Accepting Different Progress

This picture of me and Ellen makes me feel very self-conscious. I see a squishy, big belly and huge thighs… and I’m not talking about Ellen’s! No, when my dear husband first sent me this picture he took of me and Ellen, I only saw how fat I am.

But then I looked closer, and I saw a perfectly captured moment where I was showing my perfect daughter how much I loved her while we were enjoying a perfect, sunny morning at the zoo.

I want so much to be able to see that part first.

I’m having a hard time with the last 20ish pounds of baby weight. Let’s just admit that. Not feeling comfortable in my skin is an emotional thing to acknowledge for me. I hate that the extra weight defines how I feel about myself, and I hate how embarrassed I feel.

Yesterday, I went summer clothes shopping, and I had to buy the same size I wore the summer immediately after Lewis was born. At that time, I was freshly postpartum, literally weeks after giving birth. This time, I’m wearing that size at 8 months postpartum, after already having lost 50 pounds!

The labels on the pants/shorts made me feel awful and left me feeling so disappointed in my progress with my body. After Lewis, the weight melted off within the first year! Why isn’t that happening this time???

Well folks, I’ve done some thinking, and I have realized one very important thing. I only had 50 lbs to lose after Lewis. So if I had gained the same amount this time around, I’d be done already!!!

But because I gained back 10 after stopping breastfeeding Lewis, I started out 10 lbs heavier before getting pregnant with Ellen, and gained 10 more than I gained with Lewis. So I had 70 lbs to lose after Ellen.

So really, I should be proud. The first 50 lbs this time around melted off just as easily… but faster! They went away in 6 months this time! Why haven’t I been focusing on that amazing feat instead of on what remains?

Well… because the scale hasn’t budged in 2 whole months (damn Oreos and lack of exercise!). And that sucks. These pesky 20 lbs are clearly going to require some more effort than the first 50. But they’re 20 lbs I have never had before, so I shouldn’t expect them to behave the same way as the 50 lbs of baby weight my body knew how to shed on its own.

I’m a work in progress, physically and mentally, but I am working on both. If I just shift my focus, I can be proud of myself for losing the first 50 lbs after Ellen literally twice as fast as I lost the 50 lbs I gained with Lewis! And I know I can lose the last 20.

Until I do, I am going to try harder to see the joy and love in pictures of myself first, instead of counting my flaws. And I’m not going to be embarrassed to share pictures where I look “fat” anymore, because the shape of my body doesn’t define me, and these pictures are just a snapshot of my progress. Progress just happens to look different this time around.

Now I just have to convince people to take more pictures of me… the kids have a way of becoming targets of all cameras, and I seem to go missing, like I don’t even exist!

Queen of Inertia

Ellen retains her title of “Queen of Inertia”. However, she no longer lives by the motto, “an object at rest tends to stay at rest”. Oh no, her new motto is, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

In the space of a week, Ellen has gone from perfectly content wherever you put her to unsatisfied with any position.

On her belly? Immediately rolls to back. On her back? Immediately rolls to belly. Sitting up? Lunges forward and ends up on her belly. Laying down? Tries to sit up with all her might! And if she is unsuccessful at changing positions, she gets very upset.

This perpetual motion coincides with the sudden sleeping-all-night trend. I definitely do not think that is a coincidence! Girlfriend is wearing herself out during the day!

All the movement, coupled with the complete erasure of night-feeds has her hungry, too. She seems to want to be eating constantly. Her nursing feeds are longer in duration, and she has been eating a ton of solids (at school anyway…). She must be hungry enough to want real food pretty badly, because she’s even accepting more from me. Pretty awesome!

My body has adjusted beautifully to her new feeding schedule. I’ve stuck to my daytime pumping adjustment at work, and the combination of that + no more feeds at night have my milk supply much lower, but perfectly in line with what Ellen needs. I will never cease to be awed by the human body and all of the magical things it can do.

I looked at some stats, and Ellen has only gained about 3/4 of a pound in the last two months. Remember when she was gaining multiple pounds a month? Phew! What a change. She is still a squishy delight – far from a skinny kid – but she no longer qualifies as the fattest baby I’ve ever met. I credit all her “exercise” for the change in stature.

It all makes sense. All of these developments and changes explain each other – the motion, the change in sleep, different appetite, change in body shape. Special creature of mine, growing up!

8 months

Ellen is 8 months old today! Only one month left of her belonging more to my body than to the world. I’m going to do my best to savor this upcoming month a little extra, while she’s still so near to her first “home”.

