Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

I've been thinking about '09 for a few days now and trying to remember just what happened that made it so much of a blur. Oh, yeah, there was that baby I had in March. And the subsequent lack of sleep accompanying said baby has much contributed to that blurry factor of not quite knowing where a year went. I'll try my best to recount it (the '08 wrap up might be more coherent), but I sure am glad now that I have the monthly Milo updates. I think mommy brain has finally caught up with me.

In January and February we were busily preparing for the birth of Olive. I was getting bigger (and bigger) and the nursery was done. We were showered with gifts at an absolutely lovely baby shower with friends and family. I continued to yoga with an ever growing belly and overall just nested, trying to journey within to prepare for the birth of the baby.

March brought Milo! The birth was a shock. The first few weeks home were a shock. Thankfully by April things started to click into place. We were getting to know our little guy and he was getting to know us. We started having fun family days in the spring weather. May brought lots and lots of walks as I started in on that baby weight and came to terms with returning to work.

On June 8 I headed back to work and Milo headed to and from daycare with Daddy each day. It was an adjustment for all of us and by the end of summer, we had decided that the best place for me was at home. September 18 marked my last day at work which was bittersweet. I really liked the people I worked with and found great satisfaction in the organization. However, after the stress and blur of the summer I was confident I was making the right decision in staying home. I was starting to notice the twinkle leaving from Milo's eyes and although me being home has been an adjustment for us all, I'm glad to see that twinkle is back and brighter than ever.

The fall months featured lots of walks (finally lost all the baby weight plus some!) and fall traditions such as apple picking, pumpkin carving and trick or treating. We started eating many more dinners at home and I was able to incorporate a weekly yoga night into the mix. For Thanksgiving we traveled to Atlanta to visit Chris' family. Milo did great in the car, but not so great at night. Christmas was spent here in Columbus and we all enjoyed the day through Milo's eyes.

New Year's Eve tonight will be an early dinner with Milo at one of our favorite wine bars and then home for bed time and games. I'm looking forward to 2010, but will always think fondly of 2009 as the year I became a mom.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wrapped

Year after year I experience a rough Christmas hangover. I used to think it was an actual hangover, but since I've barely imbibed these last two years I can't blame alcohol for the general feeling of malaise that haunts the days after Christmas. Maybe all the sugar is the culprit? Although fictional, Bridget Jones said it best when she remarked how unfair it is that just when you get used to the holidays they are rudely snatched away.

Compounding this feeling is that I just don't think we got Christmas right this year. Chris and I were still decorating and rushing around gift buying on Christmas Eve. We missed attending church due to out-of-whack nap schedules. All in all it was a little bit of a disaster in the traditional Christmas sense, but there were also some shining moments of brightness. So before I sink any further into this Christmas hangover of despair, let's reflect on some of the great moments of this holiday.
  • Waiting in line with Milo to meet Santa. Although he had not a clue what was happening, this was really fun. I was whispering in his ear explaining to him who the guy in the red suit was and why we would be placing Milo on his lap. Milo had just woken up from a long nap in the car and was in a great mood. He liked watching the other kids and was all smiles. After meeting Santa we walked around the Zoo lights and had a nice time being out in the cold winter night.


  • Waking up at my parent's house on Christmas morning with Chris and a smiling Milo between us. Due to Milo's aversion to sleeping anywhere but his own crib or car seat plus a couple more teeth coming in, we had a rough night. There was much crying and flailing of body parts (mine and Milo's) before we all cuddled into bed together. Although this isn't the most restful of sleep for me, it did make for a very nice waking up.


  • Watching Milo play with his new toys and best of all his grandparents and uncle. Fun times to be sure. Truthfully Milo wasn't all that interested in the new toys, but he sure does love the Christmas tree idea.

  • Hosting Christmas dinner at our house for the first time. Our house is a bit small to be a good place for entertaining, so it was certainly cozy. And I forgot to make the broccoli dish I had on the menu. Otherwise it was nice to give my parents a break from always having us over for dinners. I also really like the idea of Milo being in his own home for Christmas.

    Hoping you all formed some great memories of this past Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Super Fudge

Do you remember several years ago when Rachel Ray went on Oprah's Christmas episode and made five minute fudge? This was back when Rachel didn't have her own talk show. She went on Oprah with this fudge recipe (that actually came off the back of a sweetened condensed milk can) and suddenly you couldn't throw mistletoe that Christmas without it hitting a pan of the fudge. Everyone made that fudge and it was the hit of many an office gathering I am sure.

Well, everyone, except me made that fudge. I didn't make the fudge because it was everywhere and I could eat my fill of it without dirtying a pot. This year though, I have no office to go to and eat free treats so I am left to making my own. Five minute fudge I can fit in during nap time and it tastes delicious.

Although it is easily found on the Internet, here is the recipe:

18 ounces or three cups of chocolate chips (the big bag - I only had the small bag so I added some Hershey's kisses to make up the difference)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Whatever add-ins you like in fudge - I used walnuts
salt

Over low heat, melt the chocolate and the milk together. Once melted, stir in salt and add-ins. Take off heat and stir in extract. Work quickly to pour the mixture into a pan lined with wax paper. Let chill to set in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nine Months

Milo spent about nine months inside me and now he has spent the same amount of time with us in the world. I like the idea of nine months in / nine months out being a developmental stage. He spent nine months as a fetus and nine months as an infant. Now with each day it is becoming clearer that our baby is turning into a toddler.

Milo doesn't toddle per se, but he has his own method of moving around. He's perfected a one armed army crawl which can get him across a room surprisingly quickly. Chris helps him walk across the room by holding his feet on the floor. Milo thinks this is so funny. The little guy also gets around by a hand-me-down ride on toy (operated with the help of mom or dad). He particularly likes to take his codependent puppy on ride and also enjoys arriving at his high chair via the toy.

We're still working on the sleep thing. He's getting better about sleeping in his crib, but naps are still a crap shoot. He's also waking up several times a night and wanting to nurse. On our Thanksgiving trip, we discovered that Milo is not a fan of sleeping his pack and play. In fact in a strange place, Milo would prefer to just sleep with me.

Over the last five weeks, we've been having Thursday night swim "lessons" at our gym. We have all really enjoyed this time in the water. Our little Pisces baby especially has taken to the pool like a fish to, well, water. Although he is the youngest in the class, he holds his own with splashing and hasn't been afraid of the water.

Just in the last week, the concept of finger foods have clicked for Milo. He is now a Cheerio eating fiend. Watching this skill develop as been interesting. He needed the fine motor skills to pick up the tiny piece of food and then the desire to put it in his mouth and chew.

Another very exciting to me revelation of this past month has been that Milo now understands the concepts of books. Although I've been reading to him since he was just weeks old, he hasn't really gotten the idea. Now he knows that the pages turn and there is something new on each page. He also shows likes and dislikes towards specific books - or rather likes and really likes a whole bunch.

This past month has been really great as Milo's personality becomes more apparent. He is a lot of fun to be around with his sunny smile and his contagious giggle. I really like watching him discover new things. Sometimes he looks at me as if to say is this for real? Yep, buddy, it is and it only gets better!
* 9 month old Milo is too busy to pose for pictures and doesn't have time for sitting still.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Planning

In the last several weeks, I've started planning out what we're having for dinner in advance. While some of you might think this is a no-brainer, this has revolutionized life in our house (okay, there is some hyperbole in that sentence, but menu planning has made life easier). When I was working, Chris and I would send e-mails back and forth toward the end of the day trying to figure out what dinner was going to be and who was going to stop at the store. This was not an efficient system. After I stopped working, things were marginally better, but still the question of what we would be eating that night often loomed large. When there isn't a plan, it is very easy to call Lavash for take out of delicious lamb kebab sandwiches and hummus.

So I have started listing out the days of the week, taking into account what nights we have plans and starting from there. Here is the menu last week as a sample:
Monday: baked mahi mahi, roasted brussel sprouts
Tuesday: lentil soup
Wednesday: eggplant curry and brown rice
Thursday: Chipotle
Friday: -
Saturday: pizza night
Sunday: dinner with my parents

As you can see, the menu is a work in progress. I usually make a batch of soup on Tuesday so leftovers can be eaten at lunch through the week. Thursday night is swim night, so we usually pick up dinner on the way home. And by Friday, I typically am out of ideas and don't want to cook.

