Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Weekly Milestones - week 10

10 weeks postpartum

Jackson is growing so fast and learning so quickly! This week we worked hard on his neck muscles after the Pedetrician told us to be careful or he might develop serious torticollis. On Friday last week I brought out his massive jungle gym and got to work. Every day since Friday we did a minimum of five minutes of tummy time four times a day so Jackson could push himself up and move his neck around. He struggled so much until today! He GOT it!!! He pushed himself up and looked left and squeeling, just exploring. I also laid him on his back so he could swat at all the toys hanging over him. He didn't know what to think at first, but soon he was swatting his hands all over, discovering all the neat toys in front of him.
Lots of tummy time at the Koester house

Working those neck and back muscles!

I think all the tummy time and exercising wears him out. Every night since we've been putting him in his gym, he's slept more than five hours at a time. Some nights he's even slept seven in a row!! I can't even believe it. I keep wondering when we'll go back to four... I pray we're past that. I know...I know... Right.
It's so fun watching him discover objects and sounds
Makes me see how incredibly smart babies are and how fast they pick stuff up!

I'm trying to transition him into his Pack N Play for naps considering we're headed up to Karl's parent's cabin soon. This will be the first time he'll sleep somewhere other than his bassinet and at home. I'm a little nervous and hope he'll be OK. We went up to the cabin for a day a couple weeks ago and he wasn't very good at napping there. I guess we'll see how it goes! I'm trying to get him on a schedule but I know that's nearly impossible when traveling and with him being so young yet. He slept in his Pack N Play for his evening nap yesterday for 30 minutes. That's pretty good considering he usually naps maybe 2 minutes top in there. When he's in his swing, he naps 1-3 hours.

I also know we need to transition him into his nursery soon. I want to do that before I start working so I don't lose too much sleep when I go back to work. This is going to be harder on ME than I thought. I've learned to love him being right there next to me in his bassinet!

We noticed Jackson has started to snuggle with things more and grab shirts and blankets. He loves cuddling up with his burp cloths or squeezing any stuffed toys we put by him. He also likes trying to put them in his mouth. His mouth is totally ready to explore these days. Oh boy.
Loves to cuddle these days

I had my first moment since being a mom where the day seemed to go on forever! And I mean FOREVER. Jackson woke up extra early and only fell back asleep for an hour. We were up quite early. Even after getting back from our 45 minute walk, we had a full day in front of us. The time seemed to inch by and I was so tired from getting up so early. I couldn't WAIT for Karl to get home. I had to pour myself a glass of wine to help me through. Ha! Soooo I had my very first positive thought about going back to work. I know...terrible.

My friend Jill walked over with her girls this morning and we walked to Caribou and Panera. It was so fun to catch up and hang out with her again. I needed that! I wish I had more days like these, but at the same time I'm trying to savor every moment with Jackson because I know once I'm back at work, I won't get all the time in the world with him like I have now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Worries About Daycare - week 10

10 weeks postpartum

The countdown begins for when I return to work. I'm so dreading it. I'm not going to sugar coat my feelings and pretend I'm excited about this. Becoming a working mom is going to be another huge transition for me (again). I feel like I was just faced with a MAJOR change when I became a first-time mom. And now I have to change my lifestyle once again in a very BIG way.

I went from selfish Christie - the girl who could do anything whenever she wanted for the past 32 years. To selfless Christie - the mom who gave up everything to put her son first in a blink of an eye (major major change for this girl). To the working mom - the woman who has no idea how she's going to balance it all or even knows where to begin.

Today I had a nice email exchange with the awesome person who will be watching Jackson. It made me feel TONS better. She made me feel really good about everything. It's so crazy how we met. The older I get, the more I realize that God is working in all of us and does have a greater plan. Sometimes we are at the right place at the right time and magic happens. Anyway, her kids are amazing and I know she's going to surpass my expectations, but I'm still sad. I have to let my baby go...a little at a time. He's only going to be three months!!! I already have to start letting go??? I'm just getting used to him and getting to know him.

