Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Last Meal

Many people I know have made the new year resolution to lose weight, get healthier, get stronger, or run in X race.  While I don't typically make resolutions, it seems 2012 is going to be about all of those things for me. 

Tomorrow I start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  The diet is not for weight loss, it is for healing my small intestine.  However, it is my hope that as it begins to heal and my body becomes better at absorbing nutrients, it will be easier for me to reach the rest of my goals.

In the past when I have started a diet, I have tried to avoid the "last meal" temptation.  If my goal is to truly lose the weight, then 1) I shouldn't be eating enormous amounts of calories now and 2) I want to be able to sustain the "diet" so I always had the plan to work my favorite "unhealthy" foods into my eating.  Unfortunately, this diet isn't that flexible.  There are foods that are legal and foods that are illegal and a few foods that aren't legal till later, but for the most part it is black and white. 

So when I decided that I wasn't going to start the diet till January 1st, I had two many reasons for waiting. 1) I needed time to prepare and 2) I wanted to enjoy my favorite "illegal" foods a few more times. The last several weeks have been packed with eating whatever I wanted, no matter how unhealthy it was.

On the list? Cookies, chocolate, and M&Ms mostly.  About a week ago I realized that I wouldn't be able to have beer either so I have enjoyed several beers this week.  Then last night we headed to Hopworks Urban Brewery for a "last meal" consisting of their awesome pizza and beer.  It was a perfect way to end these few weeks of gluttony.  While I am not sure it would my real "last meal" of choice, it was exactly what I was looking for.

So if you were to have a "last meal" before a specialized diet like mine, what would it be?  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Save Me from the Post Christmas Celebration Explosion!

Okay, I am ready for Christmas to be over now.  I am ready to take down the tree, put away the decorations, and to have my home back.  Normally I want to hold onto the "Christmas feel" for as long as possible.  Last year I think I even convinced my husband to leave up the snowmen (that I am addicted to buying) till after Superman's birthday party because I wasn't ready for them to be put away.  But this year?  I am done.

I think part of the reason is that I now have a toddler.  Toddlers take up more space than most people and it isn't just because they have more stuff. Superman likes to spread everything out nice and wide when playing with it.  Downstairs that means that when playing blocks, every single one of them are out and on my floor and since my Christmas tree is also taking up a large portion of my living room, I feel like I can't walk anywhere without stepping on a toy.  He also likes to lay down when he is playing with certain toys (as do most toddlers, I suppose) and that just means more surface area of my floor is gone.  Add in two giant dogs, a baby, a baby's toys (including a play gym and exersaucer), and I really don't have any space to walk around my own living room.  I want my living room back!!!!!!

I feel like the weeks leading up to Christmas result in us throwing out our usual routine to celebrate the season (or do thinks in preparation of those celebrations).  Now, post Christmas celebration explosion, I just want to get back into our usual routine...back into our groove, if you will.   Our usual routine of going to Baby Boot Camp is out since there are no classes this week, so that leaves us at home, surrounded by toys and decorations and holiday chaos. 

I'm not the only one feeling the holiday hangover*, I posted on Facebook yesterday that Superman was VERY moody and on my personal page I posted this:
S wants me to play with him, but tells me "no" every time I touch a toy, T is exhausted and almost inconsolable, and Clyde is barking at the wind.  Stick a fork in me, I am done.
There were several people who let me know that they were in similar boats.  Then I began to see other people post that their kids were "off" and were desperate for things to return to normal asap.  One friend called it the "holiday grouchy" and another wished she could bring back her "elf on the shelf".

For people with school age children, I now understand why so many of you can't wait for school to start back up.  It isn't so much that you don't want your kids around or to spend the time with them, you are just seeking your normal routine to return for the sanity of both you and your kids.

So what do you do to get things to "return to normal" even when "normal" can't be achieved until after the new year?  Me? Well I am going to start by taking down all the decorations.  Till next time....

Devan from Accustomed Chaos posted an article called 7 Signs Your Dealing with "After Holiday Aftermath" that I read after I had already started this post.  I was sure she was going to have the same complaints as I, but her post has a little different twist.  Go check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Operation Happier Baby and Momma

 I feed Mr. T almost every two hours during the day.  He nurses at 7:30 before going to bed, gets a bottle at 11:30 from my husband, and then still will wake 2-3 times more that night.  This is not working for me, but what are you going to do?  I have a big baby and he needs to eat a lot, right?  Well, today I learned that he does need to eat more, but maybe we can do something so he isn't needing to do the eating at night. 

This problem solving started when I called the doctor because he started spitting up again. He has gained 1.5 lbs since our 4 month appointment, so I thought maybe he needed his acid reflux meds adjusted.  The nurse did the usual discussion about my diet (and as you all know I am not adding things to my diet, but rather taking things away) and his eating/sleeping patterns.  She is convinced it can be better than it just may take some tweeking.

So here is the initial plan:

  • When he wakes up in the morning give him solids before nursing him.  (If he wakes up at 6 I can still nurse him and put him back to bed, but when I get him up for the day I should do solids first.
  • Increase his solid intake from two times a day to three and always have either rice or oatmeal as part of the meal.  She prefers the rice cereal because she said it is easier on the stomach. This was not the case with Superman, but T is so different than S so I will try it. The idea is that the rice/oatmeal will be heavier in his stomach and hopefully keep him from spitting up. (I am making my own per the directions in Super Baby Food.)
  • Work on getting "good" feedings during the day.  (Meaning: quiet room with minimal distractions and let him tell me when he is done.)  This will be difficult with a toddler, but is something I have already been working on.  
  • If he wakes up in the middle of the night, try to get him to go back to sleep without eating. However, if he is hungry- feed him.  Hopefully after a few days he will stop being hungry and we will just need to break him of the habit of waking. 
Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's wrong with Mommy C?

Back in November I talked about trying to figure out why I wasn't losing fact, I was gaining weight!  I am not a fan of my current primary care physician.  She doesn't seem to really care about figuring out what is wrong with me.  I don't know if she doesn't believe me when I say I don't feel good or just isn't good at her job, but I am done dealing with her.  Unfortunately, I can't get into my doctor's office for an initial visit till late December.  I decided to see a naturopath in the meantime to at least get the ball rolling.  Now that I have gotten a bunch of tests done, here is what I learned.*
-My thyroid is totally wonky. My TSH and T4 are low.  My T3 is mid-range.   So not really hypothyroidism, but not really not either. Confused? Yeah, me too.  Apparently a normal profile for hypothyroidism would be low TSH and low T4, with a mid-range T3.  We are going to try some T4 meds and see what happens.  We will start slow and see what happens.**

-I do not have Hashimoto's Disease!  We did the test for antibodies and were ecstatic to learn that this is not my problem.  I had an autoimmune disease when I was little so that makes me more prone to one now (and in the future).  I forget why the doctor thinks this (an autoimmune disease) is part of my problem.  She is recommending that I go on a gluten free diet.  I don't fully understand the connection between gluten and autoimmune diseases, but it is something that I will explore in the months to come.

-I have Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)...or rather, I had SIBO back about 5 years ago and although I took antibiotics at the time and felt better, it is something that can continue to come back over and over again if you don't fix what caused it.  I could go through the 3 hour breath test again, but it is probably a waste of time.  In my case, the cause has to do with a lack of acid in my stomach (which is also the cause of my acid reflux).  The lack of this acid results in food not being digested enough in the stomach and bacteria entering the small intestine and chowing down on it (or something like this).  This is the likely cause for feeling like crud.  Thankfully there is a solution.  It has three parts and unfortunately, it will not be easy.
  1. Go back on antibiotics.  This will kill the bacteria that are there now.  (okay, that part is easy)
  2. Fix the acid levels in my stomach.  I will take stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes to fix it every single time I eat.  (Mildly difficult since I have to remember to take them and quite expensive.)
  3. Change my diet for a minimum of 6 months and heal the lining of my small intestine.  I will follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 6 months.  At the end I will slowly add foods back into my diet one at a time (very similar to how you introduce solids with a baby) to ensure that each food doesn't bring my symptoms back.  It is likely that there will be foods that cause a reaction and I will never be able to eat them again.  (OMG this is going to be SO hard!!!)
I am not going to make the official change till the new year.  It is just too difficult to try and work around the holidays and learn a whole new diet.  It will also give me time to learn the diet and work out the getting my insurance to pay for some of meds.  I am working with a health coach and she is helping me find resources that will help me survive.  I will post those resources in a different post along with how I dealt with learning about this diet (there were more than a few tears shed) in my next post.

