Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some oldies, but goodies

Now that I'm back at work, I'm back to one of my favorite things: my knitting group that meets at lunch time. Today we were discussing a few things that brought back memories of past posts, and I have new readers *beams* so I thought I'd post a few quick links to some of my favorite posts from the 3 years (! I feel old) that I've been blogging.

Adventures in Potty Training. You don't soon forget potty training your first child. Especially when aforementioned child hates pottying with the fire of a thousand suns.

The infamous "incident" in church. I refer to this periodically. I'm still scarred by it.

Holiday preparation anxieties, and the ensuing stressful holiday, hangover included. Always fun, and I do it to myself every single year. My sisters will enjoy this one in particular.

Fun with moving offices at work. Moving always brings things out of the woodwork we'd prefer remain hidden.

A bout with pink eye and a cold from the very pits of hell, while on vacation. Good times.

My very first belly dance solo. A fond memory.

And, my favorite post ever, my birth story with Anne. That one's not that old, but I'll cherish it always.

"Yep, that's poo on my pants": A Story of my Weekend

I wanted to post yesterday, but honestly, things have been so tough at home that I just wasn't up to it. These are the times that try the souls of Catholic librarians, apparently.

Friday overnight was the absolute worst sleep night in our nearly 6 year voyage as parents. This includes both of our babies' newborn stages. I guess it's her stuffy nose (we're thinking seasonal allergies) but Anne just will.not.sleep. She'll fall asleep, and then anywhere from 30 seconds-20 minutes later, she's up. Throughout the.entire.night. I've cried more in the past week than I have in the past year. I'm SO TIRED. I've been trying to function at work while operating under 3 hours of sleep for days on end. It's been bad. Really bad.

Last night was slightly less awful so therefore I can write about it today. But, you know. Everything is "slightly less awful" than The Worst Night Ever in My History of Parenting, I'm Going To Go Curl Into a Fetal Position Now. But, I'll take it anyway.

What else happened in my weekend? I honestly don't remember. At some point, Anne had a poo explosion and I realized only hours later that I had a brown stain on the leg of my capri pants. Lovely. That pretty much sums it up.

But really, we're faring ok. Getting slightly more used to our new routine. Although Hank doesn't start school until next Tuesday, which will shake things up even more. But we'll get there.

These are really the times that define your marriage, and that's a good thing. Getting through really tough periods like this, when handled with proper prayer and communication, can make your marriage stronger and closer. So in that way, I'm glad we're going through this.

I picked up a little book at a local Catholic bookstore when I was there with my mom and Henry last weekend called The Saints Day By Day. It has a quote from the saint of each day with a short meditation. I've really been enjoying it and getting a lot out of it in the mornings.

So, I'm hanging in there. I know that's going to get easier. I just wish I knew when.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just an awful week

I'll start out on the downer note so that I can build to a cheery ending. This has been a tough week. Work actually hasn't been that bad. I mean, I'm overwhelmed, but it's gotten better. I've managed to get my email inbox down to a non-scary place, and I've been working on compiling copies of some of my work for my tenure dossier (also scary, but I'm not thinking about that right now).

I do feel still a bit "out of sorts" since there were a lot of changes here since I left and I'm not yet acclimated to them. The university switched to a new software system for student records and data, which heavily impacts one of my main job responsibilities. Even after a week, I'm no closer to feeling caught up on that than I was my first day back. I think that will take a month or so, especially given how slowly training is coming down from "on high." Students keep trying to find me, to ask panicky questions, because everyone is panicking about this new system (since nobody knows how to use it), and it's all I can do not to hang a giant sign on my door that says:


And I'm a librarian, for heaven's sake. *sighs* It'll get better, but with classes starting Monday, I'm a little worried. But hey, "a little" isn't so bad, right? I can handle a little.

At home, though, things are "a lot." It's my first week back at work, I know I should be easy on myself. That's a major adjustment. But I can't help it. At home, I'm dissolving into tears if somebody looks at me sideways. The reasons are manifold.

For one thing, the baby is really fussy right now. She's teething, plus in the evenings, which is when I see her the most, she's tired. Plus, she has more gastrointestional issues than any baby I've ever seen. She's just always gassy and spitting up and it hasn't eased at all since the day she was born. I can only hope that the introduction of solids within the next few months will help with that.

The next thing is a major one: lack of sleep. Anne hasn't been getting up all that much. Nothing outside of normal, certainly. But this week, when she's up, she's UP. I can't get her to go back to sleep. She's all gassy and miserable. That happened again in the middle of the night last night, and she got up just before 5 again and never went back to sleep. So I've been up since then. Again. That's the third night in a row. I'm beyond exhausted. And when you're exhausted, you're weak. That's just a biological fact. When I'm in that weakened state, I get depressed. That's not good.

And on top of all of this, is Mike's new job. He's gone a lot, and so I'm wrangling the kids both in the mornings and during dinner preparation time. I know, I know, Tiffany STOP worrying so much about making dinner and just sit down and nurse the baby! Something will work out for dinner. But it's hard for me. I want to do everything. I want to be able to sautee an onion without the baby wailing in the background. When she's tired like that, she won't let you put her down. And my carrier is useless for this purpose because it kills my back and I don't want to put it on. I always have her right with me in the kitchen in her bouncey seat, but that's just not making her happy. I can accept giving up some control over dinner, but we do need to eat something, and it can't be tuna fish sandwiches every night. I just don't know what to do. The crock pot is tough too because you have to prepare the food the night before. And the preparation time is what does me in. I could save it for when the kids are in bed, but I'm exhausted by then. I don't know. I guess I'll figure out something.

