Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Lazy Sunday

Here I am, enjoying my last day before going back to work. In a way, it seems like forever ago that I left to have a baby and in another, it's like no time has gone by at all. These past six weeks have definitely been challenging, but so rewarding too. I have loved being home with my son. I'm not sure how balancing work with raising a child is going to pan out yet. Plus taking care of all of the household responsibilities. I'm very fortunate to have a husband that helps out tremendously, though.

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

I think this picture pretty well sums it up.

Shortly before it was taken, Colton gave me a big smile and proceeded to throw up down the front of my shirt. Oh, the joys of motherhood.

Random Thoughts

All quiet in the Boonstra household... for now. I thought I'd take this opportunity while Colton is napping in his swing to post something. It's amazing how much he consumes my life. Not in a bad way, of course. Just that a lot of my time is devoted to making sure he has what he needs and is happy.

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

Five Weeks

Today I went out for the first time on my own with Colton, and met my friend Ruthann for lunch at Panera. It was so nice to get out of the house! It felt a little weird to drive again, though. Our first outing alone together was a success. Colton slept in the minivan on the way there and on the way back, and he fussed a little when we got to the restaurant but I gave him a pacifier and he settled right down. It was great to have some quality girltalk. It is so good to have a friend that "gets me".

I can't believe Colton is five weeks old already! He's sleeping longer during the night, which his mommy sure appreciates. Last night he slept from 8pm to 1am and woke up again at 5. He is taking 4 oz. about 7-8 times a day now. The other day, he smiled at me for the first time and my heart melted.

Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with how much I love this little boy. The feeling wasn't instaneous for me though, as I thought it would be. It grew on me over these last few weeks.

So many women talk about the birth of their child in glowing terms and how they just fell in love with their baby right away. They almost make it seem glamorous. There certainly wasn't anything glamorous in my case about being cut open and then left incapacitated in an uncomfortable hospital bed, in the worst pain I've ever been in. With all that I went through to bring my son into the world, I can't say it was love at first sight. But I definitely love him now with a love I didn't know before.

I daydream about what he will be like in all the different stages of childhood. I know he'll grow up fast right before my eyes, but he will always be my little boy.
How cute is he???

Tess and Colton, the best of friends

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I thought I'd give an update on how our church hunt is coming, amongst other things. We kind of put it on hold with being away a couple of weekends in July and then preparing for the baby's arrival. We haven't been to church in a couple of months, and I feel really bad about it.

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

One Month Old!

It's been one whole month since Colton Patrick entered the world. He has stolen our hearts and completely turned our lives upside down. I'm looking forward to seeing how he grows and develops over this next month. I read that in their second month, babies start to express pleasure in the form of a smile. I can't wait for my little guy to flash me a toothless grin!

He is so much more alert now. I'm wondering what happened to my sleepy lump of a baby. It's pretty cool to see his eyes wide open, taking in the world around him. I can't tell yet if he looks more like me or Gregg. People say that Colton looks more his daddy, but that could end up changing.

Yesterday, my mom and stepdad came from New Jersey to visit. They brought yummy pre-made Italian meals with them and took us out for dinner. My mother is one proud grandma. She just adores Colton and brags about him to all her friends and coworkers. This is her first grandchild, so he will be very spoiled.

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

4 Weeks

Colton is four weeks old already! I can't believe how time is just flying by. It seems like he's always been a part of our family, yet only 4 weeks have passed since his birth.

I'm feeling more comfortable in my role as mommy, though there are plenty of times when I start to think this taking care of a baby thing is getting easier, that Colton changes the tide on me. I'll think I have his cries and routine figured out, but in reality there is no routine. As he grows, he also changes. What he wants today might not be what he wants tomorrow.

If there's one thing I have learned, is that babies are messy. Colton must go through three different outfits in a day between all the spitting up, peeing, and pooping. I feel like I am constantly cleaning him up. He also throws my whole schedule off. Often I don't get into the shower until after noon, and don't eat lunch until 2 or 3. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted but feel like I didn't accomplish a thing! With his feeding schedule, I get about two hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time. Sometimes I'm so tired I can't think straight.

But when I'm holding him after a feeding and he nestles his head between my neck and shoulder, I forget all about the lack of sleep, the dirty diapers, and the mountain of baby laundry. He is so worth it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

3 Weeks

My little man is three weeks old today!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Colton's First Bath

Last night Colton had his first bath in the baby bathtub. Up until his umbilical cord stump fell off over Saturday night, we had been giving him sponge baths. The baby tub is almost as big as our regular bathtub! He looked so small in it.

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

Motherhood Musings

Just thought I'd take a few moments to post while Colton is napping... He seems to be awake longer during the day now and requires more feedings. Which means less time to get stuff done around here. He's pretty predictable: sleep for 2-3 hours, wake up crying for food, eat for 20 minutes or so, produce a dirty diaper, stay awake and look curiously around the room for anywhere from 15-20 minutes, go back to sleep. And lather, rinse, repeat.

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!