Picking up where we left off…

Ok — obviously, it’s been a long time since we last updated. A LOT of things were happening, many quite personal that I won’t really get into here. But basically, I think we needed to concentrate on us as a family for a while. So here we are… here’s a basic recap some cool things we’ve done since 2012. [And note this is pretty one-sided]

Of significance:
  1. Aliana not only turned one, she also turned TWO! and a month from tomorrow turns THREE. We’ve successfully kept another human alive and thriving for 35 months.
    Victory Baby
  2. We bought our first house! After 8 months of searching and attending at least 20 showings, I stumbled upon our house while trolling Zillow. We pounced on it, and here we are, 9 months later and still enjoying living there. One of the things I was really excited about was finally being able to make a place my own. My most important mission upon moving in was to find THE perfect color for our front door. Growing up, I had a long bus ride to school. There was this grey house on the way, with dark grey shutters and a bright yellow door. I said to myself, “One day, my house will have a yellow front door.” I don’t regret the decision whatsoever. The house just looks happy and welcoming. It totally has character! (Behr’s Honey Locust color matched to Valspar Duramax.)

    House and door

    Even on a rainy day, it makes me happy!

  3. I was laid off from my first job back in 2012. Within two weeks, I was back at work as a freelance proofreader and copyeditor. Within a month of this, I was hired full time as an assistant content editor with the company in which I was freelancing. I admit to taking a few days off to wallow in self pity (there were a lot of cupcakes involved) but I had to pick up my big girl pants and get a job. Just last week, I was promoted and transferred to a new department. I’m not an associate project manager, and it’s been pretty sweet so far. Project management has always been an interest of mine, and if any of you remember, I interned as a PM at Microsoft. Life kind of came full circle at this point.
  4. I fulfilled a life-long dream and had my nose pierced. Despite everything that I did to take care of it (honestly, I was obsessed with keeping it clean), it refused to heal. I had it taken out after 11 months. I have a tiny scar, but it’s barely noticeable. It was actually kind of freeing to have it removed. I think I was going through some weird, post-having-a-child-and-starting-a-new-job life crisis. I felt like I needed some excitement in my life. Ultimately, it didn’t work out.
  5. But that didn’t stop me from getting tattoos number 2 and 3 (or numbers 10, 11 and 12 if you consider each character a single tattoo). This, I do not regret. All of my tattoos have extreme significance, so I do not regret a single one. Andrew is officially jealous that I now have more ink than he does. I think that officially makes me a badass. My friend Jamie is trying to convince me to get #3/13 with her, but I don’t feel like there’s anything I “need” right now except a little retouching. I’ve always wanted a feather, but there’s no real significance to that for me to really justify it. I was able to at least find a significance to the heart on my finger, but I think i totally faked my way into that one, haha.
  6. Andrew’s been having some weird, digestive issues and we might need to go gluten free. We’ll know more in May.
  7. We went on our first family vacation. For months I worried about entertaining Ali on the plane, but luckily she was a total trooper and didn’t cry or get loud at all. Fortunately/Unfortunately, she started potty training right before we left, so it was a little hard having to juggle undies and pull ups and knowing where the closest bathroom was. Luckily she did great on vacation, did not regress at all. She’s also keeping dry through the night, or she will wake up asking to go to the bathroom. We’ve been really lucky so far. It’s funny how people tell you that it’s so easy to potty train once their mentally ready to do so. It’s unbelievable until you’re there, doing it. It really was super simple and quick, and I cannot begin to tell you what we did to make it work. It just did.
  8. I started knitting in December 2012, and thought it was pretty cool. I stuck with crocheting for a while, until I heard about a Harry Potter knit along (don’t judge, it is totally AWESOME) in September 2013, and I’ve been knitting ever since. I always thought that knitting looked hard, but I’ve actually found it to be quite easy and much more versatile than crocheting. I love both, but knitting has really given me a lot of satisfaction. I’ve also made some pretty great online friends through Ravelry.
  9. Oh, and I had another car accident in December. Totally not my fault, I was rear ended while stopped at a yield sign, but the injury lasted for a few months. I’m still dealing with shoulder discomfort, but having Andrew give me “adjustments” on a regular basis has helped tremendously. The car barely had a scratch on it, it’s such a beast, but it did end up getting a lot of work. And we had to replace our car seat even though she wasn’t in it at the time. It was a completely new experience now that I have a child. When Andrew picked me up from the ER he had Ali. She told us she wanted me to have a baby. Somewhere, she must have picked up the notion that babies come from hospitals (even though she was a home baby?!?). The nurse heard her and gave a pretty loud chuckle.
That’s pretty much all I can think of right now. I’ll probably be back in the next few days with some pictures of the house. We’ve done quite a bit of painting so far, but in reality have only completed two rooms. Ali’s room is the most put together right now, and I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s turning out. So. Yeah. That’s all I got for you.