Having a set menu has saved me from ordering carry out several times. If I know what I am to be cooking and have the ingredients on hand, it seems silly to not prepare the dish. I tend to cook with few ingredients, but getting to the store is sometimes a challenge. I also need to time the grocery trip with when the fresh ingredients need to be used. Monday's dinner last week should have been later in the week and further from the grocery trip because the fish and veggie were both frozen and the prep ingredients were shelf stable.

So this whole menu planning thing is a work in progress, but we're getting there.

Just for the fun of it, here is this week's menu:
Monday - dinner at parents
Tuesday - minestrone soup
Wednesday - crock pot roast with sweet potatoes
Thursday - carry out or leftovers
Friday - stuffed shells
Saturday - pizza night
Sunday - dinner with parents

Now if I can just get to the store...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Walks

Although I promised myself that Milo and I would continue our daily walks until the sidewalks became impassable with snow and ice, this first real cold snap of the winter has the stroller gathering some dust. Walks have been a great help to me, in a number of ways. Of course there is the exercise aspect. I credit walking with losing that first round of pregnancy weight back in the spring. Walks around our neighborhood, to the grocery store, or for coffee have kept me moving and pushing around 20 pounds of baby up the slight hills of Clintonville have kept those calories burning.

Part of the reason we really like this neighborhood is because it is walkable. The sidewalks actually lead to useful places such as Kroger and Starbucks. It's also fun to just walk up and down the different streets, seeing how the houses are decorated for the holidays or who is renovating. When all else fails, we count cats on our walks.

A quick jaunt around the neighborhood gets us out of the house and the change of scenery is always helpful. I had come to think of our afternoon walks as a reboot for our day. Baby is cranky and won't nap, Mom is losing patience and would like some quiet time? Out with the stroller where we had just enough distance from one another to peacefully make it through the rest of the day. The fresh air lends some perspective I think.

I miss our walks and I am hoping that either the weather warms up or I get brave enough to get out there and walk anyway. Mittens, coats and blankets are made for a purpose, right?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wanted: Christmas Spirit

Last night we attended Chris' work holiday party. It was a nice night out and a lovely party (apart from the magician). Although I enjoyed myself at the event, I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is coming in 20 odd short days.

While I want to make this first Christmas with Milo a special and memorable one, I also realize that he isn't going to know what is going on. Chris and I bought him only one gift, along with some stocking stuffers. We'll go see the lights at the Zoo and we're still debating a trip to see Santa.

Really, I guess I want this Christmas to be a remarkable one for me. If that is going to happen, I better lighten up, accept that the holiday season is once again upon on, and try to enjoy every moment.

Maybe baking cookies will help.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Late Giving Thanks

I clearly remember last Thanksgiving, sitting on the couch with Chris and Prada watching the parade. My belly was round and I was being kicked by the little guy who had taken up residence inside. The morning was close to perfection, peaceful and loving and comfortable.

This Thanksgiving wasn't quite so peaceful for me since it involved a nine hour drive and a baby who was unable to sleep in a new environment. In the chaos, I also didn't take the time to think about what I was really thankful for this year. So this morning as Milo is happily napping in his crib, I'm taking that time to reclaim the peaceful feeling of a year ago.

I give thanks for my family, for both the little one we are creating here and the one from which I came. They're both special. I especially give thanks for my husband of two years who is my trusted partner in life. I give thanks for our situation that means I have these months to stay home with our little guy and help him grow.

Next year, whatever the circumstances, I will keep in mind the place and spirit of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eight Months

Holy moly we have an actual little person on our hands. One who moves and has opinions on things. One, who I can't wait to fall asleep because, well, he doesn't sleep much, and then when he finally does drift off I miss him.

Even though I ended last month's post promising to get on a schedule, I can't say we are actually there. We're moving that way and most days I pretty much know what to expect, but it's not set in stone yet. Actually I've spent a lot of time this past month sitting in the driveway reading a book and waiting for Milo to wake up. I'm a firm believer in the don't wake a sleeping baby rule and besides when the kid does sleep I figure he needs it.

Milo is also a baby on the move. Not on all fours, mind you, but he has a definite scootch across the room to get items he wants (usually shoes, cell phones or a cat). He gets on all fours and rocks back and forth, but hasn't quite put all the movement together. He is very pleased with his progress; it's fun to watch.
He has all types of babbles which are just adorable. To be honest I'm not sure what they mean and I kind of feel like a bad mother for that. For a week or so I thought he was saying ca ca for kitty. More recently he's getting out H for hi, but this is usually directed at the cat, so again I am not sure what is going on his head. He has da da down, but I haven't noticed this in correlation to Chris. After nursing, Milo usually launches into a long babbling session. I am taking this to mean thank you God for milk, it is so delicious and makes me the happiest baby in the world.

Speaking of happy babies, Milo tends to make friends wherever we go. He smiles and coos at servers, cashiers, random people in line and most of all at cute baby girls. His smile, with still just the two teeth, lightens up a room. People seem to simply love him, but not as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Different Species

For the last couple of months I've been calling Milo a rabid puppy. While I consider this to be a term of endearment, it's probably not the nicest thing a mom has ever called her son. I call him this because when he gets excited and also happens to be congested he really does sound like a large puppy with foam coming out of the mouth. It's funny, heartbreaking and adorable all at once. Actually now that I think about it, we've had much fewer rabid puppy incidents since we have the at-home nebulizer for coughing or wheezing flare-ups. Huh.

Anyway, our little guy has been showing other puppy-like qualities lately. He is obsessed with his Robeez and not for the fashion of them. I have to hide these little leather shoes from him or he gnaws on them until they are slobbery mess. He's even been put down for a nap with a shoe in hand because he wouldn't let go of it.

Today I looked down to find Milo chewing on the leg of a wooden kitchen chair. Chewing. On the chair.

He also needs to be walked at least once a day or we all go a little nuts.

I'm starting to think my baby boy is at least part puppy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Currently Reading

If you took a peek at my nightstand these days you would see the latest hot novel (although I did find time to race through The Lost Symbol last month) and back copies of Yoga Journal have been covered up with parenting books. Specifically parenting books on sleeping. I've been getting these out of the library because 1) budget reasons, 2) each one is slightly different but has the same general ideas and 3) I don't want these sitting on a shelf in 5 years reminding me of this phase. Interestingly there is always a waiting list at the library for these types of books. It makes me feel good there are other sleep deprived parents out there who are looking for the magic cure for non-sleeping tots.

One parenting type book, although not about sleeping (I needed a break) that I recently read and really enjoyed was Hungry Monkey. It's written by a SAHD (stay at home dad) who loves to cook and is making it a mission to have his little girl love food as much as he does. Much like Julie and Julia, this book falls into the category of I wish I would have thought of it first, but since I didn't I'm so glad I'm along for the ride. Hungry Monkey was light and entertaining with plenty of intrigue for the foodie. I've come to realize that when writing about one's child, no one is going to think they are quite as special as you yourself do, and this was certainly the case for this book, also. However, Iris (the little girl) does seem cute and is an engaging "character" foil for her gungho cooking father. Plus there are some good recipes I want to try.

Chris didn't get a chance to read it before it was due back at the library, so we may just buy this one. I wouldn't mind having it on the shelf in 5 years as I also hope to have an adventurous eater (who by the grace of God and possibly with the help of Ferber is sleeping through the night).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Favorite Things

With Halloween officially being so yesterday, it seems the consumer driven culture is ready for Christmas. There are already holiday ads in the paper and the decorations are in stores. Along with all this comes the music. Although inexplicable to me how a song from The Sound of Music made it's way into the holiday genre, I've already hear A Few of my Favorite Things three times. With all due reverence to girls in blue satin sashes and snowflakes that stay on noses and eye lashes (sounds cold to me), here are some of my favorite things.
  • Coconut Milk Body Lotion from The Body Shop. Made with actual coconut milk, it's like a mini-vacation after each shower (well, when I remember and have time to apply). Plus, it's eco-friendly and not made with parabens and other nasty things.
  • Le Creuset cookware. Colorful and strong, this stuff makes cooking a joy. Plus Milo loves to chew on the silicon spatulas (see the colorful and strong note above).
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Yes, they're overly sweet, priced above the other drinks, and one has more calories and fat than you need from a beverage; but oh it's like an autumn day in a recycled cardboard cup.
  • Babies in footed pjs. I don't think this needs an explanation.
  • Burt's Bees lip gloss and balm. Love this stuff. Not overly sticky and made without petroleum products so they don't dry out lips.
  • Hand-made wooden toys. Simple lines, made out of a renewable resource rather than obnoxious colored plastic, and knowing where these were created make me happy to hand them to Milo so he can promptly put one his mouth.
  • Freshly laundered 100% cotton sheets. I don't even mind making the bed when it is fresh sheet day.
  • Snowville Milk. This is a suggestion from Chris and I agree it should make the list because it is the only milk we buy now. We have even changed out preferred grocery because one store carries it and the other doesn't. Apart from liking the local aspect of the milk and the fact that it isn't homogenized, it just tastes better.
  • Basic tees from Old Navy. Clearly there is nothing sustainable about this product. I don't want to think about where the cotton comes from or who pieces the material together. The tees are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors and shapes. This jeans and tee shirt girl goes through several a season.

