Friday, January 27, 2012

7 Months!

My sweet Stinky Boy,

I cannot believe you are already 7 months old.  I still feel like you are brand new, but I also have completely forgotten what life was like before you came into my world.  You are at such a fun, yet tiring age.  We do every thing we can to tire you out sometimes, including dance parties.

I went back to work part-time this month, and we have both been adjusting to a new schedule.  You seem to be doing really well at your Granny's house, napping like you should and not missing me too much! I'm sure that I miss you 100 times more than you miss me, but it sure is sweet to see your face light up when I come get you.

You have become so interested in your surroundings, and love to explore and discover.  Those really awesome toys you were given at Christmas? Forget it, you could care less.  All you are interested in are Fenway's toys, Fenway's food, and all the cords you can get your hands on. Fenway is your best friend for life, and you two always seem to team up against me and find new things to get into! It's so fun to watch the two of you play, I hope you always cherish your childhood pet.

Within days of learning to crawl (although you still find that creeping gets you around faster, you have started to pull up in your crib!!

We often find you like this in the mornings:
You are learning to imitate our actions more and more, and your current favorite is smacking the table, floor, couch, etc.

This month you wore one of MY old shirts to cheer on our favorite team!!
You still adore your bath, it is one of your favorite activities.

And you love remote controls.  You actually love them so much that we have given you an old one that is your own personal remote to chew on.  We decided this was best after you killed one of our other ones by spitting up on it.  Thank goodness for the rice trick!

You are into EVERYTHING. Case and point:

Who me? Just playin' Mom

This thing is more fun to be UNDER, rather than IN.

Maybe I'll just slip out...Wonder what I'll find?

Potatoes!! YAY! This looks fun.

She caught me.  Now I have to be IN this thing.  Dang it.

You also experienced your very first snowfall! It wasn't much snow at all, but enough to document.  You weren't a big fan.

We've slowly started working on allowing you to feed yourself, but a lot of it ends up on the floor instead.  You enjoy trying though.

You are such a happy baby, and love to read, play and make messes.  

This month, you've learned to blow raspberries and we've also started trying to teach you to wave! Your Granny has been working extremely hard with you on this, and although you do it quite often, you aren't a big fan of showing it for the camera.

It's amazing to me that you are already SEVEN months old, baby boy.  You will be driving before we know it.

You've certainly been busy this month with all your new skills and discoveries, and I know it will only get busier as we go.  I'm so glad you are mine, and I love your hugs and kisses.  You only give them sparingly, and rarely on demand, but I find them to be more special that way.  You are very selective on your hugs and kisses, usually only giving them to your Mommy, Daddy, Granny and Pappy.  I'm so proud of you and your inquisitive mind.  I know you will always make us proud.

Happy 7 months, baby boy!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breast Feeding Failure Series: Ethan's Appetite

By the time Ethan was 2 months old, he wanted to eat 6-8 ounces per feeding.

Ethan's appetite was increasing dramatically.  He wanted LARGE amounts of food, spread over longer periods of time.  It was rare that I could get him to take smaller amounts of milk more times a day, and I was also working on getting him on a schedule for eating for various reasons.  Again, I didn't know when I was going to return to work, I didn't know what our childcare situation was going to be, and I was trying to constantly figure out how much I needed to be making in a day to satiate him throughout the day.  We ended up switching completely over to bottle feeding to monitor his intake to help us with preparing for the unknown.  Another big mistake.  Now I wasn't nursing on demand at all.

I started noticing a struggle with my supply.  I was pumping several times a day for nearly 45 minutes a day.  With such long, numerous sessions, I was sure that things would pick back up.  I started noticing that I was barely making enough to get Ethan through his bottles in a single day, and was often breaking into my freezer stash to satiate him.  I hadn't found a job yet, and I was already breaking into a well established stash that was supposed to be there when I went back to work.  I began to stress a little.

I started taking more Fenugreek.  I found another herb online that was supposed to help.  I found an herbal tea that was supposed to help.  I started reading online about other various ways to increase milk supply. Slowly but surely, I started noticing a difference.  Thank goodness for a few blog friends to let me know I wasn't alone in the supply struggle, but we were all in the same boat.  These things were working, but they weren't quite working well enough.

