Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thrown a Curve Ball

I've been MIA for a while. I apologize for the lack of adorable pictures, and much needed updates on my little Gabriel. We've been spending all our spare time with Daddy lately. You read that right, time with DADDY!! Long story made short, he experienced some medical issues while at boot camp and was seperated from the Navy. The good news is he is just fine, and HOME! Although he's disappointed about this unexpected turn of events, he is thrilled to be back home with Gabriel and I.

I learned a lot during the time spent apart from my husband. Weeks on end with no calls, emails, or even letters leaves you with plenty of time for reflection.

I realized...
I take my husband for granted most days.
Although I enjoy extra room in the bed, I hate sleeping alone.
Taking care of a baby alone is HARD. I don't know how single parents do it.
Vacations don't feel like vacations without Joey.
Home doesn't feel like home without him.
I want to be a better wife and mother.
I appreciate my husband and rarely tell him so.

I'm so grateful to have my husband returned to me. (Thank you, US NAVY!) It seems as though the dust from all this is finally settling and we're finally feeling stable again. We are just now getting comfortable with the new life we never expected. (It's funny how God tosses out a curve ball when you least expect it.) Joey has a new job and has even received a big promotion since starting. I've taken up a part-time job, and we're (finally!) moving into a home of our very own, after living with family during all of these unexpected changes. As we are packing and moving, I'm making a point to remind myself daily of the time we spent apart. I've already slipped back into taking him for granted, and not appreciating the little things. I also tend to get a little cranky when moving (I know I'm not the only one), and I want to focus on the joy that this move will bring to our little family.

Stay tuned for more from us... (I promise the wait won't be as long this time.)

A letter to my Peanut

My little Peanut,
Today you're 11 months old,
and I have no idea where all the time has gone.
You're no longer my tiny baby,
but are growing into a little person.
You cruise all around the room,
and love to push your walker around.
I hate that you won't let me hold your hands to help you walk,
but I love that you are already so independent.
You love to say kitty cat ("key ka")
and starting saying dog ("gog") the other day.
Our new morning ritual makes my heart so happy!
You carefully select a book and bring it over to me with such a big smile.
With bright eyes and an open mouthed grin,
you carefully examine each page before turning it for me.
I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you're already so fond of reading.
I can tell that you understand more and more of what Mama and Daddy are saying to you.
You usually respond by shaking your head no,
or saying your most common phrase,
We have no idea what that's supposed to mean,
but we love to listen to you talk to us!
You LOVE music.
We hope that you'll have a great talent in music.
You seem to already.
You sing in the car all the time.
As a song plays, I'll hear you singing softly.
Music has always made your face light up,
and I hope you continue to foster a love for it.
You have your own piano and xylophone,
and routinely play the pots and pans as drums.
I wonder whether you'll be in a band like your Grandad?
I'm excited to watch you grow into a little boy.
I look forward to many memories to come.
Yet, I can't seem to wrap my mind around how someone so small
 is growing so large, so fast.
I would freeze time if I could, but only for a while.
I need time to focus on all the little things-
your brilliant blue eyes, the sound of your contagious laugh,
how excited you are when the "key ka" walks in the room,
the smell of your sweet baby breath,
and how adorable you look when you cuddle with your blankie in bed. 
 Mostly I need to remember how incredible it feels when you flash
your "squinty-eyed, wrinkled-nosed smile."
Don't grow too fast, my Peanut.
With love,
your Mama

Saturday, August 13, 2011

With the next one, gawk if you want to

I haven't linked up to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop in a while. This week's topic, Nursing in Public, has been a popular one! If you would like to share your experiences nursing in public (NIP), link up! Be sure to visit the other links listed below; there are some great posts this week!

