Resolution Update

Today was Day 3 of my five-months-in-the-making New Year’s Resolutions exercise.  Results?  Well, my hamstrings are super tight and though each day into my Ripped In 30 journey gets a bit easier, I now have nightmares about Jillian Michaels saying, “Giiiiit some, B.”

If you’ve done the video, you know what I mean.

But seriously, there wasn’t a ton of thought that went into choosing this DVD over others other than that the fact that I already owned it from a  previous workout-quest (though I’ve never made it past Week 1).  I also love that each workout is under 40 minutes (perfect for a quick nap-time workout that even leaves me some time to, oh I don’t know, shower after?!).  And finally, it includes strength, cardio and ab workouts.  It really just seems like the perfect DVD, and it’s filled with lots of “Jillian-isms” like “Transformation isn’t a future event, it’s a present activity.”

Nothing like pondering some philosophical content while doing the running man holding two soup cans for weights.

My resolution isn’t about burning fat or losing weight, really.  In fact, I’ve been a bit hesitant to dive back into working out for fear that burning fat might interrupt the amazing nursing relationship I still have going with my little W.  I’m just hoping to make a few slight changes that will have me feeling a bit more energized, healthy and subsequently…cheerful.

In a similar vein, I’ve also been intrigued to learn more about cutting back on our gluten intake.  Ever since W was born, I’ve noticed my cravings for processed sugars, carbs, donuts – you name it – has been THROUGH THE ROOF!  I mean, I couldn’t go into my favorite coffee spot without getting either a cinnamon-sugar donut or an egg and cheese sandwich.  Luckily for me it hasn’t been an issue of gaining weight, but in hearing doctors talk about the opiate-like effects of wheat, I can TOTALLY see it.  It was becoming a craving I just had to satisfy.  And, I’d be satisfied for a little while until my blood-sugar was all out of whack again and I needed something else.  Ugh.  It was exhausting.

So, while we don’t don’t eat a ton of obvious gluten in the form of pasta and what not, we definitely opt for the whole wheat options of breads, crackers, cereal, etc.  This isn’t a mission to totally cut out all gluten but a conscious effort to make some substitutions that work well with our lifestyle and our eating habits.  But, I checked out Wheat Belly and the Wheat Belly Cookbook from our local library and intend to start digging in a bit deeper.

My favorite gluten-free recipe so far?  Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad – hellllllo, yummy.  I used a bag of the broccoli slaw and double up on the broccoli to make sure there are TONS of veggies.  There’s usually enough that I eat it for lunch the next day, too.  It’s so good!

My goal at this point is to make it through the whole DVD and at least get in 5 workouts each week.  Two more to go this week.  And, to read the book within the next two weeks.  Yeah for checking off two resolutions in one!

Yours truly,

MomME

 

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Spring cleaning

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My parents came home from a week in Mexico, and upon walking through my door, the first thing my mother exclaimed was, “Ohhhh, yummmm, what is roasting in the oven!?” It was Sunday, so that wasn’t totally out of the question.

You know what it was?

The Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes in the Lemongrass Citrus (Thyme) scent.  Clearly I used a ton of them.

The night before, I’d pretty much wiped down the entire house after my husband spent the day with the flu and we figured out that little W had the Hand Foot Mouth (HFM) virus. So far, no one else has the flu or HFM, so I’m chalking that up to a major win.

And, the house smells wonderfully delicious thanks to the germ-fighting-thyme-essential-oil. Loving these things right now.

Cleanly yours,

MomME

#tbt – W turns ONE!

Happy Birthday, love bug!
Happy Birthday, love bug!

At the exact moment W turned one (10:51am on February 3rd), we were in line at the drive-thru pharmacy window picking up medicine for his first ear infection.  It wasn’t how I envisioned spending his birth-moment, but I was just glad that I was aware of the moment despite that morning’s trip to the doctor.

As they say, the days go slow, but the years go fast…and that couldn’t be more true of this past year.

Our little 7lb 13oz baby…born on a Sunday morning at 10:51am (after a speedy labor)…had already learned to roll over, sit up, clap, wave, sleep through the night, blow kisses, feed himself, walk and even use sign language.

SOB.

But, despite the tiny quiver in my lip and the enormous ache in my chest threatening to explode with tears, it was time to celebrate with all the tremendous family and friends who have made this journey as miraculous as it’s been.  And, what better way to celebrate, than with a circus-themed-hotdog-party-on-Superbowl-Sunday!

I ordered cute chalkboard invites from Shutterfly, a personalized chalkboard sign from Abbey Conlon Designs on Etsy, and my inspiration for the circus and hot-dog theme?  Adorable items from the Big Top Circus collection by Jennifer Wick on Minted.  We had popcorn containers filled to the brim with Pirate’s Booty, banana muffins with cream cheese frosting, coconut water for the kiddos, fruit, veggies…and then a whole spread of hot-dog-toppings for the hot-dog-buffet.  My personal favorite?  The chili, cheddar cheese, onion and Frito combo.  My mouth is watering all over again!

But, first we had to get our first haircut…looking so dapper!

Of course, we had to get our first haircut before our big party!  He cried the whole time, so I ended up holding him while she cut his hair... [Disclaimer:  I, intact, did NOT go to Clemson...I'm a BC Eagle all the way!]
Of course, we had to get our first haircut before our big party! He cried the whole time, so I ended up holding him while she cut his hair… [Disclaimer: I, intact, did NOT go to Clemson…I’m a BC Eagle all the way!]
A cute, chalkboard themed invite from Shutterfly
A cute, chalkboard themed invite from Shutterfly
Popcorn containers from Party City and Big Top stickers and cupcake flags from Minted!
Popcorn containers from Party City and Big Top stickers and cupcake flags from Minted!
Some yummy treats before the hot-dog-bar was up and running!
Some yummy treats before the hot-dog-bar was up and running!