I'm sure the weeks leading up to going back are the most anxious of times just because I don't know how I'm going to be or how Jackson will adjust. Will I bawl my eyes out that week I'm back at work?? Will my coworkers think I've lost it? Will I be okay? Will Jackson? Will I get enough sleep every night? (So much for making up for lost sleep with naps anymore.) Will I be angry that I can't be at home with Jackson? Will I be ticked that I can't work from home some days when I know it's totally doable? Will I be frustrated that I can't win the lottery? Will Jackson cry the entire day? Will he miss me like crazy? Will he feel abandoned by his mommy? I really have no idea what to expect and that's what's killing me. I'm sure I'll feel all these things and more.

For two years I saved up enough so I could take 12 weeks off work and not worry about money. I knew my work didn't have the best maternity leave, just short term to cover 2 weeks at 60 percent. Now I wish I had been saving since I graduated college so I could take an entire year off work to raise my son. But I can't go back in time and I need to learn to accept this is how it's going to be. I'm going to be a working mom, unless we win the lottery or we move to Roscoe, Illinois, and move in with my parents. Ha. Or...maybe, just maybe I can come up with some genius plan.

With that said, I'm trying to find a way to make all my dreams come true! I'm officially on a mission. I've had four nights of 6.5 hours of sleep (in a row) and have been back to taking long morning walks with Jackson...which means one thing. I'm back to dreaming big. I still have ideas that I'm going to start putting into place. But that's a post for another day.

Right now, I feel the only way I can get rid of some of this anxiety is to write out my fears of being a working mom and leaving Jackson at daycare.

  1. I feel like Jackson is going to forget me (or stop recognizing me) overtime because we'll be apart more than we are together. Why, oh why, must this be??
  2. I hate the thought of someone else raising my son. Isn't that my job?
  3. What if he turns into one of those crazy bratty kids who spits and bites and acts out because he didn't have a mom who paid enough attention, and needed someone else to do it?
  4. What if he cries the entire day and drives our daycare person crazy?
  5. What if something bad happens and I can't be there in time to fix it or save him?
  6. What if he gets mixed up between houses and schedules and is so overwhelmed he becomes lost and unhappy? He's such a happy baby right now!
  7. What if all I think about is him while I'm at work ... and become depressed to the point I can't get out of bed because I can't do anything about it??
  8. Am I going to miss out on major milestones??? Laughing. Crawling. Talking. Walking. I will die!
  9. When I get home from work, I'll want all my attention on Jackson...what about cooking? Eating? Cleaning? Working out? Time with Karl? Meeting up with friends? Volleyball league? Will there be time for any of that?
  10. How can someone love Jackson as much as me...or give him all the best???
  11. What if Jackson doesn't take to the bottle, and is starving? Or what if he loves the bottle and loses interest in me?
  12. What if my milk production goes way down and I have to turn to formula? Will he get sick more??

Some Pros
  1. We'll be able to save for Jackson.
  2. We'll be able to add to his 529b accounts... College paid for? Check!
  3. We'll be able to take Jackson to fun places because we can afford to.
  4. I'll get more adult interaction
  5. I'll feel challenged in my career and will continue to have outside hobbies and not feel like I'm losing myself.
  6. Jackson will interact with other kids (wonderful kids) and will be exposed to people and be accepting of others at a young age.
  7. Jackson will learn things from a really great mom with experience...things I probably wouldn't know to do. And she can help me along the way!

I'm sure there are more... I add to both lists every day. But this is all I can think of right now. For now, I'm trying to ENJOY the PRESENT. I still have three weeks to enjoy Jackson full time.

Basically I'm telling myself this isn't permanent. Anything can happen. I keep praying something will. The only way things won't change is if I sit here and worry and complain and do NOTHING about it. So I'm going to DO something about it and make this work. Let's see what can happen if someone has a dream and wants things to work so bad. Watch out world, here comes Mama Christie.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Baptism, Shots and Growing - 9 weeks

9 weeks postpartum

So much happened in a week's time! Since last Friday we've had tons of people in and out and had a lot of stuff going on. My head was about to fall off with such little sleep. It's hard to be chipper when you're tired. I have no idea how I'm going to do this once I'm back working.

