Monday, August 30, 2010

24 weeks & working mama

Just a short note here to say that I went back to work today. Those twenty-four weeks sure were long but they flew right by me. They weren’t always sunshine and lollipops, but they were always fulfilling...but those weeks are behind me now.

I’m not going to lie and say returning to work was easy. Anna had just woke up right before I was one foot out of the door. I picked her up from the crib, hugged her tight, and handed her to hubs. Made me a bit sad that I was leaving her for the day…but definitely comforting knowing that she was in the loving and capable hands of her Grandma.

So I am officially a working mom, for better or for worse. I am just thankful that there are plenty of snuggles from every member of the household when I return home. It makes the nine hours away fade into the distance quite easily.

The Energizer Anna
Photo: For our last summer hurrah, we took a little road trip this past weekend. More details to follow, but here is a picture of Anna, at 24 weeks, wearing her Papa out.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seriously, Just Skip This Post.

*WARNING* What you are about to read is extremely boring and may put you to sleep. Read at your own risk.

Roughly around Anna's fourth month of life, I found out that girl doesn't care for breast milk that have been frozen.

Unfortunately, by then, I had at least 800 oz of breast milk in the freezer.

To put that into context, Anna eats about 26 oz a day so my stash could've fed her for one entire month. That's one month that I could've not pumped...because pumping is annoying and time consuming.

So all the milk went down the drain, along with some tears, anger, and frustration.

Since I was still producing more milk than Anna's consumption, I turned to Dr. Google for some answers and found the following:

Scalding milk is the recommended solution for excessive lipase. It is the safest way to reduce the lipase, which makes the milk taste unpleasant. Lipase is the enzyme that breaks down fat in the milk. If the mother finds after freezeing and thawing that her milk has a rancid smell, she can prevent this from occurring in the future by heating her expressed milk to a scald (bubbling around the edges but not boiling) right after collecting it, and then quickly cooling and freezing it. Scalding inactivates the lipase. --Source

I followed the instructions and what do you know?!

Anna happily drinks any breast milk now, fresh or frozen.

Too bad I didn't know about this sooner. Now that little Miss Piggy is eating almost as much as I am producing, my stash isn't building up nearly as fast. We may just have to give her formula when we go on vacation...which I know isn't the end of the world...

Oh well...lesson learned for kid number two.

But I hope this information will help someone out there!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What I Will Miss When I Return to Work #542

The giant smile that the happy baby gives me after her naps.

She will be fully awake and flirting with the ceiling, not making a sound, but the second she sees me she just gives me a HUGE grin. OK, so you can't actually see the smile with her face half covered in blankets, but trust me, it's there.

And it's super adorable.

And I always just scoop her right up in my arms and give her a HUGE hug in return.


[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 23, 2010

23 weeks & a big shopping spree

This weekend was all about shopping for furnitures!

It was an epic trip and it all happened like this:

Because we didn't care to live in an empty box, we wanted to buy at least some furnitures for the family & living room and have them delivered on the day we move in. So over the last few weeks, we looked online and found two collections we liked at The Room Store. We went to the store this weekend and saw them in person. Comfy, yes. Nice-looking, yes. Good price, yes. We will take both!

...but not before trying our luck in asking for some kind of discount.

The salesperson surprised us with a friends & family discount of 20%!

So with the discount, we thought: Hey, as long as we are already paying for delivery (a flat fee after spending more than $1000), we might as well get a bedroom set + mattress and a sectional sofa for the basement.

And we did. We had never been so decisive.

Well, we are a few grand poorer, but at least we will have places to sit at the new place.

Here is Anna, at 23 weeks, modeling (+ tripoding) on one of the couches we got.

modeling on the couch
the roomstore
And because I am all about having a balance, I took home this free chair I spotted in the neighborhood. I am going to refinish it - no idea how, but will learn. :)
free chair

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am very late in posting this,

but better late than never.

This picture of Pargo & Pesto waiting for the arrival of their baby sister and reading this particular blog post is so cute. I really, really like it.

waiting for baby sister
Thanks Emilie - this is one of my most fav pictures in the entire universe.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Schedule as a SAHM (w/ a 5 month old)

My days as a SAHM is winding down and I thought I would do a post on my daily schedule to help me remember this tiring, yet happy, time. This schedule is for a very typical Monday, when my husband is at work (on other days he may work from home) and I am home alone with my baby.

5:30am - Wake up to Anna's coos. Retrieve her from the crib and give her morning bottle.

5:45am - Anna falls back to sleep. Put her in the crib.

