Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let the Weening Begin!

It's been a year since my little guy, Gabriel, graced us with his presence and it's been a year since I began the journey (and I don't say that lightly) of breastfeeding.

Nursing my children was always something I'd dreamed of doing. From several classes and studies, I knew that it was the best nutrition for infants and it was an incredible way to bond with my baby. What I was not prepared for was how much work it was going to be. I did not have the typical nursing experience. It was hard and didn't come naturally at all. The first several months of Gabriel's life, I was constantly worried that he wasn't getting enough to eat. The doctor, as well as other moms, suggested that I supplement with formula. But I really didn't want to go down that route. Primarily because of the cost and also the concern that if I started him on formula, he wouldn't want to nurse anymore. That was an experience I didn't want to cut short.

But after many tears, long days/nights and the help of metoclopramide (Reglan), I can say that I've done it! Here I am a year later and I've been nursing Gabriel the whole time. We made it through our rough patches and he's a happy, healthy little boy. Now, before any of you get your panties in a bunch, I don't think there is ANYTHING WRONG with using formula. For some mommies, it's the only option. It was almost a reality for us. But I do think that if you can breastfeed, you should. For those mommies who are struggling, there is support out there!! Don't give up!! Persistence, medication and utilizing a ton of resources saved my breastfeeding experience. And it's been worth ever amount of frustration and ever tear that's been shed.

Now that journey is coming to an end. I'm in the process of weening Gabriel, which is proving to be hard, physically and emotionally. I think what's going to be the hardest to let go of is the last feeding of the night, where I get to nurse him off to dreamland. I'll miss the closeness that we have shared, having him fall asleep in my arms. But he's growing up fast, becoming more independent and it's time. I'm proud of myself that I made it a year. I think the American Academy of Pediatrics would be proud too.

If you have a second, say a prayer for me. Say a prayer for him. And say a prayer that we don't have to put chocolate in the cow's milk to get it to go down his throat!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


This weekend is "clean your butt off" weekend at our house. Gabriel's 1st birthday party is just a week away and with 20+ people coming, I want to make sure my house looks great. Why is it suddenly so hard to keep my house looking orderly with a kid under one? It's not like he's writing on the walls yet or tipping over potted plants. So if it's not him, then it must be me. Maybe I've gotten a little lackadaisical when it comes to cleaning.

My whole life I've been a cleaner. Every time I would make a trip home to my parent's house, I would clean. They love clutter, which is exactly the opposite of me. I can't stand it. It makes me nauseous. After we were married, and we'd travel back to Mom and Dad's, my husband would find me scouring their sink and organizing spice racks at 2am. Alright, I'm not just a cleaner...I'm a freak.

I've always tried to keep my house as clutter free as possible. But since giving birth, my personal rules have fallen by the wayside. As I type this posting, I can glance into my living room and it looks like Fischer Price, Little Tykes and other random toys made in China threw up all over the floor. The bar in our kitchen seems to grow paper and other clutter weeds every day. It's not like I don't try to keep my house orderly. At least once a week, I try to purge the bar of all the things Michael and I have a hard time putting away. Receipts, magazines, mail, random articles of baby clothing, cups, etc. We do a load of dishes each night. And each night we pick up all of Gabriel's toys, but usually they just get shoved in front of our fireplace, making it yet another Clutter Zone. I just can't seem to get a handle on it. Is there hope? Is there a clean life after baby?

My answer is: I don't know. Right now, the outcome looks bleak. Soon Gabriel will be displacing more things and my carpet will inevidibly endure more stains. And what happens when we have TWO kids? I'm going to have to go back to work just to hire a maid. Oh well. For now, I'll just focus on getting the house looking good for next weekend. It's only got to stay clean for a week. That's manageable...right?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flying under the radar

This morning began promptly at 4:40am. I was pulled out of my slumber when the baby monitor sitting next to my bed began wailing, the little red lights blaring a strong level 5 red. Something was wrong. I waited my standard 5 minutes. Maybe the baby had just bonked his head on the crib slates. Surely he would doze back off to sleep. I mean, it was only 4:45am…normal people are still sleeping and surely he would want to be like a normal person and go back to sleep. Oh wait, I’ve forgotten. I have the child who has odd sleep patterns. After switching off the monitor in our room, I laid in bed, still able to hear the cries coming from Gabriel’s room, which is all the way across the house. I threw off the covers ready to go in, when the crying stopped. The house laid silent for about another 5 minutes. YES! Success! He went back to sleep. 5:00am rolls around and I’m still struggling going back to sleep, wondering why Gabriel woke up screaming in the first place. I decide that I’ll just go in and sneak a peek at him. Make sure he’s okay. Maybe he was cold. I’ll cover him up with his blanket and then my mind can be at peace with the situation. Then I’ll be able to go back to sleep. I pull myself out of the bed, floundering around my nightstand trying to find my glasses. After shoving them onto my face, I creep across the house, trying not to bump into anything in the dark or make a noise. I’ve noticed that as I get older, I have the occasional bone creek in my bones or joint pop. So, I move extra slowly trying to avoid making any noise that will wake my sleeping baby.