The herbs and the teas kept us afloat for several more weeks.  In fact, I started finding myself ahead of feedings again.  Instead of worrying about if I was going to have enough milk for his upcoming feeding, I was working on the feeding after that.  I finally got myself back up to being a day ahead in feedings, and felt confident that meant I would be starting my freezer stash again.  Ethan began sleeping through the night, so I stopped pumping through the night as well.  Another mistake.

Things began to taper off again.  I picked my middle of the night pumping back up, even though Ethan wasn't waking for it.  I continued with my herbs and teas, and again, this helped for a few days.  Then, things began to taper off for a reason that I'm unsure of.  At this point, my routine wasn't changing anymore, but things began to decrease instead of increase.  I began to search for other ways to increase milk supply.

It was a constant battle and struggle, and by the end of October, when Ethan was almost 4 months old, I had to supplement with formula.  I didn't have a choice.  My freezer stash was officially non-existent, and I didn't have enough for him to take.  It started with his bedtime bottle.  He took breast milk all day, but at bedtime he took 6 ounces of breast milk and only 2 ounces of formula.  He took it well, and didn't even act like he noticed there was a difference in his food.

I didn't change my routine and continued to pump as much as possible for as long as possible.  Things continued to decline, and the bedtime bottle turned into an all formula bottle.  It was like a snowball effect, and even though I was attempting to continue pumping as much as I had been, things kept getting worse.  By mid-November, I was producing less than 8 ounces per day, meaning that there wasn't a single bottle that Ethan was taking that didn't also have to include formula.  It was at this point that I realized I was spending more time working on producing food for my child and not getting enough of a result to validate the time.  After about a week of struggling with this fact, I put the pump away.  My baby officially became a formula baby.

I wasn't happy about it, and definitely realized all of the mistakes I made along the way to wind up with this result.  What I didn't know was how difficult it would still be two months later.

I'm going to wrap this series up next week, because tomorrow is Ethan's 7 month birthday, and I need to get his letter up!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breast Feeding Failure Series: The Bottle and Mastitis

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments yesterday.  I'm definitely using the word "failure" very lightly in this series of posts, and I have come to terms with the fact that Ethan is a formula fed baby now.  I'm using the term failure simply because I don't think the phrase "it didn't work for us" communicates our situation appropriately.  I wanted it to work, but it didn't due to mistakes I made, Ethan's crazy appetite, and other circumstances.  This series is to discuss the entire situation for my own documentation as well as discuss the mistakes we made in hopes that it may help another new mother "troubleshoot" earlier than we did.  Thanks again for being so sweet and encouraging.

We introduced the bottle to Ethan fairly quickly.  My milk came in quickly and easily, Ethan's latching was going extremely well, and my pain (for the time being-I ended up with my fair share of pain, but more on that later) during nursing was at bay.  We felt well established in nursing extremely early, and at three weeks we started discussing bottle introduction.  I had already begun building up quite a freezer stash because I would nurse and then pump out the leftovers at every feeding.

The only reason that we discussed this option so early was due to our uncertain future with my job status. We didn't know when I would find a job, or how long it would be before I would actually return to work.  I wanted to make sure that Ethan would take a bottle well in case I had to leave him earlier than I wanted to in order to return to the work force.  So we did a bit of research to figure out an appropriate bottle for Ethan to switch back and forth from nursing to bottle feeding.  We found a perfect match immediately, he took the bottle immediately, and nursed at the next feeding without missing a beat.  Again, I was amazed at how easy this was for us.

After talking with our pediatrician on bottle feeding, he recommended that we start Ethan off with 2 or 3 ounces of breast milk per feeding.  He told us that it was highly unlikely he would be able to handle more than that at such a small age.  We tried 2 ounces.  Ethan SCREAMED for more, so we obliged.  5 ounces later, my 3 week old son was satiated.  We couldn't believe it.

I kept nursing as much as possible, but I did allow Jason to give Ethan one bottle during the night while I pumped during that feeding.  We upped the bottle feedings to one in the evening to one during the day when I would be out and about.  While I think it is a wonderful thing that other mothers are comfortable with it, I was completely uncomfortable nursing in public.  I found it difficult to nurse out in the open even with a cover, and finding a comfortable place in a restroom at Barnes and Noble was difficult.  So I opted to bring one bottle with me when I would leave the house for public feedings.

