Monday, December 19, 2011


Now, I generally don’t toot my own horn.  Or at least I don’t consider myself the type of person who’s always singing her own praises.  But in this moment, I have to toot away.

Cameron Kate and I DID IT!  We have overcome many, many obstacles and mastered the art of breastfeeding.  Now while some of you may shrug off this accomplishment as no big deal, it is colossal in my mind.

You see, before I even became pregnant I always said, “Of course I’ll breastfeed!”  I’d always read how beneficial breast milk is for babies, and of course I want to give my children what’s best for them… therefore, I never second guessed this decision.

         But I never knew how difficult it would be.

Now, for some people, other than a couple painful days in the beginning, breastfeeding is a breeze.  And I’d never really heard anyone talk about how difficult it can be – so I never imagined the challenges I would face throughout the first 10 weeks of C’s life.

Long story short, we dealt with many obstacles along the way.  Cracks, infections, blood, mastitis, two cases of thrush, and an aggressive little eater.  There were many, many painful nursing sessions, countless tears, and many hours spent mustering up the wherewithal to keep going.  I used shields and even exclusively pumped for awhile to try to maintain my sanity.  Sadly, the first few weeks of C’s life were hard to enjoy because every time she ate (which was ALL THE TIME) I cried.  I cried in pain and out of frustration – why wasn’t it working for us?  Would it ever work for us?

I’m only being completely blunt and honest about our journey because I’d never heard of anyone having difficulty with breastfeeding, and I want future mamas out there to know that it CAN be tough, and it IS a HUGE commitment, and one of the most selfless things you can ever do for your child.

         But it is totally worth it.

Here I am, 10 weeks later, and we did it.  I now look forward to feeding my daughter, enjoying the bonding and relishing in the fact that every inch she grows, every pound she gains COMES FROM ME.  If you think about it, it really is incredible that a woman’s body produces the perfect nourishment for her child in the form of breastmilk.

 And I have to send out a huge thank you to all of the people in my life who were my cheerleaders while I struggled to push through – and I have to apologize to my hub who dealt with a crying, frustrated mama for many many weeks while I refused to give up.

         Toot toot. 

I am so proud of myself, but even more proud of Cameron Kate.  She dealt with a lot – my anxieties, me constantly trying to fix her latch, bottles, shields, etc.  She is incredible. J

In other news, we’re headed out of town in the morning for a week of holiday traveling.  I must say that I can’t wait to show off my girl, while I’m also quite a bit anxious about being away from our “bubble” for so long.  But it’s a small price to pay to be surrounded by our awesome families.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about Christmas… and it has nothing to do with the presents under the tree.  This holiday season has me feeling so incredibly blessed – literally, my heart feels so full of love that I’m not sure how much more it can handle.  Since Cameron Kate entered this world, every day is better than the day before.  This is what life is all about. J

Speaking of Cameron Kate, she had her two-month appointment last week!  Our big girl is now 23 ¾ inches long and 12 lbs, 14 oz – in the 90th percentile!  Her three month clothes are starting to get snug!  She had to get all of her two-month immunizations, which was much more traumatic for me than her.  Once she got some Daddy Love, she conked out and slept off her shots.

I swear she changes everyday.  Each morning when I go in to get her out of her crib, she’s more smiley and chatty, which is the best!  Hub and I will do just about anything to elicit a gummy grin from our girl.  And speaking of changes, she’s recently abandoned the whole eat, play, sleep routine and now seems to prefer eat, play, sleep, play, repeat.  She is definitely not on a specific eating/napping schedule, but her eating and napping times are starting to fall within a certain time range.  And this is good because she starts “school” (ah hem, daycare) next month.  But we won’t talk about that yet. L I’m down to about four and a half weeks of maternity leave, but I refuse to count down – I’d rather take advantage of every second I have left to soak in my Cameron Kate.

