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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peek into a Working Mom's Day with a 4.5 Month Old

We seem to always want what we don't have at the moment
I was telling a couple people the other day how I’m kind of grateful I was single for eight years while in my twenties. If I knew back then I’d be saying this now, I think I would’ve cried. Overtime, I’ve started to accept that God did have a plan for me back then and still does now. He works in such ways…
Why? Well, back then I learned how to become self-sufficient and I learned a lot about myself and that not everything comes easy. That was really the time I became an adult. And I needed to become one before I ever became a mom to Jackson - to be the best mom. I loved how one of my high school friends wrote on my Facebook wall, “God knew that YOU would be the perfect mom for Jackson.  Thanks Megan! Needed to hear that.
Trying out his Johnny Jump Up for the first time

Back then, I whined a lot about how I wished I could find someone to take care of me. I wanted someone with man muscles to buy the 40 pound bag of salt for my water softener and pour it in for me. I wanted someone else to have to remember to change the furnace filters and pay bills, manage the money. I wanted someone to tell me not to worry about money and pay for everything. To change the batteries in the smoke detectors and a flat tire on my car. To balance the checkbook. To have meals waiting for me. I wanted someone to clean all four toilets and empty the dishwasher.
But most of all I just wanted someone to LOVE me for me.
I wanted… I wanted… I wanted…
And I waited.
It was clear this person did not exist…or at least I needed to change my expectations a little.
What I needed was to be single and learn the responsibilities of life. I needed to be patient and just let things be.  "My time would come," I'd hear from a zillion people.
TIMING was everything. Timing IS everything. I realize this more and more the older I get.
This world revolves around time a lot.
Now that I’m a mom… There is NEVER down time. Ever. There are no happy hours. No volleyball games after work. No quick trips to the mall. My break right now is the 20-minute drive from work to daycare Monday through Friday. I don’t count the drive into work because I’m still waking up. Yesterday I didn’t even remember where I was driving to and realized I missed my turn and was going in the wrong direction. Oh, the joys!

A typical day during the work week goes something like this. I’ll start from 12:01 a.m. – a brand new day!

1:20 a.m. Feeding time. Jackson rolls around in his crib like mad (butt high up in the air) and his head crashes into the railings waking him and us up. If he won’t calm down, I change his diapers (sometimes Karl will help with this!) snuggle him up and feed him. Once done eating, I put him back down.
Butt high!

2:00 a.m. Mom goes back to bed. Usually I’ll fall asleep within 15 minutes. Usually.

5:30 a.m.  Alarm is set to go off for work (I have YET to hear it go off – Jackson gets to me first). This gives me enough time to feed Jackson. If his last feeding is anywhere before 2:30 a.m., I feed him again before we drop him off at daycare. If it’s after 2:30, I can sleep until 6:00!!!!! Woot.

6:00 a.m. If I feed him at 5:30, I put a sleepy Jackson back into his crib and jump in the shower. I think about shaving my legs, but that requires too much work. I pretend to sleep as I stand under the water. Quickly apply makeup, sing to Karl to get up (he grunts) and I head downstairs.

6:30 a.m. Water outside plants. Fill out a report for Jenna (home care) to let her know when Jackson ate last, how he slept, and any other notes. Grab frozen bags of breast milk if I need to. Fix myself oatmeal, fill my pumping machine bag with bottles and lids off the drying rack, pump parts, hands-free bra, cooler bag and ice pack. Make sure Jackson’s travel bag has extra pair of clothes in it, with his hat and any teething toys. Sing again to Karl to get up but this time from the bottom of the stairs (it gets louder). Turn on the news. Start coffee. Eat oatmeal. Make sure bowl for rice cereal is out for Jackson, spoon is ready for when I get home from work.

6:45 a.m. Swallow vitamins. Pull out our healthy lunches. Go upstairs and get dressed, fix hair, give Jackson a kiss goodbye and smooch up Karl who is now looking at me like a tired desperate puppy dog, begging for more sleep.

7:00 a.m. Head for work. Try to find a radio station with music, no talking. Hard to do. I need music. Pop in a CD that skips over and over. Fight traffic. Guzzle coffee. Can’t tell you what I think about…other than I just try to wake up.

7:30 a.m. Arrive at work. Email Jenna to make sure Jackson arrived and all is well. She usually gets to me first and gives me a happy report. Then my work day begins.

9:00 a.m. First pumping session. Check in on Jackson. Go over my To-Do list for week. Check email, Facebook, look for easy, healthy recipes on Pinterest (saving grace). Review drafts of any blog posts.

