Thursday, June 27, 2013


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about putting down roots.

Since moving to Chicago, I have had 9 different addresses in 13 years. Sure, 4 of those were just switching dorms in college, but you know what I mean. At the time, I loved being portable. I had these purple rubbermaid bins (still do actually) that I knew could contain my entire life. Pack them up, put gas in the car, and I could go anywhere. It was the most exciting and freeing feeling I could imagine.

Time has helped us become established adults. Homeowners, living with "real" furniture, and fancy wedding china in our cabinets. I don't miss the idea of complete freedom, and now I have different needs.

 Our time in this condo won't last forever. We never had the plan of raising a family in just a little over a thousand square feet.

When I nannied in college, there was a family that lived on a perfect street. Before seeing it myself, I didn't know these places really existed. If you were playing in the yard, or out for a walk, 2 or 3 other kids would appear. We'd all make our way to the park. Or set up a picnic lunch. If it was late enough in the day one of the moms would whip up margaritas. A dad would offer to fire up the grill. The kids would run through a sprinkler.

So, while I daydream about a house, it's really the roots I desire. Lasting friendships, the chaos of a house full of kids, sleepovers, cookouts, and a neighborhood. People. People whose lives intertwine with our own. "You take the kids there. We'll meet for coffee here. What should we serve at our dinner party?" type stuff. 

It's about quality of life. A sense of belonging. A place to raise a family. 

Have you put down roots?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Weight

I gained 21 pounds during my pregnancy. By 6 weeks postpartum, I was wearing pants I hadn't worn since long before baby. I had already lost the baby weight and then some. When Baby Fix-It was 12 weeks old I was down about 35 pounds from the day before I gave birth.

Having babies and breastfeeding? Surely a magical weight loss plan.

Except it wasn't.

The real weight loss was due to this:

 As a result of the colic-like scream fest for 14 straight weeks (Mr. Fix-It refuses to label our baby as colicky) I was in motion at all times. If Baby Fix-It wasn't eating or sleeping he was screaming. All I did was move, move, move. And I thought those pounds had just melted away. Ha!

Now, times have changed. A switch flipped. Baby Fix-It is calm. Smiley. Content. He's, dare I say it?, easy. I have found time to eat a meal. Or two. Or enough to regain that magically lost weight. We still go for walks, and move, but it's not the same. I'm not walking to save my sanity. Often it's easier to sit on the floor and play with toys and read books. Which is awesome. Except for my pants getting tight.

So now it's time to really lose the baby weight. And then some. Again.

ETA: I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight exactly. I'm working to get back to - and past - the magical postpartum size.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Much Ado About Poo: Results

A year ago I blogged about our decision to cloth diaper Baby Fix-It. (It's been a year?! Crazy town.) Our original plan was to use gDiapers by day and BumGenius overnight. We started with 6 small, 8 medium, and 8 large gDiapers and 6 BumGenius.

We first attempted gDiapering when Baby Fix-It was 4-5 weeks old

 I don't like this, Mommy!

It leaked. We tried again. It leaked. I googled. I loosened the velcro. I checked for fit. I asked gDiapering Mom friends for tips. It leaked. I waited until he got a little bigger. It leaked. I moved him up to mediums. They leaked. I quit.

I decided we'd attempt g's again after Christmas. Unfortunately, same issues. Every single time we put baby Fix-It in a g, a diaper change became a whole outfit change.

Then, we went to St. Thomas in January. I brought along 4 BumGenius diapers to double as swim diapers. I started to use them during the day, and guess what?! NO LEAKS! They're bulky, sure, but they worked. I was relieved. I wasn't destined to be a cloth diapering drop-out after all.

When we returned home, I decided that we were making a full switch to BumGenius. We would use cloth diapers 100% of the time, 100% BumGenius. (Previously I'd use one g, it would leak, I would switch to a disposable just so that we could leave the house without worries.) I sold our g's and bought 14 more BumGenius diapers to make our total stock 20.

Now we have a happy - and dry - cloth diapered baby!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five on a Friday

1. A while ago, I asked how you used your washi tape. I found a way to unleash my washi excitement - Baby Fix-Its baby book! I'm really proud of myself for not only keeping current with the baby book, but also for how cute it looks.

2. We gave Baby Fix-It his first taste of peanut butter yesterday. The latest research suggests that an early introduction of scary allergen foods may be better than the previous thought of waiting. He definitely enjoyed his peanut butter toast, and we were relieved that he didn't die. BUT THEN Mr. Fix-It gave him a bite of egg that evening (without thinking). Parents of the year over here, I tell ya. Let's just give our kid ALL the scary foods in one day. He's fine, I wasn't actually worried, but maybe we could be a little more careful.

3. I've developed a mild obsession with painting my toes a salmon color. I think I've had a variation of pink-salmon and orangey-salmon on my toes for the last 3 months straight.

4. I have a serious issue with mailing out gifts on time. Why do I wait until the last minute?! It's such a bad habit, and I annoy myself with this. Event Saturday? Gee, I should swing by the Post Office on Thursday afternoon. Surely it will make it on time. Am I that much a product of our instant-living? Not all mail is Amazon Prime, self.

