And I have no real excuses except for the big one: I wanted to focus all my attention on the baby, so I don’t feel bad about it at all. Sure, there were lots of things I could blog about, but to be honest, I just didn’t really want to. My sole focus during my maternity leave was M and I’m fine with that.
So please accept my apologies for disappearing on you. And please also accept my apologies for not blogging regularly anymore, at least for the time being. I have lots I could share and discuss, and maybe someday soon I will feel like sharing it all. But to be honest, I’ve really been struggling lately with whether I want to continue blogging at all. Make no mistake—this is not a lame excuse to get people to comment & tell me to keep blogging…these are my true feelings at the moment, and it doesn’t depend on how my readers feel, but what I think is best for myself and my family. I’m having a hard time marrying blogging with protecting M’s privacy, and I find I am much more “afraid” of the Internet these days. When you blog in a public space such as this one, it’s out there, no matter what you do. So I really need to carefully weigh my options and decide if continuing to blog is something I really want to do. While I enjoy blogging very much, and I could probably find ways to blog without bringing my family into it, I must admit I would find it hard to blog about my life without being able to discuss my family & what’s going on with M, and I’m just not really sure I want all of that out there, especially as he continues to grow and we broach things like potty training and the like. And I’m not sure how I feel about putting photos of him on a public blog. I know I’ve done so a few times already (including this post, below) but I am increasingly uncomfortable with it. Blogging about pregnancy is so different from blogging about your children, and so I’m leaning towards wrapping this blog up and going on with my life. I can’t lie, the break from thinking of posts, writing those posts, editing photos, and focusing on material for the blog was really nice, and although I will definitely miss the interaction with my readers and sharing my craft projects and the like, I think for me it’s probably getting to be time to move on.
That being said, I definitely still feel like I owe you all a little update on how we’re doing as I decide how and when I want to wrap things up here. The low-down on what we’ve been up to:
Breastfeeding: took about 8 weeks for us to get the hang of it finally. Eight horrible weeks, where I wanted to quit every single day and I absolutely HATED nursing. I dealt with overactive letdown and oversupply, which in and of itself is sort of traumatizing, but then M wouldn’t take a bottle and it took us until nearly the end of my maternity leave to realize why: I also have excess lipase, which means that after about 24 hours my breastmilk “goes bad” or starts to taste pretty soapy and gross. So my freezer stash that I had been painstakingly building was useless to me and I had to start fresh, figuring out how to scald my milk in order to stop the breakdown of the enzyme. So now in addition to pumping, if I am going to store the milk in any fashion, I also have to scald it. Pain in the ass, but I’m committed now. I want to make it to a year breastfeeding, do or die. When I was in the midst of hating it, I would set small goals. Make it to the end of this week, make it to the end of the month, make it to the end of maternity leave. Once my leave was over, my goal has been 6 months. Now that I’m pumping at work and nursing at home, though (and despite having some minor issues with my pumping output), I’m in it to win it. The fabulous news is that I’m so committed because I really love nursing now. It’s so easy, M is a great eater, and it’s such a nice way for us to continue to bond, especially now that I am back at work. I actually look forward to getting up with him in the middle of the night to feed him!
Going Back to Work: Horrible, horrible, horrible. In hindsight, if I could do it all over again, I would probably have waited to have M until I knew FOR SURE I could stay home full time. It’s that horrible leaving him every day…seriously, every day feels like the worst day of my life. Dramatic, but true. I still cry a lot and I miss him all day long. The good news is that he does really well at daycare, he is at a wonderful place, and his teachers really LOVE him. I was just telling a friend the other night that I love the whole “it takes a village” mentality, and it really feels like his teachers are a part of our village now. I’m not one of those people who think sending your children to daycare means that other people are raising them, and in fact, I think that’s probably one of the meanest things you could say to a working parent. I have enough guilt already, thank you very much. That being said, I enjoy my job & like the feeling of productivity I experience while I am working. I also like the routine that comes with going to work. M is learning how to interact with other babies & children, and he knows there are other safe adults besides my husband and me. I’m also lucky enough to have an end in sight: I have arranged with my job to start working part-time sooner rather than later. We are still working out the details, but it tentatively looks like I will be working three days a week and will then be home with M two days a week. This will be the perfect balance for me, as I do not want to stop working entirely and am committed to my job, but I also want to be home with M! Our plan is also to wait to have a second child until we know for sure that we’d be comfortable having me home full-time with both children (plus I do not want to have two kids in diapers).
