My body, post-baby

My post-baby body, 9 weeks postpartum

My post-baby body, 9 weeks postpartum

Before I was even pregnant, I was nervous to GET pregnant because of the weight gain that I knew was to come. While most women don’t appreciate gaining weight, I was especially sensitive about it because I had lost 118 pounds in the two years prior to my pregnancy. A lot of things scared me about pregnancy, including labor and delivery, but perhaps the scariest of all was the whole weight thing.

It’s been nine weeks to the day since I delivered my baby boy, and I am definitely not where I want to be, physically. I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy, which I know is my own fault and way above the amount of gain recommended. I had every intention to remain fit and healthy during my pregnancy, and continued tracking food and exercising the first few weeks; hell, I even ran a 5K! Things kind of came crashing down for me after my threatened miscarriage though, which lasted about two weeks and scared the living crap out of me. Prior to that, my family begged me to stop running, but after consulting with doctors who said it was fine, I continued. And while I obviously know now that my exercise did not cause the threatened miscarriage (a subchorionoc hemorrhage did), I immediately ceased all exercise.

Eventually, I got back into walking and I exercised on and off throughout the pregnancy, but not consistently. I also gave in to my cravings way too often, and found myself way heavier than I wanted to be by the time I gave birth. I know many women bounce right back and lose the pregnancy weight right away, but that has not been the case for me due to my excessive gain. I’m working on it though.

As soon as I had my six week checkup and was cleared to work out again, I was right back at it and at the gym the following morning. In those three weeks, I’ve managed to lose around 4.5 pounds, on top of the weight that came off immediately after delivery. In total, I’m down 23.5 pounds since Caleb’s birth. I’m proud of this progress, but I know I still have a long way to go. I need to drop another 46.5 to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and 55ish before I’m back at my lowest weight (right before our wedding… I gained a few after, thanks to our honeymoon!). After that, I still have about 20 pounds to lose to reach my ultimate goal, which I never reached and was still working towards when we got pregnant.

So all this to say, my journey to being healthy is a never ending one. Who would’ve known when I declared in January 2012, at 270 pounds, that I would finally lose the weight… that I would be right? That I would actually do it? That I would change my entire life?

Now, I am nowhere near where I started. I am not 270 pounds again, and I am so grateful that I never got back to that point (and I don’t plan on ever seeing that number again!)… but I am also not at my best. I am not at my fittest, my healthiest, my most active, or my smallest. I am a mom though, which is even better than all of those things. It also motivates me to be my best, to be better than I am now, and I fully intend to be.

I know it may seem like I have a lot to (re)lose and a long way to go to get back to my fittest (half-marathon, anyone?), but I will get there and I will do it… again. The numbers don’t seem so daunting or scary after all that I already lost. It’s going to be slow going though. Before Caleb, I worked out five or six days a week for an hour or more… it was a huge part of my life. Now, it’s hard to find the time and energy to work out, so I shoot for three or four days a week for 30 minutes or so and I’m back to logging my calories; it’s a start. I miss that phase of my life, where I spent hours on runs and felt and looked fit… but I’m also in this new phase of my life – new mommyhood – and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I’ll have time for that other stuff again later, when my baby’s no longer a baby. For now, I’ll do my best to dedicate as much time and energy to weight loss as I can and I’m even going to start training for my second half-marathon. In the meantime, I’ll forgive myself when progress is slow, and realize that in due time, I will get back there.

So while I hate the squishy belly I’m sporting once again, and I get breathless after a short workout like I used to, I can’t say that I’m mad. That squishy belly carried and fed my child for over nine months. These bloated hands now hold my baby boy. The hours I spend with him that I used to spend at the gym are now priceless; it’s time I can never get back as my baby grows and grows like a weed. Sure, I hate that most of my clothes don’t currently fit, but I am working at getting back to where I used to be, and I know I’ll be there soon enough. I’m determined to get there again, and I will. For now though, I can only thank my body for creating my beautiful son… that’s what my post-baby body is really all about.