Anyway, I digressed. We're not really liking Mike's new job. He's gone a lot and the content isn't what he was anticipating. He's miserable. And that's making me miserable. I want him to be happy. He wants to be with us more, and take care of the kids so that we won't have to use childcare, which I want too. But we do need the income. Well, I say we "need"it because our house could use new windows before the winter and my car is nearly 12 years old. But we can live and pay our bills fine without it. I don't know. I seem to be saying that a lot in this post.

I've been praying, so I'm sure things will work out. I know that they will. I'm just feeling a little down this morning.

Therefore, I've been soothing myself with yarn. I love yarn. I'm nearly done with my sweater, and I'm also working on a pair of fall socks for myself. I'll get the camera and post some pictures next week. I have a bunch of projects I completed over the summer. After this, I move on to Christmas gifts and I'm terribly excited. I just placed a Knit Picks order yesterday. I do so love them. I scooped up a couple balls of a brand spanking new yarn that literally debuted yesterday, and some lovely wool, all for gifts. I also, for the first time ever, purchased some lace weight yarn in hopes of knitting a lacy shawl for myself. I'm a little scared, since the pattern is solely a chart and I've never worked with one of those before, but I soldier on. I wanted new challenges, right? Finally, I grabbed a set of 24" cables and a new set of tips for interchangeable circular needles in my beloved Harmony wood. I can't justify buying the full set, so I'm just buying tips and cables as I need them for individual projects. I need this set for the purple and yellow cardigan I'm going to knit for Anne.

So, this cheers me up. I love yarn. Have I mentioned that already? I do...own a lot of it. Yet I always seem to need more. I just love to touch it. There's just something so soothing to me about rubbing your hand and cheek against a soft yarn. And I love creating something beautiful yet useful out of it.

So, I'm just going to try to feel better. My motto all summer has been: "Don't give in to despair." I was worried about post-partum depression, and that never came to fruition. I was worried about our financial situation and Mike finding a job, and something worked out for that. Now, there are new things to fret about, but I need to remember to take myself mentally back to the non-fretting place.

God is in charge. Somehow, we'll get through this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Long days and nights

This week has really been insane with me going back to work and Mike still very new at his job. And he works a long day at his job, plus he has to commute farther. So I have the kids both in the mornings and immediately after I get home and am trying to get dinner ready. Much crying and chaos ensues.

After our long overnight on Tuesday, I was hoping last night would be better. And it started off that way. Doesn't it always? I swear, just when you think that you've got things figured out with your kids, they change everything. I guess it keeps that parenting thing nice and challenging.

So, Anne was exhausted around 7 pm, like always, so I nursed her and put her to bed in her bassinette. She woke around 1:10 am. Awesome, she slept for 6 hours. That's really good. I happily got up and nursed her. 15 minutes later, she was sound asleep.

Now, 9 times out of 10, I can burp her (or at least try to) and she's all limp and stays sound asleep. But I don't like not trying to burp her because then she's guaranteed to get gas and wake up again 10 minutes later. As I'm sure you're suspecting, this was that magical 10th time.

I put her gently to my shoulder and give her back a pat. Out pops a burb. Shazzam! It usually takes 10 times longer, so I'm thrilled. I cradle her in my arms for transfer to the bassinette...

Wait. What's this? She's WIDE AWAKE. Smiling at me, even. This can't be good.

And it wasn't. There commenced nearly 2 hours of bouncing, patting, re-nursing, burbing, spitting upping, and yet more bouncing. Close to 3, I finally just brought her into our bed, and she did eventually drift off, as did I. Sometime thereafter (it's all a blur) I woke to find that the entire left side of my body ached from being in one position for so long, so I carefully transferred her to the bassinette and she blessedly stayed sleeping. I immediately fell back asleep.

What seemed like 5 minutes later, I hear Mike. I assume it might be close to 6 am and groan. I look at the clock. IT'S 6:30! Being the mature person that I am, I burst into tears. I need to be up by 6:15 to get everything done with the kids in the morning. It was just a long night.

I did make it through the morning. Not well, but I made it. I feel fine now, but that will come back to bite me around 3 pm when I'll be catatonic in my office. Bridget, you may need to come check on me...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anne's first day at daycare

Yesterday was a tough day, but in the end, it went just fine. I had to pump myself up a bit to drop Anne off at our daycare in the morning, because as you would expect, I was dreading it. I knew she would be fine there, and that we trusted this daycare, but that's still a very tough thing.

I did call to check on her, and heard that she was doing wonderfully, albeit boycotting naps. This is par for the course at home as well, so I knew she was fine. When I went to pick her up, she was being rocked by one of the women in the room and finishing her last bottle. She was totally fine and happy to see me. We went and visited her new cubby to collect her things and headed for home. She'll go again on Thursday.

Today, she and Henry are with my in-laws again. My problem today, though, is that I'm totally exhausted. We had an interesting night. Anne was exhausted (the no nap thing) at 7 pm and went right to sleep. At 11:30 pm, she woke, which usually signals a bad night. But honestly, it's not so bad once I'm working. I'm actually happy to have that time to spend with her and snuggle her. So I nursed her.

I figured we'd be up every 2-3 hours or so, but she didn't wake again until 4:20 am. Wonderful, albeit with unhappily full breasts. Unfortunately, that's when the sleep thing unraveled, as it so often does. Once I put her back in her bassinette, she seemed to wake up. She was quiet, so I left her be, and soon enough, I found out what was going on.