But my favorite decoration is still – 2 months later – hanging over our island in the kitchen.  I strung up pictures of W that I’ve been taking each month with adorable little stickers from Sweet Seraphina on Etsy.  With a little colorful ribbon and some clothespins leftover from a previous crafting project, it was easy-peezy to arrange this display, and definitely the highlight of the hog-dog-buffet.  I mean, how adorable!?

A little photo-collage of the colorful party!
A little photo-collage of the colorful party!
I've been taking a picture of W each month using these super cute stickers from Etsy.  I still have them hanging in the kitchen because they make me smile, without fail :)
I’ve been taking a picture of W each month using these super cute stickers from Etsy. I still have them hanging in the kitchen because they make me smile, without fail 🙂

The party was a major success!  We had friends and family galore, and W had a blast playing with his cousins and his baby-buddies in the play space we brought up from the basement.  The mat, blocks and tunnel were our presents to little W…and he loves romping around on them and knocking them down!  So did everyone else 🙂

Babies on babies on babies!  A few of W's buddies hanging out in the play area.
Babies on babies on babies! A few of W’s buddies hanging out in the play area.
W's favorite little buddies, BG and J ;)
W’s favorite little buddies, BG and J 😉
Snuggles from Noelle <3
Snuggles from Noelle ❤
Playing with his cousin, A
Playing with his cousin, A
Looking totally adorable in his Gymboree elephant shirt.  He had to match the party theme, obviously!
Looking totally adorable in his Gymboree elephant shirt. He had to match the party theme, obviously!
Gamma and Nana
Gamma and Nana
And my hubby's side...
And my hubby’s side…
My side of the family...
My side of the family…
Wyatt's Great Papa (he's lucky to have two great grandmothers and two great grandfathers!)
Wyatt’s Great Papa (he’s lucky to have two great grandmothers and two great grandfathers!)

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a party without a little cake smashing and singing.  So, we rounded up the troops, lit the candle and present W with his first taste of deliciousness.  Do you think he loved it?  Of course.  He’s my son, after all 😉

The birthday boy getting ready to blow out his candle and eat his banana "cupcake" with cream cheese frosting.
The birthday boy getting ready to blow out his candle and eat his banana “cupcake” with cream cheese frosting.
It took a second for him to decide that the "cupcake" was something he wanted to eat...
It took a second for him to decide that the “cupcake” was something he wanted to eat…
But then it was fun...
But then it was fun…
Really fun!!!
Really fun!!!
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And incredibly messy.  Nomnomnom

We had a fantastic day celebrating our little bundle of spunk, and despite a small meltdown towards the end, he was running full steam ahead the whole day.  In fact, I had to track him down a few times to give him a little snuggle.  I saw just how independent our little munchkin was becoming.  And just how much joy he brings, not only to our lives, but to those around him.

You’re something else, my little love bug.  Happy birthday!

Yours gratefully,

MomME

#tbt – We’re going to Disney World!

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We decided that our first family vacation was going to be Disney  World.  A few days after W turned one.  Yeah, we probably were a little crazy when we hatched that plan.  But, we had our reasons.

The first of which was we had access to our family’s timeshare at the Bay Lake Towers.  Full kitchen.  Two bedrooms.  Too many bathrooms.  Washer.  Dryer.  Lake-view.  Score.  The second was that it would be a great place to acclimate to traveling with a tiny tot.  I mean, if he was having a melt-down at Disney, the odds were that at least ten other kids around us were, too.  So, we figured we would stress quite as much.  (Leave a comment if a “tips” post would be helpful…I have lots of them!)

And we were pretty much right.

After being delayed (in the airport, mind you) for almost an entire day, we finally made it to our hotel an entire 24 hours late…having skipped ALL of our naps that day…taking two flights…and a bus ride.  Keep in mind that we had just discovered W had an ear infection and was cutting his first-year molars.  And, thanks to the Magical Express getting our luggage for us, we had to wait 6+ hours to get our stuff!?  It’s not like we had a dinner reservation at a fancy place, or all of Wyatt’s night-time-necessities in there, or anything…WHY DIDN’T WE KNOW THAT IT WOULD TAKE SO LONG!?  So, we ended up having to go to a fancy dinner in workout gear.  Sweet.

Cue the melt-down, folks.

But oh wait, it was a mommy-melt-down…

The sheer terror and anxiety of trying to prevent a toddler tantrum for 12 hours…two 5am wake-ups in a row…in a confined space…without naps…and then be parted with our luggage…was enough to push me to the brink.  The man sitting near us on the plane must have seen the look in my eye, and reassured me that (as a grandparent now) he knows that kids don’t bother anyone…but he remembered the days of sweating it out like I was.  It was sweet.  But 11 hours of travel and stress had already passed, so…

And W you’re wondering?  Yeah, he was little tired and tinged with blueberry juice (my saving grace on the airplane) but altogether un-phased.  To my utter amazement, he zonked out in the pack ‘n play in our hotel room and slept the entire night without a peep.

Here we are at dinner on the day of our arrival.  Little W was so exhausted from the day that we ended up having our meal to-go, and my husband and I ate it back in the room while W slept.
Here we are at dinner on the day of our arrival. Little W was so exhausted from the day that we ended up having our meal to-go, and my husband and I ate it back in the room while W slept.

Of course he would.  He’s awesome. I don’t know why I doubt him.