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For comparison: 6 weeks pregnant, 40 weeks pregnant, 9 weeks postpartum

 

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Good, cheap glasses (Firmoo)!

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So… glasses. I’ve been wearing them since fourth grade and have kind of a love/hate relationship with them. I mostly wish I didn’t need to wear them. I’ve actually tried contact lenses a few times in my life, most recently for my wedding. This time around, I actually managed to get them in and out a few times after hours of trying, but STILL didn’t manage to get them both in on my actual wedding day because I was too nervous. I’ve given up and resigned to the fact that I’m going to be a glasses wearer for life.

So awhile back, I was asked to review a pair of glasses for Firmoo, which is a website for ordering prescription glasses online. I don’t typically review a lot of items on here, but I was very intrigued since glasses usually cost an arm and a leg, and most of theirs are around the $20-30 mark, which is basically a steal. I get sick of my frames very easily since I wear them every day of my life, but at a hundred bucks a pop or more through the optometrist’s office, I can only afford a new pair every few years. I decided I’d give them a shot, and I have to say I was honestly very pleased with my experience and have recommended them to quite a few people already.

First and foremost, be aware that you need to get all your prescription numbers from the eye doctor then input them into the website. I actually goofed on this because as we all know, doctors have horrible handwriting usually. I input the numbers wrong and my first pair arrived way off the mark. Luckily, Firmoo was really great about returns, and after inputting the numbers again, were able to get me a new pair fairly quickly, although the original frames I had chosen were no longer available and I needed to choose a new pair.

The pair I chose were under $30 which is an awesome deal and I actually got a ton of compliments on them. They feel a little light but I’ve been wearing them for a couple of months now with no issues at all. I alternate between this pair and my old pair now and I notice no difference in the quality of the prescription. I also wanted to note that you can update a photo of yourself and virtually “try on” the glasses.

Their service is really great. I received my glasses in just a few days, and they arrived in a nice, sturdy case and included a cloth to wipe the lenses with. I was surprised at the speed of the shipping. Their customer service is also top notch. I had to email them quite a few times and always received a prompt and courteous response in 24 hours or less.

I should note that there are a lot of add on options when ordering the frames such as no scratch, but I stuck to the basics and have been very happy with them.

All in all, I love these glasses. I highly recommend Firmoo because they are affordable but also good quality. Because of their low prices, Firmoo is perfect for people like me who wear glasses daily and would like a few pairs to be able to switch it up… that’s what I’ve been doing. I will definitely order from them again the next time I want a new pair (which will probably be pretty soon). Firmoo definitely has a new customer in me (and no, I was not paid to say any of these things! I just received my pair for free and I really do love them).

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Caleb: Two Months!

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Caleb is two months old today! I really don’t know where the time is going, but it’s definitely flying!

He is very much on the large side still. He is approximately 14.5 pounds, but it’s just a guess after weighing at home. At his doctor’s appointment three weeks ago (one month appointment that was a bit later than a month), he was 12 pounds, 4 ounces and 88th percentile for weight. We have his two month appointment in a little over a week. He’s been in size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothing for about two weeks now. Yikes! He is  currently drinking about 5 ounces at each feeding, and eating about every two hours during the day; he has quite the appetite!

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He is starting to get more and more of a personality. He now smiles for real which absolutely kills me! He does it the most in the mornings when he’s well rested. Basically, talking and smiling to him will usually garner a smile in return! I absolutely love it.

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He has a few things he really likes including this new monkey that’s attached to his carseat, the mobile above his crib, being pantless (yup), and finally his swing. He hated it at first, but now he’s starting to like it. He still cries in it half the time, but the other half it’ll actually calm him down and put him to sleep. He loves facing out, sitting up, and looking around at the world. He’s not a fan of lying down anymore, unless he’s sleeping, and he prefers us walking him around instead of sitting… oy! He really just likes being in motion. Car rides generally soothe him and put him to sleep, and we’ve taken him to the mall a few times to walk him around in his stroller which has the same effect.

