Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Managing Expectations

I have felt like I pretty much spend each day running around like a chicken with its head cut off since approximately January 31st of this year.

Tiny babies have a way of throwing your regularly scheduled life/routine/sanity out the window as fast as they make their debut into the world.  And our newest tiny baby is no exception to that rule.  Add in a handful of mild medical drama to the mix and this train nearly de-railed itself.

I am a schedule person. I LOVE a good routine.  I love even more than that a good list. On paper. That I can physically cross things off on.  We had a good little routine for ourselves over here prior to our littlest peanut joining us on the outside.  I KNEW that was all going to change, but I really, honest to goodness, was not prepared with the MAGNITUDE of the change. 

Things were not clean.  Dishes not done.  Lucky if the laundry was washed AND dried in the same day, forget about having it folded and put away. Extra lucky if everyone ate 3 meals a day that did not consist of pop-tarts and frozen waffles (with peanut butter!). But then I figured that all out – things started to even out despite the crying baby who didn’t sleep all day.

Then! I went back to work. Again, wrench – thrown across the room.  The schedule we had, was gone.  Life was back to chaos and almost 3 months later, it is only mildly better.  The baby cries (a little bit) less, smiles (a lot) more and sleeps (mostly) better.  The preschooler is well, a stubborn italian girl who makes us laugh, but is also super helpful when she wants to be. But they each have their schedules and NEED to be in bed by certain time to avoid horrific meltdowns – so we work around them and then comes the rest!

But the cause of the chaos is probably more mental than anything else – I have a really hard time managing my own expectations.  I expect that I will be able to: sleep all night, clean a little before work in the morning, work all day, have dinner, clean up after dinner, clean up the girls after dinner, get the girls to bed, work out, clean whatever is dirty, clean myself, do laundry, take care of LIFE (bills/plans/blog/etc.) and still see my husband. 

I also apparently expect that each day is no shorter than 28 hours because guess what – all of those things? They do not happen each day! They can’t.  And I need to be better at just dealing with that. 

My house? It is in desperate need of a deep-cleaning, but I need to accept that picking up the toys, sweeping the floor and if I instill help from my favorite 4 year old helper, dusting – is all that there is time for.  The laundry? Is forever in progress and I just need to be able to remember which basket has clean clothes in it. The dishes? Are usually done (I can’t go to bed with dishes in the sink, I just can’t do it!) but some nights the WHOLE kitchen isn’t perfectly clean. I can’t work out every night – there just isn’t enough time, so 3x a week has to be enough for now.

There is so much more that goes along with this idea of managing my expectations – the idea that not everyone does everything just like I do.  Mike might not load the dishwasher like I do, but he still does it and it needs to just be good enough.  I need to be okay with giving up time to do household things to just hang out with the people who created the beautiful mess I live in – some days, I have to really focus on that and just let the rest go! 

probably the thing I need to keep in my brain at all times that I think will help with this whole management deal – is that this is MY Life, not anyone else’s – so good for you if your house is always spotless, or if you can work out 3x a day, or if your kid takes awesome naps so you can be crafty or whatever – sometimes the internet has a way of creating these crazy thoughts in our heads that we have to do XYZ to be cool.   I KNOW that isn’t true – if the 4 people who live under this roof are happy, the rest doesn’t really matter in the end – and I KNOW that in my head.  But I have a really hard time letting go/changing what I expect to accomplish in a day/week/month/year etc. – it’s getting easier as I get more comfortable giving up that unnecessary expectations I tend to create for myself – but still a daily challenge!  Right now actually, I am working on just being able to cut myself some slack if everything isn’t done every night – some nights are easier than others (usually when I am extra tired!) but I am working on it so that counts for something, right?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

this and that

Everything is just madness. Chaos. All over the place, it seems as of late. So, a few quick updates on life are in order – mostly for memory keeping purposes.

Gianna Update:

If I though the age of 3 and life with my adorable threenager was a challenge – the age of 4 is bringing that challenge to a whole new level.  We have All of the Attitude going on lately – and then, in the next breath, All of the Sweetness as well.  Keeping up with Miss G and her ever evolving moods is a full time job at the moment.

She will be starting soccer in the fall and has decided she wants to dance again this year as well.  But her summer social calendar has been PACKED – she has time with her grandparents, aunts, and/or friends a few times a week.

Gianna does crack me up so much – she was having a little tiff with one of her friends today and said “I decided to just quit being her friend today then” and she told me the other night that if she took the bones out of her feet she would stay little.  I need to do a gianna-ism post soon, she is witty that one!