First day of work & “school.” I look much more put together than I felt.
M: is the best baby ever. Seriously, he’s so damn cute I can hardly stand it. And he is so interactive now—every day just gets better & better! He loves being read to and has even learned to turn the pages of a few books (though not with true intention yet. He grabs and paws them until they flip!). He holds & shakes rattles, kicks, screeches, laughs…it’s so great. When I was on maternity leave, I felt his sleep left something to be desired, but to be honest, I’ve since let that go, and I really think M is actually a pretty good sleeper. He wakes up two times a night to eat now, and I’m fine with it. In fact, I’m leaning towards not doing any sleep training at all. It just doesn’t feel right with M. He does things on his own schedule, and often when I’ve been doubting whether we’re doing the “right thing” on handling one issue or another, M will do something to tell me, “Hey, Mom, you should trust me more, I know what I’m doing and I’ll do things on my own time!” He’s spread out his feedings & started sleeping longer stretches on his own, so I have no reason not to think he’ll continue to do so. He was so little at birth (remember, only 5 pounds!) and since I am not with him during the day and he gets scalded milk, I don’t mind waking up at night to give him calories and fresh breastmilk. As he continues to grow (he weighs around 11.5 pounds now), I imagine he will drop night feedings in his own time, and I’m in no rush to have him sleep through the night. I’m not an attachment parent (we do not bed share and M sleeps in his own room) but I do like some tenets of that philosophy (baby-wearing, breastfeeding for a year or more) and I tend to agree with the people who think there is a tendency in our culture to want to make babies sleep straight through the night much earlier than baby might be ready to. We experienced a few days of really shitty sleep this past weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday), and I thought we were in for the 4 month sleep regression, but magically on Tuesday he started sleeping again and actually now sleeps better than he did before! Prior to this past weekend he was sleeping in about 3 hour chunks, but now he sleeps in 4 or 5 hour chunks. Even with all the shitty sleep though, starting sleep training just didn’t feel right for us. We haven’t had to formally teach him how to do anything with regards to sleep—he’s learned how to do things on his own, and for that I am really thankful & consider myself to be very lucky. I am fine with letting him fuss & settle himself back to sleep but I don’t think self-soothing and sleeping through the night should necessarily be tied together (not that they’re mutually exclusive though, either). To me, fussing is different than crying (M’s fusses are more like whiny grunts), and M rarely cries anyway, so if he is actually crying, I know he needs something. He is perfectly capable of going to sleep on his own and quite often does so, and he can definitely settle himself back down if he is fussing. Just last night he went down at 7, woke up at 9:45 to eat, went back down, woke up about 10 minutes later and fussed/grunted for about 30 seconds, and then promptly went to sleep. And then he slept for 5 straight hours. So as of right now, I don’t see sleep training in our future. I think we’ll just follow M’s cues, keep consistent with our bedtime routine, and let him decide when he wants to drop those night feedings. Things could always change, of course, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!
Books, Life, etc: Life with a baby is so different but honestly, it is awesome. The weekends are so sweet, seriously. I love every moment I spend with my family and I love M so much I could burst! And our life hasn’t stopped, like some people said it would. We just tote M along with us and have been able to do lots of fun things: eat out at restaurants, attend wedding receptions, and even go to an ice fishing party. We have lots of other fun activities lined up (this weekend we are going to visit the Amish bakery & general stores near my parents’ house, and we can’t wait to take M to a baseball game!). I still have time to read books & paint my nails, even! Currently, I’m re-reading some of my old favorites by Patricia Cornwell. I also got her new book for Christmas, and I am struggling with it again, just like I did with the last new Scarpetta book. The writing just seems so different and the story plods along. I am hoping it will get better because for whatever reason I just cannot stop reading Scarpetta novels, but I find myself more and more annoyed with the characters and plot lines in every new one I read.
