TRANSITIONING

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This week I’ve been trying to transition John Luke into a schedule rather than feeding on demand.  After his pediatrician telling me he should be sleeping through the night, then in the nursery Sunday morning, I had a discussion with some friends that said they felt it would be better for him and for me.

Since he’s almost 9 months, it’s time for us both to have a little more structure in our routine.  It hasn’t been easy.  I think we’ve both “cried it out” a little, but we’re getting there.  They suggested I do 7AM,11AM, 3AM feeding times during the day and give him a bottle at 11PM then let him “cry it out” til 7AM.   Both friends give their kids bottles at 7PM and they are down til 7AM.  Ugh!  I tried feeding 7-11-3 once before, but it didn’t work at the time.  So far it has been working for us despite a few bumps.

John Luke was typically getting a bottle of rice cereal around 10-10:30PM, 2-2:30PM, and back to regular formula 6-6:30AM.  I’m not quite ready to make him stretch from 7PM -7AM or 11PM-7AM, so I’ve been giving him a bottle around 12AM to help him last longer.  I think that’s been helping until I can transition him to a 11-7 schedule.

I decided it was time to turn the monitor off.  The nursery shares a wall with our room.  I thought it’d help not hearing his cries until he really turned up those pipes.  The first night he woke up around 4AM.  I admit, I caved.  I wasn’t quite ready; and was having some separation anxiety myself.  I got him back on schedule during the day feeding him a light breakfast at 8, so he was ready to eat again by 11.

The next night I still fed him around midnight.  He woke up at 6:05AM.  I went ahead and gave him a bottle, it was close enough to 7 for me.  I felt like I could get him back on track during the day.

The hardest night was when he woke up at 5AM.  He cried for about 20 minutes, fell back asleep, then cried another 10, then he was out again.  That last 10 minutes was hard.  I started to cry and almost caved.  I made the mistake of turning on the monitor to watch him.  He grabs on to the bars and shakes forward and back.  He kept sticking his hands through the bars, and one time he looked like he was trying to find a way to climb out.  It was tearing at my heartstrings, but I knew if I kept caving we’d never get anywhere.  He wore himself down crying, then finally laid back down.

So far the best night has been when I fed late, around 12:30AM.  The next morning I woke up at 7:37AM, and realized I hadn’t woken to any cries.  I turned on the monitor expecting to find him sleeping.  He was playing with his toys in his crib and hadn’t made a peep.

This morning a funny thing happened.  I woke up again around 7:30AM to find him playing in his crib.  I turned on the monitor and watched him for a few minutes before going in to get him.  He’d started “talking” and pulling on the bars so I got up.

When I went into his room, the smell met me at the door.  As I got closer to the crib, I noticed poop all over his face.  Great!! Chuckle, sarcasm emphasised!  He’d stuck his hand in his diaper and smeared it on his face.  He did it right too making sure he got both bumpers, the sheet, his blanket and some of his toys.  Of all days, a water valve had busted in the basement.  We had to wait to get a plumber out to fix it before everything could be washed.

As I tell everybody, he’s all boy and there’s never a dull moment around here…

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AMERICAN GIRLS (AND A BOY)

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John Luke and I went to Atlanta for a “girls getaway” this past weekend with my sis-n-law, mother-n-law, and two nieces.  Before the trip, I was excited to see my family, but nervous at the same time.  I often get panicky driving in heavy traffic such as Atlanta.  I also know that if I succumb to my fears, I will never go anywhere, and John Luke will miss out on exciting adventures like traveling to different places.

So with determination and resolve, we headed off to the big city.  I live in a small town with a population of about 5,104 people (2011 census).  It’s on the outskirts of a larger town with a population 63,815 people (2011 census).  You can get on the other side of town within 20 minutes.

I’m glad we went despite my fears.  I was nervous about the thought of him getting fussy as we got into Atlanta traffic.  We ended up getting lost, but the important thing is we arrived alive and made the effort to see our family.  We ate dinner at the hotel Friday night, then spent some time in our room catching up before going to bed.

The next day we had brunch at the hotel, then my family went on to the American Girl store while John Luke and I stayed at the room to do my motherly duties (pumping).  I met them later at the store, and was quickly amazed at the craze of the American Girl phenomenon.  I guess it’s like the frenzy of the Cabbage Patch dolls which were popular when I was a girl.  My nieces even had personal shoppers to help them pick out their purchases.  I think I’m in trouble if I have a girls next time around!

