Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking Back

One year ago we were gearing up for our anatomy scan and were waiting to find out just what was in there.  The anatomy scan was November 30th, so this day last year I was anxiously counting down the hours.

Part of it was nerves at finding out if our baby was healthy and growing the way he should. The other part of the nerves were finding out the sex.

I've gone back and read some early blog entries where I had said that I was hoping for a girl.  I don't know why that was. I think it was because I grew up with two sisters and I have two nieces. I knew nothing about little boys so I was apprehensive.

The weeks leading up to the anatomy scan I just had a feeling that he would be a boy. I had a dream about it a few weeks prior to the appointment and I really just had this gut feeling. I knew it would be a boy.  I had said I was mentally preparing myself for it to be a boy and to try to be excited.

As soon as he popped up on the screen there was no denying he was a boy.  And in that instant I was so happy to see a healthy baby and I was truly happy to find out we were having a boy. I'm not sure what changed in that instant - I can't explain it.  As soon as I found out who he was I fell so much more in love with him.  Seeing his little profile up on the monitor was magical for me.  We didn't have a 3D u/s, so there wasn't a ton of detail, but I could see his little nose and lips. And watching him wave at the camera and kick around was something I will never forget.

On the way home from that appointment my mom called to check and see how it went and what we were having. When I asked if she was ready for her first grandson she was thrilled, but then she asked if I was ok.  It seemed like such an odd question to me, but I know it's because I had previously expressed my hope that it would be a girl.  I assured her that I was very happy - and I was. I still am.

When I look at his sweet smiling face I can't even fathom him not being just who he is.  I have no idea why I wanted a girl or what I was thinking.  He is my perfect little man I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

8 Months!!

8 months? Wow, to say time has flown is an understatement!!

Age: 8 Months

Stats:  When he went for his second flu shot on 11/9 he was 18 lbs with his clothes and diaper on, so I am guessing he is right over 18 lbs.

Size (diapers, clothes, etc.):  He is in size 3 diapers and wearing some 6 month outfits still.  I was happy for a little warm spell that allowed me to put him in some of the 6 month outfits he had never worn. I think I went a little crazy with the clothes shopping for him before.  He is in 6-9 or 9 month sleepers, but nothing 12 months yet.

Sleeping:  He is pretty much back to sleeping through the night, but he does fuss a couple times a night. I let him go for a couple minutes and normally he'll soothe himself back to sleep.  There have been a handful of times the past few weeks where I've had to get up and feed him.  We've started giving him a 5 oz bottle before bed to make sure he is getting at least that much and it seems to be helping with sleep.

Eating: I've been able to get back to EBF with no formula for the past few weeks.  I keep trying different foods with him and he does phenomenal with the purees, but he is terrible with "real" food.  He gets chunks in his mouth, but then he gags and throws up. He even puked all over with mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.  I guess I have to keep trying and eventually he will learn how to swallow bigger bits of food, but it's very frustrating.  He still loves sweet potatoes and he's now had a blueberry/apple mix and the banana/apple/pear mix. He's tolerating the fruits more now, but still prefers veggies.

Milestones:  He cut his second tooth and is now sitting like a champ. Just today he sat there for 20 minutes playing with different toys. I was so proud.  He's getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth, but still no crawling (which I am fine with!).  He's getting great at eating puffs and perfecting his pincer grip.  He also has sat in a restaurant high chair and a shopping cart and done great.

New adventures:  We did another 5K with him on Thanksgiving and for the first time had someone other than us put him down for the night while we went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.

Favorite toys and activities:  He loves the around-we-go and the jumperoo. He now loves the giraffe toy that was hanging in the car for him and has discovered how to turn on his crib soother all by himself. His favorite activity seems to be crumpling up whatever newspaper J is reading at the time.

Funny happenings:  While I was shopping with him and my friend, Colleen, the other day he decided to test out his new sounds. While I was pushing him around in the cart he started squealing and yelling "Da da!!"  Thankfully he wasn't crying and the people that would pass us were smiling. I love that he's such a happy little guy   :)

What I'm looking forward to:  Pictures with Santa and his first Christmas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone is having/had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ours started out with a nice little 5K through the streets of historic Charleston - the perfect way to start off a day of eating, with a hard run to jump start the metabolism.