At the aforementioned ice fishing party. I am wearing M in the Moby wrap and he was snug as a bug in a rug:
He was wearing some fleecies, a hat, mittens, & two blankies. We also have some shots of him in his snowsuit!
So that’s what’s been going on with us. Again, please don’t mistake this post as a plea for comments to tell me how I need to keep blogging. I just feel it’s best to be honest with you and let you know that more likely than not I will probably end up shutting The Bookworm Wife down in the next few weeks or months. I’ve appreciated all of the years I spent blogging & I have had a lot of fun doing so, but it’s starting to feel like it’s not the
write right thing for me anymore. I’m wary to shut the blog down because I will miss it, but again, this is what I’m leaning towards as being the right thing for me. I just need a little more time to process it, I think.
I will “talk” to you all soon!
Sorry for the delay, but you know—newborn baby and all! The winner of the Perfectly Posh Giveaway is:
Comment #3, Jordan! Lady, I’ll be emailing you later today to put you in touch with Lisa.
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! The winner can be found here.
So, y’all know I don’t normally do giveaways on the blog. In fact, I think this is my very first one! But one of my high school friends, Lisa, was sweet enough to offer to send me some spa products and let me do a giveaway on the blog as a way of relaxing before Baby M was born. But, as you all know, he had other plans and came 8 days early, so I didn’t get to review the products she sent and do the giveaway til now. It actually worked out great, because now I can offer you a little something fun right before Christmas!
First up, let’s talk about the company. Here’s what Lisa had to say:
Perfectly Posh launched in October 2011 offering spa-grade pampering products made from the best ingredients on earth. They contain no sulfates, parabens, gluten, or soy. There are no fillers either, instead natural enzymes and vitamin E keep the look and quality of the products over time. And the products are made in the US!
My site is perfectlyposh.us/poshlisa. I was working with another direct selling company as my part time job scheduled around my two children when my friend introduced me to Perfectly Posh. I was convinced to make the switch for so many reasons – baby line offered, natural ingredients, new and fresh company, only a dozen consultants in WI for me to grow my business, and a low price point for quality products.
I love sending samples to new customers or helping them host portable parties. Portable parties give a hostess option to those too far away from me to do something in their homes or those people who have too much on their schedules to get all their friends and family together on one evening. I send 5-7 samples, catalogs and order forms and they take them around to family and friends to earn free products. It’s a nice option to have in today’s busy world.
Sounds great, right? And I love the idea of portable parties! You can check Lisa out on her website as well as her Facebook page: facebook.com/poshlisa. She was kind enough to send me a lotion, a face and body scrub, a bath ball, and a lip balm to try.
The bath ball is not pictured, as I already crushed it up to use it!
First up, I have to tell you that I am OBSESSED with the face & body scrub, Candy Cane Fix. I have only been using it on my face but it is awesome and leaves my skin so smooth! And the minty fresh scent really wakes me up in the mornings (which, hello, with a newborn?! I am a zombie and need all the help waking up I can get). As for the other products, the lotion smells great and goes on silky smooth. And the lip balm was the PERFECT solution to my super-chapped lips when I came home from the hospital (WHY are hospitals so damn dry?! I had the worst chapped lips ever for days on end when we came home!). I used the bath ball and sadly, it was the only product of which I was not a fan. I am more of a bubble bath girl and while this did soften the water, I wanted more bubbles and fizz. The scent was pretty overwhelming too. I appreciate the softening effects but it wasn’t enough to make me say I loved it.
