29 August 2011

no more tears

I thought life was great at the 6-8 week mark, but then we hit 3 months.  3 months is beautiful.  A good friend (thanks, cupcake for moose!) said that motherhood would be even better at 3 months and she was right!  Now not only do I feel like my new life is doable and enjoyable, but I can't get enough my sweet LE.  Some days are hard, don't get me wrong, but for the most part I look at her and think "I get to hang out with you all day and skip out on work.  How did I get so lucky?!"  I love her more than I imagined possible.  I love watching her grow into her own little person each day.  For example, this weekend she started to "laugh"...it sounds like she's gurgling spit in her throat, but still she's laughing and it's adorable!  Oh magical 3 months, you're pretty great.

Now when I see mom's during the first month post partum, I cringe a little for them.  Because, if we're all honest, it just plain sucks.  PPD or not, no one's having fun.  But it gets better.  I didn't believe it at the time, but everyone was right.  It did get better.  I still feel anxious from time to time, but more of a "normal" anxiousness.  And I can't remember the last time I cried, which feels so good to say.  And now I'm the person telling new moms "What you're doing is insanely tough, but it's going to get better.  I know you don't believe me, but I promise it'll get better!"

Asleep in her stroller, not bad for the baby that couldn't be put down a few weeks earlier.

 Cheesin with daddy.

Happy 3 months, LE!  We survived :-)
(Our celebration today includes a round of shots...and not the fun kind.  Sorry, baby.)

25 August 2011

capturing baby

LE at 2 months and some change...

Yeah, my daddy adores me.

 I'm too hot and tired to lift my head, but I'll give you some puppy dog eyes.

Awww...chubby little thighs, aren't they the best?

No smiles for LE.  It was extremely hot out, we were all a sweaty mess.  She definitely wasn't feeling a photo session that day, but her serious face is still so darn cute!  Don't you just want to reach through your computer screen and give her a big kiss?  Lucky me, I can do that right now.

**Photos by Akiea Gross (check out her website if your local - she's young, fresh, and energetic, and has great prices!)

23 August 2011

i feel the earth move under my feet, i feel the sky tumbling down

LE and I had our first earthquake experience together today.  We were at Mom's Group...conveniently held at a hospital.  Luckily we didn't require any hospital services, but can't beat that location for one's first earthquake.  LE was breastfeeding and continued about her business throughout the commotion. See a boob really does solve everything!  For a baby at least...  Later I came home to our big leaf picture like this: 

If I would have been home there's a 90% chance I would have been sitting underneath this photo and would have been bonked on the head by it! 

Good thing LE hates to stay home and fusses all the time...right? 

Hope everyone's earthquake experience was as carefree as LE's was!

22 August 2011

just another manic monday

It's back to school, back to work week in our house.  I always dread the Engineer's semesters.  Now even more so than before.  Can you believe I used to be such a whiner about being "bored" while the Engineer was gone?  Now look at me, I dream of being bored!  Heck I even dream of having 1 hour to go to the gym.  Now I shall whine about having no "off" time from LE 2 nights a week. 

Going back to work is actually exciting.  It's only once a week or every two weeks, so it's a welcomed break.  My only concern is the...dun dun duhhh  BOTTLE!  LE isn't terribly fond of the bottle.  She'll take it, but she acts like she's choking.  As with any profession, I was a better preacher than practicer with the bottle.  I met for lunch with my coworkers the other day and told them about LE's bottle problem.  They asked "Have you been giving her a bottle everyday?"  I replied shyly "...once a week."  Followed by "Julie!  You know better."

Yeah, I know better, but I'm lazy.

The boob is so easy.  You're hungry, here have some preheated, premade boob food.  You're tired, here have a boob it'll help you fall asleep.  You're fussy, here calm down to a boob.  If only I could leave one with the Engineer!


18 August 2011

cousin love

Really, is there anything better?

Has anyone ever seen the Scrubs episode where JD says a box of kittens can cure anything and he orders "A box of kittens stat!" for a patient that is coding?  They pour the box of kittens on the patient's chest, which then brings the patient back to life.  Well the Engineer and I always say "A box of babies, stat!"  anytime we feel down.  Baby therapy...it's the new retail therapy in our house.

