Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finding a Balance

Let me start this by saying that being a mom is wonderful! This is by far the best "role" I've had in my life. I wake up everyday and marvel at my little prince. His smile lights up the room and can melt both his father and me. He truly is the best thing to happen to either one of us. I don't think we fully realized how rewarding parenthood is until he came into our lives. I think we are now more thankful for our parents and all they sacrificed for us.
I am struggling to find a balance though. Everything with parenting has it's ups and downs. I never experienced a love like this before. I have never been so happy until now. I never have wanted to give all of my being to one person before. Everything in my body is saying give, give, give to this little guy, but I also know I need to make time for myself. It was easy in the summer because Mr. Soup would come home for lunch or encourage me to go out for a few hours in the evening. Now, when I come home I just want to soak up Joely time. I know I need to go to the gym or make time for dinner/drinks with friends, but I just want to sit and listen to Joely talk (he is quite the chatty Cathy). I want to watch as he plays with Mr. Soup. I want to see him explore all the things in his room. This week has been nice because I've been home with him every night this week. Last week was so hectic that I just wanted an easy week. I haven't made it to the gym this week and who knows if I will until the weekend.
In addition to that, I do feel a little guilty going to work each day because I actually like it. This summer my wardrobe consisted of tank tops and maternity jeans (don't worry I retired them and bought normal jeans). I would get excited when I put something else on. Now, I get to dress up and go to work. I get to talk to adults on a regular basis. I really do like being at work. I love wearing fancy clothes, doing my hair and make-up, and even wearing heels. Today I even went grocery shopping with Joely in my fancy clothes and heels (and they say it can't be done! I'll show them) Even being around the students is enjoyable (this too shall pass). I am really, really looking forward to this school year. I didn't think I would. I guess part of me feels guilty. For so long, I dreaded daycare and going back to work. I cried for weeks before. I guess I didn't expect it to be this easy to let him go to daycare each day. Part of me feels as though we just made a really good decision in choosing Abuela's and the other part of me feels like I'm a bad mom. I go from wanting to spend all of my late afternoon/evening time with Joel to feeling so much relief and freedom when I'm at work. I guess I'm trying to find that balance. I'm trying to figure out my "role." Maybe even trying to find myself a little? I guess with being a mom, my role is always changing.
Can I also just vent about how much I detest pumping at work! I actually detest pumping in general. I know I've said it before, but I really just prefer to nurse Joely myself. I love the bonding. There is nothing gratifying about pumping. I don't get to hold my precious prince while I pump. It's just me and the pump locked in a kitchenette off of the school library. I feel like I have to concentrate hard to pump whereas breastfeeding comes more natural. I'm really hoping my feelings will change. I hope I'm just experiencing the back-to-work hump. Joely does get some formula every now and then, but he really doesn't like it. He'll be six months in November. If I still hate pumping, I'm going to start supplementing with formula more and lessen the breast milk. Hate to do that and I really hope I don't have to do that. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, August 19, 2011

We Survived!