So we woke up, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed for our breakfast with Chef Mickey!  We were curious if W would love or hate the characters since we’d heard horror stories of toddlers and even big kids with major phobias of characters.  (Of course I looked it up.  It’s called masklophobia).  He landed somewhere in the middle…as long as one of us was holding him, he was cautiously curious.  So, we nibbled on an absurdly expensive breakfast.  Sang.  Danced.  Waved our napkins in the sky, the whole shebang, and checked that off our list of must-dos.

What do you get when you combine singing, dancing, napkin-waving and food?  A happy toddler.  Oh, and Chef Mickey's breakfast, of course!
What do you get when you combine singing, dancing, napkin-waving and food? A happy toddler. Oh, and Chef Mickey’s breakfast, of course!
He twirled that napkin like a true Mouseketeer!
He twirled that napkin like a true Mouseketeer!
Since he loves ducks, he was slightly less afraid of Donald...but he still wanted to be kept at a safe distance.
Since he loves ducks, he was slightly less afraid of Donald…but he still wanted to be kept at a safe distance.

Next on the agenda?  A day at Magic Kingdom.  Granted it was only a few hours of fun in between naps, the sun was shining…it was actually hot.  We loved the MagicBands and made good use of our FastPass online reservations, so we never had to wait in line for long.  I can’t imagine visiting during the busy season AND having to wait in crazy lines.  We went on It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.

If this isn't the cutest picture ever, I don't know what is.  He spend all of It's a Small World just staring out the boat in cautious wonder...
If this isn’t the cutest picture ever, I don’t know what is. He spent all of It’s a Small World just staring out the boat in cautious wonder…

We escaped Magic Kingdom with only a small tantrum on the walk back to our room.  Mostly because I insisted on waiting in line at Aloha Isle for the Dole Pineapple Whip that I remembered as a kid.  A small tantrum was totally worth the cool, creamy, tart and sweet treat.  So, I’d chalk that one up to a win.

We visited Epcot one afternoon, too…and boy was it FREEZING that day!  We had a delicious lunch in Mexico and then proceeded to power walk the rest of the “world” because W was starting to get pretty fussy and we still had to make it back for dinner.  Sigh.  But, we managed to stop in front of lots of photo-op-spots and say cheese!

Photo-op spot #1...fresh off the monorail.
Photo-op spot #1…fresh off the monorail.
Photo-op spot #2...just a few feet away from the first one...
Photo-op spot #2…just a few feet away from the first one…
Photo-op spot #3...we found Pluto. Definitely W's favorite character, as you can tell by the stuffed animal he picked out!
Photo-op spot #3…we found Pluto. Definitely W’s favorite character, as you can tell by the stuffed animal he picked out!
A little lunch in Mexico...que sabroso!
A little lunch in Mexico…que sabroso!
A pit-stop in Paris...
A pit-stop in Paris…
And finally it was time to head back to the condo.
And finally it was time to head back to the condo.

A week is a long time to detail every moment, so for the sake of meeting my weekly posting goal and my desire to watch one of my shows tonight, I’ll make the rest brief.

We spent a little bit of time by our pool, but it was usually a bit too chilly to make a day of it.  We spent an afternoon lounging on the lawn at the Grand Floridian and walking up and down the empty boardwalk before dinner.  We rode busses to dinner.  We rode busses home from dinner.  We rode busses to the parks.  Oh yeah, did I mention that a bunch of the monorails aren’t running due to construction?  We added a night on at the end of our stay to make up for the night we lost on the front end, and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge (our family’s other favorite place to stay).  We had a savannah view in this room, and W loved looking out at the zebra and birds.  Each night we dined out at delicious restaurants and W, again, amazed us with how absolutely fantastic he was.

Riding the Magical Express to our hotel upon arrival...he was having so much fun already!
Riding the Magical Express to our hotel upon arrival…he was having so much fun already!
Stuffing his face at the airport.  Happily, I might add...despite the fact we'd been there for like 6 hours already.  Delayed.
Stuffing his face at the airport. Happily, I might add…despite the fact we’d been there for like 6 hours already. Delayed.
Loving the LED ice-cube during dinner at Flying Fish Cafe.
Loving the LED ice-cube during dinner at Flying Fish Cafe.
Ready for the pool!
Ready for the pool!
Strolling the boardwalk with Daddy.
Strolling the boardwalk with Daddy.
Lounging on the lawn at the Grand Floridian.
Lounging on the lawn at the Grand Floridian.
Loving dinner at Daddy's favorite place - Jiko.
Loving dinner at Daddy’s favorite place – Jiko.
Hanging happily in his stroller on the way to Jiko for dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Hanging happily in his stroller on the way to Jiko for dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Loving the window seat.  The shad provided hours of entertainment.  Even through what should have been his nap time.
Loving the window seat. The shade provided hours of entertainment. Even through what should have been his nap time.

And most importantly, each night, W slept the whole night through…in a pack ‘n play.  Something I truly thought he wouldn’t do.

So, all in all, W was a the most terrific traveler I could have asked for.  He happily stuffed his face with blueberries and other goods for the entirety of each flight we were on.  He took each and every nap we put him down for – most times sleeping way longer than he did at home.  He slept all night long, every night.  And, he happily cruised around in his stroller just checking out the sights.

I’m definitely ready for another vacation.  This time, maybe somewhere less, well, like Disney.

Let the planning begin.

Yours thankfully,

MomME

#tbt: I’ve re-joined the paid workforce

The sun is shining.  Wolf Blitzer is on the radio.  My iced coffee is near by and still cold (for now). And, thanks to my WordPress app, I’m coming to you live.  From the field.  Or the Cabella’s parking lot, but close enough.

All and all, things could be worse.

