Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Night That Sleep Almost Wasn’t

Does your little one have a special item? You know, a cuddly blanket, snuggly stuffed animal or bedraggled teether blankie that he/she won’t go anywhere without? Especially when the going is to bed? Let me introduce you to mine…

I apologize for the stock picture instead of a shot of my very own Swaddle Me blanket…but Brent left it at day care yesterday, so it wasn't available for the photo shoot. You might be thinking to yourself that it’s not a big deal to leave something like that at day care. If you ARE thinking that, then you obviously answered “No” to the question posed above regarding “special items.”

Because if you do have a little one that has a special item, then you’ll understand why I went into immediate Freak Out mode at 8:17pm CST last night. I mean, our household got deathly quiet when I asked “Hey, hon? Where’s his swaddle blanket? You know, the blue one…”

Later on, after the meltdown that occurred shortly after I realized that we didn’t have the special item for the night, Brent compared hearing that question with getting a speeding ticket. You know how it is: you’re speeding, you pass the cop, he hits his brakes and the bottom falls out of your stomach. Sort of a deer-in-the-headlights type of feeling. When you KNOW that you messed up. And messed up BIG.

Jax has the swaddle blanket (color: blue, size: small, fabric: micro-fleece) and I swear to you that the makers of the Swaddle Me blanket/wrap puts baby crack somewhere in my blanket. It honestly has special, magical powers for my son. He can be fussy, whiny, cranky, and/or tired and you wrap him up in that blanket and the world slowly falls away and ceases to exist for him. In a matter of seconds, he’s quiet, content and usually asleep. I don’t know what it is about the blanket, but we call it “magic” in our house!

You see, my little man is a wiggly worm. He likes to be bundled up tight, but everyone needs to watch out if he manages to get loose. For a few weeks, the big hospital blankets that they “donated” to us worked great, but then he got strong enough to work his arms out of them. The Swaddle Me blanket is perfect because with the Velcro keeping it closed, he’s not going anywhere! And he sleeps SO much better when he’s all bundled up and his energy is being contained…so therefore, he sleeps in the swaddle blanket each and every single night.

And apparently it’s just that ONE Swaddle Me blanket…I mistakenly thought that all Swaddle Me blankets were one and the same, but on no – they’re not. Don’t make my mistake and think that you can go to Babies R Us to buy a “back up” swaddle blanket…it won’t work. I bought two. I thought that Jax was growing out of the one that we had, and that it would be nice for day care to have their own to keep there and then we would keep one at home. So I bought two – in the larger size and the cotton material, thinking that he would be more comfortable with more room and a more breathable fabric.

That was mistake numero uno. Apparently all Swaddle Me blankets are NOT made the same. He’s gotten to where he’ll take it during the daytime for naps, if, and only if, we insist. This is after two washings (in an attempt to “shrink” it a bit) and many, many times of wrapping him up in it and then taking it off to replace it with the baby crack one eventually. But he will NOT take anything but the baby crack one at night to sleep in. Nothing else works.

So can you now understand my level of panic when I realized that Brent had not brought said baby crack magic blanket home from the day care, right? And maybe now you understand why Brent slept with one eye open last night…just kidding!

I held back any scathing comments that I could have made to Brent when I realized his grave mistake…that took a lot, it really did. I simply went and found one of the poor substitutes for the “magic” blanket and settled in for a long night. I tried the green one first – no, I’m not really sure why I thought the color was important. Next, I tried the blue one – it didn’t work any better than the green one, duh! Finally, in an attempt to “make things right,” Brent came in and used his “burrito baby” skills with one of the hospital blankets. He also volunteered to get up and re-burrito Jax during the middle of the night for me…since he WAS the one that left the baby crack blanket at day care…

It took three different tries with three different blankets, an hour of my time, around 1,374 rocks of the glider and a good dose of patience to get him to sleep last night. I was worn out by the end of the “battle” between the Mommy-who-wants-her-baby-to-sleep and the baby-that-isn’t-in-his-normal-comfy-cozy-cocoon. I was so tired that I brushed my teeth, pumped one last time, and crawled into bed to sleep in sleep-of-the-dead mode until he woke up to eat at 2:30am.

Lucky for me, when he wakes in the middle of the night to eat, he’s not really awake. I mean, he cries and he’s hungry and his eyes are open, but he’s still somewhat asleep all at the same time. Interpret that to read that he’s easier to put back to sleep and that he’s less picky about which blanket he’s wrapped in. The poor substitutes got their chance to shine at 3am…

Two good things came out of this…well maybe three. Jax proved his point that he’s a better baby when the baby crack blanket is around. We proved our point that he CAN and WILL sleep without the “magic” blanket, if needed. And lastly, I don’t think that Brent will EVER leave the Swaddle Me blanket at day care again!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week 2 - Progress Update on "Milking the Cow"

After a really exhausting, tiring, make-you-go-to-bed-crying weekend I feel really good about where I stand right now on breastfeeding. It’s as if the girls and I have made a pact or called a truce of sorts…I gave a little and they met me halfway. And it couldn’t have happened any sooner, because as you know from this post I was literally on my last leg with this whole breastfeeding saga.

I vented to my husband and I felt a little better. He reminded me that I was only doing this because it was MY CHOICE to do so. That no one else was pressuring me to continue, and that I could choose to stop at any time. And he’s right. While he’s supportive of my choices/decisions, he couldn’t care less whether we feed Jax breast milk or formula. He knows that Jax will be healthy either way, so as he put it so simply “If it’s causing you this much stress, then stop.”

But I’m not a quitter. That’s just not me. At the same time though, I knew that I was doing all that I could do – there was nothing more for me to give because I’d given it all already – and if I didn’t see some improvement for all of my efforts, then I knew that I would quickly lose the drive to continue.

Lucky for me, the girls didn’t let me down. After the most stressful weekend ever they are rebounding with flying colors and producing amazing “come back” results for me and Jax. You know that I’ve got numbers for you, so here they are:

(Comparisons made between last week and this week)
I’m seeing a 48% increase in overall daily production.
I’m now able to produce an amount that is equal to what I need to send to day care each day. (Note: that is producing, not storing. I’m only able to store just over half of what I send to day care each day…so there’s still room for improvement!)
My per-pump-session amount is more consistent day-to-day and steadily increasing each day.

To say that I’m thrilled with the progress that I’ve made would be the understatement of the year, especially when made following this past weekend. I wish that I could pinpoint what “turned the tide” so to speak, but I’ve been doing SO many things to increase my milk production that I can’t say with any degree of certainty which one (or combination) did the trick. I can share with you what I have been doing though, in case this might help someone else.

