Monday, August 19, 2013

New Beginnings

Well, it's been a good 3 years.  To all 10 of you who read this blog, I wanted to let you know that I've decided to revamp and start fresh in a new format.  Check me out, and follow me at!!

At Mom Life Blue Wife, I'll be posting more often and posting on a larger variety of topics including motherhood, thoughts on being a LEOW, recipes, favorite products, etc.

Oh, and I'm still sure I'll have plenty of funny anecdotes that include JD....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Birthday Surprise

My 30th birthday passed without much fanfare.  JD was working that weekend, so I just relaxed at home with the baby.  I’m not one to ask for a big celebration in my honor, but I was a little bummed that I hadn’t planned something fun since it was a milestone birthday.  I’ve been so focused on life as a new mom, that my birthday kind of snuck up on me.  It wasn’t until the day had arrived that I realized I wanted to celebrate in a big way… and felt it was too late.  Little did I know JD had been working on something for over a month.

I left work Friday, and made my way down to the parking garage.  I’d driven JD’s car that day, his beloved Charger.  I did a double take when I saw the car.  There was something red on the hood.  I immediately went into a panic, thinking someone had vandalized it.  In JD’s world, it goes 1. Our daughter 2. His motorcycle 3. His Charger 4. Me (maybe- it’s a close call between me and the iPad), so  any damage to his precious car is detrimental.  As I got closer, I realized the red was actually rose petals.  A smile crossed my face.  There were a dozen roses on the front seat of the car, and a card confirming that they were from JD (and not some creepy stalker).  Inside the card was a note telling me that he’d scheduled a massage for me in a half hour, and that my “next set of instructions would be at home.”

I was elated, not only had I been desperate for a massage that week, but I knew there would be more after the massage.  I love my hubby, but he’s not exactly a planner, so I had no idea he had that kind of foresight.  Plus, I work a half hour away from our house, meaning he had to load the baby in the car and drive an hour out of his way to deliver the roses and card.  I smiled the entire way to my massage, anxious to find out what was planned for me after. 

After an absolutely fabulous massage, I went home to find no husband and no baby, but a note on the front door telling me to “hurry upstairs!”  I went into the kitchen to quickly put my roses in water and paused, noticing that the house was suspiciously clean.  Like, Jenny-style, meticulously clean.  I was, once again, impressed.  JD and I have different standards of cleanliness, so if I can come home and say “Wow, this house is spotless,” he must have done a super thorough job.

When I got upstairs, there was a new dress laid out on the bed (actually, 2 dresses so I could pick which size fit better), along with a necklace and pair of shoes he’d pulled out of my closet to complete the outfit.  It was starting to feel a little surreal.  This is the man who wears navy and black together and thinks his Loch Ness monster t-shirt is appropriate for date night, and he’d gone shopping for me, picked out a really cute dress, and picked appropriately matching shoes and necklace… what?  Lying next to the dress was another note with an address and time to meet him. 

When I arrived at the restaurant (Cheesecake Factory, yum!), about a dozen of my friends were there, plus my sister who’d driven up from Atlanta.  JD had dressed up and put Loralai in a cute dress.  Sangria + yummy dinner + cheesecake + fabulous new dress + some of my favorite people = the ultimate way to celebrate my 30th.

My only regret is that we didn’t take any pictures!  I snapped a few quick ones with my phone of the setups he left for me, but we didn’t think to take ANY pictures at dinner, which is a huge let down!

Later, when I was filling a friend in on the details (lives out of state, so couldn’t be there), she told me that it “sounded like something out of a romantic movie.”  It was so true, and I can’t get over all the little details JD thought of.  It’s refreshing to be surprised by your spouse once in a while.  Guess he’s more romantic than I gave him credit for… Loch Ness Monster shirt and all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To the Next 10 Years

I turn the big 3-0 in a week and a half.  Does it make me sad?  No!  Does it make me feel old?  Not one bit.  Do I feel different?  Not really, but when I reflect on where I was at 20 vs. where I am now, it’s incredible to think about how I’ve changed, how my life has changed, and how much will change over the next decade.  In some ways, it’s sad to say goodbye to my 20’s, but I’m excited about my 30’s too.  I think your 20’s are when you grow into yourself, and I’m entering my 30’s with confidence and contentment.  A milestone birthday is bound to make you a bit more introspective, and this one has me thinking about what I want for myself going forward.  Here are the promises I’m making to myself.

