Saturday, February 28, 2009

4 Month, 2 Weeks, 6 Days

That is how old Charlie is today.

On Friday, we had our 4 month pediatrician appointment. It was a few days late, but we finally got in there, and it was a very fun appointment.

"Charlie is thriving" Dr. Mark said with a smile. Charlie was down to his diaper, his chubby rolls oozing out all over. He was kicking his legs, and flailing his arms all in an attempt to roll from his belly to his back. It was hard for Dr. Mark to do the exam, but eventually he finished, and he was very happy with how far he has come in this short time. I felt like the best Mom in the world. My baby is healthy, happy (besides a bit of gas!) and he is growing at just the right speed. All is good in Charlie land.

His stats:

Height: 25 1/2 inches

Head Circumference: 43.3 cm

Weight: 16 pounds, 4 ounces

I am still breastfeeding, and I have introduced a bit of formula to the mix as well. I have a love-hate kind of relationship with breastfeeding right now. Or rather, I should say, the hate part rests with my pump, and my attachment to it. Working and breastfeeding is really tough. And being attached to the pump for 20 minutes, 4 times a day becomes an exhausting feat. I am determined to continue breastfeeding until Charlie is 6 months old. Cold and flu season will be over by then, we will be firmly on solids (no pun intended!!), and well, it's almost 1 month away. I can do that, right?? I think so!!

I decided to post some pictures tonight, after seeing a few really great ones show up in my email box tonight. Steph, who watches Charlie 3 days a week has been bringing her camera with her. I feel like these are too cute NOT to share.

So, here you go. Charles Jefferson, 4 Months Old.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pain In The Offering

This morning, at 4:15 a.m., my very good friend Liz lost her mother. It was very sudden. A virus was attacking her heart, and they just couldn't save her. God had different plans for Esther today. He wanted her to come home. Surrounded by her family, and their voices singing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" Esther went to be in that special place that He had been saving for her.

What is left is so permanent. Sudden and permanent. Those were Liz's words this morning as we talked on the phone. My heart is breaking for my friend, her sisters and her Dad. They have lost their mother, their wife, their friend, their grandmother, and even though I did not know Esther personally, I know this pain all too well.

I have mourned today, just as though I did know Esther. You see, losing a mother is a common thread amongst a select group of daughters (and sons too! I know!!). And each of us bears the mark of loss in our hearts and on our souls. It's not a group we wanted to be a part of, but it's one we are marked with, and it's this common thread that helps us to pull one another through. I was glad that I was that person for Liz this morning. We must have been on the same wavelength, because she was calling me, just as I was calling her. I often wonder what purpose losing my mother has ever served in my life, but it's moments like these that it becomes crystal. It's that thread that weaves us together, and it's that thread.... that special understanding, that allows us to grieve this loss in a special way. A way that someone else might not understand.

When you experience a sudden loss, like I endured almost 21 years ago, and like Liz did today, you want to ask "why?" No, you want to scream it!! WHY??? Why, God. Why?? I know I have asked this question so many times, and I have never been able to come up with the 'right' answer. All I know, is that there is pain in the offering, that sin exists in this world, and for now, this is how we must deal with it. The promise we are given as Christians though, is that one day, we will see our loved ones again. A place is being prepared for us, as I sit here and type. It's that promise of eternal life, that I cling to every single day. He paid the greatest price, all for us. For Esther, for you, for me, and for Liz.

There is a song that I often turn to whenever I am having a bad day, and am asking myself "why?" It's by Matt Redman, who is one of my favorite Christian musicians. His lyrics ring so true, and today, on my way home from work, I blared this song. I wept for Liz, for her family, and for the fact that she didn't choose to be a part of this motherless daughter club at such a young age. When I got out of my car, I was refreshed. He gives and He takes away. Blessed be His holy name. Even in our suffering, we are so thankful that we have our faith to turn to.

Praise God that Esther has made it home to her heavenly Father today. And praise God that I have my own place in heaven, waiting for me. I can't wait. :o)

Matthew 11:25-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Moments I Love

He has eyelashes like his Moms; dark and rich in color. His hair is a bit reddish-blond, though. Just like his Moms hair.

I feed him before bed in his dimly lit room. It's just the two of us, the sound of Beethoven in the background, and those beautiful eyelashes. He grasps his bottle. In my head I exclaim "Oh my gosh! He just GRABBED his bottle! He's HOLDING his bottle!" But, all I can really focus on are those gorgeous eyelashes.

This child is mine. This is all I need right now. This is a moment I love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weigh In Day

Ugh. Well, the last 2 weeks have not been the best for my diet. I am having a hard time finding time to make good, healthy dinners. Even with my good intentions and planning during the week, we still end up eating an easy meal, or ordering out. I also need to get my butt in gear at the gym or at home. I am officially up 2 pounds from when we started 3 weeks ago. I know this is a bump in the road, and I just need to re-dedicate myself to this plan. So, I am doing that today. I already have our meals planned out for this weekend, and I am hoping to get at least 2 trips in at the gym this week.

Those of you with kids, or very busy schedules, what are your tips on finding time for exercise?
This seems to be my biggest hang up at this point. That, and I cannot wait for the weather to get nicer, so that I can take Charlie for a walk or two :o)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Change of Plans

Before I got pregnant, and during my entire pregnancy, I always thought that returning to work would be no sweat. I realized I would miss my baby, and it would be a tough transition. I knew it would require some effort, and some patience, too. But, I also figured I would drop him off at daycare, pull away blissfully, go to work and then leisurely return to pick my bundle up for the evening. Oh how delusional I must have been!!