Drink plenty of fluids – no caffeine, no carbonated beverages and LOTS of water.  I do cheat and have one glass of normal tea each day, so I am taking in a small amount of caffeine but I figure one glass isn't gonna ruin anything. I’ve also taken to drinking a cup of the Mother’s Milk tea each day, maybe two per day. On a personal note, the stuff tastes awful. But somewhere someone told me to mix it half and half with apple juice. It’s not great, but it’s 1 million times better that way!

Pump regularly and pump often – right now I’m staying on a two hour time schedule for pumping when I’m away from Jax. When I’m at home, he’s allowed to eat as often as he needs to eat, but typically that’s every 2.5 to 3 hours. We’ll talk more about letting him feed in a minute…

Eat. Eat. Eat. I’m taking in what feels like 10,000 calories each day just to give my body the raw material that it needs to make breast milk. And I’m trying to make sure that most of it is healthy – you know, good choices for snacking and eating - not all of it can be chocolate, pizza and ice cream. Believe me, if my body isn’t getting enough calories, it lets me know with some intense hunger pains. So I feed the machine frequently – I snack on something every hour at work. I eat oatmeal once a day – this is an old wives tale, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. There’s some debate about not using the instant type, but that’s what I use and my results are going the right direction so I’m not sure if it really matters.

Vitamins/Supplements – I still take my pre-natal vitamin daily. I started taking my Iron supplement pills again toward the end of last week and for now I’m taking three of those each day. I anticipate dropping back down to one per day once my milk supply is back to where it used to be. I also take Fenugreek pills (per doctor’s instructions) three pills three times a day every OTHER day. I read somewhere that some people can build up a tolerance to Fenugreek, and once I paid attention to my progress (thank goodness for my chart-making anal self!) I could definitely see spikes of improvement when I started the pills and then it slowly tapered off. Since this past weekend, I’ve taken to using them every other day, and it seems to work better for me.

That’s it. You know, typed out like that it doesn’t seem like all that much. But it’s a lot in reality. There are meals that I take 6-7 pills on certain days with some meals, so it seems like a lot on those days.

The only other thing that I did differently this past weekend was to let Jax feed from me. The weekend before, I was trying to build up my “supply” of milk in my freezer for day care, so I fed him formula all weekend and just pumped at his feeding times. Both my doctor and his pediatrician kept emphasizing to me the importance of letting him cluster feed from me…but of course, I thought that I knew better. So what if they have a fancy schmancy medical degree backing up their argument? I had Sandy-logic backing up my theory…but maybe this one time Sandy-logic let me down. I pushed through it all weekend long, the crying (his and mine), the fussiness of him not wanting to “work” to get his meal, and the tiredness that comes from having someone attached to a part of your body every time you turn around. And maybe those doctors knew what they were talking about after all…I saw an immediate increase on Saturday and then again on Sunday.

So now, I’m trying to do two or three feedings each day (the work days are hard to do this on) and I’ll continue with the breastfeeding only schedule on the weekends. While at work, I’m still pumping every two hours, but I could probably go two and a half or three hours, if I needed to. I don’t want to push it so soon though, so at least for this week I’m sticking with what’s worked in the past.

And you know what? It’s not as bad being Bessie the milk cow when you’re actually able to produce a decent amount of milk! It’s like seeing my progress makes it all worth it…

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Whammies! No Whammies!!

I know, I know…posting was pretty “light” so to speak last night. Sorry – I had a VERY bad headache and just enough energy to wash bottles, feed Jax (while watching that movie on TV) and get to bed. It came up out of the blue, and I really can’t say what caused it.

Could I be allergic to work?!?! Hee hee!

Just kidding. But I did get some really good news from the work-front yesterday. Our company in the past paid out a yearly bonus, but in recent years (like the last two years) just like every other company that’s been struggling through the recession the bonuses were not paid out. Yesterday, just when we had all given up hope of ever getting a bonus again, an email went out notifying us that the bonus would be paid this year. Better late than never, right? I’m already spending the money in my mind, which begs a question to mind.

What do you do when you get an unexpected “windfall” of money? I’m not talking about lots and lots of money, but more than just a little bit. Are you smart with the money? Or do you “play” with it?

I usually go a mix of the two, if it’s enough money. You know, put a big chunk of it towards something smart – paying off debt, increasing our savings account, purchasing some stocks - and then take a little (much smaller chunk) and do something fun with it. This time around I’m at a loss as to what “fun” thing that I would like to do.

We didn’t do anything really spectacular over the summer with the kids, since I was 435 weeks pregnant for half of the summer…so part of me says that we should do something fun with/for them. I need two new tires on my car…and Brent needs an alignment on his truck…but those don’t really qualify as “fun” things, do they?

We both have new phones…I have a laptop and our home computer is brand new…we both have iPods and don’t really need an iPad. Brent would say that we need a new TV for the living room, but I would disagree. He only says that so that the current TV in the living room (which is less than 3 years old) can be moved into the garage/man cave. I don't necessarily rank this item with the importance that Brent does!

I have a nice camera. And we have all the big items that we needed for Jax as far as baby items go…so I’m truly at a loss on what to do.

So I’ll turn the question over to you, dear readers…what would YOU do? Maybe one of you will inspire me about something that I’ve been wanting and haven’t splurged on…let’s set a limit of $500 since the practical, anal-retentive side of me will have to do something smart with the rest of the money, I just can’t help it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Name That Movie...

There's no prize...just bragging rights, I guess.

"You rode a 15 year-old straight into his grave.  And the rest of us - straight to hell!"

Somebody's got to know this one...right?  Surely I'm not the only fan, because this one is actually on my list of favorite moveis to watch.  And I owned the soundtrack back in the day...just because Bon Jovi rocked.  (Still do, IMO!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Came THIS Close

To giving up on breastfeeding this weekend. 

Like, put your pointer finger and your thumb a micron away from each other, so close that you can barely see any space in between the two, and that's how close I was to chucking the whole shebang this weekend.

But it's Sunday night...and I'm going to give it another week and see if that changes things. 

What's going on?  Oh, nothing much...except that the solution for getting my milk production up was to allow Jax to cluster feed all weekend, giving him no bottles, forcing him to breastfeed and therefore increase my milk.  That came from both his doctor on Friday and my doctor as well.  Great plan.  Excellent in theory. 

But what do you do when your child has decided that he doesn't WANT to breastfeed?  If the answer if not giving him any other food options, holding his head to your breast while he screams for 30 minutes (or more) until he finally admits defeat and latches on, or other such ideas similar...then they've all been tried in this household.  And that's why I'm about that same distance away from LOSING MY MIND.