So there is my incomplete list of things that make me feel not so sad after a bee sting or a dog bite. Or after another sleepless night, but that one didn't make the song for some reason. Do you have any favorite things to share?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boo!

After Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Halloween gets major points for the costumes, adorably scary decorations and candy. It also helps that it is in one of my favorite seasons. I've long been a fan of Halloween, holding great memories of marathon trick or treating sessions in our old neighborhood with my Dad and godfather (really). My Mom has made me some great costumes over the years with some memorable ones being a really colorful felt parrot mask and a more grown-up cosmopolitan / martini glass. Attending college at OU where Halloween shuts down the street, there were even more fun fright-night memories formed.



All of this, though, just seemed to be leading up to Halloween with a child of my own. I even bought his first costume be he was born. While I was really looking forward to Halloween with a Milo, let's face it trick or treating with a 7 month old is going to be a little anti-climatic (as the only treat he was really interested in was his bottle).
So we decided to start some new Halloween traditions. I made soup and invited some of Milo's favorite people over a simple dinner and handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. We also hit a couple of houses on our street with our little monkey in tow, but the real trick or treating will have to wait until next year. Now what should he be?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comfort Level

I've been using the term "it's up to your comfort level" quite often lately. It is such a useful term I wish I would have discovered earlier. It connotes (I hope) the sense of here is what I do, but clearly do what is best for you. I used it earlier this week when a mom at mom's group asked about drinking and breast feeding. I told her I feel fine having a small glass of wine with food after I've fed Milo, but based on her comfort level she should have more or less or none at all. Same thing earlier today with a comment about coffee while pregnant. It was well within my comfort level to have half a mug on weekend mornings.

Thinking more about comfort levels, I've discovered some others of mine. I have a high comfort level for perceived germs. We wash our hands often, but I don't spend a lot of time disinfecting toys. I have a low comfort level for people I don't know very well holding Milo. I usually feel relieved when he spits up and I can snatch him back.

I like this comfort level thing, it's comforting to know I have a fall back phrase to use when discussing potentially contentious topics. So what are some of your comfort levels?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Growing Up

Before this week, Milo had only had a few ounces of formula. It was in the hospital, we were waiting for my milk to come in and the nurses were concerned he was getting dehydrated and turning jaundiced. Probably not the case, but we gave him a few milliliters of formula to tide him over.
Since then he has been totally breast fed or fed breast milk I pumped. I really feel breastfeeding is important to both baby and mama. It promotes bonding, it provides the best nutrition for baby, it transfers some antibodies from mom to baby to protect the baby's immature immune system and it is totally natural. Nothing more natural really and instinctual for both. I realize some nursing pairs have some bumps along the way and there is certainly a learning curve for both baby and mom, but I do think nursing is something worth making the effort.

All that being said, there is also a time when nursing needs to be ceased and the weaning process needs to begin. This could be a different time period for all - some women choose to wean when they go back to work at 3 months and some continue to the golden age of 12 months, while some go past that age. My original breastfeeding goal was 3 months. At that time, neither Milo or I was ready to give it up. So each day at work I pumped enough milk for him to eat the next day. While I knew I was doing the right thing, this started causing a tad bit of stress as I obsessively added up the ounces trying to get to 16 for my big eater.

Once home I thought things would ease up, but it is seeming like Milo now needs or wants more than I can provide. He's constantly hungry and it was disrupting his sleep. So Monday night we introduced a bottle of formula to him. He gobbled it up and quickly demanded more. He also slept better that night.

So I'm starting to slowly wean him from the breast, starting with one or two bottles of formula a day. While I might miss some of our nursing sessions, I am also feeling a huge sense of relief. Suddenly this little person isn't solely depending on me for the majority of his nutritional needs. I think I have served him well, but now it is time to begin to let go and expose him to new tastes and methods of eating. This realization, along with this picture of him make me think my sweet baby is quickly turning into a little boy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Seven Months

Milo has now been in our lives for more than a half year. This past month I've mostly been home with him, and it's been interesting to see his personality grow as I've spent more time with him. In some ways (it might just be because he's a month older), I think he has really bloomed in this past month. He has totally come into his babyness. It's been a fun month with lots of kisses and hugs, laughs and grins and plenty of playtime on the floor.

What's new this month? To begin with teeth! Both of Milo's little bottom teeth are now clearly peeking through his gums. We kept wondering when they would make an appearance because he was showing all the signs (excessive drooling, night waking and chewing on everything in sight). He likes to feel his teeth to make sure the little buggers are still there. He is also liking to grab other people's teeth...I'm not sure why.


Milo still isn't crawling, but he is thinking about it. He's perfected sitting, but crawling still alludes him. He can scoot backwards and is starting to lift his hips, but can't put the forward motion together. He does a mean Cobra position where he can push up on his hands on straight arms, so I know he's building the necessary muscles. We often practice this yoga pose together in the mornings.

We're still having trouble in the sleeping arena. Milo wakes up several times a night and is refusing to nap most of the time. Although I was opposed to a crying it out sleep training technique, we're considering it for all our sakes. I know the whole family will be much happier with the proper amount of sleep.

Earlier this month, Milo had a blood test done that showed he does have some type of allergy, we just don't know what. All the common allergens he was tested for didn't show a reaction, but the marker that shows an allergic reaction was high. We'll be visiting an allergist in the next couple of weeks to get a more clear answer.

Otherwise Milo is doing great, at his 6 month check up he weighed in at almost 21 pounds and 28 inches. A big boy to be sure. Finding clothes for him that fit is a bit of a challenge, but with the help of Carter's we're making it.
Wherever we go people remark on what a happy baby Milo is. He has a smile for everyone as we're out and about. He likes to make faces and giggle at other people, other babies, animals and mirrors.

This coming month we look forward to Halloween! And hopefully getting on a schedule...

Monday, October 12, 2009

So Much Easier Then

Back before I started the parenthood journey, I had some very specific ideas of how I would raise my hypothetical kids. These ideas were primarily about three things: my kids would not watch television, my kids would not sleep in my bed, and my kids would not eat processed foods such as hot dogs, chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese on a regular basis.

Now that my kid is no longer an imaginary being, but a real live baby boy, I've had to reassess these ideas. The television thing could probably be another post (but let me tell you I found a loop hole in this here laptop).

As for co-sleeping, well I'm still not a huge fan, but Milo has spent at least some of each night / morning in our bed. At times it's cozy to have a little person in footed pjs next to me and I'm glad to share that time with him. However, I still worry about the safety of co-sleeping. The bed also seems just a tad too small for Chris, Milo, Prada and me. I'm hoping to phase out the co-sleeping, but Milo seems to think it's the best thing ever.

So hopefully I can stay strong about the whole processed food thing. Otherwise I am 0-3 for how I thought I would be as a parent.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home

I suspected when we decided it was best for our family for me to stay home with Milo for a few months there would be ups and downs. Now, as I start my third week being a stay at home, I know this is true. Staying at home has been all I thought it would be and totally different than I thought it would be.

I still feel as though I am on vacation from work, that I'll be due back in a couple of days. That's not the case and part of me is still sad that I won't be going back to that particular job.

I am shocked at how many people are out and about during the day. It seems to be a little culture of people who don't work during the day. The gym is nicely crowded, there are still lines at the grocery stores and inexplicably there are still bad drivers on the roads.

We're starting to get a routine down (one that does not included naps, thank you very much Milo). Milo and I take lots of walks and spend plenty of time on the floor giggling. There is a flow to our days that makes them go quickly, but we're still both glad to see Daddy when he gets home.

Our house is not a heck of a lot cleaner than it was when I working, but it is on the to-do list. I do have time now to get laundry done and usually at least empty the dishwasher. Evenings aren't as much of a rush and family time is more enjoyable without the craziness.

