We Love the Pumpkin Patch!

This is a real late post from last weekend, but what a great weekend! It was go-go-go from Friday to Sunday; I am thankful to have some time during Audrey’s nap this morning to post an update.

Friday, Alex was able to work from home so that I could go get some shopping done with a friend. When I got home, we all got in the car and headed down for Alex to get fitted for a tux. I had to feed the baby in the car; she’s so cute, I didn’t mind!

Saturday was a day full of fun baby celebrations! My day didn’t get going, however, until after I drove some friends to the airport at 5am. Later, we made our way to a gender reveal party; Alex and I both voted “boy,” but we were wrong! Our sweet friends are having a little girl — we can’t wait to meet her!

From there, I went straight to a friend’s baby shower. It was very autumn, and warm, and seriously a precious event!

Finally, the family wound down the day with the OU / Texas game. It was a nail-biter, but we pulled out a win, of course! Boomer!

Sunday morning, I had to wake up bright and early to make chili for our church-wide cook-off. On Thursday last week, our missional community voted my chili to be the best of 7 different chilis. This meant that my chili moved on to compete against the other chilis in the church that won. On Sunday, I won again! So, my chili will be served at our church’s booth at the Fall Festival in Collinsville at the end of the month. I’m honored that everyone loved my chili!

After the cook-off, we headed to the pumpkin patch! It was very rainy, dreary, and cold that morning, so I was actually losing any hope that we would get to go. But, by noon, the skies were clear and it had warmed up a bit!

I have always loved the pumpkin patch. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and going to the pumpkin patch is like the pinnacle experience of fall. I hope our family can make time for the pumpkin patch every year!

The baby did so good! She didn’t cry at all; it was a little windy, but she was just in love with walking around outside. She eventually fell asleep for a bit while we walked around the shop.

Eckert’s is the big family farm in our area; it is worth making a trip once or twice a year, but it is overly saturated for what it actually is. It only costs $1 per person to ride the tractor to and from the orchards and the patch, and they do such a good job with decor. But it is super packed, and there are plenty of family farms in the area that, in the coming years, I’d love to visit a variety of pumpkin farms so that our family tradition has some variety.

Now, our “daddy, mommy, and baby” pumpkins are on our front door step. We don’t have any other Halloween decorations out because, based on where our house is located in our neighborhood, basically no one sees our house. I stopped worrying about wreaths, lights, and even elaborate landscaping because we are just tucked back away from most views.

It bums me out a little bit not to be decorating on the outside. I’ll figure out some alternatives in the mean time, as we are certain that we will be looking for our next house within the next 4-5 years.

xo, Jan

A Week Full of Giggles!

Hello, blog world! I just got home from an early-morning trip to the airport to drop some friends off. Now I’m all loaded up with espresso, and going back to sleep is not an option, so I figured I’d post a lil’ update.

It feels like Audrey has grown so much in the last week. There is a lot going on … the champion sleeper that we had a couple weeks ago is now going through her sleep regression (albeit earlier than most babies do, it would seem). For over a week now, she’s been waking up two or three times in the middle of the night, and the only solace is to feed her back to sleep. While it is a bit upsetting in the moment, we can’t complain about the additional moments to snuggle her. Plus, the other developments going on during the day totally make up for it: she giggles a lot, is more interested in toys, and talks and coos at us. So even though I am more tired and zombie like, the little person she is becoming is an absolute delight!

Monday was Columbus Day, so we had a shopping and lunch date with Daddy. We ate at a neat pub nearby called Sloan’s. They have, by far, the most impressive sweet potato fries I’ve ever eaten.

Audrey’s favorite past time? Being naked. She LOVES to hang out in nothing but her diaper. Alex took this photo on Tuesday, his day to work from home while I go to work all day. One of the best things we’ve done is share our Google Photo albums so that I can see any picture/video he takes of her throughout the day.

I took one of the first selfies I’ve felt like taking in months. I am taking several steps to try and feel human again … being at work definitely helps. If I didn’t have to go into a professional job, I wouldn’t have a reason to get ready. I don’t have a natural desire to get dolled up all the time. I know ladies who literally cannot even leave the house without makeup and hair done; I don’t have a hard time at all going through daily life without caring what I look like or how I feel. But, for work specifically, I have to care. And that’s done a world of good for me, especially postpartum. The SAHM life appeals to me, of course, but I truly don’t think it’ll ever be healthy for me. I think I’ll always at least be a part-time worker. It’s been good for my mind, body, and soul to wake up, suck down some coffee, curl my hair, etc.