I don't know if all the busyness and commotion is the reason Jackson decided to continue his short sleeping pattern of only 3 to 4 hour stretches this week. Last night was the first night he slept six hours in awhile. THANK GOD! Granted he woke up at 1:30 (whined and moaned) then drifted back off to sleep and same with at 3:30, but I didn't have to get up to feed him until 5:50. I was the one that actually woke him because he was doing his moaning so loud. His eyes are closed this whole time. This is why I wonder if putting him in his nursery would be a good thing. Anyway...the last time I fed him was 8:45 that night, so I think we're on to something...
Jackson has a new friend!!! He loves his new pal, Winnie!

We had a lot of family around this last week because Jackson had his baptism on Sunday! Before I get to the baptism, my mom and I went to the Shakopee Baby Fair on Saturday. Highly recommended. It was a free event and totally awesome. They had free food, prizes, samples, massages and bags of stuff I will be using for sure. Of course they had the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders there and they were totally drawn to Jackson. How could they not be??

Jackson's Baptism
We had both sides of the family over on Saturday night for a cookout. Whoa...that was a bit crazy and a little hard to enjoy being so tired. I hate being this tired. And I know people have it way worse, but I've always been a person who needs her sleep in order to be all bubbly. But I will say I now know why my mom would get so stressed out before family events. You want everything to turn out and you want everyone to have a good time, and you need to make sure there's enough food and drinks. I hate when I see people sitting by themselves or looking like they are bored. But I kind of felt like a zombie half the time, so I didn't go out of my way to fix any of that. So I just felt bad. I sure need my naps right now and I didn't get any in or any on Friday. The anxiety inside me started to grow.
Jackson did so good! Father...Son and Holy Spirit!

Sunday the festivities began! We met everyone at the church and put Jackson in his special gown. Everyone in the Koester family has been wearing it for years. I think because it was so warm, Jackson fell asleep during most of the worship service. He was so good for us!

We took two classes before the baptism. Building Blocks of Baptism where we watched a movie by Rob Bell called Rain. I cried. It really had meaning to me. I watched it a few years before but this time it really tugged at my heart.
Everyone who came to the baptism!!

Our other meeting took place at our house. Pastor Stephanie came over (at night because she's so awesome) and asked us some questions about baptism and why it's so important to instill faith in Jackson, as well as what our faith goals are for Jackson. We also wrote letters to Jackson describing our hopes and dreams for God's presence in his life. I didn't think his baptism would be so emotional and meaningful, but it was. I want the best for our little boy. It made me realize how important having that faith community is. I want him to have a safe place outside of the home where he knows he can turn to when he's feeling troubled or lost or alone... So many members of the church came up to us welcoming Jackson. That was a really cool feeling. I love our church.

Two Month Checkup
Jackson had his two-month check up on Tuesday morning. I was worried about him getting his shots. There are so many pros and cons out there. I just hope we did the right thing. Thankfully Karl came with so I could lean on him. We had tons of questions for the pediatrician. I especially wanted to know if Jackson was on track with his weight since at the baptism I heard lots of comments that he seemed like he was starving. And everyone kept asking me his weight. I hated that. I don't know why it bothers be so much...maybe because I feel like they are looking at me and judging me. And thinking I'm not good enough. The first week (ok...two) was super tough with getting Jackson to latch on, so I already have confidence issues with his feedings. My anxiety was at an all time high...and throw in a series of sleepless nights and I was wound up so tight. At least Karl's grandpa said Jackson looked really happy and healthy. I almost wanted to hug him!!! This feeding/comments is a whole separate post for another time. I need to work on letting people's comments roll off my back because I know they aren't going to stop. I also learned in my infant class that a lot of these comments come from those who feel as though they've lost control. It makes sense the more I think about it!