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Sleep has been somewhat inconsistent. We had three amazing nights this month (8 hours, 9 hours, and 10 hours) which I was so grateful for and excited about. Other than that, he generally still sleeps a five hour stretch followed by a three hour stretch which isn’t really bad, but I got spoiled by those awesome nights. Then of course we had a crappy three hour night a few days ago that reminded me of the early weeks. We’re hoping that doesn’t happen again.

He’s still sleeping next to our bed in his Rock and Play but is quickly becoming too long for it. We’ve tried daytime naps in his crib which haven’t been the best. He did four days a in a row, in which he slept a bit longer each day (7 minutes, 8 minutes, 9 minutes, then 90 minutes… not sure where he’s getting his math from! I was thrilled about that 90 minute one though!). The last couple of weeks, he hasn’t been sleeping well during the day though (resulting in fussiness), and has instantly awoken any time I put him in the crib. We may just have to go cold turkey at night and just start putting him in there at bedtime once the video monitor gets installed by Jerry. The goal was to have him in his crib by the time I go back to work (which is in two weeks!). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about him sleeping in another room though. Mamas, any tips on getting over that fear of having him out of my sight in his own room?

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Caleb has had a couple of firsts this month including his first time out to dinner (he did well!), his first St. Patrick’s Day (yes, he is a bit Irish on my mom’s side), and his first photo with the Easter Bunny. He refused to smile for that one, but all things considered (giant creepy bunny), he did great by simply NOT crying!

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So all in all, it’s been a month of ups and downs with some great nights of sleep, some NOT so great nights of sleeps, lots of smiles, but also lots of fussiness. Some days are easy and great, others are hard, particularly when he’s overtired and refuses to sleep or be put down. In general though, he’s a good little baby and his face always makes me smile. I learn a little bit more each day about being a mom!

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Motherhood is hard

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Sometimes, you go through three pairs of sleepers in a single night.

The first change comes at 3 in the morning (when baby should be sleeping) because he’s leaked through his diaper and onto his clothes.

The second one comes at 6:30 after he’s peed all over you, himself, and your bed (on your only set of sheets. Reminder: go buy some more PRONTO… this isn’t the first time).

Last night was a rough night in the Cervantes household. Clearly.

After two rough days of nap refusals and subsequent fussiness, last night was hard.

Caleb has very recently taken to sleeping through the night. We had three nights of eight hours or more in a single stretch. I honestly felt like a new woman this week. Prior to those long stretches, Caleb had gone from his original three hour stretches to five hour stretches. So yeah… eight and nine hour nights? Godsends!

Last night though… not so much. Caleb was up every three hours, reminding me of the very early days (my baby is already almost two months old! There are EARLY days now! Where has the time gone?).

I was frustrated after a long, hard day of sitting in the same spot on the couch, alternating between feeding him on demand every two hours, and soothing him whenever he cried almost immediately after each feeding. Twice, he finally dozed off, and when I set him down for a bit of relief, he’d instantly wake up, screaming yet again. When it was time to go to bed, I was glad the day was finally over. From the couch to the bed; sometimes, this is just how my day goes with a new baby.

But he woke up just three hours later. Jerry had just gotten home from working a 10 hour day and I made him take over baby duty; I just couldn’t handle the shrieks anymore. When he finally went back to sleep, I figured he’d do his long stretch. I was wrong; he was up again in three short hours.

Days and nights like this, I am endlessly frustrated. I get tired and mean. I feel unlike myself. Then I feel guilty and wonder if I’m a horrible mom for feeling this way. How can I be frustrated? He’s just a baby!

Motherhood is hard. It is SO, SO hard.

Motherhood is harder than pregnancy.

Motherhood is harder than losing over 100 pounds.

Motherhood is harder than running a half-marathon.

Hell, motherhood is even harder than childbirth. I didn’t think there was anything more difficult than that.

I’ve done all of these hard, impossible things, but nothing could ever prepare me for the difficulty of motherhood. And some nights? It’s just way harder than others.