Things were going smoothly for about a week until I started to wear down.  I attributed it to my adrenaline finally wearing off.  I thought my exhaustion was just part of being a new mom, and my aches were recovery from delivery.  It wasn't until the chills came that I started to pick up on something being horribly wrong.  It was the end of July and I was in my winter pjs drinking hot chocolate under the blankets in bed.  The next morning, I called my obstetrician.  Without even seeing me, I was diagnosed with mastitis and ordered to start an antibiotic right away.

After talking with a few professionals and a few non-professionals, it was a general consensus that my mastitis was likely a result of oversupply.  I was nursing and then pumping, and my body was creating way more than it could handle and creating a backup.  I was told to nurse through the infection, but to only pump an ounce or so out to tell my body that I didn't need what it was providing.  This was a huge mistake on my part.  My complete ignorance told me that what I had been told made sense.  I needed my supply to back off so that I could be healthy enough to continue to care for Ethan.  What I should have done was continued the same route that we had been going on and let the antibiotic take care of the infection.

Like I mentioned, I wanted to build up a large enough freezer stash to provide Ethan with breast milk for as long as possible even if I did have to return to work.  While introducing the bottle didn't provide any confusion for Ethan, working on a freezer stash ended up being a problem for us.  Since I was trying to tell my body not to make so much milk, I spent more time trying to build up supply for later and less time nursing on demand.  Since I wasn't nursing on demand as much, I know now that this was the beginning of my struggles with supply.

My other problem with supply? Ethan's appetite.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Breast Feeding Failure Series: The Beginning

We discuss this topic a lot via Twitter, e-mails, blog posts, facebook posting, etc.  We all have our reasons, and we all somehow feel the need to explain our position on breast feeding.  How did something so personal become a topic of major judgmental discussion?  Somehow, it has.  Everywhere we go, we get the question: "Are you still breastfeeding?" It unfortunately becomes an uncomfortable conversation full of word vomit.  I've yet to hear a "yes" or "no" to that question that isn't followed by a long explanation.  So I've decided to speak out in a series of a few posts with my experiences and lessons regarding the topic.

My name is Paige, and I'm a total breast feeding failure.  My son is six months old, and we had to switch to formula about two months ago (give or take a few days).  To put it mildly, I was less than thrilled, but I did what I had to do.  I made mistakes, and there were circumstances that were beyond my control that resulted in the switch.

During my pregnancy, I read a little on nursing, mainly about the benefits that Ethan would get if I chose to do so.  I openly admit that I was not determined to make breastfeeding work.  My original take on nursing was that I planned to attempt it, but I felt like it was ok if it didn't work.  I didn't feel passionately about it one way or another, so I went into it with open feelings. 

I have seen situations that after several weeks of attempting, breastfeeding wasn't best for the mother or for the child.  I knew that I wasn't immune to these situations, and I chose not to spend a lot of time worrying about it.  I emphasize that just because I wasn't determined to make it work doesn't mean that I wasn't determined to give it a fair shot.  I set an original goal of 6 weeks.  Don't ask me where I got that number, but I felt that 6 weeks would allow Ethan and I both to figure out if breastfeeding would work for us.

I received numerous comments of disapproval with this particular approach.  Apparently feeling open minded was interpreted as "You don't care enough about your child."  That certainly wasn't the case, and I do not feel obligated to emphasis or discuss my desire to care for my child in the best way possible.  However, I set myself up to a world of unsolicited opinions and comments.  "Don't breastfeed.  You can't take them off and let Jason help you in the middle of the night.  He needs to help you."  "I can't believe that you would be so nonchalant about something as important as breastfeeding."  "Don't even think about breastfeeding, it will ruin your sex life."  That last comment cracked me up because of the level of ignorance, and actually ended up making me want to try nursing more out of spite.  That's another story for another time.

I really do believe that those open feelings were what made our first few weeks of nursing fairly smooth and easy.  I didn't feel pressured to make it work, and I didn't really care what other people thought.  Ethan and I made our first attempt to nurse about 20 minutes after he was born.  He latched immediately, and ate for about 20 minutes before falling asleep.  I was amazed and thrilled at how easy I found it, and was immediately more eager and more determined that this would be our route of feeding for as long as possible.  I really enjoyed nursing immediately, and became excited about it.