At his appointment Jackson was 11 pounds 9.75 ounces. He is right on track for his size. We have nothing to worry about. Phew! Every baby is different. For heavens sake I was 10 pounds at birth. I'm sure my two month check up was a lot different than Jackson's!
Such a good boy! Only cried a little bit from all three shots.

What we do have to worry about is the way Jackson always likes turning his head to the left. There is a little flat spot starting to develop. So this entire week I have been exercising his neck so he's turning it both ways. We've been switching the way he sleeps too. If it doesn't improve by the 4 month visit, we will have to take him to therapy. Even though Karl makes those baby helmets, I do not want him making one for Jackson!
Jackson LOVES turning his head to his left.

Jackson rolling on balls or paper towel rolls helps strengthen his neck muscles

The doctor also gave us a prescription for Omepra because Jackson spits up so much and arches his back and sometimes screams while I burp him. Day two of the meds and he's still spitting up and yelling. So we'll see...

Jackson received three shots (Pentacel, Hep B and PCV7) in his leg (one he bled a lot from since he tensed) and also a liquid drink mix for the Rotavirus.

Later that day, we had a special visitor come from Illinois. My next door neighbor in Illinois since the day he was born, EC, stopped by for a visit. I loved it because we're both first time parents. He gets it. He knows everything I'm going through right now. By the time he left, Jackson had a fever of 100.4. I started to freak out. I gave him some Pedi-Sure to help with his fever and it went down just a couple degrees.
Erik stopped by from Roscoe, Illinois to meet Jackson!

24 hours later and his fever was gone. Phew! I was a nervous wreck. How will I be when he really gets sick????

Jackson's Milestones for the Week
We noticed Jackson likes to hold his pacifier in his mouth! This helps us out because it seems we're washing these things a lot!
Holding down his pacifier

I also shook one of Jackson's toys and put it by his hands. He hooked it in his hand and started moving it around. That was cool to see.
One of his first toys Jackson's played with.

Dad's been wearing the Baby Bjorn around the house and testing Jackson out in the carrier. He lasts for a few minutes but each time it seems like he enjoys it more and more.
Pretty soon dad and Jackson will be able to do the dishes!!!

What I'm Going to Miss
I really enjoy our daily walks. We had a hard time fitting them in this week and I missed them a lot. They help me clear my head. It was too hot and stormy all week and Jackson wasn't sleeping very well during the night so I was getting up later and by then it was way too hot to go out. And there was just too much going on this week with my parents up.
I love our walks around our neighborhood.

I'm just going to miss being with Jackson all day. I'm trying to not think about it and just enjoy each day, but I know it's coming. Sometimes after he eats we'll snuggle and he stares up at me and smiles. Or else he just makes eye contact and I swear he's trying to tell me something. He seems happy. And I don't want to take that security away from him!  Each day gets harder for me to accept that I really am going back to work. There is no way around it.
Dear God. Please don't make my mommy go back to work. Amen.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Two Months Old - week 8

week 8 postpartum

Jackson is officially two months old!
I'm two months old!

We had an interesting week. Jackson went from sleeping 5-7 hours every night to going back to sleeping 3-4 every night this past week. Not going to lie, I'm pretty tired. Last night was the first night he slept a solid seven hours in a row. YES!!!

When he was only sleeping 3-4, it was hard for me to pump since I usually do it right after that first feeding in the morning. The last thing I want to do at 4 a.m., after being up for 45 minutes, is pump. So I found myself going back to bed instead. And now I'm worried I don't have enough milk stored up. Annoying. See what going back to work does to a person? And as I type this I realize I didn't put the storage bag right on the pump, so I have milk spilling on my shorts. Nice.

Jackson and I finished our four week Baby and Me class on Thursday where Jackson graduated at 11 pounds and 6.6 ounces. It makes me feel a lot better. He's gaining. He's growing.

It's nice to know he's getting plenty of food and I have nothing to worry about.

