Thursday, July 30, 2009

12 Weeks

Elsie weighs in: 13 lbs., 6 oz.

I think now is the time to stop counting weeks officially. Maybe we'll go to a bakers' dozen, but since I'm back to work all day, every day in two weeks (this week was a 3-day week, next week is a 4-day week), I think I will just go with months from now on. Probably.

Anyway, today I had the day off for sleeping in and spending more time with Elsie. We slept until 10:15. Elsie ate, and then we jetted out the door to have lunch with some of the moms before Thursday play group at the hospital. At play group, there were 15 babies. That's the most since I've been going! We stayed for a long time. The big topic of discussion this week is making baby food. It seems doable, and relatively cheap.

I realized that during the school year Elsie will be spending a lot of time not with us, except on weekends. I'll wake her up and drive her to J's. I'll pick her up after school and bring her home by 4, and then she'll be in bed by 8. So, that's approximately four hours that we'll get to spend together. And on nights that I'm working at Sylvan...well, I don't even want to think about it. In fact, I need to not think about it or I may have a breakdown.

Anyway, our big news is that we are hammering out a lease for a house. So, just when I waited to subscribe to magazines for my classroom, now I'll have to get the address changed. One of the moms I met on Thursdays is moving up North for her husband's job and they were trying to sell their house (which is about 4 blocks from my school). We went and looked at it but know that we are in no place to buy a house right now. We told them to call us if they needed renters. Well, last weekend they called and wanted to know if we were still interested. I've gone back and forth. I hate moving, but there are a lot of reasons to leave this place, and I would rather help out a friend than pay money to a company that can't even get the gate to our gated community to work right after a year of living here!

Anyway, tomorrow is our last day of leisure before the long haul. We will sleep in. Oh, yes. We will.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to Work

Well, today was my first day back to work.

We actually got out the door on time this morning, despite the fact that I was an acting single mother, and I even remembered to bring milk for Elsie. I was afraid I would get all the way there and have forgotten her food! As I was driving up to Judy's apartment, I started crying and I can't really explain where that came from. I was able to calm myself enough to give her some basic instructions. I had spent some time typing them all up last night only to find out that we have no ink in our printer. Smooth. Because I had to write it out by hand, I only put the very basics, saving my tome for another day. Judy has cared for babies before, but this is the first breastfed baby she's watched, so I had to explain about how to thaw (when necessary)/reheat the milk. [I did, however, forget to mention the yellow, runny poo, which freaked her out a little bit...haha.]

On the way to work, I started crying again. I tried to pull myself together, but failed miserably, and showed up to the new teacher training with my face all blotchy, with people probably thinking I didn't want to be at work. Partially true. During introductions, I explained why I was a mess and got several pitying looks, and throughout the day ladies kept coming up to me telling me about the first time they left their children.

At lunch, I left to go see my girl. I hadn't had the opportunity to pump (ouch!!!), so I was anxious to feed Elsie. So, of course, I would have left my lights on and my car was dead in the 100 degree heat. Yep. That's exactly what I did. Again. Do you remember that this also happened on my first day of work at my last job? I would have been fine jumping it off, but it just so happened that one of the other new hires that came out right after me is the new auto tech teacher at the high school, and he was happy to help. Alas, fifteen minutes of my lunch time wasted!

They were waiting for me outside, with Elsie in her stroller facing away from me. I greeted Judy and Jim and they made surprised expressions toward Elsie. Evidently she started kicking her feet and flailing her arms when she heard me. That made me feel good...and sad. We ate lunch, and too soon, it was time to leave.

Back at school, I knew I still needed to pump, but there wasn't a break for another hour. When I was able to sneak away, I found the counselor (who remembered me!) and she opened an empty office for me. Evidently it used to be the "pumping room" before they moved all the choir junk in there. She told me she would be happy to help me find places to pump this coming year. I knew going into it that several of the teachers there breastfed and pumped, but this definitely made me feel better.

And, we got done early for the day, so I asked the curriculum coordinator where my classroom was, so she got me some keys and showed me. Evidently the A/C is broken in my classroom right now, but the part is on order. I say, good, that means I won't be tempted to go up there Thursday or Friday and work. I can be at home finishing up projects started this past week.

