Day 22: Breastfeeding success

This past week was National Breastfeeding Week. YAY!

It was awesome to get to celebrate breastfeeding. As I blogged about earlier, breastfeeding has been so rewarding for me in too many ways to count.

An old friend from high school told me about an event happening in the area for breastfeeding mamas to come together. While it was a bit of a drive for me, I am really glad I went to be a part of it. Even though I only knew my old friend and that’s hard for me (to be in a huge area and know few people) I am still really glad I went and got to see just how many women have committed to breastfeeding. A local photographer organized the event and offered photos for every mom to get with her little one feeding. I opted not to do the individual photos, but I did get to partake in the group photo.

Here’s the whole group picture from the event:

breastfeeding event 2017

Look at all these mamas! I am so encouraged by this group! After the picture, the photographer asked questions to get some stats about the group. Here’s what she found:

There were 124 mamas, 127 babies and 1 baby in heaven.

Youngest baby: 6 days
Oldest: 5 years
Youngest mama: 19
Oldest mama: 44
Tandem: 4 mamas
Donated milk: 44 mamas
Exclusively pumping: 2
SNS feeding: 1
The most babies one mama nursed: 7
Farthest distance traveled to attend: 2.5 hours

Wow!! I love the diversity and the commitment by so many women to attend and to give such a beautiful gift to their babies.

Breastfeeding is natural but it’s not always easy! It takes dedication, hard work, perseverance and often times sacrifice. With the right support and knowledge, most women can have a successful journey. I think support is probably the biggest key though; finding women who have been there and are ready and willing to share what worked for them and why they chose to breastfeed.

While I blogged about having a pretty easy breastfeeding journey (which I am so grateful for), there are things that are still hard sometimes. I think it’s OK and normal to admit that it’s not always easy. For me, it’s been the dedication to always be available to my son for feedings. He’s a quick eater and he’s a snacker. Even now, at 11 months old, he wants to eat every 1.5 – 2 hours. Most babies his age go longer stretches, but that’s just not what works for him. He eats when he’s hungry and he stops when he’s full. It works for us, but it can be limiting in terms of my schedule and my plans. I can always pump for him, but pumping is sometimes a bigger pain in the butt because it messes with my supply. I start to over produce and it can just be annoying to keep up with it. (However, pumping would allow me more time away and now that’s he older, I have considered starting to pump more.)

I’ve always just enjoyed feeding him and since I was around, I didn’t build up a huge stash of breast milk. I don’t regret that because that takes a TON of time and dedication – and I didn’t want to do that. BUT, I do think I will start pumping at least once a day, so we can some milk on hand.

Another thing that’s hard is that we decided to not introduce a pacifier. We read a lot about it and how it could interrupt our breastfeeding relationship, his weight gain, my supply and it could be a huge pain in the butt to get rid of later. So we didn’t do it… (We did try to give him one when he was around 4 weeks old because we could NOT soothe him at night for like 2.5 weeks straight. We were trying anything. Lucky for us (if it’s luck?), he spit that pacifier right out when he realized no milk was coming out. So he’s never taken a pacifier and I became his human pacifier – which is essentially what breasts are for. As the La Leche League says, “The breast was the original pacifier…” BUT, being a human pacifier is not always easy. Most days I’m 100% fine with it, but there are moments, when I want to take a break and he needs me. It’s on those days that I remind myself, there will come a time when this season is over and I so desperately want to relive those moments. Oh motherhood… when you wish for one thing and then change your mind as soon as it happens.

Regardless of the obstacles and challenges when breastfeeding, I am still so glad that I made the decision to gain knowledge, find support and keep troubleshooting as issues arise. I love the gift I’m able to give him and I am so thankful for the way it has solidified the bond I have with my son.

Happy National Breastfeeding Week!

BK

Day 21: Pick me!

The other day, I was reading our local newspaper’s free 2 page weekly that every household receives. It’s mostly ads, a few stories and just general information. I was curious though… Since I’ve just moved back home I’m trying to learn more about my community now and what’s changed.