The teacher had a pediatrician come in at the end of class and I totally got my $25 worth! He was very outspoken about the bottle and how it's so easy to overfeed your baby and how we usually give them more via the bottle and then their stomach stretches. So we need to be careful about that. He made sure to remind us how obesity is HUGE in America and it usually starts when we're babies. I think that's what happened last week. He was overfed by the bottle because I wasn't there and I think he got too much. But, that's a lesson learned for me too. All this week all he wanted to was to keep eating that same amount. Finally Karl gave him a bottle and he was back to only eating 3.5 ounces.

I asked the doctor everything under the sun from bee allergies to babies being in swimming pools to me working out and the effects of that on milk production to making sure he's getting enough food to different color poops to GERD to baby gas. That was awesome because he answered all of them and gave me that piece of mind I needed.

And just as Jackson graduated that class, we started a ECFE class in Bloomington on Wednesdays. There are 12 other mothers and babies in class. We start off by playing for 30 minutes and then we sing songs and then we talk about concerns we have. I love it so far. My friend Connie from church introduced us to this class and gifted it to us. She is AWESOME. I have to miss the last class though because I'll be back working.

Big milestones this week...

Jackson found his thumb! He's been sucking away at it when he does find it. It's not total perfection - sometimes his whole fist makes contact with his mouth and sometimes it's a bit awkward with his thumb in mouth all goofy, but it's totally cute to see!
Jackson found his thumb!

There are definitely more adorable sounds coming out of Jackson every day and I can't wait to hear that first giggle.

I'm trying to get Jackson to take naps in his pack n play versus the swing. During the ECFE class, the teacher told us researchers are now finding those swings are messing with baby's backs now. I worry about this because the swing has been our saving grace. Jackson falls asleep instantly when we put him in this for naps during the day. When he's lying flat on the pack n play, he sleeps maybe 10 minutes and then he's back up exploring or crying. Not sure what to do about this.
Jackson gets distracted in his Pack N Play

We're going to the St. Francis Baby Fair at the Shakopee High School today! I hear it's pretty sweet. I'm excited to go. I really want to go to the session on introducing solids into baby's life.

Jackson gets baptized tomorrow and we're pretty excited about that. He gets to wear a dress Karl wore when he was baptized. Fingers are crossed there are no accidents in it.

Four more weeks until I go back to work...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tortellini Primavera

Tortellini Primavera
serves 2
recipe found in Cooking for 2

1 cup frozen cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons prepared pesto, divided
1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup cut fresh asparagus (1-inch pieces)
1/4 cup each chopped sweet yellow pepper, green pepper and sweet onion
1/4 cup sliced fresh carrot
1/4 cup fresh or frozen snow peas
1/4 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon water

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 4-1/2 teaspoons oil and 4-1/2 teaspoons pesto. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature while cooking the vegetables.

In a large skillet, saute the asparagus, peppers, onion, carrot, peas, broccoli, garlic powder, salt and pepper in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Drain tortellini and return to the saucepan; add vegetable mixture.

In the same skillet, cook and stir the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until juices run clear. Stir in the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, water and remaining pesto; simmer for 2 minutes. Add tortellini mixture; toss. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Yield: 2 servings.

My take: Super easy to make and pretty healthy with all those veggies. Will be making again.

Karl's reaction: "I like this. I knew I needed to eat more veggies so this is good!"

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups
serves 1 (so I made enough for four servings)
recipe found in Women's Health, June 2012
Healthy Asian Meal

4 oz ground lean turkey
1/2 cup white mushrooms chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup shelled and cooked edamame
2 Boston lettuce leaves
2 Tbsp sliced scallion

In a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute first three ingredients for 5 minutes. Add edamame, scoop mix onto lettuce, top with scallion, and wrap up. Drizzle with save and serve with slaw on the side.

1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Asian Slaw
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage and green cabbage
1/4 cup sliced jicama
1/4 cup grated carrot
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Total: 329 calories

My take: This meal was really easy to make and tastes really good!

