July 24, 2012

Four Months*

Lucas turned four months old over the weekend. For the first time I really, truly believe it, and am excited about the growth that has happened instead of sad that he is not my soft little squish anymore. I cannot imagine my life without this little guy in it, smiling at me every single day.

There have been SO MANY CHANGES this past month. I really feel that in these past few weeks, he has gone from a little tiny baby to a little tiny human. His personality is bigger than ever and his progress continues to amaze me. His laugh is getting bigger and louder, and he will often spend quite a bit of time doing nothing but laughing and talking to himself. In fact, I had the pleasure of listening to him squeal and giggle at nothing for 30 minutes this morning. It would have been even more adorable if it hadn't been 3:30 A.M. but it was cute nonetheless.

We still struggle with tummy time -- it continues to be one of his least favorite things to do. But where he lacks in that, he is excelling in so many other things. He is so strong and can often push himself up from sitting with some support from mommy & daddy. He isn't quite rolling over yet, but I blame that from the kick-stand that is his arm. If he would ever take his hands out of his mouth, he may be able to get over just a tad farther. But we are working on it, and it will happen in due time!

Lucas is so curious all the time. Within the last week even, he has started to reach for objects. He is fascinated by what his hands can do and will explore whatever he can get his little fingers on, whether that's any of his soft plush animals or mamma's lips. Of course, as soon as he gets his hands on it, it's straight to his mouth. He tries so hard and you can see the determination in his face when he tries to master something new. I think he takes after mom on that one!

We also took a huge leap and moved from the bassinet to the crib this past month. This one was not quite my doing as much as it was pressure [but not really] from M. I don't know why I felt the need to keep him in the bedroom with us for longer, other than for completely selfish reasons. His nursery is right next to our bedroom so even having him in the crib doesn't mean a much farther walk. But it meant he was getting bigger, and you better believe that as soon as I put him to bed that first night, I may or may not have burst into tears. He, of course, slept most of the night with zero problems.

Since then, we have started the unswaddling process, and are currently dealing with one arm out. The first couple of nights went off without a hitch, but the past two have been a little more difficult. I am hoping that this is a quick phase and we can get him unswaddled before he starts rolling over. Again, swaddling him this long was mostly selfish [it REALLY helps him sleep longer stretches at night] but he also enjoys it. The big goofy grin that shows up when I start rolling him like a burrito does not lie!

We did also venture into rice cereal this past week. Little guy is eating a ton, but whether we give him four ounces or six ounces, he still wants to eat every two hours. Which gets old, really fast. We have tried spoon feeding him a very runny version of rice cereal, but the two times we have done that, he wasn't quite that interested. I'm not in any rush to start spoon feeding him, since he JUST turned four months old, so we will likely wait a long while before we try that again. Besides, all he wanted to do, of course, was put the bib in his mouth.

However, on the advice of our pediatrician, we are doing a formula/rice cereal mixture in his bottles. Hopefully we can find a mixture that works well for him and helps spread out his feedings to three or four hours apart. I definitely know my amazing nanny/sitter would appreciate it!!

This week we venture off to Florida for a much needed looooooong weekend away & a mini-family vacation. We will be staying a couple blocks away from the beach but will also have the pool at the house, so I can't wait to introduce Lucas to the water and see how he likes it! I am continually amazed by what a beautiful, wonderful blessing we have with Lucas. He is the perfect baby and every day I am in awe of how much he changes. I love this kid a little more every day, and every day I shock myself with how much love there is for him. Life is a surprising, exhausting and exciting roller coaster.

But life is so good because of it.

July 20, 2012

Call Me Maybe: Marine Style

I am a sucker for cleverly done videos by people who are bored and have absolutely nothing better to do [and I maintain that the one done by all those fabulous gay boys to Miley Cyrus's Party In The USA is still my absolute favorite!]

This one is definitely up there at the top. Done by a USO branch in Afghanistan, it's a very clever video done to a very popular song. One that I, for whatever reason, have not gotten sick of yet!


July 18, 2012

Your Maternity Leave. Your Choice.

I typically try to stay away from the controversial stuff here on this blog, and try to maintain a light and fluffy sort of atmosphere. Because that's more fun. The heavy stuff is just that ... heavy. For my sanity, I try to keep the peace as much as possible.

BUT. This article has me a little fired up. So, I'm breaking the peace pact for just a bit. Hang in there with me, mmm-kay?

If you don't want to click over, here is the run down. Marissa Mayer, a former Vice President at Google and the 20th employee that the company hired in it's start-up days, has officially become the first pregnant woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She has made the switch over to Yahoo!

She is also pregnant.

A woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company! This is IMPRESSIVE. Something that we women should be celebrating. But this is not what people are talking about. Yes. She is pregnant, and while there is some huffing and puffing about hiring a pregnant woman, the bigger issue is that Ms. Mayer has expressed that she will only be taking a few weeks for maternity leave, and will most likely be working through it as well.


Wait ...