We survived our first week of daycare! Well, I should say, mama survived! I thought I was going to lose it Monday. I cried all night Sunday in addition to crying every day of the week last week. I just was not ready to let him go. I got him all ready to go so that Mr. Soup could take him over there. I didn't cry as I dressed him and put him in the car seat. Mr. Soup kept telling me how good I was doing and hugging me. As they pulled away, I went back into the house and started sobbing. Mr. Soup called me ten minutes later saying that Joely did well when he dropped him off. He was all smiles for Abuela and Miss Christy and they oohed and awed over his dimples!
I didn't actually have to work on Monday, so Mr. Soup and I headed over at lunch to check on him (Mr. Soup's idea...he knows me so well!). He was sleeping in the swing (something we can never get him to do here)He just looked so peaceful. That afternoon, I got his stroller together and walked down the street to pick him up. I was so eager to get him in my arms and kiss all over those perfect cheeks.
We kept the same routine of Mr. Soup taking him to daycare and me picking him up. I really like this routine because I have something to look forward to at the end of the day. During the day, I'm so busy that I can barely breathe; however, Joel is never far from my thoughts. I'm constantly checking my phone and I start each morning with a text to Mr. Soup to see how drop-off went. I just can't wait to pick him up each day. He is always happy when I pick him up. Yesterday, he was sitting on Abuela's lap "talking" to the other children. Today he was in the crib entertaining himself by looking at the Mozart mobile. Mr. Soup reports that he is always happy at drop-off, except today he was a little cranky, but that's only because he woke up at 5:00am to nurse and then fell back asleep.
This week was a little difficult because I had something at night 3 days this week. Fortunately, last night I was able to take Joel with me, but I had to have my friend sort of watch him while I met parents. Each day this week I wanted to come home and cuddle, but I was forced to work! Bleh!
I will admit, that I do like going to work. I felt a little guilty at first about this. I really enjoyed being around my co-workers again and I'm actually excited about the upcoming school year. I think I needed to feel good about work again in order to fully accept that Joel would be in daycare full-time. I want to be able to come home to him and give him all of me. I know that's not possible everyday, but I feel like there are things in place this year that will help me enjoy my job more instead of dreading it. I really do love teaching and it's the perfect career for a mom (minus the grading!!!!!!) Also, pumping at work wasn't as bad as I envisioned; however, I still prefer breastfeeding. I am one of those weirdos who likes breastfeeding my baby. At least I can do that when I'm home.
Another reason I feel so good about daycare was that this week I attended Mom's Night Out. Abuela and Miss Christy provided appetizers, cocktails and prizes for all the moms of the kiddos. It was a good chance for me to meet some of the moms. They are all fabulous ladies and I cannot wait for more chances to drink....err...hang out! Surprisingly, I was one of the "older" moms (only by a year or two). This was odd to me because I'm not yet 30 (only six more months) and usually when I was with Abby I was always the youngest "mom." Oh well! One thing I really loved was how much these ladies loved Abuela and Christy! You could really tell that they view them as family and vice versa. It really solidified that we made the right choice in a daycare provider. I know there will be ups and downs, but I am really feeling good about Joel going there. He seems to enjoy it so much and he's such a social baby. He really does well being around not only other babies and kids, but other adults. Part of me didn't want to share Joel with the world, but I now realize I need to share the world with Joel.
I'm quickly learning there is not a manual for motherhood! Learning as I go and loving it! My goal for next week is to figure out an exercise me strength!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Don't Make me...

Someone asked if Joel was six months? Yes. I know he's amazingly advanced, but don't make my baby grow up faster than he is! Ugh! Today was one of those days where I woke up in a funk. I cried because it was my last week day with Joel. Mr. Soup consoled me and told me that it was perfectly normal to feel the way I do. The rational part of me hates that I break down like that. I know Joel will be perfectly safe and will thrive at daycare. I know that being a working mom is best for Joel and me. I know that Joel will not think I abandoned him. I know these things, but oh how my heart aches when I think about leaving him. The separation anxiety is getting to me. The idea of pumping at work is getting to me. The idea of being with 140 hormonal tweens is getting to me.
This too shall pass...right?
On a high note, I lost two more pounds this week! I'm 12 pounds from my weight loss goal. I celebrated by purchasing some new jeans (which ended up being two pairs of jeans, two tops, and a dress all for $60! Thank you, Old Navy!) and a drink from Sonic. This is only the 2nd time I've been shopping for myself, but this was the first time that I did not pick up something for Joel! Usually, I pick up a little outfit or two for him as well. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Nana and Granddad have purchased most of his wardrobe for the first year of his life! Gotta love Carter's! They're the best baby clothes. Nana and Granddad have done a lot for us this past month. From hosting his baby shower to babysitting and just offering their love and support, we wouldn't be here without them! It really does take a village!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Little Man

