Monday, January 30, 2012

River Dog

River was our fifth pet, our second dog. Lets face it, she never was a great fit with our lifestyle. River was very energetic and she needed real obedience/discipline. DH and I are pretty sedentary and we have no "stick to it" so to speak so real discipline did not happen. She can be so incredibly cute and sweet at sometimes! She loves to lay as close to you as possible (or on top of you), and despite our fears she was good with baby, very concerned if baby was OK. However, she also would chew up anything, she had some resource guarding issues, she would get restless in the evenings and want to play fight with our other dog in the middle of our small family room. She has such short hair that she has no tolerance for cold. The short version of this story then is that when we decided to move to Minnesota, we had to seriously consider what to do about River. There was three main problems - our general lack of control of her, her being unwelcome at our interim home of my parents house due both to her temperament and my mom's allergies, and finally the problem with her cold tolerance. We ended up deciding we couldn't keep her and if at all possible it would be better for her to be left in Ohio where the weather is not so extreme. We found a rescue for her to go to, but at the last minute my aunt and cousin decided to take her in. We are simultaneously very relieved and happy to have her in a good home, and very guilty feeling because (1) we feel like we "dumped" her on my cousin, who has taken in many dogs that her friends/family have made poor decisions in adopting and (2) we failed to live up to our own standards of pet ownership.

And that is what this post is really about, the fact that I feel like a complete hypocrite. I think I have always been sort of a hypocrite when it comes to pet care, but this takes the cake. I have always believed that when you take on a pet they are not just a possession or a luxury, but a living creature you are responsible for and cannot just decide to get rid of because it would be convenient. I generally dislike the idea of getting rid of a pet for any reason besides their own best interest. This is why when I talk about our decision to re-home River I tend to emphasize the weather, but in all honesty the pure convenience had just as much to do with it. The fact is, I am a hypocrite and need to deal with that and probably will feel guilty for the next ten years about giving up River. That, and as nice as it is to not deal with her bad behavior, I really do miss her cuteness.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Duluth

I have a couple of posts I want to write that I have not gotten to because the last week has been so crazy. I do intend to post about our dog, River, that we left in Columbus. I would also like to make a "farewell Columbus" post. Hopefully I will get to both of these in the next week as things settle down, but I thought it was important to first tell you all in the blogopshere that we made it safe and sound to Duluth.

Sunday - We went to my Grandma's house in Mt Vernon, where we met up with my brother, older sister, and BIL. Benji got to meet his Great Grandma and one of his Great Uncles, as well as the two uncles and aunt.

Monday through Wednesday - We spent these three days packing, cleaning, repairing. My BIL brought his truck and a 28 foot car trailer for us to pack into. He also has mad skills when it comes to anything carpentry related, so he set to work fixing the various things pets have eaten or broken. We never would have made it out of that house without all of their help. I was tied down by baby and physical limitations, so my sister did the majority of the actual packing into boxes while the boys did all sorts of cleaning and moving furniture and packing into the trailer. It was an insane three days!! Wednesday night the house was entirely empty and we stayed in a hotel nearby.

Thursday - After an hour at the house for final walk through and to pick up the pets, we were on the road!! But then we hit traffic leaving Cbus, and then we stopped because the guys decided we needed a heavier duty trailer hitch, and then our Buick had a nearly flat tire... but we did get moving eventually and amazing enough Benjamin was not the cause of any of the delays. He was a champ, mostly just slept while I was incredibly productive with the pump for breast milk. I averaged 2.5-3 oz per pumping, and this was off of one side each time! I was not expecting to do that well. We drove all the way up to Manistique MI that night, where my sister with her vet connections had arranged for us to be able to leave the pets overnight in a vet clinic. The night itself was rough. The baby had slept so much during the day he did not want to sleep much overnight and he wanted to be held all night. I took the brunt of the lack of sleep on so that DH would be alert to drive... not fun.

Friday - After Breakfast with my sister's vet friend, we made the last 6 hrs of the drive to Duluth. It went relatively smoothly though we  hit some bad weather in Wisconsin that slowed us down, but we made it eventually. When we got to my parents house the sun came out like some cheesy made for TV movie. I again was tied down by the baby while everyone else helped move us in. We are staying in two bedrooms in my parents house - one has the bed and one dresser, the other has a couple more dressers, our desktop computer, our rocker, and all the baby stuff. It was a challenge to figure out what needed to come off the trailer and what could stay on there "in storage" - quite stressful actually and there are still some "necessary" items that has not been found, but all the help was amazing.