9:30-12:00 Work

12:00 Second pumping session. Check in on Jackson. Go over my To-Do list for week. Hope to cross some things off. Check email, Facebook, look for recipes on Pinterest (saving grace). Review drafts of blog posts.

12:30-12:45 Eat lunch at desk most days. Try to step away for a little bit. Sometimes will call my momma! Sometimes will take 30 minutes to run an errand. Sometimes will just go on a quick walk to breathe.

12:45-2:00 Work

2:00 Go wash all pumping parts in lunchroom.

2:05-3:00 Work

3:00 Third pumping session. Check in on Jackson. Go over my To-Do list for week. Keep adding to it…

3:30-4:00 Work

4:00 Grab bottles of milk from work fridge and ice pack. Calculate how much I pumped for the day. Head out of the door. Tie up hair, roll down windows, turn up music and sing on top of my lungs. Think about if I’ll get to work out. Or if I’ll have enough energy to write a few pages in my manuscript.  What was I going to make for dinner again? Who was I supposed to call back?

4:30 Pull up to home care. Melt when I see Jackson. Nothing else matters except him at that moment. Give him his medicine (needs to take it 30 minutes before eating). Chat with Jenna and her adorable kids. Leave feeling SO blessed to have found her. EVERY TIME.

*4:30-5:00 Drive home. Read Jackson’s report from Jenna at all the stoplights. Find out when he ate last. When he pooped. His last diaper change. The things he did. How much he ate in ounces. Figure in if I’ll have to pump any extra times to make up for any of the ounces drank. Wonder where that milk will come from? Feeling tapped out. Stress about it. Will I make it to 6 months? 7? A full year of breast feeding?

5:00 Grab all ten things of stuff from my car and set them inside. Grab Jackson (who is usually sleeping) and haul him in. Quickly pull out dirty pump parts from bag and put them next to sink. Take out all four bottles of milk and stick them in the fridge. Fill his bowl with cereal and pour b-milk in it – stir up. Pull out recipe for dinner I’ll be making. Try to make it to the bathroom quick before Jackson stirs.

5:15 Pull out an awake Jackson from his car seat. Hug him and kiss him to pieces. Tell him how much I love him and miss him. Breathe him in. YUMMY. Change him if I need to upstairs. Grab My Brestfriend to nurse him after he eats solids. Stir up his rice cereal again. Set him in his highchair. Put a bib on him and start feeding him. He tries to grab spoon every time. Not the cleanest moment.

5:30 Nursing time. Check Facebook, email and any missed calls. Maybe watch a show I DVRd. Who was that person I was supposed to try and get back to? I breathe and listen to myself. Rub Jackson’s hair and head.

6:00 PLAY TIME with Jackson. Tons of fun!
I'm gonna start walking soon!

6:30 Turn TV on for a second to record Wheel of Fortune. Shut off. Run back and forth from kitchen to Jackson playing. Pull out ingredients for dinner. Try whipping together a healthy meal as best I can.

7:00 Eat. Jackson begins to get fussy. Rubs eyes. Cleanup is not an option. Sometimes we try to fit in a walk here.

7:30 KARL HOME!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Smoochie and huggie bear time. He takes Jackson and will either watch Wheel of Fortune or give Jackson a bath. Sometimes I get to watch Wheel too!I clean up as fast as I can (empty and fill dishwasher) and put leftovers in containers for lunch.
Me likey Whole Grain Rice Cereal

7:45 Rats. Didn’t clean up everything or transfer bottles to bags yet. Go upstairs to nurse Jackson. Stick to our nightly schedule of bath or dimmed lights, nurse, book, goodnight prayers and bed.

8:15 Jackson in crib. Sometimes he’s out even before I get him there. Sometimes it’s a little bit of crying. If we mess with the schedule, it’s full out screaming.

8:25 Back downstairs to finish what I started. Karl is back working (but at least I get to see his face)and playing Words with Friends against my brother Mike or talking to his dad. I transfer b-milk from bottles to bags. Bags in freezer. Make sure one bottle is left in fridge so I can add to solids. Clean all parts and bottles first. Hang to dry. Think about pumping. No desire to. When would I?

8:45 Sometimes I’ll have a bowl of ice cream.  Sometimes I’ll throw myself on the couch for 2 minutes.  Sometimes I’ll bust out a draft for a blog post to review while I’m pumping at work the next day.

9:00 SO DEAD TIRED. Up to bed I go. I open one page of a magazine and realize I’m too tired to read anything. Set my alarm, then wonder why I’m even setting it. Say goodnight to my best.