After this horrible day and night, in which all I wanted to do was cry and scream, I looked over at my sleeping baby, finally resting at 7 A.M. this morning. There he was next to me, dreaming away in his Rock and Play in his terry cloth lion pajamas (lion feet, lion butt), flailing his little arms everywhere. His face was peaceful with his cute double chin and lack of a neck, and God, how I loved him in that moment, the calm after the storm for both him and I.

Caleb and I? We’re in this for life. He is my son, my baby, no matter how difficult it gets. And even when he’s older and the sleepless nights are gone, I will still be his mom. I will ALWAYS be his mom. That’s a special thing to be – someone’s mom. It overwhelms me sometimes. It terrifies me, really. Then he smiles at me, and my heart basically explodes every single time. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how frustrated I am, no matter how many tears are shed (both his and mine), I will love him, I will forgive myself for my frustrations, and I will be the best mom I know how to be.

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Summer bucket list!

Hi everyone! I didn’t mean to disappear from the blog for over a week but time just slipped away from me… oops! Things have been crazy around here with the baby and it’s just hard to find the time to do much of anything lately! We are also having some issues with photo resizing on my blog right now that’s driving me nuts. I’m just waiting for the designer to find a fix. I hate the options for image sizes so I always do custom sizes, but they aren’t taking for some reason, so my pictures throughout the blog are all messed up at the moment now… ugh! Anyway, moving on…

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I got Jerry’s car stuck in a snowbank alongside our driveway for over a week. One of the many reasons I am OVER this winter…

This winter has been a pretty brutal one in New York! I’ve been on maternity leave for most of it, so being cooped up inside with the crappy weather has been tough since I didn’t want to take a newborn out in single digit temps. Luckily, the temperature has been a bit warmer (I’m talking 30-40 degrees here…) in the last week or so, and we haven’t seen much new snow, though we are still staring at and climbing over old snow banks. Despite the ugly, dirt covered snow piles that we’re pretty sure will never melt, we’ve been able to take the baby out more and the hints of sunshine are really getting us excited for what’s to come. I even went on a walk outside last week which was fantastic, even though I had to walk in the street since the sidewalks are still covered. After this long, nasty winter, there are some things I’m really looking forward to doing this summer! I’ve never been a huge fan of super hot weather, but I’m really looking forward to this winter finally ending. Here are some of the things I’m dying to do once the weather turns:

  • Walking around the neighborhood with the baby in his stroller.
  • Finally running outside again and training for another half marathon… this time, hubby said he’ll run it with me! It’s going to be tough getting back into running shape, but I can’t wait!
  • Going for Abbott’s frozen custard down at the beach.
  • Walking on the beach and pier where Jerry and I got engaged with him and the baby!
  • Having fire pits and s’mores in the yard with family and friends.
  • Taking Caleb to the zoo!
  • Enjoying some Zweigles (delicious local hot dogs) on the grill since I was pregnant last summer and couldn’t have any!
  • Driving around with the windows down.
  • Opening the windows in the house and getting some fresh air.
  • Going to some local festivals and maybe some outdoor concerts.
  • Attending some baseball games. My dad’s the photographer for our local team and it’s always fun to sit outside, watch the game, and enjoy some delicious ball park food.
  • Being the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding in August and enjoying all the pre-wedding festivities too!

What things are you looking forward to doing this summer?

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Confessions of a new mama

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I’m quickly learning that there are SO many wonderful things about motherhood. For starters is the crazy big love you feel for this tiny little person. There’s also their smile; I swear, it’s the most magnificent thing you have ever seen… again and again. I know I’m bound to share all of these amazing things over the years, but for today, I’m going to share some of my new mom confessions. Things are about to get real… and real gross!