Aleesia Update:

Aleesia will be (I have no idea how) 6 months old next week – so a more formal update on her coming soon. But! She just learned to roll from her back to her front and thoroughly enjoys rolling around the living room!  She also enjoys her feet – a lot – and to smile and laugh at her sister.

She is still full of the reflux – and literally spits up on me the moment I walk in the door every single day. But her kidney reflux hasn’t gotten any worse, so that is good news.


Life Update:

My sister and I are doing a couch to 5k running program together – and I am doing some high intensity workouts (I finished the 30 day shred!) on days I can’t get outside to run.  My goal is to workout at least 3x a week and so far, I have been able to meet (and sometimes exceed!) that.  We also joined a crop share and get lots of yummy food each week!  It has helped us broaden our fruit and veggie horizons so that is good stuff as well!  The extra fruit and veggie consumption combats the growing coffee addiction that I have going on right now.

We are just busy – as usual – I feel like there is no way to keep up with All of the Things right now.  I KNOW it’s part of the whole newborn haze, but still, it frustrates me.  I just want to have enough time in the day to hang out with the girls, hang out with mike, go to work, get the laundry/dishes/cleaning done and still be able to work out, relax, socialize etc.  Oh, and you know, schedule some time to sleep and eat. I am also very clearly delirious and need to work on altering my expectations of life right now!

Mike is rocking out the stay at home dad role these days – he usually has dinner on the table when I get home (yay!) and does fun stuff with the girls.  The house might not always be super clean, but I think he handles things close to the way I would at least 70% of the time.

We are going on vacation soon so I am trying to figure out what we need to get and pack and whatnot.  In the midst of scheduling an unexpected home repair and a car repair.  I keep trying to plant this elusive money tree but it keeps dying. I don’t know what is up with that…

A picture update coming soon – I hope!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Randoms

  • PhotobucketWhy don't people comment on blog posts? I can see how many page views I get and how little comments I get... I know when I actually take the time to (finally) read I try to comment too.  Hmmmm...
  • Speaking of reading - I switched to Feedly and I'm not 100% convinced I love it. Although, I haven't tried the mobile app yet.  Anyone have a new reader they love that you can read online and through a mobile device? Bonus it it lets you get to the content easily so you can leave comments!
  • There was a HUGE storm here the other day. And I left my windows down in my car. Because, well, I am a genius obviously.  My car seats are still drying out....
  • We are part of a crop share and I LOVE it.  We split it with my sister's family and it is seriously enough food for both of us (and we use everything between the two of us so I don't feel like we are wasting much, if anything). 
  • I plan to make some baby food with some of our produce.  Which means I should actually you know, make the food and freeze it for when she's ready for it.
  • Related to that - we have tried three times now to start Aleesia on solids because she watches us eat and seems to be interested in the process.  Except when you actually try to feed her - she cries, pushes the spoon away, spits the food out, etc. At first I thought maybe she just doesn't like the cereal, but she was having no part of the bananas we tried last night.  I'm TOTALLY okay with this (feeding a baby is a lot of work!) just surprised! We'll try again after her half birthday in a few weeks.
  • How in the WORLD is she going to be 6 months old soon? Sheesh.
  • I need to prepare a teaching demo for Tuesday. And I haven't started it yet... I have no idea why I am slacking on this.
  • Also slacking on doing anymore research on the PhD program I found.  Have I asked if anyone has experience with Capella University? If you do - can you comment/email me so I can pick your brain?
  • Work has been going well and that makes me happy.  Little stress, many opportunities coming up - just the way I like it!
  • I have been working out pretty consistently.  I finished the 30 day shred (and saw real results) and am starting the couch 2 5k program (if it ever freaking quits raining here) with some interval workouts on the "off" days.  If I can aim to workout 4 days a week, I think that will fit into my schedule well and won't stress me out too much.  I have a lot more to say on this topic soon! (I hope?!)
  • I have been talking to my sister about my niece's first birthday. Again - how in the WORLD can her first birthday be approaching? Nuts!
  • What's new with you - anything fun happening?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Big Sister Rule #164: All pets must be properly dressed at all times. Fashionista in the house.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Road Tripping & Beach Bound

In just a month we are heading to the Outer Banks to spend some beach time with our friends.  And I am irrationally excited about this.  We have taken some awesome trips the past few years, but I have missed the sand in my toes for sure.

We took Gianna to Myrtle Beach when she was 18 months old and it was a gloriously relaxing vacation.

She is so pumped about this trip because two of her best friends will be there – I know they are all going to have a KILLER time.

I have never taken a wee baby to the beach though and the idea of lugging my littlest most-particular-princess to the beach is a little daunting to be quite honest.  I have a beach tent to keep her out of the sun.  And protective swim suits and a hat for her.  I thought she might be sitting up on her own by the time we left, and maybe she will be, but right now she isn’t.  Needless to say I am a little unsure of what all to bring with me to entertain her, keep her cool and protected from the sun.

