Thursday, August 16, 2012

A day in life without photos

Most days, I am without a doubt glued to some kind of image-capturing device. Whether it's my smart phone, digital camera, or anything else we have in the house, I usually snap at least one photo of any of my favorite subjects (which my friends on twitter or instagram will attest that it's either food or my son, usually the latter). Today was not one of those day. Today, my camera was on my desk at home and my iPhone was tucked away in my purse while Daniel and I enjoyed the company of my mom's visit.

We enjoyed a much-welcome break in the heat wave we've been experiencing throughout Southern California and visited a local mall for lunch and some light shopping. She bought Daniel two adorable new outfits for when he fits 12 months and wanted to buy me an outfit too... I just couldn't bring myself to let her. Not that I didn't want the new clothes, because God KNOWS I do. I've just been feeling so blah about myself lately and I want to change that. Physically, I'm not where I want to be post-baby and I'm not ready to buy any new clothes for this body I'm not happy with. I did let her buy me a few things from a couple local Asian markets (food and such) and we ran into our old manager and assistant manager from the San Diego store she works for and I used to work for. Our old manager is now the DM for Los Angeles while the assistant manager is now the head honcho at the store we went to today. Manager met the baby a couple times since we've seen him around, but DM met him for the first time (and truthfully, I haven't seen him since I quit 7 years ago). As strange as it is knowing my mom is a grandmother, he said it's even weirder to know that I'm a mother now. Ha! He then proceeded to fill my son's precious ears with such blasphemous ideas, such as giving me attitude like I had when I was a 20 year old. Psh.

Hahaha. What an interesting day it turned out to be with that reunion.

When we got back to the humble abode, we just enjoyed watching Daniel have a happy day, smile and laugh and basically be the most adorable human being on the planet. I was supposed to go to San Diego with her tonight to spend some time with my family while Gary is away... until she found mold growing on the wall in the back of the cabinet next to the dishwasher this morning. Half of the kitchen is on the living room floor, where my brother would have slept while Daniel and I snoozed in the guest room he's currently occupying. Plus, a construction zone with potentially harmful mold spores floating around is no place for a 9 month old.

Photo courtesy of my brother's Facebook
I'm hoping that is fixed by next weekend, so we can visit them like I wanted to. I'm looking forward to my good friend Stacy's gender reveal baby shower, I'm rooting Team Blue hardcore but would welcome another future girlfriend for Daniel if that's the case! Haha! (just kidding, Stacy!!!) I have several things to share with her, including a modest stash of prefolds I'll be lending her until my next baby go-round, as well as a test drive of our small collection of baby carriers. It's always nice to be able to touch and feel and see a product before you actually purchase something. I think this is especially true for quality baby carriers, as they're usually an investment.

And with that, I turn off my music-fueled me time to join my sweet prince in our family bed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Nutella Mug Cake

Gary is away on business and baby is down for the night, so I decided to experiment a little bit in the kitchen to kill some time and satisfy my craving need for something sweet. I googled a recipe for Nutella mug cake, as I have Nutella on hand and know that you can use apple sauce instead of egg or oil in sweet baked treats. I typically have tons of unsweetened apple sauce on hand, as I make it home made for Daniel.

One mug (one of my favorites, a gift from a friend when I was going through a rough spot a few years back), less than 10 ingredients, 5 minutes or so to single-serving bliss. I omitted the cocoa but added peanut butter, should have thought about tweaking the dry ingredients and amount of olive oil I used but hey, we're experimenting remember?

So I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately, popped it in the microwave for a few minutes, wished it luck and despite the intense heat the little cup of cake "batter" endured, so hot it did not do:


Oh yeah. Still raw, a term I use loosely since there aren't any raw ingredients in this besides the milk. I proceeded to eat it as-is, mixing it into this delightfully messy, gooey mass of sweet goodness, but I got to thinking, maybe I can rectify this none-cake? So I cut the batch into two 8 ounce tea cups, added a tablespoon and a half of flour to each cup, one ice-cube size amount of apple sauce to each and zapped it.

Eureka! Cake!...? I took one tiny nibble and it's grainy, duh, I already partially cooked it once. My name may be Julia, but my last name is not Childs.

Verdict: INCREDIBLE taste, potential for greatness and I am definitely trying this again. But after working on it for an hour for naught, I have come to one single conclusion...

This was way easier.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FuzziBunz and Beyond: Our Cloth Diaper Story

 I wish I could remember just how it came to be that Gary and I decided that cloth diapering was something we wanted to do in our family. I'll have to ask him about it. All I remember is that it was a discussion we had when we were in the very beginning of our pregnancy, Gary was still living abroad and we had no idea if he was coming here or if I was going there. We had not a thing to our son's name yet, just dreams and hopes. How things have changed in a year!