Finally, I got over to Judy's, about 30 minutes earlier than I told her I would be there, and Elsie was wailing because Judy changed her clothes to "freshen her up," and, well, Elsie hates to have clothes pulled over her head. I told Judy that unless she was poopy or all wet from spitup that changing her clothes was an unnecessary step. It was sweet that she wanted her to be clean for me. :)

We're going to have to work out some kinks in the feeding area since I don't know how much milk Elsie actually drinks. Hard to tell.

I know that this will be good, but no one else is ME. They can't take care of my baby the way I do. This, again, is another control issue I'm going to have to work through.

I promised in my last post something vague involving pictures. If you don't remember, that's okay. I'm still working on that since it requires me to scan photographs, but being a single mom this weekend I didn't have the time to mess with the technology. Soon. Very soon.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

11 Weeks

I was able to go back to the hospital play group today and weighed Elsie with her onesie on: 12 pounds, 12 ounces! She's getting to be a big girl! I also met another mom with a 5-month-old. She's an RN, is from Ecuador and is 30. Her daughter is her first child, and she and her husband have been married for 7 years. Needless to say, we have a lot in common. I invited her to church with me on Sunday, and I hope that she is able to come.

Elsie has been doing really well sleeping in her crib in her own room. This morning I heard her making sucking noises, but not crying, and since it had only been 2 hours since her last feeding, I decided to go back to sleep until she vocalized. Well, an hour and a half later she finally made her impatient noise (gah!) and so I fed her. She was still calm, but I got 3.5 hours of sleep at a run. Nice.

The only thing that stinks about Elsie being all the way across the house is that I'm the only one getting up at night. It doesn't make sense for Eli to get up to change her diaper when I'm headed that way anyway, and, besides, she hasn't needed her diaper changed in the night since before we left for Texas. For equitable division of duties, you would think it would make sense for Eli to get Elsie when she cries during the early morning when he's up getting ready (so, after 5 a.m.) and then bring her to me in our bedroom, and that would be great except that Elsie must sense when he's in the shower/bathroom and unable to get to her, because Monday, Tuesday, AND Wednesday mornings she cried only when he was indisposed. And then this morning Eli went to early Bible study and Elsie didn't cry until Eli shut and locked the front door at 6 a.m. Lucky me. Ah, but isn't that the mother's plight?

On another note, it is nearing the 1-year anniversary of my first visit (of 3 total) to the EAMC ER for asthma last year when I finally moved down second night living in Auburn, I think. Eli and his best friend were out at a bar before their big camping trip celebrating the new job and the end of the Bar Exam, and they came home early to take me. And wouldn't you know, a year later, that my asthma is flaring up and I've had to use the nebulizer twice in two days (thanks, Stacey!). I. Can't. Breathe. Except when I nebulize. So, I have come to the conclusion that I'm allergic to Texas, but I'm asthmatized by Alabama. And yes, I did just make that word up.

Okay, tomorrow's post should be interesting, and there may be pictures to go with it. Right now we're getting ready to go in the pool! Those two thoughts are in no way related.


Monday, July 20, 2009

a casa de nuevo

Thanks to everyone for your words of support and advice.

As of 10 p.m. yesterday, we are at home in Alabama again. Being here now, I have no doubt that we made the right choice.

The flight home was uneventful. There were only thirty people on a plane that holds over 100, and as a result I had an entire 3-seat row to myself with the rows in front, behind, and the three to my left vacant. Nursing Elsie was not a problem, and I wasn't self-conscious. She slept in the Moby wrap until take-off, at which point I was instructed to remove her (I'll have to look up why this is). She nursed for a couple of minutes, after which I had to give her the pacifier until the air pressure stopped changing. This, I think, is one of the few drawbacks of Elsie being an efficient eater these days, with her average eating time being six minutes--she was done before we were fully ascended. Another important fact about flying that I just plum forgot was that during flight you can hear little more than white noise, so Elsie slept the entire flight and sucked on her pacifier on the way down and all was well.

There's a lot I need to get done before I go back to work next week, so I am glad to be here. Most of it is house cleaning stuff. While I was gone, Eli bought and assembled a crib, taking the spare bed out of the spare room and putting the new bed in there. Now we need to do the menial tasks that will make that room Elsie's room.

On the same vein, Elsie slept in her own room last night. We put the monitor in there, and it is very strong--I could hear the cats meowing in surround sound, the train was much louder, and the air conditioning unit outside her window made its presence known. But, all in all, we slept. I only got up twice in the night to feed her, and it was no problem to walk the few steps to her room. We also moved the rocking chair into that bedroom, so I had someplace to sleep, er...sit while nursing her.

