Sunday, December 28, 2008
Colton in the new walker his grandparents gave him, waiting to open yet another present
Colton gets a hand from Curious George
Gregg with his new toy
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Here's a picture of Colton with Santa that was taken on Saturday at Gregg's aunt & uncle's annual holiday shin dig. He was pretty indifferent to the man in the big red suit. I thought he was going to burst into tears.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I remember the next day at my work's Christmas party feeling a flutter of excitement and suddenly being cautious about everything I ate and drank. A test at the doctor's a day later confirmed it. While we thought of the way we should share the news with our families over Christmas, we came up with all sorts of ideas- gift wrapping a countdown timer to my due date, giving planners with August 21 tabbed. But Gregg finally decided that we should simply make up a phony back order notice for a package that was "still in processing", and see whether our parents would figure it out.
We could not wait until the gift exchange began so that we'd be able to reveal that we had an extraordinarily special present. Both grandmas figured it out pretty quickly. My stepfather thought we were sending them on a cruise that left in August. Men.
At this time last year, my due date seemed so far away. I wanted to make sure I did everything right over the next eight months, so that my baby would develop and grow properly. And now, he's four months old already. And he is the best thing that ever happened to me, besides meeting my husband and receiving Christ as my Lord and Savior. My son is seriously the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
On 12/18/07 when I discovered I had this life growing inside me, I couldn't wait to meet our child. I was full of joy and excitement that I can't even begin to describe in words. This December 18, I have the gift of sharing my baby boy's first Christmas with him. Being a witness to every new skill he learns and experiencing such pleasure at his smiles and laughter as he interacts with me. I am humbled that God would choose me to care for Colton while he's on this earth. He is the most precious gift I could have ever received.
I am so excited for and proud of Gregg that he will finally be earning what he's worth, and in a position that seems made for him. He'll be doing tech support for Jersey Eagle Sales, a large wholesale beverage distribution center in Jersey City (a hop, skip, and a jump away from NYC). They want him to start on January 5, and they're going to fly him out to Michigan at their headquarters so he can learn all the ins and outs of the business. He'll be there for three days, then fly back to New Jersey and start in their office here on 1/8.
And with his salary requirements met (plus quarterly performance bonuses), that means I won't have to go back to work! I can keep being a stay at home mom, which I'm really excited about!!
I'm so glad we won't have to struggle like we have been recently to make ends meet. The money in our account is almost gone. I guess I thought it would last longer than it did. I do have one more paycheck coming on January 2, for an adoption profile I completed at the end of October. It wasn't signed off on by the county by November 30, so it wasn't included in my December check. So we'll have to make our money stretch a bit further for a little while until Gregg gets his first paycheck, but we'll be okay.
God is so good. He has totally blessed and provided for our move back here. Now we have even one more reason to celebrate this Christmas!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Anyway, here's a few pictures:
Colton and Mommy
My new favorite ornament
Monday, December 15, 2008
While I'm not able (right now) to give my baby boy the material things I would like, I still have him here with me. I still get to see and kiss his sweet face every day. Take in his sweet baby smell. I get to witness his smiles and giggles that make my heart melt.
This mom won't ever be able to hold her son again. Her posts moved me to tears, and suddenly the burdens that I'm facing faded away. I can't even imagine the depth of grief she's experiencing.
In this moment, I feel incredibly blessed. I don't think I'll ever take one minute with my family for granted again. I'm so grateful God has given me a beautiful, healthy son and wonderful husband. I'm also grateful for the recent interviews Gregg has gone on, which I'm thinking one at least will certainly turn out fruitful. Gregg received a phone call back today from the VP of a company he interviewed with last Thursday, saying he wants him to meet tonight with the owners who are in town for only a few days. It looks really good for him to get this job, and this is the one at the top of his list too.
Saturday we were able to spend some money to purchase Christmas gifts for our families. We had agreed beforehand with Gregg's brother and sister that all of us buy just one gift for each family, which is a huge cost savings since his sister has four kids! We ended up getting my sister-in-law's family a game for their Wii and my brother-in-law's an outdoor activity set that our 18 month old niece will mostly enjoy. I bought an Italian food cookbook for my sister, and we went with the photos of Colton for our parents and Gregg's grandfather. We actually used pictures we already had and edited them in Picasa. We then ordered a bunch through Snapfish for only $3.40!
I feel really good about our inexpensive purchases, and I'm looking forward to giving them on the 25th. Giving and receiving pricey, elaborate gifts is not what Christmas is all about anyway. We should be focusing on the birth of our Savior, who was and is the best present we could ever receive.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. Yesterday's interview at Budwiser went very well. Gregg should hear something by Tuesday. While I was at the mall, he lined up two more interviews with different companies. He left at 6:00 this morning to catch a bus into Manhattan for his first one of the day, and then he has another in Jersey this afternoon. We are hoping something comes through really soon!