The dreaded squirting sound ensued.

So, we had to change her diaper, and once that happens, we're screwed. She's wide awake. By this time, it's 5 am, and Mike needs to be up by 5:45, so needless to say we didn't get back to sleep after that. Anne, however, slept peacefully in our bed from 5:45 am until 6:30. Alas.

To cheer myself up, I soothed myself at the local yarn shop over lunch. I picked up some skeins of the wonderful Plymouth Dreambaby DK yarn in purple and yellow to make Anne a cardigan for Christmas. It's so magnificently soft, I could pet it all day. In fact, I will. It's sitting conveniently under my desk. I also ferreted out a copy of the fall issue of Interweave Knits, so I'm now happy.

I just hope I can stay awake for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An overview of my first day

Yesterday was definitely a mix of emotions for me. Overall, it went pretty well. Although it's hard to be away from my kids, I do like my job, and so that certainly helps me to head off to it everyday. And I know that my kids are well cared for and loved in my short absence.

I did feel out of sorts when I first embarked yesterday morning. My kids were with their grandparents yesterday, and they came right to our house, so that part was easy. I did have a hard time saying goodbye to Anne. She's so tiny, and I know that she'll only be this little for a short period of time. It's hard to miss out on any of that.

But off I set, and I put my Catholic podcasts on to soothe me, which I haven't been able to listen to since I left work back in mid-May. I took my usual route and prayed the rosary on my small chaplet while I drove. Since classes haven't started yet, parking was a snap. The journey into my office, however, wasn't quite so smooth.

For one thing, these days I carry more poundage in an excessive number of bags than I even weigh. I've got:

(1) My work bag. Filled with any number of interesting tidbits on a daily basis (Mike is always curious about what is inside this oversized thing) yesterday it contained bulky photo frames for pictures of Anne, a book I've had checked out since December, and new odds and ends for my office.

(2) My breast pump.

(3) My knitting bag, for lunchtime.

(4) My purse. I'm not ashamed to say that it isn't exactly small.

And when I do have to take Anne to daycare, this adds another bag. Sigh.

Anyway, I loaded up and headed in. I wasn't moving with anything resembling speed. Once on on the staff elevator I had to think for a second before selecting my floor, and I had a panicky moment where I wondered if I even still had the keys to my office.

Once inside, I set the bags down, called a friend, and went for coffee. Off to a productive start.

Once back in my office, the main thing I accomplished all day was making a huge mess on my desk as I sorted through mail. I remain afraid of my email inbox.

After work, I headed home. Mike doesn't get home until 5:30, I have about 30-40 minutes without him there to wrangle the kids and get dinner started. Well.

I learned an important lesson. When you have a small baby, and you work full-time, you shouldn't even try to make a dinner that takes longer than switching off the crock pot. Even though the dinner I chose was from a book entitled The Busy Family Cookbook and took 30 minutes total to make, disaster still ensued.

All Anne wanted me to do was sit down and nurse her, and that's all that I wanted to do. Yet I felt compelled, because that's just how I am, to try and have a hot dinner ready for when Mike arrived home. Although an admirable goal, that just doesn't work with a baby. I need to give her my undivided attention when I come home.

So, what ended up happening is that I was running around trying to cook chicken while Anne cried from her bouncey seat and Henry spilled apple juice on the floor. I did nurse Anne, but she clearly was planning to stay latched on and snuggling while I had designs on moving on to dinner. She wasn't too happy when I delatched her.

Once Mike got home, we ate dinner while alternately soothing a fussy Anne and Henry asked questions. Mike cleaned the kitchen while I nursed Anne again. I got my pump unpacked, the parts sanitized, and picked up the house a tad while Mike held Anne. Then I had to read to Hank while he pooed on the potty. Mike gave Anne a bath. I took a shower while Mike entertained both children. By time I got out of the shower, Henry was heading up to bed, and Anne was demanding to be put down. This child is *tired* by 7:15 pm. She does everything but tuck herself in to let you know that she desperately wants to be sleeping in bed. Mike put Hank to bed while I nursed Anne, a towel still perched on my head. I put Anne down and then had to ready everything for daycare this morning. Lots of milk pouring and freezing ensued.

Tangent: I have a freakish milk supply. Anne consumed 9 ozs. of milk yesterday. Want to know how much I pumped at work? *16 ozs*. I think this is why Anne spits up so much when I nurse her. She's being totally overwhelmed by milk. The refrigerator looked like I could open up a dairy. Anyway...

By then, I was totally exhausted. I had nothing planned for dinner today nor had I packed my lunch. But I was all done in. I made a vodka & tonic.

It was absolutely *insane*. I felt overwhelmed, but I know that it'll get better. We'll get into a routine, and it'll get a little easier as Anne gets bigger.

As I went to bed last night, I was dreading the first day at daycare today. And going through this crazy morning and evening thing again. I was also anxious to see how Anne slept. I didn't drink any caffeine yesterday (Cherry Coke Zero, how I miss you...) plus Anne had bottles during the day. My suspicion is that the bottles give her less gas and less spitting up. For the past week, she's gone from sleeping pretty good (up twice per night) to getting up every couple of hours again. She would start off waking at 11 pm or so and then just keep getting up frequently from there. I was in tears Saturday night. So, we put her down last night and hoped for the best. I was almost hoping that the night wouldn't be any different, because that would mean that I could go back to my beloved Coke. :)

Eventually...Hark! I wake up. Anne is fussing, wanting to nurse. I looked at the clock. 12:40 am.