5. Last week I posted these super cute shorts I found for Baby Fix-It at Kohls. The lovely people at Kohls offered our readers 10% off any order through July 11 using discount code BLOGGER10. Yay! Go shop!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Time Capsule

Whenever I'm in the presence of someone who knows how to use a camera, I try to be mindful of grabbing a few family photos.

Looking back at my own childhood, some of my favorite pictures are ones I have with my parents and sister.

Our computer and SD cards are nearly maxed out with photos of baby Fix-It. The three of us together? Those are harder to come by.

Photos are little, magical time capsules.

 That day in March when we were a family of 3 with a 4 month old baby? Already gone. Just like that. And yet, that morning is preserved forever. Our family. Our little family - all together, smiling, happy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Birth Story

The night before baby Fix-It's induction, I hoped I might go into labor on my own. I wasn't one of those women who felt disappointed or defeated by an induction (I actually signed up for it) but, still, the romanticized "honey! it's time!" moment seemed pretty exciting.

Alas, our alarms went off just before 5am on Monday, October 22. I showered, checked the post-it to do list on our front door, and looked through our bags one last time. And as we had hoped, we walked to the hospital. Seeing as I wasn't in labor, this wasn't the accomplishment I thought it may be.

First stop, OB triage at 6am. There, they took my vitals, monitored for contractions, checked for cervical dilation, and had us hang around. All was well. They inserted my IV and drew blood for tests. I was having a few minor contractions, and was dilated to 2cm. Supposedly my cervix was "favorable" which my OB was happy about, encouraging that the induction would likely go smoothly. At this point I was feeling nothing. The lady next to me wincing, whining, and screaming that she wanted to die got an eye roll from me. I think I called her a mess to Mr. Fix-It.

By 9am we were admitted to Labor and Delivery. Pitocin started flowing through my IV. By 9:15 my OB came by to insert a Foley Ball. My doctor and the resident commented that I tolerated the insertion really well. I was clenching my hands together mentally telling myself, "suck it up! it gets worse than this!".

9:45 the Foley Ball came out along with a gush of water. I was told the ball will release when you're about 3+cm, so I was thrilled that things were moving along so quickly. And did my water break? This was a breeze!

Here's an important part of the story: Throughout the pregnancy, I felt heavily responsible for our baby's well being. I mean, obviously. But I'm not just referring to general self-care, I'm talking about a chronic, subtle anxiety. Don't trip and fall. Don't get into a car accident. Don't be a spaz, or you'll have an anxious child. Has the baby kicked in the last hour? Don't have too much caffeine. Did you sleep too far on your side? Are you sleeping enough on your left? When did you last eat? When did you last eat a green vegetable? Is something wrong? Are you paying close enough attention? I had these thoughts ALL day EVERY day. Then, the minute we checked into the hospital, all my worries subsided. It was someone else's job to take care of the baby. The heart rate, movement, the baby's safety. It was incredibly freeing. As a result, I was unbelievably zen and relaxed.

10:15 They cranked my pitocin from 2 to 3 and I was feeling very mild cramping. The fluid that released with the Foley Ball was just water that was inserted to "cushion" the ball. Oh well.

11:25 Not much was happening. My parents and sister came to visit along with my father in law. We chatted...I texted friends with updates.

2:00 My OB came in to break my water. She advised that things would REALLY pick up. When she broke my water she noted that there was A LOT of blood. "Now I'm really glad we're inducing you. You wouldn't have wanted this to happen at home, and I want to keep an eye on the placenta. It may be lower than we thought". In my zen state all I could think was, "ok" and "if this is going to be a c-section, let's just do it".

3:00 Contractions were picking up, but I was still feeling fine. At this point I was getting cocky.

3:45 Contractions had gotten real. 45 seconds long, about 90 seconds apart. I took long, slow, deep breaths throughout the contractions while holding on tightly to the bed rails, laying on my side. My legs started shaking pretty badly from the pain. Around this time the nurse started pushing the epidural. "If you want it eventually, why are you waiting? It only gets worse. Also, the anesthesiologist is making rounds right now." "I can tough it out for a while longer" I said. I got a knowing side-eye from the nurse, and then decided waiting longer didn't earn me any sort of medal.

Within the hour, the anesthesiologist was in my room. Holy EFFFF. The epidural was the absolute, worst, most awful part of the birth experience. First, he missed. This is not his fault, I understand that inserting the epidural involves going in "blind" but it felt like someone was stabbing my spine with a tiny jagged needle. It was excruciating. Worse than the body-shaking contractions. Second try, success. It felt as though the whole process took an hour and I was in a nasty cold sweat by the end. The resulting bruise on my lower back was unbelievable. About 10 minutes later all PTSD from the experience had subsided and I was on cloud 9. I was checked and had hit 5cm. I was somewhat discouraged, assuming that I had gotten a bit further along. I also asked for a margarita and a trip to the beach.

By 5pm I had to lay on my side and go on oxygen. The baby wasn't tolerating the contractions well and wasn't moving much.