The only thing I didn't like at this point was the particular "hold" that my nurses kept insisting I try.  It wasn't comfortable for me, it wasn't natural for me.  I insisted on situating him my way and never looked back.  I do think that teaching holds can be important for beginners, but I truly believe that there is no "wrong" way to hold your infant while nursing as long as the latch is proper. 

Ethan nursed in the hospital every two hours for at least 20 minutes at a time with the exception of a rude visitor or two that would not leave to provide us privacy to get ourselves situated and return to the room because "holding him just couldn't wait any longer."  Those visits were cut short, and we remained on schedule.  Our nursing journey started out so well, and I began to call him the champion eater.  I had no idea that Champion Eater was going to be the understatement of the year.

Upon discharge of the hospital, I had to sit down with a pediatric nurse on caring for Ethan, discussing when to call the hospital, etc.  Ethan needed to nurse, and she told me that she would wait to begin our conversation once he was latched.  He latched immediately, and I began casually chatting with her.  She finally asked me if he had managed to latch, and I was a bit confused.  My baby had been eating for 5 minutes already, I thought she was just being friendly!  She acted very surprised, and even more surprised that I was a first time mother.  I felt a sense of pride that we were getting the hang of nursing so quickly and so easily.  At this point, I didn't understand the big deal.  Why was everyone telling me it was so hard?

It didn't take long for us to find out.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Tribute

She was, quite literally, as country as they come.

A complete redneck, and proud to call herself a redneck.  She wore blue jeans and red cowboy boots every chance she got and rode her horses on any given day.  She hated the color pink and hated to be degraded simply because she was a woman.  She wanted the world to know her strength.

If she loved you, she would do anything for you: from giving you the shirt right off her back to "kicking someone's ass" for hurting you.  If she didn't like you, she let you know it: LOUDLY.  She couldn't turn away from someone in need.  She was a woman who didn't fear picking up total strangers walking down the side of the road in the rain to take them wherever they needed to go.

She was full of raw emotion from anger to sadness to love.  Her emotions had no bounds, and there was no hiding her emotions.  She cried tears at her desk for customers that had heartbreak.  She paced the parking lot, waving her hands in the hair yelling up to Jesus when she was frustrated.  She hugged as hard as she could.  She laughed with her entire soul.  Her emotions were infectious.

We laughed together every day for over two years.  We had breakfast together every morning for over two years.  She loved my husband, and thought he was "one sexy man" and grabbed his rear end every time she saw him.  Jason described her as "the redneck aunt everyone wants to sit beside at Christmas."  She attended our wedding and cried tears of joy.

When it came time for me to move on to another job, we laughed together through text messaging and a few lunches.  She shrieked of pure excitement when I told her that I was expecting.  She prayed with my mother, and called my mother consistently throughout my pregnancy and heart surgeries.  She told me at 41 weeks pregnant not to listen to anyone but her because I would never be "bigger than no popcorn fart."  She showed up at the hospital the morning after Ethan was born.  She couldn't wait to take him horseback riding for the first time.

When I lost my job, she asked me who I wanted to be "kicked in the ass."  When they fought my unemployment, she started mouthing right there in the office, not concerned with the customers across the hall.  When my old boss needed someone to fill in while he was between full time employees, she called me.  When the time came for me to look for a job urgently, she called everyone she knew.

After a breast cancer scare in late 2011, she called my Mom for support and comfort.  She leaned on her family and friends, and everyone she knew cried tears of joy to find out the results were negative.

A woman that knew that there were no boundaries to her blessings.  A woman, no matter how she felt, would answer the question "how are you" with: "always doing better than I deserve, so I guess I can brag about it a little bit."  A woman that made sure to tell everyone what God had done in her life.  A woman that refused to let anyone but God influence the way she lived.  A woman who wasn't afraid to say or do something completely ridiculous only to laugh at herself 5 minutes later.

I've never met someone that truly lived for every single moment the way she did.  Without a doubt, I know that her 56 years were cut too short, but every moment of her 56 years were full of complete life.  She made sure of it.

She was a woman who taught me to show my love more than what I was showing, that it was ok to laugh at myself, and not to be afraid to help a stranger.  She was one friend that I never questioned how much she cared about me, and she never questioned how much I loved her in return.  She loved me, she loved my husband, she loved my little boy.  We all adored her.