October – November 2011

Oct. 23, 2012 — Ali's first time in a corn maze

In my last (real) post, it was the day before my birthday (and Ali’s five month birthday). That Sunday, we went to Ellm’s Family Farm to pick pumpkins and do the corn maze. I don’t think I had gone through a corn maze myself, but it was fun to do as a family. Towards the end, Ali did get hungry, so I threw my nursing cover on and walked around with her while she ate. It was an interesting way to emerge from the maze, but I didn’t care. I think this when I started to not care about what people thought/felt about nursing in public. It’s also the time when Ali started to fight under the cover, and I’m sure she exposed me to some people quite a few times too.

For Halloween, we dressed Ali as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ali-Wan Kenobi

Okay, let me clarify: I dressed Aliana as a Jedi. We also have these flashlights that will also glow a certain color, so since I wasn’t allowed to buy her a real light saber (Andrew had to draw the line somewhere, right?), she toted the pink flashlight as her saber.

That night, we participated in our church’s ‘trunk or treat’, where church members open up their car trunks, fill it with candy, and all the kids go car to car collecting sweets. It’s a great alternative to going door to door. We had a lot of fun participating. One minus, we were so used to just going in the car to change her diaper, that it was natural to change her there while we were handing out candy. Drew forgot that the trunk was open, so the car was cold. She cried, the poor kid, because her bottom was freezing. It was a do-it-once-and-learn experience. Neither of us thought to take her inside to change her. Sorry, baby!

I think it was November 5, when Aliana finally rolled over on her own. Of course, she did it at daycare first, but it was exciting to see her do it when we came home.

It was around this time that we had a new set of neighbors moved in next door. This time, they were smokers, and no amount of pleading from us or our landlord could stop them from smoking inside. All their cigarette smoke was traveling into our home, it was really unbearable to smell. Of course, the landlord tried to work with us at first, looking for where the smoke might be entering. They sent maintenance to seal up those areas, but the jackasses didn’t really do anything than add some caulk to some ridiculous places. All the while, they would tell me how what they were doing wasn’t going to really do much, and that I shouldn’t be worrying anyway because “that’s all a lie, smoke can’t do anything, look at me, my mom smoked when she was pregnant, I’ve ben around it my whole life. That stuff isn’t true, it’s not bad for you…”

I really wanted to say, “OK buddy, how ’bout you shut your mouth and do your job, or do you get paid extra for all the stupid things you say?”

Anyway… it quickly became clear that we would have to try to find another living situation, as heartbreaking as the idea was to me. I knew that we’d have to leave that place eventually, but I wasn’t ready to think about it at the time. Regardless, we started to look for other options. It would be a few months before anything actually happened. I’ll leave that to another post.

Here are some more pictures from October and November.

Aliana chooses her pumpkin

Aliana and Mami

It's not until I look back that I realize how much of a chunker she was! Aliana at 5 months

Aliana's first time eating sweet potatoes, she loved them!

Aliana and Elise at Trunk or Treat

Aliana was quite taken with her toes

This was her first time in the stroller using the big kid chair. She knew it was something new and she loved it!

One Year Later…

Aliana is now 13 months old, and we can hardly believe it.

