Tuesday, June 05, 2012


I feel as though I have come to terms, once and for all, with my preference for short hair.  When I was a little kid, my mom kept my hair short so she wouldn't have to deal with it, and it wasn't until around 3rd grade (mind you, this is how I remember all this, and not necessarily how it really happened) after much begging that she finally relented and let me grow my hair long.

I never knew how to take care of it, so it was basically a long frizzy mess from then until some point in high school, maybe 10th grade, when I got a pixie, and thus began my addiction to getting drastic haircuts.  Everyone does a double-take when they see you, and you get so many compliments!  It's one of the most fun things you can do, trust me.  And the best thing about drastic haircuts is, even if you don't like it, even if you HATE it, you only have to live with it for a couple of weeks.  I think even the worst haircut ever would resolve itself into something at least OK within a month.

It feels so great to take that huge leap, when the reward is an exciting new look, and the only risk is a few weeks of mediocrity.  The only time this happened to me was when I dyed my hair and it came out Barney purple, and even though I tried two more boxes of dye to fix it, it didn't work and I had to walk around with the worst dye job ever for a few weeks.  But even that faded pretty quickly.  And I'm also resolved, though not as a result of that incident (I've dyed my hair many times since about a year or 18 months ago), to never dye my hair again.  I like its natural color quite a bit; it'll get lighter in the sun anyway; it's much cheaper and less hassle with no dye; and this way I'll know as soon as I get any grey, and I can let it come in gradually so I can ease into natural grey hair and never have to worry about my roots.

My hair was long again, like past my shoulders, my freshman year of college, but has been between super short and chin-length ever since then, until the past year when I started growing it long again during pregnancy.  I don't know why, but something in my brain told me I needed to be able to make a ponytail by the time I had a baby.  I achieved that, and lasted until today with long hair, but I feel fairly certain that was the last time.  It's been coming out in handfuls for a couple of weeks, in the shower, all over our bathroom, all over the house, in Penelope's hands, breeding dust bunnies in every soon as I made the hair appointment, it couldn't come soon enough.  I've been counting down the days for a week, and this morning when I woke up, I couldn't wait for 11:30.  Now I smile and sigh with relief every time I remember I have short hair again!  I can't wait to wash it and start playing.  I'm still addicted to drastic haircuts, though, so in a month or so I may go back and get it DRASTICALLY short, and then let it get shaggy over the winter because I love every length between super short and chin-length, and then by next spring it will be long enough again for another satisfyingly drastic cut.  But never again will I get to experience as drastic a cut as I got today, from well below my shoulders to above my ears!  There was so much hair on the floor that it filled up an entire dust pan, the big bin-sized kind.

I feel like my experience as a kid with not being allowed to grow long hair should make me want it to be long now that I can, but...Mom was right.  Plus, I have two cousins who have the most amazingly thick, beautiful, dreamy long hair, that mine just seems so BLAH to me in comparison when it's long, all limp and thin and boring.  The true strength of my hair can't shine through unless it's short.  It's just the way of things.

And that, my friends, is more than you ever wanted to know about my hair.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Milestones

The only new milestone lately is PJ demonstrating her first projectile spit-up.  Not exactly one for the record books.  But I wanted to make sure I got a few general timing things written down somewhere, so here we go...

By around 2 months of age, PJ was on 100% breast milk and 100% cloth diapers, weighed 9 lbs 4 oz, and was almost 22 inches long.

By 3 months of age, she had passed 10 lbs 6 oz; she was baptized on April 29th:
She was really starting to get talented at babbling, shrieking, and making a variety of vowel sounds, and her favorite place to do chat was laying on her changing table, preferably naked.  She occasionally would manage to grab the handle of the musical frog on her bouncy seat & play the song:
On May 5th, she rolled over back-to-belly for the first time, and by 3 1/2 months had pretty reliably found her thumb and started to suck it regularly.

She also started to roll onto her belly at night, so she's been mostly a belly sleeper since then, with the possible exception of nights I put her down when she's already fast asleep.
But my favorite thing to start happening this month are the HUGE smiles and happy kicks and shrieks I get when I come home from work and she sees me for the first time.  She's been smiling for a while, but now she can do it all the time and does it a LOT.