Heaven got a little more "honkey-tonk" on Friday evening, and my heart broke.  I have peace knowing that she is much happier in heaven that she ever could be here on earth, but I'm so sad for myself and all of her other friends and family. I'm so thankful for the 5 years of friendship I was blessed with, but it hurts to know that I won't get to hear a "Hi Darlin'!" or a "Well piss on that shit" for quite a while.

I'm really going to miss you, Bonnie Mae. Your lessons and funny stories will live on forever, because I plan to share them here every once in a while.  You always said that your silly videos needed to be posted "on that U-Tube thangy" so that you could at least make some money off being so silly.  I'm sorry you never got your reality show, but I can promise you that the world that knew you was truly blessed with your contagious laughter.  I could not ask to have worked with a better woman, or to have made a better friend.  Thank you for always loving me just as unconditionally as my family does.  You certainly will never be forgotten.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mid-Week Randoms

-Things have been quiet around here because I've been working on a series of posts regarding our failures on breastfeeding, but I haven't quite worked up the nerve to post them yet.  Maybe next week.

-Ethan has started pulling up on EVERYTHING.  Most of the time he ends up only on his knees, or on one knee before deciding that something else is interesting, but WOW.  Already? I thought I had more time to adjust to the crawling before this started.

-I was contacted by our cardiology team in Nashville this week.  The hospital is getting a brand new heart facility that they are saying "only happens once in a hospital's history."  They called wanting to know if I would be willing to share our story with them to use in some of their PR for the new facility.  I'm so honored to be a part of making such a wonderful facility look fabulous.  I'm even more honored that such a large hospital felt that my story was touching enough to want to share it with others.  What a horrible year that was, but I'm feeling very proud that maybe it can be used for some good now.

-I still get a lot of questions about my pregnancy with Ethan from people that I've met since the surgeries, people I haven't seen in a while, etc.  Yesterday was one of those conversations.  She asked me how far along I was in my pregnancy when all of this happened.  I responded with "13 weeks at the first surgery, 16 weeks at the second."  She looked at me oddly and said, "Well thank goodness you weren't like 5 months or anything.  At least you weren't very far along so it wouldn't have been as bad if you lost the baby."  Um, excuse me?  Nice. Thank you.

-We've gone from tornadic weather to crazy cold in Kentucky this week.  It's going to be a long storm season if this is starting now.  Tornado warnings are a lot scarier when there is a little one to worry about.  I was at work when the warning hit, and I knew he was safe with my Mom, but I kept thinking: "I'm not there.  What if he gets scared? What if the noises freak him out, and I'm not there? What if something actually does happen?" Mom paranoia is setting in.

-Ethan fell this week and hit his mouth on the ground.  Poor little guy has never cried so hard.  The next morning, he got a grip on a plastic hanger and decided to make it his new chew toy.  It slipped and jabbed him underneath his tongue and we had another crying fiasco.  Poor kid has had a hard week, and has been pretty insistent on being held as much as possible ever since. 

-Happy Thursday everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm such a slacker lately, and I feel awful about it.  I don't think there is any aspect of my life that isn't in autopilot.  Insert Mom/home/wife/work guilt here.

It's been difficult adjusting to part-time work outside the home while trying to maintain a full-time Mom status.  I'm still struggling with acceptance that this IS reality now.  While I got so lucky to be given (literally given-no interview, the job was created FOR me) a job that I already know how to do with a great boss, it's still tugging at my heartstrings.

I feel like that our mornings at home together aren't the level of quality time I want to give him.  Most of it is spent preparing for the afternoon, and not playing or snuggling or exploring.  I drop him off feeling like I've accomplished nothing and haven't spent a moment of "good" time with him.  It's hard. I'm a Mom slacker.

I want so badly to soak up what little quality time I do have in the mornings with Ethan, my house has totally become a hazard area.  Jason has been wonderful with helping me keep it maintained, but he works all day too, and I feel like I should at least be doing a LITTLE more since I'm not away from home 40+ hours a week.  At this point, I'm not.  I'm a total laundry slacker, a cleaning slacker, and even a cooking slacker.