Colton and I had a great time at the mall yesterday. He was a good sport about being pushed around in and out of stores with Mommy. Since I have no money, I didn't buy anything of course, but it was still fun to look. I saw these super cute onesies on sale at Baby Gap, and was so tempted to get them. But I refrained. Hopefully soon we won't have to worry about dropping a few dollars on such a frivilous item.
It was really good to spend some time with Laura. We swapped C-section stories, chatted about our kids, and just caught up on the past three years that I've been away. Since her girls are 3 1/2 and 1, she's able to offer a lot of advice on parenting. All of our friends who got married around the same time as us have kids now. It will be great for Colton to play with them when he gets a little older.
And now for some pictures!
Sticking his thumb in his mouth, one of his favorite things to do now
Chilling out with Daddy, watching tv
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We did manage to set up the fake tree in the living room the other night, but that's as far as we got. It's not even our own fake tree. Jim & Laura had an extra one down in the basement that they said we could use. We didn't get the boxes of ornaments and lights out of the garage yet. Sigh. I think we're just going to scatter a few ornaments here and there, throw the tree skirt on, and call it done.
We plan to go Christmas shopping this weekend, but have no idea what to get anyone. Because finances are extremely tight right now, it won't be elaborate. I was thinking of just giving a framed picture of the baby to everybody. Simple, yet thoughtful. I think our version of Christmas will have to be stripped down from years past. For the sake of our budget and our sanity. Every year we run around like chickens with our heads cut off tyring to find the perfect gift for everybody, and end up getting crappy gifts from some people in return. It's ridiculous.
We already know we won't be able to top last year when we announced I was pregnant. At least we won't have to travel, which I'm happy about. I'm still glad we moved here and are close to family. These last few days though, I started to wonder "what in the world were we thinking?", watching the funds depleting from our bank account and my husband still not finding a job yet. He has an interview this morning and another one tomorrow, for jobs that look pretty promising. The one this morning is at a Budwiser distribution plant. Gregg would oversee a lot of the IT components for the plant. He joked that he'll get to take home free beer, which is funny because neither one of us drinks all that much. I think my limit is one drink per year!
Colton is doing much better. He's still a little congested and his right eye runny at times, but he's pretty much back to his normal self. For the past two nights, he has been sleeping in his crib again and not waking up with that awful, scared-sounding scream that jolted me out of bed at least two or three times per night. The Vicks Vaporizer and saline drops worked their magic. He had gotten out of his normal routine while being sick, since I let him sleep whenever he wanted to make up for all the times he woke up overnight. We are going to hang out at the mall this afternoon with Laura and her two little girls. Should be fun just to get out of the house for once!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
So I turned in my two week notice at work, we started packing boxes, rented a moving truck, and Gregg began sending out resumes to companies all over Northern NJ and NYC. He contacted a buddy of his to find out if he knew anywhere to rent that wouldn't break the bank. It ended up that friends of ours who got married the same year as us just happened to have an empty house they said we could live in until we found something more permanent. On Thanksgiving, Gregg's parents drove down to PA after having dinner at his aunt's to help us move.
Bright and early the next morning, we were loading the truck, packing the rest of our stuff, and cleaning. We had to tow the minivan on a dolly behind the truck, unfortunately, because on his way home from putting gas in it the night before, Gregg lost the brakes. It was a really good thing it happened then, instead of sometime on the way to NJ when I would have been driving it with Colton in the back seat. We got the van fixed that Saturday, which set us back about $300. Ugh. When we arrived nearly four hours later, our friend Jim who owns the house we're staying at came to help us move in. We discovered that he and his wife Laura had also bought us groceries and left some money on the counter for whatever else we might need! Gregg and I were just overwhelmed at their generosity.
On Sunday we went back to the church we had attended before moving to Florida, and it was like we never left. I didn't think people would recognize us after all this time, especially now that we have a baby in tow. But walking down the hallway to the sanctuary, we were instantly flagged down by some people who were having coffee in the fellowship hall. Throughout the morning, a lot more people greeted us and said how glad they were that we were there. An announcement was even made from the pulpit that we were back in town. During worship, I looked over at my husband who had tears in his eyes. He is not an emotional guy, but he was so moved by the fact that everybody remembered us and welcomed us so warmly.
It was truly like coming home. We had been such an integral part of that church- Gregg served on the Tech Team, I taught elementary school-aged girls Bible lessons on Wednesday nights, we were involved in a small group, attended adult Sunday School. It was clear to both of us this past Sunday that we had been missed and touched many people's lives. I had really missed our worship experience at GPBC. The people were always so genuine and spirit-filled, always looking for a way to help others and pray with them. They also really value family and children. There are so many wonderful programs for kids. I know Colton will have a solid Biblical foundation growing up in this church.