Saturday evening we did some shopping at the mall, then ate at the American Girl Bistro.  My nieces were so cute dining with their dolls.  The waitress even brought John Luke a boy doll to the table.  It was so funny, I think J L thought the doll was real.  J L kept babbling, and trying to touch him.

Back at our room, John Luke was fascinated with the floor length mirrored closet door.  He kept “talking” to the baby in the mirror.  I’m not sure if the thought it was someone else, or if he was just amused by his reflection.  He even kissed himself a couple of times.

We had a fun weekend.  We’ll see them in Alabama in two weeks.  Here are some pictures from our trip. ImageImageImageImage

WEANING 101

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This week has been trying to say the least.  I had this bright idea that I would wean from pumping.  John Luke has practically weaned himself from the breast.   Once he figured out his surroundings were pretty interesting, it’s been hard to keep his attention at the breast, except in the middle of the night or early morning.

We had latching and supply problems in the beginning.  As a result, he was introduced to the bottle very early.  It’s been a struggle to keep him on the breast every since.  I am still pumping 3-4 times per day, but the supply is getting less and less.

I’ve spent hours pumping trying to “build up” my supply with very little results.  I am only producing about 6 ounces per day now.  I have been starting to wonder if the benefits outweigh the time spent, now that he’s almost eight months old.  I realize any amount of breast milk is better than formula; however, starting to question whether time spent stimulating his mind with reading and being outdoors would be more productive.

Recently, we had a busy weekend with fourth of July activities.  I thought I would eliminate a pumping session over the weekend and see how it goes.  I pumped less at the other three sessions as well.  I usually pump right before bed at least one hour.  Thirty minutes on each side to empty the breast as much as possible before going to bed.

After eliminating a pumping session, and reducing time spent pumping per session, I have spent a lot of quality time with my pump making up for it.  I found myself with a clogged milk duct.  And it’s been a dud.

I have spent HOURS this week trying to get the duct unclogged.  I’ve pumped about an hour at each session, several times per day.  I’ve taken hot showers and expressed the milk in the shower.  Total waste.  The kid gets no benefits from it that way, but the heat from the shower helps get the duct unclogged.  I have massaged the affected breast with a hand massager before pumping.  Slept with the plugged breasts on a heating pad, and spent time researching how to get the duct unclogged to prevent mastitis.

I have a friend who pumped four times per day and eventually dried up without having to wean.  I do get a little sad at the thought of not producing anymore milk.  It’s good to put on his oatmeal and rice cereal in the morning, and occasionally he gets a full bottle of breast milk.  I think I will go back to pumping and let nature take care of itself.

TO LOSE IS TO GAIN

During my six years of infertility, I had packed on about twenty-five pounds.  Much of the weight gain was from emotional eating, craving something I didn’t have.  That something was a child.  That something was a family to call my own.  I’d love to chalk it up to being on infertility drugs for so many years.  Some of that is true.  But, if I am honest with myself, much of the weight gain was due to poor choices. 

 

Yes, the emotional roller coaster of infertility (and the hormonal effects of the drugs) did contribute to the weight gain, but let’s keep it real.  I craved comfort foods.  And, comfort I would find.  Temporarily.  I think I was under a false sense of security, too, because I walked everyday.  “I’ll just walk this one off.”  I would tell myself.

 

It happens slowly.  Weight gain.  A pound here, a pound there.  You don’t notice as much, when you put it on a little at a time.  There was a void in my life that could not be filled.  Sometimes sweets and good cooking were substitutes for those lonely places.  Loneliness from times, such as being at a cookout where everyone would have their little ones, and me and Josh would be the only childless couple there. 

 

I actually lost weight during pregnancy.  Having gestational diabetes forced me to be conscientious about my diet, for the health of the baby.  I limited sweets and carbs, and incorporated more protein and fiber into each meal.  Also, I didn’t have much of an an appetite while pregnant.  I felt so full from the baby pushing on my belly, I would eat smaller meals.  To keep my bloodsugar from dropping, I’d eat a protein bar, nuts, or wheat crackers as in-between meal snacks.

