Sunday, August 31, 2008

Roll Tide!.....?

Well, football season is here, and I'm actually more excited than I thought I'd be. I was pretty indifferent to it until we flipped on College Gameday yesterday and something about it just lit up my insides. However, I've learned that I'm a lot less of a "Bama Fan" now that we're back in the state Alabama than when we lived in Gainesville. It was fun being contrary and pulling for a team other than the Gators when were there. Now that we're back, though, it just doesn't seem that "special" to pull for Alabama. Everyone does (except for the Auburn fans, that is). And, there are just way too many fanatical rednecks out there who have no official affiliation with the school and yet center their lives around the Alabama/Auburn thing. Both teams have these fans - I'm not pointing fingers, but it bugs me and steals some of my zeal.

That being said, Roll Tide! 34-10. Yipee! And I'll be gracious and congratulate Auburn for their win as well. All is well in the state of Alabama. For now....

And besides, how could I not get a little excited about it when I have a mini-fan to dress up?

My handsome bama boys

"Allright mom... I'm getting a little bored with this."

Apple of his Grandaddy's eye? Not so much today :)

Still a daddy's girl

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nursing, Part II

Okay.... Before I had a child, I thought it was weird for people to nurse their child in public and never imagined that I would ever, ever do it. My perspective has changed somewhat now. Stay with me here...

(Seriously, I excuse my male readers from this post. Moms - stick around. I need advice!)

This discussion came up between J.C. and me last night as we were discussing our Saturday plans. As we began discussing all of our options, it began to sound like it may turn into an "all day out of the house" sort of day. So, this means the baby will need to eat and the boobs will need to be emptied at some point while we're outside of the comfort and privacy of our home. This situation has come up with us before, only I carried bottles for Eli and had to pump in the car on our way from place to place. I can still do that, but I really would prefer not to (remember my "baseball bat to the pump" imagery?). Plus, this requires me to pack the pump and all its parts, bottles, and a cooler to put the bottles in (in addition to diapers, wipes, burp cloths, blankets, pacis, an extra outfit, and the baby :)) Big pain. It just seems so much simpler to nurse your child when they get hungry. But, since I can't nurse Eli in the car while we're driving, then I have to figure out how this will work. Tricky business.

Before I became a mom, I really had no idea how demanding an infant's feeding schedule was. When I saw a woman nursing in public I always thought that they should go into hiding before they nursed. Now I realize that unless you want to remain under house arrest for months, then it becomes necessary to feed your child away from your home. And honestly, my attitude now is more like "Get over it. It's only a boob. The child has gotta eat."; and I really don't care if it makes someone uncomfortable. Mind you, I'm all about putting a wrap over me to cover everything up, but some people (ahem, my husband for example) still get squeemish about this sort of thing (with other people, of course).

So, knowing that there are people out there like my husband and my former self, I'm not sure what to do. Advice please!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finally nursing!

Disclaimer: Male readers may want to skip over this one...

As many of my friends and family already know, I have had a lot of trouble nursing Eli. And by "a lot of trouble", I mean that he has refused to nurse. Period. Everything I read confirmed that this was perfectly normal given that he was in the hospital for a month after birth where he became accustomed to the bottle.(for those who don't know this story, please refer to my sis-in-law's blog starting on May 19th). Plus, given that he was almost 8 weeks early and just over 2 lbs at birth, he was too small and weak to develop a good latch. This was very upsetting to me. I'm not sure if I can fully explain why, but I guess it just made me feel like a failure as a mother (yes, I know this is irrational...). I assumed that it would be this natural instinctive thing, and it just wasn't happening.

So, I've had to exclusively pump and give him breast milk by bottle. Double feeding duty.... Ugh. I've been thankful that I've had the option to do that, because it's pretty important that preemies get breast milk to help boost their little immune systems. But let me tell you, I am about ready to take a baseball bat to the dang pump (you know, like they did to the printer in Office Space). I hate it, hate it, hate it, and have been counting down the days until Eli is six months old, at which time I had decided that I would cut him off and put him on formula.

I tried to transition him to nursing for weeks after he first came home from the hospital, and it was probably one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. So, about a month ago I let it go and quit trying. Then, on a whim the other day, I decided to try it one more time, and HALLELUJAH it worked! And he's doing pretty well! Aside from my paranoia that he's not getting enough milk (since you really have no way to measure how much they drink), and some serious soreness, I couldn't be more happy. I'm free from the pump!

Thanks for bearing with me through this post. This is just sooo exciting for me! I'll spare you pictures for this one :).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Simple! Not so much...

Me before having a baby (while working with full second income):

"I need gas." (Pull in. Pumping...). "Hmmm. I'm a little thirsty. I think I'll run in to get something to drink." Done. Simple.

Me now (working in my new non-profit job as a mommy):

"I need gas. Shoot. Gas is expensive and J.C. doesn't get paid until Friday. I wonder how little I can put in the tank to get me to Friday? I'm thirsty, but I really shouldn't spend the extra buck to get something to drink since I have stuff at home. Don't want to waste the money. Besides, the baby is in the back seat and that would be a pain to haul the carseat in." Then I drive off, thankful for my $20 of gas, but with fingers crossed that it will last until Friday :).

Not quite as simple.
Here's my adorable little complicator.

