Moved to Etsy

So this blog hasn’t been updated in a while. Check out Lauren’s Etsy shop which she has been keeping up with: http://www.LaurenCBall.com

Run, T, Run!

T completed his second 5K ever this morning when we ran (as a family) in the Race Against Crime downtown. This race is cool because you start & run the first part of the race outside downtown, then you finish up inside the dome. The finish line is actually on the field, which is cool.

TPeaux & I ran, Mimi & Aunt Jessi walked, and we’re not really sure WHAT John did… but he did manage to win. He was the fastest NOPD officer running today. Yes, there was more than one! ;)

Many of you know that my mom has been on an incredible weight-loss journey over the past year. If you don’t know about it, you can read about it here. She walked her first 5K in June (on her birthday), and has been on a roll ever since. She & my dad did a 5K on Thanksgiving day. Today was her third 5K… I couldn’t be more proud of her!

We all had a great time & celebrated with breakfast at Camellia Grill after. Yes, greasy spoon fare after a 5K… This is New Orleans, people.

Ready to run!

The whole gang!

post-race photo op on the field in the Superdome.

My personal favorite. T was hanging out on the 35 yard line. Some random lady actually snapped this pic and then texted it to me! Yay for strangers! :)

Turns Out I AM Alive.

Well… it’s been approximately a decade since I last posted. Apparently going back to work full-time has caused my posts to be few and far between. Well, going back to work & keeping up with my BUSY little man. Who is growing. By leaps and bounds. I’m still deciding how I feel about that.

Here’s a *brief* update on our life as of late:

I’m teaching second grade and loving it. I’m staying so busy & feeling very fulfilled being a wife, mommy, & teacher. Most recent classroom happenings include: A Social Studies project in which students created their own communities, a visit from my fabulous brother/friend Chaz (who works for the DEQ) who taught a lesson on Louisiana’s Wetlands, a Grandparent’s Day extravaganza, and a visit to a local nursing home (to round out our lesson on serving others with love). We’ve been having a lot of fun… I have a fabulous group of students this year & am enjoying teaching them SO much!

T is 8 (almost 9) months old. He weighs 22 pounds, and is crawling EVERYWHERE. He is getting into everything, and while it’s exhausting… it really is precious. He is pulling up on the furniture constantly, and even “cruising” around the coffee table some. It is amazing to see him gaining such coordination every day.

He has grown out of his infant car seat. Silly me. I bought the regular Graco Snugride thinking there was NO WAY he would weigh 22 pounds before he reached a year. I guess we should have sprung for the 32 or 35 pound model… In any event, he is now in a rear-facing Evenflo Tribute car seat. Since Aunt Jessi keeps T during the week while I’m at work, we bought three of these. It’s so much more convenient to have one for each vehicle rather than constantly switching them back and forth. Little nugget of wisdom we have discovered.

T is still breastfed (duh). Pumping while I’m at work is going well… I’m consistently pumping 2-3 ounces extra each day. T usually takes two sippy cups of milk while I’m gone, totaling 8 oz at most. He nurses when I’m at home, which is usually 4-5 times each day, depending on if/when he wakes up at night. He is also eating more solid food than before. At first he hated most of the foods we gave him. I was getting worried. Lately, though, I’ve relaxed about what/when/how he eats, and we’re probably following more of a “baby led weaning” approach to food now. More or less, we are offering him foods that we are eating in small bites. Although, we still feed him lots of things from a spoon… just usually not purees. Too bad I spent all that time making beautiful batches of pureed squash, sweet potato, green beans, spinach, etc. He seems to like small pieces of food much more. His current favorite foods are: eggs, chicken, turkey, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers, and yogurt. Yogurt is a recent addition… and he loves it!

As much fun as feeding T solids is, and as happy/relieved as I am that he has taken to them, I’m glad he still loves to nurse. We won’t be weaning from the breast anytime soon!

T is also growing socially/emotionally. He loves to play peek-a-boo, sing along when Aunt Jessi plays her guitar for him, follow us from one room in the house to another room, and get into things he’s not supposed to for a reaction. He likes to look at us when he’s going for the DVD player just to see if we’re going to stop him. *sigh* He is definitely ALL BOY… constantly climbing, crawling, and exploring. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Here are a few updated pics of the “little” man. Happy Turkey Day!

