Wednesday, February 27, 2019

(almost)1 year mama update

Paul turns 1 on Friday (!!!). A couple of friends/fellow bloggers (Amber and Anne) posted about their first year of being a mom. I thought it was very interesting to read about their experience as it's so different from person to person so I decided to answer the same questions about my experience, with some Paul pictures sprinkled in.

Was being a parent how I thought it would be or not?

It's hard to know what being a parent is going to be like. I knew I'd love being a mom but you can't imagine how big that love for your child will be!

I was definitely wrong about some things. The biggest thing I was wrong about was thinking I would get bored on maternity leave. I loved my time at home with Paul and never really felt bored (I rarely feel bored in general, though). I was lucky to get 19 weeks with him (my company gives 16 weeks and I took 3 extra weeks) but I would have loved more time at home with him - I think ideally 6-9 months. That's not realistic in this country or my industry, though.

Parenting has definitely had it challenges, especially related to sleep, but overall it pretty much met my expectations. I watched a lot of friends and family members have babies so I think I had a pretty realistic expectation of how having a baby would change our lives. We had many years to travel and do whatever we wanted so I think I was ready to be a bit more 'tied down.' Having a baby has also taught me how to say no. I was a chronic over-committer before Paul was born. Now I say yes to much less and I only say yes to things I truly want to do (or have to do). I like our quieter life, though. I get so little time with Paul during the week so I am very good about protecting my time with him on week nights/weekends.

What was one thing you thought you knew but ended up having to research more?

Pumping! I thought pumping would be something I'd do once I got back to work. Little did I know I would end up exclusively pumping. I belonged to a facebook group for exclusively pumping moms which was very helpful, though. I learned a lot from that group of women!

What would you tell your pre/early pregnant self that you know now?

I'd tell her not to ignore extreme pain. I had pain from my blood clot for about a week before it was properly addressed. I should have known that pain that made it difficult to walk was not normal. Luckily the blood clot was detected at my prenatal appointment but I probably should have gone in sooner. But I didn't want to be that woman who was over reacting to something. Lesson learned.

I'd also tell her that all the pain and challenges of the pregnancy are worth it in the end. I had a pretty brutal pregnancy between RA flares, managing gestational diabetes and my blood clot. But our beautiful, healthy baby boy were worth all those challenges. My difficult pregnancy was an early lesson in the sacrificial love of a parent.

Do you want another baby?

Yes, although the thought of going through another pregnancy isn't super appealing as I'll need to start daily blood thinner injections the day after I get a positive pregnancy test. Ay yi yi. I'm more anxious about the pregnancy than having another C-section, honestly. But we really want to give Paul a sibling. And I want to go through the experience of having a baby with the perspective of how fast it goes. Everyone tells you it goes fast but until you experience it yourself, you can't understand how quickly a baby goes from being super cuddly to being too busy to cuddle with mom!! We will DEFINITELY be done after 2, though.

How does your body feel postpartum now at one year out?

Honestly, not awesome. It's been harder to bounce back and feel like myself than I thought it would. I thought the baby weight would come off much more easily, but it hasn't. I don't really like how I look and feel but I'm working on losing a little bit more weight before we start trying for another baby. I am trying to be kind to myself as my body has been through a lot in the past two years but I miss feeling fit and thin.

It has felt great to get back into exercise, though. I'm just so ready for warmer weather to arrive so I can go for daily walks/runs outside! We have sooo much snow and it's so dang cold that after-work walks/runs are just not possible.

What do you wish you had known in the early days?

That Paul would grow at his own pace. It was really hard to have a baby that struggled to gain weight. He still struggles to gain weight but he's been on his 4th percentile growth curve for quite awhile now so his weight gain (or lack thereof) hasn't been concerning since around 4 months. But in those early days, we had so many doctor appointments and weight checks. It was so stressful.

What are you plans for weaning from breast milk/transitioning to milk?

We are still working our way through the tail end of my frozen breast milk. Daycare is going to start to mix organic whole milk with my breast milk to ease the transition to whole milk. Hopefully he'll transition well to whole milk! It's going to be interesting/tricky to wean him off bottles, though. Right now I give him a bottle of breast milk while I am getting ready in the morning. It's really nice to be able to just hand him a bottle while I finish getting ready. He lays on his boppy and that's the only time of day that we let him watch tv (he watches whatever is on PBS kids). That's going to change when bottles are a thing of the past! That said I can't wait to be done washing bottles!

How is being back at work?