Today is one of the many times, as of late, where my little comrade has boycotted one of his two naps.  No matter what I try, or how hard I try to schedule the afternoon so he will take a nap…he always falls asleep in the car.  So here I am.  Trying to make the best use of this time and stick to my resolution of two posts a week.  So far, so good.

My setting is rather appropriate, though, considering the topic of today’s #tbt post – my new job!  

In a past life I was a teacher, and then a recruiter of teachers, with Teach For America.  Having a portfolio of schools (and managing a team) across New England meant that I spent many hours in my car.  Driving to Boston to meet with my team.  Driving home again.  Sometimes all in one day.  Then driving to Bates.  Or Bowdoin.  Or Colby.  Sometimes two in one day.  Then it was off to Boston College.  Heck, why not Dartmouth?  Needless to say, I was no stranger to long stretches behind the wheel.  Now a days, though, a fifteen minute car ride can seem like an eternity as I fret about keeping W occupied so he doesn’t melt down.

But, shortly after returning from maternity leave I parted ways with a job, a team and a mission that meant so much to me.  I definitely missed it.  That’s why, when my former boss Skyped me about a part-time opening on her team atTeach For All (the international parent organization to TFA), I couldn’t refuse!  It was an amazing opportunity to work 10 hours a week.  From home.  Without travel.  Without managing a team.  Just me, some good ‘ole work and a mission I cared about.  So, for several months now, I’ve been employed outside the home once again 🙂  I work on the Talent Acquisition team and spend my time reviewing applications and working on learning and development resources for hiring managers…eek!  I love it.

In all honesty, though, I was actually pretty terrified about going back to work.  Even though I hadn’t been “out of the game” for too long, it was long enough to make me question whether or not I’d still be any good.  Whether or not my brain would still function at a high enough level to be considered a competent addition to the team.  Considering I was only going back 10 hours a week I felt a little ridiculous about how nervous I was feeling, but it was going to be different than the groove little W and I had gotten in.  Thankfully the learning curve wasn’t too steep as I’m doing somewhat similar work to what I’ve done in the past, so that just left one more emotion hurdle to overcome.

Hiring a nanny.

Going back to work meant that someone (other than myself, my husband, or our parents) would need to watch W.  I got right to work on SitterCity and began contacting sitters in the area.  I definitely wanted someone responsible.  So, if I Facebooked you and all of your pictures were of you drunk in the Old Port…welp, you weren’t getting a message.  And yes.  I absolutely did that.  My former occupation required me to learn a special set of sourcing skills that I eagerly put to use when trying to learn more about people who would be alone with my kiddo.  After I found a few seemingly responsible individuals, I set up a series of interviews.  Yes, that is an “s” at the end of interview.  As someone who recruited and selected for a top-notch organization, it was hard to let those rigorous standards fall by the wayside.  After all, the qualities you’d want in a great teacher are similar to what I was looking for in a nanny.  I wanted a high-achieving, go-getter-of-a-leader who was organized, timely and not afraid to speak up.

The first round interview was conducted by yours truly and included a litany of questions about challenges and emergencies they’d faced while babysitting, how they handled discipline, what their philosophy on child care was…all the while watching for how confident they were and how they interacted with W.  I really wanted someone who was going to take charge and speak up – I know it can be strange babysitting while a parent is home and I didn’t want a shrinking violet who was afraid to tell me what was happening, etc.  The next interview was with both my husband and me so we could norm on whether or not we thought the person was a good match for our family.  After all, hiring someone to watch your child is like voluntarily adding to your family.  It’s serious business.

Finally, we found a match and gosh, is she amazing.

She’s a first-year graduate student in the school of occupational therapy and she’s fantastic.  Little W lights up when she walks through the door.  On her first day with W, she even taught him how to go through the play tunnel we have…something we’d tried to do for months!  And, much to my delight, as she was leaving on the first day she turned around and said to me, “I just wanted to tell you that he took a bite out of one of his blocks downstairs.  Just so you know, and aren’t surprised if you see a piece missing.  He didn’t swallow it, though, I was able to get it out.”  It was amazing!  That was precisely the kind of thing(s) I wanted a babysitter to tell me and the reason I’d hired her…I just knew she wouldn’t shy away from being direct with me.

And that sealed the deal on my utter adoration of her.

The rest is history, folks.  I’ve got a new job at a familiar company, and we’ve added a member to our little family.  Maybe we’ll even have a date-night soon, now that we have a fantastic sitter!  Wink, wink, honey 🙂

Yours truly,

MomME

The art of using utensils

It’s time for W to start cleaning up his act at meal time.  Literally.  The mess is killing me!  Clearly W loves it, but me on the other hand…am left scraping avocado out of his ears all day.

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Let’s hash out what we’ve accomplished thus far with the baby lead solids approach, though, because I couldn’t be happier.  W does a great job feeding himself.  He chews incredibly well and rarely gags or bites off more than he can handle.  My favorite?  He’s so adventurous when it comes to trying new foods!  Win. Win.  And win.  We ate out a ton while we were on vacation in Disney (post to come soon!) and it could not have been easier (note I didn’t say cleaner…) thanks to his stellar attitude towards food.  With our amazing rubber bib, disposable placemats, a handful of Cheerios and the LED ice-cube (below), we were golden.  So no complaints on that end.

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But, as with all things, an evolution of process and procedure is in order.  It’s time for a spoon, folks!  The avocado face-and-hair masks are getting too much to clean up three times a day and, frankly, make me dread meal time.  W is nursing less and less (we are at about 6 times a day), so it’s pretty important that I not be dreading feeding the growing little dude.

