Friday, August 29, 2014

7QT: training, nursing babies, and my new momiform

1. The momiform. Here 'tis, folks. At the tender age of 31, I think I've finally settled on a daily uniform that doesn't involve obvious amounts of spandex and/or sweat-wicking performance fabrics.

Flats, studs, skinnies, flowy top, repeat.

Optional seasonal mix ins to include scarves, riding boots and flip flops.

There. Done. Do I look like a grown up? I feel 100% better when I leave the house like this, and shockingly, I still manage to make it to the gym around 4 pm even when I don't strap on my workout gear first thing in the morning. Don't believe the lie, ladies, don't believe the lie...

2. I'm starting work with a personal trainer at said gym next week, 2x's weekly for one month. Inspired by Heather's fearsome results and hoping to do more to combat the chronic back pain that child bearing and child hauling seem to have sentenced me to, I've been promised big results. I tend to believe the spritely, 114 lb girl who will be training me, because she's really nice and has a blinged out miraculous medal ring on her finger, and because I fell down the stairs the day after our first 30 minute session because my thighs gave out. If you can make me fall down the stairs in muscle spasms, you have my business. I'll let you know how it goes.

3. Breastfeeding: the saga continues. Seriously, I had all but thrown in the burp cloth and had even sent a few SOS texts to Grace and to my bff Eliz (no blog, sadly) fabulous formula feeders both with big, healthy babes, and then I decided to try one last resort and scheduled a session with my friendly neighborhood lactation consultant Mariann (literally she's in my address book. Such dairy. So milk.) and what do you know, she told me that Evie might just be teething, that she's 8 months old and eating 3 squares of solids a day, and that if I wanted to keep nursing her I should go ahead and nurse her when I felt like it, as long as it was comfortable, and with the expectation that babies her age can take a full feeding in under 10 minutes. Also she told me to go ahead and use formula too, if it helped me.

What the what? I think the takeaway was that I'm the mom and can decide what's best for baby and me, both. Earth shattering.

Seriously though she's the most amazing woman, and she helped save breastfeeding for me not once but three times. So now Evie is happily snacking in limited amounts of time as long as she promises not to nibble or pull, and as soon as she starts misbehaving, pop goes the bottle in her mouth. Win/win. Oh, and a nightly Guiness is helping my supply recover from our hell week.

4. Which is not strictly Paleo, mind you. Okay it's not even loosely paleo, but my sister in law brought some for Dave's birthday last weekend and it's just taunting me from the fridge. Just like the Chicfila I served to "the kids" for lunch somehow ended up in my mouth, too. Oops.

5. On that note...starting a brand spanking new Whole 30 tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Why, because it's the beginning of Labor Day weekend! And won't it be fun to not eat any chips or buns or beer or cookies at any of the parties we'll be attending?

I figured it would be a good exercise in mental and physical discipline, you know? Because there's always a reason to cheat. Plus, I'm tired as hell every single day even though I'm not pregnant and I'm sleeping 8+ hours a night. Seriously I feel like death by 4 pm every day. I even tried a month of super expensive vitamins and supplements, to no avail. It's got to be the naughty nighties that have crept into my routine (ahem, Guiness. Chocolate that my boss left for the boys after a dinner party the other night (hi Uncle Ollie!) The insanely aromatic banana bread that our wonderful nanny baked with the kids yesterday afternoon.

But no more. I'm putting my foot down for a solid month. I figured that by synching up with my 4 weeks of training at the gym, I'll be giving my postpartum body the biggest push I can muster. Plus, once Fall begins in earnest, I tend to lose major health motivation in the face of an endless stream of holidays and birthdays. So it's now or never!

6. Haley's running a Whole 30 on the Carrot's Facebook page, but I don't know if I can access the closed group without a personal FB account, so I think I'll just troll along on my own. Anyone in? Solidarity?

7. I got nothing, 2/3rds of the household is now awake because their wildly optimistic mother put Evie down for her "morning" nap at 11 am and oops, there goes the afternoon edition. Oh, wait, there is this:

We met Matt Maher this week at a conference and he was gracious enough to take this very awkward photo with a very excited fan. (I am so stupid when I meet famous people. So stupid.) Anyway, I have loved his music for forever. Seriously he's one of the only Christian artists I like, and not just like, but absolutely adore. Speaking of that, he led worship for Adoration and it was beautiful. Real. Brought me back to Steubenville in a good way, in an honest and refreshing and unpretentious way.

Okay, duty calls. See you at Jen's.

p.s. we're not really doing school this year, per se, but this killed me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PSA: mom jeans

... minus the mom jeans part.

But seriously, all ye of postpartum shape or anyone who would like to present the illusion of trim and toned to the outside world.