And that is the story of our move! DH starts his new job tomorrow  (Monday). I need to get us unpacked, get our address switched over with everyone, start applying for jobs, and start looking for housing. What an adventure! We really took the plunge and are In Duluth!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Three Weeks Old!!

Benjamin is now 3 weeks old! We introduced the pacifier and he likes it a lot. It has made breastfeeding slightly more difficult, but no major problems, it just takes him longer to latch. It certainly hasn't hurt his nutrition - as of yesterday UW weighed 9 lbs 13 oz!! Holy chunker Batman! He still is eating pretty much every two hours. How much sleep I get varies greatly from night to night. I am actually typing this on DH's phone at 3am waiting for him to be asleep enough to put down.
Today is a day of firsts for him. It is moving day! First road trip, first crossing of the Mackinac
Bridge, first motel stay... By tommorrow night he will have been in four states!
My recovery isn't going as fast as I had thought it would. That has become (literally) painfully obvious in the past three days as we have packed etc. I still have a lot of muscular and skeletal pain in my nether regions, and intermittent skin/stitch pain. My tolerance for standing is very low. But it is improving so I am sure things will return to normal eventually!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two Weeks Old!

 Benjamin is 2 weeks old today!  How crazy is that? It simultaneously seems like we have had him forever and like we just got home. He is the cutest baby ever, though I may be biased, and he is growing so fast. We already have one newborn outfit that he wore his second day home and then when we put it on him a day or two ago he hardly could stretch his legs in it. We weighed him on Monday and he is up to 8lbs15oz - that is 9 oz weight gain in 6 days! What a big growing boy. He still eats like a champ, too often for my liking but we are working on having better feedings with more time in between... I will let you know how that goes. He has a lot of head control! Its crazy how much he can hold his head up sometimes. We go through a lot of diapers and almost as many outfits. He has a lovely habit (which I had heard of with boys), of peeing as soon as we get his diaper off. Fun stuff. His umbilical cord fell off on Saturday night and he had his first bath yesterday. He actually seemed to like the warm water!! I will try to post the videos from that bath on google+ . That is all I can think of to update you on... did I mention is is adorable?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I admit it. I am incredibly anxious about the upcoming move. Not so much the logistics, but as much as we have wanted and talked about moving to Duluth, actually having it happen so quickly is incredibly nerve wracking. I worry if we are making the right decision. I worry about whether the finances will work out. I worry about if we have more here in Columbus than we realize and will regret the move. I worry that DH will be unhappy. I worry that I will be unhappy. Those are the big ones.

I keep returning to this George Eliot quote, a mantra of sorts, "Some discouragement, some faintness of heart at the new real future which replaces the imaginary is not unusual." Its a reminder that what we imagine something will be like is never actually how it feels when it happens, and that that is normal and we need to give ourselves a chance to adjust to change, even change we want. OK. I am not sure that is what George Eliot meant at all, but this is what it means to me.

I just wanted to admit how nervous I am. That is all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


My weight history:

In high school I weighed around 145lbs and considered it a healthy, athletic weight.
I went off to college and gained some Freshman weight, oscillated between 150-155 lbs. If I put any effort into losing it whatsoever (like giving up soda for lent), I would drop it off easily.
I went to Europe in Spring 2005 and gained a ton because of yummy food, got up to 160-165, but I lost it rapidly when I got home and went back to oscillating between 150-155.
At the end of 2005 I got engaged and made a New Years Resolution to work out, took a step class (loved it!), cut back on soda and snacking, and dropped weight, gained muscle, it was awesome. I got down to my goal weight of 145 lbs, which I still considered my healthy weight, and then kept dropping weight as the wedding day approached. On my wedding day I weighed an amazingly light, sleek, sexy, slender 142 lbs.
Of course that weight did not stay off and was happy to stay around 150. I went to grad school and used the gym regularly but not hardcore. Then I slacked off for a while and gained weight, got up to 155, maybe 160. I made an attempt to lose this weight again, but it wouldn't come off even with some better attempts on diet and gym.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with hypothyroid, which explains the sudden inability to lose weight. I was hovering around 160 pretty much no matter what I did.
I gradually crept up to 165-168 range because I was trying to get pregnant and did not want to exercise too hard or limit calories too much. I finally got pregnant and had said that this range (165-168) is my pre-pregnancy weight. At 5'8", this is the cusp of overweight w/a BMI of 25.5.
Through the first trimester I gained almost no weight, maybe a couple of pounds. I had moderate weight gain in the second trimester, and then put on a ton in the third trimester. DH and I watched in suspense as my weight crept towards 200lbs. When I hit that, we watched for it to reach 203, so I would weigh the same as football player Barry Sanders at the peak of his career (he was also 5'8"). I did hit 203. I even had one weigh in at 206, but I would say my end pregnancy weight was 203-204 lbs. In other words, I gained a total of around 40 lbs.