Returning to work has been a far tougher transition than I ever expected it to be. Obviously. I was not that blissful Mom pulling away from daycare. I was more like a frazzled, scared one wondering how in the heck I was going to make it through yet another day at the office. I couldn't focus at work or do anything productive without my sweet Charlie in the back of my mind. I was worrying constantly about my milk supply, and the baby at daycare with the really bad cold, and would Charlie get that cold, and why was he always in the swing? And why were his socks off when he had a sniffle? I felt like I was starting to go crazy.

Right about the same time I returned to work, I also noticed my depression really starting to take it's toll. I was crying a lot. Frustrated with daycare, and work, and my lack of focus and patience. I was starting to doubt my ability to provide for my family not only as a mother, but also as a part of the income source. I remember asking myself "how am I ever going to do this?" I felt as if I would NEVER find that balance.

After a long discussion, we decided that the childcare situation needed to change. I was not confident in the daycare we were attending. I don't think it was anything they did, as much as it was me and my own issues. I am not entirely sure I would be able to tolerate any daycare. And here I was, the girl who thought daycare would be no problem!! I knew something needed to change. I approached my bosses and asked them for a flexible work arrangement. After much discussion, we finally came to an agreement last week, which is good, because I had already made plans for Charlie and his new situation. We ended up hiring my friend, Stephanie to watch Charlie on M, W, and Th, and Aunt Elizabeth is watching him on Tuesday. I am working from home on Fridays.

Last week was our first week with this arrangement and so far it is working out extremely well. I have a lot less anxiety about Charlie during the day while I am working, and I don't have the extra stress of labeling bottles, and getting cloth diapers ready and getting Charlie up at 6:30 to get out of the house by 7. No more of that. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to work this schedule out with work, my sister and Steph. Charlie's cold has already cleared up, and each day his sleeping starts to get better and better. And as for me? Well, I am doing much better also. Being a working, breastfeeding, Mom and wife, has been my hardest occupation in life so far. But, I am slowly getting the hang of it. Slow and steady wins the race, and I am learning some patience along the way too.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

4 Months

Our little nugget turns 4 months tomorrow. Instead of gushing about how awesome he is, and what an amazing addition to our lives he is, I am going to leave with you a few pictures and a video or two. I can hardly believe this monkey is 4 months old. He is teething, learning to roll, grabbing things, talking and he discovered his feet in the bath tub the other night. It is so fun to watch him grow and develop!

Happy 1/3rd Birthday C-Man!


Curtis interviewed for an internal management position at the bank this week. Yesterday, he received the call that he was the one that they were offering the position to. He swiftly accepted the offer and starts his new job on February 23.

Right before we had Charlie, he left the downtown branch for a position on the lakeshore. It was the same position he was doing downtown, but it involved a small pay increase and a long commute. This new management position will allow Curtis to get out of selling the banks investment products, and allow him to get into the nitty gritty of running the branch itself. He is excited and quite surprised that this happened in this crazy economy. Banks are not thriving, and I could tell he was becoming more and more empathetic to the sales side of his job. Not to mention that he was selling investment products. In a bank. Not exactly the job to have right now!!

We are excited and enthusiastic about this change. It means he will be closer to home, and once again, he got a pay increase. Way to go, Curtis!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"We're Pregnant!!"

Ha ha!! Gotcha!!

One year ago today, I opened up a pink box, and while Curtis was in the shower, I peed on the stick inside of it. I was charting at the time, and so I knew that February 4 was 11 days past my ovulation day. (coincidentally, it's also 12 days after Curtis' birthday! *wink*) If implantation had occurred it would be detectable on a pregnancy test by then. Or at least close to it. It was still early, but I decided to test anyway.

And this is what showed up:

A trained eye can tell that that is DEFINITELY a line. So, after freaking out. I decided that I needed to take another one. And this one was a digital. It only took about 10 seconds for this to flash:

"We are going to be parents!!" SQUEE!!! I was jumping up and down and freaking out, and Curtis was smiling from ear to ear. I can still remember driving to work that day, feeling like I wanted to shout it out to the world. "I AM PREGNANT, WORLD!!" And when I got to work, my co-worker even asked me if I was alright, because she could tell I was gleaming from the inside-out. It was one of the most magical days of my life.

And here we are. 1 year later, with the most precious gift that God has ever given us. I feel blessed today. I have a son. A beautiful, healthy, growing, learning, laughing, smiling SON. What did I ever do to deserve this awesomeness in my life?? Everyone says that being a parent is tough work, but it is also the most rewarding work that is out there. It took us several long months to conceive this little miracle, and I now know that while my hardest efforts have been put into this child, I am reaping what I have sown. He is an absolute joy. His smiles make me well up inside with pride. His giggles and coos make my heart pound with joy. I look forward to seeing him again when I go off to work. I catch myself stepping on the gas as I leave work, because I can't wait to smell his sweet breath, or extend my finger for him to grab. He is the most amazing thing I have ever put my whole life in to. And 1 year later, as he is about to turn 4 months, I sit here and look forward the lifetime that I get to witness.

Having a child is an amazing accomplishment. It is us that will teach him, and nurture him, and make him the person he one day turns out to be. That sounds like a lot of pressure, but in reality, it is a real chance to take our own life lessons, and apply them in the best possible form. I look forward to that. I look forward to teaching him all of the things that I remember learning as a child. Things like riding a bike, tying his shoes, practicing his math or reading, teaching him how to do his own laundry when he leaves for college (or sooner!), teaching him the appropriate way to treat a lady and so on and so forth. I have a lot to learn about parenting, but I really can't wait for what is in store.

I feel like the luckiest woman on the planet today. I feel blessed. I feel whole. We have started our own family.