T was perusing the Black Friday ads with his MiMi. He loves her.

He has plenty of toys. He prefers boxes and empty oatmeal containers instead. I take it as a sign he’s going to be a creative genius! :)

Yes. I’m Still Breastfeeding. And Also, I’m Still Snarky.

I seriously cannot even tell you how many times I have been asked recently, “You’re still breastfeeding?” Yes. I’m still breastfeeding. I don’t intend to stop anytime soon, either. In fact, I’m willing to let T nurse until this time next year. Yep. He’ll be 18 months old then. If you keep saying it like that then I might let him go longer.

It’s not the question that bothers me.

If someone asked me, “Are you still breastfeeding?” I would excitedly tell them that, yes, I am still nursing… It’s going great… T has transitioned back and forth from breast to bottle to sippy cup flawlessly. He’s sleeping through the night most of the time (Hallelujah! I never thought I’d say that!). We’ve started solids. He’s really enjoying trying new foods.

If someone asked me, “Are you still breastfeeding?” I would go on and on about how wonderful the experience of exclusively breastfeeding T for the first six months of his life was, even though it was truly exhausting at times, and then I would go on and on about how wonderful the experience of continuing to breastfeed T is. It really is a wonderful and rewarding experience. I love nursing him when I get home from work and he is so happy to see me… he snuggles in my lap and nurses and pulls at my face. Lately he tries to get my glasses off and giggles when he succeeds… which makes for a milky mess, but it’s pretty funny so I usually let it slide with just a little “no, no… be gentle,” for posterity’s sake.

But people don’t usually ask that question. Instead, they make a statement using the inflection of a question. They also tend to make this statement with a tone of voice that I don’t care for. “You’re still breastfeeding?” or worse, “You’re still breastfeeding?” Yep. I sure am.

If you were in second grade and you used that tone of voice with me, I’d take away your recess.

I’m not sure why the standard weaning age of the spectators of my life is 6 months… it seems to me that by 6 months breastfeeding is super-easy. At least in our case. If I ever thought of giving up, it would have been in those first three months when exhaustion and sleep-deprivation reigned supreme. Now this whole “main source of nourishment” gig is pretty sweet. It gives me an excuse to eat pie. I like pie. Plus, if I gave up breastfeeding now, I’d still have to buy formula for the next 6 months. That would cut my savings in half.

I understand that it is logical for some people to wean around 6 months– between work and family obligations, you’re usually away from your baby more by this time, so it makes sense that formula would be the more convenient option.

What I don’t understand is why everyone seems to think a baby older than 6 months doesn’t have any need for breast milk. I mean, if you fed your baby formula, you would continue to do so until she turned one. Then you’d introduce cow’s milk. Why is breast milk any different?

Who decided that all babies should be weaned at 6 months of age? Does nursing my baby past 6 months or past a year mean I’m too attached to my baby? Or that he’ll never learn to be comforted or cope without me? Or that I’m a psycho mom?

(Side-note: I am a psycho mom… but not because I’m still nursing my 6-month old. I am a psycho mom because I wholeheartedly believe that T will honor my request that he not date. Until I’m dead.)

So, to answer your question… Yes. I’m still breastfeeding.

Geaux T!

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year… Football season!

I love this time of year… of course, I love the actual sport of football, and I love watching the Tigers play, but more than that I love spending time with my family. Our family loves football… I mean, most families in America do love football, so that’s no surprise, really. We always get together for the games and my Mom makes a huge spread of snacks and “game food,” and we just spend the whole day talking and laughing and watching the games. It’s always so much fun. My dad has all of the Golden Band from Tigerland’s football music on his iPod, so during the game we sing along to “Hey Baby,” and “Chinese Bandits,” as if we’re really in the stadium.

At least once a season we pack up our game day party and tailgate in Baton Rouge… it’s always the highlight of the season. This year we’ll only be tailgating once– for the LSU vs. Florida game in October.