Here's some stats for you:

Days on this plan: 2
Nights without more than an hour of sleep for me: 2
Times attempted to breastfeed and had to admit defeat and fix a bottle because I can't stand to see him go hungry: 2
The longest stretch that he slept last night: 57 minutes

To say this has been the weekend from hell might be the understatement of the year.  This is hard, ya'll.  I want to continue breastfeeding, but pumping alone is not increasing my supply no matter how often I do it.  No matter what supplements I take.  No matter what I eat in order to boost my calories and make more milk.  It's just not enough.  I need his cooperation for this to work.  Case in point - my last pumping session from earlier today when he wouldn't eat?  Double what it normally is at that time of the day.  So, having him feed from me clearly helps my body produce more milk. 

But what do I do when he won't feed from me?  I've accomplished most of it this weekend either by wearing him down or tricking him.  Since I use the nipple shields by Medela, I can put a little expressed milk between me and the shield in the cap of it, allowing him to "see results" of his sucking actions faster.  This seems to keep him from getting so frustrated, but it doesn't work every time.  And can you imagine trying to do this at 3am?  Yeah, I don't have to imagine it...I did it.  And I cried for an hour since it took almost an hour to convince him to feed and finish eating.  It was not pretty, I'm telling you.

And the worst part about all of this?  My husband who wants to help out, wants to give me a break, wishes that he could take Jax for one night so that I could get 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep (another stat for you - it's been over a month since that happened!) and I can't let him do that.  Because my body needs Jax to feed from me to help it make more milk.  Because I need to allow him to breastfeed. 

So we'll see how this week goes, but I'm making no promises about how much longer I can keep this up.  I'm running on fumes, and I have to be at work tomorrow, fully functional and productive.  I can't say that I will be able to keep up this pace.  Especially now that I can't substitute any of the feedings while I'm at home with a bottle. 

If that should happen, please don't judge me.  If I come to that point and I have to stop, please understand that I have tried everything that I could to keep my milk and increase it so that I could continue.  Please understand that making this decision will be hard for me.  Just as this weekend was officially, the weekend from hell.  Maybe a good night's sleep will make me feel's to this next week being better than this weekend!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Months

Goodness, baby boy.  Where has the time gone?  It really seems to fly by now that I'm back at work.  I just finished my first full week back at work, and man...let me tell you...I'm POOPED!  This working-mother-to-an-infant thing is HARD!  It's a constant struggle between mom and wife and worker...balancing all these hats is difficult.  I remember with my daughter that the first few months were the hardest, and thought that was mainly because I did it all with little to no help from the ex.  I get LOTS and LOTS of help now...and it's still challenging.  Maybe it's just supposed to be that way, or maybe I'm just 8 years older!  LOL!

Anyway, we took the little man to the doctor yesterday for his two month check up.  I have to tell you, I was worried about his weight gain a little bit, but he turned out totally normal.  Here's the stats:

Weight - 12 lbs, 7 ounces - 50th percentile
Length - 23" - also 50th percentile

They didn't write down the head circumference for me, but that was the only measurement that he was in the 90th percentile on!  He's got quite the noggin!  But we say that's just because he's so to have somewhere to store all those brains...but my favorite part of him?  Those little feet!!  They're just so cute!

But even being as cute as a button, performing well on tummy time for the doctor and looking great everywhere else didn't save him from the dreaded shots.  He got three injections and one oral vaccine.  Yuck!  (While we were there, big sister also got her first flu shot...she has to go back in 4 weeks for the secondary one...but she lucked out and it's a sniffer "shot" of mist through the nose!)  He was totally happy...
Picture taken with cell phone RIGHT before the nurse walked in...

And then all hell broke loose.  That first needle got him and he was like "What the HECK?"  I know that it was totally unexpected and startled him more than anything.  On that one he cried, but not that badly.  It was the two injections that came next that had him turning fourteen different shades of red and crying so hard that no sound was coming out of his little mouth.  Don't worry, though.  The lungs only malfunctioned for a few moments and then the real screams started.  I don't know who cried harder, him or me!

Afterwards, he slept.  A lot.  He ate too, but not like normal.  He was pretty restless all night long and ran a little bit of fever, but so far this morning he's been a peach.  Let's hope the day continues in this trend, because after getting up with him all night every 30-60 minutes to settle him back down...this house is tired!

Let's move on to your tricks!  Jax, you're changing so much each and every day.  You still don't really like tummy time, but you push up with your arms a little bit and hold your head up really well.  You like to play on your back on your play mat and are starting to actually reach for the toys that hang in your face. 
You smile, laugh and coo at us after your belly is full...and when it's empty you have NO problem letting us know that we're slacking in that department!  You're eating 3.5 or 4 ounces every 2.5 or 3 hours.  I break it down that way because at day care you eat less in each bottle because you want to feed more often.  At home, you take the fuller bottle less often. 

Your sleeping patterns have improved drastically over the past month!  You used to sleep from 8p for about 4-5 hours before being hungry and you will now stretch it to 5-6 hours each night.  And knock on wood, but the other night you went 7 hours before feeding with only waking up once for your pacifier.  I'd like to see that particular trend become more regular, so let's work on that, ok?  Thanks!  Since doctors define any stretch of sleep lasting longer between 5-6 hours as sleeping through the night, I guess you're there!  You also like to feed again in the early morning hours sometime between 5a-6a, but most days Mom's already up and about by then!

You are wearing clothes in the 0-3 month range with a few smaller 3-6 month outfits thrown in for good measure.  You are just starting to take an interest in some of your rattle-y type of toys, but not much else.  Your absolute favorite thing to play with right now are your hands.  You keep making the attempt to suck on your thumb, but since you keep it tucked into your fist you end up trying to suck on your whole fist - pretty comical!  You hold your hands constantly and once or twice you've snagged Mommy's and Sissy's hair.
You still love your swing most days, and you've taken to sleeping on your side.  You sleep each night in your crib...but still using the Boppy pillow.  You will NOT sleep unless you are swaddled.  And you have one swaddle blanket in particular that you're fond of.  I swear, it's got baby crack in it or something...maybe it's magic?  You will start fussing, and Dad or I will wrap you into that swaddle and you go out like a light.  Regular blankets will work in a pinch (if the magic crack swaddle blanket is being washed) but you don't like them as much. 

You recognize our voices and turn your head to find us when we come into the room.  When Dad picks you up from day care in the afternoons, you are just starting to squeal with happiness when you hear him...that really tickles him!

You are eating about half formula and half breastmilk these days as I struggle with my milk production.  This weekend, we're trying to let you cluster-feed to help with that, but it's a struggle to not give you any formula when you're crying and I know it's because you're hungry and there's nothing else for you from me.  It's early in the weekend though, so we'll see how that goes...I make no promises. 

Most of the time, you're a happy baby boy...
But we all have our days, right?
We love you SO much, Jax!  Looking forward to all the changes that will continue to come our way!

Friday, September 24, 2010

It Should Come With A “Bad Taste” Warning Label!

