Monday, April 14, 2014

Sleep! What is it good for?!

Absolutely Everything.

This one word, sleep, means so much.
How did such a simple topic start to occupy so much of my mind?
Is this normal for new mothers?

"Are you getting any sleep?"
"Does he sleep through the night?"

These two questions, though they are in the top 1-3 questions to a mother of an infant (in my experience), are actually not at the heart of the issue.

What I spend lots of energy thinking on is whether he's napping during the day and whether those naps are in my arms or on his own. Oh, how I yearn for him to nap on his own... 
in large chunks of time. :)
It makes for a happy Mama and a happy George.
But, I'll admit: even more than hoping for long, independent nap times for George,
I think I'd rather pray for the ability to enjoy short, independent naps and the close snuggles of dependent naps...

Fully enjoy this season, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

George's Birth Story

Since today is my first afternoon back in the office, I figured it'd be a good time to reflect and remember some of the highlights from the day George was born. My Mom told my birth story every year on my birthday, and I quickly jotted down things I wanted to remember after George was born... and now I can fill in the details 
(while not boring anyone to death, right?)

*      *     *

At 3:30 a.m. on January 26, I knew it was the real thing. Just like they said I would. 
At 10 a.m., we drove to the hospital. It was a bumpy, snowy car ride with contractions. I asked Brian to drive more slowly because of all the pain I was in, only to realize that if he drove slower, we'd get stuck in the snow. I preferred a bumpy car ride to delivering in the car. 
So, he kept on.

When we arrived, I almost cried tears of joy when the nurse (who taught our birth class!) informed me that I was 5-6 cm dilated. 
"I'm not 1 cm and back in the car on my way home? Yippee!" 
{Insert tears here.}

My favorite part (is there such a thing?) of birthing was the hot tub. 
What a fantastic idea to be minimizing the effects of gravity on the situation!

After 15 hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing, George Clement came into the world.
At about minute 15 of pushing, my midwife (who was fantastic!) reminded me that pushing while my body wasn't contracting was a bit of a waste of energy. 
"Oh?" says I. I just want him out. 
At about minute 20, everyone was smiling. "Do you want to touch his head?
"No." says I. "I just want him out!" 
Out he came, all 7 lbs, 1 oz and 22.25" of him.
He had red hair and they dutifully put him on me for skin to skin.
(I tried really hard to not mind his beautiful stickiness... but, I am who I am.)
(Crazy to think that that bothered me after laboring and birthing, right?)

We got to video chat from the delivery room with Grandma Ginger and tell her that we named our baby boy after her late husband. She cried, we cried and it was lovely. "I was afraid you were going to name him Walter!" she laughed through her tears... 
And we laughed with her. (Well, I think my Dad, Walt, laughed.) :)

As I entered the mother-baby unit of the hospital, I got wind of sprite being available whenever I wanted it. I wanted it. About every hour until I was discharged.

Our first night with George he slept four hours in a row. That was heavenly.
But, before we went to sleep, it seemed like a celebration was in order...
But, with 2 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures hovering in the -30s, I suggested Brian find a vending machine with something sweet in it. He returned and we split a butterfinger and a milky way. I cannot tell you how wonderful those tasted.
(Did I mention I kept maybe 2 chicken fingers down over the 15 hours of labor?)

Family came and went, oohing and aahing over George and getting to know him.
(The staff couldn't get over him either! George, you really were cute from day one.)
We were discretely delivered a way to toast to the new family we became, 
which was a delight. (Thank you to our delivery men.)

The weather continued to deteriorate in the outside world, and there was a ban on driving for our second day in the hospital. So, we had no visitors, which made for a relaxing and nice moment for our new family of three. At the end of day two, Brian warmed up the car for 20 minutes as we tried to protect all of us from the wind chills of -40 degrees. Grandma and Grandpa S. met us at home, we ordered pizza and settled in for our first night.

The next evening, Brian bought me flowers and cooked salmon for our first dinner for 3. 
It was hard to believe we had done it! 
9 10 months of waiting, praying, carrying and anticipating...
And we are so grateful to the Lord for the gift of you!

Take 97

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
Hooray for going back to work! I worked two afternoons this week and both were peaceful. I couldn't ask for a better childcare situation--Beth C. will be watching him and this week Aunt Mairin was on spring break, so she got to enjoy him, too! I'm so peaceful knowing he's in good hands and it's fun to be back in the office, too. 

It's true what they say, too, he's way cuter after 5 hours at the office. ;)
I have a theory, too, which is that I'll like being home more when I am home and I'll be more productive at work, too, since I'm only there 5 hours, 4 times per week.

Oh, and a 3 day weekend every weekend? Count me in!
--- 2 ---
Remember the article I linked to on reading? Well, in the spirit of having lots of types of books to read, I downloaded the All New Square Foot Gardening book and finished it in less than a week! And now I can't wait to start a square foot garden in our yard! 
Our current plan is to start small: one 6'x2' box (with 12 plots). 
My current dream of produce includes: asparagus, bush beans, swiss chard, lettuce, spinich, strawberries, basil, rosemary, jalapenos and kale. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? 

