Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Santa

Baby Santa, as opposed to Santa Baby...

 I've been busy and blogger ate two of my posts so I decided to avoid it for a while. Work is stressful, people around the holidays are jerks (hello d-bag who I got in a minor accident with yesterday), and my anxiety is in over-drive. But I am trying to stay positive and enjoy this awesome time for what it is: My baby's first Christmas. Rob and I are so excited to establish family traditions (first one: The Champagne Cascade at The Bown Palace, which is an unofficial kick-off to Denver's holiday season).

Nora is super smiley these days, and I can't even explain the feeling I get when my girl smiles at me. Even though she is a happy, smiley girl in general, everyone says they can that her smile is a little bigger for me, her excited kicking a little more animated, and her giggles a little louder. There is no feeling in the world like being a mommy, and that is the best Christmas gift I could have asked for.



 And just 'cause she's cute, here are two bonus pictures.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pictures and some random thoughts

1. My friend from Jr. High had a baby a few days ago. Well, technically his wife did. They named her Nora. He told me that they were planning on naming their daughter that a few weeks back, probably so I wouldn't think they stole my girl's name.

2. Working long hours sucks. I have such bad anxiety the last hour of work before I can see my baby. The fact that she always greets me with smiles and clearly wants to be near me once I do get to her makes it better.

3. My sister claims that Nora's smile melts the polar ice caps. Yeah, my kid is causing global warming. She's just that cute.







Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nora


Obviously the thing that I am most greatful about this year is my healthy and beautiful daughter. My pregnancy was great, my delivery went well, my daughter is so very healthy and active and smart and adorable; how could I be anything but greatful when I have her in my life?

Last night she rolled over for the first time. She did it when Rob and I were both with her, playing in her room. She will be 12 weeks on Friday, so it seems that she hit this milestone a little earlier than the average baby does. I was surprised, but not all that surprised considering she has been super active since before she was born! After she did it twice, it occured to us that we should take a video...so of course I will have to show that off later this week.

She has also been unbelievably chatty lately. She just laughs, squeals, and coos away, even inflecting her voice while she has these adorably non-sensical conversations. I can't say enough how thankful I am to be a mother, and especially to be her mother.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Thankfulness

Yesterday was a pretty annoying day. I basically work in a construction zone and occasionally we are sent updates on the progress of various projects. I must have missed the one saying that the road that I walk to get from the parking lot to my building would be closed. Walking on rocks - that was fun.Good thing I chose to wear flimsy flats that were destroyed half way through my first journey between the parking lot and my building.

I say first because I ended up trekking back and forth about 4 times. You see, I had a meeting with an exec at 10am and I thought it would make more sense to walk to my car through the construction, then drive through the construction to leave campus, then drive to the building where the Science and Technology Executive Director's office is, rather than take the shuttle that ran from my buildings doorstep to his.

And of course he missed the meeting. His schedule had been rearranged at the last minute and unfortunately his admin was out so no one told me that he wouldn't make the meeting. So I drove back to my side of the campus. Before I made the 10 minute walk back to my building, I decided to put my jacket on. So I set my purse on the driver's seat and while my arms were maneuvering into the jacket sleeves, the wind came along and shut my door. My locked door.

I had a pretty angry walk back to my office. And then when I saw that my meeting had been rescheduled for that afternoon, set to end an hour before I planned on leaving, I was really irritated. Because that meant that I had to walk back to the parking lot once to have security unlock my car, then back to my office, then either take the hit to my work day and wait for the shuttle to take me across the highway for my meeting or else walk yet another time to my car, drive across campus, and then have enough time left in my day where I needed to park my car yet once again so I could sit at my desk for 45 minutes before leaving for the day (run on sentences are fun!).

Luckily Rob has Mondays off so he came by with his keys so I could unlock the door rather than wait for security to do it. And while I opted to drive to the afternoon meeting, upon my return I parked in the visitor's parking right next to the building. It still sucked, to be frank, but it could have been much worse.

So today I am choosing to be thankful that I have a job. A good, steady job with good health insurance at a company that is doing good work (even if I'm just support staff, it still counts). I am lucky that I am in a position to complain about having a job at a time when so many people don't have anything at all. Even on bad days, there are people with more education and more experience who would do my job, probably for less money. Because that is just how bad the economy is. And while that doesn't change the fact that I often have problems with how things are going at my work, I do need to keep that perspective in mind. So I am thankful.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful

Yesterday I spent the day being thankful for my mother. She more than a mother to me, she is a best friend. She is my role model and I can only hope to be as a good of a mother to Nora as she was too me and my siblings. She is hands down the most generous person I know (next to my husband - I am lucky, I know), and is also unfaltering kind and is the opposite of judgmental. Best of all - she has all that and a wicked sense of humor. And while I am thankful for the rest of my quirky family, since becoming a mother I appreciate my own so much more.