To celebrate turning 8 months old, Ellen slept the whole night last night. A full night of sleep + a nap yesterday afternoon has got me feeling like the world is a brand new place today. Side note – it is also sunny and 70 degrees for literally the first time since last fall, so that helps, too!

Little Ellen isn’t packing on the pounds rapidly anymore, so we’re still enjoying the same clothes. It’s a bit silly how much that matters to me, but I had a disproportionate amount of guilt for how little we used previous sizes, so even though I’ve mentioned this before, it still feels newsworthy that we’re getting good use out of this batch.

We still don’t have any signs of teeth, which is both a blessing and a curse. If she is as grumpy about teething as Lewis was, I’m not looking forward to it at all. But as I mentioned in my last post, she isn’t loving purees, so some teeth would come in handy!! She is getting much, much better at getting little chunks of food into her mouth on her own, and she does her best without teeth to gum down the little bits of vegetables, cheese, beans, bread, etc., but she frequently gags on the bigger chunks that she isn’t successful at breaking down, and it is the most wretched noise!

Ellen’s latest tricks include high-fives and clapping. Because she’s so good at those tricks, we’re now trying to encourage her to wave. I bet you she gets it within the next week or so. She’s clearly observing us doing it and you can almost see the gears turning as she watches.

She is also a certified professional at rolling from her front to her back. She cannot be convinced to stay on her tummy for even one second, because she is so proud of her ability to roll to her back. If you put her on her tummy, she immediately rolls over and then starts giggling and grinning and kicking with unbridled joy. I’m convinced she could roll back the other way just as easily, but she just doesn’t seem to want to.

I’m only slightly concerned that her newfound interest in staying on her back will delay crawling. On the one hand, I want her to keep progressing and hitting milestones. On the other hand, mobile babies are a handful, so she can go ahead and take her sweet time!

Those are the major highlights for Ellen this month. I suspect this upcoming month will be chock-full of big news, like crawling, standing/cruising, waving, and maybe a first word. Like I said, I’m going to do my best to soak it all up!

Adventures in infants and toddlers

We’ve been adventuring on at our house. For the most part, life is back to “normal”, meaning that all of the extra excitement of celebrations and visitors is over and done with. But “normal” means different things on different days – there is always something to keep you on your toes!

Lewis was literally on his toes last weekend at his first dance class. It is a jazz, ballet and tap combo class. But really, it is just a bunch of kids jumping around. Either way, it is super sweet, and Lewis loved it!

Lewis’ other recent adventure came last night – He woke up screaming (20 mins after I fell asleep, of course!). It was like nothing I’ve ever heard from him before. He was screaming at the very top of his lungs, like he was injured. When he wasn’t screaming, he was yelling, “I’m siiiiiick! I’m siiiiiick!”

It turned out that his leg hurt so badly it had woken him up, and he figured that if he was in pain, he must be sick. I suspect a calf cramp, probably due to running around and riding his bike and mommy and daddy not giving him enough water (oops! mom guilt!) before bed. It took about 20 mins of both me and Kyle comforting him, a dose of tylenol, and me rubbing his back until he fell back asleep, whispering how brave he was over and over, but he did eventually fall asleep and sleep the rest of the night.

As he was drifting off, he said his throat hurt… that’s how powerful his screams were!!!

He was fit as a fiddle this morning, but he remembered “the event”. No calls from daycare so far today about him complaining of leg pain, so I stand by my diagnosis of a leg cramp. Poor dude! And poor mommy and daddy too. He really scared us!

Ellen’s current adventures are mostly in rolling over and solid foods. For some reason, she has stopped accepting solid foods from me. She’ll eat them at daycare, and she makes attempts at feeding herself (but, though she is getting there, she’s still not quite coordinated enough), but anytime I offer her a spoon or a chunk of something, she swats in front of her face wildly with both hands while tucking her chin into her neck. There is nothing I can do to get any food in her!

She still breastfeeds like a champ, but I was thinking we’d be starting to swing more towards solids here in the near future!

Even after going through this game once before with Lewis and learning that there is no one exact way for things to play out, I can’t stop myself from thinking that Ellen should be doing xy&z – in this case, she should be eating more solids by now.

I am working on letting up on myself and trying to take away some of the pressure of the “shoulds”, because Ellen is clearly thriving and completely fine and normal! But even in the moments where I am able to go easier on myself, I do get frustrated. I was having so much fun with Ellen and solids, and it is a big bummer that she won’t let me participate now!

Oh well!

Ellen’s sleep is still hit-or-miss, leading to occasional fatigue-induced meltdowns on my part. But Kyle is being extra supportive, and whatever he can’t help me with, caffeine takes care of. So we’re rockin’ and rollin’ over here!

