Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead


Lucy Pneumonia Update
February 13, 2012, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Children, Health, Motherhood | Tags: , , ,

Thanks to everyone whose been praying for Lucy! She seems to be fighting the parainfluenza bug and the bronchial pneumonia really well. No fever so far, praise God. And she’s been sleeping upright in her bouncer to help her breathing.

I wasn’t sure if we were going to get any sleep last night since she was sniffly and since she’s used to sleeping in bed right next to me and would have to sleep upright in the bouncer, but she did great. She woke up every 2-3 hours to nurse (which is a good sign!) and slept very peacefully between feedings. We have the humidifier going full blast in the bedroom, too, to keep her breathing easy. Today she’s been taking lots of good, long naps but when she’s wakeful she’s alert, happy, and eating well. We’ve had some trouble getting her to take her antibiotic but for the last dose, I mixed some breastmilk in with it and gave it to her a little bit at a time right in the side of her cheek which helped her swallow it, I think. She’s still snotty and congested, but I would have had no idea that she had pneumonia if the Dr. hadn’t listened to her chest yesterday. I mean, does this look like a baby with pnuemonia?

How about this?

This is her Lucy Skywalker outfit:

I love this sweet little lady so much and just hate hate HATE that she has pneumonia. Please keep praying for our girl to get better!

I am feeling so much better today. I used some of your natural remedy recommendations and didn’t need to get any antibiotics. Hopefully, I’ll be all better tomorrow so I can take care of Lucy and Benjamin (my sweet mama took care of him today so I could sleep and rest with Lucy).

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3.5 Months
February 5, 2012, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Children | Tags: , , ,

I can’t believe Lucy is already nearing the 4 month mark. Because I see her every day I don’t notice how much she’s grown, but check this out.

First Bath:

This week:

Well, she’s certainly getting cuter. And as my brother tells me, girl isn’t missin’ any meals.

Her smile is absolutely heartmelting.

Baby cute attack.

This morning Daniel ran a half marathon while Benjamin and I ate enough bacon to balance out his absurd fitness skills.

I love that big brother loves Lucy almost as much as she adores him.

After we ate our weight in bacon, I took pictures of Lucy instead of tidying up for B’s dinosaur birthday later. Priorities.

Last night I had Daniel document my attempt at Downton Abbey hair (this show is my current obsession). Sorry for the blurryness.

My, how I love this girl.

Now I’m really going to sweep the floor for the party (or procrastinate by taking a bath with Garden and Gun in hand and a cup of coffee on the edge of the tub).



Sleep During the Newborn Stage: How to Get Some (Or, How to Survive Exhaustion)
January 24, 2012, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Children, Motherhood | Tags: , , , ,

After Benjamin was born I thought I would go mad from lack of sleep. I would sob from sheer exhaustion during the early morning hours when he would inevitably be awake–night after night after night. But this time it’s so different. Mostly because Lucy is such a champ at sleeping (up only once or twice a night) and doesn’t have the colic and reflux that plagued our boy, but also because I think my attitude is different.

So here’s a few tips I want to remember next time I have a newborn (particularly if they’re more like Benjamin) that might also be helpful to other new moms:

1. Don’t expect a full night’s sleep. I would get so frustrated when Benjamin wouldn’t sleep through the night (he really didn’t consistently until he was 1) making it only harder for me to fall asleep again once (if) he did. I would dwell on the sleep I was missing as the minutes ticked by. I would count up the scant, interrupted hours (or minutes) of sleep in horror. This time around, I expected to be up at least every couple of hours for the first few weeks and 2-3 times after that. Lucy surprised me by only getting up 2 times a night from very early on. Sometimes now (at 3 months) she will wake only once between 9ish and 6ish (AMAZING!).

