Saturday, December 31, 2005

Welcome to 2006

It is SO weird to me to think that by the end of THIS year, McKenna will be most likely walking and talking. We have so much to look forward in 2006, I can hardly stand it!

But what did we do to bring in the New Year? Nothing exciting. We went to Babies R Us for diapers and a baby shower gift for one of my old bosses who is expecting a girl in February, a very early dinner, came home to bathe McK and put her to bed, and then watched a movie while I finished up her baby announcement. (I was given a Finding Nemo announcement at my baby shower, and tonight I stitched her name, birthdate and weight on it, so it is ready to frame!)

Oh, well. Happy New Year!

Body for Life did not go that well this week, but I'm still adjusting. It's a lot harder than I thought being a working mom. In fact, it SUCKS, but it is what it is and I'm stuck doing it for now until we figure out another solution. P is talking to his boss now about being the first to be laid off when layoffs come down so he can stay at home with her and we can cancel our daycare. In the meantime, I'm completing her enrollment forms and getting the necessary paperwork from her doctor, starting to compile the stuff for her "tote bag" (Primrose-speak for their version of the diaper bag), and making a LONG list of things that I really need to get done while I'm on vacation the next two weeks...things like renew my driver's license, take her birth announcement to the framer in Watauga, have lunch with some friends, have my car washed, get a car power adaptor for my breast pump at Babies R Us, stuff like that.

But for now, I'm going to take advantage of the long weekend. I hope everyone does the same!

Monday, December 26, 2005

A new blog

No, not to replace this one...

I need a journal to chronicle my BFL journey and keep me on track and accountable, so I've set up a new one to journal my workouts, food, thoughts, water, weight progress, etcetera.

Body for Life for Erica

You're welcome to read along, but I have blocked any unregistered users from making comments. My psyche is fragile enough!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

McKenna's First Christmas

It was so sweet. She, of course, slept through the good parts of getting all her gifts, but we got lots of pictures to show her later. And something that I KNOW made it super special was having both grandpas there to share it with her. I'll post a picture in the next few days.

She got a great combination of stuff...lots of clothes, toys, a Baby Einstein DVD, a stuffed Bruce and Squirt (baby turtle) from Finding Nemo to go with her Dory and Nemo, more blankets, a stocking, lots and lots of books, and this really neato pewter set to save her first tooth, her first curl, and her birth certificate. And she got her first Christmas money! We're opening a savings account this week for her with it.

Now, she's sleeping hard. With all the activity and disruption of the normal routine the last few days, she's beat. I didn't even realize she HAD a routine, but I realized today after she woke up that she was CRANKY as hell, and P pointed out that it's because she's not doing her normal stuff...

And poor kid, she's going to get a new routine next week when he's home to take care of her when I'm working...and then a new one when I'm on vacation...and yet a new one when she starts daycare.

But guess what made today neat in a different way? P's brother and our sister-in-law asked me to be the godmother of their seven-month-old, S. They had asked P months ago to be the godfather, but I knew they wanted to ask someone from her family to be the godmother. Apparently the cousin they asked turned them down, so they asked me! Talk about honored...and SURPRISED! Anyway, I was really touched by that.

Tomorrow is D Day...DIET DAY. I'm dreading it. But I ate enough crap over the last five days to definitely last me until my free meal next weekend, so it's time to start cleaning it up tomorrow. I've not even thought about meals yet, and I haven't done shopping or worked out my workout plan or anything. All I know is I'm going to start tomorrow morning with high-fiber cereal and skim milk (about all I can manage with taking my dad and stepmom to the airport first thing tomorrow) and get to the gym at some point and drink nothing tomorrow but water, decaf iced tea, and diet soda, and take it from there. But seeing pictures of me today that my dad took on his laptop was inspiration enough, that's for sure.

Anyway. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

A new found respect for working moms

This week has been really hard. HOW on earth do working mothers do this?

I returned to work on Monday much to the shock and delight of my coworkers. Apparently no one really knew I was back except my boss and a few of the managers. It sure didn't take long until they were using and abusing me all over again and today, as our office closed at noon, I was frantically typing, making notes, talking on the phone, and scrambling to get stuff done. After FIVE DAYS of being back! And as for my old fires leftover from when I left, well, it's like I wasn't even gone. I talked to about four of them on Monday, and they were like, "Welcome back, how's your baby, how was your maternity leave, okay, so how about my money..." WEIRD. It's like someone just pushed "pause" on the VCR for six weeks.

The first three days weren't horrible...although it was quite the challenge to try to get work done AND take care of McKenna full-time. Thursday my office made me come in for four hours since I was an acting supervisor, and today, I was an acting supe from home. Next week from Tuesday through Friday, I do the half at office, half at home routine, the day after New Year's Day I have to work so I am eligible for my 2006 vacation time, and then I'm on vacation until January 18.