I am so ashamed of myself for the annoyed glances I gave, and the "CAN YOU BELIEVE HER?" comments I made about nursing mothers before becoming one myself. The comment I most often made was, "I don't care that she's feeding her child, but can't she cover up?" Oh to be so naive!
Unfortunately, I continued to feel the same way when I had Gabriel. I was nervous about offending others, and couldn't shake the fear of accidentally exposing myself. Plus, no one in my family (with the exception of my SIL) had breastfed, so I just felt all-around uncomfortable about nursing in front of others right from the start.
Despite my nervousness, we nursed in front of some visitors after returning home from the hospital, and in the homes of family members. I used a cover, and hated it!  I wasn't good at situating him and getting him latched on while under the cover. So to avoid flashing, I would go to another room, get situated, and then come back. That was a pain in the rear.
As soon as he learned how to flail his tiny arms around, it just became impossible to cover up. Since I was still so self-conscious about exposing myself, I decided to just give bottles of expressed milk while we were on the go. I'm so mad at myself for that decision. I'd like to go back in time and slap the old me for being so foolishly insecure. I wish that instead of leaving the room to nurse in private, that I'd stayed put and felt confident in my ability to feed my baby in the most natural way possible.
Now I'm an exclusive pumper (you can read about why here.) and it's too late for my new take on nursing in public. I have big plans for my next baby though. I'll be holding my head high and nursing in public without fear of what others think. I want to make it clear that I have no plans of running around topless, but I'm not going to be concerned about the possibility of a slip here or there. Who cares if someone sees me feeding my child? It won't be featured in an adult film somewhere. It is simply the natural, God-given ability to nourish my child.
The last few times I've seen other mommas NIP, I made it a point to shoot them a smile. You should have seen the smiles these women gave back. They felt encouraged, supported, excited... not ashamed like many people make nursing moms feel. I also had the opportunity to defend a woman that was quite a bit exposed at the mall after someone made my old, "Can't she cover up?!" comment. It was strange how quickly the subject was dropped when I responded, "I think it's wonderful that she doesn't feel like it's necessary to hide. Afterall, she's just feeding her baby."
Have you shot a smile at a momma nursing in public, or had an opportunity to defend one? I'd love to hear your story!

I'll leave you with a cartoon a friend of mine posted on facebook. It gave me a good laugh, and I hope it does for you as well!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

This post is my contribution to The Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with LeviSlacker Mom, and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. Feel free to link up, and please visit the other blogs listed below to share some BFing love!!

Life With Levi

I had to laugh when I saw the topic for this week, Body Changes.
One of my closest friends breastfed her two kids, and really is one of only a few people I know that has breastfed. She by default then, became my go to person for all BFing related questions. We had a conversation somewhat recently about our bodies after pregnancy and BFing.  It started with me asking about whether her "ladies" went back to their normal size after she was through BFing, and ended when her husband so very lovingly threw in his two cents- "Swing low, sweet chariot!" We all had a good laugh about it, and continued on with our evening. Since then, I've gone back and forth with whether I really find that funny. Most days- yes, it's hilarious! It's a fun way to appreciate a piece of my new identity, battle scars if you will. In all seriousness though, it's a small price to pay for the well being of my precious little boy. There are other days however, that I'm pretty peeved about the ladies swinging low....and I'm sure if it's bad now, it's really going to be bad when I stop breastfeeding, and worse after future nurslings. Yikes! As depressing as "swing low, sweet chariots" can be, there are a few things that make me feel better as I stand completely bare in front of the mirror, and try to lift the ladies back up where they used to stand during their former glory. First, is that my problem isn't anything my good friend Vicky doesn't have a secret solution to. One trip to her place and I'll be a hot, confident Momma! Second, and most importantly, my husband has a such an appreciation for them it's difficult to not feel proud!
So maybe, just maybe, "swing low sweet chariot" can be funny all the time??

Friday, July 1, 2011

I hear you, loud and clear!

