Friday, August 28, 2009

Moo 2

Same disclaimer as original Moo post. This is mainly about breastfeeding, so if you won't be able to look at me in the face after hearing some personal stuff, please skip today's reading.

Chaselyn is over 9 months old now. And I'm still breastfeeding. And I am proud of myself for that. It was my goal to make it to the 1 year mark so that she could transition from mommy milk to cow milk without having to go the formula middle man. And I think I just might make it. It hasn't been easy. But it's worth it to see how healthy and chubby she is.

Let me start first by giving an update on my previous post and give some ideas as to how that worked itself out. First we had the head turning (read nipple pulling). Chaselyn still has this issue. But as time goes on, she has learned to let go before turning her head or trying to get up. Now she still looks around, but she lets go first. Second, with the leakiness. That stopped not too much later. I haven't worn the protectors in quite a while now. I can't remember exactly when it stopped, but I guess my body kind of got itself under control. For those of you entering this stage of life, I recommend the Lansinoh brand. But it's a very personal thing. And finally as for the timing issue. Once Chaselyn got on a schedule, I didn't really have to make decisions, I just had to be prepared. It's still a time commitment, but it's generally more regulated. She's sleeping good from about 8-5 now, so I'm more rested. But as far as fixing dinner and having a hot meal, I still haven't figured that one out. I thought that would change once she was on baby food, not just milk, but it didn't. And I find that I don't really mind too much.

So, what are the new issues? The biggest one is stress! I am often consumed by the state of my milk production. As Chaselyn began to eat more and more baby food and less mommy milk, I was relieved. I thought that I could relax since I was producing more than enough than what she required. So, I got lazy. I didn't pump as much. I relied on some of the stored bags to get me through. And now, I'm paying for it. I have no spares left. Everyday I have to pump 3 full 5 oz. bottles so she can get through the day at daycare. On Tuesday I went to bed with only 2 bottles in the fridge. Determined to not make my baby have formula, I diligently set the alarm clock for 2 am so that I could pump and then maybe with another pumping in the morning before we left for school I owuld have enough. Unfortunately, I woke up at 5 to the sound of Chaselyn crying not to the alarm I was supposed to hear. She was easy to soothe back to sleep, just a paci and some back pats and she was good. But me, I was crying. I missed the opportunity to pump earlier, and I was sure that my sources would be depleted. But I pumped and there was luckily enough to fill the 3rd bottle. Praise God! All that to say, if you're not there yet, keep pumping even when you think you're getting ahead. Just get further ahead. It's not worth the stress to have to worry every night before you go to sleep if your baby will have enough milk the next day. Also, be aware that when your monthlies do come back, your milk supply may drop just preceeding the event. It happened to me, I checked online, apparently it's very common for it to happen.

Issue #2 - Teeth. Yep, that's right. I have honestly never felt so conflicted than when I realized Chaselyn's teeth were coming through. I was so happy that she was growing and reaching such an important milestone, but I also dreaded the thought of those little chompers settling in for a nice meal on my already very tender nips.
But, I had to go through with it, and I'm happy to report that the same God who designed the whole milk production system also designed babies to not bite while they nurse. Again Praise God for His infinite wisdom! Not to say that there's no slip ups, but they're few and far between and for Chaselyn these incidences usually only occur when she's mostly asleep and twitches herself awake. I can't lie though, when they do accidentally bite you, it's hard not to throw the baby out of your arms. It HURTS! And your instinctual reaction is to remove the cause of the pain.

Another major issue that I've run into is how to introduce other foods. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and yet there's no real clear answers. I desperately wanted someone to lay it all out for me. At age ______ introduce ____ ounces of ________ food, and then try ______. Instead I found a myriad of different options. As a very by the book type of person, I went nuts when there was no by the book guideline. But, it seems to have all worked out ok. Chaselyn's now working on finger foods on a limited basis. And loves it.