Anyone else ever have to go a new diet that seemed really daunting? I would love to hear from you. 

*Because my insurance only covers my appointments with the naturopath and nothing else, I ended up cringing my way through another appointment with my primary doctor.  It was awful, but at least I got the tests I need done. **I am sure there is a better medical description of this, but this is what I retained during the crazy whirlwind of appointments.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

5 Easy Steps to Making New Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is upon us!! Since we are a family with few traditions for the season, my husband and I decided to start some of our own.

The idea I am going to share with you today originated from Once Upon A Family (OUAF) and their November workshop in the Family Holidays Monthly Workshop kit.  I made some modifications so that it works for us though (instead of it only being tasks that need to be completed anyway, we have included fun things that we want to do as a family). 

Step 1:
Buy an advent calendar that allows you to put a small card in each compartment.  There are lots of choices out there.  You can buy something that hangs on the wall or one that is wooden (like ours).  If you buy a wooden one, it is helpful to find one that has equal sized compartments or at least ones that will fit your card for the activity of the day.  You would be surprised how many I saw that wouldn't work because of different sized compartments. 

Step 2:
Identify 24 family activities that you would like to do before Christmas. To make the season less overwhelming, think of the things that you are doing already and add them to the list.  The OUAF kit suggested including tasks like mailing Christmas cards so that your kids are included in all that you do.  We didn't do that because our kids are too young right now.

Here are our 24 activities: 
  1. Make a hand wreath with everyone's hands.  (And introduce the Advent calendar.)
  2. Christmas coloring - we have a Christmas coloring book that Superman will get to color in.  
  3. Go to Powell's books and pick out a new book. 
  4. Make Christmas cookies
  5. Sing Christmas carols
  6. Go to CHAP and make gifts for Grandparents
  7. Make Paper Chains
  8. Watch personalized video from Santa (from Portable North Pole)
  9. Watch "Charlie Brown Christmas"
  10. Get Christmas tree
  11. Decorate Christmas tree
  12. Go to Zoo Lights
  13. Decorate cookies
  14. Have a picnic dinner by the Christmas tree
  15. Watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
  16. Cookies With Santa at Children's Musuem
  17. Decorate Gingerbread house (my husband's employer is putting on this activity)
  18. Watch "Frosty The Snowman"
  19. Go see Christmas lights 
  20. Read "Night Before Christmas" as a family (we will read it other nights, but this will be the first reading of it)
  21. Drink hot chocolate and read books by the fireplace
  22. Go to the snow!
  23. Watch "Santa Claus is Coming To Town"
  24. Put out cookies and milk for Santa
Step 3: 
Identify the days that you want to do each activity.  My brilliant husband created a shared calendar in Google just for this.  We already share our Google calendars with each other so this worked out really well.  Why do this?  Just in case someone gets their hands on the calendar and removes of all the cards, it is a good idea to know when you were planning to do each activity so they can be put back correctly.  It is also nice to have it on your calendar so you don't have to keep opening up the little doors to figure out what you are doing the next day. 

Step 4: 
Write each activity on a card and place it into calendar.  I found little gift tags that fit perfectly.  I took the little string off them, wrote down the activity inside, and placed it in the box.  If you want to get really fancy you can print each activity out with a printer and put them on some nice card stock. 

Step 5:
Implement activities.  Remember to be present when you are doing the activities.  Turn off distractions (ex. phones, computers or tvs) and put any other tasks aside so that you can really focus on spending time with your loved ones.  Feel free to take pictures, but don't let the picture taking become more important than the activity itself (I need this reminder on occasion). 


While there is some work initially to plan it all out, each consecutive year should be easier.  We will make some tweeks here and there so that the activities are age appropriate.  Also, our goal is to add more activities that involve acts of kindness and service as the kids get older (ex. donating toys, food, clothing or making treats for the folks at the nursing home that don't have family).   However, many of the activities will be done each and every year, creating some fabulous family memories along the way!

What family traditions did you cherish growing up?  Which did you continue with your children?  Do you have any new family traditions?  I would love to hear from you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Real Thanksgiving Meal

My goal for Thanksgiving was to serve foods that were real. No preservatives, no chemicals, just plain ole' good food.  Overall I think I did great!  I had one "oops" that clarified how easily it is for me to tune out and just use "whatever" when cooking. 

I found a recipe for seasoning the turkey that had a lot of great reviews.  It had a bunch of different herbs and at first glance it followed all the rules.  Then this morning I started thinking, I used chicken bouillon with water as a base for all the herbs...I don't think that is "real".   Sure enough, I went and looked at the bottle and I shouldn't have used it.  Anyone know what I should have used instead?


Turkey: turkey, water, butter, parsley, minced onion, salt (didn't use the seasoned salt it called for), and bouillon

Mashed Potatoes: potatoes, milk, butter, and garlic

Sweet potato casserole:  sweet potatoes, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, egg, milk, and whole wheat flour (I didn't use pecans.)

Cranberry Orange Relish: (the first cranberry orange relish recipe): cranberries, orange (with rind), honey, ground cloves, and ground ginger  (I didn't use walnuts.)  I also bought some from Trader Joe's, but it uses sugar.  I thought my husband would end up eating that instead, but he liked my version better because it wasn't as sweet.

Stuffing: I bought a two different types in a bag from Whole foods and there were not many ingredients and all were real foods.  I added butter and water to both.  (the bags were thrown out before I could write down what was in them)

Rolls: Bungalow Bread company - 5 ingredients! whole wheat, water, honey, yeast, and sea salt  (this is the same company that makes the bread I have been eating)

Apple Sauce: apples, cinnamon

Gravy: store bought and didn't follow the rules.  However I was okay with it because I ate very little of it and it was organic. I know it doesn't make it okay just because it was organic, but it helps. 

Corn: organic frozen corn

Dessert:  Well...we didn't have one.  After weighing our options my husband and I agreed that having a pie in the house would be dangerous.  Either I made one that we both liked and I would have to fight the urge to eat it (or eat it and deal with the calories) or make one that only he likes and be bummed that I can't enjoy a dessert. 

My husband, trying to be the supportive guy I love, said that the combo of cranberry orange relish and apple sauce was sweet enough for him so he didn't need a dessert.  I meant to make some whole wheat pumpkin bread, but time got away from me.  I am still hoping to make the bread soon. Since I am also trying to lose weight I am using apple sauce instead of oil.  I think I might also add some flax seed meal for the omega-3 fatty acid and fiber. 
It is a crazy amount of food for 2 adults and a toddler, but we are looking forward to the leftovers.

So there you have it.  I think of all meals to make with real food, dinner tends to be the easiest since we tend to make most things from scratch anyway.   Being focused on it helped us make better choices for the meal, although many aspects of the meal weren't necessarily healthy when you are trying to loose weight.  I shudder at the amount of better I used.  In order to enjoy it all, but not go overboard with calories I tried to be conscious of my portion size. 
My plate with only two bites of mashed potato and corn gone.