In the week or two prior to the start of my maternity leave shortly before I went into labor, I was showered with gifts of all kinds from my previous coworkers, including a beautiful stash of 6 FuzziBunz Elite one-size diapers in the most beautiful jewel tones I've ever seen or thought possible to be on a diaper. Light It Up Blue, Spearmint, Apple Green, Mac N Cheese, Kumquat, Watermelon, a beautiful rainbow of PUL and soft inner fleece lining. I was so excited to try these out on my little boy's tush! I stored them until I needed them...
Apple Green, by far my favorite color

And then, my son was born. He pooped, and pooped, and then pooped some more. It wasn't a normal day if we didn't change a poopy diaper at least every 2 to 3 hours; his little digestive system was a conveyer belt of breast milk in, poop out and unlike a Nike factory, there are no lights out/let's go home. So we changed poopy diapers at 2 am, too. The only thing that got me through those first few months of constant poop is how I reminded myself that this, too, is normal. When your stomach is the size of an M&M, you'd poop a million times a day too.

My mother insisted that I use disposable diapers and even went as far as to buy them for us. Every two weeks, she brought us two new HUGE packages of Pampers Baby Dry and in two weeks time, we'd use all of them. I was thankful, SO thankful because I couldn't imagine doing diaper laundry of that magnitude with how completely overwhelmed I was. It seemed like the ultimate impossible task. I held onto the hope that some day soon, my little poop factory would slow down in the excrement department. Finally, around 10 weeks or so old, his pooping noticeably slowed down and by 3 months, he was down to one poop every day or two. I was SO happy because I realized this is it, I can finally use my treasure trove of butt covers!

With our then-recent relocation to a new town over an hour away from my parents, I told my mom to save that diaper money and use it to buy gas so she can come see us. I unwrapped my precious gems and was baffled: what are all these little elastic straps? What are these buttons? (I'm one of those people who sets up first, reads the directions later...) The FuzziBunz One-Size diaper has this ingenius sizing system that lets you tailor the diaper to exactly the right size based on estimate weight and age of your child. But therein lies the initial learning curve of FB diaper sizing: Daniel has and continues to weigh in well above his peers and at that time, he was in the 90th percentile. When I tried the diaper on him for the first time, I was shocked at how tight it was and even more shocked at the red marks the diapers left on his waist. Yikes! Too tight. So a bit of patience in figuring out the perfect fit for your kid is very, very necessary, unless you want to be like me and panic at the fear of constricting blood flow to the very butt you're trying to cover.

We figured out how to size Daniel's diapers and now we're good and happy... until I have a leak after just a over an hour. What?! Why!? After a bit of research I learn that many happy cloth diaper mommies use multiple liners and that liners increase absorbency as you continue to wash and use them. PHEW. Ok. Two liners, which is nice because that's exactly what each FuzziBunz comes with. And after the initial wake-up leaks, we've increased the liners to 3 at night. At this point, it is a rare and surprising event when we wake up with a leak because FuzziBunz are just that. good. 

The first time I changed his cloth diaper, I was a bit perplexed - how do I know when it needs to be changed? Disposable diapers change colors when they are wet, or you can see the gel inside expand and create that signature full diaper look. Cloth diapers, not so much. I even went so far as to touch the inner fleece liner, noticing it wasn't wet at all. Only after taking out the liners from the pocket did I realize they were wet. Wow! FuzziBunz is NOT joking when they say their product wicks moisture away from sweet baby's bottom, because it really does! LOVE this!

With Daniel being a bit older now, I've decided to try a different night time diaper method; a Bamboozle fitted diaper, made of bamboo with Aplix closure, and a waterproof diaper cover. I went with Thirsties Duo with snaps, but I may be tempted to try a wool cover sometime down the line, if this method works for us.
TotsBots Bamboozle bamboo fitted diaper, size 2 with Aplix closure
Thirsties Duo Wrap with snaps, in Owl.

All in all, I am really glad that my first cloth diaper experience was relatively pain free once I got over the initial learning curve. With our next child, I plan on using the many prefolds we received as a gift for Daniel (that I was too scared to use) with a fastener (probably Snappi) and a waterproof cover. With all the benefits cloth diapering offers us and how cute they look, the few road bumps that pop up every once in a while are a total none-issue now and I recommend cloth diapering to everyone who will listen.


He really does the most adorable, random things.

You know you're a mom when...

My heart.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cloth Diaper Washing for Dummies

We have been successfully cloth diapering Daniel since he was 3 months old using FuzziBunz One Size Elite pocket diapers, two inserts during the day and three inserts at night. After a week or two of finagling the diapers and inserts to Daniel's needs, we've been using the same routine for over 5 months. A week or so ago, I noticed that he's been waking up with leaks, which never happened again once we figured out how many inserts to use at night. Not ok! So onto trust Google I went to find the answer to our little problem...

Not all detergent is created equal

I suspect that our problem is build-up in the fleece lining and inserts. When we first started cloth diapering, I knew I needed a detergent that had no additives but I had no idea that those "natural" brands sold in the grocery store also contain oils that are bad, bad, BAD for cloth diapers. Oops.  For a while now, I've noticed a really strange smell coming from the diapers and liners, it's not terribly strong and it's really feint, you have to put your nose right up in it to smell anything and I don't think it's ammonia because I can't smell it when he's wearing the diapers (I have a really poor sense of smell, though...). I think this is build-up too.