2. Sleep close to your baby. Co-sleeping with Lucy is going great. I love snuggling up with her at night and never having to listen out for her or go to a separate room to make sure she’s still breathing. I don’t think our pediatrician supports co-sleeping but…oh well. It works great for us. Lucy never even fully wakes up. I just hear her rustling around a little bit and I nurse her on my side. She’s done snacking in 5-10 minutes and I hardly even have to wake up. I know all babies aren’t as easy as she is (Benjamin certainly wasn’t) but I think being close helps them settle back into sleep more easily. Having her so close helps me turn down my mommy radar that’s constantly listening out for my babies, allowing me to relax enough to go to sleep. Benjamin also co-slept with us for the first few months and then slept in a crib in our room after that. I so wanted him out of our bed that his inability to sleep by himself drove me nuts. This time around I’m enjoying it so much because I know it won’t last forever.

3. It won’t last forever. It feels like it you’ll be tired until you die of exhaustion. You won’t die. Probably not, at least. There really will come a day when you wake up in the morning and realize that your baby slept all the way through the night. I know it sounds crazy but try to give up control, resign yourself to exhaustion, and enjoy the sweetness of your baby. If your baby is extremely colicky and screaming through the night this is really really hard to remember. I understand. I’ve been there.

4. Be a team. Daniel and I were so tired and so new at being parents when Benjamin was born that we struggled with this. It started to be a competition of who was most tired and miserable. When Daniel was up with Benjamin and exhausted the next day, I felt horrible and guilty. And still tired. When I was up with Benjamin and exhausted, I hated Daniel for being asleep (which he probably wasn’t because of the aforementioned screaming). Oh, and I was even more tired. This time we’re a team. I do the night feedings (well, it’s not like he could help me out with that) and Daniel gets up with Benjamin early in the morning and takes Lucy, too, if she’s already awake. That way I start the day with, at the very least, a couple solid hours of sleep to get me going. When I start to lose it, Daniel helps out and I’m trying to learn not to feel guilty when he’s tired. He wants to help. When he gets really tired, I try to make sure neither babe wakes him up and I don’t resent him for a full night’s sleep. He tells me what a good mom I am when I gulp down my second cup of coffee with blood-shot eyes.  I tell him what a stellar dad he is when he sleeps in a sleeping bag in Benjamin’s room to help console the little sick and congested guy when he wakes up from coughing so that he doesn’t wake up Lucy and I (that was last night. Thanks, Daniel!) Anyhow, encourage each other. Appreciate each other. Lean on each other.

5. White noise. Having some white noise where the baby sleeps helps soothe them and keeps them sleeping longer because it makes them feel like they’re in the womb (who knew wombs were so loud?). It also keeps me from hearing every tiny baby sigh or every time Benjamin rustles his sheets across the hall.

6. Pray. Sometimes I can get through a whole rosary during one of Lucy’s feedings. Or I can start one and pick it up again the next time she wakes. Then I feel like I’m doing something important (as if feeding my baby wasn’t important enough). But you know what I mean, I pray for my family. I pray for my friends. I ask the Blessed Virgin to help me be a good mama. I ask forgiveness for flying off the handle when Benjamin asked me the same question 3,086 times the day before. You get the idea.

7. Swaddling. Swaddle. Do it.

8. Eat well. When I cut sugar and too many carbs from my diet, I am significantly less tired. When I take care to eat plenty of the delicious veggies that Daniel grows in his garden and have lots of protein at breakfast, I can avoid a horrible crash at 2pm.

9. Coffee. Let’s be honest. It’s hard to survive no sleep without coffee. But, to give hope to you non-coffee drinkers, I survived most of Benjamin’s first year without coffee because of health issues. Hot water with lemon does help jumpstart your day. But, it’s not really a substitute for that happiness in a cup: COFFEE.

10: Be thankful. If I recollect how thankful I am to have my babies, I can circumvent some of the frustration at being tired. Fighting some exhaustion is a small price to pay for these little ones and I can’t forget that.