Time to think about dinner (though I started this when it was still time to think about breakfast...).


Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 Weeks

At ten weeks, Elsie is smiling in response to faces and is babbling in that baby way, carrying on a "conversation" when talked to. She's also drooling all over the place. I can't believe how much change happens in so little time in these early days! I think she's also starting to look like a redhead. That may just be my wishful thinking, but one can hope! She's cute as pie and I want to eat her all up.

Last weekend I made the difficult decision to cut my trip to Texas short. I'm enjoying getting to see my family and spend time with old friends, but I'm still seeing way too much of the inside of Julie's room, where I'm staying. It used to be my room, so I've already gotten my fill of these walls, and yet, here I am...

I know she thinks she means well, but my Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother who lives with my parents has gotten to be unbearable and the situation has deteriorated as I've been here. At first, she would hear Elsie fuss or cry or make noise and she would come out of her room to investigate. She wanted to hold her and even tried to pick her up more than once while Elsie was still strapped into her swing. Then, one morning, right after Mom left for work, Elsie was fussing and Grandma just opened the door and came into my room. She wanted to take the baby and "bounce her." It took about 15 minutes for her to leave so that I could feed Elsie. That night, with Mom's supervision (it was making me so crazy I was either sitting on the edge of the couch or pacing in the kitchen), Grandma rocked Elsie, at first singing "Rock-a-bye, baby, all the day long" loudly in her ear, and then singing along to a CD of church hymns that Mom put on. It was sweet, and I know Grandma enjoyed the time, but she kept repositioning Elsie roughly and it took everything I had to keep from grabbing my baby and running away.

Well, Grandma didn't come near my room again, but I guess it was the weekend, because come Monday morning, Grandma just walked in (I had taken to locking the door, but has slacked off over the weeked when she wasn't interested) when we were sleeping. Before, Grandma had been responding to Elsie's noises, but this time she just had the baby on the brain because Elsie was fast asleep and Grandma just wanted to hold her, she said. I told her she needed to leave, but she just stood by the bassinet watching Elsie. I just wanted to scream but was able to persuade her to leave.

And then yesterday, Elsie had gas and we were trying to work it out, I heard Grandma try both doors to the bedroom (the other door is through the bathroom), and when she found they were locked, for the first time finally knocked. I essentially told her to go away, but in a nice granddaughterly fashion. A few minutes later she brushed the door with her hand and spoke to me through the door, letting me know that she was standing outside the door if I needed her. I told her thank you, but that we were doing okay.

Later that night, when Dad was home from work, and Elsie was all swaddled and ready for bed, a calm and content little burrito, Grandma wanted to hold her. I let her, but it didn't last long because she started singing loudly in Elsie's ear again, and then decided that Elsie's feet needed to be free, so she started tugging at the swaddling, which of course agitated the baby, but to Grandma, that was proof that the blanket was too tight. Then, when that didn't stop Elsie from crying, she started positioning roughly again. I shot Dad a look (because, to me, it was his fault I had let Grandma hold Elsie again--though I think I misunderstood) and thankfully, he rescued my baby and gave her back to me.

Just a minute ago, Elsie was fussing and Grandma came into the bathroom. I opened the bedroom door, said, "No," emptied my Chik-Fil-A cup into the sink, and came back into the bedroom and closed the door. Julie persuaded her to leave the bathroom.

Just recounting these events is stressing me out. I'm feeling dizzy, like I just may be getting sick and I just really want to be home in my own bed.

Anyway, all this to say that I'm flying home on Sunday, a week earlier than originally planned. The longer I stay here, the more money I'll spend while I'm trying to get out of the house so I don't feel claustrophobic. I've never flown with a baby before, so please pray for me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dance, Dance, Yeah!

Remember when I posted about the wedding reception we attended on July 4th? Well, shortly after that, Mrs. C over at Next to Heaven put out a call for guest bloggers while I still had dancing on the brain so I decided to tell the story of how I became the entertaining social dancer that I am, hopefully inspiring future generations of groove. I've never met Mrs. C (she's a friend of a sibling of a friend), but have been reading her blog for a couple of months and we are very similar in that we like corny jokes and stupid songs, and I figured it couldn't hurt to tell my silly story to people that read her blog. Go here to read my personal history as I remember it.