  • Sometimes, when Caleb spits up and there’s no burp cloth nearby, I’ll wipe it with the sleeve of my shirt… and still leave it on until bedtime. Whoops!
  • I feel like a total rock star whenever I finish any household chore and have to text Jerry immediately to brag about my accomplishment of doing the dishes. Seriously… this stuff is hard to get done when you have a baby who won’t let you put him down!
  • I consult Dr. Google WAY too much and search every little symptom he seemingly has and completely freak myself out.
  • I hate putting long sleeve shirts and onesies on him. So difficult to get his stiff arms into and through long sleeves! Short sleeves and button up tops are MUCH easier when your child is working on his robot dance moves.
  • Jeans and basically any other pants that are NOT sweatpants are also an annoyance… but they look adorable so he’ll usually wear them for a couple of hours before I throw in the towel and change him into something easier.
  • Sometimes I get sick of fighting with him while buttoning up his sleepers so I’ll just leave a few buttons undone. Zipper sleepers are so much easier!
  • I get baby poop and pee on my hands on a daily basis now and it hardly even grosses me out these days. It’s just baby poop, right? I mean, my dog ate it for crying out loud! No seriously… he did. He busted open a diaper. The tell tale yellow poo was all around the white hair near his mouth. That was a real treat to deal with.
  • I ordered over 500 prints of the baby before he even reached one month old. Can’t. Stop. Taking. Pictures.
  • Speaking of pictures, I always promised myself I wouldn’t be that crazy mom who bombarded everyone on Facebook and Instagram with baby pictures all the time. Oops, kind of failed that one, though I do refrain and only post every few days if I can. Similarly, I promised myself I would still blog about things other than the baby. I’m working on this, though it’s hard. I still manage a few non-baby posts here and there!
  • I only managed to nurse him for about two weeks. After two weeks of agonizing pain, I threw in the towel on that one. However, because I am crazy stubborn and determined, I took up pumping instead and now he gets about half formula, half breastmilk. Now, I spend approximately two hours a day total hooked up that machine, feeling like a cow. Fun, I tell you!
  • Yesterday, I didn’t get to the gym until noon and didn’t shower until 5:30. Most days I’m not THAT far behind, but things do take forever when you have a baby. It’s going to get even harder when I go back to work next month!
  • I haven’t finished a single book since he was born. Most days, I manage to get a few pages read but that’s about it. It’s so much easier to watch TV with a baby. Sad but true. I’m looking forward to being able to read more again when he’s a little bit older and therefore less needy. For now, we cuddle up and watch TV because he is not a fan of being put down… ever. That’s another challenge, but for now I’m just enjoying my baby being little since it won’t last long. This fella is now in 3-6 month clothes. What?!
  • Some days, I regret starting him out in the Rock and Play to sleep and wish we had just started him in the crib. It’s going to be a complete pain to transition him in there, as evidenced by him refusing to sleep in there for more than 10 minutes during daytime naps.
  • I feel pretty bad about my body and the weight I gained, and am so glad I was able to start working out again last week. I’ve been very good about getting to the gym and watching what I eat and can’t wait to get out of these sweatpants and maternity clothes because I refuse to buy anything bigger! I WILL be back in my pre-pregnancy clothes, the sooner the better. I have to remind myself constantly that I carried my baby and gave birth to him with this body, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but it’s pretty difficult some days.
  • Baby blues are real and they are scary. I was not prepared for them AT ALL and was a complete wreck for the first two weeks. I remember thinking and saying on more than one occasion, “I can’t do this.” If you’re not a mother yet but are going to be, PLEASE read up about the blues and prepare yourselves. Most importantly, understand they are very common and you will get through it. I didn’t realize how common they were until everyone else told me they had them too.
  • Going along with the baby blues, I was basically terrified to be left alone with him for the first couple of weeks because I was scared I wouldn’t know what to do or how to take care of him. I would get  serious anxiety whenever he cried. I still do on occasion, but for the most part I can handle it much better these days.
  • Sometimes, I get choked up just thinking about the future and my baby growing up. Just the other night I was wondering if he would ever get bullied when he’s older and I almost cried just thinking about it. I know, I’m kind of irrational. What can you do? Being a mom can make you crazy sometimes, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Five on Friday (6)

Happy Friday! This is my first Five on Friday post since Caleb was born… yay!