So, I decided that introducing a spoon was a good idea…when black bean soup was on the menu for lunch, no less.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I must not have had my third cup of coffee yet…

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This first attempt was probably messier than it would have been had I just let him scoop the soup out of the bowl with his hands (which he did half the time).  He quickly discovered that his spoon was a great way to catapult food to the dog instead of his usual delivery method.  Our dog, Rex, is a food-motivated Frenchie who is always underfoot come meal time.  They’ve got quite the symbiotic relationship – W provides the food and Rex provides the entertainment.  It’s a habit we are SERIOUSLY trying to break.  But, W thinks that our head-shaking is part of the game.  So, he holds his food over the edge, drops it, looks at us with a scowl on his face and shakes his head, “No.”  Unfortunately it’s funnier than it is problematic.  At least for right now…

But, back to the spoon.

He does a great job grabbing the spoon with his right hand and usually gets a good grip on the handle – not to high, not too low.  He understands the motion he’s supposed to make and that he scoops the spoon in the bowl and then it goes into his mouth.  He’ll sometimes use the other hand to guide the spoon there with a bit more precision, which is so sweet to watch.  His fine-motor skills are improving so quickly, and it melts my heart to watch his tiny hands make such slow, deliberate and gentle movements.  And the prideful grin?  Agh.

So, I don’t have a calculated plan moving forward.  No benchmarks for the little guy to meet.  But, I think we’ll keep giving him a spoon at meal time and encourage him as he goes!  He has been picking things up so quickly, that I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to a cleaner eating routine in no time…

I know this is wishful thinking, but if you don’t have hope, what do you have?

Spoonfully yours,

MomME

Lions, duc(ts) and lip-ties…oh my! [The Final Chapter]

So, last time I sat down to write this post, I crashed our computer :/  However, after thinking we lost all of W’s baby photos, we’re up and running again (with most pictures recovered) on a brand new iMac and, boy, is she a beauty.

But, because I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering how this saga ends, I’ll continue the story where I left off last…a trip to the ENT to have W’s lip-tie evaluated…

As luck would have it, a friend of mine (whose little guy was due the day before W was, and born the day after W!) happens to be a otolaryngologist in Philly.  She answered a ton of my questions, told me exactly how the frenulectomy would be conducted if we chose to have it done…and did all that with far more compassion and charisma than the ENT we saw.  Oohhh, doctors…male doctors…young, new male doctors…young, new male doctors without kids…

Nonetheless, the ENT we saw confirmed W had a moderate tie, though there is no official scale.  He also noted that because a lip-tie often has no impact on the child or the mother, he’d only performed one frenulectomy…but the mother was EXTREMELY happy with the outcome.  He also mentioned that most of his lip-tie patients don’t have a gap between their teeth (a permanent gap between the two front teeth is something a lip-tie can cause)…and little W did.  Again, it’s an elective procedure, so aside from stating the above facts, he didn’t say anything to steer us in one direction or the other.  He did say, though, that if we waited to have the frenulectomy when W was older, it would be a more invasive procedure because he’d likely need anesthesia to keep him still.

So, my husband and I discussed our options.

Given my reoccurring clogged ducts we decided to move forward with the procedure.  Best case scenario, we’d prevent some cosmetic dentistry, expressive language delays and have a better go at nursing.  Worst case scenario, well, there just didn’t seem to be one aside from the 2 minutes of discomfort baby W would experience.  However, we felt it best to do that now while he was young enough to forget it.  While we chickened out from getting the procedure done at the consultation (it’s that simple he could have done it right then and there…) we scheduled an appointment for the following week.  I mean, we had swimming lessons the next day…we couldn’t bear to ruin that for him!

The following Wednesday, bright and early, we headed into the ENT’s office and nervously waited for him to get the show on the road.  Honestly, for as simple a procedure as it is, it was pretty extremely emotionally traumatizing for my husband and I to have to hold the little guy down while all this was happening.  The doctor and his nurse assistant swaddled W while I held his feet down and my husband held his arms down.  We’d agreed that my husband would be the one to “watch” and reassure W face-to-face so that we weren’t both upset.  They started with a quick shot of lidocaine and epinephrine to numb the pain and help with bleeding.  They let that take effect and in about 30 seconds they put a clamp on the skin to cut off the blood supply.  In another 30 seconds or so they were ready for the snip…and just like that, with a pair of scissors, it was done.  He then cauterised the would with silver nitrate and it was over.  Sure, it was over in less than two minutes…but it’s quite possibly the hardest thing in the world to hear your child scream and know you are the cause of that pain 😦

Within a minute of the procedure, baby W had calmed down and was nursing peacefully…every once and while pulling off the nipple to fiddle with his still-numb lip.  It was hard to tell whether or not the procedure had impacted his latch just yet, as I didn’t want to flange his lip.  I still haven’t really fiddled with it yet, or tried to inspect it, since it hasn’t been a week yet.  (We head into the doctor’s this Wednesday for our one-week follow-up to make sure all is well, though I’m expecting it will be given what I can see – a super happy little guy!)

The only sign he’d had anything done?  A bit of swelling and traces of black/silver on his upper lip from the silver nitrate…

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For all the time I spent researching, reading and worrying about whether he had a lip-tie and whether or not we should correct it…it was over in an instant.  But, so far, I’m glad we decided to have it done.

Sigh.  Another milestone in the book: his first procedure/trip to the doctors.  And, like most milestones, baby W seemed to be far more fluid, resilient and unphased with the event than we did.  Funny thing with milestones, though, they seem to come one after the other and far too quickly for my liking.

Our latest milestone?  W’s first serious cold and cough and ANOTHER trip to the doctor’s office earlier today.  We had a touch and go night last night with some pretty serious coughing and trouble breathing.  Yet again, my heart was in my chest.  Thankfully the doctor said it’s just the crud and nothing more serious.