Last I checked, it was a woman's right to chose how she would like to spend her maternity leave. For the life of me, I cannot understand how the author of the open letter linked above thinks that it is her business to tell Ms. Mayer [or any other working mother who CHOOSES to take a short maternity leave] why she should reconsider, how she should spend her time, and how she is making the rest of us look bad by choosing to go back to work so soon after having her first child. But she does so anyways.  The author of the open letter states:
Would it be so bad to spend a couple more months in the comfort of your home, un-showered and wearing sweats like the rest of us? I know you're used to working long hours. But "all-nighter" takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother.

Give yourself a break. At least see how you feel when you're a mom before deciding -- very publicly -- that you want to go right back to work. There are plenty of working moms in this country who struggle with maddeningly short maternity leaves -- out of financial necessity, not by choice. And I know you didn't annoint [sic] yourself the new poster-mom for "having it all," but you're not exactly helping their cause.
I highly doubt that Ms. Mayer made it to the top by sitting at home in her yoga pants, being a post-baby fat ass like I was during my 12 weeks off [because I won't lie. I was!] The woman is motivated. She has drive. She did not get where she was without that. And as working women who also happens to be a mother, I completely commend her for being where she is. Achieving what she has achieved. For pushing past all the men and making it to the top. THIS is what we should be celebrating. Hooray! She is pregnant and bringing life into this world! What an amazing thing for her and her husband. But I am also pretty damn impressed with her resume and the things she has accomplished in her life. The woman wants to work through her maternity leave. Yes -- she will realize that it is hard. But she is also 37 years old. I think it's safe to say that she has plenty of people around her who have children who have told her all of these exact same things. But again, this is her choice.

She did announce her plans publicly, but does that require us to tear her down? I do not understand why there is this need to do just that -- to her or other mothers out there. The decisions that we as mothers make never seem to be good enough for someone else. If you, as a mother, decide to stay home, then you are a slacker and are giving other woman in this world a bad name because you're choosing to be the care-giver and rely on your husband to bring home the bacon. But if you decide to work, then you are seen as a bad mom for not spending 24/7 with your child. These "mommy wars" need to stop. Instead of tearing each other down we need to lift each other up. We need to support each other, and realize that decisions are completely personal. I know that not everybody is lucky enough to have a full 12 weeks [or longer -- damn you, Canada, and your lovely one-year maternity leave! Get with it, Uncle Sam!] of  maternity leave like I did. And not that it's anybody's business, but because I started a new job four months pregnant, mine was unpaid. So we planned and we made it work. But I know that not everybody can do that. I get that.

But let's be honest here. Even I, in my measly little non-CEO for a non-Fortune 500 company checked my emails and conducted the occasional business while I was on leave. I honestly do not know a woman who has NOT done this. Did I do it every day? No. But I also know women who had their laptops in their recovery room and were handling business just hours after pushing out their kid. And you know what? WHO CARES. Is my child any worse off because I am not home during the day, Monday through Friday? No. He is in amazingly awesome hands during the day and I know he is growing and learning every single day. In fact, he is probably better off with her during the day than he was with me. I love my kid. I miss the shit out of him during the day and I do my best to provide for him by working as hard as I do, but sometimes those Storage Wars marathons suck you in, and the next thing you know, four hours have gone by and you're still on the couch. It's not my fault. It's also irritating as hell when somebody else tells you what to do, or how you should feel, or that you will change your mind when your mind is made up. I speak from experience on this one [as most working mothers, I'm sure, can attest to as well].

The bottom line is ... lay off. Let the woman do what is best for her and her family. Because at the end of the day, that's all that matters. If you do not know her personally, you do not have the right to speak on her behalf, or tell her what she is/isn't doing right. It's her child. Her life. One that I am assuming she worked very, very hard for. And if she, by choice wants to take the minimum six weeks of maternity leave and get back to the grind then let her. Because nobody elses opinion matters.

So to Ms. Mayer -- I say KUDOS to you. Thank you for being an inspiration to those of us woman who work our asses off and are working our way up the ladder. Thank you for busting your ass and being a landmark individual. Being a new mom is HARD. Extremely hard. But I am sure that you will continue to be amazing and impressive in both motherhood and your work life. Your choices are your choices. Don't let the man [or the other woman] bring you down.

Update 7/19: I misread some information. She is the first PREGNANT woman to be named CEO. She is currently the 19th female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but the first woman to be CEO while pregnant. My apologies on that. HOWEVER, it does not change the way I feel about what was written! My points still stand.  

Still Figuring It Out*

Y'all, let me tell you, life has been busy. Instead of apologizing for my lack of posts [which, I am sorry], we are just going to dive right in, mmm-kay?

The week of the Fourth of July, my father in law popped in for a visit. Two weeks earlier, he had decided he wanted to fly in from Oregon and spend some time. It was a little last minute and to say that it was a disaster is a huge understatement. I won't go into details for multiple reasons, but it was beyond stressful that week. I was grateful to be at work most of the time, but worried the rest about the time he was spending with Lucas. I wish that the relationship I had with my father in law was different, but when your own husband isn't thrilled about his dad being there, you can understand the stress.