This next one kind of goes along with the first. Whoever said "Don't cry over spilled milk." Was obviously not a nursing mom. Spilling isn't the problem so much as spoiling. Just to add to my stress level every now and then, my subconscious decides to forget about milk of a while and instead I leave it sitting in my bag, on the cabinet, or some other random place that's not the refrigerator. The thought of loosing milk is absolutely heartbreaking. Not too long ago, Stanton with a sheepish look on his face said "You accidentally left your milk on the counter and it spoiled." I nearly cried. Then I thought about it, what milk, it wasn't the weekend, I didn't pump. He didn't mean my mommy milk, he meant my cow's milk (I drink 2%, he drinks skim). Well who cares, I can go buy some more cow's milk any time. Crisis averted. But there have been other occasions where it was the Mommy milk and I had to hold back the tears as I poured the precious liquid down the drain.
Some things that I've learned.
1) Masking tape and a marker work just as well for dating as any fancy labels for bottles.
2) It never gets old to be the one who can comfort your baby best.
3) Breastfeeding is not for those on the fence. It takes a lot of determination and sacrifice. And even that sometimes isn't enough.
4) I'll never understand how single moms can make it.
5) I can see the amazing work of God everyday, and that is good for the soul.
6) Babies are not nearly as fragile as they appear to be (just don't hit the self-destruct button on the top of their heads).
7) Our idea of "normal" changes on a daily basis, which would make it seem that there is no "normal".
8) It's hard to squeeze in enough quality time between getting off work at 5 and Chaselyn going to sleep around 8.
9) Even when Chaselyn is throwing a fit, it's amazing to try to remember before she was born and think about how empty life was.
10 A friend said it best "The days may be long, but the years are short." I can't believe we only have 2.5 months until Chaselyn's first birthday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Growing up and growing old

Well, if you haven't been hit smack dab in the face with this lately, let me bring you into my world...No matter what you do, people will continue to age and change and grow. For some, this realization is hitting as we near 10 year high school reunions. For some, sending kids off to school or off to college has brought up feelings that we don't quite know what to do with. And for others, it's aging parents or grandparents that bring to light the all too fragile nature of life.

For me, it's mostly been the kids. As posted previously, my sister just started college classes this week. It's weird to think of her living in the same dorm I did, attending classes in the same buildings. Wasn't I way more mature when I went to college? Didn't I know more? Surely my baby sister isn't ready for the craziness of college. But she is. And I wasn't nearly as mature as I thought I was at the time. And I certainly didn't know as much as I thought I did. Everyday I come more and more convinced that I really know nothing. In spite of this, I too started classes this week at the front of the classroom. And about halfway through my lecture, I was discussing how statistics is used in virtually every field of study. A particular example suddenly took me off guard. Stereograms. Or to those of us who actually remember the 90's, remember the Magic-Eye 3D books? As I used this example, I realized that these were popularized in the mid-90's which means some of my students and my sister were only about 3-5. Even the youngest ones said that they remembered, but I had to question it. And if I stick with this teaching stuff, people will just give me a weird look when I mention it in a few more years.

Many people around me are dealing with the same kind of issues. Back to school time has brought on a flood of mommy's letting their babies go. For some they're sending their precious ones to big kids school for the first time. Some sent their angels to the next grade and a new year full of excitement. And some, loaded up cars, trucks, and trailers full of living supplies and toted their not-so-little tots to college. Where they'll stay and not come home for afternoon snacks everyday. And I'm left here sitting wondering how? How do they do it? How will I do it? How did God design such a perfect and powerful love between parents and children?

And today just topped it all off when I dropped Chaselyn off this morning, I got a note saying she would be moved up to the "Babies 2 -Walkers" class tomorrow. My baby is not a walker, but they think she's well on her way, and I know it's true. I also know she's growing. We did some back to school shopping (actually it was these clothes don't fit any more shopping) for Chaselyn and I was very disappointed to learn that there is a big shift in baby clothes at 12 months. They don't have the little footy pajamas in size 12 months (thanks to a tip I found some at the Carter's outlet in Hillboro). They have small versions of big girl clothes, and I like the little bright colored dresses that she has. Now everything for the fall is brown and pink. I don't like it. I don't like brown. It's a good color if your baby has a diaper accident, but it's not good all the time.

And that's where I'm at today. Loathing the life process and wondering if God will just let me hit pause for a little while so I can enjoy this time in life a little longer before it slips away. And on that note, I leave you with this. Just blur your eyes a little, you'll get the message. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

9 months old

Our little angel is growing up fast. She's hit a couple of big milestones just in the last month. Despite my predictions, she started crawling on all fours (with her belly off the floor). Now she's even better at pulling up on things. Chaselyn's favorite toys are car keys and a Wii-mote. Not any of the wonderful baby toys we have for her or the countless number of stuffed animals, it's the big people toys that she likes the best. This has been somewhat of a headache for Mommy, but Daddy likes them because she'll sit still with him if she has one of her favorite toys. The Wii-mote is fine, it has a nice rubber grip thing around it, so as long as she chews on that, it's fine. But the car keys just don't seem like the best toy for a baby. I tried to find some of those little plastic keys like we had when we were little, but you can't find them anywhere. I found something they called play keys at target, but they aren't key shaped, they're round with key shapes indented on them. Chaselyn was not fooled. But other than the occasional breakdown from having the keys taken away, she's doing great.

