Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why You Should Blog

You should start a blog.  Seriously.  Even if you think you have nothing to say, you do.  And people will read it.  We all need 5 minute breaks from work during our day.  And lets be honest, people LOVE reading about other people and what goes on in their lives. It's the voyeurism fetish in all of us.  And for some reason, I think we like reading more about people we don't stay in touch with than people we do.  Perhaps because we don't need to read about the people we talk to on a regular basis.  OH whatever, I read friends' blogs who I talk to on a weekly basis.  I also stalk people on facebook.  It's true.

I have a point. I promise.

Here is why you should start a blog:  You will realize that whatever crazy thing you're going through, someone else is going through it too, and then you will let out a huge sigh of relief.  Ahhhh.

Case and point (or is it "case in point"? No clue.  I digress) - A friend whose baby was born a few days after Lukas emailed me yesterday and said she's having the same debate about starting her babe on foods.  I now don't feel so silly for having this internal struggle.  Apparently it's normal.  Does that make me normal?  Surely not.

So while you should start a blog, you should also comment on people's blogs.  It will help their self esteem and sense of normalcy.

That's my advice for the day. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Little man Pics

It's been a day or two since I've posted any Lukas pictures. 
 I feel like I'm depriving my readers of cuteness. 
I know my mother-in-law at least loves the pics. 
So Grandma Kae, these two are for you!

A New Goal

One of the blogs I regularly read is Motherlode.  Today's article refers to another article who's author stated that you're a successful parent if you get your kids to adulthood with "No sleeping, eating or sexual hang-ups.”  This made me smile and realize that a lot of what I've found myself fretting over as a parent, is really silly.

For example, for the past week or so I've been going back and forth on whether or not to start Lukas on rice cereal.  I can't tell you how many articles I've read on the subject.  Never mind the number of quizzes entitled something like "Is your baby ready for solids?"  The articles and quizzes all conflict with one another and no matter what I decide, someone will say I'm wrong.  I just need to make a decision and be OK with it.  And realize that whatever I decide is, most likely, not going to cause my child any problems.

Another silly worry I've had lately has been with putting Lukas to bed.  Some books you read say its the worst thing ever to let you baby fall asleep while you nurse him or while you're holding him.  They go so far as to tell you to WAKE THEM UP and then put them in their crib so they can fall asleep on their own.  Now if this isn't counterproductive, then I'm not sure what is.  Other books say I should let him cry himself to sleep, while yet others say I should go to him and comfort him or else he'll always hate his crib.  Again, any decision I make will be wrong in the eyes of some "expert" and right in the eyes of another. 

So I'm going to chill out a little bit and stop worrying.  Or at least attempt to. 

And I think I'll borrow the above goal of getting Lukas to adulthood without having any sleeping, eating or sexual hangups.  Wait, I just realized my above "problems" could result in the first two hangups.  Shit.  I'm probably screwed. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Not the Pizza Guy

Papa John.  To you it's a pizza chain.  To me he's my grandpa.  (And no, there's no relation.  It would be an added perk to be the heiress to a pizza joint.  But alas, my Papa John doesn't know a thing about pizza).

Earlier this year he turned 93.  He's had a long, full life.  He's been married to the same woman (Grandma Jean) since 1943 (i.e. 67 years ago...).  They have 7 children, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.  He was born in Gay, Georgia, though if he tells you this fact, he's also quick to note "But I'm not gay."  (yes grandpa, I think the 7 children made that clear...).  He grew up in Greenville, GA and was a colonel in the United States Army, proudly serving his country for many years.

The one thing that has been constant in his life is up and down health issues.  Tumors seem to run on my mom's side of the family (I think all 4 of the sisters have had some tumor or another - some cancerous, others not).  He had surgery on his neck years ago to remove a tumor and has had some other health problems along the way.  He and my grandmother lived in Florida when I was little, but about 5 years ago he wasn't doing too well and he and my grandma moved to LaGrange, GA to be closer to family (my mom and one of my aunts lived in Atlanta at the time).  After a few years, a sweet woman named Ruby came to their house every day to help out with the daily activities of cooking and cleaning and making sure they were taking their medicine.  But eventually they needed more care.  So about a year ago they moved to an assisted living facility in Marietta, just a few miles from my parents.  My mom now spends a good chunk of her time checking in on them. taking them to doctors appointments and generally just making sure they're taken care of.  It's an arduous, emotionally-taxing job, but she does it with love and selflessness.  She's a great daughter. 