OK – so how come no one told me that Mother’s Milk tea was gonna taste like butt?!?! I know, I know. I said that I was gonna put on my big girl panties and suck it up and drink the stuff – it’s for a greater cause, right? I did say that, didn’t I? Oh right – when you blog and you put your thoughts out there on the internet it’s easier for them to come back to haunt you!

Still, someone should have told me that this stuff was gonna taste this bad. I know that I’m no fan of flavored teas, but DANG! Then again, if you happen to like the taste of black licorice, then you’ll probably LOVE this tea. What was that? You no like-y black licorice so much like me? Oh, well then, you might want to save your $5.69 instead of buying this tea.

Do I think that another brand will be better? Nope. And I won’t waste another $6 just seeing if someone can prove me wrong! All I can say is that this stuff better work…I’m really hoping to see some big increase in the milk production department. Otherwise, feeling like Bessie the milk cow and drinking stuff that you hate doesn’t have much going for it in the rewards column.

Then again, this is how I’m trying to take my afternoon dose in:Yes, that’s Mother’s Milk tea brewed, cooled and poured into my water bottle (in a poor attempt to dilute the licorice flavoring) paired with a Little Debbie/Hostess chocolate cupcake. And yes, I eat the bottom of my cupcakes first…don’t ask. Better yet, call my friend Tina and ask her about all of my other weird eating habits - you two can bond over my weirdness and become instant BFFs!

Meanwhile, I’ll be here. Choking down this tea.

Can a cupcake be a “chaser” to a foul-tasting drink? If so, then I need more cupcakes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 1 – Progress Update on "Milking the Cow"

Cute title, huh? I swear when you hook “the girls” up what feels like 14 million times a day just to pump out all excess milk and ferret it away like liquid gold…that’s sort of what it feels like. I definitely have a new respect for the dairy cows of the world!

So it’s been a week now since I spoke with my doctor and she started me on my new pumping regimen to try to increase my milk production. I would love to report that in just one week all is well in my household and I no longer have to sweat it when I pump because I’m getting enough during the day to replace what I’m sending out.

While that would make a nice, neat and happy fairy tale of a story…it wouldn’t be exactly accurate. LOL!

In truth, this is harder than getting my milk to come in right after birth. (Well, I guess most anything would be, since you don’t really have to “do” anything to get that milk in…you just have to work at stopping it if you didn’t opt for breastfeeding.) You know me, my analytical-number-crunching self has some stats for you – comparisons and what not. Here goes:

Before any of these troubles started, I was pumping between 4-5 ounces every three hours. I would go 4-5 hours at night without feeding/pumping around his sleeping schedule, so that first “take” of the morning might be closer to 6 ounces, but on average I could easily feed my son 4-5 ounces every three hours like clockwork.

By the time that I realized that I had created a monster a problem and started charting my progress with all of this I was pumping just a little over an ounce every 2-3 hours. My first pump of the morning would be closer to 3 ounces, but I could only produce a grand total of 8.5 ounces FOR THE WHOLE DAY. Wow. When you put numbers to it like that, it really smack you upside your face, huh? I went from 28-35 ounces per day down to 8.5 – yeah. I would say that making that call to my doctor was a smart move.

But let’s not focus on the negatives. I started pumping religiously (okay, maybe not those first two days but NOW it’s religiously…a girl has to make the habit again!), upped my water intake and started taking the herbal supplement Fenugreek in an attempt to increase my milk supply. After one week of doing these things, I was able to note a 21% increase in my production.

Now, before you get all crazy and start throwing your hats up in the air or doing the happy dance with me, let me give you a quantitative number: I can now pump 10.7 ounces each day.

Yeah, it doesn’t look as great now, does it? 21% sounded SO much better! I don’t know why that is.

Truthfully, I’m not super impressed with those numbers. So, I debated long and hard about calling my doctor again and seeing what else could be done. But I wondered if since it took almost two weeks to get to this point where I wasn’t producing, if I was jumping the gun a bit on expecting it to come back quicker. Instead of picking up the phone, I did what any self-respecting, smart, savvy woman of the 21st century would do…I googled it.

Using this resource, which came from a reader (THANKS!) and is a GREAT resource, I read that however long it took to get into the situation, it could take at least that long to recover from it. So I relaxed a little bit. And once on that site, I clicked on some other links and read some other parts of her site and found some other helpful tips. The one thing that I REALLY like about her site is that she explains the WHY and HOW behind it all. Like explaining how your body makes breastmilk and why it would make more…this clued me into massaging while pumping – and I can honestly say that although a little weird the first time (think doing a self-exam while holding cups onto your boobs) it really does help drain all of the milk out so that my body will get the signal to make more than it was currently making. Check out her site, you’ll love it!

One that I should have thought of if I was using half of my brain is Iron. If you’re anemic or border-line anemic (like I was during my pregnancy) your body can’t produce breastmilk. It’s like asking your body to climb Mt. Everest without any training – it just can’t happen. And with the complications that I had during Jax’s birth, my blood levels were really low when I left the hospital, if you remember. The first month of his life, I was taking 3 iron pills each day – one with each meal. After that first 30 days, I dropped down to just one pill a day with breakfast, like I did during my pregnancy. Now, a smarter person would understand without having to read it on the internet that you need to continue to take that extra supplement while you’re asking your body to do extra things like making breastmilk. That’s what a smarter person would do.

Me? Nah, as soon as that last box of pills ran out I just quit taking them. Who needs the stomach problems that go hand in hand with taking Iron? Not this mama! Yeah, maybe I jumped the gun on that one…so I stopped on my way home last night and picked up some more Iron pills. I’ll take 3 a day for a few days to get my levels built back up and then go back to just 1 each day…hopefully this will give my milk production a boost.

I also read about eating oatmeal to increase milk production. It’s not really explainable the site said, but it’s documented that it helps. And since it’s not like taking a supplement or medication that needs to be cleared by a doctor, I also grabbed some Quaker (Apple & Cinnamon – the BEST!) oatmeal to eat either for breakfast or as a mid-morning snack. Something else that I grabbed? Some Mother’s Milk tea. Again, this is something that isn’t dangerous for me to take and just contains more of what I’m already taking per my doctor’s orders. I can’t say that I enjoyed the tea, but I don’t really like flavored teas all that much – read not at all. My Mom would be SO proud of me for putting on my big girl panties and finishing the cup of tea this morning anyway…even if I wanted to hold my nose like a 5 year-old.

So we’ll see if these new things, in addition to what I was already doing continue to help my production increase. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that I see an improvement from last week to this week. I would just like to see MORE of an improvement without going off of my BC pills. Which might be inevitable…but we’ll give it the rest of this week and the weekend before I really start to worry and call my doctor.

