Monday, June 6, 2016

My Favorite Messes

I don't actually like messes, nor do I enjoy cleaning them, but there are certain messes that still manage to make me smile. They remind me of cherished moments and people I love. I think it baffles poor Scott to imagine having a favorite mess, since he is such a fan of things being clean, but these are the messes that sort of make my life feel complete.

~ The messy kitchen on Saturday mornings. I don't particularly enjoy cleaning the kitchen or doing dishes, though it's one of my more favorable chores, but there is something about the mess that is left behind after a big family breakfast on Saturday mornings that makes it all seem worth it. We don't get to have a big breakfast any other day of the week because we're too busy getting ready for work or church. Saturdays are the only time we can get a slow start to the day, lazily sip on coffee, and enjoy food that requires multiple bowls, pans, plates, and utensils. Pancakes, french toast, muffins, waffles, eggs, bacon, biscuits...those kinds of things. We can usually get Grayson to eat our healthy version of pancakes and maybe a bite or two of eggs, so that feels like a win. :) The mess of batter, dirty dishes, opened containers of butter and honey, and Grayson's sticky placemat are the evidence of some of my favorite moments as a family.

taken a couple years ago, when Grayson was gets even messier now!
~ Coffee rings on my nightstand. While it's not as rare as the Saturday morning breakfast, I cherish the weekday morning rituals too. This is the time that I sit in bed, drink coffee, and read the Bible with Scott and Grayson (and soon - Adam!). Unfortunately we haven't been regularly sharing this time while I'm on maternity leave because I've been trying to get as much sleep as possible before going back to work, but it's one of the things I'm eager to get back to soon. Those stubborn coffee stains might be unsightly, but they are a happy reminder of my time with my family and favorite way to start the day.

his first time experiencing early morning Bible study!

~ Scattered books and stuffed animals, aka - Grayson's "friends." We call Grayson's toys his friends...which I guess is weird and might cause some sort of complex for him later in life, but oh well! These messes are easy to tidy up, which is one nice thing about them, but I mainly love it because it proves our house has a family living in it. A family with small children. And I happen to really love those small children! :) So while I don't generally leave those messes lying around for too long, I adore seeing our house being so lived in. We bought this house with dreams of filling it with a little family of our own, and those scattered "friends" are, in a way, a dream come true!

surprisingly, I don't have many pictures that capture this type of mess. I guess that's probably on purpose! ha!

~ Sidewalk chalk. I guess this is more art than mess (theoretically! ha!), but I suppose that depends on who you ask! I just love that it stays for days and days as a colorful little artifact of all the fun we had that day.

when we announced our pregnancy with Adam

I'm sure there are others, and there are plenty of messes that don't give me the warm fuzzies (scrubbing the shower being my very least favorite!)! But these are just a few of my life's happy little messes right now!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dear Self: Maternity Leave is Not About Getting Stuff Done!

Dear Self,

Maternity leave is not about getting stuff done! I know it feels like you've had that sweet and precious baby for a long time now, but you really just pushed him out of your body a short 5 weeks ago. So don't feel bad if you don't accomplish anything in a day other than a load of laundry and making the bed. Maternity leave is not designed for you to run errands or do chores or really do anything at all other than hold your baby and change diapers. Oh! And there is this crazy idea about sleeping when the baby sleeps.

And listen -- you are a rock star just because you shower every day. I mean, every single day! That's impressive! Don't feel guilty that you haven't worked out yet other than the occasional walk up and down the street, or when you decide it's just too dang hot to leave the house. It's okay that you can only fit into your bigger pre-pregnancy pants or that you're currently wearing a maternity shirt. 5 weeks. FIVE WEEKS! You have plenty of time to shed those last 10 pounds and tighten up the midsection. Now is not that time. Now is the time for sleeping in and taking naps and binge watching Gilmore Girls while you care for your tiny, squishy newborn. And if you need to eat every couple hours, do it without shame! Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories!