Pieces of Audrey’s Halloween costume are starting to arrive. No, she’s not going to be a Native American; these mocs were just the right color for her costume, and they were so affordable on Amazon. I can’t wait to see how the whole thing turns out! I will say, buying several little pieces of a costume ended up being much cheaper than buying a full pre-made costume (and I think it’ll turn out cuter and more unique!)

I’m trying to work on my health a bit, too. I’ve been cooking without high glycemic foods (simple carbs and sugar), which isn’t difficult for me. What’s difficult for me is turning down cupcakes someone made for a party, for example. But, I’m trying to be intentional about my choices, and I am working on an exercise regimen for myself. If I don’t prioritize it now, when the baby is little, then I never will.

That’s that! It’s a busy weekend over here. Can’t wait to share it with you on Monday!

xo,

Jan

Guns

Okay.

Let me first just say… I hate that tragic events like the massacre in Vegas really just lead to soapboxes on social media for many of us. People are suffering life-threatening injuries, people have lost friends and loved ones. The impact of this event on me is miniscule compared to the hurt so many people are feeling. I don’t know any of them personally, but I am continually praying for them.

Now, my point: I am 100% cool with the 2nd amendment, and am often comforted knowing that someone near me at all times is probably carrying a weapon for the sake of theirs and others’ safety. However, on Sunday night (along with the numerous mass shootings our country has experienced in the last couple of years alone), the 2nd amendment didn’t matter.

This was a country concert (a genre that attracts proponents of gun ownership) in a state where gun owners can openly carry their weapons. That didn’t matter, though, because this whack job had LEGAL weapons, rigged illegally, automatically blasting bullets from rifles in his hotel. (Coward.)

Here’s what we need: we need well-intended citizens, police officers, federal agents, security officers, and active military to carry weapons. We do, in fact, need the 2nd amendment. What we don’t need: for any person to own 33 guns at a time, for any person to buy more cases of bullets than they can buy Sudafed in a 30 day period, for any person to access fully-automatic weapons whether through legal or illegal means.

“Guns don’t kill people, people do!” Okay, let’s tell that to the victims of nuclear warfare. If you think it is important to take nukes out of the hands of bad people, then you admit that weapons are, in fact, much more powerful than the people who use them.

“Someone could kill another person with a knife. So are we going to control those, too?” I could be speculating, but if all the Vegas shooter would’ve had was knives, more than fifty people would still be alive, and more than 500 unharmed. I’d even venture to say that if all he had was a hand gun and a rifle, he would not have done the damage he did.

Law breakers will be law breakers, I get that. But is that truly a reason we shouldn’t reform? That we shouldn’t crack down on loose weapon and weapon-part sales? That we shouldn’t seek justice for those who were just out to enjoy a concert on Sunday?

I don’t want to take your guns from you, my friend. In fact, to an extent, I’m glad you have them. Instead, I want our government to fight hard against putting bad weapons in the hands of bad people. If you are so passionate about your 2nd amendment right, then I am sure that, even with more government regulations in place, you will still jump through all the hoops they ask you to in order to be legally and properly armed. No more romanticizing guns… We should be standing in line at a government facility to purchase weapons, whether for protection or leisure, just like we do to get our driver’s licenses. Like driving, owning a weapon comes with great responsibility and accountability; I’m sure you’d agree.

Don’t take “gun control” as a personal attack. Trust me, many proponents of gun control aren’t paying any mind to gun-carrying, law-abiding citizens. They are paying mind to the victims of senseless violence at the hands of psychopaths with weapons. There IS a solution out there, you need only to be open to it. Keep your guns. Visit the range to practice.

Whatever you do, do NOT disrespect the deaths of nearly sixty people by saying the rifles didn’t matter.

They absolutely did.

The First Three Months

We have reached Audrey’s three month mark! She is growing and learning so fast… I wish I were able to press pause!

Audrey is able to roll from her belly to her back! She doesn’t do it every time, but she definitely has the hang of it. She can also sit up, supported, for quite a while before getting tired of it. She loves her Fisher Price Floor Seat and sitting in our laps, looking around the room. We bought her a Jumparoo, but she doesn’t quite “get it” yet. She is fascinated by the music and all the colors, but if we aren’t helping her bounce, it isn’t much fun for her yet.