Have you heard of any of these supplements or “old wives tales” working for other breastfeeding moms? I would love to hear some positive stories just to boost my moral a little bit more! Thanks for sharing…

A New Photographer to Love

If you’re looking for something a little “different” for newborn photography, check out Wildflowers Photos. A friend of mine sent me the link to one of her newborn sessions, and I’ve fallen in love with her photography!

(Even if I couldn’t snag the photo to share with you directly here!)

She’s got a unique perspective that is very fresh and uplifting…while being all vintage-y. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not…I know what I mean!

So check out Wildflowers Photos if you’re in the market for a photographer…I know that I’ll be checking back in to see more of her work in the future! While you're over there, click around to find the maternity session that she did that involved like 20 tubs of Blue Bell Ice Cream...seriously! She's MY kind of photographer!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trying to Catch A Smile harder than you'd think! I had Jax on my lap the other day right after he ate and he was making all sorts of cute faces at me. Cooing, talking, eating his hands, you know...normal baby stuff. I had Brent grab my camera for me and I tried REAL hard to catch that grin on's the best that I got!

No Mom, you can't see my's MY smile!

Those are some of his baby "gang signs" that he makes all day long now that he's discovered his hands.

All of this press is making me so tired!

Hey Lady, when did you get so crazy? You used to be ok, but now you're making all these crazy faces at me, and I'm not so sure about you...

All right, all ready. Now will you go away?!?!

Mission sort of accomplished...I'll try again another day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What in the World?!?!

I really don’t know what’s going on in the world of fashion right now. Wait. Let me back up and start over. I am NOT a fashion guru or fashionista in any way, shape, form or fashion (no pun intended). I shop at cheap places like JCP, Target, Kohl’s and Ross. Those are MY go-to places for new shoes, dresses, work clothes and new purses. And yes, I do love me some BOGO.

That’s just who I am. I make no excuses for it, and I don’t pretend to be “up” or “hip” to the current fads. And typically I don’t speak out about them, but in doing a search today for some new shoes, I came across something that I just can’t keep quiet about any longer. Here’s what I saw:


Now, can I just ask – what the HELL is that?!?! It’s not a shoe. It’s not a boot. All I can definitely say that it might be is ugly. Like really ugly. Of course that’s just my opinion and doesn’t mean much…you might really like those, think that they’re the next best thing or already own them. If you do, then more power to you for being able to pull them off. I think that it would definitely take a special person to wear those appropriately.

The only thing that I can ask…would you pair them with JEGGINGS? I second my friend Brandi’s comments that she made to me one day…there’s seriously NOT a better name for those jean-type leggings??? The best name that the fashion world could come up with was jeggings??? I get it. They look totally comfy. Great idea. But the name just leaves a bad taste in my mouth…I don’t know. Maybe I’m the weird-o.

Are you down with the new half boot- half sandal – half mule shoes? Or do you wonder about them too?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birth Announcements – And a Prize!

If you’ve been reading along for a while now, you might have clued in on the fact that I’m a tad bit indecisive. Just a smidge. LOL! (I know that my Mom is laughing pretty hard on that one…) I realized the other day that I’ve put off ordering birth announcements for Jax. I know that you get some leeway on doing this, as the life of a newborn parent is somewhat hectic and slightly sleep-deprived. Most people understand. Even so, I’d really like to have these at least ordered before he turns two months old…which is this week! Eeeekk!!!

So I’m trying to get on the ball and get this project taken care of. There’s no better place, in my opinion, to order prints and project than using Shutterfly. It’s simple, easy process to upload your pictures and whether you’re ordering prints or projects, they have it all in one place for you. So what’s the problem, you’re asking me???

Their selection is too good! I was expecting to like maybe two or three card/announcement designs, not 15 of them! Seriously, I went onto another site to check out their announcement options and there were only two or three designs that jumped out at me. But on the Shutterfly site, I found many, many designs that I like and now I can’t choose! They’re all too cute!

Check out my top favorites - I could go with something timeless and classic:
Or I could go with something a little more fun and contemporary/popular:
I just can’t choose! And before you even ask me, no I haven’t let Brent pick any out yet…I figured that I’d narrow it down to two or three choices and then insert my own pictures and stats and THEN show them to him and let him help me pick the winner. That’s the plan anyway…

So here’s where the PRIZE comes in…Shutterfly is giving me 10 free cards to offer as a giveaway on my blog for you, my dear readers! Isn’t that the coolest?!?!? Maybe you don’t need birth announcements…they also do photo books, other photo gifts, and of course, other occasional photo cards. The holidays are FAST approaching and maybe you need to send out some Halloween invitations or Christmas wishes…you can do all of that (and more) over at Shutterfly.

So here’s the deal on how you can enter to win the 10 free cards from Shutterfly:

Comment on my blog below and tell me which cards of the ones that I picked you liked best. I’d like a first and second choice…and third if you’re indecisive like me! Just leave your comment below, and your name will automatically be entered into the drawing for the giveaway. Only one entry per comment, and you MUST leave your name (obviously) so no anonymous votes will be counted…sorry!

As an added bonus, if you link back to this post from your own blog inviting YOUR readers to enter the contest as well, and send me an email telling me that you did it with your blog address (click the "Email Me" link in the upper right corner), then I’ll add your name in the drawing TWO more times!!!

That’s THREE chances to win!

I’ll keep it open until Thursday, September 23rd at 9pm - you must comment with your choices or send me the email with your link back to my post before that time to be entered into the drawing. I’ll announce the winner Friday morning in my regular post.

Remember, the promo code that you’ll be given to use for your FREE cards doesn’t have to be used for baby announcements. Shutterfly offers photo cards for ALL occasions: birthdays, thank you cards, party invitations, and holiday cards…use it for whatever you need!

So get those comments going – you know that I need help making this decision! Good luck to you all!!

My Little "Chunk!"

Man...what a difference two weeks (plus a few days) can make! Check out the changes in Jax over the past two weeks.

This picture was taken on Aug 29th...

Now check out this picture taken just this week!

Check out how his head has filled in! Do you see the difference too???

Now I will admit that the angle that I took that second photo from is not the most flattering, but still. His head has just rounded out all of a sudden and my little baby boy isn't feeling so little all of a sudden! I know that this happens...babies grow up into children after all.

But I didn't expect it to happen so fast! He's supposed to look like an infant longer than two he looks like a baby, not a newborn! And that makes me a little bit sad.

Excited, but sad. Excited for all of these changes add up into a little person who can sit by themselves (when SO many things change for a Mom!) and get around more by themselves. I'm really excited for that time.

But I can still be sad to see this newborn stage end, right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Breastfeeding for Dummies

Yeah, I know what you're thinking...

You're thinking to yourself - Sandy, what is this? You just graduated/completed with honors Breastfeeding 101 and what are you doing taking a Breastfeeding for Dummies course???