A few years back, when Mr. Cob and I were engaged but not yet married, I remember thinking about how much I really hoped Papa John and my grandmother would be at my wedding.  And they were.  And then when I got pregnant, I hoped they'd get to meet my baby boy, and they have. For 93 he's in decent shape, but no one's days on this earth are limitless.  So I sincerely cherish the time I get to spend with him and my grandmother.  And two weeks ago I unexpectedly spent all Tuesday afternoon with them.

My mom is the emergency contact for my grandparents since she is their only child living in the Atlanta area.  But she and my dad were in California visiting my brother for two weeks.  While she was away she put my aunt in Florida as the main contact, followed by my aunt in Virginia and then me.  So I was surprised when I got a call from the assisted living facility telling me there was a slight emergency.  They weren't able to get in touch with my aunts, and I was next on the calling list.  Papa John had fallen and was pretty badly beat up and needed to go to the hospital.  I immediately shut down my work computer and hoped in my car to meet him at the hospital.  I was worried about my grandmother sitting alone all afternoon so I called my mom's best friend Jaye and sent her to sit with grandma, and Mr. Cob was going to meet me at the hospital.  We were all surprised to find that grandma jean (89 year old grandma jean) hopped in the ambulance at the last minute and rode along with Papa John.  I like to think she wanted to go on an adventure!

Well he did look pretty bad.  He had two black eyes and was quite swollen.  But bless his heart, he had no idea what happened.  He was smiling and joking at first.  I told him that if he'd wanted us to come visit him all he had to do was ask!  That got a good chuckle out of him.  But eventually he started to get agitated.  As anyone his age would who was just left for hours in an ER room.  He kept instructing us to open the door so that they wouldn't forget about him and when we opened it a crack he'd lean over off the hospital bed and push it open wider with his cane.  At one point he was loudly proclaiming that "I fought the war for you people!"  I can't blame him for being annoyed - we were at the hospital for over four hours!  But in the end he was more or less OK.  And I get to file the day away in my memory as one more day that I got to spend with my grandparents.  

I love them very much.  And I hope that Mr. Cob and I grow old together just like my grandparents.  But I think we'll pass on the 7 kids!


Tweet, Tweet

If I were on Twitter and limited my ramblings to 140 characters apiece, this would be my tweet for today:

"The mood of my day is greatly determined by how much milk I pump at each session.  Twisted.  I know."

Aren't you lucky I'm not on Twitter?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Music

I am a sap.  A total sap.  I started crying on the way to take Lukas to "school" this morning as we were listening to his "baby music".  I wasn't sad about taking him to school.  I was just humbled by the whole baby thing.  I have a baby.  This child is mine.  And it is the most amazing thing in the entire world. 

And I have to be honest, I kind of enjoy listening to his baby music more than the radio these days.  The songs are just so sweet and happy.

The two that got me this morning are by Renee & Jeremy

The first song is called "Night Manta" - its a simple little song, but it chokes me up every time. The lyrics are:

I will be your home

I will be your guide
I will be your friend
always on your side

sleep now in your room
quiet of the night
surrounded by the moon
till you see the light

You can listen to the song here.  It is just so sweet and simple, yet says so much about how I feel being Lukas' mother.  The one line: I will be your home, is really so powerful.  I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.

The other song from their album It's a Big World that I love is called, Welcome to this World :

I don't mean to shake your slumber

Lying there you look so sweet
Before the birds begin to wonder
Rise my love and follow me

Welcome to this world
Wether you are ready or not
Welcome to this world
Come give it all that you got
Before you know it you'll be
Singing right back to me
Welcome to this world

I'm sure you are happy in your safe haven
Where there is nothing that you dont know
But you could spend your whole life there waiting
So don't be afraid
Come on let's go

Future's knocking at your front door
So much for you to see
But if you are looking for something more
Come on baby
Breath this moment through your eyes
Treat each moment like a prize


Oh Yeah, welcome to this world,
Welcome to this world

I just love it.  If you have kiddos, especially a little baby, I highly recommend this cd.  I also am loving the song Little Red Caboose by Lisa Loeb (yes, that Lisa Loeb).

