Monday, April 7, 2014

8 Months with Baby E

Wow...this has been a big month for Baby E. It seems like she has developed a ton over the past month. We have had several firsts over the past month. 

The month started out a little rough with Baby E getting her first cold with a fever. Luckily the fever stayed low and other than being a little sleepier and a little crankier, she was herself. Her illness also came just as I was getting back to work from being out because of my Dad's surgery, so trying to manage the whole working mom with a sick baby thing stunk. My husband is a great Dad and takes amazing care of her, I just felt guilty not always being the one with her. I think the whole thing was harder on me than on her.

Baby E also got her first bath in the big girl tub. She seemed to enjoy playing in the water. We still normally bathe her in her baby tub because she gets slippery, but this was a fun treat for her. I can't wait to take her swimming.

  Solids are going pretty well and Baby E loves to eat. We normally feed her some take on our meal unless we are eating something completely not baby friendly, like sandwiches. I make it all, but normally send more traditional style baby food with her to daycare because it is less messy. Her new favorite thing is black beans cooked with garlic and spices. She also loved French Toast.

Yeah...sometimes we feed her in a diaper and bib...easier clean up.
The craziest thing about this month is that she went from not moving at all to crawling and pulling herself up (on everything) in about a week. She went from laying on her belly to sitting for the first time and by the following Friday she was on the move. Needless to say this keeps us on our toes. Luckily she still tolerates being in her jumper for a bit, so I can go to the bathroom or get her food together without having to worry about what she is getting in to.

We finished the month with a trip to Magic Kingdom to celebrate my birthday. We had tickets that expired in a couple of weeks, so we wanted to make sure they got used. Here she met Mickey for the first time. She wasn't so sure about him. I thought the talking Mickey was pretty cool. It will be interesting to see how she does with the characters as she gets older.

I think she had fun!
I don't know if it was 8 months of not sleeping more than 5 hours at a time catching up to me or something else, but I was ridiculously tired this month. Being tired is nothing new, but the first few weeks of March were really rough and I only ran a couple times a week at the most. I am finally feeling less tired, so hopefully this month will be better. Other than that I am doing pretty well and excited to see what the next few months bring.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Another year has gone did that happen? Today I turned 33. This year has been both one of the longest I can remember and one that went by in the blink of an eye. Some days I feel every second of those 33 years and other times I feel like I am still 20-something. So much has happened this year that much of it is a blur.

This year has been both amazing and ridiculously hard. It has been full of both excitement and fatigue, tough choices and amazing rewards. If nothing else, the theme of this year has been patience and change.

Since my last birthday, I went on a vacation, had a baby, went on maternity leave, bought and moved into our first house, returned from maternity leave, celebrated Baby E's first Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's days, ran my first post baby 5k, 10k and half marathon and that is just the big stuff. I have been busy.

Several times in the lately I have looked around at my life and been amazed that this is my life. I am so blessed. I have a job I enjoy and some amazing coworkers, the best baby ever, a wonderful husband and a house in the neighborhood I coveted for so long. I don't exactly know what I did to get here, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

Waking up to this face makes this one of the best birthdays ever. I can't wait to see what this year will bring.

Friday, March 14, 2014

7 Months with Baby E

This post is a couple of weeks late, but better late than never. I have to say that this past month has really flown by. I think that the craziness of life during the past month is part of why time has flown. During the last month I really felt the struggle between being a good mom and a good daughter for the first time in Baby E's short life.

Happy baby!
Baby E is doing really well and seems to be developing more every day. I don't have her height/weight stats, but it feels like she has grown a ton. Lunging her around in the car seat has really become a chore. I find myself leaving it in the car much more often now.

This month she also started sitting in her stroller like a big girl and sitting in high chairs when we go out to eat. We don't eat out often, but when we do she seems to like looking around and being a part of the meal. It is also nice to not have to hold her the whole time we are eating. She has never loved hanging out in her car seat, so this created some challenges.

Baby E is still working on the becoming mobile thing. She pushes herself up onto her hands and knees and will scoot backwards, but doesn't really do it purposefully yet. Her tummy is still not her favorite place to be and that doesn't help her crawling. She likes to pull herself down from sitting and then complain she is on her tummy. I really want her to crawl, because it is a really important developmental step and it helps with coordination, but I think she may just stand up and walk. Both my husband and I did least we didn't name her Grace.