Now she's 4 months old, 12 pounds, sleeps as much as 10 1/2 hours a night, LOVES baths (lots of smiling and kicking and happy noises), still loves to talk while naked on her changing table but also talks a lot anywhere she is, especially if you're engaging her face-to-face but often even if she's just playing by herself in her bouncy seat; she successfully grabs the pull on the frog to play "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" when she's in her bouncy seat, and is very proud of herself for doing it; seems to have stopped rolling belly-to-back, but rolls back-to-belly all the time (even when she doesn't want to do tummy time); has a reliable strategy for finding her thumb: she drags her right hand across her face until the thumb pops into her mouth, but she still doesn't quite grasp that when she waves her arms, that will remove her thumb from her mouth, so she spends some time popping it in and then losing it over and over until she calms down enough to relax and leave it there; just in the last few days, I've found her awake and hanging out on her belly in her crib in the mornings, so apparently now she wakes up and doesn't feel the need to let us know right away!

Along with her first-ever projectile spit-up last night, she had her first low-grade fever today, presumably as a result of the 2nd round of vaccines she got yesterday at her 4 month well-baby visit.  But after an extra-long afternoon nap and a big meal from Mommy, she seemed back to her usual self this evening, and went to bed with her usual no fuss tonight.  She's recently started to try to lean forward when she's propped up, so hopefully the next big milestone will be sitting up!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You guys.  I might have to curb my skepticism.  I bought a bottle of MotherLove More Milk Plus at the recommendation of a lactation consultant at a La Leche League meeting (yes, I went to one in April.  It was OK.  I might go again in June.), and after using it for 3 days, I am pretty sure I'm noticing an increase.  The last 4 times I've pumped, I've gotten at least 20% more than comparable sessions in the previous week.  I need a couple more days worth of data to feel really confident, but it does seem to be helping!

Since I have started getting a more comfortable buffer of milk, and since we've been putting Penelope to bed between 8:00 and 8:30 for almost a week now, I had Paul feed her a bottle while I was at choir rehearsal tonight and put her to bed before I got home!  It's totally weird to come home and not get to see her again, but I'm taking this opportunity to pump at 9:30 instead of 10:30 and go to bed early, so I might actually get 7 hours of sleep AND still have time to get a shower and get into work by 7:00AM tomorrow!  Wouldn't that be amazing.  I'm not quite sure what my boobs are going to do with 7 hours worth of milk, but I guess I'll find out!

Is anyone else totally tired of the election already??  I have been working on a thought process about how the problem with Democrats' and Republicans' policies actually boils down to the same thing, that individuals are inherently selfish and frequently don't act in the long-term best interests of their community, but they have very different beliefs about the best way to mitigate that fact.  That's pretty much the whole theory, I just need to think about some concrete examples. Of course, this doesn't take into account how broken the government is as a whole, regardless of party...but the root of that problem is fundamentally the same thing too, don't you think?  Human self-centeredness, and not the right incentives in place to mitigate it effectively?  Yup.

This is a weird segue, but I think that's one of the strengths of Paul's and my relationship:  we each deeply believe, correctly, that the other is making decisions with each other in mind, and always trying to support each other. So when something does go wrong, and one of us gets a little angry, and maybe we have an argument, it never lasts long because once it's out in the open it just dissolves away into knowing that now we're on the same page and maybe that wasn't the best, but next time it will happen the right way.  We're both kind of lazy and extra procrastinate-y on our own, but we are really good at motivating each other because we don't want to disappoint each other.  Why can't politicians be more like that??  Haha...ah... *weeps for the future of humanity* (um, just kidding.  I'm totally still an optimist.)

Here, have another picture of my baby sucking her thumb, this time with a naked bottom!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting comfy

Starting on my second week back at work in the office full time, and things are definitely starting to feel comfortably routine.  Don't get me wrong, every evening we're doing something different--gardening, walking to Hans Frozen Custard, going shopping--but we've implemented a bed time for PJ around 8:00 PM, so we try to be home by 7:00 or so, then I bathe her and nurse her and put her to bed while Paul makes dinner, then we eat and watch some Netflix, and finally right before bed I pump one more time.

As long as I pump 3 times per day at work most days (2 times is OK on occasion in a pinch) and always pump that extra time before bed, I'm breaking even or coming away with a slight surfeit every day, which is totally great.  I am commuting to Baltimore for some training next Tuesday and Wednesday (NOT overnight), which I was nervous about, but now I know it'll be fine.

