In the five months since I've blogged, a lot has changed with my family. At the time I wrote my last blog in early January, I was finishing up applications to business school. I've since been accepted and chosen to attend MIT in their Leaders for Global Operations Program. We will be moving out to the Cambridge area of Boston later this month and the program starts in June.
It is, obviously, a big change for us. Both of us have lived in Indiana our entire life (including growing up, college, internships, and employment), and it is time for a change for our family. We have both worked at the same employer since we graduated college, too.
Our little boy is not so little anymore. He is now nine months and so much fun. We were blessed that not only was I able to have a three month maternity leave but Chris took a paternity leave from months three to six. He really enjoyed his special time, and I encourage other families to look into this option too.
January, he returned to work and our son started at daycare. It was a tough decision for us but we felt it was the right one for us, and knew that if it wasn't working out, we would change it. Our primary caregivers were Katie and Sherry, and they were awesome. I won't get into every instance, but in particular I appreciated how they made a CD of the digital pictures they took over his four months with them. We liked the larger, child care setting because they have people to give breaks and do lots of fun and educational programs. Also, Katie told us a bit about what they have to do to get an accreditation by the NAEYC, and its pretty extensive. We are looking into NAEYC accredited facilities near our new home too.
So, we both worked until two weeks ago when I stopped working to have some time with our boy and a 'break' before school. I don't think its been much of a break - but it would have been even more unmanageable if I kept working while our house was on the market. It took about a month to get our house cleaned up enough to put on the market, then daily work to keep it cleaned and staged for visitors. There are also a zillion things towards the transition as well. Forms, applications, packing, etc...and getting rid of stuff. Unlike others, I do not find shedding excess belongings to be liberating, but I'm happy to have sold/given away for reuse, recycled, or given to Goodwill lots of our unneeded goods. We will still have way too much stuff when we move into our apartment that is less than half the size for more than our mortgage payment. :)
In addition, another exciting thing going on is that my best friend since fifth grade, Sarah, is *finally* getting married. She has started and completed her PhD in Chemistry since she got engaged... which puts her at a solid six and a half year engagement to Mr. Adam.
A big life change has been a nice opportunity to get in touch with people I haven't talked to in a while either. Lots of lunches, dinners, and emails with friends have been nice. It is/will be/has been hard to say goodbye to people. I hope that many of them are 'see you later'.
Okay, so I never finished part II (or more) of the Mommyhood at Three Months but that's okay. More later, sometime, on that topic.
Being a mom now time is more precious. Domino Magazine lists a section on the last page entitled "10 Things That Make Me Happy". Excluding the wonderful family and friends, etc., more towards material objects. This list is along the same lines.
Here's a few of mine ... in no particular order.
#1 Global Knives I have an 8" Santoku and a 4" pairing. All I need, no unnecessary chopping gadgets here. My knives are in dire need of sharpening, though.
#2 All-Clad pots and pans These pots and pans will last me a long time. They conduct heat, oven safe, and just help me make better food - through searing, sauces, sauteing, boiling, frying, whatever. They're beautiful too!
#3 BaByliss Flat Iron Yeah, it cost four times as much as the other flat irons I've bought before, but it works at least ten times faster and better, and the cheap ones break. It heats up in less than a minute, has multiple temperature settings and my hair stays straight and smooth until I wash it again. Totally worth it.
#4 Breast Pump I am happy I can work outside the home and still breastfeed my baby. There are nursing mothers' rooms at work that have these pumps in them and we can reserve them like a conference room and make food for our babies. They also make nice pumps that are for personal use. This is one of my happiest things!
I should also give an honorary shout-out to the Lansinoh brand, which has been highly recommended by several friends for their accessories like storage and protection.
When I started this entry it was our little boy's three month birthday. I think this will need to be a multi-part entry.
There are a lot of things we've learned about the logistics of being parents, particularly because I hadn't been around babies much. We're still learning all the time, but here's a start... for us to recall and for our many friends who are preparing for parenthood.
Some of these are more obvious than others, but still things we learned.
-Changing and Diapers:
Changing cover...At the hospital they used a white cloth on the changing area. We now use a plain white cloth (labeled as lap burp cloth but they're just a square of absorbent fabric, maybe 8x8 inches) on top of the changing pad cover. We can easily change this without changing the whole cover, and it keeps our changing cover looking nice!
