Monday, December 15, 2008

So Very Tired and So Much To Do

Well, my son has hit a rough patch in his quest to sleep through the night. I don't know why, but for the last four nights he has woken up at least three times to feed. Now, I am not complaining (I know I signed up for this) but I hate seeing him so upset. And the last three nights he has woken up because of gas and a dirty diaper. Poor little man.

And poor mommy. I am so very tired. In all honesty, I should be used to this by now, but I admit I'm not. I'm sure I'll get there eventually; it just seems like it's a long time coming. And really, I should be taking a nap now because he is napping, but I have too much to do and it's all I can think about. I'm almost a little glad that it's super crappy out because it gives me an excuse to stay inside and just get some things done around here.

I spent the better part of last week making gifts (more on this after Christmas), so I'm a bit behind on my Christmas shopping. But it'll get done. And in the process, my baby will get to meet Santa Claus for the first time - hopefully today. Oh, and he'll be dressed appropriately ... more on that when I have pictures to back it up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ultrasound Night

Have you ever noticed how things look when you're in a darkened room? It's almost like everything is in black and white ... the colors disappear from your surroundings and everything shifts to shades of gray. Since my son was born and I've been up a lot more in the middle of the night, I've become accustomed to the grays of nighttime.

The other night I looked down at my son as I was up feeding him at around 3:30 a.m. Bathed in the soft glow of his moon nightlight, he looked like he did in his some of his later ultrasounds. I sat there, tired as can be, and marveled at how far we have come from the days when he was still inside me.

I don't really miss being pregnant. I gained about 64 pounds during those nine months and it took a toll on my body; from carpel tunnel syndrome in my fingers and hands to aching knees to a perpetually sore back, by the end of my pregnancy I felt pretty bad most of the time.

With that being said, the only thing I do miss about being pregnant was that my baby was with me all the time. I never had to worry about putting him down because my arms were tired, and I could always talk to him because he was always there ... connected to me. He's still connected to me, though, and always will be - they really aren't joking when they say that when you have children it's like your heart is forever walking around outside your body.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm not the best cook, to say the least, but lately I have had luck finding easy and super yummy recipes in the Kraft Food & Family magazine. Last night we had the Weeknight Lasagna Toss and it was fantastic; it was much easier to make than regular lasagna and it tasted just as good. Tonight we had the bruschetta chicken bake, and it was really good as well.

The Kraft Foods website is also awesome and features many of the same recipes as the magazine ... I found my favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe on that site ( Their recipes are typically really easy but still have lots of flavor. And if you want to tweak them a bit - if, say, there is an ingredient you aren't fond of - it's really easy to do because the recipes are so simple.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Post-Partum Depression

Depression in general is not often talked about in anything other than hushed tones. Millions of people suffer from it to varying degrees, but it is still often something people are ashamed of. I was diagnosed with depression (dysthymia, more specifically) my freshman year in college and at first didn't think it was something I should talk about. My counselor suggested anti-depressants, and I tried A LOT of them before I found the right one. Initially I thought the medications would stifle my true self, that they wouldn't let me be who I really was inside. But once I was on wellbutrin I realized that it helped me to access the happier, calmer parts of my personality. The medication and the assistance of a great therapist really allieviated most of my depressive feelings, and for years I was doing really well.

Then I got pregnant and decided to try getting off the wellbutrin ... I just didn't want my unborn baby to be affected by it in any way, if possible. Amazingly enough, I felt fantastic off my medication; the pregnancy hormones made me feel wonderfully happy and with a little therapy I was able to deal with things pretty well.

Eight months later (since you really don't know you're pregnant that first month), I had my beautiful baby boy and I couldn't have been happier. He was gorgeous, healthy, and happy himself. So about a week later when I started crying for no reason, unable to stop for up to an hour at a time, and feeling sad and doubting my abilities as a mother, I sought help from my doctor and my therapist. They decided, given how I was feeling, it would be a good idea for me to start on an anti-depressant and to really get back into therapy. Wellbutrin isn't approved for women who are breastfeeding, so I had to try something else. Luckily, the first drug I tried (Zoloft) has worked wonderfully and hasn't seemed to have had any effect on my son.