After about 3 weeks of waking up every night in the 2:00 or 3:00 hour to nurse, PJ is back to sleeping 8 to 9.5 hours per night for the past 4 nights, which is totally awesome.  And she was super fussy for Paul all day yesterday, but today was back to normal.  She is so amazing, I love spending time with her laying naked on the changing table (her most favorite thing to do) and watching her kick and squirm and smile and squeal and make all kinds of cute sounds and faces.  She makes eye contact with me the whole time too.  And then that extends into bath time, which is getting easier and more fun as she gets closer to sitting up!  (That's still a month or two away, but you can tell it's coming!)

Speaking of milestones, we haven't hit any more lately, but she is getting a lot better at finding her thumb when she wants to.  She still doesn't often want to, but when she does...

I bought an album to make a baby book, but that's just one of MANY little DIY and crafty things on my to-do list...first I need to finish addressing and sending the last batch of birth announcements, finish my Mom's Christmas present picture for her bathroom, hem and hang 5 pairs of curtains, get caught up with uploading pictures from the dSLR to Facebook (including organizing the folders for the weekly photo), re-pot and otherwise tend to a few houseplants...and that's not even including big house things, like cleaning up the disaster that is our second bedroom.  Sheesh!

But first, bed time.  Tomorrow we get to introduce Penelope to Johanna et. al., and I can't wait!  What to dress her in...hmm...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On A Roll

See, it's a double meaning, because I'm blogging for the 3rd time this week, and Penelope knows how to roll over!

Baby junk reading on milestones (I generally avoid the crap about parenting on sites like Baby Center, but sometimes I cave in...just, whatever you do, NEVER venture into the comments section.  It will suck you into a vortex of stupidity.  Kind of like Fox News...) says belly-to-back is often the first roll, but Penelope got all her head-holding practice by hanging out with us because she wouldn't tolerate two seconds of tummy time, so her first roll was back-to-front.  Paul said a couple of days ago that he was pretty sure she had rolled belly-to-back, but today he actually witnessed it!  She wouldn't perform for me at all this evening, but it seems we officially have a baby who can roll.  I didn't ask which direction she rolled belly-to-back, so I don't know if she's in danger of being on the other side of the room if we turn our backs quite yet, but the punchline is: there needs to be some baby-proofing or at least baby-fortification happening this weekend, because she could start rolling all over the place any day!  I am in serious disbelief at how fast this has happened.  I guess it all started with the nurses and lactation consultants commenting on her amazing head control as a day-old newborn!

She had also been eating three pretty big bottles during the day when I was at work, way more than I could pump in a day, and now that Paul's done with classes for the summer I was pretty worried it was going to be more than I could keep up with even with extra pumping on evenings and weekends.  But I did some reading and told Paul to try only offering her no more than 4 oz and change to start out, and only give her more if she was still hungry, and now the past two days she's eaten only 2 bottles the entire day I was gone, under 8 oz.  This is partly due to eating more overnight, I think, because she's been waking up to nurse around 3 am for a couple of weeks now, and then she eats a lot in the evenings when I'm home, so I think it's kind of like reverse-cycling light, since I still only have to feed her once overnight.  I also think she just finished up a growth spurt,  So our new strategy + lucky timing with other things, and I'm back to being not too worried about keeping up with pumping.   I did have to go back to 3 times a day, though, because even though I got just as much with 2 session spaced farther apart for a couple of days, it ended up decreasing my supply, so my results gradually diminished.  I have to do 3x a day to keep the girls producing!  But it's also good to know I can "cheat" one day here and there when I need to and cut out a pumping!

Speaking of which, I'm done with the evening session, so it's time for bed!  Until my 2:45 AM wake-up call...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Now we have a baby who rolls over AND squeals. She'd made the occasional happy shriek before, but in the past few days she's realized that she can control it, and that she apparently LOVES to do it, because now she shrieks all the time. When she's in a good mood. And the really funny thing is how she moves her lips and tongue all around while she's squealing, so it makes all these hilarious sounds like she's talking in some foreign language that has no plosive consonants. I love it.