Now what?
 My little girl also got her first Valentine from a boy this month. I am still not sure if I think it is sweet or scary to have valentines in the baby room at daycare. If she is already getting hit on, we are going to be in trouble when she gets older.


While it was unexpected, my parents and my sister were in town for a little over a week. Once we knew my Dad was going to be okay, it was nice to spend some time together as a family. They loved hanging out with Baby E and Baby E loved all the attention. 

Introducing solid food has gone pretty well. She has eaten too many things to list, but her favorites at this point are zucchini and sweet potatoes. Baby E has gotten better at eating things and doesn't choke or gag very often. There are still some nights that she doesn't want anything to do with food, but for the most part she enjoys eating with us.

I am not so sure about this!
I have been feeling overwhelmed a lot this month. It probably has to do with everything else that was going on, and I am hoping it gets better not that things have settled down. I did complete my first half marathon since having Baby E on her 7 month birthday and that felt good. There is just not enough time in the day most days for everything I would like to do. 

I think that is all for this month. The 8 month update will be coming soon enough.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Best Damn Race Orlando Race Recap

Last weekend I ran my first half marathon since having Baby E and I didn't die. In fact, I ran a really great 10K. The only problem was that I had signed up for the half marathon...oops.

I finished!
To fully understand this race experience, I have to take you back about 2 weeks prior to the race when a stomach bug made its way through our house. I loosely follow the above/below the neck rule for training, so this sidelined me for a few days.

The following weekend, a week before the race, my parents came down to visit and things were going well until we had to take my Dad to the emergency room where he was subsequently admitted and had emergency surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. Amazingly, he was released from the hospital a couple of days later, and other than a nice scar on his head he was feeling great. (We are still waiting and praying on the long term prognosis. He has been fighting cancer for a while now, but this was the first occurrence in the brain).

After much discussion with my parents and sister about doing the race, everyone said we should do it and my Dad even wanted to come watch. I knew it would be good to run, but because of all the craziness I ran a total of 8 miles in the two weeks leading up to the race. Not really the best strategy, but it was what it was.

Saturday morning I got up about 4:45 a.m. got dressed and ready and then got baby E up and fed. My husband left about 5:15 a.m. to take my sister to the airport and then meet me downtown. I headed out at about 6 a.m., 15 minutes later than I wanted, to meet him and drive to the race together. It was almost 6:45 a.m. by the time we parked and a little before 7 a.m. when we got to the race start. I quickly fed Baby E and then hit restroom before lining up at about 7:13 a.m. Since we were running a bit late, I didn't see anyone.

This face is so worth running late

I didn't really have a goal for this race, but I was hoping to average about a 13 minute mile, so we lined up behind the 2:45 pacer. The national anthem was sung and we were off. The first few miles felt good and I was keeping just behind the pacer and using 3/1 run/walk intervals. I wasn't really paying attention to my watch or my pace, so I was surprised when I looked about 3 miles in and realized that I was keeping just under a 12 minute per mile pace. I knew that was probably a little too fast to maintain for the whole race, so I focused on really listening to my body.

Miles 4 through 6 still felt good. I lost sight of the pacer at about 4.5 miles, but figured they couldn't be too far ahead of me. The course also had a ton of twists and turns, so you could be a couple blocks away and not see anyone. This was probably my favorite part of the course because it took you past the executive airport and around Lake Underhill. I used to run in this area, so it was a nice blast from the past. At 6 miles in I was averaging just over a 12 minute mile pace.

At about mile 7, things started to get harder. I was getting tired and I was beginning to feel a pull in my left thigh muscle. I was still keeping the 3/1 intervals, but the running portion was getting slower and felt much longer. Miles 8 and 9 were tough, but I was thinking about my Dad and if he was tough enough to come watch my half marathon 6 days after brain surgery, I was tough enough to keep running.

Then at about mile 10 I hit the bricks and those were not fun. I walked a good portion of this mile then dropped down 1/1 intervals. I figured it was better to drop to this than to just walk. Somewhere between miles 11 and 12 I started chatting with a girl on the course. She was just trying to make it through as well, but she was super nice and helped keep me motivated the rest of the race.

This girl was awesome!
I was super happy when I turned the corner for the finish line. It was almost over and I had finished, something I wasn't 100% sure would happen this race. About a block from the finish I saw my parents and Baby E. Baby E was so excited to see me that she was passed out in my Mom's arms. At least she woke up for her Daddy to come through.