Also, I know you miss your mornings with Scott and Grayson, and I know you feel guilty that Scott does the whole morning routine with Grayson, including setting up your coffee and making your smoothie, but in just a few weeks that will fly by way too quickly, you'll have those mornings back whether you want them or not! You'll be helping Grayson go potty as he throws a tantrum about it, and chugging coffee like your life depends on it because some days it will feel that way. Let Scott be the outstanding daddy that he is and take full advantage of any extra sleep you can get right now. You won't get these days back. Soon you'll be taking personal days just to sleep past 5:45 am and watch something that isn't animated.

And consider this--you really won't have a chance to watch Gilmore Girls once you go back to work. So you kind of owe it to yourself and the Gilmore clan to watch as many episodes as you can now. And sure, you've seen them all before...twice...but it's a really good show!

So, self, cherish every moment of your last days of leave. They really are fleeting! Your to-do list will be there when you go back to work, but resting and undivided snuggle time with your littlest will not. Just remember, this is what maternity leave is for!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Luvs Got it Right

You know those first kid vs second kid commercials for Luvs? I've always thought they were funny in that it's funny because it's so true kind of way, but now that I have a second kid I feel that way even more! It's truly amazing how much easier things have been with Adam. And I always thought Grayson was pretty easy.

1 week old - before a family walk

I think the difference can be attributed to several factors. In some ways, Adam is probably just an easier baby. He isn't as fussy as Grayson was, and doesn't struggle quite as much with gas, reflux, and spitting up, for example. But I think the biggest factor is my experience and confidence from already having successfully done this once before. I know so much more than I knew then. I know how to handle certain situations and I know better than to repeat things that didn't work so well last time.

Even starting at the hospital, things were easier and less stressful this time. Grayson was born around 10:30 PM. As soon as I was decent, which was pretty shortly after delivery, I had a roomful of visitors. Family paraded in and out to see the new baby. I totally get it, and I did not want to rob anyone the chance to see their new grandbaby (for Scott's family...their first grandbaby!). And by the time they all left and we were settled into our new room, it was around 3 AM! I barely slept from the excitement and anxiety of how my life just completely changed and I was suddenly responsible for this tiny human. The entire next day I had guests coming and going. I don't think there was more than maybe 20 minutes at a time where we didn't have visitors. Family and friends came to see us and Grayson, and to bring us food and gifts. We were so thankful and happy to see everyone, but it was exhausting! Then that night, I barely slept again because Grayson cried almost all night. I kept trying to get him to sleep in the little bassinet. Every time I put him down he would wake up and cry. I would try to nurse him, but I was struggling with that as well. Of course my immediate assumption was he was starving and not getting enough milk from me. Thankfully I did not give him formula as the nurse suggested and I just slugged it out. Unfortunately, this meant I was running on little to no sleep and was beyond stressed!

When we went home from the hospital, we had family in town that whole weekend. Both my sets of parents, Scott's parents, his sister, and my brother were all at our house! Everyone was trying to help in their own, cleaning, decorating, and of course...wanting to hold the baby! It was all so overwhelming!

I knew this time I wanted things to be different, and therefore, it was all so much better! The only family in town when we had Adam was my mom, and her main purpose was staying with Grayson while we were at the hospital. We had Adam around 7 PM and we had NO visitors at all that night! My mom was home with Grayson, trying to keep him on his normal schedule, so it was just the three of us for the evening. We did have some friends bring us food, but they didn't even come in...just gave it to Scott in the parking lot. Everything was peaceful. Scott and I just soaked in the presence of our new little boy. Breastfeeding came easily and I wasn't scared of all the "what-ifs" this time. And I decided I would do what I wanted, and I slept with Adam in my bed the whole time we were at the hospital. He only went in that bassinet for diaper changes. All three of us slept great both nights in the hospital (well, except for Scott being on the pull-out chair/bed, and nurses coming and going to check on me and Adam).

Just before leaving the hospital

Family movie time!