Oh, and here's a gratuitous Friday picture of Lukas - his daddy is in Arizona watching the Cubs play in spring training, so we thought we'd cheer them on from afar!  (Lukas wasn't quite awake yet....)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hair Do?

Um, more like hair don't...

Have I mentioned that Lukas has a little bit of a red-neck mullet going on?

He hides it well from the front!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Bonnets

Lukas' school had a "Spring Bonnet Parade" Monday afternoon.  I unfortunately was not able to go since I had a conflicting conference call, but Mr. Cob went and got some great video which I'll try to share later.  And this morning his school sent us snapfish pictures from the parade!  Isn't this adorable!?!

Lukas (R) with his friend Rome

My sweet boy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

I have wonderful friends.  I really do.

Mr. Cob and I were able to have two nights out this past week thanks to my girlfriends babysitting Lukas. Last Wednesday Mr. Cob had his improv class graduation and my friend Katie came over so I could catch the show. Mr. Cob was hilarious and did such a great job!

And then Friday night, my friend Lauren agreed to watch Lukas while Mr. Cob and I went out to dinner for another friend's 30th birthday.  Lauren herself has a daughter, Elise, who is exactly 3 months older than Lukas.  Elise and Lukas hang out often.  Lauren is a seasoned mother compared to myself and I had absolutely no worries about leaving Lukas with her.  I knew everything would be fine.

And then half way through the night I get this picture.

Luckily I'd had a big martini when I got this picture.  So I laughed.  Probably harder than I should have.  Elise and Lukas are clearly in love.

I guess this is what you get when someone offers you "free" babysitting.

(For those of you out there who don't find this funny - he was totally fine.  Babies cry.  Lighten up.)

And he looked like this this morning:

 Happy as a Peach.

He was happy because his Auntie Al was here all weekend.  She was visiting with her main squeeze and they ran the Atlanta Half Marathon yesterday.  She rocked it.  Mr. Cob and I ended up walking 6.5 miles in an effort to catch them on the course at various locations.  We failed and never saw them.  But that's a story for another day.  We're all sad to see her go this morning.

But on a happy note, look who's back?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hello Old Friend

For about six months now I've been apart from something very dear to me.  But today we are reunited.  Today as I drove to work, with my hands upon the steering wheel, I smiled.  As I sit in front of my computer with my hands on the keyboard, I smile.  And as I reach to pick up my coffee cup with my left hand, I smile.  My wedding band is finally back where it belongs, on my left hand ring finger.
It is a little tight, but it's no longer cutting off the circulation in my finger, so I figured I could wear it.  I've missed it.  I've missed what it symbolizes. I've missed the daily reminder it provides me of my wedding day, and the memories from that day.  I know its just a ring, just a piece of jewelry, but it's one of my most treasured possessions. 
Unfortunately, its best friend is a no show.  My engagement ring is still on the tight side and somehow putting them both on together made my finger freak out.  So half of the whole is back.  Hopefully in another few weeks, with a few more pounds shed, I'll be able to wear them both together.  (Although, I've been told that the final bit of swelling sometimes does not go away until you finish nursing.  So it could still be a while.)
As for the weight loss, I'm getting there.  To date I've lost roughly 52 pounds since Lukas was born.  I still have 14 to go until I'm back at my pre-baby weight (and we won't mention the 10 more I'd like to lose after that...) (and yes, that would mean in total I packed on about 66 pounds.  Yup, that's double what you're supposed to gain.  No I did not eat bins of ice cream every day of my pregnancy, although next time around I just might.  No, I was not a cute pregnant girl.  I was huge.  That is all.) 
I wish I could say I was working out every day and eating only vegetables, but I'm not.  I'm working out maybe 2 times a week, on a good week.  As for the eating, I'm doing Weight Watchers online.  It seems to be working as I'm losing about 1.5 to 3 pounds per week.  The somewhat frustrating thing is that I have a serious appetite right now, which I think is in part (or in total) due to nursing.  My body is still working really hard to produce food for my baby boy and that takes energy.  So it's a catch 22 to make sure I eat enough to continue producing enough milk, but not too much so that I keep losing this weight.
I know I'm being hard on myself and I should give myself a break.  But it's a battle every morning to get dressed. Some days its good because clothes that fit a few weeks ago are now baggy and hanging off me, but my normal clothes still don't fit for the most part.  So most days I look ridiculous as I put together whatever clothes I can find that somewhat fit and resemble an outfit of sorts.  I'm looking forward to fitting back in my normal clothes and looking somewhat stylish again. 
And it will happen.  It'll just take some time.  But for now, I'll revel in the small victories.  Like wearing my wedding band again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