It was so good to have everyone waiting at the finish
After the race we grabbed some food and I sat down to feed Baby E. The bad thing about being slow is that the post race food was pretty picked over by the time we got there. After Baby E ate, the husband and I headed over to get our post race beers. The guy carding people gave me a hard time about not having my ID. I think he was trying to be nice, but I know I don't look that young, so it was a little annoying.

Even bad beer tastes good after a run
My official time was 2:48 which works out to 12:52 per mile. I think the course may have been short, but at 7 months postpartum I am happy with my time and my performance. It gives me a good baseline and place to work from for my fall races. (As of right now I am not doing any long races this summer.) I do need to work on building my core up before fall, because my hips were not real happy after this race.

As for the race itself, there were some good and bad things. The weather was perfect, and the date and location worked well for us. Since both my husband and I were running, we needed somewhere that it was easy to find a babysitter. The race was also priced well and well organized. The gender specific tech tees and the PR bell were also nice. That said, there were some things I wasn't really fond of. First was that the course had way to many turns, too much brick and I think they found the only hills in downtown Orlando. Second, there was not a lot of entertainment or support on the course and finally, they ran out of cups at one of the water stations. There were a number of water stops so this wasn't a huge deal, but it did rub me the wrong way.

Would I say that this was the Best Damn Race ever...probably not, but I wouldn't rule out running it again. Especially if I can be one of the 10 people that gets in for $10.

Now it is on to pre-planning for my fall halfs. I am thinking that 2:30 may be my goal. Any training plans you can recommend? Any suggestions for good, quick core workouts for runners?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

6 Months with Baby E

Last week we hit the half year mark. I think I will probably say it in just about every post, but where does the time go? This month has been pretty amazing and it seems like she has grown and developed a ton in the past month.

6 months
Her 6 month doctors appointment was this week and she is 17 pounds 2 ounces and 27 inches long. I think she may be a little longer than that because they didn't really stretch her out as much as they sometimes do. It seemed like overnight she started looking longer. It may just be that she lays with her legs down more often now.

  Developmentally this month has been huge. She is all about sitting and will sit and play for a long time without falling over. Playing with blocks is one of her favorite things. She also started playing with the toy we have attached to her car seat. Prior to that she didn't really care if it was there or not. Two teeth have come in and there may be more on the way since she is still drooling a ton.

I love to play with these blocks
The biggest thing this month is that she has started to both sleep in her crib and put herself to sleep. Until about 2 weeks ago she was still sleeping swaddled in her Rock and Play overnight and for naps. Then one day I went into daycare and they said she put herself to sleep in her crib twice that day. This was huge. Up until this point she needed a lot of help to get to sleep and wanted nothing to do with sleeping flat on her crib. (She also figured out how to stop all the swings both at daycare and at home, which is part of why she got put in the crib in the first place...we are in so much trouble.) Since then she has been going down drowsy, but awake and starting the night in her crib. She has been waking up a little bit more, but seems to be progressing in the right direction. (I think we may have the easiest baby ever, so I know we are in trouble when she gets older.)

This month Baby E went to her first hockey game. We are also staring to use the stroller without the car seat. She isn't 100% sold on it, probably because I wear her a ton.

First Hockey Game

Sitting in my stroller like a big girl
 She also started eating some solids during the month. We are taking a mostly baby lead weaning approach and it seems to be working pretty well. At this point she has tried avocado, acorn squash, broccoli, carrots, chic peas, cucumber, peas sweet potato and apple sauce. It has been fun, but messy. After one meal we nicknamed her pea-face carrot pants.

I am not so sure about this broccoli, but it is fun to throw around
 I am doing well and starting to feel more and more like myself. Running is getting better and I am finally getting some of my endurance back. My core is still pretty weak, and I am trying to work on that. I am still figuring out how to balance work, life and motherhood. Some days it seems impossible and others it seems to be going well.

What have you been up to this month? Any baby food favorites from your children?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lady Track Shack 5k Race Recap

Yesterday I ran the Lady Track Shack 5k. I ran this race last year and enjoyed the course, so I knew it had to be my February race. While I was excited for the race, I was not super excited when my alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. The past couple of weeks Baby E has gone from a great sleeper to an alright sleeper. We are now getting up a couple of times a night to comfort her and most nights she ends up in our bed. This makes for a tired mama; however, after hitting snooze once, I was out of bed.