I thought I'd give an update on being back at work now that I've been back for a little over 7 months. I'm much happier back at work than I was in the early months. Honestly, July through December were pretty rough. I knew I had to give myself time to adjust to being back to work but I didn't think it would take THAT long to find my groove. It didn't help that I came back to a new boss and a reorganization at work. All through that difficult stretch I told myself that I needed to give it more time and that hopefully by the time Paul turned 1, I would feel much better about being a working mom. It's still hard to be a working mom but it's way less hard than it was in those early months, especially when Paul was waking 3-5 times a night thanks to those pesky, painful ear infections.

I still think a 6 month maternity leave would be optimal but I kind of doubt I can swing that. So if/when we have another child, I'll try to tack on some PTO to extend my maternity leave to 20 weeks or something like that. And at least if I struggle when I return to work after having a 2nd baby, I'll know that it's probably a temporary feeling.

How has having a baby impacted your marriage?

Having a baby definitely adds some stress to a relationship as you are both so tired, but Phil has been a trooper and has done as much as he can to bring the balance of work to 50/50 (for example we took turns getting up during the night with Paul when I returned to work, he's picked up chores like grocery shopping, and he sprays almost all of the poopy diapers). One lesson I had to learn early on is that we don't need to compete over who does more or who is more tired. That's a lesson I had to learn over and over again.

We haven't been on many dates since Paul was born. It's expensive to hire a babysitter and Paul sleeps for most of the time that the babysitter is there so it doesn't feel like the best use of money. But I don't want to miss out on time with him during the day since we see so little of him during the week. I do see a lot of Phil as Paul goes to bed around 6:30 so we get lots of couch time from 6:30-9pm. But we definitely need to work on going on dates more regularly, which is why I added the goal of quarterly dates to my 19 in 2019 list.


So there you have it! There have been challenges in the first year but overall I'd say it's been a wonderful year. Let me know if you have any other questions about being a new parent!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Currently: February 2019

February has 28 days in it, but it feels like it has about 1,000 since it's our 3rd month of winter weather. And this February has been particularly brutal as we've had so much snow! We set a record for the snowiest February ever with the snow we received yesterday. Womp womp. We've gotten about 31" of snow so far as they are calling for more snow this weekend. Ugh.

Here's what's currently going on in my world, beside endless snow fall!

Reading: My Sister, the Serial Killer. This is proving to be a really fast read as the chapters are super short. It's about a woman who keeps getting calls from her sister to help her clean up/dispose of her boyfriend that she just killed in self-defense. It's happened 3 times so the protagonist is beginning to wonder if her sister is truly in danger when she kills these men? It's been a pager turner so far!

Loving:  our instant pot. We use this appliance so much! I made this lentil dish earlier this week which is so good! It calls for salsa verde and I have tons of that canned/frozen so it's a good way to use some of it up!

Feeling: tired of all the sickness in our house. It seems like someone is always sick and it's usually Paul. Such is the life of a babe that goes to daycare, though. Last week he came down with a stomach bug (on Valentine's Day - nothing says 'romance' like cleaning up after a puking kid!) and then he was off all weekend and ended up with  another ear infection. Le sigh. Ear infections are easy to treat now that he has tubes as we can just put antibiotic drops in his ears but it's tough to see him sick ALL THE TIME!

Anticipating: a date night on Saturday night. Hopefully the weather cooperates so our babysitter can come that night. We are going out to eat at a steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis. We aren't really steakhouse people but we have a gift certificate and this is one of the best steakhouses in Minneapolis so I know it will be good! We haven't gone on a date since mid-December when we went to Phil's Christmas party. We spent so much time socializing with his coworker so it really wasn't a one-on-one date. Our last true one-on-one date was our anniversary last May!  Eeks! I'm also really anticipating Paul's birthday party next weekend! My sister from AZ is flying in, my brother and his family from Chicago are driving up and my parents will be here. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Paul is turning one, though!!

Grateful: for the generous vacation time I have at work! Between bad weather and sickness, I've had to take some time off to stay home with Paul. It's pretty much impossible to work from home when I'm with him so I am glad I have ample time off to use!

Working: on finalizing our will! I can't wait to cross this pesky item off our to do list. We met with our attorney on Valentine's Day (can you tell how romantic that day was for us? Ha!) and we will finalize things and sign the will later this month.

Listening: to podcasts as usual! I don't know what music is popular these days as I never listen to the radio!

Watching: Season 2 of American Crime Story on Netflix which is about the 1997 assassination of Gianni Versace. I don't remember hearing about this when it happened which is surprising as the killer also killed 2 men in Minnesota to start off his killing spree. I think they do an excellent job of telling the story of what happened. Season 1 was about the OJ Simpson trial and that season was also really good!

