Friday, December 30, 2011

On saying Goodbye and Hello, at the same time

I'm working from home today, thanks to a terribly sore back, yet another sleepless night and a cold that won't quit. So, here I am, the day before New Year's Eve, monitoring my inbox and realizing that THE WHOLE WORLD seems to be quiet today. It's quiet here too. Our wonderful, fabulous twice-weekly nanny (Hi B if you read this!) came this morning and took sweet E back to her house. For some reason, I can't sleep when I know Ellie's up and active - unless her nanny is watching her. Then, it's lights out for me - total trust in someone is rare and peace inducing.

It's the time of year where folks feel reflective about where we came from and anticipatory of what's around the corner. I'm finding myself caught up in that hoopla this year as well, much more so than years past. Our family has had quite the rollercoaster year, one in which you simply do your best to hang on.

So, with that in mind, let me recap (in a PC, internet friendly way, my-family-reads-my-blog, way of course) some of what we've experienced this last year.
  • One of us (not naming names!) had a red-letter year, career wise, which involved some scary unknown times, and not only a job change, but a massive directional upheaval in career path. This took a lot of effort, trust, deep breathing and faith that things tend to work out in the end, and today I'm extremely optimistic and thankful for this change
  • One of us (uh, me) gained 40+ lbs and lost 65+... My body shows the wear and tear, and I COULD NOT be more proud of this accomplishment. The scars and stretch marks I will wear proudly for life, as a reminder of what I'm physically capable of
  • On that note - one of us (me again) experienced the most physically taxing and draining year of my life. From near constant sickness, rapidly expanding ligaments, bruised ribs, an all-natural, painful and incredibly awesome life-giving experience, to sleepless nights and running on little more than fumes - I award myself a gold medal. They say that pregnancy and childbirth doesn't earn you any medals, but I just gave myself one, so....
  • One of us (Hi sweet Ellie, mama's talking about you now!) went from being a banana sized fetus, increasing her weight by a factor of 26 (!!!) and is now a full on, little person who is the absolute joy of our life. When I think about the cellular growth that is involved in going from around 13 ounces to almost 20 pounds, I am blown away. No wonder she sleeps all the time! (uh, except when she's supposed to be sleeping!).
  • We mastered the art of parenting Ellie from age zero to 7 1/2 months. Granted, the art of parenting Ellie from 7 1/2 months onward has yet to be explored....
  • The critters stayed exactly the same, except Janey who went outside and never came back (she's still alive, we report daily sightings of her, don't worry!), and Monty who lost some weight and reports slightly less energy.
  • We ate slightly less well (uh, mama has no time to cook) and drank far less alcohol but probably more caffeine
  • We experienced first hand how a baby brings a whole family together
  • We learned that it really does take a village, just like they say it does
  • We hosted Christmas! And, survived!
  • I learned that without a doubt, I picked the right partner to join me through life (awww....)
  • My theory that the universe is a pretty random thing was seriously challenged when I welcomed my daughter. No way in heck were we randomly put together. I've said it before, but I know without a doubt that she and I were simply meant to be. :)
As I reflect on 2011, it only makes sense to prepare to welcome 2012. Some of my family believes in The Secret (you know, you put out what you want and it will come back to you kind of idea). While I am not really on board with that whole notion, I figure it can't hurt - so here goes. My Wish List for 2012.
  • Without being too informative, I'd like to see a signifanct change in our life which would create new responsibilities for one of us (I hope the universe knows what I'm talking about)
  • More nights sleeping through the night than being up round the clock, please!
  • Continued health for our family, not just the three of us, but the greater fam as well
  • Employment for those that wish for it, however that might manifest
  • Perhaps year-end news that 2013 might bring a new addition?
  • An election which will bring leaders who encourage peace, recognize the importance of helping those that need our help and that ALL people share in the right of the pursuit of happiness and true love
  • Deep joy and peace, and mostly happy days (let's be realistic here, no one is happy all the time!)
Peace to you all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Oh, am I exhausted. We had quite the Christmas season and now we are staring down the arrival of 2012. How is it possible that 2011 is already over? Seriously though - I know a lot of folks feel the same way about the passing of each year, but this year just zoomed by (despite the fact that every single day from January 1 - May 15 felt like it lasted forreeevver.... Although for that matter, May 16 through now has had its fair share of marathon days!).