I vow to leave dirty dishes in the sink once in a while. 

I’m a compulsive cleaner.  Few things irritate me more than a cluttered, dirty house, and when you have 3 big dogs plus a husband who tracks in 12 hours’ worth of police work every day, it sometimes feels like I’m perpetually cleaning a house that’s never truly clean.  Now that I have a beautiful baby girl who grows and changes every day, it seems like such a waste to stress about the pile of stuff on the coffee table or the unfolded laundry on the love seat.  I’m not saying my house will be a disaster zone (although sometimes it feels that way to me), but I’m still working full time so every moment with Loralai is precious.  I don’t want to look back in 10 years and regret all the time I spent cleaning instead of cuddling or playing with her.

I vow to be proud of my body.

Like pretty much every woman on the planet, I have stressed about the way I look.  As my 20’s progressed, I went from thinking my athletic frame was “fat” to becoming really confident in myself for being strong, healthy, and unique in my own beauty.  When I got pregnant, it was surprisingly one of the times I was most confident in my body.  I loved my round belly and the weird little changes from the dark spots that appeared on my face to the dramatic change to the shape of my belly button.  They all symbolized the miracle inside me.  However, since giving birth, I feel that I’ve regressed in a way. I spent 29 years getting comfortable in my own skin, and just when I had gotten to a place where I had embraced what I had to offer, “flaws” and all, the aftermath of child birth changed almost everything about how I view myself.  My already huge boobs got bigger, my belly pooch got poochier, and things that were once firm have gotten… squishier.  Others may look at me and think that I bounced back from pregnancy really easily, and I know that I’ve been blessed in that way.  But it doesn’t change the fact that my body is somewhat unfamiliar to me now, and I have to learn to love and embrace it all over again.  I am in awe of what my body accomplished and the beautiful little life it produced, and I have to remember that the extra pooch and tiny stretch marks are reminders of that.  I bought 2 bikinis for this summer.  My body may not be as bikini ready as it was pre-pregnancy, but I still honor all it has done for me.  Those little “imperfections” leftover from childbirth are simply battle scars, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them.

I vow to splurge on a fancy vacation.

Ever since honeymooning in St. Lucia, JD and I have been dying to go back.  It will be expensive, but it will be worth it (it was the first time)!  To me, part of celebrating life is splurging once in a while to travel and do the things you want to do.  Also, I think an important part of remaining connected as a couple is to make time for each other, especially once you have kids.  What better way to do that than escaping to a tropical paradise?  I’m sure there will be smaller, more local vacations that we take as a family, but I want to make sure that he and I have our own getaways once in a while.

I vow to make my 30’s even better than my 20’s.

When turning 30, some people mourn the end of their “youth.”  Really though, why would I miss a time when I was insecure, chasing around boys who didn’t deserve me, and broke?  I’m not trying to say my 20’s were miserable.  I met my best friends when I was in my 20’s and we had some really fun times together.  I took the heartbreaks and lessons of my early 20’s and built a healthy, fulfilling marriage with a man who treats me like I deserve and who loves me for exactly the person I am.  We built a foundation for our beautiful family and now I get to look forward to the next 10 years, secure and content with them.  I’ve never been happier, and ultimately, that’s what your 30’s are all about.

Here’s to the next 10 years.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Night Shift, My Hell

Well, David and I have both been back at work almost 2 weeks now.  Honestly, it feels like an eternity.  Those first 3.5 months where one of us was home with her full time were like a fantasy, and then we had to dive into a hell also known as “mommy and daddy both work full time and daddy is in the midst of night shift month.” 