One last note...Mr. T started solids yesterday!! We were "supposed to" start back when we had his 4 month appointment, but he didn't seem ready.  In the last week he has shown more of an interest in what we were eating so I decided Thanksgiving would be the day we tried it for the first time.  Instead of starting with the traditional rice cereal (since it went so horrible with Superman), I did my research and learned that it isn't a necessary first food.  So I made extra sweet potato and gave it a shot!  He loved it and almost all of it stayed in his mouth.  He kept opening his mouth for more, it was very cute!  I made plenty to freeze so it is a good thing he liked it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Real Food Pledge

One of the things that I have been thinking about a lot lately is the fact that I know I have been eating too many "foods" that aren't really foods.  I wanted to make more things from scratch, buy foods with less preservatives, and eliminate all fake sugar.  The problem was that I had no idea where to start. 

Then an acquaintance posted a recipe from the blog 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook.  I can't even tell you how much this site blew my mind.  This site is what I needed to get started.  They have rules and recipes and meal plans and they even did it on a budget.

The thing I liked about them was that they called it a "pledge" instead of a diet or a promise or anything else that leaves absolutely no wiggle room.  That being said, in my typical Mommy C fashion, I wanted to jump in with everything I had.  I gave myself a few days to get "prepped" for it and planned to start this past Monday.  The first time I went shopping I had no real list, just the rules.  I didn't buy much, but did spend a lot of time looking at labels.  I began to feel overwhelmed so I decided I needed a list. 

Shopping trip number two was an epic failure.  Item after item on my list was either not available, contained sugar, or too expensive (pine nuts at Whole Foods cost $20!).  I gave up and came home. 

Sunday I sat on the couch and tried to figure out how I was going to start the next day.  Some things were easy.  I wasn't going to drink diet coke any more.  If I made something that called for butter, I was going to use real butter instead of margarine. I wasn't going to eat breads or baked goods that weren't 100% whole wheat and grains.  But the specific stuff, like what I was going to eat for lunch the next day, seemed daunting. 

Then I had a moment where I was just ready to throw in the towel all together, but I didn't.  I didn't give up. Instead, I decided that there was no reason I couldn't take baby steps (which I should have realized because they have mini-pledges that do just that).  My goal for this week was to eat only real food for breakfast and most snacks.  Next week, I am going to add lunches, and then finally I will add dinners the week after that.  I was also going to make a commitment that anytime we run out of something for a meal that I haven't started changing yet, I would make every attempt to buy items that follow the rules. 

I have completed two full days so far and I have to say that I am doing pretty well, but I have two specific areas for improvement.

1. I have had one diet coke a day so far. Considering I was having A LOT more than that before, I am heading in the right direction.  I am going to allow myself to have one a day the rest of the week and then next week I am going to get rid of it (almost) completely with a new goal of one can per week at the most.  I am hoping that I will eventually kick the habit, but this is a step in the right direction.  (Anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE diet coke...l.o.v.e. LOVE. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Yeah...anyway)

2. It didn't occur to me till today to check the label on the peanut butter jar.  Turns out my peanut butter doesn't follow the rules.  I have some almond butter in the fridge that I will start using instead. 

Because it is important to stay positive, I am doing far more things correctly!!

1. I found bread that has less than 5 ingredients and honey instead of sugar.  It turns out that yeast needs sugar to work properly so most breads have some sugar in them.  I was really lucky and found it on the last day of our local farmer's market!!

2. I am tracking my food!! I have been dragging my feet on this for some time now and I have to say, the Body Media Fit software on my phone is really easy to use.  Once you enter a food from their list or manually put in a food, it is saved on a separate list that is easy to access.  I would be really annoyed if I had to search for the foods I eat most each and every time I ate them.

3. I am a label reading fanatic! 

4. I am finding new recipes and foods to try.  In fact, I am going to make this Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread later today. I am even going to tweek it to make it healthier- I will add some flax seed meal to it for some added Omega-3 fatty acids and I am swapping some (if not all) of the oil for some homemade apple sauce that is just apples and cinnamon.

This post is getting really long.  I am sure there is a ton more I can tell you about the pledge so I will just have to leave it for another post.  Tomorrow (if I can find the time) I am going to post about my REAL Thanksgiving dinner menu. 

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

One Step at a Time

I haven't posted about my weight loss journey lately.  I am sure you can guess why...yup, haven't lost any weight.  In fact, I have been gaining weight.  So.not.happy!!!

In an attempt to understand why I was gaining weight I got a Body Media Fit (like the Body Bugg that the Biggest Loser contestants wear, just marketed differently).  I thought that maybe I wasn't burning enough calories.  My initial goal was just to wear it for a week or two and see what I noticed about my calorie burn, activity level, steps, and sleep.  I have been wearing it for longer than that without doing much with the information, but it has been very eye opening nonetheless.

Here is what I learned....

Calorie Burn: 
I burn a lot more calories than I thought I did.  I am certainly no expert on calorie burn, but I had envisioned that I burned about 2500 calories a day.  In reality I burn, on average, about 3100 calories a day.  On the days that I do Baby Boot camp, I burn about 3300 calories.  On non-boot camp days, I burn about 2800 calories.

Activity Level: 
I knew I was getting a good workout at Baby Boot Camp, but according to the Body Media Fit (BMF), I burn about 400-500 calories in one 1 hour class.  More specifically, the BMF considers my level of activity to be moderately active (3-6 METs burned*) for 30-40 minutes of the class, while 20-30 minutes are considered vigorous.  This varies day to day because the amount of cardio can vary depending on the day.

While I knew chasing after a toddler all day should count for something, I didn't realize how much it would count.  I average over an hour and a half of total activity a day (activity intensity of 3 METs or more).  That means whether I am going to boot camp or not, I am getting more than enough activity.

*Not sure what METs are?  METs or Metabolic Equivalents are a way to measure intensity in activity.  At rest, your MET level is 1.  Moderate activity is 3-6 METs - you are active but you aren't breathing too hard to carry a conversation, but you probably can't sing.  Vigorous activity is over 6 METs - you are active and carrying on a conversation is more difficult.

In case I wasn't convinced that I was getting enough activity, my steps were recorded at an average of 11,832 steps a day.  My goal when I lost weight back in 2005 was 10,000 steps a day.  Almost anything you read about the ideal number of steps when trying to lose weight will say 10,000 steps is the number to shoot for.  In the last month I recorded less than 10,000 steps only 7 times.  Of those 7 times, at least 3-4 of them were because I wasn't wearing my band the whole day (I know of 2 days that I didn't hit 10,000 because we watched football all day). 

I have a 4 month old.  Need I say more?  Ideally, for weight loss specifically, you need at least 8 hours of sleep a night.  I average 5.53 hours of sleep.  The BMF also measures time laying down.  My average time laying down was 7.17 hours.  I usually spend some time reading before bed, but not much more than 15-20 minutes.  What is going on during the rest of the time?  I'm not sure.  I could be tossing and turning. I could be trying to fall asleep. I could be laying there thinking of all the things I need to do the next day.  I could also think that I am asleep, but am really just really relaxed.  One of the things I need to work on is figuring out how to get more QUALITY sleep since getting more actual sleep won't happen till Mr. T starts sleeping through the night.


So now what? Well it is time for me to start tracking my food intake, but for a variety of reasons, I think there is more going on.  I will be writing about this in my next post as soon as I get a chance.  Basically it involves a bunch of medical tests, a naturopathic doctor, a health coach, and my primary care physician. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Top 5 Tips for Grocery Shopping With Kids

Yesterday I ranted about people continually telling me that I am brave for shopping with both of my kids.  Although I find the comments annoying, it seems like there are some people who think that shopping with kids will be really, really hard.  Based on the biggest concerns I have heard from other moms, their kids' behavior seems to be the biggest worry.  I am not claiming to be an expert or without a bad day, but I have some tricks that I use to make my shopping trips not just doable, but really enjoyable.  So here is my top 5 tip list for being successful at the store. 

5. Bring snacks anytime one of them is tired/cranky/etc. or plan the trip during your child's usual snack time and bring it along with you.  A well fed kid will typically behave better than one that is hungry.  Use a healthy, but easily eaten on-the-go snack (cut up cheese and apple, crackers, etc).  I would advise against giving "treats" or a special snack while shopping (see #2) because otherwise they may expect it every time. 