12 August 2011

baby wearing

It seems good in theory, but rather hard to figure out, and then before you know it wearing your kid is easy smeasy and you wonder why anyone would do it differently.  We have ended up with 5 baby carriers since LE made her arrival.  This may seem excessive, but we use them all (that is the ones that are age appropriate) each week...if not everyday some days. 

 The brothers wearing their babies.  BIL in a Bjorn-style carrier and the Engineer in the Moby Wrap.

A must have.  This long piece of fabric seems intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature.  It's perfect for a carrying a newborn.  Now it's perfect for us for "You need to take a nap, grumpypants."

Auntie Sarah sporting the Maya Ring Sling (very fitting name, if I do say so!)

I like the ease of use this carrier provides.  It's great for in out of the car, stores, lunch dates, etc.  It doesn't provide much support for the user, so not great for long walks.  I don't like to share this carrier, because it is more difficult to resize between users.  I've actually currently retired this one for awhile because my right shoulder/back region is sore from wearing this one too much on only my right side.

Our borrowed Bjorn.

A generous neighbor lent us this carrier.  We've found it helpful for the not so newborn, but too small for the Ergo, stage.  This one is mesh and very breathable, which has been a blessing with all this heat!  It's very simple to use and to change the sizing between users.  However, it does cause more back pain when worn for too long and it's hard to comfortably sit in a chair wearing this carrier.  I can see how it won't be of much use once LE gains a few more lbs. 

**The last two are very similar.  They provide great back support, distributing the weight over you back and hips - very ergonomic.  They allow you to carry the baby on your front or back.  My understanding from other moms is that these are the carriers they use long term from the baby stage all the way through toddlerhood.

Being social activists in the Beco Carrier
This carrier has a simple fabric insert that makes it usable with an infant.  It also has a variety of fabrics and colors that you can choose from to custom make this carrier to fit your personality.  We were given this one by another generous friend who didn't need it any longer.  I've loved using the Beco and I have even learned to breastfeed in it!

We haven't used this carrier yet.  It requires an infant insert that is large and rather hot for the Summer months.  It'll be usable in a couple of months and I think we'll like it at least as much as the Beco.  The Engineer may like it even more since it doesn't have the girly pattern on the front.  The Ergo also seems to have more cushy shoulder and waist straps. 

Pros to wearing your baby: It leaves you hands free!  Wearing your baby allows you to go about your "normal" life.  The baby can look around, have a snack, or fall asleep...with little to no effort on your part.  Not having to figure out how to open doors, deal with stairs, etc like you do with a stroller.  Never lugging an infant car seat around!  You can kiss the top of your baby's head whenever you want!

Cons: Our baby isn't terribly fond of the car seat or stroller...she prefers to be worn.  It's hard to eat at a table when wearing a baby.  While a good work out, it can be tiring to tote around the extra weight.  It's hot during the Summer...leaving us all a sweaty mess by the end of the day!

Happy Baby Wearing!!

09 August 2011

trading babies

I'm going to be honest here...The Engineer and I strongly wanted to trade LE for our niece Lily for a while.  Lily is more than just adorable, she's a peaceful blob-like baby that falls asleep in your arms and seems to rarely cry.  LE on the other hand is always kicking and punching, fussing, and screaming.  And in the beginning she would never just fall asleep in our arms...we had to work for it - walks, bouncing for hours, shooshing, etc. 

In the last few weeks we've not only decided we'll keep our little LE, but we're now worried our future children won't be as great as her!  So, she still may fuss and kick around a good bit, and even be a little work to put down for naps and night time, but the girl can SLEEP like nobody's business these days.  She has consistently been going about 9 hours every night for a few weeks.  She then gets up for an hour to eat and play and goes back down for another 2-3 hours.  It's unreal.  Really it's almost unheard of for an exclusively breastfeed baby to sleep such a long stretch this early on with zero sleep training.  She just did it herself.  One morning we woke up and looked at each other with that "holy smokes, what just happened" face and before we knew it that became our new routine.