My mom came to see us the next morning in the hospital and she visited a few other times before leaving that Friday. Scott's dad came down next. Then my dad and step-mom. Then Scott's mom. My brother visited for a few hours one day (he lives down here now so that was easier). Scott's sister came down the following weekend. We never once had more than 3 people visiting us at a time, and even that was just a brief overlap. Everyone sort of came in shifts and it was awesome! We never felt overwhelmed by the company, and everyone got to have more individual time with the boys.

The weeks following delivery were hard with Grayson. Not only was it a stressful beginning, but I had the baby blues and was an emotional wreck! Thankfully, my hormones didn't do that to me this time. And since I didn't have the added anxiety of that what the heck am I doing? feeling, I think everything has just felt easier. And Grayson helps a lot. He's like my wonderful little reminder that I can do this...I've done it before! :) And while striving to keep life as normal as possible for him, I've gotten back to reality a lot sooner, which I think has helped too. We've already had several outings as a family, including a day trip to Tybee Island!

Tybee Island

Up early doing family Bible study

Hanging out while we watch The Voice :)

I think Grayson was fussier than Adam, but I also think I know how to handle it better now. With Grayson, I always feared something was wrong. I tried all kinds of things to help him--gas drops, Gripe Water, two different medications, etc... Some of that might have been necessary, but I now wonder how much of that could have been avoided with just a few adjustments on my end. With Adam, I now recognize when he starts fussing at the breast that he probably needs to burp or pass gas. I know how and when to help him with this. With Grayson I had no clue! I often didn't even burp him b/c I read somewhere that breastfed babies didn't need to burp as often as bottle-fed. But, um, they still DO need to be burped! I also now know that babies have a hard time digesting the casein protein in cow milk. This is really the only thing that passes into my milk. Gassy foods like broccoli and beans, spicy foods, onions and garlic...none of that usually affects babies. With Grayson I didn't know that so I eliminated nearly everything from my diet! I was constantly hungry and shaky and scared to eat anything for fear that it would make my baby sick. It took me months to learn from a new pediatrician that I just needed to cut back on dairy, and it made a huge difference. With Adam, I did that from the start.

It also took me months to learn with Grayson that I had an overactive letdown which was drowning him in milk...I always laughed that he was a little piglet b/c he gulped his milk. Turns out he gulped because he had no choice! This can lead to more gas and tummy troubles for baby. Plus, I had oversupply which meant he wasn't always getting to my hindmilk. Too much foremilk can be another cause of upset tummy. I was able to recognize these things immediately this time and know some handy tricks to deal with it. Instead of pushing Adam onto my boobs when they are gushing milk all over creation like I did with Grayson, I pull him off and spray all of that into a burp cloth or bottle. It makes him angry, but it's better than choking him with it! I also know that pumping only makes it worse in the long run. So I've been waiting until at least 6 weeks to pump, so that my milk has a chance to regulate to Adam's actual demands. Not his demands plus the demands of the pump. So, hopefully my oversupply won't last a full year like it did with Grayson (although, I was able to donate spare milk that whole year, so it ended up being a blessing for someone else!).

After his 2-week checkup

tummy time made him sleepy!

Hanging out with Mommy!

sleepy smiles

I can't guarantee that everything will be easier with Adam, (though I am hoping for a better eater and sleeper!) but so far Luvs is spot on! With the second kid, I'm just more laid back. I'm not afraid to take him out of the house because I know Grayson is a walking cesspool of toddler germs anyway, and I'm not scared to breastfeed in public. I'm not calling or visiting the doctor once a week for confirmation that I'm not poisoning my child with my breastmilk or that he doesn't have any number of maladies Google has to offer. Sure, you can hold my kid while I drink a glass of wine. And maternity leave is a welcomed break from the chaos of life, rather than a prison of tears, cracked nipples, and blowout diapers.

I'm sure I've probably jinxed myself and now things are about to get real! But so good! :)

After his 4-week checkup

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