I approach his door, slowly pushing it open. There is still no noise, aside from the hum of the ceiling fan overhead. I tip toe up to his bed and am extra careful, ready to make a dash for it in case he hears me. I hold my breath and cautiously pear into his bed. There is my little angel, sleeping peacefully on his tummy, blanket tossed to the side. Being the overprotective mom that I am, I think, oh, I’ll just cover him up and then I can have my sigh of relief and go back to bed. As I bend over to pull up soft warm blanket that Grandma Von Fange made, it happens. CRACK! My elbow couldn’t handle the pressure and gave way, cutting through the silence of the room like a Ginsu knife. Not missing a beat, Gabriel’s head immediately pops up.

Now, a normal person would deal with being caught, suffering the consequences. But not me. I’m definitely not normal. As soon as his little head raised up from the mattress, I hit the deck, literally. My whole body went flat on the floor. I laid in complete silence, willing my body to not to twitch. Gabriel knew something was afoot in his room. Out of the corner of my eye, there suddenly was a little hand coming through the crib slates, waving furiously, along with random moments of quiet gibberish. I was determined not to be discovered. I held my position for a good 10 minutes. After that time had passed, I was 70% sure that Gabriel had at least gone from sitting up and sensing danger to laying back down. It was time for me to make my move. Saying a quick prayer for my body to be silent, I slowly slithered out of the room, my presence still undetected thanks to the crib bumper.

When I reached the hallway, pulled myself to my feet, breathing a sigh of relief. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had just gotten in and out of Gabriel’s room undetected. SUCCESS! Gabriel was no longer upset and was sure to go back to sleep in a matter of a few minutes. I crawled back into my bed, pulled up the covers and just as I put my glasses on the nightstand, I heard it.


So much for stealth.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I hate ironing...or do I?

Recently I got into a little tiff with my husband about ironing. Growing up, Michael's mom always ironed shirts for his dad. It was never a power struggle or bone of contention. It was just expected that she would iron the shirts. So, when Michael and I got married, I think he thought that I would end up doing the same thing. And why wouldn't he? That's what he had grown up thinking wives did.

But here's the dilemma...I don't do ironing. I don't even iron my own clothes. In my family, the ironing board was only brought out for special occasions like ironing the Easter or Christmas dress or possibly pressing a pair of slacks for church. But ironing shirts? On a regular basis? Who do I look like, June Cleaver?

As I was saying, a few months ago we got into an argument about Michael desiring that I iron his shirts. He rebutted my firm NO, I WON'T DO IT with the idea that it would really help him out in the mornings and that he would really appreciate it. But I didn't care. I was wrapped up in the idea that if I conceded to pressing his wrinkly shirts that I would be pigeonholed as a little housewife. I started to fear that he thought I needed to iron shirts because what else did I have to do all day now that I was staying at home with the baby? I didn’t want to be labeled…next thing you’d know, I’d be wearing “mom jeans.” I stood my ground, telling him that I was NOT his mother (not such a wise thing to tell your husband, ladies) and that he could iron his own dang shirts.

Now let's fast-forward 4 months. I was sorting laundry (something I absolutely loath doing) and began putting all of those wrinkly shirts on hangers, ready to shove them into the mess of a closet that we have in our bedroom. As I'm scrounging around for more plastic hangers (don't worry Joan Crawford, his shirts don't go on wire hangers), I realized how selfish I was being. I hadn't stopped to think that by ironing Michael's shirts for him I could not only save him time in the mornings, but I could also show him that I loved him. It was something simple that I could do to show him that I didn’t want to make his life harder but easier, and that I wanted to *gulp* serve him. Proverbs 31 talks about the Wife of Nobel Character. This is a woman that I’ve always wanted to be like, striving to match what she does to take care of her family. If this was my model, how was my egotistic attitude reaching this goal? Proverbs 31: 11-12 says this:

“Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Was that what I was doing? When I stopped and meditated on this verse, I found that I needed to change my tune. So I stopped fussing about not having enough plastic hangers, went and got out the ironing board, and started pressing away. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! I even got to watch an episode of the Biggest Loser. Definitely a win-win!