Well, shit.

She slept for over 5 hours. Although she has slept longer in the past (not frequently, but it has happened) this is as good as she's slept in a long time. I don't know. Maybe I'm looking for a source where there really is none. She's a baby. She's going to get up at night.

Does this mean I can have Cherry Coke Zero again?

This morning, I got up earlier and the morning was slightly less chaotic. It was Anne's first day of daycare. Post to detail tomorrow...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things I noticed today:

(1) I nearly forgot my lunch;

(2) I've accidentally almost locked myself out of my own office 2 times;

(3) Already not an architectural wonder, the campus, only 1 week out from the start of fall classes, actually looks worse than usual due to unfinished summer construction projects;

(4) The left sink in the ladies room on my floor still blasts out water so hard that it makes your shirt wet, while the right sink does not respond at all.

It's nice to know that some things never change.

Today is my first day back at work

Oh sigh. It's been a crazy week, and I can hardly believe that once again I'm blogging from my desk. I'm not being a slacker, I choose to see it as "multitasking" since I'm also taking my breast pump for it's inaugural work run. Aren't you glad that you know that I'm pumping and typing?

It's kind of loud. I hope my office neighbors can't hear it. Although I can hear all their telephone conversations, so this doesn't bode well for them twice a day at approximately 11 am and 3 pm.

Anyway, I was kind of emotional this morning, as you might expect. Mike has to leave for work at 6:30 am, so I have to field the children by myself as I get ready in the morning. No easy task. I'm lucky that I remembered to both brush my hair and put on pants at the rate I'm actually able to focus on myself with both children around.

Anne peaked in terms of sleep goodness around 8-11 weeks, and since then, it's been a challenge again. I don't know what's up with her. She's teething and she's growing, so who knows. But I've been tired (and cranky) and there are so many changes taking place that my nails are permanently chewed off.

Heard at my house for hours last night:

"I DON'T WANT to go poo!!!NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That pretty much sums it up.

But we're hanging in there. The kids are with my in-laws today, so that eased the transition. Tomorrow Anne starts daycare which will immediately set off my waterworks. But she'll only be there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it's not too bad.

The weekend was chaos though, since with Mike now working full-time we have to squeeze all the errands in and most of the cleaning. And having 2 kids, while not double the work, is still significantly more work than having 1. On Saturday morning, while attempting to do a large grocery store shop for the entire week, the following predictable things occurred:

(1) Anne began sobbing. I don't know what it is, but she hates the grocery store. This means that one of us has to carry her while still attempting to wheel the cart.

(2) Henry was running up aisles and would not stop talking. Resulting in:

(3) Me not being able to hear myself think. I swear it, if someone asked me my name while at the grocery store, I wouldn't be able to tell them. I'm trying to look at the list, hold Anne, make a decision about which brand to choose, and Henry is asking me questions about roller coasters at the rate of 50 per minute. It happens every time.

So, it's been crazy, but I know we'll get into a routine. The house still isn't as clean as I'd like it, but we did what we could. Trying to get things done during the day with the children is like walking through wet cement. Your rate of productivity is pretty abysmal. This weekend, I tackled the kitchen floor and we did a mountain of laundry. But we didn't get to the bathrooms, which I'm paranoid about since my in-laws are watching the kids at our house. And my mother-in-law is very tidy, so I know that she'll notice. I even could have lived with a wipe down, but that didn't happen either. Granted, my usual standard is above "simply doesn't smell like pee" but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Ok my bottles are full. I'm off. Hopefully, I'll be cheerier tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heard in my bedroom this morning...

Mike has to leave for work at 6:30 am, so I'm on my own when the kids wake up. It'll actually be nice next week when I have to get up for work, so I'll be forced to get up early enough to see him before he leaves. Anyway...

"Mommy? Are you still sleeping?"

*Catholic Librarian incoherent mumble from underneath a pillow* It was a bad sleep night for Anne.

"Oh good, you're up. Anne is awake too, Mommy. In her bassinette. Um Mommy?"


"Anne just spit up."

*liquid sound*

"Oh, she just spit up again. Oh Mommy, it was a *LOT*!"

*liquid sound*

"Oh Mommy, Anne just spit up AGAIN. Oh, it's so much Mommy that I can't even soak it all up with the burb rag. Her whole bassinette pad is going to have to be changed"

*liquid sound*

"Now it's going into her diaper, Mommy."

*squirting, explosion sound*


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making it through the week

Mike has been very busy at his new job, and I know he's sad that he only sees us for a few hours each day when he gets home. Yesterday, he had to arrive by 7 am, and he didn't get home until 5:30 pm. It's certainly an adjustment for him, since he's been in school for a long time. It's an adjustment for all of us, but we'll get there.

Yesterday, the kids and I went to a local amusement part with my in-laws. Henry was absolutely bouncing off the walls. Never in my life have I more strongly longed for my child to have a mute button. :-) However, he was very well behaved, and Anne did great as well. I nursed her twice, and then she stayed awake to enjoy the fresh air and new sights for a bit before dozing peacefully in her stroller. It went much better than I expected.

I was a bit concerned though, because right before we left the house, we lost our power. I called the electric company, but I didn't speak with an actual person so I didn't have any estimate for how long it would be before it went back on. (The automated attendant actually told me that he was "very sorry to hear" that we didn't have any power. Cute.) Anyway, I was fine until we got home in the late afternoon to find that we still had no power. I go back to work Monday, and my entire supply of stashed breast milk is in my freezer. Once I start work, what I pump everyday simply goes for what Anne will eat the following day, so it's much harder to build that stash for when I'm at dance or maybe out with Mike sans kids.