First, it was really fun to read it – I love reading ads! You always get a few really good ones you know? Like so bad, they are good.

Anyway, they had a help wanted section. I like to keep my eyes open for part time jobs, and possible gigs. I love being a stay at home mom, but I am always interested in picking up jobs that could bring in a little money for my family. Well, there was an interesting posting: Regular part-time sports writer.

Boy was I excited!

Not only was I one of the editors of my high school newspaper, but I also attended the University of Missouri: the number 1 journalism school in the country. While I decided being a newspaper journalist wasn’t my dream job, it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss reporting, writing, editing and designing for a newspaper.

I loved the fast-paced work; how the energy in the newspaper could shift at any moment if or when a hot story came in. I loved designing 1A; picking out the font, the perfect picture layout and writing the headlines and subheads. I also loved the banter between the designers, copy editors and reporters as stories were edited and proofs were being looked over before sending the final product to the printer. Simply put: I miss it.

Studying and being a journalist was a very important time in my life and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned so much and I still apply a lot of that learning to my life.

So when I saw this job, I felt that rush of excitement to be a part of a newspaper team agin. It’s part-time, I could take my son with me to the games and events and I could get paid to write. It’s perfect!

I called and then drove up there to fill out an application. The application was clearly old and hilariously offensive due to it’s age. They had a section that asked if I had any dependents other than my wife and children… hmmm. I can get over the application – although if I’m hired, I’m definitely going to bring this up! It’s not hard to print a new application… oh, small towns.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard back, but I’m persistent. I plan on heading up again and seeing if I can talk to the editor in person. (This is a super small paper and I’d be curious to see if there are any other applicants.)

So keep your fingers crossed! Maybe I’ll be the new part-time sports writer in no time… maybe not, but it sure would be fun to practice my journalism skills again.

BK

Day 20: I miss movies

I used to be a huge movie fan – especially really bad movies. From Justin to Kelly, anyone?

Seriously though, I love movies. When I was in middle school and high school my parents and I had this tradition of going to Blockbuster on Friday night. Each one of us got to pick out a movie and then we all watched them together. We would easily spend 30 minutes going down the aisles. I, of course, loved the new releases and my mom would always find some old movie that I just had to see! My dad made sure we checked out the action movies. It was a really fun tradition and I still miss it and Blockbuster!

I’ve used Netflix for movies, but they never have exactly what I want and I really do miss strolling the aisles of Blockbuster and discovering a really old classic. Aww… oh well.

BUT, I write about missing movies now because I have a baby. My husband and I have decided that we are “those” people who are serious about limiting screen time for our kid. At home, it’s pretty much zero. Occasionally we will show him a picture or video of himself and he used to facetime grandma before we moved. However, that’s it. We don’t watch TV and we certainly don’t watch movies. (When we go out and there’s a TV on, Lochlan is pretty interested initially, but he actually grows bored and moves on. Especially since we aren’t interested.)

Moving away from TV has saved us a lot of money and opened us up to have more conversation and time to do other things. We actually can’t imagine watching TV now. However, we do miss movies.

Sometimes you just want to sit down, cuddle under a blanket, munch on some snacks and watch a feel good movie. It’s fun and cheap: WIN!

We haven’t seen a movie together since he was born and there have been some movies released that I really want to see: Beauty and the Beast is the first that comes to mind, but I know I’ve heard of a few others as well.

My husband and I were actually talking about it the other day and we are going to try to sneak some movies in on the weekends after we put our kiddo to bed. (It’s tricksy and exciting!) Hahaha.

I guess this is life with kids and the choice to restrict screen time. We will eventually introduce media to our kiddo and we are super excited to share movies with him, we just feel really compelled to stick to the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on screen time and media. Click here to check them out if you’re interested.

Anyway, here’s to catching some good movies cuddled up to my hot husband! Send me your top picks of movies we should check out!

BK

Day 19: Catching up!