So, now for the fun part: the giveaway! Lisa has kindly offered to give one lucky reader a $20 gift certificate. You’ll comment, I’ll randomly pick a winner, and then I’ll get you in touch with Lisa to pick out $20 worth of product or to apply $20 to an order that totals more than that. Sound good? I am not big on having to jump through hoops in order to win giveaways, so just go ahead and comment on this post to enter. I’d love to learn more about my readers though, so maybe you could tell me how you found me, how long you’ve been reading, etc.
This giveaway will close on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 11:59pm CST and I will choose a winner at that time and try to post shortly thereafter. Be sure to include a valid email address when you comment so that I can get in touch with you!
ALSO: Today is Aaron Rodgers Day here in Wisconsin (12/12/12). So, your daily dose of cuteness:
A little boy wearing his first Packers jersey. Aaron is Mommy’s favorite player! Go Pack Go! (Also, those jeans? 0-3 month size. Little man is growing like a weed but he is still so tiny!! 6 weeks old on Saturday and we are still rocking the newborn duds).
*Per FCC Rules, I must tell you again that I received free product to review in order to be able to host this giveaway.
It’s well documented that I am crazy for Christmas. And this being our first Christmas in the new house as well as MJ’s first Christmas…well, let’s just say I am even more excited this year than ever before! Behold, our Christmas trees for 2012.
Sadly, we had to put our 10-foot Christmas tree in storage, as our ceilings in this house aren’t tall enough for it. So we’re down a tree this year…but no matter, I still think the trees I did put up turned out great!
Our main Christmas tree in the living room. 6 feet tall and houses all of our ornaments, homemade, store-bought, and gifted. I love the mix of colored and white lights!
These two helped decorate, of course:
Um, close-up, because this is just too precious:
Awwwwww! Classic “old man face” from M.
Mini-tree (unlit) in the baby’s room. This is what I call our Charlie Brown tree…it’s tiny and kind of homely looking, but I think it’s so cute in his room! Decorated in blue and silver to match his décor.
Strawberry tree in the kitchen window sill! We are lucky enough to have a big deep window sill in our kitchen and this is perfect in it.
Garland with poinsettias and red balls above the cupboards. The awesome thing about this house is that there is a light switch that corresponds to the outlets above the cupboards, so I can flick these lights on easily!
So, there you have it…our holiday trees (and garland) for this year. I am slowly but surely getting the rest of our Christmas décor up so I will try to remember to do a post about them later! And of course, our outside lights…the first time we have had an actual HOUSE to put lights on! I really wanted to do something like this:
“We’re gonna have the best looking house in town, Russ!”
but sadly, I was vetoed. HAHA!
Do you have your Christmas décor up yet? How many trees do you put up?
Hello! I owe you all a quick update on Life As We Know It. I originally wrote a draft post that I never published at two weeks postpartum, and I can’t believe now at 3.5 weeks how much different life is already from that post! Such is life with a newborn, I suppose. Here’s a quick round-up!
Birth Story: I’m not writing a birth story but I know people are sometimes curious, so here’s a quick synopsis. My entire labor & delivery lasted about 6 hours. My water broke at 10:00pm with no contractions (and in the bathroom, no less…hooray for no clean-up!). Contractions started on the way to the hospital around 10:45ish. Got to the hospital at 11, upstairs to L&D by 12:30, epidural at 1:00am, ready to push at 4:00am. Pushed for about 45 minutes, and he was out! He came out ghostly white and was having some trouble breathing (initial Apgar score was 5). So, they called the RT for extra suctioning…about half an hour later I was holding him! His second Apgar score was a much better 8.
Yeah…the newborn outfit we brought for him to go home in? HUGE on him. Like, he is almost four weeks old now and is JUST starting to fit newborn clothes properly. Luckily, he is gaining like a champ! He was back up to birth weight at our first pediatrician appointment two days after we got home (5 days old), and has finally breached the 8 pound mark.