5:50am - I pump, eat breakfast, and get myself ready for the day. Sometimes I take the boys + trash out if hubs hasn't done it. I may go back to sleep.

7:30am - Husband leaves for work.

8:40am - Anna wakes up. I change her and wipe her face. We play, activities include: floor time, read books, chit-chat, and we may go for a walk.

9:45am - I feed Anna. She's still strictly on Mama's milk diet.

10:00am - We play some more.

10:55am - Anna goes down for a nap in her crib.

I wish I could say that after she goes to sleep, I have hours of doing absolutely nothing.

But I don't.

I hurry to eat lunch, pump & wash bottles, tidy up the place, do laundry, take the boys out, refill their food/water bowls, brush Pargo, and many other things. But I always manage to squeeze in some Internet & blogging time.

12:30pm - Anna wakes up. I change her and play silly games to make her laugh.

1:15pm - I feed her. We play, activities include: floor time with Sesame Street on the background, watch an episode of Baby Einstein, read books, and chit-chat. Or we may leave the house for a bit (to the mall, library, grandparents', etc). Today we went to a Hallmark store and Starbucks.

2:30pm - Anna goes down for a nap in her crib.

I grab a quick snack, take the boys out, tidy up the place, prep for dinner, and do many other things. Then I sit down in front of my computer and surf the web. I may look for deals, research baby products, check my Google Reader, and write a blog post.

4:15pm - Anna wakes up. I change and feed her. Husband gets home.

After waking up from her last nap at 4:15pm, Anna is up until bedtime. We do a variety of things during this time:
- Cook & eat dinner
- Play with Anna as a family
- Take the boys out
- Go for a walk
- Get mail
- Anna gets a bath (every other night)
- Watch TV
- & a million of other things

7:00 - 7:30pm - Start bedtime routine: books, songs, and feed. If we are lucky she falls right to sleep for the night after bottle.

7:40pm - I pump and wash bottles.

8:10pm - Husband and I may hang out. Or he may watch a movie and I do more stuff on the computer.

9:15 - 10pm - I crash into bed.

Anna sleeps through the night, but may wake up once or twice. Usually she can go back to sleep on her own. If not, I get up and move her to a different position and she goes back to dreamland. No middle of the night feedings!

*On days when Anna wakes up at 6:30am, everything gets pushed back an hour and she goes to bed at 8:00 - 8:30pm. I am trying to get her consistently on the 5:30am wake-up time schedule so when I go back to work, I can see her in the morning before I leave.

*I wish we followed this schedule by the minute - all the time - but we don't. However, this is our typical schedule pattern.

*On days when husband doesn't need to go into the office, he helps out with feeding, diaper change, and playtime throughout the day. It's nice to have him home.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Solids: Rice Cereal Edition

For the last few weeks, my 5 month old baby has been taking long gazes at our food and smacking her lips. I figured it was a sign that she was ready to eat more than just breast milk.

Now, I have mentioned before that hubs likes to give her a taste of whatever he's eating...and he has been doing that since she was about 3 months old.

But it's time to officially start her on solid food!

Today on the menu was brown rice mush mixed with breast milk. We loosely followed the recipes found here.

Miss Anna herself actually helped in making her own food. Look at that face of concentration while she stirred.

stir, stir, stir
After a quick outfit change, it was time to eat.
first taste of rice cereal
Her face said it all. She did not like the plain rice and spat it out.

So hubs decided to puree a peach to give it more flavor. Haha, but by then she was so disgusted with the rice cereal that the meal ended with her in tears.

Suffice to say, her first solids did not go well.

Ah, I am not too upset about it. Truthfully, I am not ready for her to eat grown-up food yet. Or deal with grown-up poop.

We will wait another week and try again, but may skip the whole rice cereal stage and move right to vegetable and fruit purees. We will see. Looking forward to having our own little baby test kitchen! Having a baby is so fun.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dog Food Can...Beautified and Re-purposed!

Remember when I prettified some binder clips? Or how I embellished wooden clothespins? Yup, they were a blast to make, but hard to keep track of them in my kitchen drawer.

So here is my latest creation. Took no more than 10 minutes to make and my kitchen drawer is now a bit more organized. I am loving how it turned out - going to make more once we move to the new place!

You will need: a tuna can (or a dog food can, which is what I used), scrapbook paper, decoupage, scissors, and a brush.

1. Scrub the can clean. I soaked mine is hot soappy water, wiped it dry, and sprayed Febreze all over. It dog food smell.
2. Trim scrapbook paper to size to cover the can.
3. Use brush and apply a thin layer of decoupage glue all around the can.
4. Place your paper onto the can. Let it dry. Apply another layer of decoupage glue to the top of the paper. Wait and let it dry.