We have established a very loose bedtime routine. It changes with the time of night, her mood, etc. but this is basically what happens…

  1. Around 8pm, depending on what night it is, Audrey gets a bath and maybe just a small snack on a bottle just to keep her calm. We bathe her once, sometimes twice, a week since she really doesn’t get too yucky yet. Most days, all she needs is just a wipe-down with a washcloth!
  2. We bring her into her nursery (she isn’t sleeping in there yet, but I’ve heard that it is smart to get babies acquainted and comfortable with the nursery before officially putting them in there to sleep) and change her into a clean diaper. She likes to be “nakey” for a while at this point; she is much more energetic, playful, and talkative if she is free from any clothes! Funny little girl!
  3. We pick out a book to read to her in the rocking chair. She loves board books with lots of colors–some of her favorites have been Booful Blue and That’s Not My Monster. Sometimes we read her the same book several times in a row if she seems to like it. If she has more energy to spend, we will do tummy time and play for a bit.
  4. When she starts to get tired and fussy, we dress her in her pajamas and bring her into our room (where her bassinet and sound machine are) and feed her until she is falling asleep.
  5. We swaddle her in a Woombie and, if she isn’t already asleep, she quickly soothes herself to sleep. The room is very dark (we have black-out curtains in there) and the sound machine plays white noise.

Our baby girl is definitely teething. I was in denial for about a week, but after asking several mom’s what they thought, most of them told me that their babies began teething in the first few months, too! She has all the tell-tale signs: constantly drooling, rosy cheeks, hard to soothe, hand is always in her mouth. She doesn’t much like teether items yet. We have this cute little set of teethers that will keep her calm for a minute or two, but not quite the miracle we are looking for yet! You know what I found on Pinterest, though, that has helped her, is filling pacifiers with water and freezing them — clever!

One of my favorite things about Audrey right now is her demeanor. It’s like I can already see a personality peeking through. She loves to “talk” with cooing, and her smiles get so big, they almost produce a giggle many times. She seems to be very observant and curious about every single thing, and I can’t wait for these developments to just get more fun with time!

Our big girl has grown into 3-6 month clothes. (Carter’s just calls it “6 months” which kills me! She’s only three months!) She’s also already in size 2 diapers; I know nine month olds who are still in 2’s! I don’t think that I have an abnormally large baby, but maybe I do.

I’ll get real with you for a second: I did go through a bout of postpartum depression for a couple weeks around the 8 week mark. We were transitioning from breastfeeding (which was pumping for me) to formula. I felt so much simultaneous mom-guilt and exhaustion, that it often turned in to anger and hopelessness. I felt guilty that my baby wasn’t getting the “best” version of nutrients via breast milk, but I was also so exhausted and becoming detached because I was pumping all the time. Formula was absolutely the right answer for us, but it wasn’t the easy answer at all. I made sure to communicate what I was feeling to Alex, so that he knew the right questions to ask, how to serve me best, etc.

But, I do have a criticism of some medical practices that I’ve observed… When I was only one month postpartum, both my OB and the pediatrician gave me questionnaires to check for any signs of postpartum anxiety and/or depression. I love this preventative move on their part–it requires a new mama be mindful of her emotions and aware of her thoughts, but I don’t think that one check-in at one month postpartum is enough. Based on what I have heard and read, plenty of mom’s don’t develop postpartum until much later. Plus, many of my friends don’t have babies yet, so they didn’t know when or how to ask about postpartum stuff. I am thankful that I have the spine of a jellyfish, and I don’t have a very good poker face, so Alex usually knows when something is off. My PPD lasted two weeks, at the most, and now I feel back to normal, if not even better, more empowered, more confidant, etc. But, I can see how it would be easy for mama’s to try and keep their heads above water during PPD in silence — no one wants to have to admit that they aren’t the perfect mom, full of cheer and Snow White-ness. No one wants to have to say “I’m not always happy with how life is going,” but we absolutely need to be saying it to someone!

If you’re a new mom, or to-be mom, reading this, please don’t be silent about weird or uncomfortable or dark feelings and thoughts. You are the best mama your baby could ever ask for, and you are doing everything you need to be doing; put your doubts and anxieties behind you! You’ve got this!

Labor Day Weekend!

How about a little weekend update??

A morning nap on the deck!

A little note: I finally put the WordPress app on my phone, so that I can actually write posts on the go. I don’t prefer this method; in full transparency, if I could handwrite every post and somehow publish that way, I would. My laptop is second best. But, since I’d like to post more often, the app and I are just gonna have to get along.

This weekend was our second time bringing Audrey to the lake. We went down to see the full, total solar eclipse on August 21st, but we only came down for one evening. This time we got to stay three nights!

Rain loves being at the lake!