The first few days were hectic, but bearable.  I changed my start time from 7:30 to 8 to accommodate our new schedule, woke up earlier, got home later, suffered through rush hour traffic, and never even had time to stop for Starbucks (the travesty)!  Our original plan was that L would only go to the babysitter’s on the days that JD went in for a night shift.  This meant that he could sleep during the day before his shift, but it also meant that on his “off days,” he would come home from working all night and then stay up to take care of her.  I always suspected this wouldn’t work out, but JD wanted to try.  Last Wednesday was the first test of this.  It did not go well.  JD texted me late morning to tell me he was so tired he felt sick, so I offered to come home early and relieve him of his duties (it was a beautiful day out, and I’m always happy to come home early and see my baby, so this wasn’t such a bad deal for me).

We worked out a new deal where David’s grandma would watch the baby on those extra few days of night shift months when JD came home from a shift and needed to sleep.  Our babysitter is flexible and I’m sure she would have picked up the days, but it will save us a bit of money and allow his grandma some bonding time with the baby, so everybody wins.  Things seemed to be back on track… until today.

Today was JD’s first day home with the baby where he was off last night and will be off again tonight.  He went to bed at 2am in an effort to get enough sleep to watch the baby today without messing up his sleep schedule too much.  It did not go well.  She woke up earlier than usual, was fussy all day, and didn’t want to take a nap.  He texted me throughout the day and I could tell he was getting progressively more tired and more frustrated. 

I sat at work, wishing I could come home and fix everything.  Wishing I didn’t have to work.  Aching for my baby.  Wanting to sway with her in the hammock and enjoy the late spring breeze.  Wanting the freedom of being home with her.  Wanting nothing more than to just take care of everyone- the baby, the house, the dogs, and my husband, who desperately needed to sleep.  Feeling helpless, I did the only thing I could do at the moment, I went into that little barren room called the “Mother’s Room” and pumped.   I listened to the rhythmic noise of the pump and the drip of my milk into the bottles.  Then, for the very first time since I’ve been back at work, I cried.

No one can prepare you for how hard it is.  I spent 9 months convincing myself that I wanted to continue working because I knew I didn’t have much choice.   I’m still not sure if, given the choice, I would even choose to stay home.  There are definitely pros and cons, but I hate that I don’t have that choice.  In a lot of ways, I hate that it has to be a choice at all- that we can’t have the best of both worlds. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Reponders

My heart goes out to the people affected by yesterday’s tornadoes in Oklahoma.  The sadness.  The loss.  The innocent little kids in that elementary school.  Devastating.

Whenever tragedy like this strikes, of course I am thinking of the victims, but I also pause to think of the first responders.  I’ve seen firsthand how something like this can affect the people who are ready to sacrifice their own lives to save others, and who work tirelessly to dig through rubble and try to find survivors.  It’s a shocking experience that will never leave them.

Last year, JD responded to a call where two kids who had been fishing with their uncle fell into the river and were immediately pulled under by the current.  He was first on scene and didn’t think twice about diving into the frigid, fast-moving water to try to save them.  The truth is, by the time he arrived, it was probably too late, but that didn’t stop him.  I never blogged about it because it was something he didn’t like talking about.  It haunted him for weeks.  Maybe it even still haunts him now, I don’t know.  My point is that I saw how hard that incident was for him, and when I see those first responders digging through the aftermath of a disaster like yesterday's tornadoes, I know how hard it must be for them, and how hard it will continue to be for a while.

So please, whether you pray or simply send a healing thought that way, don't forget to include the first responders.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Loralai's First Day With The Babysitter

7:00am: While feeding the baby, I notice a small red mark on her neck.  It’s probably irritation from dried milk, but I’m tempted to call it a “big rash” and stay home with her for the day… or forever.

7:30am: Arrive at the babysitter’s house with 2 big bags of stuff.  Wonder whether I compulsively over-packed like I always do, or if I’m just an organized and prepared mom. The babysitter greets Loralai excitedly and Loralai smiles back.  I’m reassured that we picked the right caregiver for our love. 