Well, I missed a bunch of days in a row…

I set out to do this 30 day blogging journey because I wanted to write more. I have definitely written more: so goal achieved! I’ve also found myself thinking of things to write about all the time. So that’s also really awesome!

However, writing every day in addition to some of my other goals proved to be difficult. My sleep was taking a major hit along with my energy, attitude and basic ability to put my attention and love where it is most deserved: with my family.

I am going to try my best to catch up and really do this 30 day thing. I have several blog ideas ready to go: I just need some time to get it done. It’s hard to blog during the day because my husband is heading back to work which means I’m on my own with the kiddo and he is so crazy obsessed with my computer.

He doesn’t get to see it very often, so maybe that’s why he’s so into it? The only thing it does for him is play kids music. Which he loves, but I can’t sit in a room and blog while he plays because he has to touch it, hit it, lick it. Of course, he’s not gentle with it either.. So I can basically blog during naps (if he lets me leave, I’m a pacifier) or if I get up early or stay up late (not ideal for every day).

I’m glad I missed the last few days because my energy and attitude needed a reset. Sleep was a tremendous help along with real time with my guys! They are so important and while doing something for myself is also important, I’ve been missing them with all the other stuff: meal prepping, going to the gym and trying to be better about cleaning up around the house. That stuff is great, but it shouldn’t be the main focus of my life. So, I missed a few days. Don’t worry though, it’s coming!

Have you ever loaded your plate with too many goals/ambitions and then realized you needed to step back and rethink it? I hate when that happens, but I’m glad I don’t force things that don’t feel right… it’s a conundrum.

Thanks for reading,

BK

Day 18: Goodbye Netflix!

So, I’m saying goodbye to Netflix. Maybe forever, maybe just for right now… I’m not sure.

I love Netflix. I have watched so many tv shows, documentaries and movies on there. It has kept me sane on lonely nights and helped me kick boredom while cleaning or doing other random menial tasks.

However, it’s not particularly helpful as a way to enrich my life. I use it while at the gym, or when I’m Tula-ing my kiddo to sleep for naps or bedtime (I then proceed to lay there and watch it for too long). It’s not really bad that I do this, but I want to break my phone addiction and start thinking more and distracting less.

My husband has encouraged me to find some podcasts that I might enjoy. So I’m on the hunt for those. I love learning things and hearing people’s opinions on things, so now I’ve just got to try a few out and see what I think.

I’m actually pretty excited for this adventure – I think it could be a really enriching thing for me AND it could be a great conversation starter – sometimes I have trouble making conversation. I don’t watch a lot of TV (besides Netflix – and I always watch old stuff) and I don’t know much about the weather. I have noticed that when I’ve watched a documentary or read an interesting book or article, I really enjoy discussing that with people and it can be a great topic to get conversation flowing.

Do any of you out there have favorite podcasts that I should check out? I’ve googled (like I do all things) and I’ve found some that sound interesting, but again, I’m a weirdo, and I’m not into the heavy crime stuff, over the top comedy or random blathering – which is what many of the websites were recommending. (Some of the recommendations really seemed to be super liberal, “I’m smart and real” bullshit. Maybe it’s good – it was just a bit off-putting.) I’m thinking self improvement, money, health, parenting, etc.

Thanks,

BK

Day 17: Shared experience

One of my big goals for my life is to create and connect in a community of people who not only support me, but also understand me. It’s a lifelong goal that will require stepping outside of my comfort zone, giving friendship and support when it’s not convenient and working hard to maintain relationships.

Something my husband has talked about a lot is shared experience. Relationships need that he says and he’s convinced me that he’s 100% right.

There are five women in this world that I count as best friends; D, M, M, E and K. They’ve all been best friends of mine at different stages of my life, but their friendship feels special and important and I will forever count them as some of the most important friendships for me. (I’d like to make a note about some of my great friends too. With more time and a different circumstance, there are several who would have undoubtedly become a best friend. I am lucky for all of my friends – truly.)