Countdown to a c-section, I thought to myself. Moments later a medical resident came in with a vibrating buzzer thing. She placed it on my belly in a few different spots to "wake the baby up a bit". My mom later told me this is when she got a little nervous. Me? Still zen.

While on my side, the epidural-happy-juice was only flowing to my left. As a result, I could feel full-blown intense contractions on my right. The nurse kindly explained that the epidural is liquid, liquid is effected by gravity, and as long as I was laying on my side the epidural would be uneven. I felt that I could manage the pain, but the thought of pushing and feeling all that sounded horrifying. The baby perked up a bit, and I was allowed to lay on my back. After about 30 minutes I started to feel better, and enjoyed some pain relief.

Sometime after 6pm we told our families to go get some dinner and relax at our condo. I was making bets that our baby would not be born before midnight. My OB had the same idea and went home to put her kids to bed.

7:30pm I announced "the baby is about to fall out". The resident came in to check while one of the nurses implied that it probably wasn't time just yet. The resident, with surprise in her voice, announced that I was fully dilated. She joked that I shouldn't sneeze. She said she was going to page the OB. Mr. Fix-It called our parents. He encouraged them to finish eating - we didn't know how long this would take - but that things were happening. I'm pretty sure my Mom dropped her fork and ran out the door.

Just before 8pm everyone was set up. By 8:10 I officially started pushing. While everyone was preparing for the delivery, I told Mr. Fix-It that I knew I was going to be a great pusher. He teased that he was sure it would be just like the time I was sure I would be an amazing mechanical bull-rider. Oh, right, that time I talked a big game and fell off before the bull even bucked. I insisted that this was different.

Because no birth story is complete without a mechanical bull

Sure enough, with the first push I felt the baby MOVE. Just 20 minutes and 6 contractions later, we heard a cry at 8:30pm.

 I don't remember anyone announcing that we'd had a little boy. All I saw was this little pink baby being lifted toward me and saying over and over, "A boy?! We had a boy! Oh my god! A boy!" Mr. Fix-It and I each looked at each other with tears in our eyes.

7lbs 12oz. 21.5 inches. 9/9 apgars. Perfect. He was simply perfect.

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's not nothing.

On Friday I went to the dentist. If I told you how long it had been since my last had been a while. (I could give excuses, like switching insurance providers, but really I just hadn't prioritized finding a new dentist.)

The dentist walks in the room. He's young and adorably cute and slightly nervous. He makes small talk. He asks me what I do and if I am working that day. "I'm sure my yoga pants and sneakers scream I'm heading into the office after this" I think to myself. "No clients today" I tell him after previously mentioning that I'm a therapist. He looks a bit confused and then makes a comment about having a day off.

"Actually, I get to enjoy spending the day with my son" I explain. He asks how old he is, and a few other typical oh-you-have-a-baby questions. He reviews my x-rays with me. The hygenist comes in to clean my teeth.

As an aside: For someone who hadn't been to the dentist in over 18 months my teeth looked fantastic. You know, except that I should floss more often.

So then it's time to go and he returns to thank me again for being a new patient. Then he adds, "And enjoy your day of doing nothing!" I pause. Smile. And go on my way.

I spent the walk home kicking myself. Here's the thing: the young adorably cute dentist meant nothing by his comment. I know he wasn't trying to put down the role and value of raising a child. But, in that moment he did. I wasn't hurt, or offended. I genuinely believe it was a thoughtless comment. But I was letting down myself and other parents who work part-time or stay home to raise their children. The mindset that spending a day with a 7 month old is "doing nothing" is just plain inaccurate.

What should I have said back? I'm not entirely sure. I wish I could have encapsulated that a day with a baby makes you a teacher, a nurse, a housekeeper, a playmate, a chef, an organizer, a cuddler, a calmer, a nurturer, a dancer, a singer, and a million other things. My silence was a mistake. Lesson learned.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five on a Friday

OHMIGAAAAH. I found an excuse to blog. Some lovely bloggers (The Good Life, A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm and Hello! Happiness have started doing catch-all posts called "5 on a Friday". I'm joining in!

1. Why is it that once you realize you need a haircut, it makes you completely nutty until you get one? Within the last 24 hours I got all haircut-crazy and haaaaaad to book an appointment last night. I found an adorable new stylist who gave me a fantastic bob.

2. A conversation I recently had with my mother:
     "Honey, you still have your slippers on."
     "No, these are TOMS."
     "Does TOMS make slippers?"

3. Boy Clothes. I love dressing our little boy. But for real, it's hard to find non-cheesy boy clothes. The dump trucks and "100% adorable" stuff is on everything. I recently found the above shorts at Kohl's (Kohl's!) for $5.99. I may or may not have grabbed some in a larger size for next summer too.

4. I need to start shooting more photography sessions. I really enjoy it! I think my skill set is improving. ...but then I get all self conscious that I'm just another annoying "Mom-tog" who thinks that owning a nice camera means she should be a photographer. I'm pretty sure the way to get over that is to get behind the camera more and more.

5. My child is obsessed with technology. I'm sure most parents would say their kids are really into all that stuff - remotes, phones, iPads, etc. But does your kid hyperventilate and drool at the sight of a laptop? No, really, do they?