We know we’ve been MIA, and I’m kicking myself hard for not documenting the last six months as I should have. We were going through some tough, personal issues (which included having to move as well as an unexpected job loss), and I may or may not have been a little depressed. I am in denial about it, haha.

Anyway, I’ll begin posting again soon. I’ll begin with a quick recap of her milestones and incorporate where she is now as soon as I can.

Lilly

More About Breast Feeding

Tomorrow, I’ll be 24 and she’ll be 5 months. What a milestone for both of us.

We’ve been breast feeding successfully for five months. To this day, she has not had a drop of formula. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not boasting about that fact, rather, I am praising God for it. There were many moments when I feared that I wouldn’t make it this far.

Go ahead, tell me I’m being ridiculous. I would agree with you. I don’t know why I let breast feeding define me so much. I became so emotionally attached to the idea during my pregnancy, that I knew I would be devastated if I wasn’t able to breast feed. I didn’t know it until after I had Ali that milk production is a challenge in my family. My own mother was only able to nurse me for three months before she wasn’t able to produce any more. Everyday, I fear that it’s my last. There have been times where my milk has fluctuated wildly, from one day to the next with no cause, then there are days that I will produce way more than I thought I could.

By no means do I claim to be an expert on any topic I write about here, but I have done a lot of research — not to mention that I work at a health care company, so I have a lot of resources others don’t — and consider myself to be knowledgeable in the subjects relating to childbirth and breast feeding. Unfortunately, I still let myself get anxious about being able to nurse. I am trying to change my way of thinking from “Please God, please help me make more milk for her” to “Thank you, God, for allowing me to provide the best nutrition for my daughter another day.” So far, I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the fact that, one day, this is going to end. I was prepared for it to end through weaning, but now, I like to think I’m prepared to just let it take its course if it needs to.

For those of you thinking about nursing your future children, please seek out resources and support from others. Nursing is hard, just as hard as labor. There are a lot of women out there that make it look easy, I don’t know how they do it, and I’ll admit, I have been jealous of those to whom it looks like it is so easy for them. Sometimes, it seems like Andrew’s the only one telling me that I’m doing a good job, and I know my sister tells me the same. But it’s hard to hear it, and then really believe. For some reason, my lactation consultant has always been the only one that can truly put my mind at ease.

I can’t say it enough: if you’re going to breast feed, get a lactation consultant!! Or you can visit your local chapter of La Leche League. I didn’t do this before delivering, but LLL can provide a lot of instruction prior to having your child. Post-partum, having a consultant was a huge gift. I still call her when I have a question or concern. When Aliana started sleeping through the night around 9 weeks, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t let myself engorge and leak. That sends a signal to stop producing, and my supply reduced significantly. She quickly gave me some tips and a schedule of sorts to get me right back up. I haven’t had that severe of a fluctuation since.

Secondly, buy a good pump. But whatever you do, unless it is a hospital grade pump that you are renting, do NOT use a second hand pump. Do not purchase a used pump online or from anyone you know. Commercial pumps are called “open system” pumps. The system is not designed to keep breast milk from potentially coming in contact with the motor. Medela’s “Pump In Style” pumps are open system. Your milk can potentially enter the tubes and even come in contact with the motor. If you don’t clean it, or even realize that this has happened, it can form mold, and the spores can travel back into your collected milk and can potentially harm your baby. There are companies that use a “closed pump” system, such as Ameda’s “Purely Yours” (which I think I will purchase for the next kiddo, I have a love-hate relationship with my Medela), and the milk will never touch the tubing or vacuum source. Definitely do your research regarding pumps before you purchase one. Better yet, just rent one from the hospital. I used Medela’s “Symphony” at Albany Med, and it was a great pumping experience. This one is considered a closed system, because it uses closed diaphragms to create the vacuum needed.

This is pretty much all I can think to mention at the moment. Knowing me, I’ll probably revisit the topic. I doubt that any male readership that we have gained will want to hear more about this, it is kind of a personal subject to speak of, but my goal since the beginning of this blog has been to share what I learn in this experience. I was the first of my friends to get engaged, then married, and now to become a mother. I think it’s only fair that you all see what I have gone through in this process as well.