With that being said, the intensity of those friendship connections have waxed and waned over the years. The culprit behind the wanes? A lack of shared experience.

Phone calls, texts, keeping up on Facebook are all great ways to maintain a connection initially, but without true time together and that shared experience, the connection and understanding fades. It sucks.

I miss these friendships and I so value the moments when we can reconnect and spend time together to get back to being us. I’m lucky that I still do get time to connect with these ladies. We find ways to plan get-togethers, lunches and dinners together – we catch up on life and kind of reintroduce ourselves – the ever-changing woman navigating all of life’s joys and obstacles. We do change and because our time together is less, those changes can be hard to understand or sometimes not noticeable right away.

And sometimes, even with the best friends, you grow apart. Even with shared experience, sometimes life takes you on a different path and the ways in which you used to be compatible aren’t there anymore.

That’s sad and normal. It doesn’t make me upset though because it’s not like anyone is choosing to leave the other friend or that it’s happening out of anger. It’s a very normal part of life: to find yourself, grow and move forward. Sometimes friends travel with you, sometimes they visit from time to time and sometimes they simply disappear.

I’m really glad that none of my fab 5 have disappeared. I know I could call up any of them and have a conversation.

However, life has moved me around (both in location and emotionally). So right now, I’m kind of lacking a best friend that completely understands who I am in this moment and lives close enough to be available.

That bums me out, but I’m on the hunt. Could my Fab Five become the Stellar Six?

I sure hope so! I’m looking for a friend to parent alongside, who gets some of my parenting choices and can support me and share similar experiences. I want to be able to call her up when shit is crazy and I need a break and I want someone who values my friendship and time to be able to seek help and solace from me as well.

I know I’ll find that, but I’m a different bird and it takes me awhile to completely open up and find a true friend. So here’s to waiting, getting out there, opening up and taking a chance on meeting and finding a similar human!

BK

Day 16: Lonely only

I’m an only child. (I have two half sisters, but we didn’t grow up together, so for all intents and purposes I was raised as an only child.)

There were definitely benefits to that. I’m very close to my parents and I consider them best friends. I can be real and honest with them in ways that a lot of people can’t be real with their parents. It’s really cool and I love that.

BUT – and it’s a BIG but – there are definitely downsides to being an only. For me, the biggest is feeling lonely without sibling relationships especially as I’ve gotten older.

When I talk to other adults who grew up with siblings – they have tons of stories, memories, inside jokes and really like second and third lives because of those relationships. They have people, besides their parents, who grew up with them and understand them in ways that only a sibling can.

I don’t have that and I think that can leave me feeling extremely lonely. I know there are onlies out there who might disagree with me. They could talk about their extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles or friendships they cultivated while growing up – the girl who became like a sister, etc.

I don’t really have that either. I do have cousins of course and both of my parents are from large families… it just always worked out that I was kind of left out.

On my mom’s side I was smack dab in the middle of all my cousins. I had 5 older cousins who were 8 – 12 years older than me, then I had 7 cousins who were 6 to 12 years younger than me. There I was – all by myself. I annoyed the shit out of my older cousins (I’m sure) and my younger cousins initially annoyed me. Two of my younger cousins, R and C, did become like sisters to me. Especially when I was in middle school, high school and college. I spent a lot of time with them and on my breaks home in college, we always had movie marathons and just a really good time together. However, they are older now – in college and graduated from college and life has taken each of us on different paths.

On my dad’s side, I had 3 older boy cousins and 2 younger cousins. They were all way closer in age to me, but they lived in Nebraska and I only really saw them once or twice a year. It made bonding hard and we never really crafted that cousin relationship…

So it’s been me. I’ve enjoyed family get-togethers and I LOVE my family so much – but I’m still missing that sibling connection that I think is so special and unique.