Recently I had been aching to be a part of this kind of fellowship again, with our church search in Chambersburg coming up dry every time. I kept feeling like more and more of an outsider every one we went to. And here we show up at our old church, and within the first five minutes are blown away by the most incredible reception. I joked that next week it's going to be in the bulletin that we're back.
After service, we went by Gregg's parents for Sunday dinner which is always a treat. His mom cooks enough for an army and the food is excellent. I had really missed that, too. I like that Colton will grow up surrounded by family, knowing his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Gregg's brother's daughter, Katelyn, was so excited to see "Coltie". My SIL Liz and I hope they grow up being close since they're only 15 months apart.
The one thing missing here is that Gregg hasn't found a job yet. He's had a couple of good leads and one interview already. We figured he can always work at one of the large computer or electronic retailers in the area in the meantime. We have some money in the bank that will last us a little while. The plan is for me to stay at home with Colton, if we can afford to. If I need to go back to work part-time or something, at least Gregg's mom can watch the baby so we don't have to put him in daycare.
It's really good to be back here. I love being a SAHM. I like the fact that I can just call up a girlfriend and get together for a play date. I did have my doubts, because of the high cost of living, and because of the risk we're taking by not having a stable income source right now. We've struggled financially before though, and have always made it through. God has always taken care of us. We could have moved elsewhere for a guaranteed job, but we'd have had to get used to a whole new area, find a new church, and make new friends all over again. I dreaded the idea of starting over, but I was willing to do it if it meant I could stay at home. I would have been so isolated though. Here, I know the lay of the land and there's no awkward learning curve. I already have friends and plenty of activities at the church to get involved in. There's an amazing women's Bible study on Wednesday mornings, with nursery provided, that I would love to join again.
We have already seen such an outpouring of blessings since our move only one week ago. Now we just need Gregg to land a job!! And for Colton to feel like himself again. My poor baby has been sick with a cold since Tuesday night. It's awful watching him suffer. He's waking up two to three times during the night screaming because he can't breathe. We moved the swing into his room so that he can sleep somewhat upright. He doesn't have much of an appetite, and just wants to sleep and be held. I feel so bad for him. I have to keep using the nasal aspirator (or "snot sucker", as my husband calls it) to clean out his tender little nose, and he hates it. He screams like someone is trying to kill him. Colton also has a case of "goopy eye", which seems to be getting better now thankfully.
I've decided to stay home from church tomorrow and take care of him. It wouldn't be fair to bring a sick baby to the nursery, and I don't want to drag him out into the cold when he already feels so yucky. I'm so glad I'm not working right now, because I feel like a zombie. Since Colton started sleeping through the night at two months, I've been spoiled with a full night's rest. Not so much this week. I should really be catching up on sleep right now while my baby sleeps, but instead I'm blogging. Go figure. :)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
We're going to skip the family fanfare at least for Thanksgiving and just enjoy a day off, getting up late and watching the parade on tv, then going to Cracker Barrel like we have the past two years. I wasn't much into the holiday spirit, until it snowed this past Friday. Then all of a sudden, I had to start listening to Christmas songs and mentally devising the family gift list. I am excited for our first Christmas with Colton, even though he can't open his own presents yet. I'm sure we'll take a ton of photos in the month of December alone of him by the tree and in his cute little festive outfits.
I know that everyone is going to want to see Colton around Christmas, and while I do want to show him off, I also don't want to drag him all over the world just so that he can be paraded around. He was one crabby baby the weekend we went up to Jersey at the end of October because we kept interrupting nap time to see yet another person. It's going to be hard to stick to a schedule when we visit family for Christmas, but we're going to try our best.
Colton has been adding some new tricks to his bag lately. He is now blowing bubbles and babbling up a storm! It is so cute hearing him carrying on to himself in his crib before I get out of bed in the morning. And he laughs, too. It is hysterical listening to him do it. Usually, it's his dad that gets him going. Colton's face will light up when he sees Gregg, and he is ready for playtime. He now smiles on his own without any prompting from us. It is the best feeling in the world when my baby boy flashes me a toothless grin, for no other reason than he knows I'm his mommy. We've been adding a little bit of rice cereal to his formula the past couple of days, since he was getting hungry in between feedings. He's been doing great with it, and it looks like we may actually be able to eliminate a feeding or two.
He's still sleeping through the night and not waking up until about 6:30 or 7:00. Sometimes he'll wake up in the middle of the night and fuss for a while, but eventually he soothes himself back to sleep. Colton has started imitating me and Gregg, also. If we make certain sounds or stick out our tongues, he does it too! It is amazing how much he processes now. He's such a fun little guy.
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving!!
Having a good time with Daddy
Trying to eat his hand
Friday, November 14, 2008
It seems like just yesterday my sweet baby boy was born. Now he's entered the second quarter of his first year, leaving 0-3 month clothing and #1 diapers behind in the dust. I swear he grows a little more every day.