4. If you have more than one kid, wear one of them.  Not only will this free up space in your cart (if one is an infant) and entertain that child, but you will burn some great calories while shopping.  Since Mr. T can't sit up on his own yet, that usually means I am wearing him.  However, if I am not going to get many items I will keep him in the car seat and wear Superman in the ergo on my back.  He loves it!!

 3. Enlist them to be your helpers.  For Superman, that means he gets to hold a few (none that are breakable or smooshable) items.  He also likes me to give him the item and he drops it into the cart.  Finally at the checkout, he is in charge of the cards.  He gives the checker the store club card and helps me run the credit card through the machine.   If they are older, give the child a calculator and have them keep track of your total spending or have them help decide which kind of cheese, yogurt, etc you will get. 

2. Do not bribe them.  Do not tell them that they will get a treat for behaving and do not let them have the cookie from the bakery.  If you do, they will ask you for it every.single.time and you can't really blame them for trying.  Make the grocery trip about spending time with them and doing something together.  If they are never told they will get something for behaving, they aren't likely to think to ask for something.

1. Do not ignore them.  Seriously, how fun is to have to sit in a cart for who knows how long and the whole time being ignored?  I bet you have all seen a kid screaming "mom, mom, mom" or throwing things on the floor while Mom completely ignores the pleas for attention. While we might not be this bad and we don't mean to, sometimes when we are just trying to get a task done, we turn inward and tune out everything around us.  Try hard not to tune out your kids. 

Take the time to talk with them.  If they are old enough, get their opinions on what you are buying, what meals you might try in the future, or just what they did at school that day.  If they are still young, use the time to sing songs, model decision making ("Let's see, I need olives. This can is $1.99, but this can is $1.09.  I think I will get the cheaper one because it all tastes the same.), or practice a new skill ("What letters do you see?").  And best of all, if they are in the cart, give them lots and lots of hugs!  Superman loves to get hugs and then push off of me and go gliding away.  I run up to catch him and we do it all over again.  I love our little game and we both end up leaving the store in a better mood.


I can always use more ideas and I feel like I have great tips for right now and for when they are school age, but I am thinking I need some new ones for when Superman is a preschooler.
So what are your tricks for a happy shopping trip? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You are so BRAVE!

The title "stay at home mom" totally doesn't fit me.  Not because I think I am so much more than that (I am more than that, but I feel secure enough with myself to not feel threatened by the title), but because I don't actually spend a whole lot of time at my house.  Although I have had issues with leaving or not leaving the house thanks to my PPD/PPA, staying at home all the time just never seemed like a fun option for me. 

Interestingly, the fact that I go and do things, like grocery shop, with both boys seems to continually shock some people. I can't even begin to tell you the number of people (some I know and some I don't) that tell me that I am so brave and that they could never go out and about like I do with two boys.   

So to the people that I know that think they could never go out with their two kids the way that I do, you can.  I promise.  I don't know a single mom that couldn't handle it...or many dads for that matter, although they might need a little bit more of a pep-talk first.  Maybe it is because I surround myself with pretty awesome people, but I have never looked at one of my fellow moms and thought, "yeah, it would be way too much for you to handle, you should leave grocery shopping for when you only have to bring 1 kid. Or better yet?  You can't handle one kid very well either, so you should just go by yourself when your husband gets home."  Sounds ridiculous right?

To the people I don't know, do I look like it is totally overwhelming and exhausting and this is your way of telling me so?  If that's the case, I am not exhausted  because my kids are there.  I just look like crap because the idea of putting on make-up and doing my hair seems like a waste.  Or are you trying to pay me a compliment because I have two (happy) kids under two that I am shopping with?  If this is the case, can't you just pay my kids a compliment and leave me out of it?  I can't tell you how happy it would make me for you to compliment Superman on his ability to sit nicely in the cart or for helping me with the shopping.  But telling me that I am brave just seems a little ridiculous. 

All this being said, if you are honestly looking for tips on how to handle more than one kid out and about, stay tuned for tomorrow's post.  I will have my top 5 tips for grocery shopping with your kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a Toddler Life for Me!

I am continually fascinated by my day to day life with my toddler.  He makes me laugh, cry, and (want to) scream all in single day.  The way he lives life (as with most toddlers) reminds me to slow down and explore the flowers* when my instinct tends to be that of a "rushing" nature.  He is teaching me how to play cars and trains and would really like me to figure out how to make all the necessary noises that comes with it.  He shows me how to dance like you don't have a care in the world (which ends up looking a lot like Elaine's dancing from Seinfeld).  He is also reminding me that an art project really isn't about the end product, but rather the creative journey you go on to get there (and boy, do I need to be reminded!). 

He is also giving me ample opportunity to learn about patience.  Like most parents of toddlers, we have the typical tantrums going on.  I have read the book "Happiest Toddler On The Block" and can't recommend it enough.  The book hasn't made the tantrums completely go away, but it has taught us how to navigate through them so there are fewer tears, less screaming, and a happier outcome sooner than we would normally be able to achieve. 

As if dealing with tantrums wasn't enough to test my teach me patience, communicating with Superman moment to moment also requires a whole lot of it.  He is in the phase where he mostly speaks in one (maybe two) word sentences.  We have been working on sentences like, "Mommy, cheese please." or "Daddy, car please."  But most of the time it is the thing he wants and then an added please when we ask him to "ask nicely". 

When he is frustrated, the one or two words go away completely.  He wants to grunt or whine his way to whatever he wants.  Our current solution is to utilize Dr. Karp's techiniques and say, "You sound really frustrated." and then we add, "can you use your words to tell me what you need/want?"  Although we are a long way from it working every time, we are seeing some success.  In fact, he is a conversation from yesterday.

S: Whaaaaaaaa  (who is standing on a chair eating his lunch at the island in our kitchen)
Me: S, can you try and use your words and tell me what you need? (I am changing T's diaper)
S: No
Me: No as in you can't or No as in milk? (no has some how come to be the word he says for milk)
S: Spoon?
Me: You would like the spoon?  (they are also on the island, but out of reach)
S:yeah, spoon.
Me: Can you figure out a way to get the spoon without my help?
S: (No answer.  He stands there for a minute, then decides to get off the chair, move it closer to the spoons, climb back up and grab both his plate for lunch and the spoons.)
Me: (glowing from ear to ear) Great problem solving kiddo! S wanted the spoon and he figured out how to get it without Mommy's help.  Great job!

He may have a lot to teach me, but this type of conversation reminds me of the magnitude of my job as a mother and how this one skill, of solving a problem on your own, is just a small fraction of all that I have to teach him.  How cool is that?

 *or rather the leaves that he currently calls flowers

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Clarifying my focus

I am so far behind with my updates on the kids that every time I sit down to write about them, I get overwhelmed and do something else.  I got to thinking about why I want to do the updates at all and I realized it is not because I want to share everything with the world, I do them so that I will remember.  I do them so that my family and close friends can hear about the little things going on in our little piece of the world without my need to post every little thing on Facebook....although I come close. 

So I have decided to create a second blog.  A blog where I can post pictures of the kids, use their real names, and write all about the little details of our lives so that I will remember when they are older (you know, like a month from now).  

This will free me up to write about the things that I do want to share with the rest of the world...things like how I am dealing with Mr. T's 4 month sleep regression, Superman's new found love of temper tantrums, and my transformative journey involving food, dieting, and my weight.  So you can see that I still still write about the kids, but you won't get posts listing their various milestones. 

I hope this makes as much sense to everyone else as it does to me. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just like me.

Superman doesn't look like me.  I was in denial for a long time.  People would comment on how much he looks like my husband, but I would just keep thinking that some part of him looks like me...I just needed to figure out which part.

My husband likes to remind me that he does have my toes.  Yes, one physical trait he got from me was his lovely webbed second and third toe.  I am sure he will be thanking me at some point.