Lewis turns “free”

Finally, Lewis’ 3 year post!

My first baby is threeeeeee years old. Someone save me! This can’t be real!

Today we hit the doctor for Lewis’ 3 year checkup, and I was relieved to find out that he is perfectly average! He is still taller than he is heavy, but at 31+ lbs and 3ft 2in, he is healthy as can be. Proud mama!

We celebrated him over the weekend, and it was as special as he deserved. Friday included a party at daycare with a clown and cupcakes, which the kids seemed to love. Lewis has been asking before school this week if the clown will be there again – so cute!

Saturday – kiddo’s actual birthday – we had a party for friends and family. We have a lot of friends and family, so it ended up being quite a big party, but our house held the people well, and catered food and self-serve beverages saved the day.

Before bed on Saturday, Lewis said sleepily to Kyle, “it was nice to see all those people for my birthday”. When Kyle told me about that, I wept a little bit, because at three years old, Lewis focused on the people and not on the presents… wow. What a sweet soul he has.

The following morning, I asked him what his favorite part of his birthday was, and he practically shouted, “MY GREEN FROSTING! AND MY RED CAKE!”

Yes, you read that right. Lewis asked my mom’s friend (who baked the cake for us!) to make him a red cake with broccoli frosting, and she delivered. Lewis’ birthday wish came true, and that cake made him so, so happy.

After the last week and all its craziness, I’m glad to go back to our normal lives with fewer visitors and fewer parties. It was so much fun – the happy kind of chaos – but I am exhausted. All the mayhem of birthdays and easter on top of Ellen’s poor sleep habits have got me absolutely beat down into the ground!

A brief report on Lewis in general:

He is super verbal. From normal speech to his own made up language (hi. He must be my kid!), Lewis is constantly talking. He intentionally makes up words all the time, but he also accidentally mispronounces some words/phrases that make me laugh. Below is a list of some of my favorites.

  • “Magic station” for imagination
  • Hello-doctor for helicopter
  • Bang-kick for blanket
  • Woopsie spaghetti-toes for “uh oh spaghetti-o’s”

Physically, Lewis is super active and all over the place. He loves to run from one end of the house to the other (or through Target!), he jumps off of everything (even though he knows he isn’t supposed to!), he flexes his muscles, loves to dance (starts dance class next week!), kicks his soccer ball all over the house, and learned to pedal his big boy bike. Gravity still gets the better of him a lot, so he is usually scraped and bruised somewhere. But that doesn’t stop him! Unless there is blood or a faceplant, he’ll usually pop right back up and announce, “I’M OKAY!”

Lewis is mostly potty trained, although we still have him in diapers at night time, even if he doesn’t usually need them and will wake up to go potty at night sometimes too. He does still have accidents during the day if he isn’t reminded to go when he is doing something super fun – but only pee accidents, never poop!

Lewis’ kind, sweet, gentle nature still prevails, demonstrated by his inclination to share and his love of making Ellen smile. If she starts to cry, he’ll do something outrageous or he’ll sing, and her mood will flip instantly (melt my mama-heart!).

Besides making Ellen smile, his other favorite thing to do seems to be changing his clothes a million times a day. I swear, that kid goes through 4-5 outfits a day. Sometimes just for fun, and sometimes because his clothes are “dirty” or he is “sweaty” or “cold”.

Our biggest challenges with Lewis at the moment are his choice not to listen and his inability to take “no” for an answer, and the ensuing tantrums that come along with us persisting/standing our ground. The screaming and awful tantrums happen several times a day, and it can really wear on Kyle and me, but we are getting better at avoiding the tantrums by warning Lewis when transitions are coming. And Lewis is getting better at calming down quicker.

When we don’t avoid a tantrum, we usually try to get his attention, have him stay still, look at us, and take deep breaths, and then tell us what he is feeling/why he is sad/angry. Oftentimes he’ll flare back up when he still doesn’t get what he wants, but we try to find compromises where we can, and make him understand why the answer is no when we can’t compromise. Sometimes it seems to help him just to be heard.

The tantrum thing will be a years-long work-in-progress, I’m sure. But I’m proud of his ability to express himself, and his willingness to calm down and listen for now.

Overall, the jackpot was won when we got Lewis 3 years ago. I can’t believe how wonderful these years have been, even through all the challenges and sleep deprivation. Can’t wait to see what our little dude does next!

Things I’ve Learned

Today marks the day I’ve been a mommy for 3 years. Three! Whole! Years!