7:35am: I tear myself away as K (the babysitter) promises to text me pics throughout the day.  I get in the car and pull away, determined to be a strong mama and not cry, but my heart aches.  It’s like leaving a piece of my heart with a stranger.

8:00am: Arrive at work and give myself a pat on the back for getting both of us ready and out the door on time on my first attempt.  Am slightly surprised when my co-workers don’t throw confetti to celebrate my punctuality.

8:05am: Wonder why K hasn’t already sent pictures.  I mean, it’s been a half hour.

8:30am: Missing L like crazy.  Realizing that this is even harder than when I first started work and left her at home with JD.  Send my mom a sad text.

9:21am: Receive first pic from K.  L is happily snuggled in the car seat taking a nap while K drives her daughter to school.  Glad to see she’s not freaking out and that I’m not missing anything other than nap time at the moment.

12:10pm: Receive a video from K of L cooing.  Miss her.

2:15pm: Pull up Google maps to determine fastest route to babysitter’s house.  Determined to find a better way than this morning.  I want to pick up my baby ASAP.

3:00pm: Receive another picture of L napping.  Notice she’s wearing a different onesie than this morning.  K informs me she had a diaper explosion.   That makes me laugh.  Our sweet L just had to break in the new babysitter right away!

4:00pm: Wonder if this day could get any longer.

4:29pm: Leave for the day.  Am tempted to run down to my car but refrain myself.  This is still a professional environment, after all.

4:45pm:  Curse traffic.  Also, stoplights.  The afternoon commute seems infinitely longer than the morning commute.

5:00pm: L is still napping.  K is talking quietly so she doesn't wake her up.  I don't care, because I'm picking up my baby and giving her a huge kiss.  L stretches but doesn't fuss.  I get a groggy half smile.

We head home, and suddenly nothing else matters.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Loralai- 3 Months

Wow, where has the time gone?  Hard to believe that Loralai is already 3 months... I have failed to post new pictures in quite a while.

She is still the sweetest and happiest baby.  She even took a plane ride with daddy up to Michigan to meet the rest of his family last week.  I was nervous for JD traveling with her alone, but she did great- not a peep out of her on any of the flights!

She is starting to grab and hold smaller toys and LOVES reaching for her favorite butterfly when she's lying on her play mat.  This past weekend, JD and I bought a Bumbo for her because she's been wanting to sit up more- she loves that too!

Here are a few pictures I took from when she turned 2 months.

Happy baby after a good night's sleep

Dressed up for tea with Great Grandma.

Bath time!

Little peanut passed out in the hammock.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Got Milk?

Let’s get personal for a minute.  Today we’re going to talk about boobs.  And breast milk.  And being topless at work.  And the not-so-simple act of providing sustenance for my baby.  Feel free to skip this post if any of those topics make you uncomfortable :)

For me, breast feeding has been a labor of love.  Sadly, I was never one of the moms who enjoyed it.  I wanted to love it.  I wanted to stare down at her lovingly and bond while my body did this magical thing for her, but that’s not the way it worked out.  From the beginning, I was sore, tired, and miserable.  I resented the fact that feedings were solely my responsibility, and I spent a lot of my day staring at the clock, counting down, dreading the next feeding.  When she decided she was hungry before those 3 hours were up, I would grow even more frustrated that I didn’t get the full “break” between feedings that I was so desperate for.

But I was determined to do it.  I wanted her to have all the benefits of breast milk so I made myself suffer through the beginning when it’s especially  hard.  Pumping helped.  It gave me a break from the constant feedings and helped alleviate the soreness.  Whoever invented the breast pump is pretty much my hero.  If it weren’t for that, I would have given up on breast feeding a L-O-N-G time ago.