Karl's reaction: "I'm very surprised at how good these tastes! Yum, babe."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jackson is Eight Weeks - week eight

week eight (postpartum)

I can't believe we have an eight-week old. Time is going by SO fast. I wish I could freeze it. This time I've had with Jackson has been so wonderful and great.

Some big milestones for Jackson (besides graduating to a size 1 diaper):

He is big-time smiling and is seconds away from letting out a laugh. I don't want to miss it when that joyful giggle comes out.
All smiles for daddy!
Hello! It's me...Jackson!

He's able to push himself up and hold his neck up really great!

Learned this "tummy time" hold in our Baby and Me class

Working on pushing himself up
Video of Jackson pushing himself up -

He loves to watch daddy read him books. And dad likes to laugh at all the books.
His favorite book so far - nice and colorful
Video of dad reading book to Jackson -

We've heard a couple of "coo's" and other sweet baby noises come out of Jackson's mouth. They are enough to make us smile and forget about any worries we have with the outside world.
He's our sweet lil dude...i.e. "bupkiss"

Jackson slept for a solid six hours, six and a half hours and now seven hours the other night! YAY!
Daddy loves when Jackson sleeps a lot!

He brings so much joy to others wherever we go!
Jackson - 8 weeks old at 10lbs 11.7 ounces

Life is so sweet!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Where Can I Find the Parenthood Instruction Manual - week 7

week 7 (postpartum)

It drives me crazy not knowing what I'm doing half the time as a mom and all the second guessing. Why can't I just trust myself???

I find myself asking if I should be doing something else than what I have been doing? If I'm doing something wrong? If there is a better way I don't know about? Where is the instruction manual??? I find myself asking Karl a lot...should I be doing this? Should I do this instead? Like he knows better than I do, or something.

I know parenthood is trial and error but like I said on Facebook, even though it seems like a lot of the decisions I'm making are small ones, I'm still gambling with my sleep. And that is huge to me.
I'm really going to miss this cuddle time throughout the day!

So hear me out....
Wednesday night I was able to get out of the house and play volleyball. Yay mom! Karl was going to feed Jackson a bottle since we need to do that a few times a week so Jackson gets used to it once he goes to daycare. He was last fed at 7:00 p.m. Karl planned on feeding him around 8:30/9:00. That didn't really go as planned. I get home and Jackson is sleeping. It's quarter to ten. Karl said that Jackson was pretty fussy and tried everything to calm him down. Just as he was about to give him a bottle, he passed out. So the bottle sat in the fridge.

OK...change of plans. (Note: this tends to happen a lot.)

We both tried to wake him, going against all the rules I've heard. "NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY." But I knew if he didn't eat, he'd be getting up in the middle of the night for sure, and I'd maybe...maybe get 3-4 hours of sleep. I try to avoid that scenario at all costs whatever it takes.

Jackson was NOT waking for us.
Our cutie pie!

I knew I needed to pump, and this voice kept telling me to do it, but I kept thinking Jackson would wake up eventually and I would just feed him. I kept asking Karl, "Do you think I should pump? What would you think would happen if I pumped? Maybe I'll wait to pump... Do you think I should wait? What if he wakes up? Should I really pump?"

Who is this annoying person who can't make quick decisions anymore???? ME!!!

All the worrying kept me up until I drifted off into a partial sleep and woke up around 1:20 in the morning with lightening bolts shooting through my chest. I looked over in the bassinet and Jackson was sound asleep. No movement. But I knew Jackson HAD to be waking up soon, but I didn't know when and I knew I needed to pump. So I went through the cycle again. Should I pump? Should I wake him? Will he really sleep through the entire night? Will I run out of milk if he needs to eat within the next hour or even less? Or should I wait to pump? My chest told me otherwise. So I pumped.

I crawled back into bed just as Jackson started to stir. Crap! My mind began racing. Will he wake up too soon and I won't be able to nurse him? Will I have enough food for him to eat? Why didn't Karl feed him at 8:30? Why didn't I pump when I got home from volleyball? Why did I just pump now???