We went to the doctor yesterday, and she's 21 lbs, and 27.75 inches long. Her head size is still off the charts, but take a look at her dad, and that's no surprise. You might notice a slight orangish tint to her nose, that's because she still loves her carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. This month she started on 3rd foods. A success except for the spaghetti and meat sauce. She also got her first taste of fruits...bananas for breakfast, yum.

She also got a treat and started on some big people food for her 9 month birthday. She got some ham pieces and some peas. She did really good with picking up the little pieces and chewing. And she broke in her new high chair.
One of the most amazing new developments is in her language skills. She's getting good at "Momma" and "Ba-bye". Her timing isn't quite there yet, but it's coming. And with he "Ba-bye" there's usually a flap with her right arm. She's also working on the "Ga" sound.

We had some great adventures this past month too. Uncle Josh, Aunt Heather, and cousins Matthew and Madison came for a visit. We went to a family reunion on Mount Magazine where Chaselyn met lots of new people and caught up with some she had met before. We even hiked up to the highest point between the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains. On another visit to Arkansas, we went to the Grape Festival in Tontitown and rode the a carousel for the first time.


You are growing up so fast! Everyday you do something new and amazing. You give good hugs and kisses, which melt your Daddy's heart every time, and Mommy just can't get enough. We love to see your personality develop as we watch you interact with other kids. It seems that you may be kind of a bully like your Mommy was when she was little. You're always going for the toys that someone else has. And, you're not afraid to pull some hair or ears or whatever else you can get a hold of to get it. Other than that, you have the sweetest disposition. You are very happy and usually pretty content playing by yourself. You sing little songs and talk to your toys as you play and discover. When you get tired of your toys, you cruise around the living room looking to get a taste of any electronic gadget that we've left within your reach.

More than anything, your Daddy and Mommy want you to know how much you are loved. We are constantly amazed at the deep love that we have for you even though in reality we've only known you for a short time. And we're not the only ones. Your fan base stretches for many miles and several states. Of course your grandparents are thrilled to see you grow and your Aunts and Uncles are too. And at the family reunion, you were the hit of the show. Closer to home, there is an awesome group of people who look after you and are a great support network for the three of us.

You are amazing, and never let anyone tell you any different.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Goober Grows Up

So on Saturday a momentous occasion parents moved in their fourth (and last) child into her very own college dorm room. That's right my friends, Rachel is in college. To those of you who know me from elementary school, you may remember her as the little half-pint in the cheerleading uniform on the sidelines. (I'll have to get a digital copy of a picture we have where she barely comes up to my knees.) From junior high, you may remember her as the little girl dressed up in a little cougar costume at the football games. And the high school friends may remember her sitting up in the stands and following along.

In any event, if you're a friend of mine and you knew my sister at all, you may now join me in feeling old.
But this post is not about me, it's about her. My sister was my Baby Alive baby doll growing up. She was born when I was in the 3rd grade, and I pretty much thought I could take care of her myself. As we grew, I did take care of her quite a bit. And after a while, I'll admit, being a full-time babysitter on the weekends wasn't my favorite. But, I know that my sister helped form me into the person I am today. She was a little human being who looked up to me and I took that seriously (most of the time). I wasn't always nice...ok, I usually wasn't very nice. I grew up with two brothers in the house, so I felt it was my responsibility to make her tough like they made me tough. It was a strange realization to learn that she was much more sensitive than I was. She was sweet and tenderhearted. She took our "loving" insults more personally than any of us ever intended. And I often think that I should have done things different. But despite my best efforts, somehow she has turned out to be a great person.

Rachel graduated as valedictorian of her class last May. She was Co-captain of the dance team. And she took a full load of honors classes and also made time to take the application courses (like child care, shop, etc.). She's a very well rounded person. We often tease her for being the "reader" of the family. The rest of us stuck closely to math and science, but she excels not only in these, but also does well and enjoys other courses like English and History. I'm a proud big sister. And I wish that I could take some credit rather than giving her all the credit in spite of me.