I do mean that. My baby is trying to grow up so fast. It's cute really, but I'm so not ready for it. The other day I caught him imitating his daddy eating food. Then yesterday I took a sip from my drink and Joel formed his lips like he was sucking a straw too. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Soup had his leg up on a windowsill and Joel tried to wiggle his leg up in the air too. My friend came over yesterday and remarked that he is active like a big baby. She said, "why is he trying to act like a big kid?" The tummy time mat has become his mat for his attempts at crawling. I put him on it yesterday, went to the kitchen to grab a drink and when I came back he was almost on the floor. He sleeps in his pack n' play through the night, so there are no more late night/early morning feedings and snuggles. He slept in a crib at Nana and Granddad's house. He's just growing up so fast. I didn't want to move him to the nursery until November (six months), but he actually likes taking naps in his crib. Last night he fell asleep in there while I was at the gym. I asked Mr. Soup if we should just leave him in there and he goes, "no, we're not ready for that transition yet." hehe! He's not ready for him to be a big boy either!
This is my last week at home with him and all I want to do is snuggle and cuddle all day. Joel wants to bounce, reach, lean his head back (that's how he got dropped by daddy a couple of weeks ago) wiggle, laugh, coo, point, and everything else. Kisses from momma have taken a back seat to seeing what's going on in the world.
I know I should not complain that he's trying to become independent. He's making my life easy in some ways (he can entertain himself) and difficult in others (he's so active that we can't keep up). I know once he's at daycare, it'll be easy because he'll wear himself out there and then come home tired for us. I will miss nursing him during the day. I know it sounds weird, but I actually prefer to nurse him as opposed to giving him a bottle. I feel like he's safe and warm with me when he's nursing. Plus, I absolutely hate pumping, but I'm going to give it my best shot this school year! Only nine more months until his 1st birthday (when I plan to stop breastfeeding/pumping). Pray that I can make it!
I know every mom thinks their little one is the best, but I really lucked out with Joely. My pregnancy was easy, my labor and delivery was easy, and he's been easy to love and care for each day. I just love him so much and want him to be my baby boy. I'm realizing that he's going to grow and change just as I did. I look back on this summer with such fondness. Our walks in the neighborhood, afternoon snugglefests, and feedings were some of the greatest moments of my life. As we enter fall, I'm excited to watch him grow and for Mr. Soup and I to grow as parents. He's such an amazing! Oh, Joel! I love you so, so much!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Joel's Baptism Weekend

Mr. Soup, Joel and I headed up to Kansas this past weekend. This was our first official road trip in our new car and Joel's first road trip. I will say that he did so well on the way to Kansas. He slept the entire time. We stopped once for gas and so that I could nurse him and change his diaper. It's kind of difficult to breast-feed a baby in a car, but we did it!
We arrived late Friday night in Wichita. Of course, Joel's Nana was up and ready for some cuddle time with her grandson! She was so excited to see him. The next morning we headed up to the church to go over the baptism with our pastor. It was really cool to talk about what baptism and raising Joel in the Christian faith means to us, especially to hear Mr. Soup talk about it. He talked about the fellowship he wants Joel to have with his Christian brothers and sisters. Our hope is that Joel will speak about his faith to others as well and be a light onto others. His baptism was such an important event in his life and he doesn't even know it! What a gift!
After the meeting we headed over to where Abby was staying with her grandparents. What a joy it was to see her. We don't see her often, but each time we do see her we're reminded of what a great child she is! I wish I could say that her home life has improved, but in fact it has taken a turn for the worse. Abby has really had to grow up quickly and worry about things that she should not have to worry about. However, this weekend, she really got to be a kid. She was so excited to meet her little brother, although I do suspect it was a little difficult to go from being her daddy's only child to sharing him. Murad and Abby decided to do a little shopping and he took her up to Chuck E Cheese's to meet up with his cousins. It was good for them to have some daddy-daughter time. I think he realized that what happened last summer had nothing to do with Abby's feelings towards us. She has been put in the position of being the adult at home and she did not want to be away from her mom. She told Murad that she worries about her mom all the time and doesn't want to be away from her. Such a sad statement, but a real testament to the loyalty Abby has for her mother.
I went on back to my parents house to introduce Joel to his Uncle Ryan and his girlfriend Renee. They flew in Saturday afternoon from Indianapolis. Of course, Ryan was immediately in love with his little nephew (who isn't?)!
That night, Murad and I went to dinner at Joel's godparents' home. We had a great evening introducing (we did lots of introducing this weekend) Joel to his godparents. We are so lucky to have them in Joel's life and so glad they accepted!
The next morning we got up bright and early for the baptism. Of course getting there wasn't without its drama, but we made it! The ceremony was so, so special. Seeing him with his godparents was an amazing experience. Listening to the words spoken over him and hearing the prayers said by the congregation made the experience an unforgettable one. This was probably the 2nd best day of my life (besides his birth). I just can't describe how happy I was that day.
We have his candle and garments here and I just keep looking at them. Our church also gave him $50 in a college fund through Mission Financial. We were pretty excited about this, as we've been meaning to do this. I really like Mission Financial because our investment goes towards helping build homes and churches across the world.
After the ceremony we had a lovely reception in church fellowship hall where everyone got to hold Joel! He was so alert and excited to see everyone! That night he slept from 10:30pm until 7am! Wow! He also slept in a crib the entire visit (the crib happened to be the same crib Ryan and I used as babies)
We spent the rest of the day visiting friends. Mr. Soup and I left Joel at home with Nana and Papa so that we could go out for a double date with some friends of ours.
The next day, we hung out around the house (we were pretty exhausted after being on the go so much) and then we headed back to Texas. Joel did not do so well in the car this time. We had to stop 3x. We decided to stay a little longer in OKC and eat a real dinner rather than fast food. We stopped in Bricktown and walked around while we waited for a table. It was pretty fun, but there is not much to do in OKC! ha! After our 3rd stop, Joel slept soundly the rest of the way. I guess he doesn't like traveling during the day, so we're going to have to make sure we travel at night. We did survive though and what a great weekend it was!
This week will be exclusive for snuggling and cuddling with my man before I go back to work! I'm going to try to work-out , go out with some friends one night and maybe squeeze in a date-night too. Ugh and laundry of course...