Then I became mad at the world.

Around 2:30 Jackson began to really stir and whimper. He had gone 7.5 hours without eating and my chest was feeling rather empty. There wouldn't be enough in there to feed him, would there??? So Karl suggests I feed him the bottle so the feeding is over quick and I can get some sleep. I find myself scratching my head wondering why I'm getting a bottle ready when the whole point is for Karl to bond with Jackson and for me to catch up on sleep. So here I am downstairs trying to figure out how to operate the bottle warmer and failing miserably. I run upstairs to give Jackson warm milk and run out. He guzzled down 5 ounces in 5 minutes flat and was STILL crying. So what did I do? I nursed.
Beach anyone?

And then I got real mad at myself. That was just a whole waste of time, sleep and milk.

Around 3:30 I crawled back into bed. Ahhh, once my head hits the pillow, I sleep, right? WRONG.

Jackson was well rested and wasn't totally feeling up for another round of sleep. So we went back and forth with his pacifier and coaxing him. Eventually at 4:30, he was back sleeping. Then up again at 6 a.m.

Let's just say Thursday was a rough day! Lesson learned.

As with anything in life, go with my gut instinct!!! And if you make a mistake, learn from it but dust yourself off and try again.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Week of Smiles and Other Stuff - Week 6

week 6

This week has been a complete joy to be Jackson's mom. I feel like things are really starting to come together and I'm loving life so much. I feel like I look around and everything looks clearer...happier...fuller. Jackson's face lights up every time he sees me or I wake him, change him, hold him. And then he throws out this amazing smile. My heart melts into a pile of mush. Nothing seems to matter in my life except that sweet, genuine, pure smile! The best part is when he smiles at Karl and Karl lets out his contagious laugh and Jackson just stares and stares. I love how happy he makes Karl.

My smiling little boy

Dad and Jackson time!

Jackson has also become more observant. When we put him in his swing, he now recognizes there's a little mobile hanging over him. And he smiles, again!!!

Jackson has discovered objects around him

It seems like we're getting more of a routine. I feel like I'm starting to finally understand Jackson. When he gets fussy, I know if it's been 3 or 4 hours since his last feeding, he's probably hungry and I need to change his diaper first. If that's not it, he has an air bubble and he needs to be burped. If that's still not working, he wants his pacifier and to be swaddled. Still not and it's been over an hour since he finished eating? Then he's tired and we set him in his swing and he's out. So nuts. I'm worried I'm not going to know these cues anymore when I go back to work because I won't be around him as much. That kills me. However, I also have been better at taking each day as it is and accepting that no day is going to be the same. Jackson always throws surprises at us. Just when I think I have the hang of something, Jackson throws a curve ball. I know this will continue to happen and I really have to take things day by day or else I get very overwhelmed.

Jackson is sleeping anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a night. He naps in 3 to 4 hour shifts a few times throughout the day too. (I love him.) I was freaking out that he wouldn't sleep at night because he was sleeping so much through the day. Every time I go to sleep I wonder, "Will this be the night I only get two hours of sleep? Will the good sleep all end and will we be back at square one?"

Will this fear ever go away?
Working at getting that tummy time in!

I started working from home this week. I actually welcome the break from mom duty as Jackson sleeps so I can get some work done. I get to be creative and feel challenged and stay connected to adults. I like! When he goes down for his nap, I'm jumping on my laptop and trying to get as much done as I can for work. So far, so good. Yet, this kind of messes with visitors coming over since I only have a short amount of time to get everything in! And naps for me sometimes win over visiting right now. Sorry!

I'm not going to lie, this balancing takes some work. I have learned I just need to work faster at the house duties. I find myself doing dishes, reading recipes, starting laundry, emailing, paying bills, cleaning in super record time and all at once so I have time to give ALL my attention to Jackson when he's awake and ALL my attention to work when Jackson's sleeping and after I get my work around the house done. Phew. I was still able to fit in a nap yesterday too.