So, here’s to more Tylenol and Motrin…a Nose Frida, saline spray, Boogie Wipes, humidifiers and steam baths with eucalyptus.

Snotfully yours,

MomME

Lions, duc(t)s and lip-ties, oh my! [Part II]

It’s like kryptonite to nursing moms.  And, unfortunately, it’s happened to me three times before.  But this one popped up October 17th and was, by far, the worst yet.

Plugged ducts.

Yup, plugged milk “ducks” as Siri likes to think I’m saying.  Unfortunately they aren’t as cute as those darling rubber duckies W likes to play with in the bath.  These plugged “ducks” are the kind that make your boob a painful, throbbing, rock solid mass of tissue.  A mass of tissue that needs to produce milk.  That wants to produce milk.  That is producing milk…but it just isn’t coming out.

Ugh.  The last thing a nursing mom wants to have happen.

The doubt that creeps into your head is the worst.  Is my baby getting enough milk?  Is he hungry?  Will my supply bounce back after this?  Truly the worst.  I had to check my negative thoughts and try to stay positive, because stress was only making the situation worse.  My first run in with clogged-ducts-turned-mastitis happened when W was 3 months old, and left me laid out on the couch and a major kink in my supply on my left side.  After that, my right boob was my milk maker…but with this clog ON my right side…all that was in jeopardy.

This clog was covering about 70% of my right boob.

I called upon my mommy circle to make sure I wasn’t missing any tricks that could clear this up. I pulled up KellyMom.com.  I started taking 4800mg of Lecithin daily.  I started gently massaging the boob, from the outside down toward the nipple.  I was soaking my boob in a bowl of hot salt water.  I was nursing W every chance I could.  I was even adding two additional pumping sessions during his naps.

But, after a day it was still there and had become painful.  Dramatic times called for dramatic measures.  I needed to pull out the big guns.  By that, I mean my hubby’s big guns 🙂  We put W down for the night and started our Friday night routine – homemade pizzas.  I cracked a Shipyard Pumpkinhead and headed for the shower while the pizzas were cooking.  I turned the temperature up as hot as I could stand it and called the hubby in to join me.

Get your head out of the gutter.  I’m still talking about how to clear a plugged duct.

I needed someone to really massage my boob, and I just couldn’t stomach the lumps and bumps and pain on my own.  It’s like trying to bite off your own tongue.  It’s just impossible.  So, the hubby put his muscles to work and I tried not to cry.  This. Shit. Hurt.  We started to see some milk coming out with each massage and we were optimistic the heat and massage were clearing some of the ducts!  After about 15 minutes we called it quits and  got out.  Then I started to pump and, what do you know, I got about 3oz and the mass was feeling significantly smaller.

Relief. 

Saturday came and went and though my boob was still feeling a bit sore and swollen, it wasn’t the solid mass it was on Friday.  Sunday arrived and it was time for the Wicked 5K and I was still feeling good.  But, when we got home I peeled my two sports bras off realized the mass was back.  And this time, it was accompanied by a little white milk bleb on the tip of my nipple.  I couldn’t take this much longer and my fear of losing my supply or getting mastitis were starting to consume me.

I needed to see the doctor.

So, the doctor squeezed us in at 11am.  I gave our LC, Linda, a call and told her we’d be over to see her for an opinion, too.  My hubby met me at the office for moral support and to hold W while they were checking me out.  Unfortunately, the look on the doctor’s face let me know it was as bad as I was thinking it was.  She ordered an ultrasound to make sure that the mass wasn’t anything more concerning, and sent us off to radiology.

I stopped in to see Linda and she gave me a quick feel, confirming that an ultrasound was a good call. She also pointed out my milk bleb and reminded me that I needed to pop it with a sterile safety pin.  Joy.  Nothing like taking a needle to your nipple. 

Walking into the radiology department was terrifying, to say the least.  Pink breast cancer ribbons adorned the walls.  (It was, after all, breast cancer awareness month.)  I couldn’t help but look around and wonder if the other women in the waiting room were there for a routine mamogram or something else.  I couldn’t help but feel terrified.  What if something is really wrong?  I thought.  When the ultrasound tech had a baffled look on his face because he wasn’t seeing clogged ducts, the terror set in.  We were sent back to our doctor’s office while the radiologist took a look at the scans.  I swear, waiting to hear what was going on was the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life.  For the most part, I’ve taken for granted the amazing and miraculous things my boobs do.  The thought of not being able to breastfeed W was more than I could handle, let alone thinking the doctor was about to deliver some terrible news…I was panicking.

Thankfully, our nurse (who happens to be one of my mommy friends) came out and delivered good news.  OMFG.  Exhale.  The ultrasound showed clogged ducts and, unfortunately, they could take a while to pass.  There wasn’t anything else they could do for me.  I should continue with gentle massage, wet heat, Tylenol, Ibupropen, nursing a ton and pumping a ton in order to clear it up.  I headed home, honestly just so thankful that the ultrasound didn’t show anything concerning and thankful for the milk I still had.  I was determined to get these clogs out!

The rest of the day, that night, all day on Tuesday and into Tuesday night I was diligent with my Lecithin.  I was nursing, soaking, popping my milk bleb, massaging, pumping and repeating like a champ.  This was consuming my entire day.  And, it was still huge.  I mean like fake boob huge.  And sore.

I woke up on Wednesday and reluctantly gave my boob a quick feel, only to confirm that the clogs were still there.  I got W from his crib and brought him back into bed for our daily nursing session.  I couldn’t help but think he was nursing on that side for quite a while, which hadn’t really happened because the clogs were preventing him from getting much milk.  When he finally popped off, I almost didn’t dare to feel it and confirm whether or not the mass had passed…

IT HAD PASSED!  W HAD NURSED IT OUT!  I can’t tell you how excited I was.  How releived I was.  I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and that the clogs could come back at any time, but for right now, I was elated.