From this weekend

Isn't he just a cutie pie!

Last Name first?

When we were picking out a name for our son when I was pregnant (i.e. Lukas), we had many factors to consider.  One of which, was what sort of nick names he might have.  (Another was initials.  You don't want your initials to be P.M.S. or P.I.G.  Well Lukas' are L.P.S. and a friend so nicely pointed out that this could stand for "little piece of shit".  Lovely.  Hopefully he never lives up to those initials...)  The obvious nickname being Luke.  I love the names Lukas and Luke equally, so I was okay with him being called either.  And to be honest, I fully expected to call him Luke myself, but on most occasions I call him Lukas.  If I call him anything else it's usually "buddy" or "Lukey" and some times I throw a "Luke" in there. 

So for now he is Lukas.  But I know this will change, or will likely change, when he's in school (real school, not the "school" school he's in now) and has friends.  Because your friends really determine what you'll be called.  Or your coworkers or whomever you're around often.  My mom specifically picked first names for me and my brother that can't be shortened, or so she thought.  She wanted us to be called by our first name, not some derivative thereof.  (Although my brother Brent is often called "B" by me and my four letter name is often shortened to just the first two).  I sign informal emails to friends with this two letter pseudonym and don't mind it at all.  And in college my brother was called by my mom's name/nickname (how this happened, I'm not sure, but it is an "exotic" name, and somehow it stuck).  And the oddest thing is that my mom has never gone by her real name.  Perhaps it's because her first name is Ruth.  (Although I love it and told her I wanted to name my first daughter Ruth Ann and she about died and might have threatened me.)

At work, my boss often calls me by my last name.  And at first I thought that it was just a guy thing held over from their sports playing days.  But then I started thinking and realize that I call a few friends by their last name, so it must be a girl thing too.  Anyway, not sure where I was going with this post, it just got me thinking about what we call each other.
So yea, there's my random rambling for the day.  Does anyone have a nick name they hate????

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rapping Lu

We clearly have gone a little nutty with the video recording.  I think this is what happens when you have a baby and no longer get out as much.  Oh what am I trying to hide...this is who we are.

Warning: inappropriateness to follow...

Go Cubs Go!

Lukas is very excited for Spring Training...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Over the Line...

