Category Archives: Parenting

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! 🙂

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.

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!

Save or Splurge?

These are the things I wish I had, and the things I wish I didn’t. Things I splurged on but shouldn’t have, and things I wish I would have spent more money on… This post is mainly a reminder for me next time around. Hopefully I’ll have an actual clue for the next baby!!!

1. Bottles. Why, oh, WHY did I think I needed 20+ bottles?!? Seriously. I still have packs of bottles in T’s closet that haven’t even been opened. We’ve been using the same 3 since T was born. I know he will use them more when I go back to work in two weeks, but he’ll still only be getting 3 bottles/day. Even if I only wash bottles once a work week, I’ll still have some that went unused!

2. Glider. I love, love, LOVE my glider. I probably clock 2 hours/day in that thing. When T was first born, I was in it constantly. Unfortunately, I only spent $130 on it. I got the cheapest one Target had. I should have splurged here. The cushion on it is pretty thin/flimsy, and it’s already starting to show signs on wear. Next time, I’m selling ours on Craigslist and purchasing a nicer one.

3. Breastpump. I have a lovely Medela Pump-in-Style fancy-pants double electric pump. I also have a Medela Harmony manual pump. Guess which one I use more? The little, $35 manual pump. For sure. Hands down. It’s smaller, more convenient, and honestly, just as efficient. I get more milk in the same amount of time without the hassle of hooking up the tubes, plugging in, etc.

4. Swing. I didn’t want to buy a swing because they’re so expensive. We got a (great) hand-me-down travel swing. Ours is a few years old, but the ones they have now cost about $50. I love it. T napped in it constantly for the first 3 months of his life. He sometimes plays in it now when I’m getting ready. We will use it for the next 14 babies. The only downside: be sure you DO NOT (under any circumstances) run out of batteries. Thankfully, I married Mr. Prepared, so this is not an issue in our house. I just don’t think spending $100+ on a swing we would have gotten 3 months use out of is reasonable. Plus, the big ones are so… big.

5. Floor Gym. T loves his floor gym. He likes to play on it, and will last a good 20-30 minutes before he gets bored. But, he is honestly just as happy on a blanket. He lasts the same 20-30 minutes, and a blanket is less than $10.

6. Diaper Champ. So, I definitely like this one more than the diaper genie. It keeps the smell away & you don’t have to buy the expensive refill bags… just use your regular garbage bags. But honestly, it takes up a ton of space. I think a small stainless steel pop-up lid trashcan would work just as well. It would also probably be less expensive.

Starting Solids!

It’ll only be a couple more months before T starts solids. Probably sometime in September. Apparently, there’s a whole list of items you “must have” for starting solids. Thankfully, we received a lot of wonderful items for this new stage of life, so I think we are prepared-ish.

This is completely new territory for me… so I’m going to ask for a little audience participation. I need your opinions on my list of items. This is what we have so far… Tell me what I’m missing, what I’ll love, and what I’ll hate!

1. Food Processor. Just a small one. I am planning to make most of T’s baby food (making your own costs less than half the price of buying jars!) Obviously, I’ll only be able to make small batches at a time in this processor. I’m not sure if I’ll regret that or not… But this processor got the best reviews in our budget.

2. Spoons. We have this 6-pack. I can’t imagine needing more than that until he’s a toddler? Maybe I’m wrong…

3. Bowls with Lids. We have this 6-pack of bowls, too, which I figure will be convenient since they have lids. We also have a couple of cutesy plates/bowls as well.

4. Mesh Feeder. This just looked like fun & I couldn’t resist. So I got it! I froze some breast milk in it the other day and gave it to him as a treat. He really liked the “boobsicle,” once he figured out it was his milk in there.

5. High Chair. I wasn’t sure how much space we would have for an actual high chair, so we got this small one that straps onto a chair. We weren’t sure if we would still be in our apartment or a house when we registered. So far, I like it… of course, we have only used it for playing since T isn’t actually eating anything yet.

6. Big Bibs. We have two similar to this one.

Is there anything I’m missing? Fill in my list for me, please! 🙂

Daycare Drama.

Well, I’ve officially had my first total mama meltdown. Ok, that’s a lie. I’ve had a few meltdowns in the past 4 months. But, most of them happened in the first 6 weeks of T’s life and could definitely be contributed to the craziness that is postpartum hormones.

Anyway. We went to the daycare (which is part of a local church) last week to register T, since I’ll be going back to work in August. When we initially visited in April, it was a nice, clean, slightly dated– yet lovely facility. When we went last week to register, we found out they were actually remodeling the daycare facility. They had moved the classes over to the adult Sunday school wing.

Now, I should preface this by saying that there was really nothing wrong with where they had the kids. It just… wasn’t what I expected.

The director was gone for the day when we got there, so we couldn’t register T that day anyway. It’s a good thing, because I got in the car and LOST IT. It was a moment of, “I can’t leave my baaaaaaaay-beeeeeee.” There were a lot of tears, a lot of snot, and a lot of babbling on incoherently. Thankfully, my husband knows just what to do in those types of situations.

He took me out to dinner.

We talked it over and decided that maybe daycare wasn’t where we wanted T after all. Of course, with just 3 weeks left until I went back to work, we were gonna need to think fast.

Ultimately, we decided that my sister and one of my closest friends (who happens to have a baby boy just 2 weeks younger than T) are going to take care of him for us! John is always home in the afternoons, so we really just needed someone in the mornings.

I’m thrilled. Of course, I’m still sad to leave my baby. I can’t believe I won’t be the one taking care of him all the time anymore. I’ll really miss that!