I’m off to try to figure out how to pack for a week for a two-month old!  I hope everyone who reads this has a Merry Christmas!
 So big!  And looks JUST like her dad!
 I love all her facial expressions!
 Loving her playmat...
 And her Clemson rattle!
 She goes straight to Daddy's arms when he gets home from work!
 A visit with some wonderful high school friends!  Mary Keller...
 and Shannon!
 She LOVES sucking her finger and thumb!
 Smiley girl!
 Our stockings :)
 2-month photo shoot
 Modeling pose
 Happy girl
 Joining Mom and Dad for date night
 All bundled up to go for a run with Mom!
 Obsessed with her mobile
 Holding that head up!

 Such a big girl!

Not too sure about Santa at first...
Much better!

Monday, December 12, 2011

More than a Mom

Any woman who becomes a mom knows that it is all-consuming.

         It’s impossible to even put into words.

And I used to get annoyed when people told me that – they’d say, “It’s a love like you’ve never imagined.”  Yeah yeah, I get it – you love your kid like crazy… and while I would get slightly annoyed with the “just wait” comments, I honestly COULDN’T wait to be on that side of love.

         And here I am.

         And it’s amazing.

And they were right – it’s a love like I’ve never imagined.  An all-consuming obsession… the kind of obsession that drives me to stare at my sweet girl all day long, and then stare at her pictures once she’s gone to bed.  The kind of obsession that drove my hub to say, simply, “You’re obsessed.”  And he didn’t mean it in a mean way, because he admitted that he, too, is obsessed.

         But he was right.

         And it’s okay to be obsessed, and love her so much that my bones ache…

But I have to remember that I am more than a mom.  I am also still a wife.  And I have to admit that I’m not sure I’ve been much of a wife these days.

Sure, I’ve taken care of the laundry, and cleaning, and dishes, and dinner… but that makes me Suzy Homemaker, not a wife.  Or at least not the kind of wife I promised to be.

Now, my hub doesn’t read this blog anymore, so I am not writing this for him.  I am writing this for me – and maybe the other moms out there who can relate.  Moms who can relate to being so wrapped up in your newborn baby that you forget for an instant that there is more to life than just your child.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in her – wrapped up in her constant smiles, and coos, and expressions, and milestones – but one of the best things I can do for her is to be a good wife to her dad.

Until I was eighteen years old, I grew up not knowing what it felt like to live in a house with a mom and dad who loved each other unconditionally.  Until I was eighteen, I never knew what a marriage should look like, or what it felt like to have two loving parents.  I yearn to be able to give that to my sweet Cameron Kate.  And I will.

Truth is, I married the love of my life, my best friend.  I ended up in the kind of marriage that I always dreamed of – the kind of marriage where you truly are excited when you open your eyes in the morning and realize who you’re lying next to.  And I cannot forget him, or us, throughout this new adventure of motherhood.

It’s definitely a balance, and one that I am learning.  One that I hope he will understand… and I think he does, because he, too, is all-consumed by his daughter.  I just hope he knows that I am more in love with him today than I was yesterday… and while I may not be showing it enough lately, I am incredibly appreciative of not only who he is to me, but who he is to HER… because for most of my life, I never had that.

So while he’ll probably never read this, I hope he knows that I am excited to continue through this journey as parents together – while also remembering that we were only able to become parents because we loved each other first.
It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat

I have to begin by saying that I am typing this one handed, because my sweet Cameron Kate is asleep on my chest.  This has become one of my most favorite things in the whole world.  And while I usually try to stick to our eat, play, sleep in the crib routine (more on that later), every now and then I indulge in letting my daughter sleep on her mama.  It is absolute bliss.

As far as the eat, play, sleep routine goes, I always knew I wanted to attempt to introduce a “schedule” to C as soon as possible without necessarily letting it rule our lives.  I understand she’s still quite young and by no means do I expect her to follow a rigid schedule; however, for her own health and happiness (and for my sanity!) I felt like I needed to get a handle on things.  And since she basically started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old, I must say it’s been pretty successful!