Pre-race. The look on my face is due to the dude who just walked right in front of us as my friend was about to snap the picture.

A little pre-race hydration

Andrew enjoyed his ride while we dodged the rest of the runners.  And yes, he is wearing his halloween cow costume. It's fleecy and warm and has a hood. If I had a turkey costume he would've been in that instead  :)

Some post-race relaxation

After we got home and showered Andrew enjoyed some squash...

before turning up his nose at my attempt at sweet potato fries for him.

They pretty much ended up being projectiles as he tossed them on the floor.  Oh well, I guess they'll be another side dish for us.

Right now the turkey is frying...

The sweet potato pie is baked...

And the turkey cupcakes are ready for some snacks for later.

I love a holiday that is all about eating!

I have so much to be thankful for this year and intend to enjoy every second of the day.  Now let's eat!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Finally sitting?

I have felt like Andrew is falling behind on some milestones (I know, I know - some of them are a load of crap and all babies do things differently).  I look around and see these other babies that are months younger than him that can happily sit and play with toys and I'm just like "WTF?  Why won't he do that??".

That being said, I've been working with him on the whole sitting thing. It's especially important because we really need to transition him to the convertible car seat. He is really starting to push the limits on his current one (For length, not weight. What 30 inch baby weighs 30 lbs?  That kid would just be a meatball).

Anyway, I'm happy to say that we are having a little success and we made some progress this weekend...

"This isn't so bad, mom."

"Ok, I'll sit. By why do I have to wear this ridiculous hat??"

Another thing we did this weekend was have him sit in a restaurant high chair.  Of course I forgot to take the chair cover with us (because I didn't anticipate getting him to sit in it).  Luckily he survived for 15 minutes and I was able to eat my delicious chargrilled chicken salad while he tried to snag the bag of puffs I had on the table:

Oh, and when I got home from the gym yesterday (felt soooo good to get in a hard 4 mile run and some ab work) I saw this:

J had hung up our little flags on the palm tree by the driveway (replacing his faded and torn NC State one that was there).  I thought they looked kind of cute up there  :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apples may be a new favorite

Last night I fed him some sweet potato puree (this kid LOVES sweet potatoes) and then decided to try some apple slices.  He had them once before and was kind of interested.  I figured at the very least he would play with them so I could get his bottles ready for daycare.

Turns out he was a fan:

He happily gnawed on them for at least 15 minutes. I'm not saying that any of it actually made it down his throat to his stomach, but at least there was no fussing, gagging, or throwing up.  I count that as a win in my book.

I think this weekend I am going to try cooking an actual sweet potato and giving him some chunks to see if he'll eat them.  If not, I guess I'll be eating some sweet potato this weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not a broccoli fan

Ok, so I wanted to do the whole Baby Led Weaning thing, but the first couple times we tried real food he choked and threw up (not just a little spit up - but throwing up kind of a lot). So we've done the purees and he does great with them (except banana - he's really not a fan and I can't blame him since they are pretty nasty).

Anyway, I still give him chunks of stuff to try to see if he has figured out yet how to mash it up in his mouth and swallow it.  He does great with the puffs (when he manages to get them in his mouth) and he's mooshed up real banana and gnawed on some apple slices. 

Last night I wanted to try some broccoli with him since I've seen videos of other babies that love it.  Unfortunately he was not a fan. I think it has something to do with the smell.

"What are these little trees?"

Quickly deposits one off to the side

"Not sure that I like these."

"Maybe these are new toys to play with."

"Oooh - they  make a nice mess."

"All done - now can I have something that I like?"

"I guess this carrot will do."

Not that I'm giving up - we will definitely try broccoli again.  Of course the clean up was interesting. He was able to get those little sprouts all up his nose and in his ears. Excellent.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And we have another tooth

Yesterday I noticed that Andrew was even more chewy than normal (which is saying something since he already chews on whatever he can get in his little mouth).  On the car ride home from daycare I could hear his gums squeaking on the rubber of the giraffe toy I had for him and then when he was in his high chair he was gnawing on the end of one of the straps.