It's a simple life, but it's one I'm glad to be living at home right now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to the Mat

It seems I write this post every couple of months. How I get really into practicing yoga, realize how wonderful it is for me and how good I feel when I have an active practice, and then life gets in the way and I lose sight of this, only to find my way back again when daily events find me seeking balance. I should know by now that yoga is essential to my well being, but somehow I often forget that. After I was cleared for exercise back in May, I spent some of Milo's nap times doing modified sun salutations in the living room. Then I went back to work and making time for yoga was the furthest thing from my mind. Now I'm home with the little guy again and have decided I need a practice that is more structured than I can do on my own.

Yoga, for me, is a great physical escape. I really value the way my body feels stretched and strong after a good session. More than the physical, though, is the spiritual and introspective for me. My time on the mat is the primary time I set aside for thinking, for feeling and for putting emotions into perspective. When yoga is missing from my life, I don't have just tight muscles, I have blurred thinking.

So today, I ventured out to a class. It wasn't the best class I have ever attended, but prior to class, the instructor handed out a piece of paper with the following words on it:
Peace...
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
As I read those words I realized why I was at class. That was exactly the message I needed to hear today and the nudge I needed to make sure yoga gets back to a priority in my life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

6 Months

People change more quickly and more dramatically in the first year of life than they do in all the days, weeks, months and years that may follow. After witnessing the first six months of Milo's life, I am in constant amazement of the little person he is and the developments he is making.

Milo is now a rolling around fool. Conversely to his early months where more than three minutes of tummy time was torture, he now voluntarily flips from his back to his tummy. Although his first flip was from tummy to back, he hasn't quite mastered the tummy to back direction. He seems to enjoy sleeping on his tummy, or he does until he wakes up and wants to be on his back.
Speaking of sleeping, we've hit a couple of bumps in the road this month. Although he usually goes down for the night (around 7:30, okay, more like 8) just fine, he has been waking up at least twice through the night and wanting to be fed. I'm not sure if he is actually hungry or if he just wants to nurse to get back to sleep. It's something we're working on.

I wouldn't be surprised if he is actually hungry, because he still is mainly just eating breast milk and he needs to support a 20 pound body. When we tried to give him formula he gagged, spit out and cried for 30 minutes as though his life was ending. Luckily, he has taken to the solids a little bit better. We've done rice cereal, peas and sweet potatoes. Since he is a child of mine, it is no surprise that the potatoes are the favorite so far. Milo really enjoys holding the spoon and helping to feed himself (or chewing on the rubbery tip before banging it on his tray).

Milo loves toys now. He especially likes his friend Freddy the Firefly and also Mr. Whoozit because both have many different different sections to grab on to and some even make noise, much to Milo's amusement. Teething toys are also favorite, and if they aren't actually meant to be teethers, Milo will make the toy into one. He also really likes his Jumperoo.

At 3 months I thought that was the best baby stage, but now I really adore this 6 month stage. It's full of more fun giggles, huge grins, lots of movement and fleeting glimpses into the child he is becoming. But, I also love that when he tired or eating he is still a so much like the sweet little baby boy we brought home from the hospital 6 months ago without having a clue what to do with him. We've all come a long way since then.
* Our photo shoot didn't go so well this month. Milo was way more interested in eating the sign or waving it around. He also was trying to sit up on his own away from the couch which resulted in Chris and I hovering close by to scoop him up before he toppled over. We'll hope for better next month.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another New Chapter

It may come as no surprise to you if you read closely between the lines of these two posts that I have put my notice in at work. My last day will be September 18. While staying home with Milo is clearly where my heart is right now, resigning from my job was still a really difficult decision for me. Chris was supportive in whatever I decided to do, so once we figured out that we could financially manage me not working, it was up to me to decide what to do. There are parts of my job I am truly going to miss. I felt lucky to land at the company I did so early in my career. Every day was different and I experienced some things that I never would have otherwise. In the past four and a half years I worked there, I learned a lot and grew as a person. As time went on I even started to define myself through my work. Saying goodbye to all that along with some great co-workers was a tough call, but I am certain it is the right thing for me and my family right now.

I am really looking forward to spending my days with my smiley little guy. Come the first of the year, I'll start looking for a part time job. Over the past few months I've realized that working outside of the home and away from my child for 40 hours a week isn't best for me, for Milo or for Chris. Staying home will create a lot less stress in all of our lives and I can't wait to begin this new chapter.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to Soup

I'm not one to make soup in the summer. It just doesn't seem right somehow - summer is for fresh salads and grilled meats. Fall and winter are the appropriate times for long cooked soups and roasted meats with root vegetables. I'm pretty staunch in this belief, so it was surprising to me that I made up a batch of soup tonight. A couple of reasons contributed to this unseasonal turn of events. First, it is rather cool here in Ohio for late August (like windows open, debating throwing a sweatshirt on cool). Second, the butternut squash in our garden is doing quite well and I needed to start using it. So soup seemed like the logical conclusion. Although I've enjoyed squash soup, I've never made it before, so I made it to taste like I thought it should (while cutting out all dairy). It turned out quite tasty, so here is the "recipe":

1 onion roughly chopped
5 slices of bacon
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 small potato
1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 carton of stock
the following spices to taste: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, rosemary

Chop bacon and add to preheated heavy stock pot. Cook 2 minutes. Add chopped onions and sweat out in bacon grease. Add garlic. Add spices (I used a lot of cinnamon). Add chopped carrots and potato. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add maple syrup. Add stock. Bring to boil. Add squash. Cook until squash is soft. Use immersion blender to puree to desired consistency (I left some small chunky bits). Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A New Level of Guilt

I'm not stranger to guilt. I escaped the whole Catholic guilt thing, but geesh oh peesh do I have the Liberal guilt thing going. Eat meat and feel badly about factory farming or don't eat meat and starve. Give money to every environmentalist at the door or pretend I'm not home and then fret about dodging the issue. Try to keep up with local bands or just keep on listening to my Mom's old James Taylor albums. Buy a hybrid and conserve gas or keep my car and conserve my own money. Try to eat more fish, but end up worrying about the disappearing ocean population. Recycle at home and in the office and then try to go unnoticed whilst picking cans and bottles out of the trash at the boss' cookout.

So, yes, I am well acquainted with guilt. To be honest I didn't think it could get any worse and then came along Working-Mom-Guilt. Otherwise known as the mother of all guilt. When I am at work, I feel like I should be at home with Milo. And when I am home, I feel like I should be working to otherwise escape the eye rolling that I imagine is going on in the office when I need to call in sick (again) or take the little guy to the doctor.

Oh the guilt...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

5 Months

It is so true what new moms hear starting from the moment their little bundle of joy is born. It really does go fast. We're already looking back on the early photos and remarking on how small Milo was, all skinny limbs and wide eyes, now reminding me of a bird rather than the little person he is now. At 5 months, Milo is somewhere in the 19 pound range and his limbs can no longer be described as skinny. He's a solid package of little boy sweetness, looking less and less young baby like each day.

We're now old pros at grabbing items and feel more comfortable holding something soft for nap time (a blankie, a lovey toy or even a wash cloth). When Milo wants to he can roll over from both tummy to back and back to tummy. He can also stay in an unsupported sitting position for about 30 seconds before starting to be the leaning tower of Milo and slowly falling to the floor.




Milo continues to be a smiley and alert baby. Whenever he is in a new place with new people, he looks around and takes it all in. We can almost see him thinking about his surroundings. He has a smile for just about everyone, but he continues to think Grandpa Gatto is the funniest human alive. Whether it is my Dad's big and dark looks or his deep voice, Milo just convulses into giggles each time they get together.

Together we survived Milo's first ear infection this past month. He didn't give us many clues his ears were infected, so I'm glad we took him to the pediatrician to check him out. The pediatrician continues to think he has some food allergies, so I've cut dairy, peanuts and tree nuts out of my diet. I also limit eggs and soy. Consequently, Milo spits up less, but we still have some spots of eczema. Due to the possible allergy issues, I've put off solid foods. Today will be the rice cereal day.

This month (6 months!) we'll look forward to Milo's first road trip and meeting some of Chris' extended family over Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Everyday Moment

Chris walks into the bathroom carrying Milo, they stop and play the baby in the mirror game. Then, with shampoo suds still in my hair, I peek out around the curtain to greet my boys. Milo is freshly changed and dressed in his school clothes. It tickles Milo that Mommy appears from behind the curtain all soaking wet. We get big gummy smiles and little boy giggles. Leaning over I kiss Milo's cheek while breathing in his sweet baby smell. Chris and I kiss goodbye. Wishes for good days are exchanged. I return to my shower with a sense of contentment and ease. Another day in our life has begun.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Makes It Easier

Milo has been in daycare for about two months. While it was tough in the beginning, I've gotten used to him being there during the day. Chris does the dropping off in the morning and I've come to anticipate the morning e-mail letting me know how the little guy did. This week I read just about the cutest thing ever: Milo was happy and all of his friends flocked to see him when he arrived.