I like that this looks like a complete set, but in reality, I just didn't have any other scrapbook paper. I still have a little piece of that red paper left...maybe I will cover something else with it. :)

This project was inspired by something I blogged about a long time ago.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

5 months

Dear Miss A,

You are 5 months old and active as can be. What happened to that little baby who used to lay still in our arms? You now wriggle, jiggle and squirm like crazy! I always knew that babies were busy creatures, but I am convinced that we have the deluxe model....and the frightening part? We haven't seen nothing yet.

You are a master at rolling. Nothing can slow you down. Recently you are working on perfecting your next tricks - sitting and crawling. You are tripoding (that's sitting with hands on the floor for support) like a pro and getting up on all 4s occasionally. I won't be surprised if you start sitting or crawling soon.

We love love love watching all of your curious little habits. You grab at everything in sight. At mealtimes, you study every bite we take. Just a few more days, buddy. Although, admittedly Papa has been known to sneak you some tasty licks of fruits & whatever he's eating. Just the other day he gave you a piece of apple to nibble on and you actually grabbed his hand and shoved it into your face. Haha, you are so goofy.

Your hobbies include: tasting everything, blowing raspberry bubble, playing peekaboo, taking long naps, doing a 180 in your crib, and developing a mean stranger anxiety. (...we have got to work on that last one.)

Anna, back when you were a newborn I wanted to freeze time and have you stay itty-bitty. But they are right when they say things just keep getting better, because I am loving this moment.

You are the best, Banana!

5 months
5 months

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Out & About

We have been getting out of the house every day this week for several reasons:

...because my maternity leave is coming to an end.
...because I want Anna to see more people and be exposed to new things.
...because she has some cute outfits that we have yet to take pictures of.
...because it adds variety to our playtime! (Or, it gives me a break from being the entertainer.)

We went to the library to read books and passed by a McDonald's on the way back to the car. The big McFlurry picture on the window lured us in on that very, very warm evening and Anna had her first taste of this yummy treat. FYI, she wasn't impressed.

The next day I took her to the mall for some kids-watching.

Then the following day we went to a special event nearby. There were hundreds of kids playing happily in the interactive water fountain. Little Anna is too young to join but she had fun observing, head turning side to side. I couldn't get her to look at the camera for one second.

I say Anna is having a blast so far this week. Hope you are too!
@ the mall
kids watching

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 9, 2010

21 weeks & the move is on

It looks like it's all going to happen. The home inspection went brilliantly well - nothing about the house is making us come to a screeching halt - so we are proceeding forward and close in a little less than 4 weeks!

As of last night, packing has officially begun. However, before anything was taken down and put in a box, I snapped pictures of this little place we called home for the past 3 1/2 years.

When we first moved in (just for fun, here is a pic of me, circa 2007, on moving day), I remember telling the landlady that we would be here for no more than a year. Ha. Little did I know. This condo may have been a rental and temporary, but it helped our family grow. We came in as a unit of 3 and leaving as a party of 5. And we are taking all the memories we made with us.

Anna won't remember anything, but can't wait to show her pictures of where she spent the first 6 months of her life.

So as I was saying, packing has officially begun. Early, I know, but we are all about doing things ahead of time. I can see our place becoming a war zone in the next few days, but it will be worth it when Moving Day 2010 comes.

We didn't go anywhere to take Anna's weekly photo this weekend. Just didn't feel energized to go out. So I took this picture in front of the fireplace, which we never used the entire time living here. And that vase of dried flowers? It was given to me by hubs over 6 years ago + survived at least 4 moves. Think it will survive this one?

{Happy 21 weeks, Anna! You don't have a clue, but we are moving!}

bumble bee

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I don't know how single moms/dads do it.

Just Mama & Anna
This week I had a taste of single parenthood as hubs was away on business. How did I fare?

It was, in one word: EXHAUSTING!

As cute as Anna is, I found myself counting down to her next nap all week long. Playtime seemed never-ending. My to-do list (while she napped) seemed miles long. I will be honest and say that she probably watched an unhealthy hours of Baby Einstein in those 4 days.

On the flip side though, it was incredibly rewarding to take care of Anna on my own - knowing that I can do it and do it well.

Anyway, the week is over. Hubs is back. I survived. And more importantly, so did Anna.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Post-Baby Life: the dogs

the bups
In my pre-baby life, I used to be judgey toward those who give their pets away once they have human babies. How irresponsible of them. Pets are a part of the family.

Post-baby, I can sort of understand.