So I tried bringing up the idea of hiring a cleaning service when we were on a walk. Karl shot that down again. Darn it!!! So it's time to develop a responsibilities list so we can share duties from now on!! Or else, I'm going to have to start saving in a separate fund... Hmmm. Something to think about.

Karl came down with a pretty bad cold last Friday and was worried he'd pass it on to Jackson and me. As of yesterday, I came down with the same sore throat and have been taking all the vitamins and liquids I can to try and prevent myself from getting as bad as Karl was. I do NOT want to pass this on to Jackson. I'm hoping my breast milk keeps him immune. Please, oh, please. If he even gets a taste of this sore throat, he'll be crying 24/7. It cannot happen!!!
Jackson has found his hands and arms and sucks!

We gave Jackson some Little Remedies Gas Drops and they seemed to help with his gas. We were dealing with painful gas a lot week 5. After the gas drops, he didn't seem as fussy, but that could also be in my head?? I just hate seeing him cry in pain and wiggle those little legs of his. We figured out he drinks about four ounces of milk at a time. AND he still spits up about 1 or 2 ounces of it. I don't know how to fix this. I was able to weigh him at my Baby and Me class yesterday and he was 10.67 lbs!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! He's growing a little at a time at least! So I'm not going to worry about him spitting up. I think it's just normal for some babies.

Speaking of my Baby and Me class, I love it!!! I've been able to connect with a bunch of new moms in Shakopee and learn some cool calming techniques for Jackson. We sat on exercise balls with our babies to calm them. Karl tried it out last night and it worked like a charm. And we also set our babies down for massages. I think Jackson would've enjoyed it more if he hadn't soaked his entire outfit in pee!

Last weekend was wonderful because it was just us at home and a longer weekend. We were able to get a lot of stuff done (and get some extra sleep) - especially me because I had Karl spending time with Jackson. I even filed all my bills and put the pile of Jackson's keepsake stuff into some cute boxes! We love visitors, but it was SO nice to not have to worry about when someone was coming over and getting Jackson fed, ready, clean up around the house, etc., etc. We were able to nap and just relax. We also went to a local winery!! I really hope for more weekends like these! Things are starting to feel more normal.

What's new with me?
I had my six-week check up. I had to get the tetanus shot because whooping cough is going around and the nurse said I do NOT want Jackson to get this. Otherwise, all looks well and I got the go-ahead to work out. So guess what I did?

I met with my trainer (he was soooo sweet and gave me a free session). He held back on the intensity of the workouts, but I was pretty sore the next day. I'm excited to get in the gym a couple times a week to get my body back! I felt like I took a happy pill after working out again. I started thinking I could eat anything and everything because I'm breastfeeding. Wrong. I started gaining ... Oops.

I also played volleyball on Wednesday!! As in sand volleyball and it FELT SO GOOD to play!!! YAY!!! I'm back!!!

I still have major fears of going places because of Jackson's feeding schedule. I still have a hard time breastfeeding in public. I don't want to because I worry it makes everyone around me uncomfortable. So I feed Jackson at home, wait until he wets his diaper, change him and hurry out of the house and run errands in under 2 hours. Then make it back home so I'm ready to feed him when he wakes. Will this ever go away?? When will I be more open to feeding him in public? I know there is the bottle option, but when I pump, I want that liquid gold to follow him to day care. If I'm around him, I want to feed him. So yes, I need to get over this!

I also have major mom guilt. I know I'm supposed to put myself first, but it's soooo hard! I'm trying to do more "me" things, like volleyball and hitting up the gym but Jackson is ALWAYS in the back of my mind when I'm not around him. Should I be doing something with him? Should I be playing with him instead? I'm so worried how it'll be when I go back to work. I'll get maybe 2 hours with him after I get home. That's it. What if I want to play volleyball...then I won't get to see him at all for an entire day!! But I can't just not play volleyball. I find myself not wanting to do a lot of the things I used to do because I don't want to leave Jackson. Will this ever change??