Although I miss being with Milo every day, I can appreciate that he is being socialized. I think it is great he is spending time with other babies and learning how to be part of a group. It just makes me feel better about the day care arrangement.

What makes me feel even better is that the teachers at the day care really like Milo. They seem to agree with us that he is someone special. I try to go visit once a week during lunch and I like to hear about all the things Milo does during the day - recently he has started to hold his own bottle. When I'm there I can tell he is comfortable and at ease with his caregivers. He gives special smiles to his teachers - one teacher even has a special dance she does for Milo and he explodes into laughter.

Know that Milo is well liked by the people - both big and small - who is shares his days with makes it a little easier for me to spend my days away from him.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't You Dairy

I often get caught up in the diet advice of whatever I happen to be reading. Which means I will stick to the prescribed advice for just a week or so - Atkins diet, South Beach, Weight Watchers - they've all had short term stints in my life. I've never stuck with any of them long. More recently though I've been much more interested in nutrition rather than diet, maybe because for the last year another human as been depending on me and what I eat for his development. So I try to keep up with my fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and dairy products. It's this last one that seems to possibly be causing a problem in before-mentioned young human. Milo has been a big spitter upper from pretty young, but lately it's gotten worse. Like two or three times after each feeding worse. So yes, pretty much constant spitting up. He also is congested and a little wheezy. His skin has patches of itchy and angry looking eczema. His doctor took a look and thinks he is reacting to the dairy I'm eating. She doesn't think he has a severe allergy, but certainly a sensitivity. So off of dairy I go.

I've meant to do it in the past, this cutting dairy out of my diet. I would like the promised more energy and renewed focus. I had even gone so far as to download the challenge information at godairyfree.com, but the daily journal has been sitting unopened on my desktop for well over a year and a half and the blog entry I started to write about the experience still sits in draft form. Turns out without really good motivation, I'm just not willing to skip cheese on pizza or cream in coffee. Looking at Milo's itchy little eyes though is reason enough for me to at least see if the cow protein is the problem. And if it's not, I could really use that energy and renewed focus.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Four Months

Gosh, to be honest this past month was pretty much a blur. I'm trying to rember the highlights - and there were some really great moments - but for the most part it's been a rush of getting out the door in the mornings, walks and quick dinners in the evenings and then falling into bed exhausted at the end of it all. And that's the whole family, not just Milo.

Milo is becoming a different baby each day and is growing up so quickly. Where he used to mainly smile at people, he is now also more interested in toys. He likes to hold onto something soft - like his friend Ears the bear, a blanket, or a teething toy - when he is riding in the car or going down for a nap. Speaking of naps, we struggle with those a bit. On the weekends I can usually get him down for a nap, but at day care they just don't have the time for my book, cuddle, nap routine. If naps are trade off for good nights, I'll take the good nights. Since I've been back to work, Milo has been waking up a couple of times a week for a feeding in the middle of the night. It's not all that bad, but since I was used to a solid 8 - 9 hours for two months, it's been an adjustment.

Tummy time is going great if he's in a good mood. Overall though he has really good head strength and can kind of sit up supported. We've transitioned him to riding in the stroller without the carrier for evening walks and he likes to look ahead and see what is coming. We were on a roll again for a couple days, but it's just not a skill he wants to stick around.

Our little guy (or not so little at 17 pounds, 13 ounces and more than 25 inches now), is quite the talker. He babbles to us a lot and we love having little conversations with him. Milo's smiler is still working and his grins just light up the room.

Next month we look forward to the introduction of solid foods!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Friend

Before they went Christmas shopping that year, my parents stopped for a few drinks. My brothers and I were probably home with Grandma and my parents were fully taking advantage of a night without kids. The story goes that those few drinks helped my mom convince my dad to buy me a certain bear with a yellow tracksuit. Albert the Running Bear quickly became my favorite stuffed animal and friend. Dad has been known to say it is the best $75 he has ever spent.

Albert traveled rather extensively with us, to visit family in Canada and several trips to Florida. There are few childhood pictures of me that don't feature the bear. Albert came along to college where he was the victim of a brief bearnapping (luckily the perpetrator sent me ransom notes via e-mail so I quickly got the bear back). Albert may or may not still sleep with me.

A few years ago, I tried my hand at bidding for an Albert on eBay. I lost several auctions that year. Evidently like new condition Alberts are now a collectors item and some people want them for collections. I wanted a "new" Albert to share with any little guy or girl who would come my way.

With Milo now showing more interest in stuffed animals, I decided to try my luck at eBay again. I found an Albert with a green tracksuit and the original tags on it. I was lucky enough to be the high bidder.

Albert the Running Bear (green) is on his way to our house. At this point, the bear and Milo are about the same size, but when Milo is three years old, I plan on giving him his very own Albert. I can only hope he finds a friend as true as I did.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Other Thing

Other than wondering how Prada is taking the whole living with a baby thing, people most often ask me how cloth diapering is going. Here's the thing: we do cloth diaper, but not all the time. Evenings and weekends are spent in cloth, overnights and days at daycare are spent in disposables.

This arrangement is working out really well for us. I figure some cloth is better than no cloth and each time we have his little butt in a cloth diaper, that is one less disposable diaper in the landfill. There is also some research out there that suggests cloth diapers aren't really better for the environment (because of the water and energy that goes into washing them), so I think striking a balance is a good thing.

Even with the little bit we use the cloth diapers, there is the washing and at this point it really isn't bad at all. First of all, since he's breastfed, even the dirty diapers aren't too dirty. I know this will gross some people out, but we just put the dirty diapers in our laundry machine. We do a pre-soak and an extra rinse and use additive free detergent. From there they go for a quick spin in the dryer (although I do plan on line drying them if we ever get the backyard clothesline back up).

Milo does seem to notice a wet or dirty cloth diaper more than he does a soiled disposable diaper. I'm hoping this works out in our favor by the time potty training comes around. In the meantime, we'll keep using the cloth as much as we can because I like the benefits to them...and he looks adorable in them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Special Day

Reading over the baptism rite one more time as a refresher to the class we attended back in April was something I meant to do before the official Baptism day. Unfortunately, that intention got lost in a flurry of washing white clothes, decluttering the house and making food for the party, so when the priest asked me what I wanted for my son, I drew a blank. I was standing there at the baptismal font holding Milo thinking how do I put into words all the things I want for him. I wasn't sure where to begin, but thankfully the priest mouthed the word baptism and it suddenly clicked. Yes, we want baptism for our Milo. For him to know the church community and to live by the Golden Rule. We would like for him to have faith in a higher power and to know the loving comfort of the Lord. And so we had him baptised yesterday.

It was such a special day. Full of family and good friends and love and togetherness. And as one baptism attendee noted it was quite possibly the most important day of his life.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Life

About the only thing I liked when I read the controversial parenting book Babywise, was the idea that a baby should fit into the life of a family rather than totally take it over. Of course, babies do change lives in small and in enormous ways, but I was drawn to the idea that our baby would positively add to the life we had created rather than negatively turn everything upside down. We've had our upside down moments, but for the most part this post-baby life is similar to the one we've been working on building since Chris and I met.


We've still visited the usual summer events that are important to us - Arts Fest, Pride and later today ComFest - but now we push a stroller through the crowds and we don't stay as long. Saturday mornings are still spent in the yard drinking coffee and tending to our garden, but now we take breaks to check in on a napping baby. The weekend is still capped off with Sunday dinner at my parents, but now they're more interested in seeing Milo rather than us (and we wouldn't have it any other way). Other things have stayed the same, too. I still come home from work tired, but now I have the sweetest little cuddle buddy to laze around with.
I'm absolutely loving the life we've created and while I can still remember life before Milo, I can't imagine not having him now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Months

Today I had an e-mail from a new mom asking how you get through those first weeks and wanting me to tell her it gets better. I'm not sure how you can really assure someone of this, but I did my best to tell her to hang on, that everything that is so new will become second nature and it is all worth it. In those early weeks it's hard to know that you'll come out on the other side and suddenly it is three months down the road. You're a little more rested and have a happy, babbling baby. It really does happen fast.