Now, I feel happy, and I am able to better handle the stresses of being a new mom. I wish I didn't have to be on medication, but I hated how I felt when I was crying so much. I remember thinking to myself as I was sobbing, "Nicole, you have everything you have ever wanted ... why can't you just be happy?!" And now I am.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Breast Feeding

I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby since before he was born, and since it is a natural thing to do I assumed it would be easy. Not so, in my experience. It took almost six weeks or so for it to feel "natural" and stop hurting. In the beginning my son actually lost weight - over a pound while in the hospital - and we had to see the local lactation consultants a few times before we got things right. Now things work more or less like clockwork, and I have a big healthy boy to prove it.

In my quest for comfort I tried lanolin, but it didn't seem to help ... and then the lactation consultant asked if I was allergic to wool (I am) and she told me that some people who are allergic to wool have a negative reaction to lanolin because it is derived from wool. No one ever said anything about it to me, so I thought I'd write about it here to let my very small audience know that.

While it was difficult at the beginning and it's not ideal having to nearly expose myself every time I want to feed him, I know the benefits well outweigh any of the pain or inconvenience to me. Hopefully the milk will help protect him against allergies and illness and give him a good headstart. I figure it's the least I can do.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ergo Baby Carrier and The Christmas Tree

Today we went to find a Christmas tree for my parents and sister. We always go to a tree farm north of town and trudge around in the cold, debating the virtues of the trees we find. My twelve week-old son came with us, in spite of the plummeting temperatures and the threat of snow. We bundled him up in two rompers, his earflap hat, and mittens, and then settled him into the Ergo Baby Carrier I purchased a couple weeks ago. I had tried out a Baby Bjorn I borrowed from my friend and while it felt secure and was easy to get him into, I ended up with a backache after only a short period of time. After doing a little research online, I found a place in town that sells the Ergo Baby Carrier, so I checked it out and decided to give it a try. Our outing today was our first extended time using it, and I have to say it went extremely well! My back didn't hurt, my son didn't mind being in it, and it kept him warm and mostly out of the wind. I'd highly recommend it to any new mother; it is an investment at $105, but it can be used for children up to 40 lbs. so you'll get your money's worth out of it.

Anyhow, we eventually found a tree and got it back to my parents' house. My son spent some time playing on the floor while we adults decorated the tree. He got to help put on one ornament of his own and then just enjoyed watching us work.
Sometime this week he'll get to help put up our Christmas tree, and I have a feeling he'll love it ... our faux tree has old-fashioned, big-bulbed lights on it, and he has a thing for lights right now. Until then, he'll just have to enjoy the tree at Oma and Grandpa E's house.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Black Friday Indeed

I heard today that a New York Walmart employee was trampled to death today during the rush this morning. Several customers, I believe, were also taken to the hospital because of injuries sustained during the initial onslaught. What does it say when people are in such a hurry to get a good deal on a gift that they don't notice they have stepped on another human being and are slowly killing or maiming them? Doesn't this sort of behavior go against the true spirit of Christmas? And in these troubled times, shouldn't we be trying to help each other out instead of trying just to get ahead?

In light of this story, I am reminded of my favorite Christmas book (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) and one of my favorite Christmas movies (A Charlie Brown Christmas). Both speak to the true meaning of Christmas ... helping others out and taking time out to really appreciate and enjoy the people around you. I love giving gifts because I feel like it is a way to thank people for being in my life and for all they do for me and my family throughout the year. Too often it seems like we as a culture try to get the biggest and best gifts when really it is the thought behind the gift that matters most.

I'm sure I'll be writing more about my feelings about Christmas and this time of year as we approach the actual holiday. It is one of my favorite holidays (right up there with Halloween ... gotta love dressing up) so I have a lot to say about it. Each aspect of the holiday, from Santa to the tree, means something different to me. And I know my feelings might differ from others, so I'd love to hear what people have to say about these topics.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, to anyone who is reading this!

This is a special Thanksgiving for me as it is my son's first Thanksgiving. I have so many things to be grateful for this year, some wonderful and some bittersweet.

First, I am so very thankful for my son. We waited so long for him, but he was definitely worth the wait. He is a sweet, healthy little boy and I just adore him. His little smile brightens my day and makes my heart fill with joy. Even if I'm in a hurry, the world slows down a bit and gets a million times better if I see him smile or hear him coo. I am also thankful that he was born via a planned c-section; not only was he a big baby (weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs. 10 oz.), but he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and over the top of his head so it would have ended up being an emergency c-section anyhow.

Second, I am thankful for my husband. He is a wonderful man, a fantastic father, and my best friend. We've had a couple rocky spots as we have transitioned into parenthood, to be sure, but it is all worthwhile in the end. And I am thankful that he has a good job; in these uncertain times we are very fortunate, and I feel extraordinarily lucky that I am able to stay home with our son.