The rest of the day we nursed as usual and I still kept the pumping sessions to make sure I was doing everythign I could to get my supply back up.  I could tell that breast had definitely taken a dip.  When I’d pump at night I used to get 3oz out of my right breast and that night I barely got 1oz.

It’s been almost two weeks since the clog passed and my supply is still a bit low on my right side. My milk bleb keeps popping up, threatening to clog things up again.  So, I keep popping it.  And taking Lecithin.  And nursing.  And massaging.  And pumping.  Literally, everything I can to get things back to full working order.

All of this got me thinking about what my husband and I had both, as of very recently, noticed in W’s mouth.  An upper-lip tie.  A labial frenulum, if you will.  You want to know what one of the symptoms of having a nursling with a labial frenulum is?????!!!!!!!!!

CLOGGED DUCTS & MASTITIS & SORE NIPPLES!

WTF.  I’m feeling rather angry that this is just something I’m realizing now, considering how rough a start with nursing we had.  And the mastitis.  And the clogged ducts.  And how he pulls off and nurses at the end of the nipple.  And how I have to flap his upper lip out to get a good flange.

We had his 9 month check up this morning and the FNP didn’t seem too knowledgable, but commented that it did look pretty thick and referred us to the ENT to get it checked out…

Though this is the longest story ever, it was just a small blip on our otherwise clear radar.  The great news is that W is an amazingly happy, healthy and advanced little guy, said the FNP 🙂  He just popped his 7th tooth and is climbing on everything, standing up, clapping and has just added the “N” sound to his vocabularly.

He is perfect.  Lip-tie or no lip-tie.

Proudly,

MomME

Lions, duc(t)s and lip-ties…oh my! [Part I]

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Man, it’s been a while!  I’ll start with the cute and cuddly part of what’s been keeping us busy these last few weeks 🙂  Stay tuned for the less glamorous side of nursing and motherhood in parts II and III of this thrilling trilogy…

Obviously it’s Halloween tomorrow and I have to say, it takes on a slightly new meaning now that I’m a mom.  Meaning, it’s no longer an excuse to wear something otherwise inappropriate and drink too much and act otherwise inappropriate…darn.  That used to be so much fun…

This year, as such, I’ve channeled my already limited Halloween spirit into home decor, instead.  Out front I have two mums that I haven’t killed yet (I’ll consider this an early Christmas miracle…) and a pumpkin that hasn’t rotted yet (mostly because I haven’t carved it yet…)  In the kitchen I have a pumpkin with W’s name painted on it (gifted by his Gamma) and a Halloween floral arrangement (I totally bought it at the supermarket).  In the bathroom I have a Halloween Yankee Candle along with hand soap in a pumpkin dispenser and a Halloween themed hand towel (all three also gifted by Gamma. She’s good at decorating for the holidays. I think she knows I’m usually too lazy busy.)  One thing I do have totally figured out is the candy situation.  I’ve already taste tested all of the candy.  Several times.  I feel confident that the one Milky Way bar we’ll have left will be delicious.  If I don’t eat it before then.  No promises.

Ok, but onto the lion bit of this whole story.

My sister-in-law let us borrow an adorable lion costume that my nephew wore two years ago.  (He’s an April baby and W is a February baby so for the most part, thankfully, W has been able to fit into his clothes at the right time of year.)  So I was obviously looking for more than one occasion to put my little pumpkin in this cute suite!  It was perfect that one of my mommy friends suggested we run a Wicked 5K in beautiful Kennebunkport, ME to benefit the Center for Grieving Children (where one of my good friends works!)  What a great way to dress the kiddos up, finally meet each others husbands, participate in some Halloween fun at a time of day that the babes are awake for, AND benefit a good cause.

I was sold and the hubby was in, too.  He’s super fit and active, but running is not in his repertoire.  I was worried I’d have to do some arm twisting…but I guess he couldn’t resist a challenge 🙂  I wrote it on my lovely white board in my kitchen and had grand visions of training.  We even borrowed a jogger from a neighbor.  Welp, per usual, I was mistaken.  My post-baby-body just wasn’t having the whole running thing – it was killer on all of my joints.

Sigh.

Nonetheless, I’m a sucker for doing anything with my hubby and it was pretty sweet to see him lace up his running shoes and push the jogger.

Swoon.

So, on race day we got all dressed up and took a lovely little Sunday drive down the coast to meet my friend, her hubby and Baby G.  Did I mention that I was really nervous before the race?  I guess it’s just the competitive spirit in me…

The day and the location along the water at the Nonatum could not have been more perfect.  The air was super crisp, the sun was shining and the 200 participants (many of them families with little ones) were dressed in festive gear.  W was pretty entertained by all of the costumes and colors and attention he was getting.  We were a tad nervous to see how W would do in his majorly furry costume, strapped in a stroller for 30+ minutes, approaching nap time…and, low and behold, minutes before the race was about to begin he was screaming.  Oh boy, we thought.  This is going to be a LONG race!  

But, as usual, W pulled himself together.  We huffed and puffed our way up, down and around the beautiful neighborhoods…peeking at our little lion who was just taking in the scenery and having a blast.  His amazingly thick costume came in handy as we rounded the final mile with the sparkling ocean flanking our left side and a stiff breeze blowing in our face.  We finished in 34 minutes, and though we didn’t get in under 30 minutes as the hubby had hoped, we crossed the finish line as a family and with a smile 🙂  It was perfect!