We bought an absolutely adorable little infant life vest on Amazon, thinking we might take the baby out on the boat. We never did, sadly. But it will still fit her next summer, so we look forward to that!

What we did get to do is spend so much time outside. Many times, when she started to get fussy, we’d plop her down in her bouncy seat and bring her out onto the deck and she would be enchanted by the bright sky and awesome colors of the trees. I now know to bring her outside for a nap every once in a while at home while I sit with her, enjoying the fresh air.

Labor Day preciousness ❤

Alex and I had a “date,” floating out on boogie board with an inflatable cooler full of beer while my parents hung out with the baby back on the shore. We had some of the best conversation we’ve had in a while. We always seem to find those moments in unexpected places.

Overall, we had a fabulous “last weekend of summer” it would seem. It got pretty warm in the afternoons, but the morning air was crisp, just the way my Autumn-born heart loves it! Now, I am back at work part time, making that pay check so I can buy cute Halloween clothes for my baby (and Chai lattes for myself).

xo,

Jan

P.S. My baby is already two months old! Don’t grow so fast, sweet girl!

Audrey’s One Month Old Update

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, but I figured Audrey’s first month of life was a good enough reason to come on and update you!

I’ve been asked similar questions by a lot of folks this month, so I will answer them here as a sort of baby update and postpartum update in FAQ’s.

How is she eating? Audrey is breastfed a majority of the time via pumped milk in a bottle, with the occasional formula supplement. She had problems latching right after birth, so we developed a routine in the hospital of using a nipple shield to attempt breastfeeding, followed by formula to supplement, and I’d pump to initiate healthy production (a routine that was great for those early days in the hospital… not realistic at all when we got home). Audrey had a tongue tie that we did get clipped early on, but it did not help with latching (I’m still glad we did it; tongue ties can lead to speech problems later on in life, along with needing painful and repetitive procedures).

Attempting the breast was stressful, tear-filled and exhausting for both me and Audrey. I finally decided to put away the fight and the feelings of guilt that I wasn’t able to nurse naturally (similar to the guilt I felt needing to have a c-section) — I’ve realized that a huge part of becoming a parent is putting aside your “ideals” and ignoring those voices in your head that tell you that you’re doing it all wrong. Just like with the c-section, the need to pump and supplement was so much easier to accept because I wanted her to be healthy and happy, regardless of what I wanted.

Now, I pump 7-8 times per day to provide her with breast milk for most of her feedings, supplementing with formula every now and then when it is more convenient or if she needs to sleep. The truth is, I feel just as bonded with her on the other side of a bottle as I would if she were directly on my chest. God bless women who can nurse their babies naturally; direct nursing (or my attempt at it anyway) actually brought on resentment, depression, and chaos for me, so bottle feeding (with or without breast milk) is what makes us both happy! (Plus, Alex is able to help out with feedings … a huge blessing for us!)

How is she sleeping? Her stretches of sleep at night are getting longer and longer, where we will only get up once around 2 or 3 am to feed her, then not again until 6 or 7 am. It’s awesome! But, this also means that sleeping during the day is spotty for her. She is easily over-stimulated and distracted so it is hard to put her down for naps. (However, as I type this, she is going on her third hour of sleep in the middle of the day … seems to be the calm before the storm!)

What fun things have happened this month? She is growing so fast! She’s able to hold her head up for a while when we hold her or when she is on the floor for tummy time. She is showing signs of beginning to smile in response to stimuli.

Audrey has already gotten out of the house a few times this month. We brought her to church a couple times (and she slept through the whole service), and she’s been out for trips to see family (my Grandma’s 87th birthday, a lake day at my aunt and uncle’s house).

She has already pooped and thrown up on me, so literally nothing grosses me out anymore.

So many family members and friends have visited us to see her and to just make sure we are fed, which has our cups overflowing with gratitude.

What’s my favorite part of being a mommy? Seeing a sincere curiosity in her eyes is amazing. We have been watching her take everything in as her vision and reflexes / responses get more and more refined every day. It’s pretty cool!

I also have just loved seeing Alex come into being a daddy. It happened right away in the hospital; as I laid on the operating table, waiting to see the baby, Alex was watching her intently, holding her gently, and smiling from ear to ear … which he still does every time he sees her.

How is recovery going for me? Great! I am already below my pre-pregnancy weight (a huge benefit of breastfeeding) and my incision has healed up nicely. I will be back at work in about a month; until then, I’m eating and resting when I can, and soaking up these early weeks with my baby during the day.

xo,
Jan