Third, I am thankful for our families. They have helped us out immensely both before and after the birth of our son. From making dinners, to watching him while I shower or shop for groceries, to showering us with love and understanding, I am so grateful to have them in our lives.

Fourth, I am so grateful for my Uncle Craig. While he is no longer with us, I am so happy to have known him and I hope he is now at peace. I wish he had been able to meet our son, but he passed away the day before he was born. I miss Uncle Craig a lot, but I know he is watching over us and I hope he is at peace and finally feeling better.

For all our family, friends, health, and wealth I am thankful. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Traditions

I'm all about traditions, particularly during the holidays. And now that I have a son, I want to focus more on traditions that illustrate what the season is all about. For example, I found an idea in Parents magazine where you make a turkey and on the feathers you write the things you are thankful for. I think that would be a lovely tradition to start and something that would be fun for a child.

And eventually, I'd like to start a tradition inspired by something my dad always did with my sister and I. Every year the three of us would go out and buy toys for Toys for Tots. It taught us how important it is to give to those less fortunate than us and that giving can be fun in and of itself. It is so important to me that my son value these things as well.

Of course, there are traditions that are just about spending time with family ... like cutting down the Christmas tree with my parents and sister. My son, at only twelve weeks old, will be joining us on our annual outing this Sunday. He'll be in his little baby carrier all bundled up, wearing his super cute aviator hat my sister made for him (pictures will be posted of it soon ... no worries). We usually spend at least an hour wandering around in the cold debating which tree will be perfect for us this year, having a snowball fight or two, and cracking wise the whole time. Every year we say we're going to agree on a tree faster than the year before, but it almost never happens. Then we take the tree home and watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while we decorate it.

My husband is allergic to pine trees, so our family tradition is hunting for the tree in the basement and bringing it upstairs in pieces. Not as typically romantic a picture of putting up a Christmas tree, but it's ours ... and we are warm and dry the entire time. Oh, and the lights are already on our tree - can't beat that. And instead of Christmas Vacation, we watch Elf as we decorate our tree. With our son joining us this year it will be even more special! I can't wait.

As you can see, I'm all about traditions. What are yours?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best Part of My Day

Today was a good day. We got to hang out with family we don't usually see, eat good food, play a game of Trivial Pursuit, and relax a little bit. My son was in a good mood all day long as he was passed from person to person, many of whom he had just met. Even with his feeding schedule a little off-kilter and his sleeping interrupted, he was his jolly, happy self.

That is, until we got home. He started to get hungry, so I fed him and he ate with his usual voracity. Then afterwards we decided to put him to bed, so he and I went upstairs. But as I laid him down to change him and put his pj's on, he started crying this terrible, frantic cry. Typically, he loves his changing table, so I knew something was up. I picked him up and his cry got a little less frantic. My husband came upstairs when he heard the crying, and we both deduced he was probably having gastro-intestinal issues. We endured his frantic cries while we changed his diaper and got him into his pj's, then I offered to try to calm him down.

With his room ever so softly lit by his moon lamp, my beautiful baby boy and I bobbed in a wide oval across the carpet. As we walked, I told him how much his daddy and I love him, how long we waited for him, what a miracle he is, and how our world is better with him in it even though it wasn't perfect for him or me at that moment. Then he burped a nice, deep burp. I brought him off my shoulder and saw that he was still wide awake, so I cradled him in my arms and shushed him. We swayed back and forth together for a few minutes when it happened; my beautiful little boy, with his eyes half closed, smiled. It was a brief smile, but it was like he could feel how much I loved him and would do anything for him.

And it was the best part of my day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's a Boy!

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I had a feeling it was a boy. In every dream I had while pregnant, my child was a boy. To be honest, I was very nervous about having a boy; I had never changed a baby boy's diaper, never really played with a little boy ... the whole idea was foreign to me. But when he came out and my world changed, I was overjoyed.

I love daydreaming about who he will become and what he will be like when he grows up. What profession will he choose? Who will he fall in love with? What kind of man will he be? In all my dreaming, he is a kind, responsible, loving man ... a man that, of course, loves his mother and respects her opinions.

Lately, though, I have noticed more how women talk about the men in their lives, and I'll admit I end up feeling a bit defensive. "My son is a male," I think to myself. "How can you talk about men that way?!" Now, I know I have done this myself - attributed someone's faults directly to their gender - but now I wonder, will my son end up a cookie-cutter male? Will his future wife/girlfriend/partner mutter with disgust, "Men! They never pick up after themselves"? Or, "He never thinks of my feelings!"? Or something else negative we tend to think of as a male attribute?