Recovery: Ok, if you don’t hate me enough for having a short labor & delivery and having my baby early, you are allowed to hate me now…I had no tears, stitches, hemorrhoids, or any of the other typical issues related to having a baby. The nurses remarked both days we were in the hospital that I was definitely having the easiest time of anyone on the floor. I was able to shower, shave, etc. both days, and never had any issues using the bathroom. Aside from some sore muscles from pushing, physically I felt pretty normal after delivery. Now, 3.5 weeks later, I am definitely feeling just fine and I have no residual bleeding left.
Family Photo at Thanksgiving at my parents’ house!
Mentally, though? Wow. Those post-partum hormone drops are NO JOKE. I feel like the books and blogs and such just gloss over this but WOW is it an extreme adjustment. I was a mess for about two weeks, and had a lot of “What in the F did we do?!” thoughts. I felt very anxious and I cried a lot. I’m not afraid to admit that the newborn days, while precious, are really hard. But every day gets better and better so I know we won’t always be so sleep deprived and feel so amateur. And I am definitely enjoying my time at home with the little one. He is so darn cute and we just love him so much! I can’t believe how much he changes every day.
Breastfeeding: Hands down, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is SO HARD, y’all. The first two weeks were pure hell. First, Little Man wouldn’t latch. He was so tiny at birth (5lbs 14ounces) and he had a lot of lanugo and other preemie qualities that they suspect he was actually late pre-term (meaning my due date was off). Little guys like him often have trouble latching, so I spent a lot of time with the lactation consultant in the hospital. Eventually, we used a nipple shield to get him to latch, but thankfully I only had to use that for a few days. My milk came in on the day we got home from the hospital, so that definitely helped. THEN, after we finally figured out latching, we figured out that I have an overactive letdown and oversupply issues. I am thankful to have enough milk for baby boy, but boy is it hard to watch him sputter & gag & cry & sometimes scream during some of our feedings. Thankfully, our pediatrician is also a board certified lactation consultant, so we have had a lot of help. I am block feeding to help ensure he gets enough hindmilk and am anxiously awaiting the day he grows into my letdown.
Blogging: As you can see, it’s been hard to do! But I’m ok with it. My primary focus is spending time with MJ and not worrying about anything else. In terms of blogging about him, I am still trying to decide how much I want to post. We will not be using his full name on the blog, however, so I would like to please ask you to refrain from doing so as well. Any variation of MJ, M, Little Man, Dude, etc. is ok, but please do not refer to him by name in the comments. It’s my choice to blog, not his, so I want to keep his name off the blog (which is why I put it in the Week 39 photo and didn’t write it in the actual post, since that won’t be Google-able). I am still trying to decide how many pictures, etc. I want to post. Obviously, I want to share, but the Internet is kind of a scary place and I want to make sure we are protecting him. We’ll see how it evolves!
Gee, they look nothing alike!
[Please note that this photo was posed.
Brad was very much awake and alert so baby was safe
napping on Daddy like this.]
Everything Else: I’ll be really honest here. Having a newborn is definitely harder than I thought it would be. We have good days and better days (I can’t say they’re bad days, at all.) B went back to work this week after having three glorious weeks off and I was really nervous about it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but his hours are quite long…he works from 8am to 8pm every day. So we are alone from about 7:30am to 8:30pm, and it can be very difficult at times! But we had a great first day alone together. I was able to shower, cook/eat & do laundry, visit Daddy at work, and even rest a little! But then that night was horrible and Mister Man was up at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. So yesterday was spent entirely on the couch, trying to get baby to sleep for a longer period of time, with no shower and barely any time to eat. But then he slept great again last night! So, I try not to be too hard on myself and remember that he is not even a month old yet. We’ll get into a routine soon enough, and there’s no need to rush it. That said, we are so happy he is here and healthy and growing. It’s hard to remember what life was like before we had him! He is so darn cute and sweet and we love having him in our lives. I am trying to soak up all the moments—easy and hard—because I know he won’t be this little forever.
So that’s what’s been up with us! I have a few more posts in the works, whenever I can get to them…including our Christmas decorations for this year (only 3 trees this year, booo!), and even a special giveaway. How are things with you guys?