Luckily, the power came back on around dinner time. But that was still about 6 hours with no power. I hope it's ok.

Today, it's back to errands. I have a ton to do before Monday. And going with both kids is like traveling with cement blocks tied around my ankles. I think it's because Anne is still too small to sit up on her own, so I either have to drag her in that heavy seat or take her out and carry her in my arms, which at 14 pounds is also no small feat. Combine this with the ever inquisitive and darty-into-other-aisles Henry and it makes for a challenging errand.

One step at a time, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A day in the life of a mom home with 2 small children

I've mentioned this before: the stay-at-home life is no walk in the park. And yesterday was the first day that I was home with both kids by myself. The rest of the summer, Mike was home with me. He did teach a summer class, but that meant he was only gone for a few hours a day. This was a whole different ballgame.

So, what did I do yesterday? Let's see...

I wiped countless butts of both old and new poo. I battled with Hank about going poo on the potty (WHY WILL THEY NOT *JUST GO*!?) I took Hank for a reading/math assessment at his new Catholic school, necessitating dragging Anne's stroller up a flight of stairs and walking her to sleep while I waited. I was vomited on at least 5 full times. Hank even threw up at one point, can't figure that one out. And the sad thing is, my current standard is: "will the spit up just blend in?" If the answer is yes, I don't change my clothes. It wasn't until Anne had a poo explosion onto both my pants AND blouse that I finally changed. And then I had to wash her poo-filled onesie out. I think she had 4 outfit changes yesterday. I made dinner, while Anne wailed in the background. I ran errands with both children in tow in their seats in the back, Hank asking questions at the rate of 50 per 10 minute interval. It was a long day.

And this is what stay-at-home moms do every day, for no pay and little appreciation.

Today is shaping up to be another long one (Anne is on my lap and just burped. Yep, there's the spit up). Gotta run. :-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hanging in there

Today is Mike's first day of work at his new job. I felt very Laura Petrie-like as I kissed him goodbye and handed him his lunch this morning. Hank and I waved to him out the window as he pulled out of the driveway. For me, "Laura Petrie-like" does not mean, unfortunately, that I look all cute and put together. I was still wearing one of my raggedy, practical nightgowns that I can nurse easily in during the night, I had no makeup on, and my hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. I hadn't even had time to look in the mirror. You know, you do what you can.

There's still a high level of anxiety on the homefront, but we're being as positive about the whole thing as possible. I have a nice dinner planned for tonight. And the kids and I have lots of plans for the week.

I go back to work one week from today. I have lots of mixed emotions, as you can imagine. I'm obviously very sad, but I know the kids will be fine. And I do like my routine, so it'll be nice to get back into it. And even though Mike has a job now, it's really not an option for me not to return to work. We need my income, plus I'm up for tenure this year.

So, that's that. I'm doing my best not to cry, and I think that's all that can be expected right now.

Speaking of crying, that pretty much sums up my breastfeeding situation right now. I'm having tons of **'N' word alert** nipple pain again. I've been using the shield, but I find that Anne just doesn't drain my breast with it the way she does without it. And I'm afraid of screwing up my milk supply, not to mention that I get uncomfortably full on that one side. Nothing screams "NURSING MOTHER ALERT!" like having breasts that are 2 totally different sizes. So, I use it a few times a day, to give that side a break, and then go back to not using it. And applying my Lanolin religiously.

On Friday, after a much needed break at belly dance class, I came home to find Anne comfortably sleeping away in her bassinette after being given a bottle of pumped milk by Mike. As would be expected, soon I began to feel pretty full. Knowing she wouldn't wake to nurse until at least midnight, I pumped.

So, there I am, sitting on the couch with those two ridiculous cones and attached bottles stuck onto my breasts, when I glance down to check my milk progress. Left side, looking good. A couple ounces of milk already. Right side? Bloody milk.

All the air rushed out of the room. I let out a strangled sob and staggered off the couch as if I'd been shot.

I swear it, Mike had to help me into the kitchen to get rid of the biohazard. I was shaky for a time afterward.

That right side is just really, really bad. It did seem to be a tad better over the weekend once I started back on the nipple shield/Lanolin regimen, but I'm worried about it. I don't know if I'll make it as long nursing Anne as I did Henry. I'll do what I can.

This week, I'm just trying to take things as they come.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Did you ever have something happen in your life that you were hoping for, but suddenly, that brings forth a whole new set of worries and anxieties? That pretty much describes my household for the past 48 hours.

Mike got the job that he interviewed for this week. That's good, right? Yes, but...

They want him to start Monday. This means that next week I'll have both kids by myself plus still do all the errands we had scheduled that need doing before I go back to work the following week (which are significant). More crucially, it means that we have a totally different childcare situation on our hands.

Anne is signed up at our daycare for 2 days per week. We decided to ask my in-laws, who are retired (my parents still work and are unavailable to watch the kids during the week, unfortunately) if they could watch Anne 2 days per week, and maybe pick Henry up from school 2 days per week. We'd try to add an additional daycare day for Anne per week, and sign Henry up for after school care for 3 days.

Well, we were at the daycare this morning. They're full. :( This means that my in-laws are probably going to have to bail us out for an additional day per week until the daycare has an opening for us to add another day. And though I'm happy Anne will be with family more, getting lots of attention, I'm feeling really badly about imposing on them in this way.