I plan to write a whole post about Lewis, but after this crazy week, I don’t have it in me at the moment. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I’d like to share some things I have learned in my time as a mother. I’ve been compiling the list for a while, and I’m sure as the years continue to pass, it will only get longer.

These little people of ours, we are supposed to be teaching them, but boy do they have a lot to teach us, too!

Without further ado, the list!

  1. At the end of the day, all that matters is that everyone has full bellies and beating hearts. If they do, it was a good day.
  2. Parenting doesn’t get easier, you get more confident – you have gotten through hard things before, so you know you can get through this, too.
  3. They will sleep eventually
  4. Everything seems harder/scarier before you do it, and you’ll usually end up wondering what you were so worried about.
  5. Sometimes your attitude will be worse than your kids’.
  6. Ask for help before you burn out. It’s a lot easier to prevent a burn out than to recover from one.
  7. You know your child better than anybody. Trust your instincts, but be patient with yourself in the beginning – It takes time to get to know your baby.
  8. If you are worrying whether you’re a good mom or not, it probably means you are.
  9. Everyone rides the Struggle Bus, they just buy their tickets using different currencies.
  10. Fair doesn’t always mean equal.
  11. You can do a lot more on a lot less sleep than you think.
  12. You can put the baby down.
  13. Take the infant/children CPR/choking class. You will need it.
  14. Enjoying every moment is impossible. It’s something old grandmas made up because they forgot what it’s really like. (But those beautiful moments? Those will power you through a lot. Cherish those moments!)
  15. No matter what the day held, you will miss your babies when they go to bed.

I have treasured these last three years as a mommy. I have grown and changed and learned through all the challenges and joys – and wow, were there a lot of both!

I feel lucky – Lucky to have gotten the two kids I got, lucky to get to be their mom, and, well… just lucky all around.

Happy birthday, Lewis!

Working mom life

I am smack dab in the middle of the craziest week of the year at our house – the boys’ birthday week. This year, it even has a little bonus Easter on top!

It’s a fun week, but it’s chaotic. Between 3 birthdays (5 parties total, 3 of which I planned/am planning) and Easter, we are also juggling 2 dentist appointments, 2 doctor appointments, 2 PT appointments, spending time with 4 out of town guests, the cleaning lady coming, and work + normal life.

It’s mayhem. I can hardly think past the next thing to see what’s coming next! But I am making it work!

Here is a little taste of how this working mom handled today:

  1. Up with Ellen twice at night + up for the day at 6am
  2. Showered, then got Lewis dressed and ready while I was also getting myself dressed
  3. Fed two kids + myself
  4. Kids to daycare
  5. Work
  6. Call to arrange catering for Saturday bday party during lunch
  7. Begin applying for life insurance during lunch
  8. Call and schedule more physical therapy appointments during lunch
  9. Work
  10. Get call from insurance company and apply for life insurance over the phone while I am working (serious multi tasking!)
  11. Work
  12. Stop at target for urgent purchases
  13. Pick up kids
  14. Cook for entire family while simultaneously loading the dishwasher
  15. Feed both kids and myself (at least Kyle is capable/willing to feed himself! Win!)
  16. Sort and start laundry
  17. Bathe infant
  18. More laundry
  19. Feed infant again and put infant to bed
  20. Empty dishwasher
  21. Get ready for bed and then get back up 5 mins later to comfort screaming infant
  22. More laundry on the way back to bed
  23. Next – sleep maybe?

And that’s real life for me. I have had to maximize every minute lately to get everything done. It’s a beautiful, fun-filled, special time. But I am looking forward to getting through this weekend. After that, at least, there won’t be any parties for a while, which leaves more time to handle all that other stuff that doesn’t go away!



I’m about to get real with y’all for a moment. I want to talk postpartum briefly, because it doesn’t end 6 or 12 weeks after birth. It isn’t over when the wounds heal – it drags out!

I’m 7 months postpartum and my body is still a squishy reminder of Ellen’s first home. I haven’t lost a pound in the last month (thanks Oreos!). But I have lost a lot of hair.

Postpartum hair loss is crazy town, and the real subject of this post. I started losing my luscious pregnancy locks about 5 months after birth, and it is still falling out in handfuls. Please observe my baldspot below.

I have a cute (read: not cute) red mole right where I’ve gone completely bald. I try to comb over it most of the time so it isn’t so obvious, but it’s getting hard!

Our poor drains are all clogged, I have to clean out my hair brush weekly, and our bathroom floor might as well be carpeted. It’s rough, people!

I know it will go back to normal – Some of the hair has already started growing back! But the result in the interim is a halo of baby hairs and some fun little sideburns.

The glamour of motherhood knows no bounds!!