So far my plan is to bring her beach tent and pretty much keep her in there with a few toys.  we will have a large beach towel so she can lay down and eat sand play if she wants.  Perhaps the bumbo seat would be a good option for her too.  Someone on FB mentioned bringing a little baby bathtub for her – which, possibly, but that might be a bit much to lug to/from the beach house. Sunscreen, obviously, we have under control. 

What other tips might you have for enjoying a trip to the beach with a baby who may (or may not) be quite particular about life?!

We are renting a house down there and planning on buying the majority of our food when we get there – but aside from cleaning products & personal stuff– what are things we should bring with us?

And for the to and from portion of our beach vacation we will be road tripping.  Aleesia will be fine in the car, and honestly I think Gianna will be too.  Luckily both girls generally sleep anytime they are buckled into their seats!  I want to put together a few things to entertain Gianna – she has been really into coloring lately so we will pack a lot of crafty/coloring stuff.  And her v.reader and the eyepad, naturally.  I found a few ideas on pinterest but it’s questionable whether or not I find the time to do any of them.  Has anyone tried anything awesome that would go over well with a FOURyearsold?  I have an old ipod nano that maybe I will have Mike load some tunes on for her… road trip playlist, FTW!

Typically, if we are driving somewhere, we just drive straight there and only stop to eat and use the bathroom.  We decided this time that we would stop on the way there and home (when we passed the halfway point) and maybe find some cool things to see along the way, since we are going to need to stop to eat and use the bathroom ANYWAY. I believe the world’s largest hammock is on our list… we are notoriously NOT GOOD at road tripping, in general, so I’m hoping this helps to make the trip portion of this vacation more enjoyable.

Any other beach-going  (or Outer Banks specific) tips/advice you want to throw my way, I’m all ears.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


When I decided to try and breastfeed Aleesia, I had very little expectations of the process. 

Breastfeeding is a lot harder than I imagined it would be.  And then you can add in all of Miss A’s other health issues on top of that making it harder-er than I imagined.  I didn’t ever understand all of the “low supply” woes that some of my friends experienced, until now.  Or how peaceful it can be to just sit with that tiny human and know you are giving her all that she needs to grow and thrive.

I did find some joy, or at least peaceful quiet moments, during out breastfeeding relationship over the past five months.

But probably for the majority of the time it was hard, hard work and a sincere HATE of pumping. (I give so many props to women who exclusively pump. SO MANY)

Aleesia has been supplemented with formula since I went back to work full time because I just could not produce enough during the day.  Which is just fine – she has to eat, after all.  I would just feed her when I was with her and that seemed to be okay.  Except, it really wasn’t okay.  Neither of us were quite satisfied with the relationship – she was never full and I was always feeing bad because I couldn’t give her what she needed.

And there is the spitting up issue – there is something she was reacting to in my milk – I don’t know what, but something.  And, it was clearly and visibly higher in mucous content and much lower in caloric content than you would expect.  She started doing better on days she had only formula and that was all I needed to know.

As hard as we worked together to establish and maintain this intimate part of our relationship, it just wasn’t working anymore.  I tried everything I could think of, read about, hear about, etc. to get things to work better for us to no avail.  Mike was a great supporter and dealt with my crazy emotional snippiness and frustration wonderfully.  But it still just wasn’t working.  Of course I feel some guilt around it – maybe if I wasn’t a working mom we could have worked harder or maybe I should have continued to pump for her or change my diet again or, or, or.

Ultimately, I decided two weeks ago to start weaning her because we both needed to be happy and feeling good. 

Of note: weaning is NO JOKE! 

I tried to quit it cold turkey. Which, was stupid.  So I decreased my pumping sessions first and still fed her as she pleased when I was home.  On Monday of this week, she lost interest in nursing so I stopped pumping and finally no longer feel as if my boobs will explode at any minute.

Engorgement and weaning is/was worse than childbirth no exaggeration.  I did take sudafed and motrin around the clock for 48 hours, which may have helped.  I even went to the store at lunch the other day to buy a more supportive bra because I could not concentrate on anything!

Now that I am feeling better physically and for the most part, not guilty about this choice, things are better!  We know how much she is eating, and that there is no potential allergen cross contamination going on, and while she spits up just as much and her reflux is pretty much the same she is less frustrated.  She pounds those bottles like a champ for the most part and we get good 15-20 minute chunks of HAPPY BABY!

It was a MUCH MUCH harder decision than I thought it would be to wean Aleesia – but in the end, it’s the best decision for US.