It may come down to nature versus nurture. Perhaps men just tend towards certain behaviors. Or perhaps the way we raise them in a way that leads them to act a certain way. All I know is, I love my son dearly and I want him to be the best person he can be. I know he's not perfect and never will be - no one is - but I love him all the same.

Always have, always will.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poop Everywhere

Yup, that's right ... there is poop everywhere. Not literally, of course, but sometimes it certainly feels that way. I had just gotten out of the shower today when my ten-week-old son went in his drawers and all over himself. Instead of changing him on his nice, cushy changing table upstairs, I schlepped him all the way downstairs to the changing table on his pack n' play. Why? Because that one has disposable changing pads on it. Now, I know it's not overly P.C. to use disposable changing pads, but sometimes they make my life a little easier. I do so much laundry during the week that occasionally it's nice just to be able to throw something away and be done with it. Once when my husband was changing him and left his diaper off for too long, our son pooped and peed on the disposable pad; not only were we able to just throw it away but it kept the mess from running everywhere. We really like the ones from Babies R' Us ... they are inexpensive, have a waterproof backing, and can fold up really thin to fit into a diaper bag or purse.

And speaking of diaper disposal, I just LOVE the Diaper Genie II. It is sooooo easy to use and really does keep most, if not all, of the smell out of the air. Again, both of these conveniences are not necessities, but they certainly do make a mom's life easier.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy 50th, Dad!

Yeah, my dad is now 50 years old. Hard to believe since I can actually remember when he turned 30, but it's true. I don't have any pictures of the birthday celebration from last night, but I thought I'd post a picture of my son and my dad since it's my dad's first birthday as a grandpa.
Happy birthday, Dad!

Dirty Dish Days and a Wrinkle-Free Life

Our dishwasher is malfunctioning. I don't know exactly how or why, but it is. The water I usually hear swishing in it as it moves through its cycles is absent ... all I hear is an empty whirr. Now I know that a dishwasher isn't a necessity; I could wash our dishes by hand and they would be just as clean. But a dishwashing machine makes life a little easier, a little less chaotic. And for anyone who has stress in their life, either from a baby or a job or whatever, the modern conveniences that help out around the house can make all the difference in the world.

As I mentioned in my first post, I plan on telling you about products I like. What I didn't say is that most of the products I like do just what my dishwasher does when it is in working order ... they help make things run a little more smoothly in my life. The first product I would like to write about are Eddie Bauer wrinkle-resistant shirts. My husband wears these shirts for work almost exclusively because they look nice, are comfortable, and don't have to be drycleaned or ironed. As long as I get them out of the dryer while they are still warm, they come out wrinkle-free; if I forget to get them out while they are warm, all I have to do is start up the dryer again for a bit and they are again splendidly without wrinkles.

While these shirts are by no means a necessity (I could just as easily get him other work shirts and they would be just as nice), they make my life so much easier by eliminating a step from the laundering process. And for that I am SO grateful.

Once I figure out how, I will be putting pictures up on this blog ... so stay tuned!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My First Blog!

As I was putting a load of laundry into the dryer today, I started thinking about what I'd like to write about. Like most people, I have opinions about all sorts of things, but I began to wonder what OTHER people would really like to hear about. I'm not an expert on anything ... I don't know a lot about politics or economics ... I'm not even really working right now (except my 24/7 job of taking care of my son and my husband). So what could I possibly have to say?

Then it dawned on me. In the ten weeks I have been a mother and three years I have been a wife, I may have learned a few things. Nothing earth-shattering, of course, but who knows ... what I have learned may be of use to someone else. So I guess I'll write about what I've learned about mothering (tips, tricks, useful products, etc.) and wife-ing (ditto).

And who says a blog has to be about answers ... I have A LOT of questions. I'm a new mother, a relatively new wife, and a homeowner. I have a million questions running through my brain all day long ... am I doing this right? are my boys happy? what should I be doing here? what's that smell and how do I make it go away?

Along the way I plan to post pictures of products I like and people I love (which, of course, includes my beautiful son) since people love pictures ... and since I got a new camera for my birthday a couple weeks ago and can't stop taking pictures.

Tomorrow I'll start with a normal post. For today, I'll just end it here and wish you a wonderful afternoon! Hope you enjoy my slice of a beautiful life.