The loneliness seems especially hard sometimes because my parents are divorced. All the memories of us being the three amigos are beautiful and lovely – but that’s over. We can’t be that anymore and it’s not often that we all get to be together, just us three like it once was. I don’t wish they were still together; sometimes I just want to sit around together and relive memories that only the three of us shared. We had so many good times together and I treasure those memories.

Alone. Only I can treasure that.

It’s OK. I don’t often spend time thinking about this. It’s only in moments every once in awhile, when I’m already feeling lonely that I reflect on it. I will say this feeling makes me want to give my child siblings – to give him a friend to know and love for his whole life. I hope and pray that my (future) children grow to be best friends and share a deep connection that is separate from the one they share with my husband and me.

I’ve talked to people from big families and I’ve often heard them say, they only want to have one child. They felt that they missed out on participating in activities because there wasn’t the time or money. That’s hard too… I get what they’re saying, but I don’t think they appreciate what they have, but I bet they will someday. (I could be wrong – just the opinion of a lonely only. haha)

Regardless of my situation, I know I have a wonderful family and life. I am thankful for the relationships I do have and I am excited to keep developing friendships and growing my community to help me feel just a little less lonely.

BK

 

 

Day 15: Sharing art

My husband and I love buying and showcasing art in our home. We pick up mementos on trips and try to fill our home with things that will remind us of our adventures and the life we are experiencing together.

We have framed postcards, notecards, pictures we’ve taken, cards we’ve written to each other, our wedding cake topper, and gifts from friends. Every year we add a piece or two to our collection and now we are reaching a point of saturation. We almost have too much art – if that’s possible? Soon we will have to start rethinking our displays and how to make it all fit cohesively. (Right now, most pieces are in storage, so it’s not an immediate problem… but it will be when we do find our next home.)

However, even with all this art, we can’t stop. It brings us joy and sometimes its the perfect gift… which was the case for our most recent piece.

Our anniversary was July 13. We are really into following the traditional gifts which mean the theme this year was fruit and flowers. That’s kind of a hard theme for buying for a dude. I was racking my brain, googling ideas and still wanting to knock his socks off! (Last year I was pregnant and not great at the anniversary gift – so I really wanted to WOW this year.)

Well, it finally hit me about 9 days before our anniversary. In 2014 we were on one of our West Texas trips, exploring an art gallery in Fort Davis and we fell absolutely in love with a painting. It was THE piece of art for us. We almost bought it right then and there, but we had just bought a home and furniture and we thought we should wait and be smart with our money. We wrote down the name of the piece and the artist with the idea that one day we would own that work.

Over the next year or so, I thought of that painting often and almost bought it for Eric’s birthday, but it was an expensive purchase and never exactly the gift I wanted to give him. THANK GOODNESS because it fit this year’s anniversary theme spectacularly. (I may have stretched the flowers theme a bit – but it is a Texas landscape and those are West Texas flowers!)

Here it is:

daybreak across the top of texas

The artist is Lindy Cook Severns. She does amazing landscape paintings of West Texas and she was a pleasure to work with. I emailed her directly to ask some questions, order the piece and tell her about our anniversary. I didn’t expect for it to come in time with me ordering a week before, but she said she’d get right on it and expedited the shipping for free! Sooo awesome! You should definitely check our her website here and admire the exquisite colors and details of her work.

She also wrapped it beautifully with ribbon and a hand written note. Eric LOVED it and we now have it hanging in our bedroom across from our bed. Our West Texas trips have always meant a lot to us. They provided us a break from the busyness of life and a chance to slow down and connect with each other. We cooked good simple food, had deep conversation and strolled hand in hand through the quiet stillness of that wilderness. Being able to look at this work every day is one of the best reminders of our love and our trips to a place we cherish.

BK

Day 14: Lovin’ the library

As a kid, I LOVED libraries and book stores. My mom often took me to our local library with my designated library books bag to let me check out a TON of books, especially during summer break. I read many teen girl trilogies, Amish series (I know… I still love them) and books with interesting covers. (I’ve always judged a book by its cover.)