BUT, we made the best of the situation and moved on. I am leaving it at that. And then were extremely grateful when our house was our own again! 

Life in general has been very busy these days. And exhausting. Lucas decided about a week and a half ago that 4am was an appropriate time to wake up for the day. This would be great if I could do the whole "nap when baby naps" thing during the day, but I'm a working mamma and that's just not possible. As much as I would LOVE to crawl under my desk at lunch time, I'm pretty sure they would fire me. That, most definitely, would not be good. So things have been a little hectic. It was also about a week ago that our sitter's ten-month old came down with hand, foot, mouth disease, leaving us to fend for ourselves for a couple of days. Due to the lack of sleep and an overall feeling of not spending enough time with my child due to my work schedule, having an extra day off to spend with Lucas, just the two of us, was great. And I am forever grateful to amazing friends who helped out on day two when I couldn't stay home again.

That feeling of missing Lucas has been plaguing me for a while now, and it's been very hard to handle. We had been in such a great routine the first 10 weeks of his life, and I will even admit that coming back to work felt REALLY GOOD. I was so happy to be productive and feel like I was contributing to the world again instead of sitting at home in my yoga pants [dear yoga pants: I miss you.] But somewhere in the past few weeks, that forward momentum of feeling like we had a good routine came screeching to a hault. But damnit, I miss my kid. Something fierce. I fully realize that I made the decision to come back to work. I am grateful that we are in a situation where had I wanted to stay home, it would have been an option for me. And I know I have discussed in the past about my choice to come back and why I came to it. But missing your child is tough. I might be able to blame my extreme lack of sleep for my raging hormones these days, but I am very protective of what little time I have with the guy during the week, because it is so limited. M and I are working on a schedule to make sure that all parties involved are happy at the end of the night. I am finding that making everyone happy has become one of the hardest things to deal with at this point in being parents.

Because I am perfectionist. I want to do it all right. And I want everyone to like me and love me and lord help me if they are even slightly disappointed in me! GASP.

But convincing myself that I cannot do it all is hard. My husband, my child and my job cannot all be my number one priority, because logistically, it does not work that way. Because we rely on my income, I need to kick ass and take names at my job. But my child is also MY CHILD. Important. He needs me. He cannot feed himself, change himself, tell me what he wants in a non-crying way. He relies on me in more way than one. And then my sweet husband ... how do you tell your life partner that you cannot put them first? How do I juggle all of these thing that are beyond important in my life? I haven't quite figured it out yet. There is this overwhelming fear of failure. Of screwing up. Of not doing something right and again, DISAPPOINTMENT. This, I cannot handle. But I am trying to find a balance. To make things work as best of my ability. And let me tell you, folks ... while I am figuring it out, there are a LOT of tears. I am overwhelmed with finding a way through this. I am so lucky that I have such a great husband who will do whatever it takes, and I need to learn to reach out more. I cannot do it all myself. I know this. But I want to. Asking for help seems like a weakness to me, but I am, again, trying to get rid of that notion. I know that somewhere down the road, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will get there. I will get there.

In the mean time, I am beyond grateful for those who understand and are holding my hand through this transition. I am a lucky girl. This whole new mom thing opened up my eyes to a lot of things. It's amazing how major life changes will show you people's true colors. And the ones who have stuck around and supported me, even when going through their own personal shit, are forever on my list of people I owe big time.

Has anybody else out there felt like they have hit a wall in the beginning of new parenthood? Should I expect this to happen frequently in the next 18 years? Was that pretty much the stupidest question ever? Don't laugh too hard ....

July 3, 2012

Newborn Baby Girl*

Excuse the lack of posts around here lately! My father-in-law is in town visiting us from Portland and will be here for a couple more days. We've been busy trying to entertain, as well as beat the ridiculous heat that we have had down here in North Carolina the past few days. Needless to say, sitting on a couch with a warm laptop has not been very ideal! It's been an interesting few days with the FIL in here. I don't really write on family things too often (aside from myself and the kiddo) so I will leave it at that. But we are trying to be the best hosts possible.

I did, however, get to meet an adorable baby girl yesterday! Just one day old, this sweetie [who still does not have a name -- blame her indecisive mother! I can say that because she's a friend!] looks just like her daddy and is as tiny as can be. I am hoping to showcase more of my photography on here, so I might as well start with this!! I am wanting to wait to do too much before the new site launches, but because that's still two months away [eek! I can't wait!] I can't stop blogging all together!

So meet this beautiful mama and her gorgeous baby! B is a very good friend. Our husbands are in the same unit, but it was our infertility treatments that brought us together and over the past couple of years, she has become an amazing friend of mine. She went through six rounds of IUI before getting pregnant on her own with this baby, two months before her scheduled IVF. Although, her last IUI was cancelled due to overstimulation, so we are convinced she has SO MANY follies that they just kept right on coming, and one got lucky.  I will have more photos to come! [And if you want to follow my facebook page, go here!]