Now, I have no plans to send my dogs away, but I would be a complete liar if I said juggling two dogs and a baby has been a piece of cake. Here are few reasons why it hasn't been a smooth transition for all of us...

1. Dogs are naturally barky. We are blessed with probably the two barky-est breeds of all - a yorkie and a chihuahua. They look out of the window all day long and bark at anything that comes within 10 feet of their sight. It used to be fine, even entertaining. But with a baby? Not so much. Sometimes they bark just when Anna falls asleep....OMG. Lets just say Anna isn't the only one screaming at that point. (But, with some training, they are getting so much better, though.)

2. That Pesto is a shedding machine. His hair can be found on the carpet, on the couch, on the bed. The next dog we get will be of a non-shedding variety for sure. We didn't mind as much before as we had time to clean. Now that free time is a rare commodity, all I really want is a clean house. I don't want to see hair on Anna's burp cloth, on her face, in her hair, between her toes and fingers, and, this just happened today, in her bottle. So irritating! I know her growing up with pets will do wonders to her immune system and hopefully become an animal lover, but really, I just want a place free of dog hair.

3. Little dogs...they are so high maintenance. I have to brush Pargo's hair and clean his face everyday or else he turns into a wild beast. Hubs spends a decent amount of time grooming both dogs and bathing them. We don't groom and bath them nearly as often anymore, but when we do, it's a couple hours of work. When you become a parent, there is never enough hours in the day.

Yes, I am aware that we signed up for all these when we decided to get pets, but adding a baby to the mix can get overwhelming. People warned me while I was pregnant, but I never believed it. Or at least, I thought I would be an exception.

I don't blame the dogs. In fact, I feel guilty that I don't give them the attention they deserve. After all, they are my first kids. Hopefully after we move and when they have green grass to romp around in, they will be happier with the extra space and we can all just sit on the deck and watch them sniff and play.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 2, 2010

20 weeks & nap talk

For the record, I really like taking Anna out. Not only she gets to soak up the world around her, but I also get a break from playing with her at home. We always enjoy ourselves whenever we go out - Anna is rarely in a bad mood and I get some fresh air.

Going out may be fun, but coming back home? Not so much. Here is why:

Anna goes down for naps roughly 2 - 2.5 hours after being awake. This doesn't really give us much time to go places without her missing a nap. To avoid this as much as I can, I get myself completely ready and diaper bag packed when she's asleep. When she wakes up, I feed and change her and we are out of the door. Then we come back just in time for her nap. This works very well whenever I am just taking her on short trips, such as the mall or my parents' house.

Sometimes we go on trips that last for more than 2 - 2.5 hours (including getting her ready, driving, etc) and she's forced to take naps outside. When this happens, I can always expect some fussiness from her. And if/when she finally falls asleep in the car seat, it lasts no more than half an hour. And when we finally get home and put her down for a real nap, she refuses to keep her eyes shut. Lack of sleep = unhappy Anna.

When Anna misses a nap because we are out, I admit that I get crankier than her.

Saturday night we went to hubs' parents' new place. Since their new house is 35 minutes away, I knew that we wouldn't make it back in time for her bedtime and she would be fussy. I was right. After 3 hours of being awake (too many faces to see), tiredness hit her like a ton of bricks that she fussed for a bit but fell asleep in the car seat around the dining table while we ate. We had hoped that we would continue to sleep for the ride home, but she woke up and screamed the ENTIRE WAY. Did you know there is nothing worse than a screaming baby in a moving car? After we came home and fed her, she was wide awake and didn't finally fall asleep for the night until 5 hours after she last woke up. I was not pleased.

It's true what they say, the less sleep a baby gets, the more difficult she will be in falling AND staying asleep.

Yesterday we drove around our new neighborhood and stopped by Meadowlark Botanical Gardens for some pictures. Weather was perfect. Overcast and breezy. Anna was overall in a very good mood - saw flowers, butterflies, lakes, and the gazebo where her parents got married. On the 20-minute drive back, she fell asleep and, again, we hoped she would stay asleep when we got home and put her in the crib. No luck. She woke up and didn't take a nap until hours later, which meant she didn't go to sleep for the night until well past 10.

As much as I like taking Anna out, sometimes I just want to stay home so she doesn't miss any naps! But knowing me, I still want to take her out as much as I can so I guess I just have to deal with it.

Anyway, here are some photos from Meadowlark. I like how they turned out! We love this special place and thinking about getting an annual pass once we move!

{You are 20 weeks old, Anna!}

Anna @ 20 weeks
Meadowlark Gardens 01Aug10
Meadowlark Gardens 01Aug10
More images from the trip here.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!