We'll see how it goes! (Literally. I'll keep you posted.) :)
[I do plan to plant tomatoes, too, but won't include them in that SFG bed because they're awful big and I don't want to do a vertical dimension to that garden just yet. Start small, right?]
--- 3 ---
Two years ago, Brian and I enjoyed Easter together in our new home, just barely married. We roasted s'mores in our fireplace after Easter vigil Mass and enjoyed french press and homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Last year, we gallivanted like happy (less-)newlyweds and visited wine country in California. We got to spend Easter with family out there... Torture, I know. 
(Easter in California... eggs hidden in succulents!)

Well, this year we're happily (even less newly) married and now we're a party of three!
So, what are your favorite Easter traditions?
I'd love to know, because I'd love to start investing in traditions we can do every year, like a batch of cinnamon rolls that gets half of the batch saved for Pentecost.
What are your hum-dingers?
--- 4 ---
This past weekend we got to go to the wedding of David and Catherine! 
One thing I wanted to share from it was that the priest prayed over them and prayed that they'd extend hospitality together as a family. What a great idea!
I loved reflecting on the gift of hospitality as a charism of our Christian life... 
It's something Brian and I love to do and I want to get better at it!

Oh, and I also learned to:
 take that family picture of everyone looking all spiffy
at. the. church.
So you don't forget.
And regret forgetting it.
In a serious way.
--- 5 ---
How can I not comment on the weather?
After a brutally long winter, we're looking at 68 and sunny today.
And I'm not working! 
And Grammy's coming over with lunch for us!
How can I keep from singing?
--- 6 ---
Speaking of weather, we've walked around the yard prioritizing our yard/garden plans for this summer and I'm getting excited for window boxes! We have 4 front windows and I'm hoping to paint 4 wooden planter boxes and our front door red. 

Any suggestions on plants?
I like wavy petunias, but I was thinking even something that's consistently green would be just fine... some sort of vine? I'm excited!

[Isn't Brian's paint job just the best? 70 years of paint stripped away 
and now we get to live in THIS beautiful place!]
--- 7 ---
Well, I hope to hear from y'all regarding Easter traditions, but George and I should stop chillin' and chattin' on our bed for now. (Diaper change, anyone? Ok, maybe just George.)
We wish you a blessed Holy Week and a Happy Easter--you won't see me on the blog next week, but I look forward to seeing you in two weeks!

Mary & George

Thanks for hosting, Jen!
And thanks to George for being happy for an hour while I did this post.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Take 96

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
Exercise (the real kind) has commenced post-George. I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel good, though I won't admit to it being my favorite.

I do kind of enjoy this new phase where George stares at me while I jump around in my living room with Jillian Michaels yelling at me. It makes me laugh.
It's enjoyable, of course, until George starts screaming and I respond every other jumping jack, "You're ok, George! You're ok!" in a sing-songy voice...
--- 2 ---
I am forever baffled that with all of this technology in all facets of my life, I still get a little memo that my voicemail box is nearing full. I'm of the "gmail archive" generation and got out of the habit of deleting things long ago, which means I never delete my voicemails on my iPhone. With increasing space to store things and gobs of music space on my iPhone, I'll never understand why we still limit voicemail space. I mean, really. It's stingy.
--- 3 ---
I enjoyed this article on reading. I consider myself a reader and did a lot less of it during maternity leave than I anticipated and am always trying to live up to the box I've put myself into (The "Yes, I love to read!" box.) One of my favorite tid-bits from the article is the reminder that if you can find an extra 5 minutes a day, you've actually discovered 35 minutes per week, which seems a lot more impressive!
--- 4 ---
One of the best things I've decided in the past couple of years is to make a priority of calling my Grandma Ginger regularly. I've learned a lot and our friendship has grown, which is very sweet. 
(There's Grandma in the center there, from Thanksgiving.)
I shared with her that I was excited to finally be able to schedule some coffee dates with other mothers this week and she told me that she had spend much time, "Coffee Klatsching" as a mother. (She pronounced it, "Clotching".) I immediately asked what that word meant and she didn't know it wasn't a part of everyone's vocabulary. Isn't that fantastic?! (I'm guessing she ran in circles with women who were from Germany?)

Coffee Klatsching. My new fave.
--- 5 ---
Remember my pulled pork travesty of July of 2013? No? 
Well that's because my post of it was not-so-graphic. 
I remember trying to pull apart that stuff. And it was terrible. Trust me. 
Well, after trying another couple of recipes, I feel like I should tell you of the pulled pork success of 2014:
Slow-Cooked Cuban Pork 
Suddenly, I feel capable of hosting a crowd of 50... as long as I can borrow another crockpot.
The directions are long and involved, but I promise you, it worked! Hooray!
--- 6 ---
Another week of enjoying the "Big Camera":
It was difficult to capture the beauty of the air bubbles in olive oil...
but it was beautiful!

My peace lily in my plant from The Healy Group is about to bloom!
Great expectations!
My boys... handsomer with each day...
--- 7 ---
Aunt Meghan comes to visit us today!
We are beyond excited! Hooray!

Thanks for hosting, Jen!