She had been sleeping for 7 to 8 hours a night for a couple of weeks, and even gave us two amazing 9 hour nights, but for over a week now we've been lucky to get 6 hours. I've been putting her to bed by 9 so that I can pump once more and still be in bed by 11 or so, and she is still as easy as ever to put to bed--just finish nursing, lay her in the crib and swaddle her, turn off the lights, and walk out the door. We rarely hear a peep from her after that; she seems to fall right to sleep whether she stayed mostly asleep after nursing or not. We credit the routine of swaddling & turning off the lights--she doesn't fight it at all, so she seems to get the message that swaddle + dark = sleep time. But then for the past 2 weeks, she's been waking up to nurse somewhere from 2:45 to 4:30 AM. Right now I feel totally fine with it, and I swear I'll take the early morning nursings in exchange for all the awesomeness that is Penelope (goes to bed super easy, cries mostly only when hungry or wet, doesn't pee or poop out of her dipes, makes adorable noises, is generally extremely cute), but when I hear that little cry at 3:00 AM? I just want to stay asleep for goodness sake. But I know she'll start sleeping all night again soon, and then my problem will be putting her to bed early enough that she's waking up to nurse before I leave for work in the morning, and I'll be bummed that I don't get to spend enough hours with her after work!

I work from home on Wednesdays, so it's the best possible time to catch up on pumping. In addition to my usual night session, I got in 2 this morning, for a total of 3 extra ounces. That's an entire afternoon-sized bottle! I am so thankful to have a job that lets me work from home one day a week. I'd be able to keep up if I had to go in to the office 5 full days, but it would make my weekends a lot less fun. That extra day of using no bottles and fitting in a few extra's a life saver! Speaking of which, it's time to unplug my boobs and go to bed now. Good night!

Monday, May 07, 2012


Three months in, we're starting to hit some major milestones. Like rolling over. That happened on Saturday.

I really want to get back into blogging, now that I would be a mommy blogger, because these are posts I'll really want to look back on in a few years to remember. I have a list of a few other posts I want to write to record some of the big stuff from the first three months, but for now I'll start at the present and work backwards later. I am pumping once every night after she's in bed, so I'm hoping to make that time my writing time.

Penelope only started arching her back in a rolling-over kind of way a week or so ago, and on Saturday morning I set her in her activity gym, and she started to do her 99% rolled over moves again. Paul and I had watched her for a while in her crib the evening before, and she'd get 99% of the way over -- I'm talking the entire bottom half of her body was over -- but her shoulder and arm would still be wedged beneath her, so she'd lay there with her face mushed into the bed for a while and fuss, and eventually flop back over onto her back. So while she was at in on the floor, I grabbed my camera to get a quick video of her early attempts at rolling over, and while I was filming, she suddenly succeeded! Luckily I was watching her and not the screen at the time, so I both got to witness her first really huge milestone with my own eyes, but I also got it on camera! So exciting. For me.

The funny thing about rolling over is, she doesn't like it at all. She fusses or actually cries pretty hard the entire time she's trying, and she's even more upset once she succeeds, because she hates being on her belly! After that first time, the next 2 times were in her crib, so then we had to go rescue her. The 4th time, earlier this evening, was only the 2nd time witnessed, because my mom wanted to see, so we watched her rutch around in her crib until she managed it. The shoulder and arm are still totally in the way, it's just that sometimes she relaxes a little bit while she's at the 99% point, and then suddenly the arm squirts out the side and she's the whole way on her belly. I say this with authority because I've studied that video like it's going out of style.

I don't know if it's to even out the extra fussiness during roll-over practice, but the past few days have also seen a sharp increase in her expressions of happiness. She now regularly gives us big, gummy grins, excited kicking and arm-waving, and the most heart-stoppingly adorable shreiks and squeals of joy. She's cooing and making all kinds of other sounds more than ever too. Like many babies, evenings are typically a more neutral-to-fussy time, but this Sunday evening, we spent two hours with our little family of three snuggling on the couch and having a long, happy, interactive conversation and play time with Penelope. It was quite possibly the most lovely Sunday evening I've ever had. It capped off a pretty perfect weekend: Friday afternoon I finished up my work day at home while my sister played with PJ on the couch behind me; Friday night was dinner with Paul's family for his sister's birthday; Saturday evening we had Cinco de Mayo fajitas at my parents' house, followed up by some delicious Hans Frozen Custard; and Sunday evening was even more delightful than I've managed to describe it.

She's also getting better and better at reaching and grabbing, as evidenced by my listening to "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" on repeat just about every time she's hanging out in her bouncy seat now. I am pretty sure she's starting to aim for that orange handle on purpose and make the connection to the music that keeps playing. She seems so happy with herself when she gets it. Tonight while I was baking cookies, I sang along every time it played, which I think she loved even more. Seriously, who knew these parts of being a mom would be my favorite? I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I didn't have any clue just how awesome it would be.