This post can be classified in the "Too Much Information" category.  I realize I am about to cross the line into things you really should just not talk about, never mind blog about.  Dad, if you're reading this, you should probably stop.  Actually, if you're a man, you should stop reading.  And women too, you may not want to continue. 
So what is my taboo topics?  Breastfeeding.  Well, more precisely, pumping breast milk.  (Cue scary music now.)
So sometime before Lukas was born, the question of whether or not I was going to breastfeed came up.  My answer was no.  I had no desire to nurse my future children.  I wasn't nursed as a baby and so it wasn't something that I had ever really considered.  My mom didn't do it, so why should I?  It just did not sound appealing at all.  I mean who wants someone sucking on their nipples?  (Ok, ok, I realize that many people enjoy having their nipples sucked, err licked, eh, I should shut up.  You get my point...but breast feeding sucking is different from that sort of, uh, sucking...I told you to stop reading.)  And I've heard horror stories of breastfeeding gone wrong.  Babies can bite.  Nipples can get so painful they bleed.  Engorgement.  Blocked milk ducts.  Etc. Etc. The list of bad breastfeeding stories goes on and on.
So no.  I was not going to breastfeed.
Then Mr. Cob got wind of this and was a little upset.  He had been nursed and he assumed his wife would nurse his son.  All the research says "Breast is Best", so in his mind, why wouldn't I want to give my child the best start by breastfeeding?  At first I was firm in my stance.  I didn't want to nurse so I wasn't going to.  And then I did some research.  And as it turns out, breast really is best.  The benefits to your child are huge.  And supposedly breastfeeding helps you lose the baby weight faster and considering how much I had to lose, I figured whatever I could do to help in that area was worth a shot.  (And no, the health benefits to my baby alone were not enough to convince me.  But my own vanity pushed me over the edge into giving it a whirl.  Feel free to judge me now.)
So I bought the boppy.  (You can't breastfeed without the boppy.  *Sidenote: it turns out the "Brest Friend" is a better breastfeeding support pillow in the beginning weeks of nursing.  But then the boppy rocks).  I bought the nursing tanks and the nursing bras.  I bought the lanolin for my soon to be sore and cracked nipples. I bought the breast pads for leaking boobs.  I even bought the La Leche League book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  And to top it off, I dragged Mr. Cob along to a four hour breastfeeding class for couples.  (I'd committed to trying breastfeeding, so I wasn't going to be half ass about it.  And it was his idea, so of course he had to come to the class.).
And finally Lukas arrived and it was game time.  Within the first hour of his birth, he nursed.  This was not an easy task.  He latched on rather well, but it was odd and somewhat painful at times and there was no way to know whether or not he was getting any food.  But I kept at it.  I had to use about 40 pillows stacked on all sides around me and more than a few nurses touched my boobs trying to help us figure it out.  But we were doing it.  I was nursing my kid. 
And then day 2 rolled around and Lukas screamed the entire day in the hospital.  We could not figure out what was wrong.  Turns out, he wasn't getting enough to eat.  I was failing in the breastfeeding department.  Most babies lose weight after birth, but Lukas lost more than 10% of his body weight, which is when the doctors worry.  So the pediatrician told me I needed to supplement with formula for a day and then bring him back in 24 hours to see how his weight was doing.  Feeling defeated, we went home and Mr. Cob gave him 3 ounces of formula.  But my milk came in the same day (hello big boobies!!!) and so I also kept nursing him.  And that evening Mr. Cob's mom gave Lukas another 2 ounces of formula after I nursed him.  (In the industry, they call it "topping off"...)  The next day at the doctor Luke had gained about 7 ounces!  So they told me we could stop the formula and just breastfeed.  And breast milk is all he's had ever since.  (Some breastfeeding nazi's would say I am a horrible mother for giving my child any formula at all.  But they can go to Hell.  The one thing I have learned since having a child is that you do whatever you have to do for your kid.  And don't judge anyone else for what they're doing for their child.  Because we're all just trying our best.  And you may end up eating your own words at some point, as I have already done.)
I've been luckily since this early road bump.  No cracked or bleeding nipples.  No engorgement.  No blocked ducts.  Only a few embarrassing boob leakages.  And very few tears.  Lukas didn't have any trouble figuring the whole latching thing out and we eventually settled into this great routine.  I kept an insanely detailed journal of his feedings for the first few weeks - I was spending anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of my day sitting down with the baby on my boob eating.  This is a lot of time!  Its a serious commitment to nurse your child.  But I have found that it has been worth every second.
For one thing, it's a real bonding experience for momma and baby.  I'd had a friend try to explain this to me pre-Lukas, and I simply didn't get it. I couldn't understand how a baby sucking on your boob was meaningful moment.  But it is one of the most special things to be able to feed your child.  I am literally keeping him alive by producing milk from my own body to feed him.  It's amazing if you think about it.  And it's so special.  I honestly don't mind getting up at 2am (and sometimes again at 4am) to nurse him.  We sit in the dark room and I just look down and stare at him.  He's so small and precious.  And he sometimes stops mid-feed to look up, gaze into my eyes and smile.  It's something only I can do for him.  And that is incredible.  I'm now committed to nursing him for at least a year, assuming my milk doesn't dry up before then, which I hear can happen.  And I will nurse any other child God blesses me with.  I'll now even go so far as to try to talk anyone who's considering breastfeeding into doing it. I've done a complete 180.
Ok, back to the TMI part of this post.  (Wait, did I ever leave?)  Since returning to work four weeks ago, I'm away from Lukas for about an 8 to 9 hour stretch ever day.  He eats about every 3 hours.  So in order to continue breastfeeding him, I had to begin pumping.  As in, I'm hooked up to a machine 3 times a day that is artificially simulating a baby sucking on my nipples to express milk into bottles.  Imagine a cow.  Yup, I went there.  It's not a pretty picture and it's an even more uncomfortable feeling.  But I'm doing it.  (No one said this mom thing was glamorous...)
But there is one thing about pumping that I LOVE: getting to see how much milk I produce at each pumping.  Let me explain.  When you're actually nursing your baby, you have NO IDEA how much milk they're getting at each feeding.  It could be a drop for all I know, or ten ounces.  No clue.  The only way I could figure it out is to weigh the babe pre-feeding and then again post-feeding and see how many ounces he's gained.  But alas, I have no baby scale and that's just crazy anyway.  So you just have to assume that if they're gaining enough weight at the doctor's appointments and he seems content after nursing, then he's probably getting enough milk.  But there's no easy way to quantify the amount of each nursing.
But this is not the case when you pump.  You know EXACTLY how much milk you're producing.  And that's why I love pumping.  Especially because there is no rhythm or reason to the differing output of milk.  Some days I get 3 ounces on the right boob and 2 ounces on the left boob.  But then two hours later I'll get 4 ounces on the right and 1.5 ounces on the left. And the next day I might get 3 and 3.  It's so strange.  And the most f*cked up part about it is that I get really excited when I have a large output pumping session.  It's like I accomplished this great feat.  And I envy my friends who produce more milk than me.  (Yes, I have boob envy, in more ways than one...) It's also so odd that I now talk to my friends about how much milk we get when we pump.  Apparently there are downsides to overproducing, such as milk squirting your child in the face or gagging them because its coming out too fast.  (TMI?  Sorry...) 
So if you want to talk about breastfeeding, feel free to give me a call.  I'm clearly happy to talk about the ins and outs and ups and downs.  I'm a loud supporter of "Breast is Best."  But if you're curious about adult nursing, I'm so NOT your gal!