Next week won't be bad at all since P is home all week to bond with his daughter...all I have to do is provide meals and he's doing the rest while I'm working.

But this week has been a whirlwind of sleeping, nursing, taking care of McKenna, working, laundry, baby laundry, cleaning, cooking, Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents. No scrapbooking. No stitching. No nothing!

My dad and stepmom are here visiting for Christmas and they got to babysit McKenna yesterday while I went to the office and then watched her for about an hour tonight while we ran over to Target for groceries. They are TOTALLY in love with her and it's so great to see! (Although I agree she's SO easy to fall in love with.)

Tomorrow we're doing the big turkey dinner, which I'm cooking and quite looking forward to actually. I really enjoy cooking now in my kitchen, especially a fairly easy meal like this one. I'm doing a nine-lb. turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, green bean casserole, canned cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, a vegetable tray, apple pie and pumpkin pie. It's going to be a full day in the kitchen, but I don't mind a me a chance to mellow out a bit and relax from the week and I just love playing with all my kitchen gadgets, especially my KitchenAid mixer.

And on Monday, I'm starting Body For Life. Again. I'm committing to two twelve-week challenges starting on Monday, which will take me to summertime and my goal is to be totally back in ALL of my old clothes by then. We'll see. But I'm going to get busy. I picked up a used copy of Body For Life at the bookstore today since my copy seems to have grown legs and walked away at some point in the last three years since I discovered BFL in December 2002. I'm going to take a before picture and do an official weigh-in on Monday, which I'm not looking forward to, but I remember so well from three years ago that doing it makes the after product even that better. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do for meals, but that's what I'm going to spend some time doing Monday since I have the day off, and Monday I'm hitting the gym for the first time in over a YEAR. To say I'm scared is an understatement. The last time I was at the gym lifting weights, I was in competition shape, and now I'm...NOT. Granted, I have the BEST excuse in the world...I just brought another human being into existence...but that doesn't make me feel any more attractive.

I just keep telling myself that I did this once, and I can do it again, and this time will be SO much easier for several reasons...

a) it's baby weight and is "new" fat, not "old" fat
b) I've already established good eating habits and now I just have to start practicing them again
c) I have realistic weight AND size goals this time around
d) I have seen what thin looks like on my body and I know what's possible with a lot of hard work
e) I still have a lot of muscle mass that I worked hard to build and with some good protein and some practice, that muscle mass will remember and start burning fat again
f) I now have a extra 500-calorie daily burner with breast feeding!

Anyway. That's all I've got. Time to clean up a little and hit the sack...I've got a BIG weekend ahead! Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sleeping Beauty

Six weeks to the DAY after she is born, she sleeps ALL the way through the night! Yahootie!

We stayed out late last night Christmas shopping, and when we got home, I nursed her and put her down to sleep around 11...she rustled around a little at 3 am, but put herself back to sleep before I had even put on my glasses, and didn't fully wake up until 8:30 this morning! Oh, my, goodness, I feel like a new woman!

Now I just have to figure out what to do if and when she makes this a regular habit. I woke up this morning in pain and with a soaking wet nightie because she hadn't nursed at her usual time of 4:30-5 am. Do I start setting an alarm to get up and pump or what?

And is it normal for babies her age to sleep this much? I'm not arguing with it and I'm certainly loving it, but she does seem to be sleeping a LOT. This morning after a big diaper change, a big breakfast, and some cuddling with mom and dad, she's out again.

We are also going to take our Pack and Play apart today for a while...she just isn't using the bassinette portion of it, it's taking up room in our bedroom, and there's just no point to have it out still when she probably won't use it until she's playing in it.

Today: we're finishing up our Christmas shopping and cleaning up the house. I'm back to work tomorrow, so there's no time this week for McKenna and I to do our usual errand running during the day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Santa's Little Elf...the fussy one

I had a really goofy idea this morning. I woke up with the bright idea of taking McKenna to the mall to do some Christmas shopping and have her sit on Santa's lap for a picture.

Great idea in theory.

Going to the mall with a newborn is no easy task. First, there is the matter of getting the stroller out of the trunk and setting it up and getting her set in it, since there are no carts to put the carrier in.

We get inside the mall and after I get something to eat, we find our way to the Santa area at 4:45. There is a sign posted that Santa is feeding his reindeer from 5-6, so the line is closed. No problem. She's sleeping, so I find a bench, make some phone calls, and then venture my way clear to the OTHER side of the mall next to Foley's where there is a family bathroom.