I kept trying to get a look at his little gums, but he wasn't being the most cooperative little munchkin in the world.  He was biting down pretty hard on the spoon while eating, though, so I knew something was up.

Finally when he was in the tub and doing his nightly routine of babbling/squealing/laughing I got a look.  Yep, tooth #2 is on it's way.  Yay. This should make for even more fun while breastfeeding.

I know I'm supposed to end the nursing session when he bites me in order to teach him not to do it, but it doesn't seem to be catching on.  Any other BFing mommas out there have any advice?  I really don't want to quit breastfeeding, but sometimes it really really hurts.

You can just barely see the white spot that is the first tooth that came in - it's pretty far in.  The new tooth is the bottom one right next to it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekends are just too darn short

I swear - the weeks seem to drag on, but as soon as the weekend hits time speeds up, and before I know it, it's Monday again.  Sigh.

Friday evening my friend, Karen, came over to stay with the munchkin while J and I went out to dinner for my belated birthday celebration.  We went to our favorite restaurant (The Boathouse) and had a great meal and some good wine.  While we were eating the topic of baby #2 came up (as in, will there be one?). J said he would really like to have a little girl and I told him there is no guarantee of that happening.  So no decision has been made either way.

When we got home I was thrilled to hear that Andrew had been a good baby and went down without a fight.  He did get me up at midnight to eat, but that's ok.

Saturday was a relatively lazy day around the house.  Andrew did some napping, I did some cleaning and J did some running (he signed up for the Charleston half marathon in January).  I of course watched football and will admit that I teared up at the pregame activities that they showed. I was proud of my school for showing everyone that we have class and for drawing the attention back to where it really belongs - on the children who were victims in this horrible tragedy.  Unfortunately we lost, but at least it was a step in the direction of returning to normal (or at least the new normal).

That afternoon I also worked on sitting with the munchkin:


He is getting a LOT better. He no longer slumps right over and will actually sit there with his back straight for 15 - 20 seconds before starting to lean.  I'm glad we're making progress.

Yesterday I was messing around and put him in the Halloween costume that our friend, Jay, gave to us. It was his son's first Halloween costume and it was a 0-3 month size so obviously it was way too small. But it did make for some funny pictures:

I also had to get him in the mood for the big Steelers/Bengals game. What better way than to give him a smiley cookie

It was a little stale, so it made a great teething biscuit. 

I had to pry it out of his hands before he made a complete mess.

We also had a new development this weekend in that he is now growling. It's hilarious. I guess he has figured out how to make the sound and now he does it all the time. I've been trying to get it on camera, but he always gets distracted when I get it out and he stops. My mission this week is to capture it on film.

So all in all it was a pretty relaxing weekend with some good quality time with the munchkin.  I just wish they didn't go so damn fast...

Friday, November 11, 2011


With the recent events that have been happening at my beloved alma mater, there have been lots of debates going on.  Facebook has become a dangerous place.  There are many people who already didn't like Penn State and just don't get why we love it so much.  It's easy for those people to make nasty comments and look down on us.  The few hundred idiot students who rioted and caused damage on campus after the announcement that JoePa had been fired didn't help matters.

I have been very emotional that last few days.  Seeing the hurt that is coming out of this breaks my heart.    My heart hurts for those victims - and all other victims of sexual abuse.

To the people who don't understand how we feel:

We are…Sad.
We are…Grieving with the families and the victims.
We are…Broken hearted.
We are…Trying to make sense of things.
We are…Confused.
We are...angry that innocents would be violated under our care.
We are...demanding change to a system that would allow this.

We are... Over 500,000 living alumni strong
We are... Over 90,000 current students strong
We are…Ranked among the top 15 public universities nationally.
We are…The largest student-run philanthropy in the world that has raised over $78 Million dollars for pediatric cancer research
We are...Over 8,500 top ranked faculty.
We are…Hard working student athletes in many sports with NO connection to former events.

We are…More than a few university officials and a few athletic department members.

We are...in support of appropriate punishment for every person involved.

We are…More than this scandal.

We are...not concerned if you do not understand our love and devotion.

WE ARE...PENN STATE proud and we will rise again.