The after-party, as with most races I’ve run, is pretty much the reason I sign up in the first place…free food and free beer.  So, my friend and I left the babies with the guys and grabbed ourselves a plate of food and a yummy Allagash White before returning to our precious little families, sitting on picnic tables and Adirondack chairs along the ocean.

Ah.  Life is good.  And Wyatt even fell asleep on the car ride home.  Life is really good…minus the major clogged duct that was brewing.  Now, though, it’s time for the Red Sox!

Still sore,

MomME

10 New Baby Must Haves

Bringing Home Baby: New Baby Must-Haves
Our neighbors and our best friends both welcomed baby girls this past week!  So exciting.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about W’s arrival and the terror excitement we felt about bringing him home.  And, of course, the few items that we relied upon to get us through the first sleep-deprived, adrenaline-fuled and bursting-at-the-seams-with-joy weeks.
Simply put, new babies eat, sleep, poop and cry.  As a nursing mom, here is what made my world go ’round…what I actually used…every hour, every day…after bringing W home.
[Oh, and also.  These would make for one heck-of-a-baby-shower gift.  Toss some of these items in a cute storage bin or basket along with a bottle, pacifier or diaper she didn’t register for (see below for why!) and she’ll be calling you Week 1 thanking you for the most-used-baby-shower-gifts.  Ever.]
  1. Nipple cream: the LC  (mommy-blog-o-nym for Lactation Consultant) recommended I nurse, then rub expressed milk on my nipples, let ’em air dry, then apply the nipple cream…and procede to let the boobs hang freely in the open.  My cracked bloody nipples finally healed at about Week 3!  I used Lansinoh or the Medela brand, but I hear that MotherLove is awesome, too!  I used their More Milk pills to help with milk production.
  2. Hydrogel pads – these felt OH SO GOOD.  They were about the only thing I let touch my nipples in the first three weeks.  See my hospital bag must-haves for other medicine-cabinet needs post-baby.
  3. Snacks – Remembering to eat is harder than you think in the first few weeks, but if you’re nursing, it’s critical.  I lived on Larabars (super healthy, fill you up, minimal/whole ingredients and delicious flavors like Cherry Pie and Coconut Cream Pie), bananas, cheese sticks and the meals my neighborhood made for me!  I made little snack baggies and kept them beside my bed to munch on while I was nursing in the middle of the night…I was always STARVING (and I still am…)
  4. Water bottle Camel Pack: the second W latched on to nurse I was ravenously thirsty.  Instantaneously.  And obviously, I’d forgotten to get water before getting set up amidst pillows and the boppy.  Next baby, I’m forgoing the water bottle and just wearing a camel pack.  Sounds easier 🙂
  5. Boppy: in my first two weeks with W, I was nursing 9-12 times a day for about 30 minutes a session.  That’s a lot of time sitting and nursing.  The more comfortable you are, the better for you and baby.  So, find something like a boppy that works for you!
  6. Nursing/Cozy Tanks:  see above.  You’re pretty much nursing all the time, so find some tanks that are fuss-free and comfortable (even with nursing bras, I never used the snap function – I just wore bras and tanks and shirts with a stretchy enough neck that I could just yank it down over my boob…still do).  My nipples were pretty sore, so super-soft material was a must.  I usually just wore my underwear, a comfy tank and a cozy robe from Brookstone…it seemed to go well with the bags under my eyes…and made snagging a quick nap less of hassle since I was already in my PJs 🙂
  7. Plain onesies: you can never have too many white onesies.  At the rate W pooped through his diapers and clothes, we were changing these things a few times a day.  I was all about easy, and this is where that started.
  8. Zippered, footed sleepers or elastic bottomed dress thingys: add a cute footed onesie (with an adorable face on the butt and feet) to a white onesie and we were dressed and ready to go.  Why they EVEN make baby clothes with buttons baffles me.  There’s nothing worse than trying to change a diaper at 3am, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, and trying to line up 12 teeny-tiny buttons over teeny-tiny squirming arms and legs.  Nope.  Zippers are the best.  And, W didn’t just sleep in these.  He wore them 24/7.
  9. Something to wear baby with – Ergobaby / Moby:  in the 4th trimester we spent most of our time cuddled together, both day and night.  But, for the few hours here or there where my arms needed a break, the Moby I borrowed from my neighbor was a perfect way to keep W close, snuggled and have my hands free.  We now use the Ergo, and in hind sight I probably would have used the baby insert much earlier.  Because it’s so versatile it can be your carrier from birth to 45lbs.
  10. Something to put baby in – Rock N Sleep:  For an off-the-body place to let the little one sleep, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was AMAZING.  It’s SO simple, but the slight incline and deep seat really hugged W when I wasn’t, and he spent a ton of time checking out the scenes from this little yellow seat, napping and sleeping.  Before he transitioned into his crib, this was the only place he’d sleep!

Enjoy your precious new baby, mama!  And remember, keep it simple 🙂

Yours truly,

MomME

PS – I didn’t include things like a carseat, diapers/wipes, bottles, pacifiers or crib/co-sleeper/basinette because those are either obvious, optional or a personal preference.  You might choose to do disposable diapers or cloth…or co-sleep or put your baby in a basinette for the night…or give your baby a pacifier or not…or try a bottle at three weeks…or earlier…or later.

For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents on all of the above: before you invest in a whole bunch of anything, try them out and make sure you and your baby like them.  We made the mistake of registering for a bunch of bottles that, in the end, W didn’t take to.  Same with pacifiers.  It took some trial and error (and swapping with my other mommy friend) to find the right fit.  We also bought a co-sleeper that we used once and hated, which seemed like a waste.  If you have the chance to borrow from a friend to try it out, do it.  If you can live with baby for a bit and then decide what you really need and want, you’ll save some money!