Friday, May 30, 2014

Adventures in Breastfeeding! pt 2

It's 10:30pm. After a thirty minute feeding/burping/rocking/snuggling session, Isabel is finally asleep. I strip down to PJ's and crawl into bed. I do this very quietly, and in pitch darkness, because her crib is in my room. I plug my phone in and play BINGO on silent or check my emails/twitter/pinterest/Facebook.
12:30am. Lucky me, 2 months old is when she decided to sleep through (most) of the night. My boobs, however,  have their own schedule. I wake up to an almost burning tingle, and throbbing nipples. Guess it's time to pump. Ugh. After half an hour, I can crawl back to bed.
3/3:30 am. She's started to fuss and whine, but not actually cry. Time for a change, and a one-boob feeding. 99% of the time, she burps twice on her own and then fusses after I put her down. Sometimes binkie is needed for sucking, sometimes not. But she always needs her woozy blanket. I put her in the portable bassinet, which is beside my bed, and we both fall asleep to Daddy's snoring.
It's now 5:45am. On the dot. I hear a little quack from someone, which is her way of telling me she's awake and ready to play! I peer over the edge of her bassinet to see a huge grin. I change her first, then bring her back to my bed, where we cuddle and nurse the neglected side, which is now the side of a cantelope and consistently leaking with every slight touch. I doze off, but not for long. Isabel feels the need to dig into my breast with her baby nails, and hold on for dear life as she sucks me dry. She only pulls away to burp a little, and then she immediately snuggles up into my cleavage and falls asleep. It is now 6 am.
7:15am. My alarm goes off, alerting the house that it's time to wake up with irritating pop music mixed with static, because we can't get reception in the house.
My 6 year old, Delilah, decides to come in and turn off my alarm. She then pokes or shakes me, declaring that it's time to wake up and I have to get dressed. Isabel wakes up, too, and I shake Joe to wake up. And what is the first thing out of his mouth?
"Man, I'm so tired!"

(**For some reason, Blogger did not keep this published, despite my doing so via  the phone app. Grr!)

Phone Addict

I'm one of those people that has to have my phone near me at all times. Part of this is because I live so far away from my family that I refuse to miss a single phone call, text, e-mail, etc. from one of them. The other is because I've only just joined the modern world, as far as phone technology goes, in the last year, and I'm amazed at what my smart phone can do. I'm even more amazed with my service provider!

No, this isn't some spam to praise a phone company. This isn't a post about being a phone snob. This is a real confession about phone addiction, and how I know I'm not the only one.

I swore up and down that I wasn't attached to my phone. Not at all! "I barely post pictures on Facebook, or update my status." "I log in to Twitter maybe once or twice a week." "I only stare at my phone when I read my Kindle books on the app!" "I turn on Spotify to listen to music while I clean the house, do yard work, go for a walk, etc."

Of course, I'm grateful to have my phone when adorable situations arise...

It was only after Isabel was born that I realized just how much I depended on my phone. Granted, through a company called Lightyear Wireless, I have unlimited talk, text & data for $60/month, so I'm never worried about my app usage, or going over minutes gabbing with my mom. I could have music streaming while reading a book and nursing the baby at the same time. AT THE SAME TIME! Yeah! Multitasking!!

But what was I missing during that nursing session? I missed her eyes gazing at my concentrated face. I missed that warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when I watch her fall asleep mid-suck, and unlatch herself. It only happened a couple times, so what's the big deal about being on my phone? (Yup. Denial.)

When the weather became tolerable, because Wisconsin still had a foot of snow on the ground in late April, I started taking Isabel out for walks through the neighborhood. I'd turn on Spotify, plug in my headphones, and get lost in my music.
But what did I miss during those walks? I missed my baby girl listening to the birds for the first time. I missed her reaction to the way the sun fell on her face. I didn't soothe her when the cars drove by and startled her because I could barely hear them over Matchbox 20.

Then, there's the Social Media Life. You know, the pictures you upload to your social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc), because you know people will see it. You want them to be jealous and proud of your life as they scroll past it. I do this. I do this because I watch my college friends graduate and find true love, and my stomach knots for them in their happiness. I read status updates from family about how wonderful their crazy life is, and my heart grows weary to be near them. I want them all to see that I'm happy and perky and everything is awesome, up here on my own, in a strange land that's more like a popsicle! Because I can edit out the annoyances and frustrations on my phone, but not in real life. I want my life to look perfect to everyone. Life doesn't work like that. And it sucks.

I was still in denial until even last week, when my old phone (I'd bought it used- discount with Lightyear! Yeah! ) decided to give up the ghost. It started to constantly reset itself for no reason, and the home row buttons finally crapped out. Sure I can still make and receive calls, but then my phone is stuck on the phonebook until I restart it, or it turns off by itself.

Am I complaining about a broken phone? No. I'm complaining that the guilt hit me like a tidal wave once I put my phone down and actually paid attention. I feel like I need to purge myself of these silly sins, and declare that I am on my phone TOO much.

Maybe it's time to DOWNGRADE back to a simple phone, instead of UPGRADE like we've been trained to do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Country Soul

When you think of Country, what comes to mind? CMT? Nashville? Maybe the twangy, folksy tunes that come on the radio? That's what most think of, I guess. But not me.
No, this ol' gal thinks of wide spaces, small towns, and living off the land. And it's been calling me for ages. That thick pull on your heartstrings, making your body just ache and your mind say, 'We need to be out there'.