So, if you're a regular reader from Next to Heaven who is visiting for the first time, I'm going to put in a shameless plug--please vote for my sweet Elsie in the Chik-Fil-A Show Us the Cow Contest. Veteran readers will know that my favorite food is free food, and the prize is a year's worth of Chik-Fil-A. Please believe me when I say that I get the irony of dressing my baby up like a cow when my family has always associated the name Elsie with cowdom. May this be the last time that I do it...maybe. She was just so cute!

Anyway, today is the day we take her 2-month pictures, so I hope that all goes well! I'll update later about my family visit to Texas. But before I go, I wanted to say, from youngest to oldest:

"Happy 1st Birthday, Buckaroo!"
"Happy Birthday, Brother-in-Law!"
"Happy Birthday, Aunt-in-Law!"
"Happy Birthday, Father-in-Law!"

Anyone I missed?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Age Differences

I'm becoming more and more amazed at how perceived age differences matter or don't matter. A friend of mine from college had a baby four weeks before Elsie was born, and that felt like such a huge difference, and it still does. I follow her blog and watch the things that her little girl can do and look forward to my Elsie's abilities in four weeks. Pretty soon, the weeks won't matter. They'll start hitting milestones at around the same time. And what seems like a huge developmental difference to me right now will be nothing by the time the girls are school-aged. It's bizarre how quickly the age difference fades.

I was also thinking about that today when at Celebrated Community Church a woman was talking about how upset she was that her 22-year-old son was dating a 30-year-old woman. She made it sound like the woman was old or something. Haha. (At least, I'm trying to laugh.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Appreciate Your Cow

Before today, I never understood the pleasure people took in dressing their babies up in costumes. That changed for me today, because Elsie was dressing up with a great purpose: free food. How cute!

She was definitely the cutest cow in the herd. I had suggested to Stacey early in the week that we dress up to get free food at Chik-Fil-A as a means to do something with the kids and maybe spend a little time away from the television, the Internet, and the Wii. Surprisingly (and happily), Nephew and Niece got involved, along with one of Niece's friends. Stacey, Julie, and I also got dressed up.

Now, have I ever told you before that I can't donate blood, that blood banks won't take it from me? It's because we lived in Germany for six years and therefore I am "at risk" for Creutzfeld-Jacob's disease, better known as Mad Cow Disease in humans. Looks like it's genetic.

Some other fun goings on: While at Dollar Tree, we picked up a swimsuit for $1 and Elsie went into the pool for the first time.

After which I sat with her in the big tub and gave her a bath. How did I get such a cute kid?


Thursday, July 9, 2009

9 Weeks

We've been in Texas now for a week. That's 4 days without Eli. I really miss having someone to share nighttime duties with. He's really enjoying getting 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep. I'm jealous, but mostly just miss him.

It's just been so tiring being here. I'm feeling stressed, and again I'll say I don't know how single parents do this. So, on that note, I'm going to go feed the baby and try to get to bed. Pictures to come.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A good day for a joke

Why is six afraid of seven?

Because seven ate nine.

Get it? 7-8-9? Today's date.

Okay, I admit. I inserted this post after-the-fact. But it's funny. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2 Months

I know I say this every time I post an update on the baby, but, my goodness, time flies!

Today, Elsie is 2 months old. That sounds like an eternity though I know it barely is scratching the surface. I think we're going to do a portrait session sometime this week with my sister as the photog. I'm also taking Elsie to see some friends of mine this week--I'm very excited. And we're dressing up for Cow Appreciation Day at Chik-Fil-A on Friday to get some free food.

I miss my husband and I want to see him again soon. Three weeks is a long time. I'm only 2 days into this adventure.

I'm tired and am going to bed, but will post photos as I get them.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy, Happy 4th

I love fireworks. I love wedding receptions. Today, I had both. :)

Last year on this day I was up in Boston listening to the Pops Orchestra and watching the most spectacular fireworks display I have ever seen, while spending some crazy travel time with my best friend. This year, we were driving home from a wedding and since my parents live out in the country, everyone gets their own fireworks, and we drove home through a 360-degree fireworks display. It was awesome. Cars were pulling over to the side of the road so that they didn't cause accidents watching while driving.

We came to Texas, and got in yesterday evening, to attend the wedding of one of Eli's former residents when he was an RA at Baylor Plaza. It was perhaps the most benign ceremony that did not include any mentions of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. The minister did refer to marriage as a covenant, but she never mentioned with whom. And at the end, just before the couple walked down the aisle as husband and wife she threw in a gratuitous "Trust the Lord with all your heart..." verse that seemed like an afterthought and didn't fit in. Thank goodness for wedding receptions.