How bout you? Do you have any sleep advice? Any suggestions for how to survive seasons of no sleep?

 

 



Hogwarts (Finally!)
January 24, 2012, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Husband | Tags: , , , ,

Last week Daniel took me on a little getaway to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter–a vacation we’ve wanted to take since the park opened. We were all geared up to go last January but postponed our trip when we discovered I was pregnant with Lucy and couldn’t go on any of the rides.

Anyhow it was delightful. The Hogwarts ride is pretty awesome and it’s great fun to meander through Hogsmeade.

I think the best part for us was just hanging out in the Hog’s Head. I had cider and Daniel had their house beer which was great.

We had lunch in the Three Broomsticks which looks fantastic but the staff and the food were less than ideal (well…the turkey leg was awesome, but the cornish pasties tasted like hot pockets.) It was really hard not to say constantly, “Disney would have done this so much better.” I mean, how hard is it to have staff with British accents?

But, we did have a wonderful time together and Lucy was the best little traveler.

One great thing about Universal is that they have a fantastic child-swap system. One parent can ride while the other holds baby and then the second parent can ride as soon as the first is done. And the little waiting rooms are great for nursing.

I just wore her in the baby wrap all day and she napped great. She was fast asleep outside of Owl Post.

I guess I was just a little disappointed that Dame Maggie Smith wasn’t there ready to teach me Transfiguration.



Our Bright Star
January 15, 2012, 1:22 am
Filed under: Children | Tags: , , , , ,

Our Lucy. Her name means light, pure, bright. And we named her after St. Lucy, a courageous virgin martyr. One virtue that I am perpetually lacking is courage and I pray that my precious one will be brave for Our Lord like St. Lucy.

We were on the fence about her middle name for a long while after we were dead set on “Lucy” as her first name. Then, while reading Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time, Daniel came upon a name we have both loved for a long time: Elanor.

(Sam Gamgee and Rosie Cotton have just had their first daughter and Frodo is advising Sam that a flower name would be appropriate.)

“But if it’s to be a flower-name, then I don’t trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still.’
……Frodo thought for a moment. ‘Well, Sam, what about elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlórien?’
……’You’re right again, Mr. Frodo!’ said Sam delighted. ‘That’s what I wanted.'”

We knew we would think that our baby girl was beautiful and would be “beautifuller still.” And I love the idea of the sun-star, that she would be our little golden flower. Oh, and did I mention that we’re huge nerds about LOTR? And that.

So, our beautiful bright star: Lucy Elanor.

A sweeter baby there never was! She is ALWAYS happy, our little smiley one. And she sleeps! How this girl can sleep! Last night she was asleep from 5:30pm to 8am (waking only to nurse 3 times). What?! We were lucky if Benjamin slept 6 hours and nursed 4 times. Whew.

Her precious baby coos melt my heart and snuggling her to sleep is so dear.

I had so much difficulty nursing Benjamin due to his reflux, my stress, working full-time, pumping full-time, etc. But Lucy is a dream. I love nursing her and realize how special and wonderful the nursing relationship can be.

Try as I might, I cannot capture one of her amazing grins on film. I take picture after picture but I can’t catch her sweetness.



On the Last Day of Christmas…
January 5, 2012, 2:55 pm
Filed under: Children, Christmas, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , ,

(Lucy’s Christmas shoes and special Christmas china from Daniel’s mom)

We are:

Listening to Christmas Music

Drinking Hot Chocolate (miraculously, Benjamin hasn’t spilled it yet)

And, by Benjamin’s request, watching the Nutcracker

This little Christmas elf is enjoying the last day of Christmastide.

I think this little man is going to miss the Christmas season. Or perhaps I should say, I think this little man is going to miss candy canes.

I love being their mama.



Our Year in Pictures: 2011!
December 30, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Advent, Birth, Children, Christmas, Easter, Motherhood, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , ,

I think Daniel and I both agree that 2011 was our best year to date. Here’s some highlights (which turned out to become a monstrously long post with mostly pregnancy pics, oh well).