Little Gabriel has been growing like a weed! In addition to eating "big people food", he's also jabbering like crazy (Dadadadada! Mamamama! Rarararara! I'm not sure where the last one came from!), and has started army crawling (though he doesn't get too far)!
So of course, I am feeling like my little tiny baby isn't little at all anymore. In an effort to feel a connection to what used to be, I thought a few days ago that it would be a good idea to try nursing again. (Keep in mind, it's been around two months since I gave up trying to get him to nurse, and about 3.5 months since his refusal first began and I became an exclusive pumper.)
Well... let's just say he got his point across! My darling little angel first turned his head away, and when I continued to offer he looked up at me, leaned in real close, and bit me!
OUCH! He has teeth! So I'm really done this time. Done. Done. DONE!
I have a new found respect for my pump now. At least it doesn't bite.
I hear you, Gabriel, loud and clear. I promise to only offer mommy milk in a bottle from now on.
This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. This week's topic is pumping. Take a peek at some of the other posts below, and share some BFing love!!

Why I'm Moooing

This post is my contribution to The Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with LeviThe Slacker Mom, and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. This week'ss topic is pumping. Feel free to link up, and please visit the other blogs listed below to share some BFing love!!

Life With Levi

From the beginning, I didn't find breastfeeding all that difficult. We did have some latching issues in the hospital, but with the help of a nipple shield we got off to a great start! My milk came in (phew!), his latch caught on (finally!), and I reached my first initial goal (3 months). Success!
While pregnant, I had decided that love it or hate it, I would at least nurse for 3 months. So when that milestone rolled around, I set my next goal- 1 year. Things were going so well that I knew I'd make it to a year easy. Then it hit- the nursing strike. No matter what I tried, my darling little 4 month old screamed bloody murder at the sight of my breast. Everything I read said to be patient and keep trying...but not to be pushy. So I'd offer, he'd scream, and I would give him a bottle. My breast pump became my best friend, and I felt like a failure. I reminded myself daily that he was still getting my milk, and that was all that mattered; my broken heart felt otherwise. I missed the emotional aspect of nursing, and felt like i should be mooing as I pumped away my day.
During the month and a half I tried to work through the strike, we had just a handful of nursing sessions, each in the bathtub. I know the warm water relaxed both of us and calmed the mountain of stress I was carrying on my back. I could tell he found comfort in nursing, and that made our situation much harder on me. I considered our tub sessions a step in the right direction, but it wasn't long before they became screaming sessions instead. I finally decided that a month and a half of being rejected was all I had in me, and threw in the towel.
I realized though that since I'd already been pumping that whole time, there really was nothing keeping me from continuing. After doing a little research online, I was quickly empowered by the number of moms committed to exclusively pumping. (which is how i was introduced to Life with Levi's, Jen!)
Gabriel is 7 months old now, and I'm as determined as ever to make it to one year! Now that I have a good routine, and have become creative with when and where I pump, it's really not that big of a deal. I enjoy knowing I'm doing the best i can for my son. Sure I still feel a little like mooing.
That feels better.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Swim Lessons

 I read that in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 years of age. That's such a frightening thought! So when we attended swim lessons with my nieces and nephew today, I was so excited when the instructor offered to teach Gabriel as well. At the beginning of the session she showed me how to teach him to hold his breath. He did it the first time she put his head under the water! We practiced while the other kids had their lessons.

Scout has gone from being terrified to put her face in the water, to being a little fish! Prior to our visit, she mastered the swim-float-swim technique, and her skills were put to the test while fully clothed. Her instructor simulated her falling into the pool by turning her over in the water. She had to pull her jacket off of her face, float to catch her breath, and then swim to safety. She passed with flying colors! So today, she had her first snorkel lesson!

A pro already!
 Jack and Davie are still working on swim-float-swim, and are doing great! I was so impressed!

After all three kids had their lesson Gabriel got to take his turn. She would place him in the water on his tummy face down, and then help him to roll over and float on his back. It was amazing how well he did! With just one lesson he was doing a pretty decent job of floating without help.

I'd never given much thought to it before (seeing that we don't have a pool), but I am such a fan of teaching young children how to swim to safety (or an infant how to float until they can be rescued) after talking with the swim instructor! The pool is a place of fun for most, but the reality is, it can be deadly. The simple solution, and one that I'm learning many Florida residents are very passionate about, is teaching young children pool safety and survival techniques.

If you live near Clermont, Fl and are interested in lessons for your infant or child, please contact Kathleen Pickard at (352)24-FLOAT or visit the Swim Safely Facebook page.