I can't believe our little guy (if 16 pounds can be considered little) is three months old. For the first time during this picture session, Milo was reaching for and grabbing onto his sign. He wants to make sure everything within reach is tasted just in case it might contain milk. You know just to be safe.

Like he did when he was younger, Milo still reaches over and grabs my hand during some feedings, but now it is more intentional and his palm is open. Seeing his chubby little dimpled fingers reach for me still melts my heart. As much as he enjoys nursing, he also has no problem taking a bottle which has been a good skill for him to have at daycare.

This past month we survived our first time apart. He spread his gummy little smile to daycare and I returned to work. It wasn't so bad, but I do miss my little one. We also survived our first mother / son cold. He might have handled it better than I did.

With Milo being more aware of his surroundings, he's starting to notice toys. The zebra on his bouncer has been a friend from a long time back, but lately he's added Hedgy the rainbow hedgehog and a firefly (thanks Sara for these!) to his clique.

We were on a roll for a few days at the end of May (from tummy to back), but he then decided rolling was so last year and went on a rolling strike. Tummy time is still hit or miss depending on his mood, but he's gained almost constant head control.

Next month we look forward to Milo's baptism and hopefully lots more evening walks. Each month brings so much change and development, it will be interesting to see what we have to look forward to next.

Friday, June 5, 2009

How do I Write it Down?

I'm trying to write out a note about Milo's schedule and his likes and dislikes to send with him on Monday to his first day of daycare. I have the bare outlines of his schedule down such as when he sleeps and when he eats. I've let them know that he will typically babble in his crib before falling asleep for his mid-morning nap.

What I'm struggling with is how to let them know that he likes me to pretend to munch on his face when he's particularly inconsolable. A couple of kisses and pretend bites and my smiley, happy boy is back, but I don't really want anyone else munching on his face anyway. I'm also not sure how to include that we both like to listen to Jack Johnson and wiggle around on the floor. Or that reading him a book and using funny voices will distract him through tummy time. I've picked up these little tricks in the last three months of spending my days with my little guy and there is no way I can communicate them all to the daycare people.

I realize plenty of children go to daycare and probably every mom goes through this guilt of leaving her baby with someone other than herself. It's just that as Monday inches closer, I question my decision more each day and I already can't stop the tears from coming.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One {More} Thing

One thing I am really loving about Milo these days is that he won't let a laugh he hears go unaccompanied. Even if it's Mommy giggling at his frowning face, or Grandpa laughing at the ridiculous hat on his head, Milo will join in on the joyous noise. I hope he doesn't lose this skill anytime soon. If there's a choice to laugh, stay silent or even to cry, I say let loose and laugh little man. It will always serve you well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

June 8

I am pretty focused on the date of June 8 because it is when I return to work and stop this stay-at-home mom stint. There are two weeks left of this gig and I'm going to enjoy them. Milo and I will sleep late in the mornings, take lots of walks in the afternoons and spend the evenings with Chris without the stress of knowing I have to get up for work the next day. I'll also repeat Milo's favorite joke as many times as we can bear. The joke is this - an elephant and a zebra walk into a bar. That's the whole joke and we both dissolve into hearty giggles because clearly wild animals don't belong in bars. I'll certainly miss his adorable laugh and his gummy smile as I'm sitting through Monday morning staff meetings.


Our social calendar is full for the next two weeks. We'll be meeting friends for lunch and attending our weekly mom's group. Shopping for a baptism outfit is on the agenda, too. And, I also need to shop for work clothes for myself. Somehow the things I packed up last fall shrunk during the long and pregnant winter.

I know these next two weeks are going to fly by just like the last 10 weeks have. We've already watched Milo grow so much and I'm really thankful for the 12 weeks I had with just him at home. Now we're all going to mature as we settle into the new routine, but first we get to enjoy the next two weeks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two Months

Yesterday we celebrated Milo's two month birthday. Several people have told me that if I could just get through the first six weeks with a new baby, things would get much easier from that point on. For us, getting through the first three weeks or so was the really challenging part, so this second month was a lot easier than the first. We still have our moments, but overall things are going great. Some of Milo's milestones so far are:

  • Honest to goodness smiling! Chris and my Mom are almost always guaranteed to earn a smile from Milo when he sees him. Smiles to me come first thing in the morning when I get him out of his crib. We go through body parts saying good morning to each and my little guy smiles and giggles as I say good morning to Milo's foot...it's fun.

  • We've continued to work on tummy-time and Milo does much better with it and is able to hold his head up for longer periods of time. He's not quite to rolling over, but it's getting closer.

  • Milo is babbling and cooing a lot of time, especially during diaper changes. We have little conversations with him, which are all enjoyed by all.

  • With Milo being about 13 - 14 pounds, I feel much more comfortable taking him out and about as he's not so delicate. We've been for lots of walks, to the park, to our favorite Mexican restaurant and to the grocery store where Milo is always a big hit. We also made a trip to the pizza place where Milo enjoyed the noise and smells.

  • I went to a mom's group last week and noticed our little guy isn't so little when I saw the other 8 week old babies. He's also officially grown out of his newborn clothes and we are well into the stash of 3 month and even some 3 - 6 month outfits.

Next month will hold new challenges to our daily life as I return back to work and Milo heads to daycare. It's the best situation for all of us, so I am hoping things go smoothly as we make that transition. Onward and upward!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

On this day we celebrate the mothers in our lives. We salute those women who not only feed us and nurture us, but who also shape us into the people we become. Having a good mother is a blessing and one I have always been thankful. Of course being a child is only one part of the equation and being a mother is the other part. The x to the y if you will. Having the motherhood experience is the variable that makes the theorem true and for it all to make sense.

On this day, I honor my mother and thank my little guy for making me a mom. I'm sure I have a lot more to figure out in this equation, but for once this journalism major doesn't mind doing the math.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby Weight

With Milo turning seven weeks old today(!), I have to face the fact that no more of this baby weight is just going to melt off as it did in the early days. I arrived home from the hospital about 20 pounds lighter than I arrived there, which I found to be amazing and wonderful. In the next couple of weeks, I lost another 10 or so pounds. Since then I've been in the same place with about 12 pounds to lose to get back to where I was when I got pregnant (yes, I gained 40+ pounds during the pregnancy). Then there are also the 10 extra pounds I was holding on to as that point, but for now we are focusing on the 12 pounds of baby weight.

I'm cleared for exercise and the weather is warming up, so until I head back to work next month, Milo and I can be found wandering the streets of Clintonville on long walks. I also can't wait to get back to the mat and start practicing asana again, oh how I've missed the physical yoga practice these past weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Milo and Prada

Back when Milo was just a little Olive, Prada was the first to really be aware of his presence in my body. Early on, when I was still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that a person was growing inside of me, she would cuddle up to my stomach and press her ear to my belly. This was a new behavior for her, so we were pretty sure she was listening to the heartbeat. As my belly grew and my lap had less and less room, Prada became less enthralled with me and started making Chris her usual lap buddy.

We weren't sure how Prada would react to a baby in the house. She had never seen a child, let alone a wailing newborn and while Prada has many great qualities, her ability to deal well with change is not one of them. Both times I have moved to a new place with her, she has spent a week hiding in a closet. When we got married, she developed feline acne and a large bald spot on her back. So really we weren't holding high hopes for how she would react to a baby.

Luckily, she has surprised us and is dealing relatively well. By that I mean she hasn't broken out or lost large amounts of fur. Instead she pretty much ignores Milo other than a few sniffs early on. The crying doesn't seem to bother her, but she does look at us as if to say "really, you thought bringing home this thing was necessary" when he is particularly inconsolable. As long as he doesn't mess with her routine and she stills has a lap to sit on, she seems rather content that our family has grown into a foursome. We try to give her a lot of attention when we can and if we forget to do that, she has her own special way to remind us that she was the first baby we had.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Passing Along...

...an Earth Day message from Milo (he also says to ignore the spit-up spot, he didn't mean to do that).


And if you can't plant a tree (but seriously, how can you say no to that face), you could try one of these tips:

  • Skip plastic or paper and take along your own reusable bag
  • Walk or bike instead of drive
  • Unplug appliances such as toasters, hair dryers and phone chargers when not in use

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gardening In So Many Words

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we try our best to be gardeners, but it doesn't always come easily. Last year we had a few setbacks including the aphids who ate the tomatoes and, oh, yes the overwhelming fatigue of early pregnancy. So last year's attempt wasn't stellar. In fact, last week I found the carrots we planted amid the fennel plants that never got cleaned up at the end of the season.