Today I am thankful for the rest of the crew. My family (immediate and extended) is loud and emotional and often dysfunctional, but always loving. I am also thankful for my husband's family. In many ways we grew up differently, (midwest vs west coast, WASP-ish vs Italian immigrant influences, small family vs large family, etc.), but in the most important ways, we grew up similarly: very loved. I am excited to share both families' legacies with Nora - she will never be without amusing family stories!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful

I really am a very lucky person and I really could use more thankfulness in my life. So I am going to spend the next week focusing on all the good in my life.

Today, I am thankful for having a sweet and devoted husband, who is usually nice to me even when I am not nice to him.

There is a cookie exchange at work today and I have been so busy that it was barely on my radar. He went to the grocery store on his way home from work yesterday even though he had been at work since 5:30 am (a news crew taped a segment that his company wanted him to be in) to buy me the butter I needed. Then, when I fell asleep on the couch while my dough was chilling, he took it upon himself to finish baking them for me (keep in mind this is after I woke up in a fit of rage, then went back to sleep because I was so damn mad at myself). When I woke up and realized that he finished baking my cookies, hand-rolling everyone in cinnamon sugar, I did not treat him the way I should of.

I was still mad that I fell asleep, annoyed that my cookies didn't come out the way I wanted them to (not anything Rob did, our oven just sucks), sad that I only had an hour with my daughter after work before she went to bed, and I hate to say it, but I took it all out on Rob. I was a total and complete brat when I should have been THANKFUL that I have a husband that loves me that much.

So thank you Rob, thank you a million times over. I'm so glad to know that you will be the kind of Dad who will bake cupcakes for school (do schools still let you do that?), even if it is last minute notice. I'm so glad to know that you have my back, even when I am being less than gracious. I love you, and I am thankful for you.

Semi-related: He's the cute one working on the car in the background.
http://www.kdvr.com/videobeta/?watchId=cc550fdd-8bfb-41c4-94c3-83d9b096dcb8%3Fvideo%3DYHI&t=a

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I cried over spilled milk

Breastfeeding can be hard. For me, it wasn't until I went to work. No issues with latch, or supply, or anything like. For me, the issue has been pumping. It's just terrible.

Okay, so the freedom to leave my daughter is nice. But feeling like a cow isn't. Nor is running up to the second floor of my building every few hours to sit in a "lactation room" (it's actually quite nice, so I shouldn't complain about that) and pump. Nor is remembering each day to bring my pump to work, then remembering to grab both my pump and milk at the end of the day, then remembering to put the milk in the freezer when I get home. It is completely worth it, but it is hard work.

So today, when I didn't notice that my collection canister was overflowing until it was too late and spilled every where (chair, jeans, magazine), I straight up cried. I'm still sticking to my goal of 6 months because it is so worth it to me, but a week back to work and I'm already cursing the process.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Two Months




I remember sitting in the doctor's office when she was three days old and we saw another (adorable) baby in the waiting room. He was so cute, but he looked huge next to our tiny baby. So we were blown away when we found out that Tino was only two months old. We looked at our tiny baby and thought about how far away two months seemed.

Turns out, it was not as far away as we thought.


Nora had her two month appointment today. I can't believe it, I really can't. She's now 10 lbs, 13 oz and 23 inches long. We are so lucky to have such a healthy little girl.

I'm starting to see her personality a little more every day. She loves being around people, which is no surprise considering that we had so much family around in the first weeks. Plus, we took her every where pretty early on. She loves her swing and her new activity mat, but only when someone is still sitting near her. I guess she takes after her daddy in that way (center of attention, cough cough). The down side is that she has a hard time napping unless someone is holding her, laying down with her, or carrying her. Thank god for the Moby wrap! She also naps pretty well in the car and the swing. I've taken the Happiest Baby on the Block Approach and am not worried about "spoiling" her at this age. For now I am just trying to enjoy the affection.



She also loves baths. I'm so happy that she is a water baby since I spent so much of my childhood in the pool and around the ocean. I took her in my mom's whirlpool a few weeks back and she had such a good time. She even liked when the jets where on (low, of course). Tonight she kicked and squealed in her bath until she was a little prune!

She is now holding up her neck on her own and is so active. She is always kicking her legs and loves "standing." We hold her up with her feet on our knees and she stiffens her whole body. Even in her swing she loves to just kick away. Just yesterday Rob said that he thought we had another "Dancing Danny" on our hands. Daniel, of course, being my brother. As a child he couldn't sit still. At age four, at one of our uncle's wedding, he proclaimed himself a "dancing fool."It's a well-told childhood tale.*



These past two months have been amazing and I can't wait to see what the next month brings!