And I would answer you...because I'm not so quick. Or maybe because I thought that I was too quick? Either way it amounts to the same thing...back to the basics for me. You see, I made the classic "new mommy" mistake that so many other women make...when I was seperated from my child for the first time, I enjoyed my freedom instead of keeping up with all the mommy stuff and staying on course. Here's how it all went down...

I started taking Jax to day care about two weeks ago. That same week, I started my birth control pills after my six week check up with my OB/GYN. Now, I knew that the bc pills might affect my milk production, and as I had been pumping for a week before sending Jax to day care (to get him used to taking the milk out of a bottle) I was completely aware of what my daily production was. I was pumping a solid 32-40 ounces each day. So when my dr warned me about the pills, I knew what to watch for because I knew where I was starting from.

Except that having all that knowledge didn't necessarily mean that I put it to good use. What did I do on my first day away from Jax? Did I continue to pump every three hours, like I had been doing the week before? No, of course I didn't. I got busy. I worked on my To Do list. Sure, I pumped some, but not religiously each three hours. I thought that it was "cool" that I could make it 4 hours between pumping sessions with no engorged feeling. Then, when 4 hours became 5 hours? Yeah, I didn't pay attention and realize that this was a bad thing.

A week later though? I was sitting up and taking notice. My milk production was down by HALF the amount that was normal for me. I blamed it all on the bc pills though, since it was to be expected, and tried to call my dr to get it all switched out to something that would work for me and not affect my milk production. Except that the nurse didn't get back to me that day. It was late the next day before I got in touch with someone and by then I was down to 1/3 of my normal production.

Yet, I still wasn't putting two and two together about my part in all of this. When the nurse called me back and told me that the dr didn't want to switch me right away and she wanted me to try these other things first, I was floored. You mean to tell me that I had a part in all of this? I got myself into this situation?

Yep, that's EXACTLY what she was saying.

And when I stepped back and took a look at things, I realized that she was right. I had let the situation get to this point by not paying attention and not staying on top of my "mommy business." Luckily for me, she was nice enough to tell me that most moms experience this when they start back to work as well, so it's a common thing and easy enough to remedy given a bit of time and patience.

So I thought that I should share my experience with you all so that you can learn from my mistakes. Don't assume that your milk will always be there. If you don't present your body with a need for milk, it stops making it. That's the natural course of events, and at least now I know how to stop my milk when I feel the need to do so. Although, in hindsight, I would have rather NOT learned about that just quite yet!

Getting your milk back is alot like getting it started in the first place. Here are the tips that my dr is having me follow and you know that I'm anal enough to have created a spreadsheet to track my progress and can see it improving each day. I'm not back to where I need to be yet, but I'm on the right track to getting there.

#1 - Get a good pump. I have the backpack Medela Symphony Advance, or something like that. Nothing is as good at getting your milk out of you as your baby is, but when it can't be your baby a good pump is vitally important. Lucky for me, I already had this step taken care of.

#2 - Once you have a good pump...USE IT! And use it often. Getting your milk to come back in is alot like getting it started. You need to pump more often than just feeding your baby. When Jax was first home from the hospital, he fed every three hours, and for those first few weeks while I was getting my milk in I would pump halfway between each of his feedings. Just remember when you're doing this that it's not about how MUCH you pump, it's about being regular with the pumping. You need to tell your body that there's a need for the milk. So pump, and pump often.

#3 - Drink plenty of water. This one is sort of obvious and goes right along with eating a well-balanced diet. I won't pretend that my diet is always well-balanced, but I do eat alot. You're burning calories producing breast milk, but your body can't produce that milk out of thin have to feed the machine! Avoid caffiene and carbonated beverages, as they can also have an adverse effect on milk production. Water is best.

#4 - Try taking herbal supplements. There are several things on the market right now (all natural and completely safe for you and baby) and just doing a Google search will lead you to them all. The main two that I read about over and over were the Mother's Milk tea and Fenugreek. I had actually read about the herb Fenugreek before getting into contact with my drs office, and that's the one that they recommended me to take. It's found at any health food store (or natural supplements aisle in your grocery store) and is easy to take throughout the day. I simply take three capsules with each meal...and enjoy smelling like maple syrup. I'm not kidding about the maple syrup - it's a side effect from the herbs.

So by going back to these basic concepts and rules for the past three days, I've noticed about a 25% increase in my production. It's not where I need to be yet, but seeing the improvement gives me hope that I'll get back all the way within another week. (That's another thing that I read doing research online about this - however long it took you to get this way, expect it to take at least that long to get it back to normal.) So hopefully, by sometime next week I'll be back to producing's to keeping my fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I'm using some of my "reserve" from the freezer and supplementing with formula as well, since my "reserve" is quickly being diminished by the little guy! He's a GOOD eater! LOL!

Did you run into this problem when you started back to work? Or were you smarter than me? I hope that you were!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to Life. Back to Reality.

How many of you will have THAT tune stuck in your head from now on? LOL! I know that I will, so I figured that I would "share" the love! was my first day back at work. I know what you're thinking, mainly because the question's been asked of me more times that I'd care to count...why did I start back after EIGHT WEEKS off on a Friday?

Simple. Because I figured that it wouldn't go smoothly. And if it was crazy-hectic like I was planning on it being, then I would like to have the weekend to recover, replan and make a second attempt on a Monday. Because a first attempt on a Monday was just almost more than I could bear.

And really, who would want to leave this face?

Not me!!! I've truly enjoyed having the time off with my little man, and I cried the first time that I left him at day care almost two weeks ago (and that was just for a half day!) so you can imagine how it was this morning leaving him knowing that it would be 10+ hours until I could get back to him. I mean, even if Brent managed to get off of work early, I would still be at work and not able to see the little guy!

Truthfully, leaving him this morning was easier than anticipated. Maybe because the morning was as crazy-hectic as I thought that it would be! Let me sum it all up with one sentence:

I actually tried to leave the house without ANY shoes on.

And not just I forgot my "work" shoes and had on flip flops when I got into my car. I was completely, 100% bare-footed. And I actually started the car.

At least I didn't back down the driveway or actually leave. It was bad enough that I had to turn the car off, go back inside and find my would have been really bad if I had driven off!

Luckily for me, the day improved. Yes, I have a headache from staring at a computer screen for a full 9 hours for the first time in many, many weeks...but I was ready to go home and see my boys! I've enjoyed wearing my heels again, but I was ready to trade them in for my flip flops. And my dress is super-cute, but my pjs were literally calling my name.

Yep, it's nice to be home! Here's to Monday going A LOT more smoothly...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

Are you about ready for a post that DOESN'T deal with/talk about my baby?!?! Probably so!

Unless you're my mom and then you'll be skipping over this post...

So...I think that people fall into several big categories in life. Sure, some people categorize by political party - Republican or Democrat. Some group people other ways - by religion, skin color, etc. Me? I go for the really important know like there's the group of people that realize my greatness and the group of losers that doesn't. Just kiddding, I joke, I joke.