It's so cool how he interacts more with me and Gregg now. Now Colton is the one initiating smiles and coos, as if trying to get our attention. He keeps bringing his hands up to his mouth and can hold onto a rattle for a little while when we put one into his hand. He has no idea what to do with it yet, though!
I've been looking back at all the photos we've taken so far of Colton and discovered that there are 803 of them. Gee, do you think he's our first?? I can't get over how good he is. He continues to sleep through the night and stick to the schedule we've put him on, with little variation. He is so easy going and happy. It makes me wonder if we'll be so fortunate with our second one. :)
As for a follow up to my downer last post, I am feeling better. I always feel crappier during the week, and work has a lot to do with it. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed there, and trying not to think about the fact that I miss my son. On Wednesday as I was running out the door to go on one of my visits with a kid, I bumped into a foster parent who asked me how Colton was doing and how I was adjusting back to work. I made polite small talk and then nearly lost it once I got into the car. I keep thinking, lots of mothers work. They do this every day with no problem. Why can't I keep it together?
So I don't really think it's postpartum depression so much as feeling torn between my job and my baby. I'm finding my strength in God these days, because I just don't have it in myself. Every time Colton smiles at me and gurgles makes my day a little less burdensome, too.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I'm loving this cooler weather; when it's just chilly enough outside to need a jacket and there are multicolored leaves scattered about on the ground, crunching under foot. The trees are so beautiful this time of year. It always makes me nostalgic for my childhood days of jumping in leaf piles, going apple & pumpkin picking, and trick or treating. Speaking of Halloween, my mother-in-law made Colton an adorable Eeyore costume! He hasn't worn it yet, so I don't have pictures but I'll post them soon.
Gregg's parents came into town for a quick visit last Sunday after spending the weekend in North Carolina with Gregg's sister and her family. They took us out to Ruby Tuesday's and gave Gregg his birthday gift, since his b-day was on the 9th. They were so amazed at how much bigger Colton had gotten since they saw him last. At their last visit, he was only a week old.
It seems like he daily outgrows his clothes. He is still such a good baby, eating and sleeping wonderfully. We've tried to get him on a schedule, and he's done great with it so far. Although lately, he doesn't go down at nighttime as easily as before. He used to take his last bottle around 7 or 8, I'd do a diaper change and change him into his jammies, and he'd go right down. Now he'll fuss for about twenty minutes after his bottle and want to be rocked a while before he goes to sleep. Last night after his bath, he fussed while I was holding him and eventually dozed off in my arms. I tiptoed up the stairs and put him in the crib. Not five minutes later, he started screaming and wouldn't stop until I fed him another 2 oz. and rocked him in the glider.
What's really cool though, is that Colton didn't wake up until 7 this morning. And he slept until 7am yesterday, too. He knows how much his mama likes her sleep. :) He tries now to put his whole fist in his mouth, and gets frustrated when it won't fit! It's so cute. The other day he giggled for the first time. Gregg was making funny faces and noises at him, and a giggle came out. Colton is also moving around a lot more. Many mornings, I'll find him facing the opposite way of how I placed him in the crib the night before. He is starting to get very active, and very vocal. Sometimes I think he's trying to talk!
We don't have much planned for today. We'll probably stick to our regular Sunday evening routine of eating leftovers in front of the tv and watching football. Then it's back to another week of work. Whoo hoo.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
He is getting so big already. He's starting to outgrow some of his 0-3 month clothes, and I'm sad about it. I've felt when I go to pick him up that he's noticeably heavier. He has also found his thumb and sucks on it occasionally.
Colton is now sleeping for ten hours overnight, too! He doesn't wake up until 5-5:30am, which is awesome because I still get six or seven hours of sleep before I have to start getting ready for the day. He goes to the pediatrician on Thursday for his two month check up.
This past weekend was pretty good. Saturday the three of us went to the annual Apple Harvest Festival near Gettysburg for a few hours. It was a gorgeous fall day and the fairgrounds were packed with people. Sunday we lounged in bed before getting out to do grocery shopping. That evening we talked on the phone to our families, watched the football game, and ate leftovers for dinner.
I hate when the weekend comes to a close and it's Monday all over again. So far, this week isn't as stressful as last week. Still hectic though. I'd really rather be at home with my little boy than divide my time between him and work. It was hard when I was just pregnant to focus on my job, but now it's even harder. I feel like one thing or the other gets sacrificed. I can't possibly be great at both. I honestly don't want to deal with the frustrating amount of paperwork, rude foster kids, and scatterbrained foster parents anymore.
Gregg and I have talked about how I could become a SAHM since a few months before Colton was born. My husband has been looking for a job that would pay him enough to nearly replace my salary and since there aren't that many high paying positions in this area, let alone IT ones, we will most likely end up moving. I mentioned in a previous post how we're already not too fond of living here. Gregg isn't very happy in his current position either. We both feel he can and should be paid what he deserves, but for as long as I've known him he hasn't been. I keep encouraging him not to settle. He has years and years of experience in this field, and should be recognized for that.