I miss my sister. Now that she's growing up, I hope that our age gap will continue to diminish and we can become better friends. She's the kind of person you want as a friend - fun, caring, sensible, and intelligent. I could never say these things to her though. That's not how our family works. But she'll read this, and she'll know why I'll never tell her these things to her face. And hopefully she'll remember that I really do love her and admire her for the person that she has become next time I talk to her and affectionately call her "Goober".

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Maybe it is way different than it used to be. I give you two prime examples of what our kids may have to deal with that we didn't.

Controversial Doll Lets Little Girls Pretend to Breast-Feed

California city shuts down girl's lemonade stand

Awesome! Now, obviously I'm in full support of breast-feeding, but really do 7 year-old girls need to practice? Let's keep adult issues in adult contexts. Thanks

And the poor girl just wanted to go to Disneyland (which she will get to now thanks to the publicity). My cousins and I used to try to do anything to earn a quarter. We did lemonade stands, we would put on shows and charge admission (grandparents and parents made a great audience). Now this girl was trying to get $2 a cup. Oh I'm old.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Ok, so I'm about to stand up and say it loud. Some of you may disagree, and I welcome your comments. Some of you may think "Whoa, she's crazy", and you would be right on some level regardless of this post. And hopefully some of you will be nodding your heads in agreement as you read on (I also welcome the support). But, I can't let this go unnoticed. During my daily news reading I came across this headline

Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids

Really?! First of all, let me state the obvious...Duh! Of course fewer people in the world would mean less pollution. Yes, I'm calling out some of my colleagues - "A study by statisticians at Oregon State University". Now granted they did go more in depth than to just say that more kids = more pollution. I'm especially interested in the particular line "each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible". I'm wondering how many generations contribute to ones "carbon legacy". But really is this where $$$ and time need to be spent? Do the researchers honestly think that people will be swayed to have fewer kids based on the notion that the kid will contribute to pollution. I can hear that conversation now:

Wife: You know our 2 kids are really great, but I think there may be more in store for our family. What do you think dear husband?

Husband: Well dear, you're right in saying that our kids are pretty fantastic, but there is a lot to consider when bringing a new life into the world. Is that what God has willed for us? We have to think about the impact on the rest of the family. Can we really raise 3 kids? Do we have the finances to support another child? And I honestly felt that we were putting quite a strain on our carbon footprint when little Timmy was born. Another child just might bring on the worst of global warming.

Wife: Oh dear, I didn't think about all that. God has provided us with so many blessings. I mean our financial situation is pretty favorable and looks to be growing even in this economy. And our family is so happy. I can only imagine the amount of growth that another child would provide. Not to mention that little Katie has been wanting a little sister to play with, but you're right. I'll have to explain to Katie that although we would all love another sweet baby, it's our responsibility as respectful Earth dwellers to not use up too much of our resources, and another child would cost a lot as far as the Earth is concerned. Instead, we'll plant a tree and name it Suzy. Katie can sing to her and feed her and play with her forever. And we'll put our family tree in our family tree so that future generations will know how important it is to limit the number of kids we have.
Katie's family drawing

The article also mentions these lifestyle connections:
  • One 2007 study found that divorce squanders resources, because people who once shared resources such as energy now use twice as much under two roofs.
  • The current obesity epidemic may also be hurting the climate, because food production is a major contributor to global warming.
So stay together, not for the sake of the children you decided not to have, but for the Earth. And maybe the thought of landfills and such is enough to get you to the gym rather than the Taco Bell drive-thru.

Now before I totally dismiss the whole article, I realize that it is probably just using some ridiculous headline to pull you in. And they don't actually recommend that the carbon footprint of a new kid should be part of the discussion. But, there are a lot of crazies out there, and I'm sure that someone will read the article and think "I knew it! I'll go get my tubes tied now!" And this is what scares me. The real bottom line is that it makes me sad for the people who do take this into account when deciding to procreate.

I also feel the need to say that I'm not against other efforts to save the planet. There are a lot of things that we can teach our children to do to help keep everything green. Recycle (short detour- Apparently they are emphasizing this more than enough at my nephews school. Matthew began hoarding trash in his room, because he didn't want to throw it away, he wanted to save it to recycle. Even though my brother does recycle, Matthew didn't want to throw away anything. Poor kid. There was some adjustment needed. It came from his parents, but I wonder if other kids had the same issues. Sometimes things can be made more important than they are. Ok, back to good world saving ideas...), turn off lights, use energy efficient cars, appliances, etc. But I think sometimes people get an idea and run with it to an absurd end. (I thought about entering some rants about PETA here, but I'll save that for some other time. For now, I leave you with two words - Sea Kittens.)