I'm thinking that family bathroom means there is a couch inside where I can breast feed? Nope. No problem...I'm not panicking. I get comfortable on the couches outside the bathrooms and nurse McKenna. I didn't even get any looks, which I'm surprised about, because as soon as we were done, I stood up and noticed that there was a women's nursing lounge right behind me that I could have used for more privacy! Who knew!

We get all packed up and walk down to the Santa area again next to Dillard's. It's 6:15 so there's already quite a line. I had successfully burped her, so I thought surely it would be safe to take off her bib? I had done such a good job keeping her beautiful dark red jumper clean all day. I had my six week appointment this morning with my OB/GYN and lunch with a friend, so I dressed her up in this adorable red, cream and silver onesie with a matching dark red jumper that went over it, and both things had embroidered hearts on it. VERY cute.

Yeah. She spit up about four times. And not just clear whitish spit up. This had the consistency of cottage cheese.

THEN she decides after we have been in line about twenty minutes that she has a dirty diaper. Even though I just changed her. Talk about a four alarm fire! Since I was there alone, I had no choice...I changed her in her car carrier. Don't ask. The people behind me were quite impressed.

After all this, she's still not a happy camper, so I resort to the pacifier which I try not to use very often. She's clearly hungry, and really gets after the binkie. Just when she's all calmed down and settled, it's her turn and I put her on Santa's lap withOUT the binkie.

Which starts the Ms. Fussypants routine all over again. I think by this time, McKenna had just decided she had had enough with the photo op routine. But they did manage to get a shot of her on Santa's lap between howler monkey cries.

End result:

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After we were done, we headed straight back to the nursing room where I nursed her, changed her, and took off her red jumper. She promptly fell asleep. I then walked back to the Santa area to take some pictures for her scrapbook, did a little light Christmas shopping and grabbed a pretzel, and then took her home.

Now I'm slipping into a coma with my glass of wine. This was the most exhausting afternoon I've ever had. And judging from her snores from the next room, it was for her too. But SHE didn't have to carry me back and forth across the mall several times! I bought a Baby Bjorn today at Babies R Us...boy, would it have come in handy today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Stitching again!

Finally, my fingers have felt good enough for enough consecutive days in a row to resume stitching, although I seriously doubt I will ever be stitching the mass quantities that I was in my pre-McKenna life.

But like I am splitting my closet between stitching and my new love, scrapbooking, I also need to share time, and so I will be trying better to do so in the future.

However, my burning desire to finish Noah's Submarine is now no more...I'm ready to get back to my rotation again. It will take me a LONG time to get through that long list, but that's the cool thing about hobbies...they are always there waiting for you. And it's just in time...I have now scrapbooked every set of pictures that I can that are complete. Everything else is waiting for pictures to be printed off our hard drive, to be scanned in and printed, or for prints that I ordered from AOL. My father spent hours this month scanning in hundreds of photos from my youth and emailing them to me, so I will have tons of pictures to scrap and crop to my heart's content. I've lost count of how many pages I've scrapbooked now, but I think it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 pages, front and back. I won't be waiting long though...P is printing out my pregnancy pictures now.

I went to the doctor today and just like that, he took the remaining amigo away...however, he did not take me off work like I had hoped. Drat. My plan to game the system was foiled! So, for the next two weeks, I am left with the options of either taking the time off unpaid or working. I went by and spoke to my boss...he is going to talk to his boss about letting me work from home for the next two weeks until I am eligible to take my 2006 vacation. Nope, not thrilled about it, but I'm less thrilled about taking time unpaid just to sit around and find out if Judge Gray and David McLaren work it out (which I am very curious about, by the way, so if anyone knows, can you tell me?), Kelly and Brandon and the rest of the 90210 crew further their emotional growth, and Amanda, Allison and Kimberly destroy each other, so it looks like on Monday barring any objection by my boss' boss I will be returning to the world of the working in some form and capacity. And I told K to tell his boss that if she has any doubt about my ability to be productive, she is welcome to come over to my house and see all the pages I've scrapbooked in the last six weeks since I've been home.

And I'll save the best for update on the little bambino. She's doing great. She's now sleeping in her papasan IN her crib, which she loves apparently, she's focusing on faces and colors and lights (she loves her lighted Fisher Price aquarium hanging on the side of the crib), sitting down?...she's sleeping in four hour stretches during the night which means I only wake up ONCE to nurse! It's fantastic!!!

And here's a current picture...I was given this oh-so-adorable blanket/bib/sleeper matching set by my stepmom and today, when I took McKenna out for errands, I couldn't resist but dress her in it and set her up for a photo shoot.

Clearly, she was not amused at being used for scrapbook material.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Our first night out alone

We went to my company's Christmas party last night and left McKenna with her aunt G and uncle M for the night. I was terrified that she would cry all night.

