Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guest Post at A Little Bit of All of It: A New Mom's Tale for Nursing on the Go

A Little Bit of All of It Preparing for Birth Series

Today you'll find my guest post on A Little Bit of All of It, where Julia is hosting a 10 week series on Preparing for Birth. This week is centered around Breastfeeding.

About a month ago I took a trans-American trip with Penelope and my family for my brother's college graduation and then a week on the beach in Pensacola, Florida. Although I had the amazing support of my family in carting around all of Penelope's stuff, there was one thing no one else could help me with - feeding her! At this point I had not yet introduced the bottle, and in retrospect I am glad I hadn't. Check out the post to read about my shenanagins in trying to figure out how to nurse her on this vacation.

What are some of your funny nursing in public (NIP) stories? Comment here at The Pierogie Mama or at A Little Bit of All of It.
Julia's 10 week series on preparing for birth is a great resource, even if you aren't currently preparing for the arrival of a little one!
Week 1 (April 30- May 6) Birth Stories
Week 2 (May 7 – May 13) Childbirth Education
Week 3 (May 14 – May 20) Choosing a Care Provider
Week 4 (May 21 – May 27) Birth Support
Week 5 (May 28 – June 3) Breastfeeding
Week 6 (June 4 – June 10) Birth Plans
Week 7 (June 11 – June 17) New Baby Care
Week 8 (June 18 – June 24) Postpartum Care
Week 9 (June 25 – July 1) Other Birth Resources
Week 10 (July 2 – July 8 ) Advice for the New Mom

Monday, May 28, 2012

Great Cloth Diaper Change - Update

So the final count was tallied up..and Penelope was a proud participant of a Guiness World Record!

As you recall, Penelope and I participated in the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012 in April. I've been told that each participant will be getting an official certificate from Guinness. Something fun to save in the baby book :)

Last year's record was 5026 participants,  and the new record is posted at 8251! When you think about how big of an impact cloth diapers can make, that's a big deal!
-The average disposable costs 25 cents, $2062.75 was saved that day!
-Estimate that the average disposable can hold as much as 7 pounds of waste (ew!), 57,757 pounds was saved from the land fill.

One day. Imagine that each of these 8251 babies were to be cloth diapered even 50% of the time, or just swapped 3 disposable diapers for cloth (Change 3 things) each day. What an impact environmentally and financially.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

11 weeks.. just shy of 3 months!

I realized that I hadn't made a specific post about little Penelope in the last 3 weeks.. Bad mama!

My little Pennybelle.. I love you so much. These last 3 weeks have been some major developmental leaps for  you, haven't they?  You recognize when I am in the room, in fact for about a week and half you didn't let anyone but me hold you!  It was a little rough at first but soon you opened up to the rest of your very eager family to snuggle you.

You and I have very special play time in the morning right when you wake up- if you are in a good mood :) If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, we just have breakfast and afterwards you are your charming self. I am amazed at how much of a little person you are, and that we now can interact with each other.

You started batting at toys a few weeks ago, but how the movemens seem more determined.

In the last 3 weeks you've flown across the country, put your feet in the Gulf and in the sand, took your first boat ride with Daddy and I, become a little social butterfly with engagements 1-2 times per week, make adorable noises like "agoo" and "whoo??" and can smile with your entire face - it reaches your eyes and ears sometimes too!

I love you so much, I can't believe how quickly time is flying by.. It feels like each time I pick you up from a nap you've grown before my eyes.

Napping on the deck on our sunny first Mother's Day

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet Gus

Gus is one of those blankies that has an animal head on top. My mom got this for Penny soon after she was born but hadn't really worked on introducing it to her.  While we were in Pensacola I noticed that while napping she would seem to be searching for something to snuggle on. A burp cloth made a good surrogate for that moment, but it was a good thing I had brough Gus along!

Ok, so you might be wondering how in the world we came up with the name Gus for a stuffed toy. Back in college, when Adam and I were engaged we got ourselves a little beta fish and named him Gus Gus, just like the mouse from the Disney movie.

Again, why would someone name their fish Gus Gus? I don't know. I liked it.

Unfortunately, that winter was a hard one for us and Gus Gus. It was by far the coldest winter I have ever experienced; one night we got over 18 inches of snow. Very uncharacteristic of Western Washington. And, being poor college kids saving up money for a wedding... well, keeping the house at a liveable comfortable temperature just wasn't in the budget. This scummy apartment that we lived in had single pane windows, zero insulation, baseboard heating, drafts in every corner and was always in the shade. Hey, it was what we could afford (and Adam would add that it had a garage, not very easy to come by in a college rental!).  Adam and I took care of ourselves by dressing in multiple layers (I'm talking thermals, sweatshirt and a Northface fleece), leaving the oven open after using it, space heaters, heated blankets, and of course spending more time at work because work had to be heated. Sad, but so very true. This went on for a few weeks and although we noticed that poor Gus Gus was getting more and more lethargic, we didn't think too much about it. I changed his water and fed him as I normally did.

Well, after one particularly cold night.. Our beautiful blue beta was no longer blue but a ghostly white and belly up. Since then, our families have never let us live it down and always call ahead when they come to visit to make sure the heat is on.

So as a throwback to our college days, and the fact that this Gus cannot be frozen, we have named Penny's lovie Gus.