So if you’re interested, here’s what we attempt to do and how our days typically go.  During the day, C still pretty much eats every two hours  I’m assuming this is because she’s going so long at night without any “milk milk.”  So I’m totally fine with feeding her every two hours if it means she’ll sleep through the night!  Anyway, after she eats, we “play” anywhere from 30-45 minutes.  Now playing with an 8 week old sounds silly… but we’ll hang out on her activity mat, do a little tummy time (which she HATES), I’ll put some hand and foot rattles on her, sing, etc.  Or I’ll just “talk” with her while I’m doing chores around the house.  Basically anything to keep her awake, stimulated, and happy.  When she starts to show signs of being sleepy (starts to fuss, yawns, etc.) I’ll change her diaper and put her in her sleep sack.  Then we rock and sing two songs, then I put her down drowsy.  Our goal has always been to get her to fall asleep on her own in her crib.  Best case scenario is when we put her down and she dozes off to sleep on her own.  Sometimes she needs her paci to go to sleep.  (Though she’s beginning to find and suck on her thumb/finger, so I’m thinking once she gets coordinated enough, her own hands will replace the paci.)  Sometimes it’s a struggle and we have to keep going in her nursery to try to soothe her to sleep.  I personally am not a fan of letting her “cry it out” this young, but I also believe there’s a difference between fussing and crying.  Sometimes she’ll fuss a little, but then fall asleep.  If she’s crying, we go in and soothe her without picking her up.  Sometimes it’ll only take one trip to the nursery to calm her down, sometimes it takes ten.  It can be frustrating, but I believe it’s totally worth it and that we’re building healthy sleep habits.  Patience is definitely a virtue!

Anyway, then she’ll nap anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  I must say that her naps have gotten shorter once she started sleeping through the night.  Every now and then we’ll get a two hour nap – though that typically only happens if we’re out and about and she’s in her stroller.

Once she wakes up, we start the cycle all over again.  However, after her 5:30pm-ish nap, we don’t do anymore crib naps.  She’ll wake up to eat, play, and then we put her in her swing (which she LOVES) where she’ll nap on and off and is perfectly content to hang out while Mom and Dad eat dinner. J  I feed her one more time around 8:00ish, then the hub does “bathies,” jammies, cuddle time, and we do prayers altogether.  Then hub puts her to bed around 9:00ish or so.  Just like with naps, sometimes she’ll go down right away, sometimes she needs some soothing.  She’ll typically sleep until about 5:00am… though sometimes she’s hungry a little before then, and sometimes she’ll sleep until 6:30am.  After her first morning feed, she immediately goes back to sleep and I put her in her crib where she’ll sleep until 7:30am-8:30am, and that’s when we start our “daytime.”

Anywho, that’s how we try to do things around here.  I’m sure no one really cares, and I’m more typing it out so that when Baby Peele #2 comes around, I’ll remember what the heck I did.

But, like I said, there are plenty of times when breaking the routine is a must.  Like right now, when she’s preciously sleeping right on top of me. J

I must say that attempting to follow this has helped me interpret C’s moments of fussiness.  She is typically a very content little babe.  So usually, when she cries, I know if it’s because she’s hungry, or over-stimulated, or tired… or just flat out gassy.  For example, before this nap-on-mama’s-chest-bit, she had been crying for over fifteen minutes, which is basically unheard of for her.  I knew it wasn’t time for her to eat and not time for her to sleep, and her cry didn’t seem to indicate either of those issues (I swear she hasn't different cries for different needs), so I figured she had to be gassy.  Lo and behold, after getting her to calm down and patting her back for almost ten minutes, she let out two of the biggest old man burps I’ve ever heard.  Then after a few minutes of being content, she conked out.

Now, I am in no way, shape, or form declaring myself an expert on all things newborn.  This is just what has worked for us and could change tomorrow!  It has taken weeks for me to feel like I’ve finally gotten the hang of things enough to keep our little girl happy, and fingers are crossed that it continues.