I quickly pumped, packed and got ready and was out the door by 6 a.m. The first time I walked out of the house I forgot my race packet, including my number. Luckily, I realized I was missing it before I got out of the driveway. Then it was a quick 20ish minutes to the race site. The good thing about getting to a race early enough to pump is that you get really great parking.

Once I was there I fished my bib out of my packet and took a look at the race instructions. Surprise...the start was at 7:30 a.m., not 7:15 a.m. which was when I thought it started. I hung out in the car for a bit then pumped and started walking to the race start. It had rained most of the week, so I was very happy the rain cleared for the race.

After a quick stop at the porta potties, I lined up toward the front of the 10+ minute mile group. This race made up for the lack of people at my race a couple of weeks ago. We were packed in there like sardines. I got my Garmin together, the national anthem was played and we were off.

Lots of Ladies
The first mile or so was a bit crowded and I had to do a lot of weaving in and out of people. This race has a lot of first timers and walkers. I don't mind them, but it does sometimes make the course a little narrow. I felt good and I hit the first mile marker at just barely over 12 minutes.

By the second mile the crowd thinned out a bit and I picked up the pace. I felt good and ran through the water station without stopping. There were a few small hills on this part of the course and I was reminded exactly how flat my neighborhood is. When I hit the 2 mile marker, I was under 12 minute miles. At this point I thought I could possibly crack that pace for the whole race. This was my tentative goal going into this race because it would be almost a minute faster than my pace for the Run Nona 5k.

The next three-quarters of a mile flew by, and then I started to hit a wall. I knew I was pushing myself, but I didn't realize by how much. I took an extra 30 seconds to walk and catch my breath. When I saw the clock at 3 miles it hit me that I may be able to finish in a little over 36 minutes. I got a burst of energy and sprinted to the finish line. My clock time was under 37 minutes, so I was excited for a 36-something 5k. I was even more excited when I looked at my watch and it said I was under 36 minutes.

I knew this was a bit off.
My official time was 35:48 (pace 11:31). It is amazing how much faster I am when I am not pregnant. My time last year was 44:13 (pace 14:13).

This was another great race and a huge PR for me. My February race is complete. Next up is the Best Damn Race Orlando Half Marathon. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

6 Months of Breastfeeding

Note: This post is about breastfeeding. That means that I will be talking about my breasts. If I work with you or you would otherwise be uncomfortable thinking about my boobs, please leave and come back another day. My 6 month Baby E update should be up in a couple of days.

This post has been rolling around in my head for a while. Partly because I want to document my breastfeeding journey before I forget what it was all about and partly because I want to add to the library of breastfeeding posts out on the Internet. I read a ton about breastfeeding before Baby E was born and during the early weeks. That community of mothers sharing their experiences, both the good and the bad, helped me more than I can really verbalize.

As I mentioned, Baby E's delivery did not go well and because of that Baby E and I were apart for much longer than I wanted after delivery. It was probably about a half hour or so, but I started skin to skin with Baby E and nursing her as soon as I was allowed. That first attempt was much harder than I had ever anticipated for something that everyone says is so natural. I think part of it was that we were both struggling from some of the challenges of the birth itself.

We spent lots of time like this.
Baby E was getting something from me, but her latch on one side was not great and she really struggled to latch on the other side at all. Since Baby E was born in the late afternoon we were not able to see a lactation consultant until almost 18 hours after she was born. This was something I had not anticipated. The hospital told me that they had lactation consultants always available, so I didn't have a backup plan on this. It would have been nice to see someone a little sooner.

When I got to see the lactation consultant, she gave us some tips to try and help, but it really was a struggle. I also had limited mobility and was in a lot of pain, neither of which helped with the nursing situation. Even though is was really hard, nursing was something that was very important to me and I was determined to make it work.

On our second day after delivery, the lactation consultant brought in a pump to help make sure that my milk would come in and that we could get the colostrum for Baby E. I would pump after she ate and we used a syringe to feed the colostrum to Baby E. That was not easy and I think she ended up wearing more than she ate. The lactation consultant also suggested that a nipple shield may help, but the hospital did not have any, so that would have to wait until I was discharged.