We hosted family in town this year for Christmas - Peter's dad and stepmom came in from Minnesota and his sister and her daughter from Florida. Hosting with a baby - I knew it would be a lot of work, but I didn't realize at the time we committed to the visit just how much planning and preparation I'd be doing. As in, for me - the process of getting everything ready started weeks in advance. With just an hour or two each night for prep work, I carefully mapped out in my mind when I'd do what chore. The gifts were wrapped a couple at a time starting a couple weeks before Christmas. Grocery trips were well planned and well executed. Cooking meals was done days in advance. Cleaning of course was left to the last minute (what's the point in cleaning when it'll just get dirty again?) Quite literally, I knew exactly what I'd be doing at any given moment of the day far in advance of that actual moment. Naps for the baby were a priority, much to the dismay of my 12 year old niece who would have been happy playing with Ellie for 18 hours a day. The weekend went well, but I am completely exhausted and had a mini breakdown this morning when I realized that this was how I'd spent my precious vacation time.

Lovin Christmas
Despite the work involved, it was a great Christmas weekend. We loved having our family here, visiting and connecting with them, and of course, introducing them to the star of Christmas - our Eleanor. Ellie made us so proud - she is such a good, sweet little girl, always smiling and happy and rarely fussy. Despite the fact that since my last blog post (where I announced that she was sleeping great! forgot to knock on wood..) she hadn't slept more than a couple hours straight, she was on her best behavior the whole weekend. Such a good baby we have - she makes our hearts ache with happiness - on Christmas day and every day. :)

Merry Christmas from us!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

third times the charm?

This is my third attempt at a new post in the last couple weeks. I keep trying to no avail. I can't come up with the words I want to say - I suppose that's because I don't even know what to say.

My brain is in a fog right now, despite all that I seem to miraculously accomplish on a given day. Not that I'm having any fun doing any of it, or feel any satisfaction from completion of anything. I'm on autopilot right now, and have that little mantra from Finding Nemo stuck in my head, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Between getting ready for work, commuting there, working and commuting home, I'm averaging just a couple hours a day at home. These hours are precious to me, but somehow I find that I can't even soak them in. Despite my best attempts to be focused and in the moment with Ellie, I am drawn to the many other tasks that need to get accomplished. I feel awful about it, but the moment I get home (after spending 2 - 2 1/2 hours a day in the car!), I set her up to play by herself and run around trying to take care of everything that needs taking care of - washing pump parts (mandatory), trying to scrounge up dinner (not mandatory, but the alternative is costly takeout, which I hate doing), getting bottles set up for the next day, throwing something in the washing machine, etc... Ellie starts squaking and I "play" with her, only to be thinking that I need Peter to come home so I can finish whatever chores are left on my plate. It's with a heavy heart that I've been going to bed lately - I feel so awful that I can't dedicate more of my time to her. Not just for her to get to be with her mama more, but for me to be with her - she is my heart's joy. I soak in every second of rocking her to sleep and when she wakes in the night, I don't mind at all anymore because even though it means I will be even more tired the next day, it also means I get just 10 extra minutes with my baby.

What's even harder is that all of this chaos seems to be escalating, and it's the holidays, which are supposed to be about peace and joy, but for me right now all it means is extra stuff on my plate. Thank GOD for Seriously - I've yet to set foot in a real store this year!

I spend the days and nights fantasizing about what changes could be made in my life to free up some room. I may have found an answer, but the grass is always greener, so we'll see.

On a side note - Ellie is so much dang fun right now. The girl changes every day it seems and has gone from a baby to a little kid in the last couple of weeks. She's starting to pull herself up, has a little tooth, talks and babbles all the time, laughs when she thinks things are funny (any dog is always good for a chuckle!) and even looks older and smarter. I loved the newborn stage, but this stage, despite it's challenges, takes the cake.