The fact that he doesn't look like me has bugged me since he was born.  I look at all my friend's kids and you can totally tell that it is their kid.  But then you look at Superman and I and you might think we are related, but it isn't entirely obvious how. 

One of my deep down and secret worries I had about Mr. T, when I was pregnant, is that he would also not look like me.  I tried to grapple with the idea that I might not ever have a kid that looked like me and that had to be okay.

Thankfully, I don't actually have to deal with that because Mr. T looks a lot like me and it is AMAZING!!  I love looking at him and seeing my features on his face.   I like seeing pictures where our smiles are the same.  I love it when people comment on the fact that he looks a lot like me.

And as with anything involving motherhood, my adoration with my new son looking like me has made me feel guilty.  I feel bad that it means something to me that he looks like me.  It isn't that I love him more or that I feel more connected to him, because that certainly isn't the case.   It just feels different to have someone look like you.  Do you know what I mean?  Maybe you don't and I am all alone on this subject.  Maybe I am just a big egotistical weirdo that gets a kick out of the fact that she has someone that looks like fact as I write this I am really beginning to wonder if any of this will make sense to you all.

So...If your kid looks like you, how do you feel about having a mini you?  Do you have an extra sense of pride because of it? If your kid doesn't look like you, how do you feel about this?  Do you wish that he did look like you?  Does it matter at all?

All this being said, in the end, I know, without a doubt, that both of these adorable kids are mine:

with his webbed toes and strong desire to make friends where ever he goes.

 (just like me)


Mr. T  
with his bright blue eyes, auburn hair, thin upper lip, invisible eyebrows and desire to babble non-stop when he is happy.

(just like me)

Monday, October 24, 2011

It gets better.

I think that I am finally over the hump!  In the past month I have been doing some hard work so that I could start to feel better.  Things aren't perfect, but what is?  I can honestly say that my depression is minimal and my anxiety attacks are almost non-existent.  In the last week or so that things have started looking a whole lot brighter for me.

Interestingly, it took a really crappy day for me to realize that I was doing better.  A whole slew of things went wrong last Friday morning and I really felt quite chaotic and overwhelmed.  However, when nap time came around and I began to think about my morning, I realized that I felt chaotic and overwhelmed, not because of my anxiety disorder, but because anyone would feel that way given the string of events that I had that morning (ok, so my ADD didn't help but that is a different story).  It was at that point that I realized that I was, in fact, feeling better.  Had I not been?  I would have never even attempted to continue my morning outside of the home and  if I did stick with it, I would have surely had an anxiety attack or two.

I then began looking back over the last week.  I realized that I am now able to leave the house with almost no anxiety.  I trust myself and do not obsess over whether or not I made the right decision.  I do not drive down the road with consistent anxiety about an accident.  I feel free!

Sure, I still have an anxiety attack here and there, but it is so much better that I can't help but feel relieved that I made it through the worst parts. 

I will go into some specifics about my treatment in another post because I think it could be helpful to some.  However, if you are suffering from postpartum depression and/or anxiety, please take away this:  It will get better.  It may take you less time than me. It may take you more time than me.  But if you stick with your treatment plan, you will get better. 

Do not give up.
Do not stay silent about your struggles. 
Know that you are not alone. 
Know that it can look differently for each person, if you don't feel right, seek help. 
Thank you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where Is Mommy C now? Part 2

If you didn't see yesterday's post, I suggest starting there.  Where Is Mommy C now? Part 1

I was talking with a friend yesterday about my struggles with writing all of this down.  Some of my thoughts are pretty scary for me and I worry that I will putting thoughts into other people's heads by writing about it.  She reminded me that other people have come forward and talked about their struggles with PPD and PPA and it helped others not feel alone.  Isn't that my goal? To share with all of you my struggles so that we don't feel alone? Exactly.  She also reminded me that my blog title is "being mom now" and this is where I am right now.  I guess I can't really hide from it any more so here we go.

If I had to boil down my anxiety, I would have to say that anything that makes me feel like I am not in control can cause an anxiety attack.

Bridges are full of anxiety for me.  I am not worried that I will drive off the bridge, I am worried that someone will hit me and send me off the bridge (=no control).  When I am approaching a bridge I begin to think about what might happen, how will I respond, how can I best ensure that we all make it out alive.  I am so anxious by the time I reach the bridge that getting across requires me to say to myself (out loud), "just keep driving" and "you can do this" and "no one will hit you" and "just keep driving" over and over and over again.   Busy roads, in general, will also do this to me when I am already in a heightened state of anxiety.  However, I have an easier time "talking myself down" because getting into a regular car accident doesn't involve figuring out how to get my two small children out of their carseats and to safety, all while underwater.   (just writing this has given me heart palpitations)

Being home is another struggle for me, on multiple levels.  First is the anxiety that someone will break in and I won't be able to defend myself and protect my children (despite having two large dogs to help protect us).   Again, I tend to play these movies in my head of how I will respond, how will I call 911, where I can hid my children so they won't be hurt, thinking about pretending that we are all asleep so they might leave us alone.  It is particularly hard for me when I am upstairs and can't hear the doors open. 

The second issue with being at home is a much more complicated issue that is can be summed up with, "I am afraid to stay home." I wrote about it yesterday, but what I didn't mention was that I am fighting off anxiety attacks no matter what I choose to do.  If I stay home, I am anxious that I should be leaving, that this will become a pattern, that I will never be able to leave my house again.  If I am leaving, I am anxious that something will bad happen while we are out or that it will make me too tired to make it through the day or that I am not prepared for all that might happen.  Because of this, when I leave the house, I leave with everything (including the kitchen sink).  I have more snacks, diapers, wipes, clothes, drinks, and toys than I will need for 3 days out, not just the couple hours we expect to be gone.  If for some reason we leave without "enough" of any of these things, I will undoubtedly have an anxiety attack and spend much of the time gone figuring out what we will do if we run out of something we need. (This is a particular difficult thing when it is my husband and I getting ready to leave for somewhere.  He usually packs "just enough" or doesn't think certain things are crucial to bring.  I disagree and it causes tension.  I don't think I have been able to explain how it makes me feel to be "under prepared" till now.  I really wish I could be more like him.)

Time makes me anxious.  Actually time makes me anxious always.  I hate being late.  I hate being on time. I want to be early.  If I am cutting it close and will only be about 5 minutes early, I will have an anxiety attack. I try and avoid this by being earlier, but then I end up there really early and get frustrated with my need to be early. 

I feel like I could go on and on about my worries.  Seriously, I feel like I am being held captive by my worry, by my fears, by my anxiety.  I hate that it controls me because really I just want to have control over my life. I feel like everyone must think I am a bit insane.  I hate it.  If I could be rid of this depression and anxiety forever, I would do anything to make it happen.  I suppose that is what I am doing right now with the meds, the therapy, and the activities that I do at home.  Although I am doubtful they will all just go away any time soon, I do trust that I will get better.  I have to believe that I will get better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where is Mommy C now? (Part 1)

Perspective.  Can you have perspective on an issue when you are in the middle of it?  I have struggled with the answer to this for several weeks.  This is why I haven't posted.  I kept hoping I would emerge and then I could look back and discuss with all of you how it was.  But, sadly, I am still stuck. 

Where am I stuck you ask?  Somewhere between a fabulously productive mom of two under two and a depressed and anxiety filled woman struggling to keep it all together.  I am almost 3 months postpartum and it is clear that this isn't just going to "go away". 

I am working on it though.  I am seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, and doing some daily work at home.  But these are the details that don't seem right to share right now.  What if the work I am doing now doesn't help?  What if someone reads this post and thinks this is the right way to go about dealing with depression and anxiety and really I am way off base?  (I don't think I am, but I hope you understand my concern.)

So what should I write about then?  Do I put on a happy face and write about all the cool things that Superman and Mr. T are doing?  Sure, I think this would be good for me.  I have almost posted so many things on my Facebook wall, but then think, "This isn't me.  This doesn't represent who I am right now."   It all just seems fake.