So another job in probably another state is what we're considering. We've even contemplated moving back to New Jersey. I don't know what God's plan is for us. I thought I knew. But after two moves for jobs with ministries that didn't work out, I don't know anymore. I am so confused right now, and desperately seeking the Lord's direction and guidance. I don't feel as if I'm getting a sense of peace about any one direction. I hate feeling this unsettled and unsure.
Another thing I'm struggling with too, is that we still haven't found a church to call home. This area is saturated with churches, but they're all so... lifeless. There's no passion. I want to be inspired and challenged. I want to be moved. I will not settle for a spiritually ho-hum life. I won't for myself and for my children. That's another huge reason to move also.
I want us to make the best decision possible for our family and future, so I'm open to whatever door God wants us to walk through. But- even though we don't want to stay in this place long term and it's best that we relocate, I've still become attached to it. And the thought of moving and starting over for the third time in almost three years just overwhelms me. How many times can we do this???
These are the thoughts that have been running through my head for the past several weeks. I continue to pray that God points us in the right direction.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I realized I have to put in more time at the office than I have been, simply because I can't get much done at home while trying to take care of a baby. I have to drop what I'm doing to feed him, change him, rock him, etc. I love being with my little boy, but for the sake of my sanity I need to be in a place where I can actually accomplish something. I barely made it into the agency this past week, even with getting up about 5 o'clock every morning. I was seriously worried my supervisor was going to say something about it to me today, but he didn't. He was very understanding, and said I just need to figure out what works best for me.
Right. Easier said than done.
Warning: this paragraph contains a lot of TMI- This morning I had my post partum appointment with my doctor. It was supposed to be a six week follow up, but she couldn't see me until today. Dr. Brown is fabulous. I am SO glad she was the one who performed my C-section. She held Colton for a while and exclaimed how big he's getting. She said my incision is healing very nicely and the redness should go away sometime within the next year. My uterus has almost shrunk back down to its original size. My weight is still hovering around twenty pounds more than what I weighed at the beginning of my pregnancy. Bleh. Time for a diet. Dr. Brown gave me a prescription for bc, which I can start taking after I get my next period.
Before we left, she had me sign Colton's name and birth date on a large quilt which she has all the women she delivers sign. She said she had to start another one because the first is completely full of names! I don't have to come back now for another year when I'm due for my annual exam.
I'm realizing that I am still very much dealing with adjusting to having a baby. I know that seems pretty obvious, but it hit me last night that's why I'm so stressed out and a little depressed. It's okay though. Having a new baby is an adjustment. I think I was beating myself up for not being happy every single moment of the day. I do love being a mom. I am absolutely in love with my son, and can't imagine life without him. But he has radically altered my entire world.
I am so glad it's the weekend! I love days off. Time just to spend with my husband and baby. :)
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Yesterday actually marked the one year anniversary since I started at my job. It's weird to think that I spent the majority of this past year pregnant and planning for a baby. Now I'm a mom and trying to juggle the responsibilities of work, motherhood, and being a wife. I feel a bit stretched, to say the least.
Last night (I'm sure you all wanted to know this) I started my period for the first time in nearly eleven months. On a FRIDAY night. Yay- not so much. Thankfully I don't have monster cramps like I thought I would. I was wondering how long it would take to show up after giving birth. I'm still not back on bc, so it could be a while before AF resumes her regular schedule.
Anyway, Colton just turned seven weeks this past Thursday! He is becoming quite the charmer with his smiles and coos. He's almost sleeping through the night, too. He'll fall asleep about 7 or 8pm after a feeding, and wake up again around 4 the next morning! We had to buy bigger bottles because he's starting to take 6 oz. at a time now. He is one hungry hippo.
I need to wash some bigger size clothing for him, since it's pretty obvious he's growing, and also since the weather is getting cooler! I know he's not even two months old yet, but a lot of his 3-6 month outfits include long sleeves. There are a few that come with hoodies, which will keep him warm on these chilly autumn days.
I'm so glad fall has arrived. I can wear sweatshirts & sneakers again, and watch the leaves change colors. Time for chai lattes, apple pies, and pumpkins! Colton is too little this year to pick out his own pumpkin of course, but he will have his own Halloween costume made especially for him by Grandma Boonstra. We don't know yet what it'll be. I'm sure he will look adorable in it!
Here is my little angel:
It strikes me that he is so beautiful and yet the most disgusting things come out of him on a daily basis. I usually don't mind changing diapers, but this morning's was really icky. The happy little smiling bears on the Huggies wipes were blissfully unaware of the cruel fate that awaited them. How in a matter of seconds, they would meet Colton's bottom and smile no more. It's amazing how many wipes I need to go through in one changing because they're so inadequate at doing the job of removing what my husband calls "sludge". He's written quite a descriptive post about this over on our baby blog here.