And with that, she's waking from her 2 1/2 hour nap. Poor baby *may* be coming down with something (fingers crossed that she isn't!), but the flip side is that she is sleeping like a dream! So, I'll sign off and leave you with a random assortment of pictures from the last couple of weeks. :)
just chillin at the cabin

surprsingly mobile for not actually crawling yet


prunes. :)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Backward Progress

Remember how I said I was going to stop whining and complaining because no one likes a whiner? I feel like I go one step forward and two steps back when it comes to fixing my attitude. The truth is that it is 5:37 on a Friday night, I'm completely exhausted and a large part of me wishes I could toss responsibility aside, pour myself a couple large glasses of wine after another, watch some trashy tv and pass out, with every intention of sleeping for 12 hours. The reality is that while Ellie is asleep right now (thank you universe!!) she will only stay asleep as long as I keep busy - the second I put my feet up she'll call out for me. Then I'll be hanging out/dealing with her for a couple of hours (although bedtime is at 7, we've kissed going to bed on time goodbye with this early evening nap), wrangling dinner (for both of us), bathtime (for one), pjs, diapers, books, cuddles, etc. Then she'll fall asleep (she'd good at this) but stay asleep for 40 minutes until she calls out for me again (she's good at this too - and by good at this, I mean bad at sleeping soundly these days). My attitude needs an adjustment.

I think coming home when it's already dark out adds all sorts of new stress when there is a baby who I am so desperate to get home to. I've always hated leaving work after dark (who likes it anyway?), but it feels SO MUCH later when I'm aching for my girl. The whole commute I'm willing away my anxiety that I'm late, she's waiting for me, etc... The reality is that I'm not late, it's the same time I've always gotten home, it just feels that way. This in turn makes me resent being away from her (not resent my employer - BIG difference!) and generally just sad. Also, I've added in another pumping session at work (TMI perhaps?) in attempt to get my supply to a place which keeps up with my growing girl, and it really does suck being hooked up to a machine like a dairy cow three times a day. But, I'm certainly not near quitting yet, so dairy cow for me it is.
honestly though, I'd doing anything for this girl
So, that sums up Regression Category 1: my attitude adjustment, or lack there-of

Next up - Category 2: Ellie's sleep, or lack there-of.

(No joke - she just cried out for me, as I wrote that. Girl's got timing down!)

We had to start some light training to get her to sleep better a couple weeks ago, but then I got sick and the whole thing regressed. The purpose of our training was to accomplish the following: 1) teach Ellie to put herself back to sleep, 2) lessen her dependance on me for bedtime and strengthen her relationship with Peter on this particular area (as it currently stands, she adores him all other areas of the day, but if he goes to soothe her in the middle of the night, God help us all) and 3) get our whole household sleeping better. She did okay sleeping through the night until she got sick, then the whole thing fell apart.

This is where we were last night: 7pm - I rock her to sleep 7:30: She cries, I rock her again. 8:15: cries, more rocking. 9:15: cries, still more rocking (see a pattern?) 10:30... cries, rocking. 12:30: cries, I kick poor Peter out of bed, bring Ellie to bed with me, nurse her to sleep. 2: cries, I snuggle her. 3:30: cries, nurse to sleep... 5am: tosses and turns, I am wide awake. Needless to say, we've gotten back to square one with the whole "sleep training thing." Not only did she completely need me all night long, but nobody got any sleep at all. And today? The lingering barking cough she's had since mid-October sounds much, much worse (croup's back! Yay!). So, perhaps we're bound to repeat the last couple of months...

So where are we? I've got a bad attitude, I'm sad to be away from my baby and nobody is sleeping. Least of all Peter who was stuck at the office until 4:00AM (!!!!) on Thursday morning and called me again tonight saying, "might be another late night...." fantastic. Not that I can't easily handle the baby by myself, but I do wish he was here with us, especially as, selfishly, if we've got another "late night" on our hands, that means tomorrow it's all me until 1pm or so when he wakes up from being at work until the wee hours.

The good news in all this complaining? It's December 2nd! Which means in 20 days, the days start getting longer again!! Can't come soon enough... in the meantime, any suggestions on a prompt change of attitude and/or getting a baby to sleep through the night without full on crying it out? (I'm too weak - I try! But then I fail!)

this girl's ready for winter!