Lately, that's been happening to me a lot. Oh, God, there's nothing I want more than to grow my own veggies and herbs, store 'em, cook up supper in a kitchen with a tub sink and a wide stove (like the kind I played around at Great Grandma's house up in Isom, Kentucky). I want to let my girls run around, carefree, outside to play. No fences, just a treeline, or a path between the pines. I want them to grow up like I did.
It's so often during my day that I feel my soul cry out, 'PLEASE! Just take me back home!'. I know I'll never be satisfied in my life until I let that earth crumble in my hands. I don't know if my city-slicker husband will ever understand this, but at least I've got him enjoying a small town lifestyle now.

See, I have this idea in mind: Make small plots at a time, learn to can and preserve, re-learn sewing and taking care of my home the way I know how. Maybe my little brown roots are showing, but this list is what I feel. It's ingrained in me, and I'm slowly putting things in motion. Most of the time, though, it doesn't feel like I'm going fast enough.

Have you ever had a dream you wanted to be real in an instant?

                                          Yeah, something like that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

One Hot Mess

I wanted to do this as sort of a disclaimer, since my blog is part of the mommy blog world, and they all seem to share the same sort of theme: Frugality and Natural Living. I love these blogs, and I follow quite a few! I am inspired by these ladies constantly, and take a few tips to heart!

But I am not one of them.

I do not have my shopping lists organized, or have the chutzpah to make things by hand, like natural shaving cream. I also have NO idea how to use coupons. Like, at all. My attempts at 'trimming the fat' have left me cutting into the meat far too often.

I'm nothing short of a hot mess with an empty wallet. I struggle, I fail, I lose sight of my goals, and I backslide.  I'm also a mama that loves her family, and would do anything to keep things running smooth (That includes NOT being a SAHM, much to my disappointment). This means that, despite failing over and over, I still get back up to try and save money from another angle.

I'm sure things are easier for most of you out there. There are groups and co-ops and blogs that have helped you pinch every last penny you've got. I'm sure there are people out there, close to you, or maybe even you have the innate gift for getting the dirt cheap deals on everything.

But for those of us who are clueless...

For those of us who wander aimlessly through the stores...

For those of us who have no idea what a co-op even is...

I am with you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Adventures in breastfeeding pt3

Holy smokes!
This post has been in draft mode for nearly a month! I'm glad I came in to update a couple things before posting. Hopefully, I'll be posting more often than this. I know, I know, I'm slacking. But there are more important things to do than sit down and write a whole article at teaching the baby how to give kisses.


Here we are, 4 months old, and still nursing! If you're like me,  and still struggle with a steady milk supply, every week is a triumph, and every month feels incredible.
I won't lie, there are days that I dread pumping. I hate being measured by ounces instead of what my little one needs. It's frustrating to pump only four ounces total during a session, feeding the nagging doubt, despite the fact that you may have just fed the baby an hour or two ago.
I am not alone in my struggle, and I have found a few things to help me.

*Embrace Your Inner Camel:
I have a couple reusable water bottles that I keep on hand at all times. They are between 20 and 24 ounces deep, and I've managed to drink about four bottles a day, including my one cup of decaf in the morning, my breakfast tea, and my evening tea.
All of these liquids help milk production, most of all water. Hydration is a huge part of the breastfeeding game.

*Take Your Oats:

Steel cut or instant? Doesn't matter! Research has shown that oatmeal does increase your milk supply.  Eating it every day, though? There's only so much bland my tongue can stand! So, I jazz up my oats with either a little cinnamon & applesauce, or sugar and dried cranberries. A pat of butter and a splash of milk are a given in my bowl.

*Bring Out The Secret Weapon!:
This little box is what really keeps me going. (Sorry that it's sideways!)
This tea runs about $4 at Wal-Mart, but check local organic food stores for similar teas. Can't stand the taste of licorice? There are fenugreek and blessed thistle pills you can take instead.
-Word to the wise, drink this with A LOT of honey (or sugar >.>). It's gross when it's plain. Also wait til it's lukewarm.

*Nurse As Much As Possible!: Even though my little one sleeps through most of the night, there are a few times I'll have to get up and pump. Bleary-eyed, with my phone on silent, and my MiPump at the ready on the couch, I manage about 4-6oz before I doze off and nearly drop my milk. I put what I've gotten in a baggie, and into the fridge it goes for daycare, or freezing. And when she's ready to eat (at 4am, 6am, and 8:30am), my milk will be waiting for her.

*Do NOT Stress At The Pump!:
You know what I do? Honestly, when I'm in my cramped little break room area, and I know I'm on a time crunch, I just whip out my phone, turn on a timer, and then...I play BINGO.
Yeah, I play BINGO, or look at cute videos I've taken of my sweet li'l peanut, or watch a snippet of my favorite shows on Netflix.
The one thing I don't do? Obsess over the clock. I don't check my timer at all.  (I use a dual pump most days, but sometimes, I forget it at home and have to do the fun 'alternate boob pump' with the single.)
Even when I don't get a chance to empty myself, at least I'm producing something so I a) don't get engorged, and b) remind my body that YES I still need to make milk at this time of day.

Onwards and upwards to our Six Month Goal!!! Will we make it? Will Mommy go insane from the growth spurts? We'll find out next time! FOR THE BOOBIE!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

School Girl

This semester is nearly over, and then I'll have all summer to forget what I've learned.
I want to make it public:
I juggled a newborn, two jobs, my house, and Beans' activities without losing my mind.
I almost didn't, but with positive reinforcement from my best friend and my husband, I finally made it through!