up from the epic 3 hour naps he takes each afternoon. He goes back and forth from sucking to screaming...  I don't know if he has gas at that time of day or what the deal is but it only happens during that feeding so we just kind of accept that it's not a fun feeding experience for the bottle giver (which is almost always Phil). He also dislikes the evenings in general as that is when he is fussiest, being burped when he wants to keep eating, being cold, and he now dislikes tummy time after liking it the first couple of weeks of life.

Sleeping: He is a good sleeper - at least for now! He goes to bed around 9:30 and will sleep for a 5-7 hour stretch. After that he is up every 2-3 hours. I used to get up during his first 5-7 hour stretch to pump but am trying to cut that pump out as I just really need my sleep. 

He doesn't sleep well during the early and mid-day unless he's in the stroller and being held but he goes down for a super long nap around 2:30-3 and sleeps for 3-3.5 hours. I hope that keeps happening because it's nice to know that I have 3 hours to get stuff done around the house and I sometimes will lay down for a nap when he is sleeping when I'm particularly exhausted. 

Napping in mom's lap

Feeding: I'm pretty much exclusively pumping and giving him bottles. He breastfeeds in the morning most days so he can stay familiar with it. I haven't given up on being able to breastfeed him when his suck gets stronger but for now I've come to terms with the fact that I need to pump. I'm not sure how long we'll exclusively breastfeed him. I honestly hate pumping and find it so hard to pump + care for an infant. But my tentative goal is to make it to 6 month. I've frozen about 100 ounces so far and my daily supply of breast milk is gradually increasing so I'm hoping that I can cut back on how often I'm pumping when I return to work. But we will see how things play out. 

So all in all, things are going really well. He's gaining weight, he's sleeping great, and he's a pretty content little guy! Sure there are things I'd like to change, like the fact that breast feeding hasn't worked out for us, but I know that we are very lucky to have such a healthy, sweet baby boy!

He'll get to meet more family this weekend as his baptism is on Sunday. Well, I should say *hopefully* he'll be meeting more family. Sadly we are supposed to get a winter storm on today/tomorrow. I can't believe we are getting another storm in April. We could get 6-12" of snow in addition to rain and freezing rain. This is the worst April I can remember as we got 10" of snow earlier this month and a few other smaller snow falls and we might get more snow on Wednesday. It's so depressing to look out the window and see snow but hopefully spring will arrive very soon! I'm crossing my fingers and toes and praying the weather forecast is home so that my parents and sister and her family can make it down here for the baptism!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Maternity Leave Goals

At the start of 2018, I decided not to set any goals for 2018 since I wasn't sure what life with an infant would like for us. Now that we've been parents for almost 6 weeks, I feel ready to set a few goals for my maternity leave. I know it might not be wise to set goals for my maternity leave as I know I should be enjoying it and soaking up time with Paul. But I'm the kind of person that does best when I have goals I am striving for. Plus caring for an infant kind of feels like Ground Hog's Day so I am thinking that having some goals will give me some purpose and push me to be more productive (occasionally).

Here are some things I'm hoping to accomplish before I return to work on July 10th!

1. Swap out maternity clothes for pre-pregnancy clothes.  I've been hesitant to pack up my maternity clothes as I figure there are some tops I might want to wear since I don't quite fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. That said, it's been 6 weeks and I have yet to wear any maternity tops so I think I should swap them out soon and get my pre-pregnancy clothes back in the closet.

2. Lose my maternity weight. This might be an unrealistic goal, but I'd love to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I return to work in July. I didn't put on all that much weight during the pregnancy so this seems pretty doable. I know my body will probably never look like it did pre-pregnancy but I'd like to be able to fit into some or most of my pre-pregnancy work clothes as I hate the thought of buying a whole new wardrobe! I think if I pay a little closer attention to what I am eating and find ways to move my body every day, I can get back or close to my pre-pregnancy weight. If I'm struggling to lose the weight, I will probably join Weight Watchers in June as I've always had success with that program.

3. Clean out the rest of our kitchen cupboards.  In January, I started to clean out the cupboards in our kitchen. Then the pain of my blood clot set in and derailed that project. I only have our bottom cupboards left so this is a pretty manageable task!

So there you have - 3 things I'd like to accomplish in the next 3 months. 2 seem achievable, one (losing my maternity weight) is a bit of a stretch goal. If I don't accomplish all 3 then so be it, but at least this will give me some things to work towards!

Are there any goals that you are working towards right now?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Podcasts, Books and Looks of March

March was the longest, shortest month for us. I think other parents will understand what I mean when I say that. It's hard to believe that Paul is already a month old but at the same time, labor and delivery feels like a lifetime ago! Here's my usual monthly recap!


Chatty Sisters Podcast: This continues to be my favorite podcast. It's the only one that I listen to as soon as a new episode is available. I know Caroline and Kelly, but even if you don't know them, you'd enjoy it. Their episode about pet peeves made me realize how many I have. Ha!


I wasn't sure how much I would read after having a baby but I managed to read 3 books in March, which I'm really happy with. The kindle ap for my phone is a Godsend. I get so much more reading thanks to that ap. I tend to read when pumping or rocking Paul. I personally choose reading over watching tv because reading is how I unwind. But there is no wrong choice about how to unwind!

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett - 4 stars - This was by far the best book I read in March and one of the best I've read so far this year. I've read several Patchett books and this one is my favorite. It's about a blended family that is merged when 2 people leave their spouses and marry. It's a character-driven novel so if you need a novel that is heavy on plot, this one isn't for you. It's one of those books where I was sad when it was over because it was so good.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon - 3 stars - This is a WWII novel set in Italy. I hadn't ever read a book from this genre that is set in Italy so it was interesting to read about the wartime developments in Italy. I knew that they were ruled by a Fascist and aligned with Germany but I wasn't aware that Jews were rounded up in Italy. It was a sad book given the genre but overall pretty good. I only gave it 3 stars, though, as it wasn't as good as other WWII books I've read recently.

The Last Days of Cafe Leila - 3 stars - This book is mostly set in Tehran. A middle-aged woman and her daughter who live in San Fransciso go back to her home city of Tehran so the woman can show her daughter where she grew up. They end up extending their stay as the woman's father is ill. I learned a lot about the conditions in Tehran, especially during the 70s and 80s, the woman's mother was killed at that time. The book moves back and forth in time and I was somewhat confused at times - possibly due to sleep deprivation!! - so I only get it 3 stars.


I live in leggings, tank tops and cardigans these days since I'm pumping around the clock, so I have no looks to share! So instead, I'll share some of my favorite faces/looks Paul makes. He is such an expressive little guy!

Paul started to smile this week which is the best!

The look on Paul's face matches how I felt about seeing snow in the forecast in April. We got 10" earlier this week and might get 3-7" more this weekend. Booooo!

He is so much more alert and really locks eyes with us now!
Phil said it looks like Paul is driving an imaginary motorcycle in this picture. He LOVES to move his arms around!