Monday, August 1, 2011

8 Things You Can't Do Once You Have Kids

I frequent the Nest and the Bump for articles and information, especially now that I'm a new mom. I saw this article on there and was immediately annoyed. Sure there are limitations to what you can do once you have kids. Sure I can't go out and get wasted (mostly because I'm still breastfeeding and that would be a bitch to pump and dump, plus we're still sort of co-sleeping), but I really don't do that often now that I'm married anyways, so no loss. I can still meet up with my girlfriends for happy hour, dinner, movies, etc. It just takes some careful planning on our part. I can still read books. I'm not going to trade in my library card for a subscription to Us Weekly. Not gonna happen. I love books! I can still talk to my friends on the phone, watch TV, etc. I imagine that going to the bathroom by oneself is difficult, but I have yet to experience toddler-hood. If I had read this article before having Joel, I would think my life would be over after having kids. In fact, it couldn't be further from the truth. I get to do the things I love, plus I get to experience life again through his eyes. I now have an excuse for singing in the car -- it makes him laugh. I've always wanted to buy a Kidz Bop album (I know!), and now I can. I get to hear sweet giggles each morning from his nursery. When we go shopping, I have somebody hugging my body the entire time (in his Ergo carrier). If Happy Hour is boring, I have an excuse to leave early. When he gets older, I'll get to hold his hand to cross the street, watch him at sporting events, go to the Circus, go to Spanish story time at the library, etc. I basically have an excuse to be a kid again. I just do it in adult clothes!
Speaking of clothes, I went and bought new clothes yesterday. I didn't even think about if it were going to get stained by Joel because there is this invention called dry-cleaning, people! Sure Joel may ruin a shirt here and there, but at least his mama will look good holding him!
Going shopping post-pregnancy was not as bad as I envisioned. Even though I still feel fat, I can fit in cute clothes! I bought some cute tops, some dress pants and some capri pants. I can actually still fit into a small top and I can fit into my old pant size. The only thing is that my hips are now huge. I knew this would happen because it happened to my mom. Our hips tend to just stay after giving birth. So, before I was small-waisted big booty girl and now I just have hips.
One thing I never thought I would say is that I wish I had smaller boobs, but I do. When I was pregnant, I totally appreciated having big boobs. It was kind of like playing dress-up. Then the lactation consultant told our breastfeeding class that they would get bigger after giving birth. I thought to myself, "how can they get any bigger than this?" Well, they have and it's not fun (it is for my husband). Every top looks inappropriate no matter how modest it is. I now have a new respect for big-busted women. They say the boobs go away after breastfeeding, but we'll see next year if they do. For now, they're here to stay.
One thing that is difficult to do is lose the pregnancy weight. It's coming off though, so I can't be mad. I calculated my desired weight like this:
wedding day weight: 123
pre-pregnancy weight: 135 (they say when you're in love you eat!)
pregnancy weight: 165
Weight loss goal: 130
Current weight: 144
I'm getting there, slowly, but surely...