Alright, my sweet girl is starting to stir.  It’s time for some milk milk, and then she’ll be ready to play!
 She LOVES bathies with Dad!
 Happy girl!  Hairbows are a must to detract from the baldness.
 Big sister Bailey in the leaves!
 Pretty girl getting ready for a fall photo shoot
 Me and my girl
 Laying in the leaves!
 Someone loves her tongue!
 Yes, it was a HUGE pile of leaves!
 Our family!
 She LOVES her daddy

Just so you can check out those cheeks

Monday, November 28, 2011

4 Pounds, George Costanza, and Giving Thanks

This blog post comes a little late due to my attempt to get some online shopping done during Cyber Monday!  Cameron was SO sweet to follow a pretty strict eat, play, sleep routine today, letting mommy sneak in some online buys during her naps. J

Anyway, in other news I had my 6-week postpartum checkup last week.  4 POUNDS folks – that’s all that stands between me and my pre-pregnancy weight.  Now I have to admit that I was SHOCKED to see the number on the scale.  A little excited, and relieved, but shocked nonetheless.  How the heck am I only 4 pounds away, yet none of my jeans fit?!  I guess I’ve got all kinds of new curves, thanks to my sweet girl.  Small price to pay. J

Now, in reference to George Costanza – surely you know who he is (cue Seinfeld theme song!) – our gorgeous, adorable baby girl’s hairline now resembles that of ol’ George.  Slowly but surely she’s lost her hair, with it creeping back, yet remaining on the sides and back of her head.  Poor little thing looks just like George Costanza. 

The proof is all over her crib – tiny little hairs are everywhere!  Her dad insists on her wearing hair bows anytime we go out in public – the problem is, she doesn’t have enough hair to hold the clip-in kind, and with her head being in the 98th percentile, most hair bows on a band leave indentions in her head.  Oh well – we obviously still think she’s the most adorable little girl we’ve ever seen. J

In more important news, we had a wonderful first Thanksgiving with Cameron Kate.  This ol’ mama was incredibly nervous about our first road trip (granted we were only traveling 45 minutes away!), but the hub’s parents were extremely accommodating and wonderful and made me feel so comfortable being away from my bubble. J  THANK YOU PAPA AND GRAMMY PEELE!  Thank you not only for the delicious food (man can my mother-in-law cook!), but thank you for giving us a home away from home and, most importantly, for loving our little girl so, so much.  This was a Thanksgiving I will remember for the rest of my life. J

Our sweet Cameron has been growing like a weed and does something new everyday.  I cannot get enough of her smiles, and coos, and all of her different sounds.  She’s just started to give me a big, gummy grin every morning when I go to get her out of her crib.  It melts my heart!  She is SUCH a good baby, really only fusses if she’s gassy or overly tired, and is pretty much sleeping through the night.  She sleeps and naps in her crib, falling asleep on her own after we put her down when she’s drowsy.  She has been such a trooper during my breastfeeding struggles, and she’s still hanging in there while I continue to try to master it.  She HATES tummy time.  She’s always “milk drunk” right after she eats, which lasts about 5 minutes or so before she wakes up and is ready to “play.”  She LOVES her playmat and is perfectly content to lay on her back and be left alone while she looks around.  She LOVES the taste of gripe water and is so cute while she drinks it.  She has the smelliest gas you could ever imagine.  Her ears look totally different from each other – just like her mama’s. J  Her “angel kiss” on her left eyelid is slowly fading, and while I thought I would like to see it disappear, it makes me sad that a trace of her newborn-ness is fading away.  She LOVES when you sing to her.  She loves to be bounced while you’re sitting on a yoga ball.  She rarely poops (such a lady!).  She likes to suck on a paci to help herself fall asleep, but doesn’t really care for it any other time.  She is perfection, from her George Costanza hair to her extra long toes. J

Can you tell I’m wrapped around her sweet fingers?!

 Playmat time!  She rolled from her back to her side! (P.S.  Notice the hairline?!)
 Heading to my checkup... The doctors and nurses loved her, too!
 Lounging with Grammy Peele...
 And then they fell asleep - so sweet!
 A quick, pre-Thanksgiving feast nap with Dad!
 Love her!
 Now a nap with Papa!
 The Peeles!
 Cheering on the Tigers!  (Obviously she didn't cheer hard enough!)
Headed to get her first Christmas tree!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"It's Not About You Anymore"

These were the sweet words my hub said to me the other day.  (Love you babe!)  Now, I’m not sure if it was EVER about me – well, maybe it was for the past 9 months J -- but, he’s right.  (Don’t tell him I said that.)