ONE. So, I haven’t watched The Bachelor in YEARS but I decided to watch it this season and now I’m an addict. I can’t wait until next season already (when is it?). I’m pretty ticked that he kicked Kaitlyn off though. I was rooting for her. I’m NOT a Whitney fan (she seems so phony and like she just says/does what she thinks he wants), so now I’m rooting for Becca by default. I really like Chris though; he actually seems genuine. Who are you rooting for?

TWO. Speaking of TV, I’ve been watching a good amount of it since I’m currently out on maternity leave and don’t have a lot of energy for much else; this mama thing is exhausting! Jerry and I have been watching Prison Break on Netflix and are currently on season two. It’s a bit confusing at times but I really like it. Also? Lincoln isn’t too bad to look at. Has anyone else ever watched it?

THREE. I need to vent and spread the word about H&R Block. SO… they filed my 2012 taxes and then I decided never to go back there because their fees were insane. Well, I just got a letter from the state the other day that I owed them money. Long story short, H&R Block filled something out wrong, despite me giving them the correct paperwork. I called them up and had a meeting with the guy who did my taxes that year and told him they should pay this. I explained that 1. it was their fault so I shouldn’t be responsible. 2. I know nothing about taxes which is why I hire and pay a professional. 3. I’m out on maternity leave and have a newborn baby. His response was that since I didn’t pay for a “peace of mind” warranty, they could do nothing but pay the interest. I told him again and again that this was ridiculous and that I shouldn’t have had to buy a warranty to ensure that the professionals I hired were going to do their job correctly. I even met with the manager, and despite my reasoning (and crying), they said they couldn’t do anything else because I didn’t buy the warranty. WTF?! Rest assured I will be telling everyone I know about this horrendous service.

FOUR. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am totally impressed by Shutterfly! I ordered 464 prints of the baby, and quite a few (around 40) arrived with heads cut off. When I emailed them to ask about this, they wrote me back and told me how to crop photos on there AND gave me a credit on my account of 464 free prints… my whole order, not just the handful that came back bad! Now THAT is good service! I’m going back and fixing up all the bad prints, plus my next few hundred will also be free… score!

FIVE. I had my 6 week post-partum checkup yesterday and have been cleared for exercise! I’m starting back with the calorie counting and intense exercise today, and will hopefully be training for a fall half-marathon too. I need to re-lose a good amount of pregnancy weight because I gained too much and I am really looking forward to feeling and looking good again. If you’re a new blog reader, the short version is that I lost 118 pounds from 2012 to 2014 through exercising and calorie counting on MyFitnessPal (where I met Jerry). Then, I got pregnant and obviously gained weight. I need to re-lose about 50-60 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Then, when I get back down to my lowest weight, I still need to lose maybe another 20 pounds or so to reach my ultimate goal. I hadn’t reached it yet before I got pregnant, so here I am, back on the wagon and feeling excited!

And because it’s impossible for me to blog now and not mention my little guy, here is a hilarious picture of him. I’m trying to think of things to blog about that aren’t always about motherhood and my baby (since not everyone is interested), but it’s hard! He pretty much runs my life at the moment. ;) Don’t worry though, I will be doing my best to keep the blog balanced with various topics, though there will obviously be quite a lot about him and motherhood.

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For today

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My baby boy is growing before my eyes.

Yesterday, at only 5.5 weeks old, he weighed in at 12 pounds, 4 ounces and 22.25 inches long! Already he is nearly 5 pounds larger than he was at birth… and how has it been almost a month and a half already?

It’s so easy to forget in the moments of frustration that these moments are truly fleeting.

It’s so easy to forget in my exhausted state that he won’t always be so small, that he won’t always need me so much.

I have to remind myself and my husband on a daily basis that he will only be little once… and he’s a tiny bit LESS little with each day that passes.

There are a lot of things I need to work hard to keep in mind during these special moments that are slipping by every second. I can be a bit obsessive about things, and with a baby… you really need to learn to let it go, at least for today.

The dishes will still be dirty tonight.

The laundry will still be piled up tomorrow.

And while the baby seats, and swings, and diapers are covering my once lovingly decorated living room, one day these things will be gone and my baby will be grown.