Sometimes I am humbled and overwhelmed that God would choose to bless me with such a wonderful baby. I can't believe he's actually mine!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Hopefully someday I will be able to just stay at home full-time. When I imagined myself having kids, I was always at home with them while my husband went to work. I'd watch Sesame Street and Blues Clues with them in the morning while sneaking in a few house chores here and there, take them to the park in the afternoon, and have time to prepare a nice dinner which would be ready just in time for their dad's arrival home. As long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a mom. I need to remember that even though I work full-time, I am still a mom!
I still get to see my beautiful baby boy every day and watch him achieve all his milestones. And it's not like I'll be chained to my office eight hours a day, five days a week. There are certain things I have to put in time for at the agency, and I need to make weekly visits to the kids' homes when they get home from school. Other than that, I can do progress notes, reports, and treatment plans from the comfort of my kitchen table! I'll still have plenty of hours in the day to spend with my little boy. I just need to keep telling myself that...
Switching topics, yesterday we got a visit from my sister and her husband. Valerie hadn't seen Colton since a few days after he was born. She brought a package of diapers and wipes for him, which was a very nice and practical gift! We seem to be going through those like there's no tomorrow. They spent a few hours with us and stayed for dinner & dessert. I'm so glad we only live about two hours from them so we can get together more often.
Here is a dose of Colton cuteness for the day:
He really isn't too fond of tummy time. Right after I took this picture, he started crying. :(
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Being a mom sure changes everything. That worried feeling I used to tease my own mother about, I now have. I have pretty much second guessed every decision I've made since he was born, and when he's settled down after fussing or crying and I go do something else, I feel guilty that I'm not spending that time with him. This anxiety has driven me to read all I can get my hands on about how to raise children. It's definitely helped me not to feel so overwhelmed and unprepared.
The washer, dryer, and dishwasher seem to be going nonstop with all the laundry and bottles Colton goes through in a day. I'm going through more clothes myself. I don't think there's a day that I haven't been spit up on! I've managed to avoid getting peed on when I'm changing a diaper by placing a washcloth over the "sprinkler". Still, there are times when I'm holding him that all of a sudden I'll start to feel a warm sensation and then need to go change my pants. Those diapers don't hold as much as you think.
I think I'm going to start reliving my own childhood over again now that I have a kid. I started recalling many of the songs I listened to as a child, and began singing them to Colton. My sister and I would listen ad nauseum in our playroom to our Sesame Street records. Decades later, I can still remember a lot of those simple but fun lyrics. I was thinking about going online and seeing if I can get some of the records on cd now.
So this is my last week of maternity leave. I go back to work on Monday. Boo hiss. My supervisor has been really great though about making sure my transition back is as non-stressful as possible. We talked about reducing my caseload to about 4 or 5 "low maintenance" kids and taking on some adoption work to make up the rest of my pay. This would allow me to spend more time at home with Colton. It seems like my agency is really doing whatever they can to keep me, and they understand how difficult it is to return now that I have a small baby.
In other news, Gregg and I ventured out this past Sunday to try yet another church. It was okay. Not great, not bad. The congregation was pretty small but very welcoming. I can't say I instantly felt like this was the church for us, but we'll probably go back. We received a card in the mail yesterday from the pastor thanking us for attending, which was nice.
I'd better go, I hear a baby crying...
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tess and Colton, the best of friends
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We went from being at church practically all the time since Gregg worked for King Street Church, to not going at all. After Gregg left his position there, we both looked forward to attending church services and other special church activities together. I had felt disconnected from him on Sunday mornings, since he couldn’t be a part of the worship experience right along with me, because he always had to work. Our church hunt has been very frustrating for us, though, leaving our desire for spiritual closeness unfulfilled. I still really want to be connected to a church body somewhere, especially now that we have a child.
Another reason we’ve put our church search on hold is that for a few months we have seriously been considering moving to Charlotte, NC. That’s right; I said moving. As if we haven’t done enough of that in the last few years.
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re not crazy about the area we live in and only moved here for Gregg’s position with KSC. There’s not much to do except “watch the corn grow”, and not a whole lot of potential for Gregg career wise. The school system isn’t the best either, and while it will be five years until Colton is ready to go to school, it’s something we need to consider. Can our family thrive here long term?
I’ve thought many times about the prospect of moving again. I told Gregg I would do it if it meant he could get a job that would allow me to stay home with our son. He’s had a few interviews down there, but nothing has panned out yet. I’m all for it if I sense that that is the direction God is leading us in, and if it will ultimately end up being the best for our family. But it would mean starting all over.
Gregg’s sister and my stepsister both live in suburbs right outside of Charlotte, so it’s not like we wouldn’t know anyone. I’m not really close with either of them, though, and they have their own friends and families. It took me so long to actually get used to living here and settling in. I probably questioned every day for months whether we should have left Florida to move here, and now I’m actually comfortable in this environment. I know my way around, I have good friends, we have a great family doctor, and a nice, spacious place to live. It would be wonderful to be a SAHM though. I understand that with any move towards a better life, there’s going to be sacrifice. I’m just tired of having to lose things along the way in order to achieve this.