In all seriousness, in my opinion there is the group of people that love their Blackberries and they are at a constant state of war with the iPhone/Apple crowd. Me? I get to straddle that fence all day, every day. My work phone is a crackberry and my personal phone is an iPhone. (Don't worry, I'm only sort of cool, it's just a 3G one...)

I was in the BB camp hard and heavy, until Brent got an iPhone. (We like to pronounce it all snotty like, drawing out the "I" sound) I fell in instant lust. It was lust because I didn't have one myself and I really, really, really wanted one. But I couldn't admit to him how much I wanted one since I had made SO much fun of those that had one when I didn't and had loudly and boldly stated a forever love with my blackberry...

Yeah, it took about two months of him having his before I caved and got mine. And I've been in love ever since. At least, that is, until last week. When all of a sudden the little vibrate switch on the side started acting all funny. If you have an iPhone, you know how when you switch it to silent mode, it vibrates at you and shows you the little ringer sign on the screen with the big bar giong through it to say "no ringer?" Well, last week, when I would switch on the silent mode my iPhone would go nutso on me and just started vibrating at random every few seconds.

And it wouldn't really be on silent.

How frustrating is that when you have a baby in the house? And you want to be online playing games or emailing friends late at night? Totally annoying, let me tell you.

About the same time, Brent's phone speaker went out (it sounded like a broken drive-thru speaker whenever he talked on it) and we made a trip to the AT&T store since I wasn't about to purchase an expensive toy like an iPhone without the warranty and I had made sure to put that on both of our phones when we got them earlier this year. Unfortunately, they couldn't help us other than to say that we needed to go to the Apple store and it should all be covered by our warranty.

Do you know where the closest Apple store is to me? It's not close. At all. It's in the closest mall, which is only about 10 miles from where I WORK but I'm not at work. And since I work about 15 miles from my house, doing the math that makes the closest Apple store a whopping 25 miles away. And that's 25 Austin miles, with traffic and whatnot, so make that almost an hour away...

Luckily for me, the dude at the AT&T store was smart enough to warn me to make appointments before showing up at the Apple, store and when Brent got off of work early today, we called in and set it all up.

Now let me tell you how much I loved the Apple store.

#1 - they had all sorts of cool things out and about for you to play with while you waited, because take it from me - that store was PACKED! Played (and loved!) games on the iPad while waiting, so totally cool!

#2 - there was a greeter at the door who promptly asked if he could help us and he easily directed us to the guy standing in the middle of the chaos to check us in. That guy was up front and told us that they were running a little behind, but since we were early it would probably wash out in the end - first come, first served even by appointment. (So be on time, or 10 minutes early like we were and you'll be the first 2pm person they call of the 10 2pm appts that they made!)

#3 - the girl that helped us out? Really friendly and nice, and completely knowledgable about her products and what to do to help us with our problems. She ended up serving us both so that we didn't have to split up with two different reps and she was a doll to work with. Mainly I say that because she gave each of us a new phone.

Yeah, just like that, she swapped our phones out. No, we didn't get new, tricked out 4G phones - we would have had to pay for those! - but we did each get new 3G phones. Mine now works on silent mode, and Brent no longer sounds like a teenage working the Jack in the Box drive thru at 2am.

How sweet is that? Have you had a great Apple/iPhone service experience too? I'm curious to knwo if the Austin store is just super duper cool or if it's like that everywhere...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Houston - We Have Smiles!

You know, the for real kind, not the ones that you're pretty sure are gas but you'd rather think were real! He's been working on them for about a week now, but they're harder than heck to catch on camera...and I've tried and tried!
I still haven't caught a really good one, but here's the best one - sorry it's blurry, he was moving...Even though it's blurry, isn't it just the cutest?!?! Usually now when he finishes eating, he'll spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour happily sitting in your lap, laying on the floor beside you, or reclining in his Boppy pillow happily "chatting" away. He makes all the grunts like normal, but he's adding in some cooing noises and baby gurgles.
And his tongue and mouth...Lord help us! He's got them going all OVER the place! Check out these other cute facial expressions that I did catch, you know when I couldn't catch the smile...The faces that boy makes -they just make a mama smile! Does your heart melt like mine when your little one smiles???

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Operation Clean-Out the Closet

Is a HUGE success! And it only took me two days...well, one day for the actual closet and a couple of hours of another day for the dresser drawers that are not inside my closet. Either way, a resounding success.

Would you like to see some pictures? Oh yeah, I was proud of myself so you know that I remembered to take some! Here's the overall picture...

Don't worry, I did go back and clean off the top of that dresser there in front of the window...even though those were NOT my clothes!

You think that it doesn't look that different??? Here, let's take a closer look, shall we? We can do some Before and After shots, ok? Here's the overall look Before...

Here's After...

A closer look at the Before pile o' shoes...

And After...

Was there a top shelf Before picture? Hmmm, nope, don't see one. Oh well, here's the after! And check out how much SPACE there is on my hanging clothes now...

Can you tell that I'm proud of myself or what?!?! I worked HARD! You can see the floor on my side of the closet...I got rid of clothes that I haven't worn since I moved in here, and those that I will never fit into again after two children...I neatly organized all of my PWA stuff, and like I said before all of this doesn't even cover what I did on my dresser drawers!

Mentioning getting rid of clothes, check out this mountain of clothes that I have set aside to donate!

Those stacks filled up two garbage bags. And here's a whole other stack of just maternity clothes!

They're in a different bag, because they're NOT going to the charity that's coming around collecting clothes next week. I also threw away 5 or 6 pairs of nasty shoes, and finally purged all my purses that I've been hanging onto like we women tend to do...I did shed a small tear over one of two of them!

But check out how many hangers I know have available to me...

Now, maybe I won't feel bad about doing that post-baby shopping, since I have somewhere to put it all!

I'm SO glad that it's done. So check that one off of my list of things-to-do with what's left of my maternity leave...on to the next challenge!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eating Myself Out of House and Home

I know that I've talked about one of the GREAT and FANTASTIC side effects, or positive aspects, of breastfeeding - the weight loss factor. You've probably heard all of the statistics somewhere else before so I won't bore you all with them again, I'll just emphasize again that they're ALL true!

You really can burn calories like a mad-woman who works out at the gym two or three times a day. Or like that woman who only eats salad and yogurt and is actually satisfied having a handful of almonds for a snack at 2pm and loses an amazing 20 pounds in 2 months. It really can happen from doing something so simple as letting your body do what comes naturally after giving birth - make milk.