10:00 Sleeping. If my brain shuts off...

*We now have Karl’s parents watch Jackson on Tuesdays. Win win for everyone! This means Karl goes and picks him up after work (if he can and doesn’t have a load of patients) and I CAN GO WORK OUT!!!!!!!!!!
Right now weekends pretty much follow the above, minus pumping and working. Instead there is laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, walking outside and nursing and a lot more playing! Oh, and usually family wants to see us.
So yeah…there are days I wonder why I didn’t enjoy those 8 years a little more. And I get mad at myself for wishing for a different life back then than the one I was walking in. To me, it was pretty AWESOME. That brings me to the question… would I trade this new life in? Not for anything!!!! Bring it on!
Every man dies. Not every man truly lives.

-William Wallace

Trip to Arizona: A Different Kind of Travel with Baby - Month 4.5

21 weeks

I keep meaning to blog about our trip to Arizona, but I can't believe how quickly time slips away from me these days. Little crazy.
Jackson's first trip to Carefree, Arizona

To recap, we flew to Carefree, Arizona over Labor Day weekend (stretched it to a longer weekend), met some of my family out there and were able to experience the first-time joys of traveling with a little one.

If you take anything from this post, here it is in short...

Before going on vacation as first-time parents, limit your expectations (know this will most likely not be like any of your other vacations in the past and keep an open mind). Discuss any expectations you might have with your significant other going into the trip. Such as, "Honey bear, I can't wait to get up and go for a run every morning." (Hint: You'll have to work out a system if you really do want to get a run in.) or "Sweet cheeks, I'm so looking forward to sleeping in and taking a nap every afternoon." (Hint: Not really gonna happen.) Yes, these things seem ridiculous to discuss because in your old life, you could just do them. But you're a family now and dads and moms have different roles and sometimes when you're not in the other person's shoes, you don't realize all that's going on with them or quite get what they are thinking...or why they are doing the things they are doing. So trust me on this one. Expectations need to be discussed.
I love looking at myself in the mirror! (not talking about Karl either...)

I also want to mention that I mainly blog not because I want to be a drama mama, but because I need to let out what's on my mind and sometimes that's hard to get out in person or over the phone (my brain doesn't work that fast anymore. I need time to let things settle and think things through before I speak because I never know if it's the over-dramatic, over-tired Christie coming out or the real Christie. I don't want people to get the wrong impression.) or I don't quite have the time like I used to to even have a conversation (lots of interruptions these days and a packed schedule) AND because sometimes when I ask newer moms how things are going, I hear about how awesome every little thing is. Say what? How? No freakin' way. I hear about how their babies go down at the same time every night. How their relationship with their husband is better than ever. That everything seems so easy and amazing.  ???


I can't help but wonder...OK... HELLO???? What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Why can't I have perfect? Why am I such a freak-a-zoid about some things???

So this is why I blog. Not because I have a zillion of hours on my hand, but because it's how I get things out and feel better about stuff (and myself) and I want to share the truth. You can't have perfect. There is no way. I'm sure things are amazing for a lot of people... I look at Giuliana and Bill Rancic. They waited years to have a baby and now Edward is here. Yes, I'm sure they are over the moon right now and don't care how much sleep they are losing. Or I follow Snooki on Twitter... Yeah, don't ask me why. But I wonder how she's managing to fit shoe shopping into her day. She's not tired? She's not dragging? She's not crying at everything???

Something must be wrong with me.

Then I hear back from others who are silently going through a lot of the same things I am and can relate. They *get* it too. I've learned it's OK to admit what's going on inside. I like you a lot better if you just admit..."THIS IS HARD!" I guarantee you're not alone. And the last thing on my mind is, "Whoa...she's failing, big time." Ummm, no. Been there. Done that. If anything, I want to HUG you!

Let's be honest here. I love Karl to pieces. I really do love being a mom. Jackson is my everything. I am pretty happy... But still... There are those days and moments (pretty much every day) where you question everything and realize this mom stuff isn't easy... and probably never will be. Parenthood is hard work and takes a ton of effort. But at the same time it's also VERY rewarding, super amazing and keeps getting better and better. It's the weirdest thing!

Now...back to vacation. (If you call it that...)

In the past, without kids, you could pretty much do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted and nobody would grumble about it. It's a new adventure with a baby.