*Side note: My sister and I took dance lessons as children (I took lessons for over 10 years, even dancing en pointe for a while). Rob's sister danced competitively growing up and is now a Broncos Cheerleader (so weird to think if you have only met Rob).  Rob is all around very physical and played soccer and hockey and wrestled for a year or two. So Nora has it in her genes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back At Work

I am officially back at work. It was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. Easier in that despite the fact that I was thrown right into a ton of work, it's all about moving forward and not playing catch up. And I was CLEARLY missed. But leaving my baby behind is terrible. I know she will be safe and well taken care of, but it kills me to not be there with her. This morning I barely had any time to nurse her, to play with her, to cuddle with her. I basically fed her as quickly as I could, got her dressed, and left. I hated every second of it, and I'm hoping I can hold back the tears that threaten to flow every time someone asks if it was hard leaving her this morning.

I technically started yesterday but thanks to 6+ inches of snow, I telecommuted. It still sucked, since I couldn't give Nora my undivided attention. As I cried to my husband last night, he assured me we would scale back our budget so I can eventually go part time. And as luck woulld have it (or not), it turns out that some opportunities have come up in my department while I was out. Which, yes, is terrible. How can I turn down the chance to make more money down the road and will put me a in a better position to become a consultant, but how can I commit to killing myself to learn more when I am already sad about being away from Nora? I wanted to come back to work at 50%, not 100% plus.

First world problems, right?

Oh well, this is the season to be thankful and I am going to try really hard to be just that. I am thankful that I have a loving and dedicated husband, a healthy and happy little girl, and a caring and supportive group of family and friends. I have to trust that the rest will in place with a little bit of hard work and faith in myself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why Disneyland Is The Best Place on Earth

So this weekend was not the greatest. Exhibit 1:  I had non-stop anxiety attacks punctuated by the occasional crying jag. I know that my returning to work crisis isn't a crisis to anyone else, but I still reserve the right to feel terrible. I hate thinking that unlike today, this time tomorrow I will not have a sleeping baby wrapped against me in a Moby, but instead will be speaking some canned response for the tenth time regarding how I feel about being back at work. These past two months have been some of the best of my life. Thanks to a frequent occurrence of family drama, many big events in my life have been overshadowed. My wedding, multiple holidays, vacations. Not so with the birth of my baby.

I feel as though having my daughter has been amazing, start to finish. Rob going back to work was hard and there have certainly been the occasional argument. But none of that diminished the joy I have felt being a parent. And while I know that I will continue to feel that way even after I go back to work, the truth is, and there is no way around this, I will have less time for Nora. And that hurts. I know that the people who will watch her will take amazing care of her but I still wish so much it was me there for her everyday. Of course the upside is that she will have close relationships with other people in her family. All I know is as soon as I get into the office tomorrow, I will be setting up my web cam.

Exhibit B: Nora's first Halloween was overshadowed. By family drama. Enough said. We dressed her as a ghost and walked her around my parents neighborhood for a few minutes, but we weren't in the best of spirits. Which some might argue is not that big of a deal - she is only 2 months old after all! We will have plenty of great Halloweens to come, and probably even a few more not so great ones. And she won't even remember it. But Halloween was her first holiday, and our first chance to feel proud about sharing that with her. But just because we saw it as important to us as a family doesn't mean that everyone else did. In fact, it was made pretty clear that our status as a family matter little to some people. Meaning...

Exhibit C: The drama continues. My last day of maternity leave did not start out so fantastic, and I don't see it ending well either. And maybe the worst of all:

Exhibit D: My grandfather is in the hospital with a broken rib and a collapsed lung. He has Alzheimer's and lives in a care facility in California. My grandmother called on Sunday to let us know that he had fallen, although no one seems to know why. He is okay for now, but in a lot of pain. He had a few sezuires a few months back, and has had other health problems off and on. It's hard for me to think about since he and I had a close relationship. I am a lot like him in some ways (Type A Personality), and I can hardly think about him without crying.

So I feel like shit today, to say the least. And no one seems to respect that. Well, my mom does. And Rob would if he didn't already have a ton on his plate. And I'm sure my best friend and sister would too, so I can't say that no one does, but I still feel pretty isolated right now. Which leads me to my point.

Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth because bad things just don't exist within its walls. The birds sing, and animals talk and amazing adventures are only a wait in line away. The real world is hard and relationships are complicated and messy. It's been a year since my last visit and I could use a trip right now. If I win powerball on Wednesday, I am so going to RATP. True story.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Viva Fit Club

Oh boy. Time to talk about the most unpleasant side effect of having a baby - weight gain. I'm breastfeeding, and I have heard that helps with baby weight loss, but I don't want to leave it all to that. Plus, I always feel better when I am active and exercising, so I joined Ashley Fremont Street's Viva Fit Club. Target date for weight loss goals is 4/5/12... Viva Las Vegas 15. I doubt that Rob and I will make it VLV next year, but 6 months seemed like a good time line regardless.