I read some where (sorry, don't remember exactly where) that you have to figure out what your new normal is with each baby and each change.  I love our new normal and have been afraid to say it out loud in fear of jinxing it or making other parents severely jealous of all our sleep. 

Yesterday at the grocery store some dad was chit chatting with me about LE and telling me about his 5 month old and making small talk about getting sleep.  When he asked if I was getting any, I generically answered "She does pretty well at night."  He proceeded to proudly tell me his baby only wakes up twice a night, but informed me that I had a ways to go before I would get that much sleep.  And I just let it be.  I'd rather not tell anyone how amazing my baby is and just pretend we are still the average sleep deprived parents (which we may become again at any moment, anyway). 

So, now I wonder...how do I reproduce again in fear the next baby won't be as great at sleeping as LE.  Funny, it wasn't that long ago we said if the next baby was as needy and fussy as LE we would have to stop at 2 kids!

Either way, I will say to myself "Figure out your new normal and move on, already."

Cousin love with LE and Lily:

 Brothers and their babies (Lily 5 mo, Maya 2 mo).

 Smile for the camera...


 I want to clobber you...

 Now, now, hands to yourselves, girls.

 I want in on the baby fun!

Smile everyone!  Fine, that will have to do. 
I suppose this will be what family photos will look like for the next several years, cute none the less.

06 August 2011

eating locally

LE and I ventured downtown DC today to join in on the BIG Latch On and to see the Big Pink Bus (http://www.milkforthought.com/). 

 Latching on for at least 1 minute with mommas all over the US at the same time (we even made a little local news)!

With Ryan, the guy behind it all (thanks for joining us Joanna!!).

04 August 2011

why i love breastfeeding my little engineer...

Well for starters she makes so many adorable faces...Like her "Wow, I get to do this again!" excited face, or her "I'm starving" little-piggy-don't-mess with me face, or her sweet little eyebrow raises when more milk starts to flow for her, and of course, my favorite, sleep feeding with the occasional pause to give me a big gummy smile while her eyes are still closed.  (I started to try to capture all these faces in photos, but I failed and realized that many shots of my breast would probably be too much for my readers anyway...)

It's easy and I'm lazy, so I'm grateful for no prep or cleanup!

It's free and the Engineer and I are rather cheap, so this is a huge perk for us.

If she has a boob in her mouth she can't scream.  And trust me LE likes to scream.

It gives us lots of eye contact and snugly bonding time - LE eats every 1/2 hour to 2 hours during the daytime.  Time has become irrelevant in my world.  She eats when she's hungry for however long she wants to (there are certainly pros and cons to this "on demand" method).  She rarely wants to cuddle otherwise, so I appreciate the forced "if you want to eat you have to cuddle" time!

It (hopefully) makes me a more empathetic Lactation Consultant.

And that's all for now.  Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

01 August 2011

it's world breastfeeding week people!

And because it is, I shall post accordingly this week. 

My question for you is what does S&M gear have in common with nursing clothing?  Or better yet, I should say that I am going to answer this question for you.

My first day postpartum I put on my brand new Target nursing tank...you know the navy blue one with the cream lace at the top.  I have it on in about every photo of me these days, or at least one similar to it.  I pulled down the little flap, exposing my breast for my hungry little LE.  BFF Sarah, looking perplexed, asked "What is that thing?" (referring to my shirt, not my breast :-).  I explained the obvious and she decided "It was awfully S&M like."  Then the Engineer piped in "We'll have to save those shirts for later."  (Ummm last thing on any one's mind 1 day post birthing my gorgeous 6lb bowling ball).  I replied "Trust me we're both going to be sick of my nursing tanks before this over with."  And we are indeed sick of these tanks only 2 months in.  By the end of the day they reek of sour milk and are stained with spit up and maybe a splash of urine or poo - reminding us that these (really the tanks, but we could probably say the boobs too) are for LE and not the Engineer. 

So, that's it.  Contrary to what we usually consider socially appropriate, S&M clothing and nursing tanks cover you up and expose only the necessary parts.  Of course, one comes in leather and the other a cotton/poly blend. 

Happy Breastfeeding Week!