It's not like we have much of a choice. My paid time off is totally used up from my maternity leave. Thus, our other options would be for Mike to not take the job, or to scramble to find another daycare that could take her, one which would be totally unfamiliar to us, and I'm just not comfortable with that.


Jobs are hard to come by in our area of the country, and we feel that Mike needs to take this and get some experience. Mike is my in-laws only child, and they've continually told us that they're happy to take the kids as much as we need, but I'm still battling with my feelings of guilt.

And everything is happening all at once. Mike starts work on Monday. I go back to work the next Monday. That next day, Anne starts daycare. And 2 weeks after that, Henry starts at his new Catholic school. That's 4 major changes in 3 weeks.

I'm stressing. Yesterday, I bit all of my nails off. Currently, I feel like crying.

But what can I do? Just hang in there, I suppose. I did pray for God's will, and Mike and I carefully discerned whether or not he should take the position, so we have to just have faith that we're doing the right thing.


In other news, Anne is now 12 weeks old and getting so big. Yesterday, while I was pumping some gas, I saw her in her rear facing carseat methodically working off one of her socks. She's suddenly aware that these flailing limbs actually belong to *her*. She's very cute.

And I do think she's going through some beginning teething. Whenever she has a dress on, she grabs the hem and shoves it in her mouth. Very ladylike, my daughter.

I'm hoping that dance will de-stress me tonight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finally, we felt

Ok, so finally, I'm able to document my very first felting project. Overall, I enjoyed the process. My project didn't come out such that I can break open my very own felting business or anything, but for a first attempt, it ain't bad. And it intrigued me to try more. So handbags, here I come!

I was first struck by the felting bug when I found a pattern in one of my new knitting books for felted lambs.


This means that I simply had to make one. I'm a sucker for lambs. I even refuse to eat veal.

Looking at the pattern, I could tell that normally this was a pattern that would scare me off. Not only had I never felted before, but there were some techniques in there that I wasn't familiar with. But I've decided that I'm done just knitting things that I already know how to do well. That's silly. I want to improve my craft and try new things. So away I went.

I procured some wool and cast on. I used a light gray Plymouth Galway Worsted for the body, and KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted in coal for the face and hooves. (Hooves. Couldn't you just die?)

Knitting it actually wasn't bad. I learned how to cast on stitches in the middle of your project and how to do short rows. You made the body all in one piece, aside from a separate tummy and underside of the legs piece that you seamed on. It was kind of fun having this fully formed lamb hanging from my knitting needles. You also make the ears and tail separately.

So, here was my creation when he was done:

Here he is about to undergo his brave, brave journey into the washing machine:

To felt wool, you just stick it in the washing machine in a high agitation cycle with hot water. The books I read advised putting your item into a zippable pillowcase cover, so I went out and bought one. I was very anxious sending the lamb into the case and then into the water, but I put on a brave face and pressed on.

I let him agitate for 5 minutes and pulled him out:

As you can see, he really hadn't felted yet. So I put him back in.

At first, I was real cautious, checking on him constantly as I paced the basement. But eventually, with so little felting going on, I got paranoid, and started agitating him even harder for longer periods of time. After awhile, my basement started to smell like a wet dog and I knew the end was near. Finally, I got this:

Eureka! I left him in for a few more minutes, but no more felting was occurring, so I stuffed him and left him out to dry:

And here is the finished product:

Pretty cute, right? Not perfect. I mean, he's still rather large. This happens with everything that I knit, and I swear I checked my gauge! I was hoping he's look more like a small stuffed toy rather than like something that could actually go graze out on my front lawn. But still, it's not terrible, even if not perfect. I realized one of my mistakes: the pillowcase that I procured was ineffective. Instead of letting the hot water in easily, I got an allergy protectant one and so the water couldn't permeate the fabric as easily. Basically, I'm an idiot. That's why it took so freaking long for him to felt at all. So, next time I'll just use my lingerie bag. I like to think that the half-felted fabric looks real "fleecey."

I did look into googly eyes for him, but they just didn't look right. (I felt ridiculous at the craft store asking for help: "Excuse me, could you please tell me where I can find the eyes?") So I just embroidered some on for him. He could be cuter, but it's definitely a face a mother could love.

So, there you have it. My first felted project. I learned a lot from it, and I'm anxious to try it again. He's currently adorning the top of Mike's desk. I call him Clive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prayers please!

Yesterday, Mike got a call for his very first interview for an engineering position. It's tomorrow morning. Please say some prayers for God's will. We're obviously hoping for him to get the position, although then we need prayers for discernment in our childcare situation.

Oh, and an addendum to yesterday's post. I spoke with my sister, who is also adept at dealing with the poo crumb issue. Apparently, there also exists another poo form yet to be uncovered in the Catholic Librarian household: poo *dust*. Here's hoping for some poo luck on our end. I think we're entitled to some, given our poo history.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What's that I smell?

"Hank, do you have to go to the bathroom?"

"NO!!" *glare of indignation* "I went on Wednesday."

"Honey, it doesn't matter when you last went, we talked about this. Whenever you feel the urge, you have to go sit on the toilet. Your body tells you when you have to go, not the other way around."

"I definitely don't have to go."

"Are you sure, Hank? It kind of stinks in here. "

I start to have a sinking feeling. The smell that I smell isn't fresh poo (oh, aren't you so glad I'm telling you all this?). It's that distinctive smell of *old poo*


Do you know how old poo happens? I'm certain some of you parents do. It's when a stubborn child refuses to poo and thus holds the poo back, and yet some of it we'll just say "gets stuck." Thus, the stuck poo dries in aforementioned child's underpants, and often insidiously turns into what we'll call "poo crumbs."