While we still communicate throughout the day, and spend time together in the evening, I'm absolutely slacking on spending time with my husband.  We may be in the same room together, but it's totally not what it should be.  My poor husband has been neglected for days while I try to catch up on every other aspect of my life.  However, maybe I shouldn't even admit that.  There has been so much football on in my house, I'm not quite sure he's even noticed that he's being neglected. Our moments of "hanging out" have turned from hilarious banter to room sharing "me" time.  I'm a wife slacker.

My new boss wants me to decorate my new office.  He wants to see pictures of my family and things that can make my space my own.  While I love how welcoming he is being, I don't want to decorate it.  I feel like decorating my office is the final acceptance that this isn't a temporary situation.  I don't want to really create my own little "home" at work because it just isn't where I want to be.  I don't want to have to put up pictures of my little boy at my office to see his smiling face.  I just want to be around his smiling face.  I felt like those bare walls made my time in the office more "temporary" and less like a new part of my life.  I'm a total work slacker.

I feel like I roll two full days up into one.  I'm trying to fit in a full day at home with Ethan before noon, spend the rest of the day at work, and come home to attempt to finish what didn't get finished before I left.  Seriously, I'm exhausted and I have no idea why.  I'm not a full-time employee outside the home like so many of you are, so why can't I seem to get it together? I have no idea, but today I'm totally admitting that I'm a slacker.  Am I completely on an island here, or are any of you slacking in any areas of your own lives?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eliminating Frustrations

I deactivated my Facebook account about a month ago.  You would have thought I told the world that I was taking my child and moving to a deserted island never to be heard from again. 

It wasn't a sudden decision.  Does Facebook ever get on your nerves?  I had the app on my phone and out of habit would check for updates constantly.  I found myself becoming constantly annoyed with the things I was seeing on Facebook, and slowly started to think I needed a break.  I wanted a break.  It was a constant feed (so to speak) of negative activity into my life that I'm in attempt to keep as positive as possible.  I must say, my news feed was quite amusing, but was becoming a tad overwhelmed to constantly read things such as:

Broadcasting your baby mama or baby daddy drama via Facebook status. That is an issue for the court systems, not for your social media circle to rally and trash talk someone.

Complaining incessently about how horrible your life is because your nose is running.  Take some Mucinex, blow your nose, get off Facebook and go to bed.

I do not care that you made macaroni and cheese for dinner right after you brushed your teeth and now you are planning on putting on your pjs.  Mundane details aren't necessary.

You JUST broke up with your fiance last week and are now posting smushy pictures with the "love of your life?"

I understand that you are really passionate about your job, but it isn't necessary to advertise it on your personal page ALL. THE. TIME.  That's what "group" Facebook pages are for.  Invite people to like that page, and make announcements from there.

I'm sorry that you are 18 weeks pregnant and already feel like you are "SO READY" to have that baby already. 

Please don't advertise your desire for a pre-term baby because of your own selfish discomfort. 

I'm so glad that you have a strong feeling about a political view, but labeling others as "stupid" or "insignificant" that don't share those same opinions just displays your ignorance.

Do not have a word vomit fight with your friends on your wall.  Take it to private messaging.

I REALLY don't want to hear that you "got you some" last night.

If you are THAT tired-get off Facebook, go to bed.

I was also becoming really frustrated that it was my ONLY form of communication with some.  I loved using Facebook as a way to keep in touch with a lot of our family that lives far away, but there's always those few Facebook friends (that you can't delete because of the drama that would follow) that ruin it. 

I didn't love finding what I was posting on Facebook reposted elsewhere CONSTANTLY, and there was no privacy setting that prevented "sharing" (I checked and e-mailed.)  I don't mind it once in a while, a share here and there is fine.  It seemed that everytime I would update with a picture or a post, I would find it instantly on someone else's wall or news feed, usually from someone that wanted to appear to be more involved with our lives than they really are.  Facebook should be an accessory to our relationships, not our connection.  If you want to have a relationship with my child, have one.  Don't post MY pictures on your Facebook wall and pretend.  I was enabling the pretend game.