Fake.  I am a faker.  That saying, "fake it till you make it" seems really appropriate for me right now.  The people that I am around most of the time would have no idea that I am suffering if I hadn't told them (and the people I hardly know certainly don't know anything is wrong).  I put on a smile and go on with my life.  I am productive.  I am finding joy in life.  I am living.  But it takes everything I have to make it through the day. 

So maybe the best, most helpful thing to write about would be how I feel right now

This depression threw me for a loop.  I was expecting the postpartum anxiety because I had it postpartum with Superman.   I was not expecting to be so exhausted that I wanted to sleep or lie on the couch all the time.  I was not expecting to be so short-tempered and impatient that I felt like I was going to lose it if I didn't step away.  I began to believe that my toddler was intentionally making my life difficult.  That he was getting back at me for leaving him with my mom or sending him to daycare or just not being there for him.  It wasn't till I started attaching these very grown-up actions and emotions to him that I realized that maybe something else was going on. 

I just want to pause here and say that (believe it or not), my past depression came in handy here.  I was able to recognize that my toddler can't have these adult emotions and that I was attaching this emotion to him AND it wasn't real. 

As I found myself wanting/needing a lot more sleep than might be expected, I began to worry that if I gave into that sleep, I would start falling into a deeper depression.  To be honest, I suppose I still feel this way. 

In order to stop myself from "slipping" I forced myself to get out of the house.  We had something to do outside of the house every morning.  We would go to the grocery store a lot.  We had more play dates than we used to.  We'd do anything I could think of to avoid spending any extended time at the house.  The more I did this though, the bigger the fear became that if I stay home, my world as I know it would crumble away.  I would lose it all. 

Then one day, about 2 weeks ago, Superman woke up from his nap and we went into the playroom to play while I fed Mr. T.  He began playing independently and the next thing I knew it was almost dinner time. We had survived.  The next several days were the same.  We played at the house and I stopped feeling the strong urge to run from the house as soon as the boys were awake. 

Problem solved, right?  Nope.  Now I hate leaving the house.  I just don't have the energy to deal with it all.  It is so much work and I am worried that the kids are going to lose it in the middle of the store or that I am going not be able to meet their needs out and about.  It all feels too overwhelming.  In fact I have needed to get to the store for a week and I keep making up excuses for why I haven't gone.  I can't even blame the kids.  My in-laws were here this past week and I still only ran part of the errands I needed to run because I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't get out the door. 

I think a lot of people think depression is all about not stop crying and hopelessness.  For many, this may be exactly what it is.  But for me, I have moments of clarity where I can see things somewhat logically, almost as if I am looking in on the situation from the outside.  Sometimes, I do have enough perspective to see the whole picture.  Because of this, I don't feel hopeless most of the time.  Sure sometimes I feel like I will never pull myself together and get passed this, but I know that this is not the case.  History tells me that this is not the case. (Part of my therapy is about challenging my beliefs by looking at what history tells me.  Does history support my fear?  Do I have evidence that this will happen?)

As far as the crying goes, well I envy those that can cry.  I am so afraid that if I start crying that I might never stop (sure I will stop, I know that I will, but I am still fearful of it).  I am afraid that I will be viewed as weak, as incompetent, as unable to take care of my children.  I am afraid that I will have to go on  stronger meds and not be able to breastfeed.  I am afraid that my life as I know it will be taken from me against my will.  I am working on reminding myself that I am not anywhere close to having any of these things happen.  I tell myself that it is okay to be afraid, but history shows me that these things aren't likely.  So I have begun to let the tears sneak out.  I figure the more times I cry and then stop crying, the more reinforcement I will have that I will be okay. 

In the beginning, as I became more aware of my depression, I was grateful that I had been spared the postpartum anxiety.  Unfortunately, aspects of my depression lent themselves to cause my anxiety to reemerge (being afraid of leaving the home and crying as two examples).  In part 2 I will talk about the anxiety that I am dealing with. 

Note: I hope this helpful to someone.  I hope that someone reads this and says, "hey, someone else feels like this too?" and knows that they are not alone.  If you know someone that might be suffering, reach out to them, not in judgement, but in love.  Help them understand that not only is there a great support system out there for people dealing with depression and anxiety, but it will not last forever.  Thank you.

Postpartum Support International

Six Things You Should Avoid If You Have Postpartum Depression or Anxiety

Six Stages of Postpartum Depression
(The webpage associated with the last two links seems to have some great articles that are worth reading.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Memorable Moments

Mr. T is two months old and I am over due on a post about how things are going.  So without further ado...

  • Two month stats: 
    • weight: 13 pounds, 11 ounces (89th percentile)
    • height: 24.25 inches (89th percentile) 
  • Nursing seems to be going well and he is certainly gaining weight.  Every so often we have a tough time, but that usually has to do with my fast let down.  I pump once a day and get about 7-9 ounces each morning.  When I counted on Friday, I had 83 bags (of 3oz each) of breast milk in my freezer! I have so much that I am going to start giving Superman a sippy cup with about 3oz each day to boost his immunities.
  • Mr. T is starting to "wake up".  He seems to really focus on things now and loves watching the leaves outside or the ceiling fan inside. He has even begun to smile and giggle with increasing frequency.  He still doesn't hold onto toys yet, but his hands are slowly opening up more and more. 
  • That being said, he is a great sleeper!  A nap routine has started to show itself to us. He takes 3-4 naps each day, with the most consistent ones being around 9am and noonish.  I start his bedtime routine around 7pm and is usually asleep by 8pm.  My husband wakes him up for a bottle around 11pm and then he doesn't wake up again till about 4am.  Then he goes back to sleep (usually quickly) and I wake him up around 7:30am (because of our schedule). 
  • He seems to really enjoy spending time with his brother.  They cuddle together after naps and while he is doing tummy time.  I can tell they are going to have so much fun together as they get older. 
  • Speaking of tummy time, about 2-3 weeks ago his acid reflux seemed to get worse and every time he was on his tummy, he spit up.  He spends a lot of time upright so I hoped that he would be okay without tummy time, but I was still worried about it.  Then I was reminded of using a bolster under his chest to lift him up.  This takes the pressure off his belly and now he rarely spits up during tummy time.  
  • On August 24, when he was 6.5 weeks old, Mr. T rolled over on his own!  We were so shocked that my husband put him back on his tummy to see if he would do it again.  Sure enough, he rolled over again!  Obviously, because of the spitting up, he didn't have a lot of opportunity to do it again.  However, when I was taking his 2 month pictures I put him on his stomach and he did roll over again.  He is so strong!
  • Despite his tracheomalacia and acid reflux, he continues to sleep in his crib without an incline.  I am so glad that his medicine is working well enough that we don't have to worry about this. 
  • He likes to sleep on his side in his woombie (a type of swaddle).  I put him on his back, but each time I check on him, he has rolled over to one side, pulled his knees up, and is attempting to suck on his fist. 
 A few things about Superman
  • He is an amazing big brother.  He loves to give Mr. T hugs and kisses.  He might wake up cranky from a nap, but all I have to do is ask him if he wants to see T and his mood changes. 
  • He is no longer doing a full day of daycare once a week.  He has been dealing with some separation anxiety and not only struggling when we drop him off, but screaming at nap time.  Since the child care is in the teacher's home, he was waking other children up.  So he goes for a half day and I pick him up after lunch.  It seems to be working better, but I do hope that at some point he can go back to full day. 
  • We bought him a balance bike called a Strider bike and he loves it!  So far he has gotten really good at walking with the bike and steering.  He still doesn't sit on the bike seat, but I think that is normal at first.  The only problem so far has been that he wants one of us to walk our bike with him.  This has made riding bikes impossible if only one person is home (since someone needs to hold Mr. T or walk with him in the stroller).  Most of the time it is my husband that walks with him and I think it is the highlight of S's day.  
At some point I will update you all on me, but that is way more than I am ready to write about right now.  The only thing that got me to finally update with this was that I was worried I wouldn't remember all of these things when it came to make Mr. T's baby book.  I hope you all understand.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What is that noise?