Wishing: for an early spring but that is really unlikely. Womp womp. I disliked winter before but I really dislike it with a baby as I feel especially cooped up!

Bonus Paul pics!

Paul says, "Let's be friends" Kitty says - "go away"

He's finally starting to walk (unsteadily) behind his walker

I soaked up lots of cuddles with Paul when he was sick last week. When he's healthy he has zero interest in cuddling with mom so I appreciated all the snuggles last weekend!

Enjoying the new touch and feel book that Grandma and Grandpa sent for Valentine's Day

A mid-bottle smile break

He's so excited  about being able to stand behind the walker.
What are you currently reading, anticipating and wishing for?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What If?

It's Valentine's Day which is one of those holidays that a lot of people hate. I totally get it, but I kind of love that there is a day set aside to show the people in your life that you love them. Granted, we shouldn't need this reminder but sometimes we do. We don't do cards and flowers in our house. Instead I make Phil's favorite meal (lentil enchiladas) and he'll probably grab some macarons for dessert!

I thought today would be a fun day to play a little game of "what if" with pictures of my Valentines sprinkled in. Life is a series of seemingly insignificant decisions that - taken in whole - can significantly alter the path of your life.

What if...

- I hadn't gone to the University of North Dakota?

- And then what if I hadn't changed my dorm assignment when I realized I mistakenly had picked a dorm with community bathrooms instead of suites with a bathroom shared by 4 people (community bathrooms sounded like my personal h*ll, honestly)?

- Because if I hadn't changed dorms, then I wouldn't have met my friend Katie, who had joined the Delta Gamma sorority in the fall of 1999.

-  If I hadn't met Katie, I don't know that I would have gone through rush/sorority recruitment during the spring of 2000. I ended up joining the same sorority as Katie and became a Delta Gamma.

- Because if I hadn't joined Delta Gamma, I don't think I would have found out about the Toastmasters program at UND. For those who aren't familiar with Toastmasters, it's a public speaking program. For whatever reason, most of the people in the Toastmasters program at UND were members of sororities and fraternities.

- If I hadn't participated in Toastmasters, I wouldn't have met a girl named Hilary who lived in the sorority that was next door to Delta Gamma.

- Because if I hadn't met Hilary, then she wouldn't have gotten to know me and thought to set Phil and me up on a blind date. I got a message from Hilary on LinkedIn in the fall of 2012 saying that she worked with a guy with whom I had an uncanny number of things in common (ran a marathon, got his MBA at the same university as me, and was also working on his CFA) whose curiosity was piqued when Hilary said she knew a girl with a degree in math that might be a good fit for him.

- And if I hadn't checked my LinkedIn account, I wouldn't have gone on that blind date. And I wouldn't be married to Phil.

- And if all of that hadn't happened, I would be the mom of Paul.

I don't know if I believe in fate and destiny when it comes to finding your partner, but it is interesting to see how one little decision, many years ago, could have altered my life's path in profound ways!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2019


Yay! Friday! This felt like a really long week between awful weather coming down with another cold!

The high of my week was celebrating my birthday, although it was a super low-key celebration since it fell on a Wednesday. We ordered Indian takeout through Amazon Prime Restaurant Delivery, worked on the puzzle we started at my puzzle party last Saturday (it's going to take awhile to finish it!) and watched a few episodes of Veep.

Our puzzle progress. Maybe we'll finish by the end of February?

The low of my week was the weather. Ugh, this has been a crappy week of weather for us. It rained on Sunday night and then got cold so we had a lovely layer of super slippery ice. And then it snowed on Tuesday and again on Thursday. Snow on top of ice is as terrible thing! The high today is 0 and our windchills will be in the -30 to -40 range. I'm so ready for spring!

A recipe I made was Sheet Pan Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli. I cut the marinade recipe as 3/4 a cup of tamari (GF soy sauce alternative) is sooo much. 1/2 of the recipe was plenty. I didn't reduce the marinade down to a glaze but it was still tasty!

A book I'm reading is The Beautiful Mystery which is the 8th book in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. This one is set at a Monastery in Quebec. Most of the books are set in the fictional town of Three Pines and I prefer those books but this one is still pretty good.

The best money I spent was on baby proofing materials. Woo hoo, super exciting way to spend money, I know! Paul is pulling himself up along furniture so it's time to secure our bookcases, tv, and dressers to the wall.