But she didn't! She did great and my sister-in-law said that they would watch her anytime. My little nieces V and A love their new cousin and really helped their mom at the end of the night with taking care of her. I guess to my nieces, McKenna is like a big living doll...they just love watching her and playing with her.

And the night out really did us good. I love my daughter to pieces, but a few hours alone was really really nice...and by the end of the night we were dying to see her again. And we made a conscious effort not to talk baby stuff all night. My Christmas party was at Dave and Buster's, so we played games, ate dinner, walked around and people-watched, and had a few drinks. And on the way home we stopped and got ice cream at Sonic. Nice.

So every month, we're going to plan a date night and get a babysitter. We are both in agreement that it will be very good for our psyche, our mental well-beings, and our marriage.

Tonight we are running out to do a little shopping...we want to get a new scanner and also do some Christmas shopping. I would really like to scrapbook tonight too, but I'm thinking I'm going to squeeze in a little stitching at some point this hands, even though my fingers are still puffy, are not hurting as badly, and stitching might be therapeutic...kind of like exercise?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Prime time in the daytime

I'm starting to get into a rut with television during the day, especially since McKenna has refused to sleep during the day this week. But the good news is that she is sleeping at night...a P and I are actually starting to feel normal.

Routine: two episodes of E.R., two episodes of Judging Amy, two episodes of Law and Order, Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. At least I'm getting to catch up on the episodes of 90210 and Melrose that I've missed since college...and I always thought that Judging Amy was a stupid show, but it's actually pretty captivating once you give it a chance.

My mind is turning to mush.

I have been somewhat productive this week...sort of. I've put up our Christmas tree and all the decorations, I've sorted through all my photographs again and scrapbooked P's Seattle trip pictures and my Washington D.C. photographs from high school, I've gotten some laundry done, I've had lunch with a friend, I've scheduled two needed doctor's appointments and a hair appointment, and I've gone to Target.

This past weekend, we went over to my father in law's house and collected all the photographs that we want to make copies of from P's childhood, and my dad spent some time over the last week scanning in all his pictures for me, so I should have TONS to keep me busy with scrapbooking over the next year. It's great. These pictures are so about a trip down memory lane.

The only other update I have is that I am fairly sure McKenna is going through some sort of a growth spurt. She is eating like a bottomless pit. Example: she nursed this morning for a solid HOUR and then drank two ounces of milk from a bottle.

If anyone has been reading my fertility journal, one of my little amigos is not going away, and like a good patient, I waited the sufficient amount of time after the birth to see if it would go away like my OB/GYN said, but it's not budging or getting smaller, so I called my other doctor this week to make an appointment to be seen for a surgical consult. It's not a major surgery...takes about thirty minutes in his office...but since it does involve stitches and is not the most comfortable, I will have to take some sort of pain killer. Probably Vicodin since that's what they gave me in the hospital and said that it's okay to take while breast feeding, but I'm going to try my best NOT to take it and just stick to Tylenol. But my office won't know I'm not taking it, and obviously I can't drive while taking it so there you have it! The last time I had this done, I was taken off work for a week, and the time before, two weeks, so I'm hopeful that this will extend my paid maternity leave for a week or two. We'll see.

Breakfast time! More later!

And for all of you dying for a McKenna fix, here's a current picture of my prime time in the daytime television watching buddy:

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

We're home!

And McKenna's doing fine!

The surgery went great...the doctor was done in about thirty minutes, and she was awake and ready to eat within about fifteen minutes. After we got her settled down, we all went up to our room and she slept almost the whole day. I let her sleep on my chest for a long time, but she did sleep in the bassinette last night so I was able to get a fair amount of sleep myself, which was great.

And today, we were discharged and now we're home.

She can breathe. She can nurse. SHE CAN SLEEP! It's all good!

Thanks for all the well wishes!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My baby has to have surgery tomorrow

I'll post a quick summary of what's happened.

Our pediatrician has been watching McKenna's breathing over the last month since she was born, and every week it's gotten steadily worse. Yesterday she finally agreed with us that just watching it wasn't doing anything and referred us to a pediatric ENT.

He diagnosed McKenna with laryngomalacia, a condition where tissue is growing over her airway opening and vocal cords and preventing her from breathing and eating correctly. Solution? She has to have surgery tomorrow to trim back the tissue.

Yes, I'm a wreck. Fortunately, I get to go with her and spend the night in the hospital with her, and the ENT that will do the procedure assured me that it's not that big of a deal (yeah, tell that to any first-time mother) and that she'll recover fine and that we will BOTH get more sleep in the coming weeks since she'll be sleeping MUCH more than her 1-1.5 hours that she's getting now at a stretch.

I wish I could trade places with her. I wish more than anything it was ME that this was happening to and not her.

Keep us in your thoughts. We'll be home Saturday morning.