For today, these things don’t matter.

When my baby constantly wants to be held… I’ll hold him.

When he wants to be rocked and nothing else will stop the tears… I’ll rock him.

I’ll cuddle him and cover him in kisses as much as I can because he will only be little once.

One day I will wake up and my boy will be a teenager, and then a grown man, and soon enough he won’t want to be held at all, let alone all the time. Soon enough, my rocking will no longer soothe him, and my kisses will be the ultimate embarrassment. He will be too big to cuddle and he won’t fall asleep in my arms.

For today, while he still lets me and wants me to, I need to let go of the things that don’t matter, and cherish the things that DO matter. The dishes can wait. The laundry can too. I have a baby to hold and rock and kiss. And now, I’ve got to go; there’s a baby who needs me.

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That summer…

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“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was always playing in the car as we drove around in the sunshine and heat, me pointing out landmarks of my life: where I went to school, my favorite places to eat, the route I walked home with my friends, giddy over that first eighth grade kiss. He wasn’t a part of that life – couldn’t be, 3,000 miles away – but I wanted to show him everything, wanted to let him in, show him who I was and now who I wanted to be.

Jake Owen’s upbeat and catchy hit was just one of the many country songs on the mix CD I made prior to Jerry’s arrival. We listened to it – overplayed it, really – the entire summer of 2012. It served as the soundtrack to our summer and the start of our life together. Darius Rucker and Jason Aldean crooned in our ears as we fell in love. He never listened to country music before me.

When Jerry visited in June 2012, we thought we only had a week, but it turned into a life. At the start of his one week stay, we determined to do as much as possible: we went to the beach, we visited Niagara Falls, we showed each other our favorite movies, we went to the zoo, we ate all the ice cream and best food that Rochester has to offer. We fell in love.

At the end of it all, when our week was up, we cried because we couldn’t bear to let it go so we did the only thing we knew to do: we canceled his flight and announced to our families that he wouldn’t be leaving. And so that summer turned into everything… an engagement in August, an eventual wedding, house, and son; it’s amazing what love and a few years can do to you. The reminiscing can bring both joy and a touch of sadness: sadness that these moments are past, that that summer isn’t right NOW, but joy for what it all led to, the life that it became.

Now, we will always have barefoot blue jean nights. We will always have ice cream and holding hands to the “Evil Dead” on BluRay. We will always have an airport moment, an engagement at the pier. We will always have that summer… that summer that became a life.

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Caleb: One Month!

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Caleb Manuel is one month old today! I don’t even know how that is possible already. It simultaneously feels like yesterday that he was born and forever ago. I’m both sad and happy… sad because I’m realizing how true it is that they grow WAY too fast, and happy that we made it through the first month when at times, I really doubted whether or not I could do it.

Our little man (often called “Pup” or “Puppy,” not sure why) is quite a big boy these days. Though we haven’t had his one month check up yet, we believe he now weighs between 11 and 12 pounds. He is in size one diapers and 0-3 month clothing. He wore newborn sizes for about two weeks then grew to be too long for them. He’s also had really long, skinny fingers since birth.

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He eats A LOT! He’s had quite an appetite since we first brought him home and we even took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago because we thought he was eating too much. He eats 4 ounces during his daytime feedings every 2-4 hours, and 5 ounces for overnight feedings which range anywhere from every 3-5 hours. We JUST bumped him up to 5 ounces at night because he is continually hungry and that seems to fill him up. The doctor said that while he does indeed have a large appetite, he isn’t overeating as long as he isn’t throwing up, so to feed him when he’s hungry… okay! He is a little picky about bottle nipples. Before he was born, I bought him all these expensive bottles, none of which he liked the nipples on. Instead, he likes the cheapy, disposable Similac nipples! So we returned the expensive ones and use those nipples on Dollar Tree bottles… hey, whatever works!