We are also showing what it really means to be a Penn Stater and doing what we can to raise money for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).  I am proud to see that as of right now (at 10:30 AM) we have raised $72,873 - and this is just since yesterday afternoon.  I know it doesn't make up for the heinous acts that were perpetrated against those boys, but if it can help them and other survivors then at least a little good can come from this.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another year.... (sigh)

Yep, this mommy is another year older.  Not sure why, but 35 seems soooo much older than 34.

At least I will have this smiling face to go home to today:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shock. Sadness. Revulsion. Anger.

I graduated from Penn State on August 8, 1999 (yes - I'm old).  I had always been proud of this fact.  I have bled blue and white and cheered on my Nittany Lions with vigor.

I am no longer proud.  I am sad.  And I am angry.

Unless you haven't turned on any news in the past few days you have no doubt heard of the horror story coming out of State College.  The story of the former defensive coordinator being arrested for sexually abusing at least 8 boys over a 15 year span from 1994 through 2009. 

I was a student on campus for four of those years.

But the story gets worse.  Much worse. People knew of this.  Important people. People who did nothing.

I read the 23 page grand jury report. When I got to the end I felt physically ill.

In 2002 a 28 year old graduate assistant (Mike McQueary) witnessed this 58 year old pervert (Jerry Sandusky) raping a 10 year old boy (noted as Victim 2 in the report) in the shower in the locker room. He ran home and called his dad. The next day he told the head football coach (Joe Paterno).  The day after that Paterno told the athletic director.  A week and a half later the AD talked to McQueary.  At no time were the cops called.  At no time did anyone try to find out who the victim was.

Now nine years later Sandusky has been arrested and the AD and a Vice President at the school have been charged with perjury for lying to the grand jury.

Legally, Joe Paterno is probably in the clear because he did what was required of him by reporting it to his supervisor.  The same with Mike McQueary.

But I don't get it.  How can Mike McQueary live with himself?  How can he get up every day and look in the mirror, knowing that he, for all intents and purposes, did nothing? He witnessed, with his own eyes, this poor excuse for a human being assaulting a young boy and stealing his innocence.  Yet all he did was run home and call his dad?  Where was the call to the police?  How can that happen?

And Paterno.  He says he didn't have all the details of what went on, just that he had been told that something inappropriate had happened in the shower with Sandusky and this 10 year old boy.  What else do you need?  Do you really need all the graphic details in order to know that this was very very wrong?  There is nothing right about a 58 year old man being in a shower with a 10 year old boy all alone.  His inaction dumbfounds me.  To me there is no good explanation as to why the police were not called. 

That they let this predator remain free to work with children and assault who knows how many more is stomach turning.

My anger is compounded by the fact that last Monday a man (Skip Reville) was arrested here for sexually abusing young boys over a 10 year span. This disgusting human being had taken every job that he could that would put him in contact with young boys. He was a tennis coach at a high school, a bible study leader, a basketball coach at a middle school, a youth camp counselor, and most stomach turning of all - a foster parent.  Every day there is another article in the paper with more details. It makes me sick.  And scared.

I have a son. A son that I will do anything to protect.  I know when he gets a little older he will probably be scared of monsters hiding under his bed.  I am more concerned with the monsters like Sandusky and Reville that are hiding in plain sight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love him any more

Last night we were at an oyster roast at a friend's house.  He normally has it in February, but decided to have it a little earlier this year so it wouldn't be so cold.

While we were there we saw Emily,  a friend that we hadn't seen in a while. I was talking to another friend when I heard Emily ask J how it is being a dad and if he loves it.  His response made me fall in love with him even more (which I didn't realize was even possible).

He said "It's the best thing.  Life is definitely different. Now I come home and I have this little person that I would give my last breath for."

To hear him describe it that way - that he would give up his life for our little baby - made my heart almost burst.  It pretty much sums up my feelings - I would do anything for this little guy.  He is the light of my life and being his mom has been even better than I could have ever imagined.  I am so in love with my family that I can't even describe it.  Yeah - life is good.  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Light the Night

Last night J, the munchkin and I took part in the Light the Night walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The walk is a way to raise awareness and money for blood cancers.  This year this cause is especially close to my heart due to baby Ellison. 