So what is this post really about? It was spurred by finally having a chance today to get a post-partum weight. I had no idea what to expect. I feel relatively slender all considered. My belly is down to "pooch" size, and I don't see exactly where weight needs to come off. Today my friends came to visit and I had them bring a scale, as ours has been out of commission for quite awhile. The results? 172 lbs. Holy Crap. I never imagined it would be so low!! I mean, it could be off by a few pounds, but any number in that ballpark is amazing! I guess it really was the "right kind" of pregnancy weight (all baby and water etc).

That means that I only have 5-10 lbs to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight. And my "pooch" is still shrinking on its own. AND, according to my husband, all my weight gain is currently in my boobs. LOL. Granted, in an ideal world I will keep losing beyond 165 lbs  and get back down to 155 at least... but, its nice having such a great starting point.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Move

About 12 days left in Columbus and counting. There is a ton to do, and I have not been focused on it at all of course with a little man to take care of. Unsurprising. Now that I can use the stairs more than once a day (although I am still sore and limiting exertion), and people have started to come to help, it is time for me to pull this back onto a front burner. Some random info about the move, in case you are interested:

- My ILs are here this weekend. Their main purpose for the trip was to meet our little bry guy, however since they are here, and really all baby does is sleep, they are going to help us in the packing/cleaning department.

- My friend R who moved to CA last fall is in town for a visit, hoping we can tackle my closet tomorrow in an hour or two. It is hard to figure out what to keep and what to purge when I am not even sure what will fit me next week, let alone in 6 months.

- The brigades arrives on Jan 22nd - My older sister, BIL, brother, and FSIL. They will be here for about three days helping us pack, clean, and do some minor fixes around the house. They are even bringing the 28 ft trailer we will be packing into.

- Those four, plus DH, will be driving, with 4-5 pets, to Duluth. I will probably be flying with baby.

- When we get to Duluth, DH, baby and I will be living with my parents. They have cleared out two bedrooms for our use. The cats will be headed to my sisters heated garage/workshop, and the dog(s) will be with us at my parents house.

Wish us all a lot of luck - we need it!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The First Few Days

Its hard to describe what the first few days with a new baby is like. I feel like you either have already been there, or you have no idea and are not going to "get it" no matter what I write. But, I figure I should try.

First, in terms of hospital/insurance, the birth time of 1:55am was a great advantage for us. The day the baby is born is "day zero" no matter what time of day the event occurs. If he had been born before midnight, Wednesday would have been day zero, Thursday day one, and we would have been discharged Friday morning. Instead,  Thursday was day zero, Friday day one, and we got released Saturday. It basically gave us a full extra day to recover and get used to baby while in the hospital. This made being released much less nerve wracking then it may have been otherwise.

DH and I are pretty laid back. I thought this was true, but this experience (the beginnings of parenthood) has confirmed it. In the delivery room, the midwife kept saying "she is as controlled as an epidural patient." I believe this means I was able to listen to her directions and follow them even though I was in pain. Then, on our second day in the hospital, a nurse came in to go over all of the "release" directions with me and she got 5 minutes in before asking "which child is this for you"? And she was shocked when I said the first, she said I was not acting like a first time mom. She is not the only nurse that commented that we were "doing great" and "very calm".

But I am getting off track. What I wanted to say is that the early days, this first week, has gone so fast and so slow. As a new parent, time just slips by. As new to breast feeding, I immediately started thinking in terms of 2 hour chunks, which fly by. In the hospital and when we first got home I could never tell where they went. At night especially. You feed the baby, change a diaper, maybe use the restroom yourself, go to lay the baby down, and realize that theoretically you should be up again in an hour or less to do it again. This of course will get better quickly as baby sleeps longer, as we no longer need to wake the baby up to build supply, but it was quite surprising early on. And while this time is slipping by so quickly, you also can't believe how long it seems you have had the baby. The nurse commented late Thursday that baby's behavior would change as he reached the one day mark, and it was astounding to both of us he was not yet a day old.

Similarly strange to the passage of time is the passage of worries. As a new parent, there is worry after worry, and when you are amongst them, they seem so permanent, and then they resolve and you realize you really were only stressing about something for hours but it seemed so crucial or impossible for that short time. For example, I spent most of Saturday late morning/afternoon worrying that he was having trouble latching with my milk in. By Saturday night he was latching like a champ, and looking back on how the day went I realized I had spent a lot of energy on a problem that occurred and resolved in a matter of hours without almost any active action from me. It had seemed so much more significant than it was. And that is how the first week of parenthood is - you spend a lot of energy and time worrying about problems that will hardly last because you and baby will learn. So, best to relax and enjoy it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

He's Here! - Birth Story

Benjamin Robert was born on January 5th at 1:55AM!!! Labor went really well, I was very fortunate and could not be happier with my birth experience.