If you girls have any questions, feel free to ask me. I love sharing my knowledge, and if there’s something we need to figure out together, together we will.

 

I Still Can’t Believe We’re Parents

It’s been nearly 4 months since our little Aliana has entered our world and parenthood continues to be everything I never thought it would be (don’t worry, I don’t mean that negatively). It’s incredible how unbeknownst to Ali, she is so deeply reliant on us to care for her, raise her, and turn her into a self-reliant, independent member of society. I tell myself everyday I hope I can do right by her as she grows and develops. I hope I can provide her all the opportunities and tools necessary to allow her to succeed at whatever she does.

As I think about how the responsibilities associated with parenthood, I realize they are far greater than I ever thought they would be, and I’ve been thinking about it since I was 3. Even during Lilly’s pregnancy I still had no real idea what I was getting myself into. I always knew I would do what was necessary and required of me, but it’s been an eye opener. I am beginning to truly understand the daily challenges my parents faced while raising me, and I can’t imagine what it was like for them raising twins (my brothers) along with a 5 year old (me). Lord knows how they put me through 9 years of hockey. I have a newfound respect for them both and continue to seek guidance and parental advice from them.

Those Eyes

As I look into Ali’s eyes, I wish I could remove every challenge and stressful situation she is going to encounter throughout her life. Even now I wish I could prevent every pout and cry she makes when she’s in pain dealing with acid reflux, when she frustrated because mommy and daddy don’t understand her, or when she’s bored and stir-crazy. Knowing full well life has it’s own agenda, I am very aware I cannot remove the trials and tribulations she will face, but I hope she knows daddy would if he could.

The Ups and Downs

I realized today just how much I love my daughter. She was in her swing smiling, cooing, laughing; I was doing dishes (my favorite part of being a grown-up…NOT), and then she made a face that said, “I feel safe daddy, I love you, and now I’m going to take a nap.” It was said all in her eyes. What a moment for a new father.

I also realized today how my beautiful daughter can really test my patience, and it wasn’t even her fault which made me feel like a “Big D.” As anyone who takes part in the real world knows, the high points don’t come without their lows. Ali was due for her daily-dose of Zantac this evening and I convinced Lilly to wait until the next feeding before giving it to her. Wrong move on my part. Soon thereafter Aliana spit up on me 5-7 times in a matter of 30 minutes. Some were messier than others but they were all hot, sour, curdled goo. I’ll tell ya, I know it’s not Ali’s fault but damn its annoying getting puked on that many times in such a short period. As a parent I’m learning your patience is constantly tested and you’re forced to keep yourself calm especially when you feel like screaming.

At the end of the day the UP’s greatly outway the DOWN’s. Her smiles have the ability to shutout the world around me, to make me forget about the blowout she just had, or the projectile vomit that just ruined my clothes. She’s so stinkin’ cute it’s impossible to stay frustrated for long. Keep up the good work Ali, you’re doing great!

I love my Aliana

Heat and Hot Water, Don’t Ever Leave Us Again!

I love dedicating this blog to our daughter, but I can’t pretend like everything is peaches and cream. It’s full of cold showers, unexpected financial punches to the gut, idiots, late night bass-bumpin’ neighbors, muscle pains, vomitting, and overly-needy felines. I can sense your envy. But hey, could be worse, I mean, I could with the Lottery. How awful would that be!

After my ice cold shower and downright aggravating day at the office I was informed my heat and hot water were up and running. It was then that I was able to take my first breath of the day to think about the humorous suffering that is about to enter my life. My BabyGirl will be crying late at night, she will be puking on my shoulder, leaking out of her diaper, screaming in the car, and throwing food… everywhere. I foresee great times ahead!

I’m not being a total cry-baby. I wholeheartedly believe I will somehow find the humor in it and truly cherish the above moments; although maybe not until she is 15 and I realize just how precious it all was once she starts yelling at me that “I don’t understand her.”