This past Saturday, we game-dayed at my parents’ house. I think our whole family was looking forward to T’s first football game. His amazing Uncle Jimmy & Aunt Angelique got him a #8 jersey with his name printed on the back. Those of you who don’t know– Trindon Holliday wore #8 during his years at LSU. Obviously, he was the inspiration for T’s name, so the #8 jersey is very special to us! I was so. very. unbelievably. incredibly. excited to find out that his jersey fits him just in time for football season!!! It’s still a little roomy, which is good. We need it to fit until the bowl games in January!

Dad got a new smoker for his birthday, so we smoked ribs and a Boston butt and macaroni and cheese. We also smoked a couple of ducks– Since we were playing the Oregon Ducks, after all. Thankfully, the tigers also smoked the ducks. We had a great time celebrating T’s first football season!

T watching the game… he loves TV, especially football on TV!

Solids.

Well, the time has come. T will officially be 6 months old tomorrow, which means it’s time to start solids. I have to say… I’m having mixed feelings about starting solids.

On the one hand… YAAAAY for a new experience and all the fun that goes along with trying something new.

On the other hand… My BAAAABY! He’s just growing up way too fast!

I decided I wanted to make my own baby food. There were a couple of factors that played into this decision.

First and foremost: cost. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a cheapie. I like to do as much as possible on as little cash as I can. I’m always looking for the best deal, the most bang for my buck, and new ways to save on necessities. If I had the time to commit, I’d be an avid coupon-er… instead I try to save in other ways. Look for an upcoming post about the actual real-life cost savings of making your own versus buying jarred baby food.

Secondly, I like to cook. It’s fun. I enjoy it. So, it only seems natural that I would want to cook T’s food myself. Plus, it’s super easy. I mean really easy.

Anyways… We decided to start solids last week. For T’s first food, I made oatmeal cereal. (Side note– I love that web site. They have a ton of information/recipes/ideas for making your own baby food.) I used Quaker steel-cut oats, ($3.88/24oz) and ground them in my food processor before cooking them. I would actually recommend using a coffee grinder for a finer more powder-like texture. The food processor did a good job, but there was still a little too much texture that a coffee grinder would be better able to work out.

I wish I could say that T loved my excellent gourmet cooking. Unfortunately, he did not. Here are a few snapshots of how T’s first feeding went down:


First bite… I’m hoping he loves it! After all, I made it myself!

He’s less than impressed. I don’t know whether to be relieved that he’s not going to suddenly stop wanting to breastfeed (an irrational fear I have– this kid is a boob man all the way) or offended that he doesn’t like my cooking.

Bleh. Gag. Yuck! “Mom, what IS this stuff?!” He made it very clear that he is obviously not a fan. About this time I threw the camera down and tried to fish it out of his mouth because I was certain he was choking or allergic or SOMETHING. He actually wasn’t. He just didn’t like it. Lovely. I tried a few more bites with pretty much  the same results. I thinned it out with breast milk… same thing. So, after about ten “bites” (most of which, of course, came right back up) I gave up.

Well, at least he’s not going to hold it against me. Bonus, he loves playing with spoons.

After two or three nights of little-no success with the oatmeal cereal, I decided to try applesauce. I happened to have some unsweetened applesauce on hand (it’s one of my favorite snacks lately), so I let him try it. He liked it much more. In the past week and a half, T has also had peaches and carrots… both of which he liked much more than the oatmeal cereal. I think it was a texture thing, which is why I recommend using a coffee grinder to make the oatmeal less textured.

It’s taken a week or so of trying, but T is eating well now. He usually gets about a tablespoonful of a veggie or fruit every evening. I’m excited to expand our horizons and try other new foods. In fact, eggplant, plums, and green beans are on our menu next!

Bye Bye, Bottles!

As T approaches the 6-month-mark, we thought it would be fun to let him try out a training sippy cup. John & Aunt Jessi have taught him to hold his own bottle recently. It’s amazing to me that he went from hating–and I do mean hating– bottles to actually enjoying them pretty quickly. Of course, he went from getting one bottle a week (maybe) to getting two or three a day. I guess that’ll make you adjust! He definitely still prefers the boob, though, which is fine by me.