We had a good thing going for a while, and then, at 2 months, we found out she wasn’t gaining weight, meaning I wasn’t producing enough milk and we had to start supplementing with formula.  I cried.  I felt like I had failed her.  The doctor casually said, “some women just don’t produce enough milk.”  My friends and family told me that I couldn’t have known (she is almost too good of a baby because she showed NO signs that she was hungry or wasn’t getting enough to eat!) and it wasn’t my fault.  But I still blamed myself.  It’s a mom thing, I guess.

We started giving her an ounce of formula at the end of each feeding and her weight went up.  Ever since then I’ve had a new appreciation for my milk, as it is even more precious now.  I spilled an ounce of it one time and almost had a nervous breakdown.  Every drop is priceless.  Every.  Single.  Drop.

Before I knew it, I returned to work and adjusted to working life as a breast feeding mama.

I’m lucky that my office provides a mothers room.  It’s not the most comfortable or fanciest room in the building (it’s basically a barren room with 2 lonely chairs and some holes in the wall from an old dart board), but it’s private and I can lock the door, which I am eternally grateful for.  Not all working, pumping moms have that luxury.  Leaving your baby is heartbreaking.  Getting back into the swing of work is hard.  When you throw pumping at work on top of that, it just makes everything more difficult.  

Pumping at work is a strange concept.  One minute you’re on a conference call discussing a high spend account, the next minute you’re topless in that little room next the office of the big shot in IT.  The last thing you want to worry about is someone walking in on you.  So  yeah, having a locking door is pretty much the greatest thing ever and my heart goes out to the dedicated moms who continue to pump without the “amenities” I have.

After a while, my milk production slowed even more- to the point that she is only getting a bottle of breast milk every day- everything else is formula.  I’m not sure what caused the drop.  Yes, I’m pumping a lot at work instead of nursing, but I was doing a lot of pumping while I was still on maternity leave too.  I try to nurse in the evenings and on the weekends.  I’m drinking teas with Fenugreek, an herb that stimulates milk production.  I chug water.  I eat oatmeal  every day (another thing thought to increase production).  In a week of desperation, I stuffed my face with pretty much every calorie I could get my hands on (breast feeding moms actually need more calories than a pregnant mom, and add in several workouts a week, I’m sure I need a ton of calories to compensate).  Nothing seemed to help and in one of what has turned out to be many moments of frustration during this process, I told JD that I wasn’t sure it was worth the hassle of hauling my pump back and forth every day, and taking time to pump 3-4 times a day on top of the nursing sessions I could fit in.

I’m disappointed that there isn’t more information out there for mamas like me.  Most education seems to center around the “all or nothing” approach like “most moms don’t have a problem with their production” and “formula is fine, but breast milk is better.”  I did a little digging, and from what I’m reading, even if she was only getting an ounce of milk a day, she would still be benefiting from the immunities (actually, it’s thought that mamas with less milk might actually have a higher concentration of immunities in their milk).  I found forums with posts from moms like me who were doing a lot of supplementing and struggling to keep their production up.  I realized that I am not alone and felt empowered in the knowledge that all the effort it requires to get her that 1 bottle a day is still benefiting her enough that it’s all worth it.  

I have a renewed determination to do this.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Martyr Moms

I’m getting really sick of the moms who use their birth stories for martyrdom.  When you spend time with moms, especially new moms, everyone likes to swap birth stories.  You feel as though you’ve entered a sisterhood, and so you gravitate towards each other and the commonality of what you’ve experienced.  What really irks me is when people start to throw the details of their own birth stories into other moms’ faces. 

Some moms labored for days, some moms did it without any pain meds, some moms had emergency C-sections, and some moms did it unconventionally in the water and/or at home.  Many of these moms want the world to know that no one- NO ONE- suffered or sacrificed like they did.

Hey- every birth is dramatic in its own way.  Hell, it’s childbirth, and no matter how it’s done, it’s pretty traumatic on your body.  Would I have wanted to labor for days?  Of course not.  But, in the midst of my labor, as everything was progressing so quickly and I barely had time to stop and comprehend what was going on, it was pretty scary.  My point is that every labor is different, and no individual labor is better or worse than another.  I have a ton of respect for my friends who had to be induced, had long labors, and/or had to have C-sections, just as they have respect for me that I did it without any pain meds (I didn’t have the choice, but still, I did it).