Layla looooves him!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Overcoming selfishness

I really believe that the longer you wait to have children after you're married, the more difficult the transition to parenthood (pretty common sense, I know). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my little Eli and wouldn't trade him for anything, but J.C. and I were married for five years before he was born and we became very selfish during that time. Not necessarily selfish of what we wanted as individuals (although we all struggle with that), but selfish of "our time" with no 3rd party demands or interruptions.

People always told me before I had Eli that "you won't remember what you did for fun before having him", and that's simply not true. I do remember. I remember sleeping in, hanging out with friends on Friday nights, driving the motorcycle to the coast just to have dinner. Not to mention, sitting lazily on my couch in the evenings to watch uninterrupted American Idol or Lost. I think it's okay for me to admit that I really do miss these things at times. That doesn't make me a bad mother (I hope...), but it makes me a normal, selfish human. Again, I wouldn't trade Eli for these things and I realize that my life hasn't "ended" just because I have a child, but I haven't completely forgotten my former life either (as promised by all of the "wisdom-imparters" in my life). Fortunately, we are very blessed to have very eager grandparents and family members close by who will happily keep Eli for us so that we can relive our glory days from time to time.

I have a good friend (ahem... I'm sure you're reading this and you know I love you, B :)) who decided to start a family fairly soon after getting married. That's what she and her husband wanted and it worked out very well for them. But, I always felt that she pitied me for waiting "so long" to have children. It's like she felt that I didn't know what I was missing out on. I always felt the same way toward her, because I absolutely loved having my married-with-no-children lifestyle and knew that it was something that once gone, I would never get back.

I realize that children are a blessing, and I know that as Eli grows up he will become more and more fun. Perhaps one day the claims of my wisdom-imparters will come true and I will forget what we did for fun before he was born. But that's not today... In the meantime, I will remain thankful for the wonderful early years of marriage that I shared with J.C., look forward to the wonderful (albeit different) years ahead of us, and try to grow up a bit by overcoming my selfishness.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tricks of the trade

J.C. and I went on our "first date" this weekend since Eli came home from the hospital, and I must say that it was wonderful. We had an amazing meal at Firebirds - I highly recommend it - but beware if you go there.

We decided to live it up and order a bottle of wine to go with our dinner. While we were deciding on our selection, the waitress asked me what I wanted to drink. My response was "I'll start with water" to which she replied "sparkling or still?". A little taken aback (as we don't eat at "sparkling or still" kind of places very often), I said "still", meaning just regular, plain ole water. the next thing I know she brought me a fancy bottle of water and poured it into a wine glass. I glanced at the menu and almost had a heart attack when I realized that the water cost $3.50! For water! Absurd. I was highly aggravated, but wasn't going to say anything since I just assumed that the restaurant was too fancy-pants to serve regular water. Then, I look at the tables around us to realize that everyone else has regular water being refilled by the waitresses with the regular water pitcher. Why not me....? Do I look so wealthy and high-falutin' that one would assume that regular water is below me? Doubt it. So I ask the waitress when she returns, "Why did you bring me the fancy (extremely expensive) water instead of just the regular water that everyone around me has?" She replied, "Oh, I'm sorry. Usually people speak up if they want tap water when I ask them if they want sparkling or still.". Hmmmm.... I doubt that. I think, rather, that most people fail to speak up when the $3.50 bottle of water is added to their bill for fear of sounding cheap. Luckily that's not me.

Needless to say, she took it off our tab.

Meanwhile, my husband (aka - the person who doesn't like to cause a scene and is embarrassed by his wife who has no qualms about pitching a fit over something like this if necessary) had enough sense to know that if I didn't say anything about it and get it taken off our tab, it would bother me the rest of the evening and put a damper on our nice night out. So, he quietly and patiently allowed me to confront the waitress to resolve the issue. Smart man :).

Anyway, I'm sure most of my visitors will really be coming here for pictures of the little guy (and I aim to please), so here you go.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Life comes at you fast...

and no... This isn't a Nationwide Insurance commercial :). Just over a year ago my life was very different than it is today. J.C. and I were living in Florida where he was in grad school and I was working. We had a very fun and laid-back life where taking care of our dog was the most responsibility we could muster. We had great friends, we took long motorcycle rides on the weekends, ate out when we felt like it, and J.C. got to play a lot of golf (man, we miss those student golf rates...). Life was good. After being in Gainesville for four years, though, we did miss our family quite a bit and decided to move home to Birmingham last August when he immediately started his "real" job, I began my job search, and we started our house hunt. That's a lot of change, right? One would even venture to say that it's enough change for one year. No more! Please! Having children was still a very distant, crazy-sounding idea to us. Only grown-ups can have kids, right? And that's definitely not us! But here we are, one year later, parents of an adorable, absolutely perfect 3-month old baby boy. Life definitely came at us pretty fast.

So.... Welcome to my blog. The title "Growing Up and Raising Up" was inspired by the fact that I still don't feel like a real "grown up", and yet I've been entrusted with the awesome responsibility of raising a little one. It's pretty overwhelming when I think about it. As parents, J.C. and I are completely responsible for our son's spiritual, emotional, and intellectual development. I feel so unprepared. So ill-equipped. But I know that God will give me what I need to raise him if I rely on Him to do so. He will continue to raise me as I raise our son. It will definitely be a journey and I welcome you to come along. I can't promise that I will post very often or that it will be all that interesting, but here goes!