Anyways, I figured if he could hold a bottle, then he could definitely hold a sippy cup. I like the idea of the sippy cup more, anyway. Fewer parts to wash.

I will say, I was hesitant to put breast milk in a sippy cup because, hello, it’s liquid gold. What if he hates the sippy cup and I wind up throwing away precious ounces of milk?!?! Then I looked in the freezer and I said to myself,

“Lauren, you have over 300 oz in this freezer. It will not kill you if you wind up throwing away 6 of them.”

So I put about 6 ounces (which didn’t really even dip into my freezer stash anyway, since I had pumped 6 ounces more than T took while at work on Thursday) into a sippy cup and handed it to him. He loved it! He was a little confused, since it was cold, but he had so much fun holding the cup and tipping it back. He’s still working on the finer points of actually consuming much from the cup, but we’re getting there. Of the 6 ounces, he only actually took about 1. But, since it was fresh and not frozen… I just stuck it back into the fridge for later. It’s turning out to be a fun snack! He loves holding it and trying to tip it up and drink from it. It’s adorable!

It’s making me excited to be starting solids over the next few weeks… We had our first Oatmeal Cereal experience this week… but that’s a story for another post! :)

Working hard!

He’s having so much fun with it!

Practicing with Uncle Clay… They were having a good time.

Why Yes, I AM THE QUEEN!

…The Dairy Queen, that is!

True confession: I have fabulous friends. Friends who read my blog. And get me DQ shirts!!!! I’m seriously in love with this Tshirt. I want to wear it everywhere! It makes me giggle every time I put it on. I’m giggling now just looking at the picture.

Big thanks to Ms. Carolyn for the awesome shirt… I would never have thought to go find a Dairy Queen shirt! Wheee!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

John got some tickets to the Zephyr’s (local minor league team) game for Police & Firefighter night, so we decided it would be fun to take T (& The Rowe’s) to the game. Turns out, T loves baseball. The walk-up music was definitely a big hit! We had a great time, and we all enjoyed the game… even though it was a thousand degrees with a million percent humidity (typical August in Louisiana weather. Bleh.) and we were out late! Of course, with the heat and the fact that bedtime had come and gone, we didn’t stay until the end of the game. We left in the 8th inning. T was a real trooper. He only got upset for a few minutes, then he conked out in my arms for a bit and woke up excited about baseball again.

The whole family… heading in for the game!

T has become a little too familiar with the camera. He either tries to eat it, or he starts hamming it up and posing for pictures. Obviously, he is my kid!

T (& John’s) new favorite way to get around. Bye Zephyr’s! We’ll see ya next time!

I’m ALIVE!

No, I didn’t fall of the edge of the Earth. No, T didn’t start walking. I just… went back to work. It’s been a struggle to find time to do the dishes, let alone write a blog post!

I have to say, I don’t know how working moms who don’t L-O-V-E their jobs can do it. I’m having a hard enough time leaving every day, and I adore my job. I can’t imagine leaving every day to go to a job I hate. It’s such a struggle to balance being great at my job and being a great mom. I’m trying to sift through all that and decide what it should look like, and it’s honestly a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

In the twenty minutes or so that it takes me to get to work everyday, I think to myself, “I’m gonna quit my job today. I have no business leaving my son every morning. I hate it. I’m done.”

Then I walk into my classroom and have the opportunity to teach those fifteen smiling beautiful faces. I can literally see the light bulbs go off when they finally understand a concept we’ve been working on. Like telling time… it’s a long road to being able to read a clock, let me tell you. This past week I had several students who had major break-throughs in the time-telling department. Seeing those successes and knowing I had a part in it is amazing. It’s why I love my job.

Then lunchtime comes, and I have to get the giant, noisy, cold, plastic pump out. In the ten to fifteen minutes that I’m pumping, I usually send a text or two to check on T and Jessi or John will send me a picture of him smiling happily or rolling over or sitting up, and I’m ready to quit my job again. How can I be missing all of this? Evenings and weekends are not enough!

It’s a constant back and forth with myself. Even though I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing… I can’t help but struggle with it! I never thought I would second guess my decision to go back to work… but it’s true what they say: A baby changes everything!

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