Said poo crumbs can fall out of child's underpants and onto other household surfaces. This is what we'll call a nightmare.

"Honey! I think I smell some poo in the living room. I have the baby. Can you come quick?!"

A poo emergency. Mike hurries in.

"There's a brown spot on the Boppy pillow and Hank was laying on it. Maybe that's it?"

"Maybe. Let's throw it in the wash."

10 minutes later...

"Honey, um, unfortunately I still smell poo."

"Ok, you go change the baby, I'll investigate down here."

*Catholic Librarian heads upstairs*

Heard from downstairs...

"Oh God."

*sound of couch cushions rustling*

*distinctive sound of vacuum cleaner starting up*

Oh God.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I think Anne is showing signs of early teething. Why is it that my kids do these unpleasant things so ridiculously early? Henry had a tooth by around 5 or 6 months, and it was misery. I mean, I know they have to get them eventually, but it seemed like he teethed and drooled for about 2 straight years.

Here are the signs: she's drooling. She's been a little extra fussy, and in a different way than previously. She's sucking on her fists a lot. Her spit up has been real mucousy (sorry for that extra bit of information). And my sore nipples. I read that sore nipples with babies that have already been nursing for awhile can result from a changed latch when gum pain starts. Wonderful. My nipples are feeling a bit better, by the way, thanks to the lanolin and the shield. Just in case you were wondering.

I swear it, I wish they were just born with teeth. Like Bella's freakish baby in the Twilight series. Whenever I say that, everyone always replies, "well, you wouldn't want to be breastfeeding if that were the case!" Which, while well intentioned, is actually untrue. :) If you breastfeed for a year or longer, chances are you're nursing your baby who has teeth. I did with Henry, for quite a long time. It doesn't interfere with their latch, and their teeth don't touch your nipple. They may accidentally bite you (or they may never do this, Henry didn't) but if you de-latch them, they'll quickly learn that doing this makes the milk go away, and the problem won't persist. So again, I maintain, why can't babies just be born with teeth and save us all this misery?

I think I should submit a formal petition to God for this design change.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Updates abound

Ok, so, we have Anne's naps, fun with yarn, and my nipples. Where to start, where to start...

Yesterday, I got Anne to nap in her crib for about 20 minutes. This was definitely a highlight. She loves to kick around watching her mobile in there while she's awake and I need my hands free for a short time. But sleep in there? Pshaw! Never. She still sleeps at night in our room in her bassinette, and I plan to keep her in there until she's about 4 months. We've got a good nighttime routine going; she goes to bed between 7 and 8 pm, and we're loving it. (She gets up on a usual night 2 times between then and 6 am. So, she's doing very well). I get to knit at night, read, and chat with Mike. I don't want to mess with the routine until we absolutely have to, when she's older and more over her gas issues, since the bassinette is inclined while the crib is, of course, flat. Plus, while she's still getting up twice a night, it's wonderful to have her right next to me. I don't even have to get out of bed to nurse and burb her. How I dread making the cold walk down the hall to the nursery once she sleeps in her own room.

So, today, I pushed the issue again. At first, she was very resistant, as always. She'll doze off in my arms, but the instant her butt hits the crib mattress, she's not only awake, but screaming. Finally, I realized the problem. She keeps startling herself. You would think this would have been obvious to me much earlier, since all babies have this startle reflex. You would think. But with 2 small children, my brain is operating at *maybe* 40% capacity at all times. And that's when my thought process is uninterrupted. When Henry is around, I'm down to about 25%.

Anyway, it's the summer, and there's no a/c in her bedroom, so on some days it's too warm to swaddle her in the middle of the day, but today it's pretty nice. So I swaddled her. She's been up there napping for over an hour.

*angels sing*

I really want her to get used to that being a "sleep place," so that hopefully the autumn transition to the crib all the time isn't so painful. For all of us.

So that's that. What's next? Oh yes, yarn! Well, I felted for the first time yesterday. I will devote a whole post to this in the next few days, complete with pictures. I'm waiting for my creation to dry right now, and need to put the finishing touches on today. Keep your eye out for that one. :) But also, my ball winder came yesterday, and Mike and I tested it out last night.

Oh, such bliss! I got my hank of merino wool/silk and placed it over Mike's outstretched hands. The ball winder itself is very easy to put together and use, I highly recommend it. Knitpicks. They're wonderful. It was tremendously fun, although I had the funner job, no doubt about it. Mike had to go through some contortions to keep the yarn moving and eventually had to take a break due to shoulder soreness. :) And towards the end, things fell apart a bit. Well, Anne woke up, that didn't help. I went upstairs and picked her up, and she burbed and spit up all over me. By time I got back down, Mike had developed a knot. It was towards the end of the hank, and he suggested we just cut it off, which I didn't even consider. This is silk; we're untangling the knot.

It only took a few minutes, and voila! I had a beautiful center-pull ball of yarn. I've started my scarf, and I'm perfectly thrilled with it. But I think I'm asking for a real swift for Christmas. :)

And then of course, my breastfeeding woes. I know you were just waiting to hear more personal details about my nipples. At Cam's suggestion (thanks Cam!) I checked out nipple shields. I had heard of them, but didn't really know much about them. They're thin silicone-ish shields that you place over your nipple while the baby nurses. This way, your nipple doesn't take as much abuse and can heal, but the baby is still getting milk. I went to Target yesterday with Henry (while Mike gave Anne a bottle of pumped milk, giving my breasts a break) and found a nipple shield for $7.50. I snapped it up. The only quandry was the size indicators on the package; are my nipples small or medium sized? I had never thought about it before. That decision made, I brought it home and tried it out.