Pick yourself up a pair or two of these (at $25 bucks a pop, plus 30% online today, why not?) and cruise your way into fall looking like you worked out occasionally this summer.

You're welcome in advance.

(Trust me, your husbands will thank you.)


Here's some in vivo evidence of the fit and stretch that will rock your world.

Srsly, they feel like yoga pants that hug you back, are appropriate for public use, and button right smack dab over your deflated belly button. Perfection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This is my mission field

I laughed when I clicked open a reader's email this morning (can you believe I still have readers after my last few posts? Me neither.) to the subject line "just what the world needs, another mommy blogger."

She's right, I laughed to myself. And then I thought a little longer about it and actually, you know what? That's exactly what the world does need.

I work in the news, which means I wade daily through the endless cycle of blood, suffering, horror and abuse that qualifies as attention-grabing. I read all the headlines, and I take note of all the trends cycling out there. I don't have to tell you that it's grim; 5 minutes of channel surfing will make that clear to anyone.

Here's the thing though, despite the tired old adage about how if it bleeds, it leads and the sad reality that horror is endlessly fascinating in a broken world: we need good things to put into our bodies. We need good food, clean water, and, just as desperately but perhaps less apparently, we need good news.

Ultimately, we need the Good News, but we need little 'g' good, too. We need to read stories about how moms are holding their children tight at night and simultaneously cursing the nap-striking phase while marveling at the soft, sweet baby skin still covering their big strong toddler's body.

We need that shot in the arm that reading about another woman's experience with childbirth/schooling/potty training/depression/marriage/illness can give. In our virtual village here on the web we can give - and receive - the kind of support many of us don't have in our physical villages.

Beyond that though, the world needs to see the truth, goodness and beauty of motherhood and family life. And while I'm under no impression that the world reads my blog, nor that I particularly exemplify those big three most days, I do feel a certain civic responsibility to put it out there. (I mean yes, I guess I must also be an attention-seeking over-sharer, but that just makes this particular medium a natural fit for me.)

Maybe your medium is creating meals for friends with new babies or challenging illnesses in their families. Maybe you create beauty by throwing fabulous parties in your warm, artistically and lovingly decorated home (I'm looking at you, Meg). Maybe you are an amazing conversationalist who doesn't mind chewing the fat with the lady behind you in line at Target, or, (horrors) maybe you actually seek out strangers with whom to converse pleasantly.

Here is my point (what a relief); we all have something beautiful, life-giving and necessary to contribute to the world. It might seem little or insignificant to you, or even redundant. But beauty is redundant. It's the breathtaking over-and-over again of the sunset that keeps us looking up each night, marveling over the colors and the clouds. And let's be honest, pretty much all newborns arrive sporting the same red 'n wrinkled look, and yet a glimpse of the innocence in their squinty eyes and the tiny, mewling cries coming out of their mouths before the epidural fully wears off are enough to bring a grown man to tears.

So what I'm saying is, if you feel like you have something to say, you'd better speak up, because this world could surely use another voice proclaiming something Good. God knows there's plenty of bad news coming from every direction. And there's no such thing as too much beauty.

Friday, August 22, 2014

7QT: Thrifting, non-pregnant nesting, and the epic saga of breastfeeding woes continues

Ciao, tutti. It's time for another rousing rendition of what's going on inside Jenny's nursing bra.

Just kidding.

Well, mostly. How about 7 quick takes mostly unrelated to lactation? Mostly.

1. I must have caught something from my latest re-read of the Nesting Place, because suddenly I've gone full on guerrilla mode on our humble abode and no piece of furniture is safe (nor is it securely in place) in this home. I hit up my favorite of favorites, my local Savers yesterday with all the bambini in tow, and out we walked with the coffee table-turned-crafting-space of my dreams, a standing floor lamp not from Target and not sporting an upside-down dog collar for a shade, and a giant ass Thomas the Train expandable play tent which has been journeying throughout my house over the past 24 hours and can be thrown satisfyingly down the basement steps at a moment's notice. Best $2 I've ever spent, I think.

2. Isn't this hideous?

3. How about now?

4. I'll tell you what, once I get going with a can of spray paint, I tend to get a little out of control. I'd asked a friend earlier this week to meet me after bedtime at our place for a little crafting and after I spied this beauty on Pinterest I decided there were enough droplets of turquoise paint left in the can to coat our wreaths. We also followed this simple felted flower tutorial and with our hot glue guns and a couple bottles of Stella, we had ourselves a good old fashioned girl's night in. The great news is that when we're both 65 years old, we will already have the template for what qualifies as a "good time" down pat.
I'm in love with this wreath. I'd like to take it out to dinner.
6. Speaking of being old and fabulous and domestic, would you guys like it if I did some kind of weekly or bi-weekly thrifting post? I know it's not the "tone" of this blog, per se, but I take so much delight in finding worthless crap and giving it a second chance at life. I also take joy in finding J Crew lovelies with the original tags still on, but that's not quite the same thing. So what do you think? Should I branch out from bodily fluids, Catholic apologetics and s-e-x and give you more frequent glimpses into the deep, dark world of my Goodwill addiction?