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We did attempt nursing for the first two weeks, but it was too painful and never seemed to satisfy his huge appetite, so now I exclusively pump and also supplement with formula. I’d say he gets about half and half. I did struggle a lot with this decision and felt incredibly guilty, but his doctor assured us that it was fine as he is very clearly growing! I’m glad I can still provide him with some milk at least. We’ve also learned that he is NOT a big burper. We burp him after every feeding, but it’s rare that we’ll get a burp out of him. He’ll do it once in awhile, but usually LONG after he’s eaten. Pretty sure he makes up for this with his farting though, although that has been decreasing a lot too… typical boy!

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Caleb’s sleep schedule is okay but a little wonky. He currently sleeps in his rock and play next to our bed. During the day, he usually sleeps on his hand in some way or another! He got swaddled for about two weeks, then decided he hated it and would bust his arms out. He also makes a lot of noises in his sleep and sounds like a little pterodactyl. Ha! He usually sleeps in three hour stretches. Thursday and Friday night, he did a five hour stretch followed by a four hour stretch and I seriously felt like a new woman the following mornings! I was so happy! Last night he went back to three hour stretches though, so we’ll see how he does tonight. Fingers crossed for me please!

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His current favorite things are: looking at lights, his MAM binky (when he isn’t mad and spitting it out), being held and rocked (especially on our shoulder or chest), being sung to by Mommy (country music and “Falling Slowly” from Once), and eating!

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He isn’t a fan of: wearing hats, tummy time (though he does have a very strong head and neck that he’s been holding up for quite some time now… he just typically refuses to do it during tummy time), the bath (though he doesn’t mind when you’re putting the warm water on him; it’s when he starts to get cold that he hates it), and diaper changes and getting dressed  (particularly the part where the onesie goes over the head). His bouncy seat and Boppy lounger are both hit or miss. He really prefers to be held, but sometimes he will cooperate in these seats for a bit. I’m thinking of getting him a swing too.

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Our little man is quite serious and inquisitive. When he’s awake, he is constantly looking around and is mostly all business. He smiles in his sleep, but not yet when he’s awake, though we do think we might have gotten ONE smile yesterday when he was up. He also does this funny little Elvis face in his sleep too, with his lip half up. We also think he looks like a little man instead of a baby, and we hear from everyone that he is his daddy’s twin.

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Because of flu season and the below zero temps, Caleb hasn’t been out much in his first month. He’s gone to the doctor’s, to get blood drawn several times (when he was first born and had jaundice), to his grandma’s house, and to a friend’s house to hang out with her and her  three month old. He also went to Babies R Us once, but had his first real outing in public yesterday because the temperatures were finally double digits! We went to Target, my work to drop something off, and Aldis, although he and I stayed in the car at Aldis since Jerry just ran in for a few things. He behaved really well for his first big adventure and basically slept the whole time!

One week old

My first couple weeks of motherhood were quite trying, if I’m being honest, but things have been much easier the last couple of weeks. When we first got home, I was so overwhelmed and stressed out. I definitely experienced the “baby blues” which really surprised me but which I’m learning is very common. Because my hormones were out of whack, I was completely exhausted/overwhelmed, and recovering from labor, you could catch me crying on a daily basis. I went to see my Ob-gyn just a few days after he was born because I was really upset about how I felt. They actually commended me for recognizing it and for doing something about it. Luckily, once my hormones started to get back to normal and I started to get into more of a routine with the baby, I began to feel better and am basically back to normal now.

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Luckily, I had some great support from friends and family who helped me get through it. We had a lot of visitors, messages, and meals from friends and family. Honestly though, Jerry and I could NOT have made it through the first month without the help and support of my parents. My mother stayed over countless nights to help us learn, cope, and get some sleep and she and my dad keep me and Cal company a lot of evenings while Jerry is at work. Things are definitely settling down now though, and I am really learning what it takes to be a mom to my little boy. I never knew how hard, tiring, trying, and time consuming it would be (seriously, I’ve probably only read about 100 pages since he was born!), but I am getting the hang of it now. I really and truly learn more about him every hour, and love him more and more each day. He is SO worth it and we are all madly in love with our little guy!

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