Quantities...Apparently size 1 diapers are significantly over bought by parents. We had multiple people pass along extra diapers in size 1 - parents of Thomas, Evan, Mia. Combined with a pack from our registry and a pack from my aunt... we will have bought no size 1 diapers. Thanks!
Brands...Since we received diapers from several people, we've been able to try different brands. We've heard you get what you pay for, and I agree. Luvs have good absorbency but stay wet like a pillow, are more plastic than soft feeling, and the tabs stick to baby (compared to most brands which only stick to the special area, like velcro). Huggies seem smaller in the same size and don't absorb as much, and the ruffled part is stuck to the outside and has to be separated before changing each time. It is important to make sure the ruffled part is out around the edge of the diaper. Pampers are soft, very absorbent with a core to lock in moisture, a soft baby powder scent, very good all around. They have a drying film that seems to build on my thumbs sometimes, though. I hear good things about Target brand as well but we haven't tried them yet. Target wipes are fine though.
Starting out... It is wonderful, particularly after you get the hang of it - which took us a month or two. We didn't take a breastfeeding class and I think we should have. It is not immediately perfect but expect that with some hard work it will come. For me, I feel like I have to eat as much as when I was pregnant. Newborns can seriously take an hour to feed, and hour to sleep for a full 24 hours until their little stomach gets big enough to hold more food and mouth becomes stronger. There are also other things like improper latching, cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts to work through. These reasons are why it is good to have a pump. Have confidence that after a month or two you and your baby will feed faster and your body will 'establish' milk supply and figure out consistent production.
Pumps... A friend advised renting a breast pump from the hospital for the first month to make sure breastfeeding is going well before buying a pump yourself. The Medela Symphony is what we rented. Hospital grade pumps are also better at pumping than personal use pumps available for purchase. This is helpful starting out to establish milk supply.
-Pediatrician Choose your pediatrician early. Somehow this was still on our to-do list after our son was born, so we were in the hospital calling friends for references. Plus, we would have been able to have our pediatrician visit us in the hospital if we had chosen her in advance. Turns out we may lose insurance coverage on our doctor, so we might be in the search again.
Our linen closet, in my parents house, and now, in our house as adults, has a basket or two of miscellaneous medicine products. Usually, its full of smashed cardboard boxes, random pills in blister packs, and a few things covered in red cough syrup, not to mention probably buying excess of something we already had. Today I was looking for something (that I still haven't found) and started cleaning the cabinet. I had several empty or old bottles from prescriptions as well as several smashed cardboard boxes of OTC medicines. I took the labels off the prescription bottles. Next, I tore off any non-critical info from the smashed cardboard boxes, making sure to keep the expiration date, dosing info, product name and ingredients. Then, I put the folded cardboard pieces and remaining pills/tablets/gel capsules in the prescription bottle. Put the label facing out for easy identification, and use larger bottles when you have many pills left, and smaller for just a few doses.
The medicine is kept clean and organized, with no more messy boxes! I'm maybe a little over excited about this one, but I'm using things I already have in a new way!
I am two months in to my sabbatical from work - more commonly known as 'maternity leave'. Lots of time at home prompts many things - an excess of daytime TV, more reading books, and a good amount of thinking and reflection.
A few influential things of varying importance: -The birth of my own son (of course!). Bringing a human into the world! Incredible! -The birth of many children from other friends, and the serious illness and/or death of friends or friends' family. -Other people who are working on their passion. >I was at the dentist this week and asked my dentist about his recent travels, since he is regularly travelling to other countries to complete dental work. He talked about how it is his real passion. >My boss of two years at work recently left the company to go back to school to study atmospheric science and work on the environment/artic water cycle. >I just finished reading Tony Dungy's book. He refers often to his goal in life which is to honor and serve God. Football is a means for him to do this, whether through the public eye providing the means to volunteer and speak for charities he believes in, or how his family is financially able to adopt children.
I don't think I'm dramatically askew from my passions with my current tasks but I am looking into how I can do more towards them.
What inspires you? What are your passions? What do you want to do for the world?