This year we want to do better with the garden for various reasons. First, we enjoy the fresh and healthy produce we grow on our own. More than that though, I want to instill in Milo (at a very young age) a sense of the earth, why it is important and how we can take care of it starting in our own backyard. I had this growing up because I come from a family who appreciates plants of all kinds. From tending roses to growing the best tomatoes, I've had great examples of connection to the earth and I'm looking forward to passing this on to our little guy.

I'll also use books such as this to reinforce the message. I'm hoping to win a copy of the book here, and you can enter to win as well.

Happy planting!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Month

This past Thursday marked one month since Milo has been with us. In some ways the month has gone so fast and in some ways it's been the longest month of my life. Some reflections on Milo's first month of life:

  • One of my favorite things he does is to reach over with his little hand and tightly grab my finger while I'm feeding him. It's probably just a reflex thing, but I love how he holds on for several minutes as if to say we're in this together and I'm so glad you're my mom.


  • Milo has set his own schedule, which to be honest I can't decide if I actually like. The schedule is eat or cry most of the day and especially during the evening and then sleep from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Repeat. On the plus side I get uninterrupted sleep during the night, but by the end of the day I feel both emotionally drained and physically drained of milk. Still, there is the sleep, so I really shouldn't complain.


  • Our little guy makes the most adorable faces. Sometimes I think we should have named him Oliver because he has that "Please, Sir, more" look down pat during feedings. He'll get all wide eyed and form his mouth into a little round circle, it's pretty cute. Then, if I am taking too long looking at him, he'll throw his head into the crook of my arm to get himself into feeding position.


  • Milo has a really strong suck which is making feeding him easy and I'm thankful for that, but the side effect of a strong suck is hickeys. I walked around for 4 days with a hickey on my cheek. Yesterday Milo was sucking on his own arm and it left a nice little mark. Who would have thought I would have to start checking my son for hickeys at one month? High school should be interesting.


  • Tummy time has paid off because Milo is pretty good at holding his head up. He likes to look around and the ceiling fan is a special favorite for gazing.


  • While we're not totally sure it isn't just gas, we think we've seen a couple of actual baby smiles. Sometimes Milo will also mirror back facial expressions which is fun for all involved.

  • Having a baby in the house creates some type of time warp. Days go by so quickly in a blur of feeding, burping, napping and general staring at the cuteness. I can't believe he is already a month old and has grown so much. He's packed on almost 3 pounds and two inches onto his little frame. Each day brings something new for Milo to experience and for us to learn about him. I can't wait to see what next month will bring.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baby is the New Black

At the risk of sounding like a too-trendy suburban mom, I have to admit that babywearing is a lifesaver. Milo has gotten a little fussy in the past couple of days and isn't content to spend snoozing hours in the bouncer. I'm not content to hold him for hours at at a time and not do anything else. The solution that works for both of us is babywearing. He feels all snug and secure and I have hands free to do whatever I need to do. Last night I wore him while eating dinner, right now I am wearing him as I type this, and yesterday Chris wore him while vacuuming the house.

We have both a ring sling and a Moby wrap. I wear the ring sling because ours is an adorable chocolate brown with hot pink and white polka dots. Chris rocks out the cream colored organic Moby wrap. Milo doesn't seem to care which one he is in as long as he close to one of us. His little sleepy noises in the sling are just too cute and I like having him close as I go through my day.

So if babywearing puts me in the trendy mom category, I'll take that criticism as long as my baby is happy and quiet.

Friday, April 3, 2009

And Baby Makes Three

This week Chris had to leave town to attend a funeral. Milo and I headed to my parent's house and although I had plenty of expert help from Grandma, I had a small taste of what single motherhood would be like and I was not impressed.

Years ago while in grad school, at the height of my I-am-a-strong-woman-and-can-do-anything-on-my-own phase, I remember thinking that should I not be married by 35 (oh the horror), I would just have a baby on my own.

What I failed to realize then was that being a single mother would not be the best choice for me or for any child of mine. In these two quick weeks (and the 9 months leading up to this), I have discovered that part of the fun of parenthood is watching your partner become someone else, someone better. Chris, while still my husband and best friend, has become a great dad and it's been so gratifying to watch him nurture this little being whom we created together.

Everyone who meets Milo agrees he's an adorable, good-natured, sweet baby, but I think it is only Chris and me who really appreciate our little guy. How sad it would be to not experience that connection with another person.

Then there is also the practicality of doing this on my own. It would be hard and a lot of work. It would mean long nights spent alone with a crying baby. I would be lonely if I were doing this alone.

Deepening our partnership to become parents and expand our love to another person has been one of the best and most surprising side effects of having a baby. The family we have quickly grown into simply takes my breath way sometimes and doing it together makes it so much more real.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Weeks

Yesterday marked two weeks since Milo arrived in our lives. I've never spent much - or any - time with a newborn baby, so there has really been a learning curve. Due to the c-section and my healing, Chris took on a lot of the baby care early on. He's now the expert swaddler and dresser in our house, but I'm getting better at these tasks every day.

Milo is a wonderful baby, full of cute little faces and lots of cuddles. He's a great sleeper and allows us to get at about 3 hours of sleep in a row at night. Usually he wakes up hungry and needing changed at about 1 a.m. each night and then again around 4:30 a.m. During the day, he loves to sleep in his bouncer. Each day we are getting more and more alert time where he is looking around and observing the people and things around him. We're starting to work on tummy time on a daily basis to strengthen muscles.

Today we went to the pediatrician for the first time. We were happy to learn he has surpassed his birth weight and now weighs a healthy 9 pounds. Our pediatrician is a DO who we really like for her experience and perspective. I wasn't sure how she would react to the c-section and I was surprised to hear that she thought because of Milo's head swelling during labor, that the section was a good outcome. The shape of the head is very important in Osteopathic medicine and she becomes concerned about babies' who have a lot of head trauma during birth. So hearing that from her made me feel better.

In some ways having Milo with us seems so new, but in others it seems like he's always been with us. We're pretty smitten with the little guy and I'm so excited to watch him to continue to grow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lightening the Mood

First, thank you for all your supportive messages and comments about the last post. Each day is getting better emotionally and physically and I'm very thankful for everyone in my life as I get through the unexpected birth scenario and the first days of being a new mom. Besides you can't be too down when you are looking at this little guy every day.

To lighten the mood a little more, I thought I would share some of our recent funny new parent moments. The first is typical baby boy stuff, but we got a good laugh at Milo's first diaper change at home this past Friday. Chris was changing him and forgot to get a cover on him quickly enough, consequently a very impressive arc of pee went flying a good three feet landing in an impressive puddle on the wood floors. I had heard of this happening, but to see it in real life was quite amusing to us as new parents. We have learned to duck when Milo gets too quiet during a changing.

The other funny thing happened last night as Chris and I were getting three (glorious) hours of sleep around 11 p.m. I woke up a little hazy and wanted to know where the baby was, Chris said right here and indicated Prada who was sleeping between us. I asked if the baby turned into a cat and Chris kind of grunted approval. I was so out of it, I thought huh, he's changed, but whatever and just dragged the poor cat into my lap to start nursing her. Luckily, I didn't get too far into the process because I think that would have been quite painful. Instead Chris snapped to it and said, no that is the cat, the baby is in his crib. Prada was released and no one was the worse for the incident.

Also, if you hadn't noticed, I think this blog will be rather mommy-oriented for a bit. I'll like having the record of Milo's early days and sharing it with any of you who are interested.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baby Milo is Born

Milo James was born on March 16 at 9:32 p.m. It's taken me a little bit to process his birth and really think about the details. For some of you, this all might be too much information and if it is, that's fine, just skip this post. I'm sharing the story because writing it down will be cathartic for me and I want a record of how Milo came to enter the world.

Last Saturday night I was having contractions through the night which were close together, but not really strong. I was having some spotting so I called the doctor who said I could head to the hospital or wait for the contractions to get stronger. I decided to wait and the contractions eventually spaced out and then disappeared by mid-morning on Sunday. I took a nap to make up for the sleep lost the night before and Chris and I went for a walk. Later that night, we headed to our weekly Sunday night dinner at my parents house. We played a few rounds of boccee because it was a beautiful spring day outside and I thought the walking and bending over to pick up the balls would help get things moving. In fact, I was feeling contractions and they were getting stronger, but they weren't regular. After heading home and going to bed, the contractions did start back up again around 3 a.m. and they were stronger and steadily getting closer together. I spent some time walking around the house and bouncing on the exercise ball. I also spent a fair amount of time cowering in bed. By about 6:30 a.m. I decided it was time to head to the hospital and get checked out.