5. But let's talk about what you really came here to read about today: Nipplegate 2014. Let's start with the good news. The good news is that I have the very best hookup with the sweetest IBCLC on the planet, and after a 911 call to her voicemail earlier this week, she counseled me over the phone (in Target, obviously. My deepest condolences, fellow shoppers in the lamps and home goods department) and she was encouraging + compassionate and just the right touch of "well, 8 months is a fantastic amount of time to nurse, and if you want to to ahead and try the one-sided route, that's a great idea, and if not, that's great too."

(Basically she's the perfect combination of confidence, professionalism and compassion. If you live in Denver or the surrounding area and ever find yourself in need of such services, I'm happy to point you her way.)

This is an unrelated picture of a reindeer. Never will I ever invite the neighbors to the lame-ass birthdays we throw for our own toddlers.
The bad news is that while I was letting things heal up on the injured side, the uninjured workhouse, old right n' reliable, got an overuse injury or something and now I'm having a doubly uncomfortable time replete with all manner of unmentionable horrors (Dave already is aghast I've said so much on the blog. But you all are so helpful! How can I hold back?). The bottom line is that as of last night, I'd gone 24 hours without nursing or pumping on one side, and my supply is tanking. I'd all but decided we were officially broken up in the breastfeeding department but then around 10:30 pm I burst into her room in a fit of hormonal angst and dream fed her. So, I don't really know where that leaves us. She's probably taking 90% of her liquids by bottle now, but I'm resolved to keep nursing her first thing in the morning and last thing at night, if she wants and if my supply can rise to the challenge. Ugh, motherhood is just full of feeeeeeeeeelings and stuff.
Evie be like "I don't give a bleep just feed me. Anything."
7. Whichever one of you brilliant people recommended Peg + Cat is my very favorite, because my kids can count and add and subtract...and I've done nothing. Now this is my idea of homeschooling.

See you over at Jen's place.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An experienced mother becomes a hand-wringing idiot

Hi there, just checking in for a quick second tonight whilst I gulp my illegal beer down (definitely not Whole 30 approved) and wait for dinner to finish simmering. (Deeply ironic paleo beef stew, since you didn't ask.)

So about that boob injury I referenced last week on the blog's Facebook page. Yeah, go head and cover yo eyes, male readers, because it's about to get real.

Evie is 8 whopping months now and while she is of course old enough to wean to formula and of course there is nothing wrong with formula feeding your baby. NOTHING. I'm just...reluctant. You see, about a week ago something went horribly and terribly wrong one one side of her nourishment delivery system and suddenly there is like blood and cursing and all kinds of writhing in pain at every feeding.

It's been difficult to know what to do, because while my brain (and my very supportive husband) are like wean that baby you're squirting blood in her mouth and oh the suffering (sorry for that detail. Just...sorry.) my mother heart (and I suppose my oxytocin-addled mind) are like nooooooooo, must nurse the baby until she decides she's done and my particular favorite, THIS IS SUCH A BONDING EXPERIENCE! HOW MUCH DO YOU FREAKING LOVE YOUR BABY RIGHT NOW?! which is a totally true statement, but it feels weirdly amplified by the very real hormonal hit that accompanies each nursing session.

So. That leaves us here, on Tuesday, one week into the great boob trauma of 2014, whereby I have decided on 4 separate and consecutive days that I am going to a. wean her, b. wean her to one side only (is this possible? It doesn't feel possible), c. call my $$$ lactation consultant who is literally on speed dial and drop another Benjamin on a cozy private conversation, or d. go to Whole Foods and buy all the organic formula made from the delicate tears of pastured, free range celestial cows.

Here is where the rant ends and the questions begin.

Mothers of the nursing variety, have you ever/has someone you've known weaned a baby to one sided feeding? Did you look like a sideshow specimen in your clothes? Did the awful one-two punch of nipple trauma + engorgment finally abate and you found yourself left with one sufficiently productive breast? Can you explain to me why it's fine to write "breastfeeding" but when I write "breast" I feel like I'm 13 years old and male on the inside?

Any comments or anecdotal accounts are welcome, but just know that I've tried all the lanolin, all the pumping, all the weird natural concoctions and all the healing compresses. There's still a situation resembling the San Andreas fault, and I'm pretty sure that I will never, ever look or feel the same on that side.

(Dad, I hope you stopped reading a long, long time ago.)