25 hours

I read in a baby sleep book this week that our internal body clock actually runs on a 25 hour day.  Perhaps this is why I always feel like there aren't enough hours in the day.  We are missing one hour each day.  I could use this extra hour.  Who do I need to talk to about changing the number of hours in a day?  Hum...

So yea, I'm busy.  Which is why I haven't written in a week.  I've missed writing and had such great intentions of stealing away for ten minutes to post something, but it just hasn't happened.  I'm working full time and actually busy at work - I billed three hours this past Sunday and even worked a few nights last week.  And when I'm not working, I'm being a mom.  And when I'm not being a mom I'm being a wife.  And when I'm not being a wife I'm trying to squeeze in a few minutes on the treadmill.  Or sleep.  Or do laundry.  Or clean the house.  Or breathe.  Or drink some wine.  Can't forget the wine.

I know, I know.  I am not the first woman to go back to work after having a baby.  But it's the first time for me.  And its an adjustment.  I feel like I'm getting everything done, just not 100% of the way or 100% perfect.  I'm convinced women who "do it all" are either (a) lying or (b) snorting coke.  I'm not one for either of those vices.  So I've had to be OK with letting some things go.

If you come to my house, there will probably be dog hair in the corners or laundry needing to be folded.  If you put me on a scale, you'll see I still have lots of baby weight to lose.  If you see me at the office, I'll have a cup of coffee in my hand and my hair probably isn't "done".  And if you see me with my baby, he may still have on the clothes from the night before.  But hopefully, when you see me, I'll have a huge smile on my face.  It's not about being perfect.  Lord knows I'm not even close.  And to be honest, I'm not even trying to be perfect.  I'm trying to be happy.  And I am.