I go back to work in two weeks, which I’m not looking forward to. I’ve really enjoyed my time off with my baby. My short-term disability period will be up on the 25th, but since this is a Thursday, I’ll start again the following Monday instead. I tried to get more time, but my doctor’s office said that unless there were complications with my C-section, all they sign off on is 6 weeks. I still have some paid time off built up, but I have to come back to work before I can use it. I only used three days since my last day of work was August 8, and Colton was born on the 14th which is when disability started. I’ll probably just save the PTO to use around the holidays, since we usually visit our families up in Jersey at Christmas.
The life insurance company paid out my disability all in one lump sum, which was very nice. They sent a check shortly after the first of the September, and I received more than I was anticipating. My health insurance paid all of my hospital expenses, too. They sent a statement the other day with all of the expenses that were incurred, and the grand total for my 56 hour stay: $13,000. I thought it was going to be more like $20,000. I suppose if the hospital were in a more metropolitan area, the amount would have been closer to this figure. $13K is still a buttload of money. It seemed like I was charged for anything and everything. There was a labor room charge, which I find odd since I never even went into labor! Both the hospital and my doctor each had their own separate charges for the circumcision, too. Crazy.
Sorry this post was so disjointed. I’m finding it difficult to form coherent thoughts lately, let alone coherent posts!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Everyone keeps saying how good I look for having just had a baby one month ago. I really appreciate their compliments when I'm feeling like a cow because I still have to wear maternity pants. I feel slightly depressed that I can't fit into any of my cute tops or favorite pair of jeans, but that will come in time I guess. The site of my incision is still a little bit sensitive, making it uncomfortable to wear anything but maternity or sweat pants anyway.
Here are some more pictures:Colton enjoying his bottle
The two sleepy heads, laying on Daddy
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Colton didn't really enjoy the bath. He screamed most of the time. Then he let us know what he really thought of it by peeing in the water. We had to drain the yucky water out and refill it with clean water.
Afterwards, he got dressed in his jammies and I fed him a bottle. He fell asleep in my arms, and I snuggled with him for a while before putting him down in the crib. I really like those quiet moments the two of us have.
Whew, I'm glad that's over with!
All ready for bed
Monday, September 01, 2008
I'm starting to recognize his cues for what he wants. I think I've got the "hungry cry" down pat. The other ones, not so much. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what he needs, so we do a lot of trial & error.
It's amazing how much I underestimated how different things would be with a baby. Everything gets dropped right away to take care of his needs. He cries, and I come running. It's a pretty big undertaking to prepare to go out anywhere with him too. Yesterday, Gregg and I actually made it out of the house and took Colton to the park. We pushed him along in his snugrider carrier, and he stayed asleep for the majority of our outing. Along the way, Gregg stopped to look for some caches hidden in various places.
I'm still dealing with some lingering "blue" feelings. I do kind of miss being pregnant. Feeling Colton move around inside me was one of the best feelings ever. It's sorta weird to have a much flatter tummy now, when I was so used to my big round preggo belly all those months. On the other hand, it is really nice to be rid of the constant back and neck pain, see my feet again, and actually take a walk somewhere without feeling like I just climbed a mountain. It's also great to be able to fit nice and snugly into my husband's arms again.
I have all this anxiety, too, thinking that I'm going to do something wrong, and seriously screw up my child. I keep waiting for the maternal instincts to kick in. I mean, I know I'm not totally clueless, but there's an overwhelming amount of stuff I don't know. I nearly panicked the other day when I realized I should be trying to engage my baby in play during his alert times. I hadn't done that up until this point. So I started trying to get him interested in his stuffed animals, but he isn't into them yet. He's not crazy about tummy time either. Sometimes it seems like we're in the never ending cycle of eat, poop, and sleep. Who has time for play?
I'm probably freaking out for no reason, and probably all new moms go through this. Please, tell me they do!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We are now on Colton time. He pretty much determines when we do things, according to his schedule. The other day, Gregg & I were getting ready to head out the door. I had prepared the baby's bottles and packed the diaper bag, being careful not to overlook anything. I was feeling pretty confident in my new found mom abilities, in fact. I decided to do one last diaper change before we left. I took the old diaper off, and as I was about to slide the new one under his bottom, the "sprinkler" started spraying! The stream went up and over the changing table, getting Colton's hair, face, and clothes wet. I started laughing when I realized what happened. But then I became annoyed. I had to change his entire outfit and wipe down the changing table before we could leave, which set us back about 30 minutes. Oh well, such is life with baby.