The third night with Baby E was pretty rough. By that point my right nipple was incredibly sore and she was having an even harder time latching on the left. This was also the night that she wanted to be held and nurse constantly. That evening she managed to nurse so much that the skin on her little cheeks rubbed off. We joke that she nursed her face off that night, and my nipples pretty much matched.

It took what seemed like forever for my milk to come in. In reality it came in between days 4 and 5. This was the about the same time I was released from the hospital. I started pumping at least once a day as soon as I came home. One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn't be able to make enough milk for Baby E.

The first 2 weeks of breastfeeding were really really hard. Baby E wanted to nurse constantly and I was constantly worried she wasn't getting enough to eat. During this time I was on an emotional roller coaster. I think that was as much about the post postpartum hormones as it was about nursing. Her behavior was completely normal, but it is hard to think that she was getting enough when she wanted to eat for 45 minutes to an hour every hour or so.

Those first few weeks were also really messy. My boobs would leak as they figured out how much milk to make. Baby E also needed to use a nipple shield to latch. There was always a little milk in the shield and it was pretty much impossible switch sides with both Baby E and I being covered in milk. She ate pretty frequently, so we spent a lot of time covered in milk.

Weeks 2 to 4 got a little easier. We got better at using the shield without making a complete mess. We also started to go out of the house from time to time. At first we would try and go out in between feedings or we would go out to baby stores. They always have a comfortable place to sit and nurse. During this time Baby E continued to want to eat frequently and would often spend 45 minutes or longer eating. During those early weeks there were times I spent over 6 hours of a day feeding Baby E (we tracked everything from her early days in the Baby Connect ap). While I wouldn't change it for the world, this was really hard. I am not used to sitting in one place for that long and we had a move looming.

A post nursing snooze
Over the next couple of weeks things continued to get easier. While Baby E still needed the nipple shield and took a while to eat, she began to go a little longer between feedings. It is amazing the difference that having an additional 30 minutes can give you. I also got better at feeding her in public without making a complete mess. One thing that helped me was giving up the nursing cover. She hated it and it was one more thing to manage. Yeah, I am a whip it out kind of mom...something I never thought I would say.

At about 8 weeks something just clicked. Baby E still wanted to feed a lot, but all of a sudden she was able to latch without the nipple shield. This was particularly helpful because it was the week we moved. Not needing any additional accessories made feeding her on the go much easier and since I spent a lot of time going between the two houses that week I was very thankful.

Soon after she began latching without a nipple shield, I figured out how to feed her in the Ergo carrier. This has been particularly helpful in our trips to Disney, but sometimes it even makes grocery shopping easier.

I went back to work when Baby E was about 11.5 weeks. She gets bottles of breast milk while I am away. Figuring out how much to send with her was a bit of a challenge, but after a few weeks it seemed to work out. I am also lucky to have a position that is flexible enough to allow me to go and feed her during my lunch break on most days. While it has been great, I need to stop this soon because I need the time to work.

Pumping has been a mixed bag. As a whole I don't pump enough for Baby E while I am at work. She started sleeping through the night pretty early on and this meant I would wake up about 2 a.m. feeling full. I started pumping then to protect my milk supply and make myself more comfortable, but once I went back to work, I realized I needed that milk to have enough for her daycare bottles. Now I set my alarm for about 1:30 a.m. so I can get up and pump. Getting up sucks and I look forward to someday getting more than 5 hours of sleep at a time, but for right now it works. I would do just about anything to make sure she gets the breast milk she needs.

I have also had several pump problems. My pump came through my insurance, so the options I had to choose from were a single hand pump or a double electric. Obviously, I chose the double electric. I was excited when my pump showed up and it was the Medela Freestyle (the things you get excited about when you have a kid). This is their newest, lightest and most expensive pump. Unfortunately, I have had the motor on the pump go out twice in the past 6 months. Medela has great customer service, and  they always replaced it in a day. I also borrowed a friend's pump to hold me over, but being without a pump about a week after I went back to work was not fun.

For us breastfeeding has worked well. It was not always easy, but it has been worth it. Now that Baby E is getting a little older, more and more people are asking me how long I plan on breastfeeding. The easy answer is a year, because that is what is recommended by the CDC. In reality, I don't know what we are going to do. Baby E will drive that decision. For now I am just going to enjoy the ride.

What was your breastfeeding experience? Any tips for pumping more during the daytime hours?