If I remember correctly, these were the words he said to me when I was complaining that my pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit.  You see, I feel like I’ve lost quite a bit of my weight, I’ve been getting back to running, and paying attention to how much I’m eating (as much as you can while breastfeeding)… and yet these hips are still quite wide.  I can slip up most of my jeans, but the buttons just seem MILES apart.  But I wasn’t complaining about my hips – I was complaining about these JUGS.  (Yet again, I apologize to all of the men who read this blog.)  They are out of control.  Like, they don’t sell a bra that fits me in most stores.  And I have to wear two sports bras when I run.

         Like I said – Out.of.control.

And so even while my hips will continue shrinking, chances are, my JUGS will not.  So all of the shirts and sweaters and tops that I try on just do not fit.  And as long as I continue breastfeeding, I’m not sure if they ever will.  And when I was complaining about this to my hub, who I secretly hoped would reply, “Well, just go shopping” – his response was, “Well, it’s not about you anymore.”

         And… he’s right.

         It stopped being about me at 8:19pm on October 10th.

         And it has been absolutely wonderful living a life that’s not about me anymore. J

Which is why, my friends, I failed to post last week.  I didn’t have the luxury of stopping what I was doing to update the blog because a certain someone needed my undivided attention.  So I definitely have a lot to update!

Since my last post, our little girl is now over a month old – crazy!  At her one-month checkup, she weighed 11 lbs 4 oz – less than week later when we were back at the doctor for blood in her stool (everything is fine by the way!) she was up to 11 lbs 13 oz – No wonder she’s snugly fitting into three-month clothing!  She is in the 95th-98th percentile for her weight, height, and head circumference.  Man oh man I love our big girl. J

The doctor told us we’re still not supposed to take her to crowded places until she gets her vaccinations at her two-month checkup… so no Black Friday shopping for Cameron.  But I have gotten a lot better at taking her out and about!  This week my goal was to take her out of the house each day… we made our way to Target, Stein Mart, the mall, and even for our first outside run with the jogging stroller (with two sports bras on, of course).  We’re making serious progress!

C has also given the hub and I some serious sleep – she’s gone for 6ish hours overnight!  Who knew what uninterrupted sleep could do for a soul!  While she’s not following the same pattern/schedule every day or night, she is showing trends of 4-6 hours of sleep each night, which is awesome.  She’s also falling asleep on her own in her crib – such a big girl!  Our goal was to be able to put her down drowsy, but get her to soothe herself to sleep (without crying it out)… and we’re very proud of how well she’s doing. J

She also had her first poop in the bathtub.  The hub was holding our wet baby over the tub and we were both looking at the mass of poop floating around, laughing uncontrollably.

C and I have both managed to develop thrush – yuck – which I’m hoping will clear up and help ease the struggles I’ve had with breastfeeding.  She’s also on medicine for reflux… And since we’ve gotten her on these medicines, she just seems so much more content.  Hopefully we’ve remedied whatever was causing her discomfort.  She is starting to smile, and coo, and make all sorts of noises.  I love just laying on the floor beside her while she’s on her playmat, watching her discover the world.  I now know that when you’re a mom, it’s all about the little things. J

Speaking of being a mom, it’s time for me to get back to my girl.  As much as I’ve enjoyed the “me” time of sitting here, drinking coffee and updating this blog – I’ve got to get back to my daughter.  Because SHE it what it’s all about. J
 Bailey trying to lay with Dad like Cameron does!
 Check out those cheeks!
 Who you lookin' at?!
 1 Month Old!
 Go Tigers!
 Happy Dreams
 BIG Girl!
 Someone LOVES her swing!
 A quick visit with Meme!
 Passed out on a Friday night... I had NO clue he took this picture!
 My lil' cupcake

First run in the jogging stroller with mom!!