Colton seems to grow a little bit more every day. He already outgrew one of his pajamas, and a couple of the t-shirts he got in the hospital. He is now chugging down 3.5 oz per feeding. My little boy also graduated from the cradle in our room to the crib in the nursery. Last night Gregg put him down in there, and he went right to sleep! He looks so tiny in it.
I'm definitely getting a lot of "on the job training" as a new mother. Colton teaches me something new every day. I've probably never felt more incompetent, and then more proud when I actually get the hang of something. It seems like a Herculean feat to dress him sometimes. Especially when he's screaming up a storm, and you're trying ever so gingerly not to break off appendages while you're putting his little arms and feet into an outfit. He sure makes life interesting!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
His mama is doing fine as well. Yesterday was my best day so far. I was able to get around with little discomfort, and emotions wise I felt pretty balanced. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this mom thing.
I'm in that awkward, in between stage where I still don't fit into many of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but all my maternity outfits are too big. I had been feeling really unattractive, due to my now flabby tummy, scar, and ew, stretch marks. My husband is so sweet though. He tells me that I'm beautiful and called my incision my "mommy scar", a sign that I've bore him our son. He also said that I "cooked one great baby".
I still can't believe I'm a mother. It's all so surreal and amazing. I keep thinking Colton is too good to be true, and all of a sudden he's going to be up ten times a night screaming at the top of his lungs. So far we've been able to take him out with us to Target, out for lunch, and out for ice cream, and each trip he just slept the whole time. He has definitely made the transition to mommyhood a relatively easy one for me.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Even though our son is relatively easy going, Gregg and I have quickly found that the world now revolves around him. Meals get put on hold, sleep is disturbed, and our time is consumed by meeting the many needs of this tiny new being.
I thought before any more time goes by, I should post the birth story. So here goes:
I was originally scheduled to arrive at the hospital for my planned C-section at 12:15pm last Thursday, but they moved the time up to 11:30am much to mine & Gregg's delight. We were so anxious that morning that we got there at 11, and my room was already ready and waiting. I had two wonderful nurses attending to me, who started me on an IV and went over a whole bunch of paperwork. A while later, the anesthesiologist and some of surgical team met with me. I started feeling really nervous and also dizzy at this point, because I hadn't eaten anything since 7pm the night before (I had to fast from midnight on) and I was being pumped full of antibiotics.
By 1:00, they were ready for me to go to OR. The whole next hour was kind of a blur. They gave me the spinal which numbed me from the chest down, and inserted a catheter. It seemed like the spinal took effect immediately. After they prepped me and put the shield up, Gregg was allowed in the room, wearing his scrubs. He sat by my side holding my hand and rubbing my shoulder the entire time.
I don't remember a whole lot of what happened afterwards. It seemed like the procedure was over in a matter of minutes. I heard the doctor say something about the fact that the baby was trying to squirm away from her, then felt a lot of pressure as they lifted him out. He started crying right away, very loudly. When I heard him scream, I felt such a wave of emotion and began crying myself. The doctor showed him to me briefly before he got cleaned up and weighed. Gregg went back to the room with the baby while I was stitched up. After they moved me from the operating table to the hospital bed and wheeled me back, I finally got to hold my son for the first time. I remember thinking he was so perfect and beautiful.
I spent about two hours in recovery before any visitors were allowed back. Gregg's parents, my mom, and my sister were eagerly awaiting their chance to see the baby. The next several hours were pretty difficult, as the spinal wore off and I began feeling the pain from the surgery. The nurses gave me Morphine, which made me really nauseous. I couldn't even keep ice water down. I had to stay in bed until the next morning, and didn't get much sleep that night with nurses coming in and out of the room every so often to check on me and the baby. They had me up to go to the bathroom around 9am and I was able to eat solid foods by that afternoon. My appetite returned by that evening and I was able to enjoy the celebratory dinner staff brought in for me and Gregg. Late the next day, I was discharged from the hospital.
I'm still healing from the Cesarean, but every day it gets easier to move around. For several days after the birth, Gregg took care of Colton. I felt pretty guilty, as well as left out, that I couldn't do anything other than just hold my baby. Gregg has been absolutely wonderful, though, reassuring me that my main priority is to get better. He is an amazing father. He just adores our son and is so good with him.
I've had a touch of the baby blues since Colton was born, which hasn't made my recovery any easier. I gave breastfeeding a fair try, but after a few days decided it wasn't for me. That was a really hard decision to make, but I realized that I am no less Colton's mother because I choose to bottle feed him. The other thing that was difficult at first was coming to terms with the scar left behind from the surgery. I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful doctor perform my C-section. She used dissolvable stitches so I don't have to go back and have them taken out, thankfully. I was still horrified seeing the scar for the first time. I know that eventually it will fade, and I'll return to my pre-pregnancy weight & shape.
This has been one long emotional roller coaster of a week. Every day gets a little easier, though. I have a beautiful, healthy baby and proud, devoted husband for which I am very grateful.
Here are some pictures!