I LOVE wedding receptions. No, it's not only about the free food. It's mostly about the dancing. Let there be dancing, indeed. I think Eli and I should hire ourselves out as professional wedding reception guests, ice breakers if you will. I'll break the ice and start the buffet line. And we'll break the ice and start the dancing. We did both of those things tonight and just got the ball a-rolling.

The two BEST wedding receptions I have ever attended were Michelle & Javier's, and Erin & Doug's. Talk about some awesome work-up-a-sweat dance opportunities. Also, M & S's wedding on 7/7/07, but that doesn't really count because I was married to a groomsman, though we did have a great time and M told me he is glad that I am his sister-in-law after seeing me dance. That is probably one of my happiest, feel-good, heck-yeah-I'm-a-Beaver-moments. For those of you who have never seen me dance, I must tell you that I'm a dancing MACHINE. I love it. I love the cheesiness of it. Wedding reception dancing is very different from, say, Dancing with the Stars, which I also love, or from hip-hop know-how and formal dance choreography, with which I have minimal experience. Wedding receptions require straight up cheese, and I'm all over it. Thankfully, my husband is not [too] embarassed by me. [I steal my moves from cheese-tastic dance movies and dance sequences in non-dance movies--Grease--, and from other dancers who are messing around with "the sprinkler" and such classic moves--thank you John M. for getting me started, lo those many years ago.]

So, today was overall a spectacular day because I got to do two of the simplest things that make me the happiest--watch fireworks and dance like a maniac who was let out of the institution on a field trip. Aahhh. This, my friends, is truly the life.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

8 Weeks

Elsie is 8 weeks today, and is about to go on a trek through 3 states where's she's never been, making her tally of states visited equal 5. Crazy, right?

In celebration of 8 weeks, I thought I would start by giving Elsie 8 fingers, cutting her total down by 2. Okay, it wasn't intentional, but I tell you, baby fingernails are so tiny! Her thumb and pinky on her right hand bled. I'm a terrible parent. But that was just the beginning.

We went for her 2 months appointment today since we're going out of town (thanks for your prayers that kept the doctor's appointment on schedule) and she had to have 3 shots. She started crying before the nurse even came into the room (naked and cold will do that to a girl) and I used my dad's old line, "You want something to cry about? We'll give you something to cry about." And then she did. I will never get over watching the pain register on her face. :(

Her stats: Head 16 inches. Body 22 3/4 inches. Weight 11 pounds 13 ounces--just shy of twelve pounds.

Eli will be here any minute, and then we're on the road to Texas. See you on the other side (figuratively for most, literally for some).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Julio!

Well, it's July, so that pretty much means that my summer is over. Haha.

I'm spending today and tomorrow morning packing for our trip to Texas. It's hard to know what to bring for three weeks, especially when packing for the baby and trying to fit both of our stuff into one suitcase (& a diaper bag). Good thing Mom and Dad have a new washer and dryer, because I think we're going to have to do a bit of laundry as we go along.

This morning, I was feeling particularly inspired as Elsie continued to sleep and I started laundry, so in proper spontaneous OCD fashion, I decided to clean out the bedroom closet. I hung all Eli's suits together, his pants together, his long-sleeved button-downs together, his polos together, his jerseys together, his flannel-wear together. I finally put up the shoe racks and put shoes on them. and made a bag of clothes to donate. Ahhhh. Relief. It was so chaotic before, and in three weeks when I return from Texas, it will be again. But for today, I feel good. I wish I had a "before" picture.

Also, I finally unpacked my hospital bag. Remember how long it took me to pack the darn thing? Yeah. It took me about as long to unpack it. I could use the excuse that I've been busy, but the truth is that after a couple weeks it just became part of the scenery and I stopped noticing it. That's how the mess starts.

I'm inspired now, because I turned on the TV and though I barely tolerate the show Clean House (the host who wears the huge flower in her hair is ANNOYING), I feel much better about my house. :) Today, they're having a "Messiest House in the Country" marathon. My house is cluttered, but it's nothing like that. In fact, my house is clean comparatively! But, I'm going to try to get it a little cleaner so that when I get back from Texas, the transition from vacationer to working mother will be less stressful.

Off to my projects. Cheers.