Instead of trying to one-up each other, we should be coming together and celebrating the miracle of childbirth, the strength is takes, and bask in the beauty of what our bodies were able to accomplish.  What us moms should NOT be doing is competing for birth story of the year.

Because I would win.

Totally kidding :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Loves of My Life

When you pick the person you’re going to spend your life with, you’re not just picking the person who will be your partner and best friend through the ups and downs, you’re picking the person who’s going to parent and help raise your children.  You don’t always think about that when you’re first settling down.  For the first 6 years of our relationship, it was all about JD and I, and I think we were able to work out all the kinks and build a strong partnership.  I was afraid of what a new person would do to our dynamic, but now that I’ve seen him as a father, I don’t think I have ever loved him more than I have in the past few months.

From waking up with me for feedings in the middle of the night, keeping me calm and wiping my tears when I was sore, tired, and frustrated, and changing almost every diaper, JD was my rock while the baby and I were still stumbling through the first few days of nursing.  But more than just being my partner and support system, I now get to see JD as a father, which is more amazing than I could have imagined.

When we first found out the gender, JD was a little nervous about having a girl.  A former Marine turned police officer who likes to cage fight in his spare time, JD is the definition of a man’s man.  During the second half of the pregnancy, he started to get used to the idea and was more and more excited to have a girl (of course, knowing you  have an entire squad of police officers who will help ensure she never goes on a date… ever… helps).  I heard the emotion in his voice when she finally entered the world and he announced, “She’s here!”   and he’s been absolutely smitten since.

He’s a hands-on dad.  To hear him try to soothe her when she’s fussy during a bath or a diaper change, see how snugly she fits in his big arms, or watch her gaze up at him while he gives her a bottle melts my heart.  Once he went back to work, he was always anxious to return home and cuddle up with her at the end of the day.  Now that the roles are reversed and I’m back at work, he’s fallen into the role of “Mr. Mom” quite nicely.  He sends me pictures during the day of tummy time outside on a blanket, play time on her playmat, or long walks in the stroller.  Last night, when I arrived home from work, she was sleeping soundly against his chest in the Baby Bjorn while he cooked dinner.  (Side note: If he could stay at home forever, I would totally let him.  I love having a stay at home husband).  I have always loved him, but now I love him in a deeper, more profound way.  He is not just my best friend, but he is the most important man in our daughter’s life and he is the father I wanted for her- the father she deserves.

Having a baby has changed my perspective in so many ways.  Things that used to be important to me just aren’t anymore, because my daughter takes up so much of the “important” in my life.  Coming home at the end of the day or a weekend free of work has whole new meaning.  Nothing makes me happier than to come home, give my baby a bath and read her a couple of stories.  I can sit quietly, not doing anything but rocking with her, and not be bored.  She is the love of my life.

Well, they both are.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dear Loralai

Dear Loralai,

Thanks for pooping on me and daddy's bed. Thanks for waiting till I'm ready to eat to decide you're upset about something. Thanks for spitting up all over your clean outfit as soon as I've gotten you dressed.  

Thank you for being quick to smile and your beautiful, observant blue eyes. Thank you for becoming the thing I love most in this world, and changing my perspective in such a profound way. Thank you for being the reason I get a lump in my throat when I think about going back to work tomorrow.

I'm sorry I won't be able to be with you as much. If I had my way, I would spend every second of every day with you. I wasn't sure I'd ever be the mom that said that, but it's a testament to how much you've changed things for me, I guess.  Know that I will be thinking of you all the time while I'm at work, wishing I was with you.  Just because I will be away doesn't mean I love you any less.

I hope you enjoy your month with daddy. It will be a very special time for both of you- a time not many babies are lucky enough to have.  Just don't forget to give him a hard time once in a while, just to keep him on his toes and make me feel better about being away...

Love you lots,