Mr. T has been a loud breather and nurser pretty much since he was born.  I have mentioned here that he also had trouble sucking and wouldn't take a pacifier.   We saw some improvement after the first cranio sacral treatment, but then things changed just before and then after the second treatment.  I didn't understand why we were back tracking.  He was taking a pacifier easier, but nursing wasn't going well and I was frustrated.  He would gag, wheeze, and refuse to nurse.  Then, if we did successfully nurse, he would be super fussy afterward and hated laying flat. 

I began to notice that he would wheeze and do this weird hiccup thing (not hiccups, but kind of sounds like it) even when he was just laying there or if he was getting upset (regardless of position).  I blamed most of the nursing issues on my over-supply of milk and started feeding him only from one breast at a time (versus swapping sides halfway through).  However, I had no idea why he was making those other noises.  I began to wonder if I just forgot that Superman did this or if this was really something abnormal.   

Then I went to Moms Group on Monday. 

Another mom announced that they finally figured out why she was having so many nursing issues.  Her daughter was diagnosed with tracheomalacia (Some resources/explanations can be found here and here and here).  She began to talk about the symptoms and I couldn't believe my ears.  Mr. T had those same issues!  I asked more questions and our leader told us more about it.  I still didn't understand it completely, but I knew enough that made me want to schedule a doctor's appointment for as soon as we could. 

The next day I got my confirmation.  The pediatrician confirmed that Mr. T appeared to have a "typical" case of tracheomalacia.  You cannot get a definitive diagnosis without having a scope done to see what is actually going on.  However, our doctor didn't recommend going to the ENT .  The doctor didn't want to us to have to put Mr. T under anesthesia if we didn't have to.  If things get worse and he stops thriving, we will certainly reconsider.

At any rate, other than keeping him upright and giving us acid reflux medicine, he didn't have a lot of information to tell me.  I have been nursing him upright in my sling pretty much exclusively and that definitely has improved things, but my shoulders are beginning to hurt having the sling on (what seems to be) 90% of my awake time.   

Today I went to see a lactation consultant in search of a better solution to nursing.  She wasn't my usual consultant, but she could see me today (and since Superman is at daycare today, I jumped all over it).  She showed me a way to use the Breastfriend to help him sit up while nursing.   We wrap it around both of us and the cushion supports his back (he is "sitting" in my lap, back up against it).  It worked well at the office, so I am hoping that it will provide some much needed rest for my shoulders and back. 

I am beginning to feel more comfortable with this diagnosis.  I am still anxious that it will get worse or that he will get an upper respiratory infection.  I worry that we are still missing something and that I am making the wrong decision not to go to the ENT specialist.  However, all in all things are getting better.  I will be sure to post an update if anything changes. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

One Month

I don't know where this past month went, but I do know that there have been days that I thought would never end.  Kind of strange to have time move so fast and slow simultaneously.   I guess the good news is that I have survived.  I don't think I have done it very gracefully at times and I will tell you that there have been tears, but we all have survived and that is what is important. (insert big smiley face here)

Mr. T is doing great.  He is growing a ton and looks more like a 3 month old instead of a one month old.  He has the nursing thing down for the most part and he has even nursed in the ring sling while I was pushing Sam in the swing at the park!  He had his first cranial-sacral therapy last week for his sucking issues and I credit the treatment for his greater ability to latch without getting frantic first.  He is also starting to latch onto our fingers a lot faster.  He will have at least 2 more treatments to see if we can get him to latch onto a pacifier without a ton of coaxing.  I don't care if he doesn't ever want a pacifier, but I want to make sure he can latch if he wants to do so.   He has also started to take a bottle, which is huge!  He doesn't like to drink very much from it, but it is a start.  (I really need to be getting more sleep and that means one bottle a day when possible.)  Overall a really great first month for our little boy!

Superman is adjusting to being a big brother AND dealing with typical 18 month+ type stuff.  While he seems to love his little brother, he has shown that he wants more attention than he was getting before.  We have worked on finding special times through the day for just S and I and that seems to help.  His tantrums (which usually include hitting or throwing) seem to also be improving, thank goodness!!  I am sure that we are no where near the end of them, but at least they are more manageable now.  

My husband has been back to work for just over 2 weeks.  I had been letting him sleep at night, but now I am waving the white flag and asking for help.  The current plan is that I will go to bed after my 9-10pm feeding and then my husband will give Mr. T a bottle at around 11-12.  We did this at the end of last week and I was able to get 5-6 hours of sleep, even though he only took about 2 ounces of milk.  We had stopped because it seemed like Mr. T didn't want to eat till later, but at this point if it means I get more sleep, we are doing it.

Speaking of me....well, I am doing okay.  I am holding out hope that if I get more sleep, I will feel better.  I will post more about this later if sleep doesn't "fix" things.  Thankfully, I feel pretty good physically.  My healing has gone so much easier than it did with Superman.  I have been doing some walking, but hope to get back into a routine soon.  This should help with my mood too.

If anyone has some great tips on balancing sleep, parenting, and time for yourself, please share!  I sleep during naps (when not nursing) and once Mr. T goes to bed I want some time to myself, but feel like I should be going to bed so that I can get more sleep. 

I am also looking for good, quick snacks for me.  I tend to eat granola bars, goldfish, and cheese when I need something quick.  I want something fairly healthy, but is still easy to grab and go.  Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Who needs sleep? (2nd Edition)

ME!!!!  I need sleep! 
Way back when Superman was about 3 months old I posted about my struggle to sleep when he stirred in his bassinet, Superman's struggles with sleep thanks to some gas, and how I had started singing "Who Needs Sleep" in order to just survive the day.  Well I am singing it once again...

Mr. T is a pretty good sleeper, for a newborn.  That isn't my issue.  My issue is that my body is screaming at me for more sleep.  Like most moms of newborns, I haven't slept for more than 4 hours in several months.  When I was pregnant it wasn't so bad because I was just getting up to pee and then heading back to sleep.  Now, even though I am only nursing him a couple of times a night, I am up for about 40-60 minutes each time and falling back to sleep isn't as easy.  I have also tried sleeping during Superman's nap time, but some days Mr. T's nursing schedule and a short nap just don't allow for that to happen.  If I do nap? Most of the time it is just an hour or so.

I am not asking for much.  I just want 6 straight hours of sleep.  I want to wake up and feel rested.  I am not even asking for this every night, just once or twice a week.

So tonight we are going to try out the bottle with Mr. T.  With his sucking issues, I have been hesitant to introduce it, but I am desperate so I am crossing my fingers and handing the feeding duties over to my husband tonight.  If things go well, he will take over the last feeding before midnight each night and I will get some much needed sleep. 

Wish us luck!  I am going to bed!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Day in the Life of Mommy C

Back when Superman was born I really struggled with the feeling that I was accomplishing nothing during the first few months.  I was home full time.  Shouldn't I have a perfectly clean house? Shouldn't I have laundry done and dinners made? Why could I not find time to get these things done? What was I doing all day?

As I mentioned this to friends, I surprised to hear that I wasn't the only one that felt this way.  I got several tips on how to find time to clean/cook/do laundry (thanks Fly Lady!), but the piece of advice the most unique piece of advice was from a fabulous mom named Karen.  Instead of a to-do list that she went through everyday, she had a journal where she wrote down everything she did as she did them.  Diaper change? Write it down.  Nurse the baby? Write it down. Showered? Write it down.  You get the idea.

At the time I didn't really appreciate the advice.  I thought it was a neat idea, but really I just wanted to have a clean house again.  Now that I am home with a toddler and a newborn the idea of finding time to clean is laughable right now.  I barely have time to pee, let alone scrub a toilet or dust the end tables.  My husband went back to work today and as I thought about what I wanted to do today, I remembered Karen's advice and this post series was born.

