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