We were on the team with Andrew's daycare so he got to spend a little more time with Marc and Andrea.  The weather was perfect, although we could have used a little bit of a breeze to get rid of some of the gnats - they were awful.

After a little food and listening to some of the speakers we set out on the symbolic walk, following everyone with their blinking balloons.  There was a good turn out and I hope they were able to raise a lot of money for more blood cancer research.

Watching the red ($100+ in money raised), gold ($1,000+ in money raised),and white (survivors) balloons blinking among the crowd was kind of cool

Andrea and J chatting before the walk

Our team - they made the banner at daycare yesterday

Now for an update on poor baby Ellison.  She had the bone marrow transplant on 10/19 and became very sick that weekend.  Last Thursday she was put in the PICU and was in critical condition.  When I heard that I was in tears.  I checked in with Ashley, her mom, to see if they need anything at all - a home cooked meal, a place to get away from the hospital for a few hours, anything. We are right over the bridge from the hospital downtown and I wanted her to know that we are here if they need anything - especially since they are 100 miles from home.

She thanked me and let me know that Ellison was doing a little better and she would keep us posted.  The next day her husband updated Ellison's CaringBridge site and let everyone know that she is out of the PICU and back in her own room and that her immune system is starting to bounce back and her body is starting to generate new blood cells.  I was so happy to hear that and was in tears again, but this time from relief.

On Wednesday Ashley sent me this picture:

Apparently Ellison decided that she needs to review her lab work herself  :)

I keep praying for that sweet baby and I look forward to every update that I get on her.  She is why I was proud to take part in last night's walk. Anything that we can do to help Ellison and other babies, children and adults like her is worth it to me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I need some rehab

No - Andrew's regressing sleep habits haven't driven me to hit the bottle or start popping pills (although a Tylenol PM might be in my near future). I'm talking about my wardrobe.  It is in desperate need of a little makeover.

As of now I am back down to my pre-pregnancy weight (thank you, flu), but I am not back in my pre-pregnancy shape.  Things have, shall we say, shifted. I definitely feel like my hips are a little wider and the boobs are just a mess at this point. 

I've been back in my pre-pregnancy clothes since just a few days after Andrew was born.  I have plenty of cute clothes that I love, but I don't get to wear them very much.  Since I am still breastfeeding I feel the need to always wear a shirt with easy access. Mostly v-neck shirts where I can just whip one out when he needs to eat.  I don't have any "nursing" tops per se.  No little flaps and special panels.  Just shirts with a low enough neckline that I can pull out a boob when necessary - although I have stretched the hell out of some of them.

For work I feel like I need to wear shirts with easy access since I am pumping twice a day. I've never liked button down shirts since they  need to be tucked in or look sloppy and I'm not a huge fan of tucked in shirts.  Also, I've always had a big chest - even before they were full of milk - so shirts like that are always either too tight on the chest or way too loose everywhere else.

Anyway, I feel like I am wearing the same things over and over again. I remember towards the end of my pregnancy I couldn't wait to be done so I could go back to having some variety in my wardrobe. Now here I am, 7 months later and I am still stuck in a rut as far as clothes.  Don't get me wrong, I want to breastfeed as long as I can (at least to a year), but it's taking a toll on my self esteem since I just don't feel cute any more.

Are there any other BFing mommas out there that can relate?  What do you normally wear? Did you go out and buy actual nursing tops, or are you making do with regular shirts like I have been?  I'd love to hear your feedback and maybe get some ideas (that won't break the bank!).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sippy Cup - Take 1

Last night we decided to give him a sippy cup with some water to see if he could figure out what to do with it.

Not so much:

He proceeded to just lick the bottom of the cup.  And then bang it on the tray:

We also tried some apple slices with him to see what he'd do.  He was able to pick up some of them and gnawed on one til he bit off a piece and then he spit it out.  He did get a couple of the puffs in his mouth, though.

He was wearing his cute Halloween bodysuit (a nice hand-me-down from my sister).  J said it looked like pac-man with the ghosts.

And last night he slept in his little Halloween sleeper. He was really just interested in the pumpkins on his feet so it was tough to get a good picture.