For workouts I went for a walk with Paul on Sunday, and did Daily Burn workouts on Monday and Thursday. I'm planning to do 2 more Daily Burn workouts tonight and tomorrow. I'm loving the program and have decided to stick with it after my 30-day free trial membership is up! I'm doing a program with 30-minute cardio and strength training workouts. 30 minutes is about as much as I can manage these days but it's better than nothing!

My plans this weekend include going to my nephew's confirmation on Sunday. I'll get to see my parents, 2 of my siblings, and 4 of my nieces/nephews. I haven't seen my siblings and their kiddos in such a long time so I'm looking forward to seeing them and celebrating my nephew's confirmation. I know they are all excited to see baby Paul! Besides that we have no plans! Sunday will be a busy day and will throw off Paul's nap schedule so I'm happy that Saturday is completely plan-free.

Bonus Paul Pics!

He loves standing behind his walker! 

He was kicking his legs to the beat of a song when I took this picture. He loves music! 

He's starting to pull himself up into standing position

Yay! Another orange cat! He loves this touchy feely book about animals.

What was the high of your week? Did you try any new recipes?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Baby Paul: 11 months

Paul is 11 months old today! It's hard to believe that he turns one in 28 days!


- He can now go from crawling to sitting up. He was late to sit up - he actually crawled before sitting up independently - so he wasn't too interested in sitting up once he was on the move. But now that he can get into sitting position from crawling he does this all the time!

- He's trying to learn how to crawl up the stairs but hasn't figured it out yet - which I am a-ok with!!

- He's starting to say 'da da' and 'ma ma' but I don't think he knows what those words mean. He just babbles them along with a lot of other sounds. He's a little bit behind on talking but that's likely because his hearing was impaired due to fluid in his ears. Earlier this month we had his hearing re-checked and it's back to normal. I'm sure his language skills will catch up soon.

- He can stand behind his walker, but needs help getting into standing position. He is equal parts excited and terrified about standing in the photo below! We've been working on getting him to walk behind the walker but he's not too interested in that. I think he'll be a later walker which is fine with me.


- We haven't weighed him since his ENT appointment during the first week of the month but I think he must be over 17 pounds now. He is eating a ton, which I'll talk about later in this post, so he has to be putting on weight! He wears 6-9 month onesies and pants and 9 month or 12 month sleepers. There are a few 3-6 month outfits that still fit, though!


- He loves playing with the toys he received for Christmas. He especially loves the phone on his walker. He doesn't understand what to do with the phone but he loves pulling it off the walker.

- He loves this cat from his little people collection. He loves crawling around with one toy in his hand.
 - He loves being carried up to bed in a laundry basket full of clothes. But he will also happily play in a laundry basket with toys. I hope he continues to like this for awhile as it's nice to contain him for a short period of time while we are busy with things like laundry and cleaning.

- I was starting to feel like I'd never say this, but he finally loves solids! It's like a switch flipped in early January and he suddenly discovered how delicious food is! His favorite things are banana pancakes (they are made from eggs and mashed banana with some cinnamon and vanilla) with peanut butter, club crackers with peanut butter or roasted red pepper hummus, graham crackers, cooked carrots, and cheesy potatoes. We are trying to introduce more vegetables but so far we have the most success with carrots. He'll also eat any sort of puree but we are trying to phase those out and will just use them when he's eating somewhere besides home.

 - He's still obsessed with Oscar. The feeling is NOT mutual. I don't think Oscar would ever hurt Paul but she hisses and growls at him if he gets too close and if he reached towards her, she bats him away with her front paws. Paul just giggles and smiles when this happens. He doesn't understand that Oscar is not a fan of him. Hopefully they will be friends some day!


- He still loves being read to. His new favorite is "The Foot Book" by Dr. Seuss. He really loves "touch and feel" books so I ordered some new ones for his birthday.

- He also really likes bouncing, dancing, clapping and kicking his feet to music! I'm pretty impressed by how good his natural sense of rhythm is!


- Having his hands and face washed after dinner

- Having his diaper changed, especially on the changing table in his room. He wants to flip over onto his stomach and it's SO HARD to hold him still!

- Wearing a winter hat and mittens. Those accessories have not been optional lately with our ridiculous cold weather!!!

We are having a low key first birthday party for him on March 2nd. My younger sister is flying in for the weekend - I'm so excited to introduce Paul to auntie Abby! They are going to have so much fun together. It will be a "Little Blue Truck" birthday party theme but I won't be doing all that much to carry out the theme. Party planning just isn't my thing and he won't remember this birthday anyways so I will wait until he's older to really put a lot of effort into a party. ;)