Friday, May 18, 2012

'Bama Graduation and Pensacola

Last week the fam and I headed out to Tuscaloosa Alabama for my stepbrother's graduation from college. Unfortunately Adam was not able to make it out due to work scheduling, so poor hubby had to fend for himself while the rest of us took off for warmer weather. To be fair, the weather in Washington was gorgeous that week and he enjoyed the evenings on the deck with the doggies.
Penelope is a natural flyer. She did so great on the plane! I followed a few other mamas advice and was sure to nurse her at take off and landing, to make sure her little ears were able to acclimate to the pressure changes. She pretty much nursed, slept, and during the times she was awake she was so happy and chatty. No fussing or whining when she was tired and ready to sleep. It was so surprising and pleasing.
We flew with Southwest and a nice thing I learned about them is that strollers do not count towards your 2 checked luggage allowance, and (although this is probably not limited to SW) when you bring the baby's carseat on board if there are extra seats you can take advantage of the empty seat and baby can sit in the carseat. All of our flights were full, but with her being so small I didn't mind holding her on my lap, and in fact enjoyed it. It was easier to nurse her when she needed, or to play with her when she was ready.

Since our trip to Europe (during pregnancy), I have opted out of the metal detectors / scanners at security. Call me a little overly paranoid, but I don't like the idea of waves passing through me. We've learned too often (and too late, rather) the effects of things we / the goverment deem to be "OK" / "safe" and turns out that it causes some kind of adverse effect. So, in cases where I am able to opt out, I do. During pregnancy I wasn't really questioned, and in SeaTac I wasn't either, but in Birmingham I did get some questions on why I didn't want to go through. I just explained that I didn't want to expose my baby to the waves and that was that. They do a physical pat down, and Penelope was patted down in SeaTac, but not in Birmingham. That's one thing that I learned about TSA is that there seems to be a total lack of consistency. This blogpost from Anktangle: TSA X-Rayed My Breastmilk put me on high alert on any sort of interaction with them, and made me decide to forgo pumping during the week.

The traveling days were long though. On the way there, we left the house at 6a, an hour to the airport, took off at 9:30a and eventually landed in Birmingham AL at 8:30 CMT. Then it was another hour drive to Tuscaloosa, and graduation was at 9:00A the next morning. It proved to be an exhausting way to start the trip but being the mother of a newborn, I am really accustomed to functioning on lack of sleep ;)

It was a quick visit in Tuscaloosa, we only stayed for the day of graduation and the next day we drove to Pensacola. We stayed at this cute cottages on the beach (military rentals) and spent the week lounging in the sun, walking the beach, visiting Pensacola beach, and just some good family time together. NAS Pensacola is also where the Blue Angels are stationed, so Tues - Thurs between 8-9a they are practicing right over the beach where we stayed. Pretty neat the first morning, but it did prevent any hopes of sleeping in the following days ;)

Dressing Penny was so much fun on this trip! Since it was warm, she got to wear her summer dresses a little early!

I'm trying out this slideshow option from Shutterfly - here's a few pictures from the trip.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2 months

Dearest Penelope,
This week you've really transitioned into an opinionated and active infant. I think I finally have a hold of your wants and needs too.
Your 2 month wellchild visit (which was a week early) showed that you are right on track.. And surprised daddy and I with your weight on 9 lbs 4 oz and length of 20 inches. It's funny how numbers work, because right after that I came home and started cycling out your tiny newborn sized clothes. Comparing them to your size, even now, makes your birth day seem like eons ago.. It's the end of an era for you and I, which I am sad to see these tiny bits go into storage because I'll never get to hold you while so small anymore, but I'm also so proud of you and I for working through what is a difficult time for many with grace and ease. You, Daddy and I were made for each other and the 3 of us just click. I couldn't have asked for a better combination.

In addition to getting bigger, a silly little thing caught my attention this week that makes me see you as the growing child that you are. In the afternoon I put you down for a nap, and came back to you after several minutes because I heard you stirring. Normally your stirrings were just you wiggling your head, moving your arms or kicking your feet. Then I found you in a completely different orientation and position... A sign for things to come?

We call this the "belly flopped seal"

This week we're preparing for your first trip on a plane to go see Uncle Nick graduate from college. I have a mixture of excitement and anxiousness. I hope the flight will be good for both of us - I specifically hope it is not uncomfortable for you as we take off and land, that you're able to find rest in my arms and that the air inside the plane will not be too cold or dry for your sensitive little nose. I pray that the excitement of travel will not disrupt your schedule too much, because I have learned how important it is to you to know what is coming (a trait you got from me). I hope that the vacation is fun for us too, and that the extra bit of sun will do us good.

Yesterday Daddy had some alone time with you and he showed you how to grab for hanging toys in your playmat!  Then in the evening we tried again and you wowed Babcia and Grandpa with your skills too.  You bring our family so  much joy!

Daddy and I continually work towards and pray for the sale of our Washougal home. Living with your grandparents has been such a blessing; it has been a big help in allowing me to focus all of my energies on you in your early weeks. Daddy has now been commuting for work and living away from us for about 7 months. He works hard and will continue to do it for as long as we need to, but he needs a break.  Now we are ready to keep our own home and for me to be the full time, independent mama that I always planned to be. I am ready to be your daddy's wife again too, and cultivate our new home for our beautiful little family.

Your daddy made a wonderful comment about your beautiful eyes the other day - they always catch the light and sparkle even when there is little light to be seen.  Keep your sparkle, continue growing and learning, little one. We love you so much.



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