I’m still not the perfect wife by any stretch of the imagination, but little by little, I’m becoming a better wife. And at least now my husband will look a little cleaner cut when he goes to work.

If you love food...

...then you need to check out this blog. My friend Sarah from MOPS started it and it has a ton of easy and yummy recipes. She just recently asked me to start contributing to it and I happily obliged. :) You can check it out here :

Try my Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. They're oh so yummy!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The fog is beginning to lift

My son has a tendency to test my patience with his napping abilities. Since day one on this planet, he has made it his mission to not take napping seriously, only sleeping for 45 minutes at the most per nap. But the tables are starting to turn.

Last week, for the entire week, Gabriel decided to take at least hour and a half naps, some lasting two, even THREE hours! I think my daily prayers of nap extension have finally been answered. And what a sigh of relief it is. But this new habit (I'm praying it turns into a habit!) has made me think: I wonder if God sighs relief when we finally get our act together and start being obedient to what He wants us to do? I know God is a loving creator, but I sometimes wonder if he throws his hands up in the air when for the umpteenth time we don't do what he asks of us. Does he ever want to thrown in the towel? Probably not,considering he's still around and pouring out his blessings on each one of us.

I realized that the relationship I long for with my son is one that I need to have with my heavenly father. I need to work on being obedient to the will of God, trying my hardest to do things that are pleasing to Him. Maybe then He can breath that sigh of relief more often when it comes to dealing with my behavior.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I think I'll keep him

After being with someone for almost 10 years, it's easy to get caught up in the routine of your life. You wake up together, eat breakfast, kiss each other goodbye, go about your day, greet him with a kiss when he gets home, have dinner, put the baby to bed, watch a show, go to bed, and the routine starts all over again. The pattern is not one you stray away too far from because it's comfortable, it's what you know. But occasionally, you or he, may decide to stir things up a bit. That's what happened to me yesterday.

We were busy getting ready to head out to McKinney to see Michael's brother, sister-in-law and kids, throwing ourselves together, trying to keep Gabriel content before we headed out the door. I had just gotten out of the shower, hair still up in a towel, and Michael says to me, "You need to pack an overnight bag." Huh? After razzing him about his secretive plot and learning nothing of his plans, I obliged and threw something together in a bag. Michael casually threw in that I needed to pack something nice to wear for that evening. So after having to make a quick decision on something a little more upscale, I threw my bag into the car and buckled the baby in, hoping I remembered contact solution and my underwear.

After a fun afternoon with the Paul, Rachel and the kids, Michael instructed me to change and Rachel took my sad little baby away for his afternoon nap, instructing me to give him kisses since I wouldn't see him until morning. Again, huh? I did as I was told, and then away we went. Michael surprised me by taking me to the Dallas Arboretum, a magical place of flowers, colors, and scents. We strolled around admiring the tulips, roses, snapdragons, and various other plants that I can't name and it dawned on me. My husband is "dating" me right now! We held hands, not straying far from one another, stole an occasional kiss or two and enjoyed just being together, alone.

Next up was a crazy tour of Downtown Dallas (we had a couple of hours to kill before dinner) and we both decided that navigating Dallas was not something we wanted to have for a day job. We found a cute little place called the Idle Rich Pub and enjoyed a tasty treat while having adult conversation that didn't consist of diapers, what Gabriel had for dinner or how many naps he took. We talked about our future, and our goals and what we wanted to focus our lives on. It was a deep connection neither of us had felt in a long time, especially since adding our son into our family.

After killing sometime in Dallas, I asked where this secret was going to lead us other words, what's for dinner? Mum was the word and after finding our car, we skipped across the street (not literally, Michael doesn't skip), and we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Sambuca. Then the feast began. We started off with delicious bruschetta tapenades, then moved onto a nicely prepared Ribeye complimented by candied sweet potatoes, prochuttio macaroni and cheese, broccoli crunch, and dill infused tater tots. OH MY WORD! I have never eaten so well in my life! Then to bring the meal to a close, we enjoyed a delicious creme brulee. I almost had to be wheeled out the door.

The night ended on such a high note. We enjoyed our dinner without feeling we had to shovel our food in, hoping to get our money's worth before Gabriel melted down. I got to focus all of my attention on the love of my life, not having to share it with anyone else. It was a perfect evening, with a perfect guy.

All this to say, we realized that we needed to do this more often. Dating your spouse and pushing out the distractions to focus on each other is important. Our next date might not include a Ribeye and live entertainment, but it sure as heck will include childcare. Thanks for a great night, love. It was wonderful.