I would even attend the craft and other special events at the library. It was truly one of my favorite places. I loved to check out like 10 books and try to get them all read by the due date. Another favorite thing? The return slot. I’ve always enjoyed putting the books in there. It felt old school and fun. (I also really miss Blockbuster… just saying.)

Before the internet and easy home access, my parents would drive me and several friends up to the big city library to do research. I remember spending one afternoon at the library researching Zion National Park for my 4th grade project. I thought it was so cool that there were multiple books about one national park!

Libraries have been a pretty consistent friend for me as a young child all the way through college. I loved spending hours studying in the stillness at Mizzou. I was all about East 4th floor – big window by the trees and never a ton of students in that section. Perfect.

Once I left college libraries kind of went out of fashion for me. Internet access provided convenience and with an adult job I found less time to read and less reason to research through books. Most of the books I get, I buy from Amazon prime. It’s convenient, cheap and I get to keep them. (It’s not always cheap though…)

However, now that I have a son, I am rediscovering libraries. I am all about taking my son to experience story time, music classes and any other baby related events. He loves to be around other babies, I like to get out of the house and it’s actually really fun. So, I recently headed to our local library for storytime – it was cancelled, but I found a really neat kid’s play space. It’s huge, only for kids under 6 and has a ton of different areas/activities. They have a baby area with features attached to the walls, developmentally appropriate toys and padding on the floor. They also have a block/lego area, puppet show and puppets, a big wooden car, a doll house, a kitchen area, and a little toy store.

On the days when I don’t have anything planned or just need to get out of the house, I can drive 7 minutes down the road and entertain my son for at least 45 minutes for free. It’s so awesome!

The other day, I had my husband go with me so he could see this area and watch our son be so freaking adorable crawling around. There were 4 little girls there and Lochlan was mesmerized watching them play. We also got a library card and checked out a book for us and a few new books for Lochlan. What’s really cool is that the library now has an app where you can search for and reserve books! I am just really impressed and excited to be using a library again.

The library is such a good thing for communities; free books = free knowledge, events, and computer access all help people to connect to each other and the world. I feel like not enough people use them and that’s such a shame. I was one of them for awhile! It’s too easy to just use Amazon prime and have everything delivered to you – there’s a service for everything now. You miss out on so much when you don’t get out and participate in your community. I’m so glad I’m back to using the library and I think you should go check yours out soon!

BK

Day 13: Hump day grump

Sometimes I’m just grumpy. I have no patience, I’m tired and for whatever reason I’m the biggest grump of them ALL.

That was me today. All grump. All day. No fun.

Our son was being so cute, but as the day went on he just got fussier and fussier. His 1 year molars are coming in and sometimes it’s rough. For him, for us. Teeth are no fun. I totally understand why parents hate teething. It turns adorable babies into fuss monsters.

So by the time my mom got off work, I was done and not in the mood for anything. She says, “You need to go, get drunk and come back with a better attitude.”

It wasn’t funny right then. No. Instead, I vindictively marched off to the baby room where I proceeded to pump milk for my baby and get the hell out. I’ll show her, I thought! You hang out with this frustrating, teething baby. I will take a break!

I grabbed my husband and said, we’re out of here. I kissed my sweet baby, proceeded to remind my mom of the 100 things she already knows about our child, but I feel I have to say EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I leave and we left.

We went to one of these hip places with great food, beer and a really solid atmosphere. I did get tipsy – 2.5 beers right here! We ate delicious flatbread and potato skins. We flirted, talked, laughed and had the BEST time. My husband had to drive me home – which NEVER happens. It was such a great time and the perfect cure for my grumps.

When we returned, my sweet baby and mom weren’t even here. When they got home a little later, our baby boy was so happy and content. It was the perfect way to end my night. Shout out to all the grandmas who help out and give you a night out – even when they are yelling at you about your attitude! (I’m so thankful for my mom being honest and real with me. You need that sometimes!)

Oh the joys of parenting! I’m so grateful to have my mom in our daily life.

BK