The Birth Story (this is not horribly graphic but still may be TMI for some peeps)
I was in labor all day Wednesday, but not very painful at all, and contractions were somewhat irregular so I was not sure it was the real thing. When I got home aound 3:45pm they got slightly worse and regular (7 minutes apart), and then stayed that way until DH got home around 6pm. We sat for a bit, he walked the dogs, and then I went up for a shower. After the shower the contractions worsened significantly. I ended up getting sick/vomiting. DH came upstairs to clean it up and I sat down in a camping chair in front of our computer. A few minutes later my water broke... and boy there is a lot of it! DH and I could not believe how much there was! It was actually fortunate where I was sitting and all because its a cheap chair and it is water resistant material, so the water pooled instead of going all over the floor.  DH immediately started rushing around - put the dogs up, got me clean clothes and such, packed the hospital bag, loaded the car. I got dressed and gathered myself and we headed down to the car, and off to the hospital. I got "checked in" around 8:20pm and was 5cm dilated with contractions about 3 minutes apart. I refused the epidural when I got there and did not have to refuse again, and hardly even thought of it. I think that once I got to the hospital I probably spent 80% of the time with my eyes closed. The time line gets really iffy at this point for me. It went so fast though. I had a lot of back labor. After a while on the yoga ball and then in a rocking chair I really needed to use the restroom, but I know this can be a "trick" your body plays so I asked my nurse and they checked me out, I was up to 7 cm. I went to try and use the bathroom and this posture worsened the sped up the contractions significantly. We moved back to the bed and it seems like only 2-3 contractions later they were setting me up to push. Those were the worst though - the contractions when I wanted to push but they said I was not ready. Once we started pushing it was much easier. Painful but pain that I knew was productive and had more control over. I pushed for awhile, but neither DH or I really know how long. It was longer than they expected, they kept saying how close to done I was but it just kept going, turns out the baby was sort of stuck crowning and did not want to come the last inch. When he did come it was so sudden, I thought I would be pushing forever and then he was there and they put him on my chest. It was weird, even before they said anything or I could see anything I just knew it was a boy. It is an amazing experience and I am really proud of myself for doing it the way I intended and so happy it all went to smoothly.

Here is the beautiful results:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Resolutions 2012

My New Years Resolutions in 2011 were quite ambitious, and many of them went out of the window as soon as I got into the process of being pregnant. That said, I did make some progress on some of them, and completed others. I am going to focus on what I did accomplish for a minute. I did watch several new classic movies. I did try many new groups and musicians (by new, I mean new to me, like Guns & Roses, etc). I did read SOME books that were recommended to me. All of this happened in the first quarter of the year. I did go to a new location - Boston. I Did go to 3 performances in Columbus (Les Miserables, The Hobbit, A Night with the Captains). I did try new restaurants in Columbus, and tried some new activities in cities that were old to me - like going to the Brown's game in Cleveland. I ate better (more fruits and veggies) and took my vitamins regularly. I did get a sewing room set up, got new carpet, and cleaned out the yellow office (admittedly, to make it a nursery). I am not going to list all of the things I failed at, but I did do somethings I had planned to do. I guess the good thing about making LOTS of resolutions is your bound to complete some of them!

Now, onto 2012. It is hard to choose resolutions for this year because there is a number of complicating factors, the biggest obviously being the fact I am about to make one of the biggest transitions in life and become a parent. I have no idea how this will go and whether some my ideas for resolutions are under or over ambitious. On top of this, there is also the move to Duluth, so my living situation will be quite uncertain for sometime, making it more difficult to make resolutions about anything involving physical organization, cooking, food, etc, which are popular topics for me. That all said, I do want to make some resolutions because I enjoy working towards goals. I will reevaluate these in March (after the first quarter) to see if they are still viable a nd if there is anything I want to change or add

1. Reading - Read for at least 10 minutes each day, either an adult book or articles. Read 24 books throughout the year.

2. Blogging - Post at least two blog posts a week, with the intention for one to be baby update related and other to be non-baby update related (not meant to exclude other commentary on parenting).

3. Record Keeping - Take more pictures and videos. Keep up to date with a baby book, and perhaps pair this with a weekly or monthly journal to jot down how I am doing as a new parent.

4.Get a new job in Duluth

That's it for now! Wish me luck.