January

Daniel got a new job and we hoped to get pregnant again. Benjamin continued to amaze us with the joy he brought to our world.

February

In February we celebrated Benjamin’s 2nd Birthday (A Farm Birthday Party) and two days later found out I was pregnant.

March

Our garden produced some great food and Benjamin loved “helping” Daddy tend to it. I was really, really, sick for the whole month with 24-hour morning sickness. Daniel and my mom picked up all the slack for me. Don’t know what I would do without them. Look how tired I look, holy cow:

April

Our first Easter back in Tallahassee and the anniversary of our Confirmation. Benjamin made a little best friend named Ulee from library storytime. His mom, Zemi, and I hit it off and the boys enjoyed playing at the Jr.Museum (Tallahassee Museum) together.

I started looking really pregnant and the nausea started to get a little bit better, although I was exhausted from growing Ms. Lucy.

May

A busy month of leading company rehearsals for the Spring ballet and getting my little students ready for their recital dances. Benjamin and I started doing summery things like going to the pool and Daniel and I celebrated our 5th anniversary by a weekend away at the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we spent our honeymoon. Why we didn’t take one picture…I don’t know.

June

We took Benjamin blueberry picking and we fell into a wonderful routine of morning outings for the summer: park, pool, jr. museum, pool, brogan museum. Such a happy time! And I got bigger:

At the end of June we had the best family vacation ever: a trip to North Carolina for my wonderful friend Jane’s wedding and then a week split between resting and reading at my grandparents mountain home and visiting my wonderful cousins, aunt, and uncle, in SC.

July

We returned from vacation just before the 4th of July and I was suddenly hugely pregnant. My good friend, Beca, was in town for the summer and kept me company. We also said farewell to the Harry Potter film series with a party and a midnight movie. That wouldn’t be a major milestone of most people’s year, but…well, you know how we feel about Harry Potter.

August

August was pretty miserably hot, although nothing near the infernal summer they had in Texas this year. I was getting SO BIG and so excited about our baby girl. Our dear friends, Brian and Lois, moved into our third bedroom while raising support for their mission work in Nepal. We also started to get really plugged in at our parish and starting making some wonderful Catholic friends, something we’d never had before, including my friend Colleen who has been such an encouragement to me this year.

September

I turned 26 this month and started to have Braxton-Hicks contractions all the time. My due date was October 13th but we were sure she wouldn’t wait so long to come since I was already dilated…we ended up waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. I did some pretty nutty nesting to get ready for our sweet girl and we rearranged the house to prepare for her arrival. My friend Erin was visiting for a couple of weeks and kept me distracted with Downton Abbey.

October

We had a scare when Benjamin caught Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease (a mild illness for toddler but dangerous for newborn if the mother has been exposed). He had to be quarantined away from me at Marmee’s house for over a week. Thankfully, I didn’t catch it and neither did Lucy when she FINALLY arrived almost two weeks past her due date and met her incredibly proud big brother:

I love this picture so much, despite the fact that I’m still so puffy from late pregnancy and labor. I think Benjamin’s expression is precious and he’s been just as sweet and gentle with his sister each day since.

And SHE. Well…we’re so in love her. From day one she has been the most precious and sweet of babies. She’s so easy, so adorable. So happy and smiley and SLEEPY. Praise God.

November

We started learning how to live life as a four-person family. Sleep-deprived and full of joy, we celebrated Lucy’s baptism and the anniversary of Benjamin’s baptism.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house with Daniel’s folks, my folks and brother, and some dear friends.

December

In late November and December we were all pretty miserably ill with colds and sinus/throat/ear/eye infections. Even sweet Lucygirl. But it’s still been a wonderful Advent and Christmas. Having two precious babes is a gift I am thankful for every minute.

Can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store…Praise God from whom all blessings flow.