Finally, late one evening, I decided I had all I wanted for a while.  I realized that I was allowing myself open to negativity that didn't have to be there.  I didn't HAVE to read those things, I didn't HAVE to see that stuff, and I didn't HAVE to allow stealing of my pictures and posts. All in all, the ones that are active in our lives didn't mind that the "accessory" was missing because the relationship is still there.  Will I return to my original form of social media? Maybe.  I've actually really enjoyed not having Facebook, so I haven't decided yet. 

Have any of you ever thought about leaving a form of social media due to frustrations?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

We Take Splashing Seriously Around Here

Ethan LOVES his bathtime.  He loves the water, he loves the splashing, and he is obsessed with all of the cool squirt toys he has.  Baths are our "go to" activity when nothing else will make him happy.  

Yes, that is a Halloween duck.  It's January-I get it.

Sometimes he splashes a little too hard and ends up looking like this until he gets the water out of his eyes.

My happy little water baby.
 We may have quite the swimmer on our hands!  Only time will tell, but for now, I'll settle for some more splashes in the tub.
Is there an activity that your babies love that are an instant "happy" fix?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

For Cuteness Sake...

I've had a few requests for more pictures of Ethan, and I haven't done a for cuteness sake post in a while, so here you go! What my adorable little boy has been doing lately. :) Sorry for the poor quality, these are all iPhone pictures. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Resolution To Keep

For years, I have always sought for new inspiration, new words of encouragement, new outlooks to get through moments.  It wasn't too long ago that I don't always need NEW inspiration, I need to remember to come back to my original inspirations.

I was a sophomore in high school when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my then boyfriend went through some very personal struggles.  That year was monumental for me, my friends, and my family in a number of ways.  It was those few months that I found one true inspiration that has never disappeared, and cheesy enough all began with a Pixar movie.

I remember being in Spanish class watching "Buscando a Nemo" (not kidding, we watched Finding Nemo in Spanish form at least once a week) for the millionth time, passing notes across the room to my best friend.  We were both experiencing difficult times for one reason or another, and leaned on each other for support.  I don't remember exactly what the problem was for the week, or which one of us that was having the problem in that moment.  What I do remember was hearing that silly movie blabbering in Spanish and reading "Just Keep Swimming."  The phrase stuck.

A year later, nearing the beginning of my senior year of high school, that same friend of mine wrote in my yearbook.  She recalled several silly moments we had together, along with a multitude of difficult moments that we had gotten through with the help of each other.  Near the end of her "love letter for a friend" she wrote "Remember to always follow your heart and keep on swimming."  At the time it seemed like she wrote that as a fun way to remember our time passing notes back and forth just being there for one another.  Looking back, it's a reminder of exactly how we managed to grow up into the women we are without sinking.  We swam.

I have very few friends that I keep in touch with from my high school years, and not surprisingly, she's one of them.  I remember writing a lengthy, whiny e-mail to her during my recovery of my second heart surgery and receiving a response that was not at all surprising to me. In paraphrase:

"Expectation is the root of all our heartaches.  I know that's weird, but it's true.  I hope that you can let some of this expectation go and learn to love the now.  Learn to love what the situation has evolved into, even if it isn't ideal, what you wanted or expected.  God is carrying you and Ethan right now.  SWIM."

We swam. We endured, and we have managed to keep from drowning.  We have entered 2012 by swimming through without looking back.  We have allowed difficult currents to take us downstream quicker that have made us lose control of our stride.  We hit a few rocks on the way, and discovered small pools to rest and revive.  We have found moments of calm that have allowed us to regain our stroke and begin swimming again.  We noticed the beauty in the small things.

I never make resolutions for the New Year. Instead I hope that I will continue to grow and learn about myself and those around me as much as I can.  However it may happen, I just want to BE.  I want to experience all of the excitement of the new and remember the important pieces of past at the same time.  I want to look forward without forgetting where I came from.

I often find people that set expectations that are too high to meet, and find themselves struggling with disappointment.  I don't think that the fear of disappointment is a reason to avoid a goal, but I do think that resolutions are about finding what you truly want out of your life.  Now is always the time for a new beginning.  Do you want to get healthy this year? Do you want to grow closer to God? Do you want to repair a relationship that was once meaningful? Do you want to stop a horrible habit?  Instead of setting the cliche goals you hear so much about that are completely unrealistic, take a different approach this year.  Search for your end result and do what you have to do to get there.

Write that letter.  Make the phone call.  Say the prayer. SWIM.