Category Archives: Family

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! 🙂

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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!

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.

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!

Ode to Streetcars!

Every small child I have ever known (myself included) loves a good streetcar ride. During my years as a nanny, I went on countless streetcar rides up and down St. Charles Avenue. We’d ride to the park, the French Quarter, and to (my personal favorite) PJ’s Coffee. Last night, while T’s Mai Mai was visiting, we decided to take a little streetcar ride to get some coffee. T was a HUGE fan. There was so much to look at, and so many people to flirt with. Couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures of the fun!

I’m a blur in this one, but T is clear as day.

Enjoying the breeze!

Working Mama

Well, the time has come. After spending almost 5 (amazing!) months posing as a stay-at-home-mom, I am officially back at work. I have to say, I don’t know how women who don’t love their jobs can go back. The only things making the separation more bearable are:

1. Awesome (seriously. AWESOME.) friends and family members who are willing to take care of T in the morning for us

2. A beyond amazing husband who is a great Daddy & spends several hours every afternoon taking care of T

3. The fact that I absolutely adore my job. I have a great boss, fabulous coworkers, and such great students!

This week and next week will just be teacher in-service. I honestly really enjoy in-service with my coworkers. I know you probably think I’m lying, but we really do have a good time. The planning meetings are productive, and I always learn a lot in the professional development. I really love my job, and I want to be better at it. Of course, it’s also fun to set up my classroom!

Right now, I’m totally consumed with revamping my policies, procedures, and lesson plans from last year. So, if there seems to be a lull on the blog… don’t worry. I haven’t died. Things are just a little hectic right now! On that note, I’ll leave you with a pic of me and my Sweet T! We had so much fun playing together all summer long, and I’m really missing him at work. But, I know he’s in good hands. I think he’s even having a really good time with his Daddy!

Cake and a Half Marathon

Meet Jessi Laine… T’s Aunt, my Sister, and recently… nanny extraordinaire! Tomorrow is her birthday, but we celebrated with the family tonight. Everyone came over and I made fish. Catfish Amandine… I used John Besh’s recipe. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. We opened presents, and Mimi made a very yummy cake. T entertained us, as usual. A fun time was had by all!

I really love that picture… so cute!

During dinner, we decided that we’re all going to train for a half-marathon together. My mom decided to train for a 5k for her birthday this past June. She is on this awesome weight-loss journey and is reaching new fitness goals all the time. She did the 5k, and pretty much walks a 5k a few times a week now. She definitely needs a new challenge!

John & my parents all use Runkeeper on their iphones. They love it, and tonight John downloaded it for me. We loaded T into the BOB and took off. We ran 2.11 miles tonight! Granted, I ran it very slowly… I haven’t exercised at all since T was born. Now that he ‘s big enough and has such excellent head control, I’m not nervous to run with him. He conked out about a mile into our run. We’ve decided to do the half-marathon in November, then we want to do it again in April. We’ll run in the Crescent City Classic with T in tow. It’s harder work to run with the stroller, but we really like bringing him along! I’m excited to start training… I’m sure there will be plenty of updates in the coming weeks!

4 Months Old!

We took T to his 4-month well baby visit today. I love taking him to the doctor. He isn’t really bothered by shots, and we love, love, LOVE our pediatrician. She’s fantastic. She always gives us such positive feedback and is very knowledgeable when answering our questions. Of course, she did go to medical school… 🙂 Anyways, here are his 4-month stats:

Weight: 15 lbs, 12 ozs. He’s in the 75th percentile for weight.
Length: 25 inches, & the 70th percentile for height.
Head Circumference: 40.3 CM
Sleeping: Yes, but not through the night. In due time. Sleep training may be in our future?
Solid Food: Nope, we’ll wait another 2 months to start. Just breast milk for this little boy.
Milestones: T is regularly rolling belly to back, and has gone back to belly a few times in the crib when we aren’t looking. He can sit unassisted for a few seconds at a time. He will scoot on his belly a few inches at a time, he’s not going very far though. He smiles, laughs, coos, squeals, and kicks like crazy.

Dr. Brown says he’s got a great weight/height ratio, and she couldn’t believe how big he has gotten since his last visit. His muscle tone is excellent, and he is developing right on track. He had a bit of a murmur when she listened to his heart, but said it was probably nothing to worry about. We scheduled an EKG for later this week just to be sure. He took his shots like a champ… cried a little, but was easily consoled. We couldn’t be more proud! We are so blessed by this little boy. It is amazing to watch him grow! Here are a few pictures we took yesterday to celebrate the 4-month milestone:

International Parenting

I’ve read a few articles recently that I thought were so interesting. Both are about parenting/breastfeeding in other countries. I thought I’d share them here.

This one is about breastfeeding practices in Mongolia. In their culture, breastfeeding is the solution to every whimper a child makes in his first few months. Breast milk is consumed for the first several years of life (and often beyond!), and the general public of Mongolia seems to view breastfeeding as an important and necessary part of childhood. Breast milk is celebrated in Mongolian culture… Mongolians say that the best wrestlers (wrestling is a wildly popular sport in Mongolia) are breastfed well into childhood.

My husband read this article, and now every time I feed T he says, “You’re gonna grow up to be a great wrestler, T!” I, of course, find that adorable. Don’t worry, friends, T will not be breastfed into childhood… We’re planning on weaning around a year. I’ll be honest, though, most of our reasoning for weaning him then is cultural. It’s weird to breastfeed a toddler. Or so I’m told.

The second article I found was also interesting. I stumbled upon it when I googled “Breastfeeding in Africa.” Why on earth would I google “Breastfeeding in Africa?” I’m glad you asked!

A good friend of mine (Rachel) was a missionary in Mali, West Africa for two years. She came by to visit recently and I asked her if mothers in Africa breastfed. She laughed, and explained that most children in Africa are breastfed… that it’s not just the babies. She also told me that in the villages, most women wear long skirts and are topless. Talk about culture shock! That would take some getting used to. But boobs are viewed differently there. She explained it to me this way, “In Africa, legs are like boobs. And boobs are like… arms.” I thought that was too funny.

I won’t lie, sometimes (okay, most of the time) I wish breasts were not over-sexualized in the US. It would certainly make breastfeeding in public much less awkward! I mean, clearly, I’m going to feed T when he needs to be fed. It doesn’t matter that much to me where we are. It does matter to some people though… and I think that’s mainly because our culture is inundated with sex. We forget that God created boobs, first and foremost, to feed babies with. Just my thoughts on the subject, though. Anyways, I thought this article was pretty neat… especially how African women don’t have to learn how to breastfeed. They see it so much throughout their lives that it just comes naturally. If only it were that easy here!