As of today, Paul's done with school for the summer, which means I start going to work full days four days a week, which means keeping up with pumping is going to get harder. So we'll see how that's going this time next week, since with two full and two half days in the office per week I was netting maybe 100 mL more than she was eating in a week. I think I'm going to finally shell out the $15 to try a different nursing support herbal supplement the LLL ladies recommended. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Penelope Update

Hi all - quick update: We're home, follow-up check on Wednesday morning at the pediatrician to make sure the bilirubin is still going down like it should, and we're enjoying seeing her more pink and less yellow!

I am currently pumping at every feeding and also supplementing with formula, because Miss Penelope's so sleepy and lazy from the combo of being early and high bili that she often won't suck on my boobs at all, not even with a shield, and when she does suck she's very reluctant and requires lots of encouragement the entire time, so she doesn't end up getting a whole lot. But she's eating very well with the finger-feeding, I've spent lots of time with the lactation consultants and am hopeful things will improve as her bili goes down, and I'm pumping about 20 ml at a time now, which is increasing slowly but surely! So I'm hopeful we'll be back on track with breastfeeding and off formula in a few weeks or so.

But the whole process of feeding takes so long that there's rarely more than an hour to sleep at a time, and this feels like it counts more as our first day home, so it's still tough to make any time to answer texts or calls or to think about visitors. I'm sure we'll start emerging and welcoming visits as the week progresses!

I've been feeling all your prayers and support (and reading texts even if I never respond!), and it has really helped us keep our heads up. Luckily our little P-pie is doing great and is so undeniably adorable that we can't help smiling through the long feeding sessions and frustrating attempts to breastfeed. She's so perfect, and I can't wait to start introducing her to everyone!!

Also for those wondering about birth details (like I always do when my friends have babies!), I had to be induced with pitocin because labor didn't start on its own after my water had been broken for 18 hours, and once the pit really kicked in, I went from 1 cm to 10 cm in only 2 hours!! They never even checked me in between, and I was so relieved to hear it was time to push! I hadn't had any pain meds, but the contractions had been virtually constant with very few breaks, so I was getting pretty close to begging for some relief. Then once they gave me permission to push (not that I could have stopped myself--I had already been pushing for a while before they noticed!), she popped out in about 10 minutes. And we did it with no pain meds, and came out smiling on the other side! She had her eyes open and we gazed at each other as soon as she was out! It was pretty awesome. I want to write a real post about just that, it's an experience I never want to forget.

Monday, January 02, 2012

More list

Welp, I am thrilled to report that we got all the major stuff from my Christmas Vaca to-do list done! Biggest exception is sewing, of which I did not do any, but I did get started cutting up the old t's to ready-to-sew diaper-sized squares. I have enough cut for about 10 prefolds so far.

Paul even got a pretty huge bonus project done - he removed the sliding doors on our tub/shower, cleaned it all up, and hung a shower curtain instead! So now in a few months when Baby Girl's ready to graduate from the infant tub to the big tub, it will be SO much easier for use to bathe her! I'm pretty thrilled how he pulled that one out of his hat! Our bathroom looks so nice now with a clean white shower curtain instead of dingy old metal and glass.

So now I need a more general list for the rest of our remaining pre-baby time:

1. Sewing - prefolds, soakers, and I need to hem a bunch of curtains including those for the nursery.

2. Knitting - Mainly I need to make the coming home outfit. I haven't even started yet. That needs to happen very soon!

3. Assembling nursery - duh! Gotta clean the floor, put the finishing touches on the dresser & finish painting a bookcase, assemble the crib, and then just start moving stuff in!!

4. Packing - it's getting to be that time where we need to be ready to go to the hospital!

5. Start cooking extra food to freeze for post-baby easy meals.

6. Triage after our baby shower (so excited!!) - Wash, sort, & put away all clothing, assess what we still need, and decide what we need to buy and when we need to get it by. Stack everything reasonably neatly in the nursery, assemble anything that needs to be assembled, etc.

7. Clean up the second bedroom so it's usable again - it would be nice for an enthusiastic visitor who stays too late to have somewhere to sleep, or for Paul or me to have a place to sleep if there's a way for one of us to get some extra sleep while the other is on baby duty!

8. Get the rest of the house to a reasonable level of tidiness - this shouldn't really be too hard, and it can happen last once everything else is done.

But right now, I need to eat lunch so I can head back into the basement to put one last coat of paint on the dresser! I hope tomorrow we can bring it upstairs & put it in the nursery!!