And if you're nursing, you will more likely be the one who will recognize the changes the most. And you'll end up feeling a titch bitter when the vacation you had hoped for, turns out nothing like you expected. Catch my drift? So yeah...OPEN YOUR MOUTH.
This kids smile melts my heart every time

The exciting moments:
Jackson swam in a pool for his first time! So much fun to watch. He seemed to love it. We didn't spend too much time out in the pool because we didn't want the little guy to burn from the hot Arizona sun (my sunscreen was confiscated by the airport. Boo-hiss!) but we wanted him to experience the pool a couple times. Funny part was I bought his swim trunks when I first found out I was pregnant, figuring I was having a boy. They were $.97 on sale - not a huge loss if Jackson turned out to be a girl. Then I went to Old Navy the day before we left for our trip and saw the matching swim shirt (a year later) for $.97 too!!! The trunks were a little big, but super cute. And boy....did he kick those legs.
First swim in the pool. Thinking about it....
He's liking it!
Loving it!!! And loves swimming with daddy!

Jackson was able to meet my grandma and my aunts and uncles out in Arizona for the first time. Growing up, I only saw my mom's side one time a year for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. That was it. So I'm glad he was able to meet everyone at only 4.5 months.
Jackson's Great Uncle Dave and Great Grandma Edith
Jackson LOVED Great Uncle Mark. Smiled every single time he saw him

Great Aunt Doris loved speaking German to Jackson

Jackson began teething. is this exciting, you ask? Exactly. But it's a first and needed to be noted because he was extra fussy and I'm not sure this was because of his teeth, new environment, strange schedule or the different time zones. Could have been many things... Tried to just go with it.
Me? Teething? Fussy? Naaaah. I'm too cute.

Jackson experienced his first flight. I mentioned this before in my post about flying with a baby. I don't think he quite knew what was going on but all in all, everything turned out OK. We survived!
First flight

Jackson absolutely LOVES being outside. He can't get enough of it. He stared at the mountains and cactus and birds flying by. If we ever needed to calm him down, taking him outside was the ticket. No matter how hot.
Our nature boy.

On to the other stuff....

Before we left, I had all these ideas about how relaxing our trip to Arizona would be and that I'd finally be getting some kind of break, only because Carefree, Arizona always stands up to its name. There's always time to hike up Black Mountain. Time to walk/run in the breathe in the fresh air. Time to sit outside and read through magazines and sip coffee and soak up the beautiful scenery. Time to read a book. To nap. Time to walk down the street to the local resort and sit pool side and order cocktails, finishing up in the hot tub. Time to sun bathe and swim laps.
Grandpa and Grandma Powalish soaking up Jackson as much as they could

Oh my, my... How vacation changes with a little one. Ninety eight percent of the time I was stressing out because Jackson was fussier than normal, wasn't going down for his naps, not sleeping through the night and could never be left alone. I needed to keep reminding myself he's still a little guy and needs lots and lots of attention. In short: there was no downtime for momma. And it probably wouldn't have been so hard if I had let Karl into my world a little more from the beginning.

I shouldn't say "no" time. I did have some quick quiet moments. I was able to get one 40 minute run/walk in early in the morning and was able to sit outside and read all four pages of one of my magazines and get two sips of coffee in. And I was able to sit outside a couple times in the sun (frantically checking the baby monitor every 30 seconds). I also had to be in bed around 8 just so I would get enough sleep through the night. Kind of crazy.
Schedule was a titch messed up, so sleeping anywhere worked for us!

Everything is ALWAYS a learning experience when you become a mom. But at the same time, you must at least try going about your normal daily life...and then learn from it. For instance, I learned a lot on our first vacation and I'm glad to have it under my belt now. I'm ready for next time!

This time around I spent a lot of time downstairs in a dark bedroom by myself nursing Jackson while everyone else enjoyed drinks and good conversation. I felt totally left out. I LOVE Jackson and the bonding experience that comes with nursing, but it's not often my family is together. AND I WAS MISSING THEM. Plus, we don't get to Arizona a lot either. I clearly could've worked up the nerve to nurse in front of everyone, but I'm still not there. *Sigh*. There are insecurities I still struggle with. And I get frustrated when they get the best of me. But now I know for next time.

In the end, I was kind of bummed I didn't come home recharged and rearing to go, but I will say I still enjoyed the time we did have. Karl and I both took Tuesday off to catch up on laundry and work around the house, and that felt more like a vacation to me than any of the days in Arizona. Kind of weird. Like I said before... limit those expectations and just go with it.

Mostly, I'm glad Jackson was able to get see family and experience a new state. I love that little guy.

Learn anything on your first vacation together?