My parents have a mini gym in their basement, and my sister has been trying to talk me into going to Zumba with her, so hopefully between those two options I can easily insert a little more dedicated fitness time into my schedule. Fingers crossed, 'cause I miss my size 2 jeans. Anyone else who wants to be more in shape by VLV should request to join the group!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time Flies

These photos describe how I feel about going back to work:


I'm in my last week of maternity leave. I don't like thinking about it. In fact, I cry every time I do. The last few months have been some of the best of my life. I really don't like thinking about returning to a job that I. Cannot. Stand.

That being said, I know that I should be grateful that I have a job at all, let alone one with a semi-flexible schedule (I plan to work 4 ten-hour days, with one of those telecommuting). And I have pretty decent health insurance, which is the main reason I am going to continue to work for now. Hopefully we can figure out a way for me to go part-time in the next year or two and that makes it a little easier, since I can tell myself that I am going back for now, but not forever.

I know a lot of working moms choose to do so. I know a lot enjoy the adult interaction and the opportunity to wear nice clothes. I do not. Well, what I mean is I found that I had plenty of interaction while I was off. I was never bored. I spent a lot of time with friends and family so I had a great balance between mommy and baby time and grown-up time. Plus, most of my co-workers are significantly older than I am. I get along with most of them, but I'm not really myself around them, so I have actually gotten more out of staying home since I could spend my days being myself: my tattooed, slightly outrageous, occasionally obnoxious and opinionated. I communicate by phone and email, so I don't really have to dress nice at work. Plus, my daughter is at home and no amount of perks would make me feel like I would rather be out of the house. I like hanging out with my baby. I love cooking, and don't mind cleaning. But I have a feeling that fitting all that in after a 10 hour day at work - it sounds exhausting. I'm certainly not the first mom to have to deal with this, but I didn't realize how hard it would be. I am a little resentful towards European countries who give women a year or two for maternity leave - six weeks just don't cut it.

Again though, I am so, so lucky. I had no problems getting pregnant, had an uneventful pregnancy, a pretty good delivery, a great recovery, and a super healthy baby. I haven't even had any problems breastfeeding, and I only get up once a night with Nora. I am so lucky, and I know it. I just wish that I could continue with maternity leave forever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GG

This is a picture of my grandmother and my daughter (side note, both my grandmothers were named Jean - hence Eleanor's middle name. Of course, this Jean was supposed to be Gina, but in those days everything was Americanized).

We have decided that her name is GG (for Great Grandma). She was here visiting last week and it was awesome having her around. I really miss having my family around, and this year was especially hard since I was pregnant and didn't have a chance to visit California. But seeing my grandmother with her first great-grandchild was well worth the wait. Here a few pictures from the last week.









Fall Colors

As much as I claim to hate the weather in Colorado, I actually really love the fall. I prefer sunny days that are cool enough to require a sweater but not cold enough to feel, well, cold. Colorado tends to be all over the map when it comes to weather, and this autumn is no exception. We've had HOT days, COLD days, and a few pretty perfect days. A few weeks back we took a little road trip to look at the fall foliage (Colorado is well known for the color changing aspens that grow in the mountains). We were a little early, but the colors were pretty none the less.





We randomly stumbled upon a creepy old cemetery in Leadville. Leadville was a bustling mining town during the end of the nineteenth century, and many of the graves in the Evergreen cemetery date pretty far back. The cemetery isn't used much these days (except for plots owned by the Masons and the Elks) and has fallen into disrepair.  We couldn't even see the back boundary (I refused to go too far back, especially after the dogs started barking at NOTHING), but it appeared to be sunken graves in between trees for as far as the eye could see. I'd like to go back and explore some time.
 



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quick Post, to prove I am alive and well

1. Tomorrow it has been six weeks since Nora was born. Meaning tomorrow my disability ends, and my return to work day comes closer.
2. I am addicted to Doctor Who. This is surprising, since I generally hate science-fiction. But low budget space monsters and British humor? I can't get enough.
3. My grandmother has been here for the past week. It has been great, since I grew up with lots of family around and my biggest complaint about living in Colorado is that I don't have that support system here.
4. I miss Disneyland. 2.5 months isn't too young for a first D-land trip, is it?
5. I plan on working on a family tree in the next few weeks. I hope I can remember all the details. Mommy brain is painful real, y'all.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Month

I can't believe it's already been a month! Time does fly....


She is now 9 lbs and 21 inches long. She had her first bottle this week (I hate pumping, by the way. It makes me feel like a cow) and we left her with my mom this past Monday to take my sister out for her 21st birthday. Big week for the little lady!

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks:







And here are a few that a friend took for us - our first family photo shoot!