And I'll also reiterate here, just so you don't think that I've gone the breastfeeding route solely because of the weight loss factor that I do truly enjoy breastfeeding my son. I have enjoyed almost every single minute of it. No, it's not really fun when they tug and pull at your nipple. And I'm sure that it's no fun if you experience sore/cracked/bleeding nipples, which (knock on wood) I've somehow been lucky enough to manage to avoid thus far. It's not really a lot of fun wondering if something that you ate is causing his tummy troubles, and it's certainly not fun going more than 4 days without pizza...don't laugh, we all have our Achille's heel...

But despite all of that, it's been totally worth the experience. I'm glad that the choice was made for me and that this is something that I did this time around. I don't regret not doing it the first time around, but I'm glad that I was lucky enough to get to experience it this time around. I know that there are a lot of women out there who really, really want to breastfeed and for one reason or another are not able to realize that dream. I still feel strongly that this is a VERY personal decision, one each woman should make for herself, and either way your decision goes you will have a healthy and well-fed baby.

So do you want to hear my latest breastfeeding craziness? I'm starving hungry all the time. Like not just a bit hungry, but having hunger pains in the middle of the night so that I can't sleep even though I'm exhausted and should be sleeping fine type of hunger. That's nuts to me! I haven't experienced this since the first week or two of breastfeeding, when my body was adjusting to the process and I was pumping in between feedings in order to increase my milk supply. And it's just been in the last two days that this has happened so I'm not really sure what's causing this, but it's got to be linked to the breastfeeding.

I can eat a full plate of food and be hungry again in an hour or two. I need a snack before going to sleep, and I'm learning that it might be wise to bring two of whatever that snack is and leave it on my nightstand for a middle of the night snack! I eat breakfast, have a mid-morning snack and am still ready for lunch around 11am. Then there's my early afternoon snack, my late afternoon snack, all to be followed by dinner. And the bedtime snack. It's like I'm eating all day long.

It's the craziest thing ever!!!

Did any of you other breastfeeding Moms go through periods of intense hunger while you breastfed? Does it come and go for you too? Because I will swear on a stack of Bibles that it wasn't like this two weeks ago for me...I was fine eating like a normal person back then, even if I could eat more candy and ice cream without worrying about the calories. It wasn't the sheer volume of food that I seem to be consuming this week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What To Do???

With all this FREE time?!?!?

All of a sudden getting some paid vacation time without having to take any actual vacation time...overlooking the part where we're paying for day care that we didn't need sort of awesome! It gives me some time each day to myself to do...whatever I want!

Last week, looking forward to this week was just a fantasy, and I spent countless hours (that might have been in the middle of the night) thinking about what I would do. All the things that I could get done. All the naps that I could take!!!

And here I am, two days into it and I'm realizing that maybe it's not as cool as I was thinking. You see, dreaming big and then facing reality leads to a short, fast course in the school of hard knocks. Taking him to day care for half a day doesn't really leave me THAT much least not as much as I had originally thought it would. Twice now this week I've laid down to take a nap (a much shorter nap than I had intended on having) just to frustratingly find that I can't shut down.

Can't stop the lists going through my head. Things I want to get done. Things that I could do. And then, there's the dreaded things that I SHOULD do...

Here's what little old me came up with last week:
  • Clean the house - really good from top to bottom, taking like one room each day and doing it well
  • Clean out my closet and dresser drawers - I literally can't find space to put all of my clothes in. Making some room by packing up/getting rid of the maternity clothes would help...
  • Work on some PWA stuff - do you remember my Project Whores Anonymous group? Yeah, I've still got things rambling about in my head on that front
  • Go to the gym and start working on working off that last layer of let's call it "fluff" before going back to work
  • Resting? Naps every day...and possibly a bubble bath each day...during the MIDDLE of the day
  • Shopping for some new post-baby work clothes, because a pregnant woman hasn't shopped for normal clothes in over 9 months...and I'm feeling the need. But once again, where would I put it all (see bullet point above)

That's just the start of the list that went on and on in my head. But in reality, I feel sort of guilty leaving him for more than 4-6 hours in day care. I know, it's silly, but I can't help the way that I feel. Maybe next week will be better.

So I took my list yesterday and did some "revising" to it. Here's my real goals of these next two weeks:

On the matter of resting...I can take or leave this. Yes, if it's been a really bad night, then I might opt for a nap but otherwise I'm going to try to not actually lay down during the day and sleep. My thinking on this is that resting now won't really prepare me for going back to work full time and dealing with baby for half the night. Right? Or do you disagree? Maybe I'll take one day towards the end of next week to just relax and wallow in myself...but until then, I think that I'd rather be more productive.

As far as cleaning the house goes? It's really not that dirty. I keep up with the main things daily - dishes, laundry and floors (not that I sweep/mop/vacuum daily, but close!) so it's not that every single room needs to be cleaned. Maybe just that I need to take one chore each day and do it - like bathrooms one day, dusting another day, floors the next. You get the idea. So it would be halfwy to "fall cleaning."

On the organizational front...this is a MUST for me. I literally have NO where to put up my clean laundry anymore. You think that I'm joking? Clean clothes are currently being placed on top of my PWA tupperware bin that's sitting in the middle of our closet. That's how bad it is. Don't believe me? Well, here's proof:

I'm so embarassed! I don't plan on doing anything with the left side of the closet - that's Brent's mess to deal with if it bothers him, but the right side? That's all mine!
Just look at the shoes! So sad...
So it's a definite must to do something about my side of the closet. There's a charity coming around on Friday the 17th doing clothing and household item pick ups in our neighborhood and my goal is to provide SEVERAL bags of items for them to haul off! (I actually started on this one yesterday and managed to clean out all of my dresser drawers already - WooHoo! But alas, they were NOT part of the sad picture montage above...they were extra!)

I'd like to maybe tackle doing the same thing to our kitchen pantry? Taking just one shelf a day shouldn't be too hard, right?

What else was there? Oh yeah, working out. Probably not gonna happen. I have a gym membership...and sometimes I utilize it. But it probably won't be this week. Maybe I can find a workout video that I can do while at the house...I just hate the thought of getting into a routine at the gym for these next ten days and then having to quit because once I'm working full time again trips to the gym might be few and far between during the next few months. Just trying to be honest. But if I had a video or something that I could do three or four nights a week...something in the 30 minute long range...that might work. And I stress the word might. A lot.

As for my projects? I'd really like to have some time left to work on those things too...but I'm honest enough to say that beyond the cleaning, the organizing and a little bit of "me" time that I have planned it probably won't happen. And that's ok. For now, possibly even the next little bit of time in fact, projects need to take a back burner to keeping up with the little guy. And I'm ok with that. I'll just store them all up and keep them under lock and key until I have the time (and energy) to deal with them.

Does that sound doable? Or do you think that I'm out of my freakin' mind? Are you in the "rest and relax" or the "make the most of your remaining time off" camp? I'm curious to know...