 

My friend commented, I was the only girl she knew that looked like they had just done a P90X video, after having a baby.  (I love that friend , I think I will keep her)!  I was ALMOST as skinny after giving birth, as I had been in college.  But since the birth, I have started to put some of the weight back on slowly.  A little at a time.  So, I have to be careful to keep it off, this time for good. 

 

Now that I have John Luke, the void is gone.   And so is the diabties.  I still walk almost everyday, but I am adding in zumba classes and strength training with weights.  Josh and I have been cooking healthier meals for dinner, eating earlier, and cutting our portions. 

 

I have many new reasons to keep the weight off.  The best motivation is this precious little boy that I want to be able to keep up with.  I will be 52 when he is 10.  (Not that I am complaining, just sayin…:) 

 

I want to play ball with him, and run around, and play chase with him.  I have so much to live for, so many reasons to stay healthy, and so much joy! 

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NEW BEGINNINGS

I am so excited about starting a new year. Not just because I have a new baby; because he reminds me I need to simplify my life. I simply have too much STUFF.

Merriaim-Webster’s dictionary defines sim-pli-fy: to make simple or simpler; as to A: to reduce to basic essentials B: to diminish in scope or complexity: Streamline- to simplify management procedures, to make more intelligible.

Synonyms: to purify or refine. Antonym: to complicate, perplex.

Before John Luke, one of the ways I coped with being childless was to shop. I didn’t have to spend a lot of money; I just liked to shop. Some of my favorite places to plunder were thrift stores and consignment shops. I think it was the “thrill of the hunt”; to find value in something you like, that you got for a deal. But, is it a deal if you don’t wear it enough, or can’t find it when you need it? I think I have overcomplicated things.

I like my purse to match my shoes, my shoes to match my earrings, and my earrings to match my bracelet. I love my accessories! I have a summer closet, and a winter closet. I have two bins to hold extra shoes, a bin just for jean jackets, and two jacket closets..need I go on. I even sell the clothes that I don’t wear anymore; or that are out of season. Let me just say, I love my clothes.

Nonetheless, my wardrobe is evolving as my life evolves. I now find myself content donning a Columbia fleece and sweatpants. Do I really need all this STUFF anymore? The more STUFF we have, the more stress it adds to our daily life. It gets harder and harder to manage it all. I have slowly started to downsize, and prioritize what is important.

One of the definitions of sim-pli-fy is to reduce to basic essentials. Some of my greatest joys are the simple things, i.e., to to give John Luke a bath, swaddling him up to hold, singing to him while rocking to list a few. The less I complicate my life, the more time I have spending it with him. The rest is just STUFF.
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OBAMACARE AND THE ADOPTION TAX CREDIT

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You may have seen the US Supreme Court upheld “Obamacare”. What you may not know is what this does to the adoption tax credit.

In the overhaul, Congress boosted the $12,150 federal adoption tax credit by $1,000 starting this tax year. It also is refundable, meaning you’ll get the credit whether you owe taxes or not.

Good news for families wanting to adopt that may have been stymied by the cost.

SIENNA’S 1-YEAR STATS

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Sienna at 1 year:

— Weight: 23.9 pounds. 90th percentile
— Height: 32 inches. Off the chart.

And the top ten things I can tell about your personality at this point:

1) You are a cuddler.
2) You are fearless.
3) You are (let’s face it) kind of a diva, and Mommy lets you be.
4) You adore your brother.
5) You need to be where the action is.
6) You are not very “girlie” (at least not yet, and despite Mommy’s efforts to dress you only in pink and with huge gaudy headbands)
7) You love your sleep.
8) You get shy when you meet new people, and burrow your head into Mommy’s neck.
9) You are a talker. You can say “Mommy, Daddy, Brae, Uh-oh, and Dog,” and a whole host of indecipherable other words I haven’t figured out yet.
10) You love to dance

Honey Bear, with your life, you have made a dream come true for Mommy and Daddy. With you, we got to experience pregnancy and having a daughter. You are irreplaceable. We love you more than words can say. You are our baby girl. We love you unconditionally (and always will). Nothing can ever separate you from our love. May you come to know your Creator and live the abundant life that is waiting for you.

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, and Brother Brae