At the hospital, I was certain I would have progressed from the centimeter I had been dilated at my last appointment, but I wasn't. I was really surprised to hear that, but was told to walk around the hospital for a little bit and report back in an hour. Chris and I started walking the halls of the hospital and wondering if we would meet our little one that day. After reporting back to triage around 9 a.m., I was dilated to 2 cm and was admitted to the hospital. In the words of our nurse - Let's Go Have a Baby.

We were told to keep walking around the maternity area, which we did, stopping every couple of minutes to squat through a contraction. I wasn't having a lot of trouble breathing through the contractions as long I focused and kept moving. We would walk for a half hour and then I would sit on the birthing ball for a half hour. During our half hour activity rotations, they manually broke my water. I kept making progress and it was looking like we would meet our little Olive around 5 or 6 that afternoon.

Around 1 p.m., I was in a resting phase which meant laying on my left side. This was, even though I was exhausted, the most painful of all the phases. By this time I was dilated to a 5. Also at this time they came in to insert an intrauterine contraction monitor. Because the baby was resting right up against my cervix, this was difficult for the midwife to find space to get this in and consequently hurt like hell. All day the nurses had been asking me to rate my pain and this was the first time the pain was unmanageable. I was left shaking and crying on the bed and asking for an epidural. The anesthesiologist came and within minutes I was feeling no pain. At this point I also consented to having an IV of pitocin which I wouldn't allow all morning. The pitocin and a little rest progressed to from 5 cm to 8 cm and then the trouble began.

I stopped making progress at 8 cm. The doctor came by and suggested we do a vaginal bypass. He wouldn't say the words, but I knew he was talking about a Caesarian section and I immediately said no, if the baby and I were still doing okay, let's wait it out. He said he would come back in an hour. That hour passed and since there was no feeling in my legs, my only option was to stay in bed on my side but we did try to use pillows between my legs to lengthen the pelvic floor. No progress was made in that hour. I talked him into another hour of trying to progress on my own and at this point it was getting to be a battle of wills. The nurses were great though and really worked with me to try to and progress. We tried all types of positions in the bed including hands and knees and a couple of others. Still no progress was made and at this point they told me the baby's head was beginning to swell because he was pressing into my cervix. The nurses also let me know that the baby seemed to coming out crooked.

The whole pregnancy the Olive had been hanging out on my right side and it was no different during labor. At one point when the nurse looked, you could clearly see the back of the baby way off to the right of my abdomen. He just wasn't lining up correctly and was getting stuck on my pelvis bone.

At this point, I was scared, tired and couldn't stall any longer when the doctor came back in asking for consent to do a c section. Chris and I talked it over and decided it was the safest option for the baby because of the swelling, but I couldn't stop crying as I was being prepped for surgery. The day was turning out so differently than I had imagined and prepared. I was wheeled into the operating room and Milo James was born at 9:32 p.m. more than 12 hours after we had been declared in active labor.

Although I am very blessed to have a healthy baby and to be a mother, I am having a tough time coming to terms with the surgery. For one I feel like I should have held off longer on the epidural as I think that slowed things down. I also feel like I could have been stronger with the doctor because I really felt pushed into the surgery. It was hard for me to hear my baby cry after the delivery and not be able to do anything for him or even see him.

Throughout my stay at the hospital and I as continue the recovery, I still cry when I think about how Milo came to be born. I can't really pinpoint why I feel so sad about it because I know it isn't how the child comes into the world that makes a mother. I'm also beginning to realize that I probably made the safest and best choice for my baby and myself with the information I had at the time. In spite of those things, I just can't shake the feeling that I failed at my first responsibility of being a mom.

As each day passes, I'm beginning to move past those feelings and enjoy my new role as mom. We're doing well now that we're at home. Breastfeeding is going well and for the most part our little guy is living up to the meaning of his name which in the German translation means peaceful and calm.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Reprieve

I feel like my posting for the last month(s) has centered around descriptions of end-of-pregnancy woes and where is that baby anyway musings. These things are pretty much my life these days, but still it doesn't make for interesting writing (or living, for that matter). I work and I come home, do baby-related tasks and then go to bed.

However, today I tried to have a normal and fun Saturday afternoon; to get out of the house and do something we would have done pre-pregnancy and won't have a chance to do as often post-baby. So we headed to German Village for the afternoon. After actually finding a parking spot and a short walk through the brick streets of the Village, we met my brother for coffee (well I had tea) and hung out at Cup O Joe for a little bit. Then we headed next door to the Book Loft. The Book Loft has always been a favorite stop of mine in Columbus. Loving books as much as I do, it's a little piece of heaven to wander through the rooms and rooms (32 to be exact) of books. After much discussion, we picked out two books for our little Olive. Since we were in a hurry, I didn't have time to look for a new book for myself, but I understand I won't have much time for reading in the next several weeks anyway.

We then walked down the street to Katzinger's for lunch. It's been Dine Originals Restaurant Week and I've been too tired to really partake this week, but I wanted to participate at least a little bit. I also really like Katzinger's which is a great deli and famous sandwich shop, but don't make it there too often. They were running a great special for the Week, and the turkey flight (!) of sandwiches didn't disappoint. It was fun to try three different sandwiches in one basket - my favorite was a grilled one with delicious tangy mustard (#11).

After all the afternoon activity, I have to admit, I headed home to take a nap. I guess you can't take the pregnant girl off the couch for too long.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Showered

The countdown is still happening here and at 38 weeks and a handful of days, it is getting closer with each day. Other than that pesky hospital bag I need to pack, everything is all ready for our little Olive. The nursery is set and ready to go, the clothes are washed, blankets folded and the car seat installed. All we need is the baby.

Most of the adorable baby gear and clothes came from the wonderful baby shower a few weekends back. The shower was held Valentine's Day weekend and had a heart / olive theme. It was so much fun and so nice to share the day surrounded by women who already love our little Olive.

My work family also held a surprise shower for me and the Olive this past Friday. It was another showing of support for which I was so grateful.

Plus both events had cake and this pregnant woman loves cake!

I've said from the beginning that this child will be very loved and that has been so evident. Friends and family have been extremely kind and generous as we've prepared to welcome our little one. It's something I've been telling the Olive a lot lately as I've been trying to convince the little guy or girl to come out. I let the Olive know that there are a lot of people who are so excited to see him and welcome him to our world.

Let's hope she's listening...

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Proverbial Straw

I am officially full term in this pregnancy...at 37 weeks and a couple of days, the Olive would be good to go if he or she made an appearance. It would, of course, be better for him if he stayed put for at least one or two more weeks, but knowing he would be considered full-term has me very excited...and counting the days until we actually meet.

In spite of the litany of pregnancy woes - mainly back pain, being super tired, feeling HUGE and occasional heartburn, I was doing okay and was still quite happy being pregnant until last week. Last week marked the beginning of the swelling where I can no longer identify my ankles as separate from my puffy feet or legs. I also look like an unwed mother most of the time since my rings no longer fit my pudgy hands. Again, although not pleasant, I could totally deal with the swelling until the carpal tunnel started. Due to the swelling, I can no longer feel my hands for a good portion of each morning. I wake up at night with an uncomfortable pins and needles feeling burning through my hands and up my arms. Seriously, pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome was not something I was expecting and I'm not at all fond of it. It is really the symptom that has me being over being pregnant and ready to move on to being a mother.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Different

I've mentioned before how important yoga practice is to me in general and how it has been a source of comfort throughout this pregnancy. It's been a growing experience for me, to accept what this changed body can do and work with that rather than forcing movement that just isn't possible right now. I've had to breathe my way through poses that in the past would have come much more easily, but having to work within my new realm of body and mind has been more beneficial than just arriving easily in poses. I certainly look forward to getting "my" body back and moving more easily, but this time of moving for two and sharing my body has been enlightening.

This picture was taken about two years ago after a morning of hiking near Las Vegas. I remember pushing effortlessly into full wheel and having little problem holding the pose (on a rock, none the less) while the picture was taken. While my form isn't exactly correct, I've always found it to be a gorgeous pose.


Now, I wouldn't even attempt wheel (not only could I not do it, but it wouldn't be safe), but do find that reverse table is a passable substitute. The form here is not ideal in the least, but then I'm 36 weeks pregnant and not going for ideal. I just want to maintain some strength and flexibility as I prepare for labor, birth and motherhood. Nothing comes without effort these days, but the very act of making the effort is part of the practice and part of accepting where I am and where I am going.