Anne, of course, was pretty skeptical at first. She didn't seem to be a fan, but once she latched on it was fine. And what sweet relief! No contemplation of a shot of whiskey prior to latch-on. It was getting bad there on my right breast. I'm hoping that with a few days of use, my nipples will heal and I won't have to use it anymore. We'll see.

So, that's the latest in my world. I go back to work in about 2 and a half weeks, and needless to say, this is causing a lot of mixed emotions within me. I'll post about that more at length coming up here. I miss my work friends, especially my knitting girls, and I'll be so glad to see them again, but it's tearing me up to leave Mike and the kids at home. I'm happy to know that Anne will be home with Mike the majority of the time. She'll only be in daycare 2 days a week. And if Mike doesn't find a full-time job soon, she'll be home with him 5 days a week. We'll see. I'm feeling a tad anxious about everything, but not nearly as bad as I would have expected out of the level of Type A personality that I have. I know that God has a plan for us, and that something will work out. Somehow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Our previous crib-nap record was 3 minutes. We're now at 13 minutes and counting. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Now back to your regularly scheduled activities...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This post will have the word "breast" in it a lot...

So consider yourself warned. :)

Anne will be 11 weeks old tomorrow (!) and after a rough go at the outset, breastfeeding (and pumping) went along swimmingly for the past little while. All of a sudden, though, I remember why breastfeeding can be a challenge even for experienced nursing moms.

NIPPLES. I suppose I should have put a warning about that word too, in the title. Henry, though a poor sleeper and an extremely fussy baby, was a champion nurser. He did it well right from the outset, and I never had a problem aside from a clogged milk duct issue that persisted when I went back to work and my supply changed due to all the pumping. All this through about 15 months. I never even thought about formula. And I would have happily continued nursing longer if he had wanted to, but he weaned right around 15 months.

And then there's Anne. I call her my little barracuda. She's a much more demanding nurser, and my nipples are taking a beating. I noticed a few days ago that I was starting to dread nursing her on my right breast, and would brace myself whenever she latched on. I don't think we have thrush. I don't see any white patches in her mouth. I think I've just gotten lazy with her latch, and my nipples developed a soreness. I've been applying Lansinoh Lanolin religiously, and hoping that it gets better.

Right now, I'm looking to 6 months. I think that's a good and realistic goal. If we make it there, then I'll look to the year mark. I know that around 6 months, nursing gets infinitely easier with the introduction of solids, so if I make it that far, I'm pretty sure I'll make it to the full year again. But baby steps. I'm not putting pressure on myself this time.

I'm just thinking of my poor right nipple. There was some...BLOOD today. *cries* I'm very squeamish. Seeing my own blood makes me woozy, and all this despite two births. I just can't slough that off.

Anyway, if you have any advice aside from watching her latch and using the lanolin, let me know. I'm hoping we can move past this within the next few days.

In other nursing news, my Udder Cover continues to please. I used it in the middle of the mall the other day, the true test. Reading my last issue of Fit Pregnancy over breakfast the other morning, I saw an ad for a competing product called a "Hooter Hider." Now, doesn't that just seem unnecessary? They couldn't come up with a more couth name? When I showed it to Mike, he made a few comments about other potential irreverant name combinations, one in which both words started with a "B" and another more vulgar one in which the name starts with "T's." It was pretty funny, actually.

Onward, nursing soldiers...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Winding up a potential disaster

Now that I own a few "fancy" yarns, the inevitable has happened. These fancy yarns do not come in handy center pull little balls, they come in hanks or other strangely formed lumps. Thus, I worked a yarn ball winder into my entertainment budget for the month.

In the past, I had my wonderful friend Karen (miss you!) wind my yarn for me. I figure now I should just be able to do this on my own, and plus they're only $19.99 at KnitPicks. The only thihng is, I really can't justify a swift right now, so this should be interesting. The swift is what can hold the yarn for you as you wind. In the absence of a swift, you can have someone hold the yarn wound around their hands. Mike has graciously volunteered for swift duty. I think we'll wait until both children are in bed to attempt this one. Luckily, we don't have any cats, or things could really get complicated. I just watched the tutorial video for the yarn winder. I hope this goes ok, sigh.

So, my winder is enroute, and I'm super excited. I also ordered a pair of straight needles (I love, love, love their Harmony wood needles) for my silk project. No matter how many needles you have, you can always buy more, who else is with me on this one? There are all the different sizes, sure, but the material also matters. I mostly have aluminum knitting needles, which work just fine and are very inexpensive. But for slippery yarn, bamboo or wood needles will grip the yarn better. They're more expensive, certainly, but worth it, in my opinion. I would love to buy sets of the Harmony, but again with the budget thing. Oh, if only we had a money tree. I just buy individual needles as I need them. This time I went for a pair of straight needles, which are my favorite. I do like circular needles for different purposes, but I'm old fashioned. If I can, I use the straights.

Anyway, that's my spin for the day. I'm still working on my sweater (pictures will come eventually). I'm on the second sleeve, so making progress. After that, I just have to do the neckline, weave in ends, and block. I also started my felting project, which I absolutely cannot wait to post about. Hopefully, that should be within the week. I'm making good progress on that.