From time to time I am going to post a "Day in the life of Mommy C" where I catalog all the things I accomplished that day.  I think it will be interesting to see how the lists shift over time as the boys grow and their needs change.  Most importantly, I hope that it reminds me that even when I don't accomplish anything "productive" around the house, I am actually being quite productive.

A Day in the Life of Mommy C

16 diapers changed (5 poopy ones and I only got peed on 1 time)
5 outfits changed
7 cuddle and play sessions with Superman (after nursing Mr. T) including 
2 times- playing with the trains with S
1 time- playing with the cars with S
1 time- coloring on the easel with S
10 minutes searching for the missing purple ball
2 loads of laundry started
1 load of laundry folded
1 walk to the playground and then around the neighborhood
13 wipes of S's nose (Go AWAY allergies!)
2 meltdowns by Superman
5 time outs given for throwing and hitting
1 story time and nap for Superman
1 nap taken by me
3 times- letting the dogs out 
3 times- yelling at dogs for barking (actually it is more like 15 times but I figured each trip out would count as one)
(approximately) 161 minutes spent nursing (by 7:45pm - still have at least 2 more nursing times left today)
1 trip out to the Washington Square area to pick up pictures and my earrings 
1 nursing session done in the car while the toddler watched a video and shared a Jamba Juice with me.
1 drive home while trying to soothe Mr. T 
At least 65 hugs given
3 meals served (pizza delivery counts right?)
3 snacks given
5 sippy cups given
2 tummy time sessions with Mr. T
1 Sesame Street episode started to give me a break for a few minutes
1 blog post written
1 Tour de France stage watched

Not bad for my first day alone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reclaiming My Body...Eventually

A little bit of history...
Growing up I was pretty athletic and had a good body.  I wasn't thin...I was just right.  I remember being really self conscious though and thought that I was so much bigger than all the other girls.  What I would give to have that body back!

At some point after moving to California and beginning my teacher career, I began to pack on the pounds.  There wasn't one thing that changed that caused me to gain was a whole bunch put together.  I was working a lot of hours just to live paycheck to paycheck.  I was living off mac n' cheese and other cheap food.  I was depressed and homesick.  I quit running and most other exercise.  Huh, listing things all out like this it is no wonder I gained weight! 

By the time I met my husband I was about 40-50 pounds overweight.  We fell in love (obviously) and moved in together.  Over time I realized that most of the reasons I packed on the pounds in the first place were history and I decided it was time to shed that weight.  I lost all of it in about 9 months and kept it off for some time.  Then I left the classroom to be an instructional coach.  Between the lack of exercise I got because I had a "desk job" and the stress eating I did because my job situation stunk, I slowly began added 25 pounds back on.  

When we moved to Portland 3 years ago we had so much fun exploring the great restaurants and pubs that I joke that we ate are way through Portland.  Then I had a miscarriage, fell into a depression, and gained the last 20 pounds plus some that I had lost way back when.

When I got pregnant with Superman I was 210 pounds (yikes- I can't believe I am telling you all this!).  I gained about 15 pounds during the pregnancy and thankfully lost that weight almost immediately.  Despite the fact that everyone told me that breastfeeding helps you lose weight, I struggled to lose more weight postpartum.  In fact it took a LOT of effort to lose 13 pounds before getting pregnant with Mr. T.

Where am I now?
So I started this last pregnancy at 197 pounds.  I gained about 13 pounds by the end of the pregnancy.  Today, 12 days postpartum I weigh 192 pounds!  There was one morning where I weighed 190, but I think that was just a fluke. Besides, I have heard that your weigh can fluctuate for the first 6 weeks postpartum.  Anyone else know anything about this?  I can't remember from last time.

My Goal
I have a goal weight of about 155-160 even though that is on the high end of my "ideal weight range" for my height. At my lowest weight of 150 pounds I really felt like I was just too thin and don't have any desire to get back to there.

I would like to get to this weight in a year, but I don't think that is realistic because I don't consider my body to be mine yet.  As long as I am nursing, that takes the priority.  So I am giving myself 18 months.  This year I will focus on eating healthily and exercising and see where that gets me.  Then adjust and pick up the pace after I am done nursing.

Biggest Hurdle
As I have said, I am nursing and I am assuming that I will struggle to lose weight like I did after giving birth to Superman.  I am not willing to jeopardize my milk supply so finding the appropriate amount of calorie intake given my activity level is complicated.  I will be going back to Baby Bootcamp as soon as I can and may use the point system from Weight Watchers just to make sure that I am getting in enough calories (because I know points and it makes keeping track of calories a whole lot easier). 

So stay tuned.  I will update my progress as I go along.  It won't be a regular posting, but as I reach milestones (hopefully that is) or encounter struggles, I will be sure to post.  For now, if you have any tips on how to lose weight while maintaining your milk supply, please feel free to share! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adjusting to being a brother...

Are you curious to know how Superman is adjusting to being a big brother?  Overall, he is doing great, but there have been a few hiccups...

It seems like a lot of my friends are having their second child right now and a hot topic among us has been "How do you help child #1 adjust to the new baby?"  In fact, Evelyn, over at Momsicle, has had two posts that include tips from her friends. We gave S a baby doll a while ago to help prepare him and we had all the baby stuff out a couple weeks before Mr. T arrived so that he got used to it, but really, nothing could have prepared him for his new little brother.

Overall I guess we are lucky because Superman doesn't pay much attention to Mr. T.  However, when he does seem interested, S gives him hugs and kisses, tries to feeding him his snacks, lays any stray blanket over his little body, and loves trying to stuff the pacifier into Mr. T's mouth. 

The difficulty has come with sharing me.  If he and I are playing, he sometimes swats other people away when they come to join us.  We have been trying to handle this by being firm, consistent, but loving.  He is trying to show us that he is feeling insecure and as his parents, we need to hear him even if we don't like the way he is telling us.  We have done time-outs, but only when he continued the behavior after we scolded him (Typically that sounds like, "No hitting, ouch, hitting hurts. Sam wants just Mommy right now, but Daddy wants to play too. Let's let Daddy play too.")

We have had a few meltdowns that have taught us about Superman's needs, including one dinner that was a pure disaster.  I will admit that during these meltdowns I have gotten really frustrated too, wishing things  But I have learned (maybe that shouldn't be past tense...) that I need to take a deep breath (or ten) and try and see things from S's perspective.  While I am working on being patient, I am also taking notes on what S needs from us.

His behavior has told us...
  • He needs to have time that is just him and I.  
  • He needs to know when things are going to change (ex. I need to stop playing and feeding Mr. T) and be given some warning ahead of time. 
  • He needs his schedule to be consistent and predictable. 
  • He needs extra hugs. 
  • He needs time with both my husband and I.  It seems to be less about getting undivided attention from us because he is okay if Mr. T is also involved.  I think it is more about him feeling comforted by having his family all together.  
Most of these things are really easy to accomplish.  Mr. T is pretty content in the swing or bouncer seat so finding time to play with S one on one is simple enough.   I love structure and having a schedule makes me just as happy as it makes S.  We are still tweaking the old schedule to meet our new needs, but we have managed to have very little change for S.  He needs hugs?  I am an endless supply of cuddles and hugs.   Finding time with my husband and I is super easy right now because my husband is home for the rest of the week. Once he goes back to work we will have to make sure he gets plenty of time with Daddy before bedtime. 

The one area that seems to be the most difficult is supporting him with adjusting to a change in activities.  My psychiatrist (and then several friends) mentioned having a box of toys just for when I am nursing Mr. T.  That made me think that I could use the box to help transition from one activity to another, but still wanted to be able to give him some sort of visual heads up when possible.  So I have gotten him a toddler timer that has the red, yellow, and green lights. I haven't used it yet...mostly because I have to figure out how to work it first, but I will be sure to report back and let you know if it is successful. 

We are still finding our way as the parents of two boys, but I think we have a good start.  I am sure there will be more bumps in the road and I will let you know what they are and how we deal with them along the way.