So I've been washing, and washing, and washing some more on the hottest, heaviest, watery-est setting I can get on my very basic washing machine and the water is finally starting to be less sudsy during the agitation cycle, yay! I also found an adorable local baby boutique, Rosie Posie Baby, that sells Allen's Naturally. It was just under $50 for a gallon but the girl in the shop said it will last a long time (I imagine that it will, one pump per load).

I made an honest mistake regarding what detergent to use. Now I know better and while I heard that stripping diapers isn't necessary, I've also read that it's part of normal cloth diaper maintenance. I don't plan on using this detergent for all of our clothing, so I will probably run into this problem again soon. I just won't wait almost 6 months to do it this time! I also recently cleaned my washer, it was a very simple process and I felt really great about washing our clothes in it afterward. I will make this a regular part of my house maintenance.

A change in our ritual

During this same trip to Rosie Posie, the shop keeper talked to me about possibly using something different at night than during the day. She showed me a bamboo diaper by TotsBots and diaper covers by Thirsties; I bought two natural-colored diapers and one cover in an adorable owl print, all should last us through potty training. The diapers also come with a optional bamboo liner for even more absorbing power, which I think it nice. I will try using just the diaper and keep the liners aside for just-in-cases. On top of that, I think they will fit much trimmer than the FuzziBunz with three liners inside that we've been using.

For the future...

I love that we are building ourselves a nice stash of diapers that will be pretty much ready for when we have another kid. I hope to have Daniel potty trained before our next one is born, as I'm not planning on even trying to get pregnant again until after he's 3. Right now, we have a huge stash of pre-folds that I plan on using with fasteners and diaper covers (they are SO inexpensive, I had no idea!) and then the 12 FuzziBunz and 2 TotsBots for night time. I wish I had been more confident in my ability to cloth diaper from the beginning so I could have used the pre-folds with I had so many of them, but, here we are.

My diapers are finally done stripping and I hope, after draining the Pacific Ocean of its water after all the wash cycles I've done in the last 24 hours, that the leakage is done. It's been a very interesting experience doing all of this, so at least I'll know better for next time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

With all the hub-bub and daily craziness mothers around the world endure, I am so fortunate that we all get to take the time out of our busy schedules to recognize such an important part of our childrens early upbringing: breastfeeding. I know that there are many mothers out there who choose not to breastfeed for a number of reasons and also those mothers who ultimately can't because for one reason or another, their supply just did not meet demand. However, it is important to recognize all women who choose to breastfeed, whether it's just once or twice or until their child is 2 or 3. Any time spent feeding your child in the natural way is one more time your child will benefit from the fabulousness of it all!

Through my misfortune of being unable to find a full time job since I graduated college in 2010, I have been fortunate enough to stay home with my boy and breastfeed every single day since he was born over 8 months ago. His growth, so exponential since his skinny 7 pound 10 ounce body was born, is now so obviously attributed to the fact that he's a breastfed baby. I am so proud that since he was born, I know exactly what is going into my son's body and that I am giving him everything he needs to thrive in his first years of life. I am also proud, for all the times I wanted to be selfish and just give up, that I stuck with it ultimately because it's no longer about my life but OUR life. (Which means his life, since as his mother I feel so closely bonded with my son that his well-being is most definitely now mine.) I love that during a handful of times throughout the day, it's just about him and I getting comfortable, getting close, and bonding. Something like this, NOBODY will ever share with my son but me. This is my gift that nobody else gets to share. I feel so honored!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Product review plus some: ERGObaby Carrier System

Image from
We're Baby Carriers 'R' Us! No, really!

When Daniel was first born, I had no idea about the idea or huge cultural trend behind baby wearing, but we were naturally drawn to it like so many of the other childrearing practices we decided to do with little to no outside influence. Before he was born, I went on maternity leave and received so many wonderful gifts from my colleagues, including a Moby Wrap. As comfortable with it as I am now, I looked at this 6 yards of fabric and said to myself "I'm supposed to wrap my child to me using this?". It was at least two months before I got the courage to try it, and we haven't looked back! I couldn't get over how cute he looked wrapped up all warm and cozy to me and how comfortable it was to wear him like that.

For those first two months of his life, we used the Baby Bjorn Air that my in-laws bought for us and let me just say this right now: that thing was a lifesaver. While there are many reasons for parents to  not front-carry, one of them being it's too over-stimulating for the baby and though we wore him tummy-to-tummy 90% of the time we used it, we front-faced Daniel quite a bit and he seemed to really enjoy it (but that is just the kind of baby he is). My one gripe with the Baby Bjorn that I didn't find to be the case with my Moby Wrap, is that after about an hour or so, the small of my back would be strained. Ouch! So for the second month of his life (we didn't use anything for 2 weeks, then our in-laws were in town for 2 weeks and they held him all the time...), we used the Baby Bjorn exclusively before I finally figured out how to use the Moby.

Friday, July 27, 2012

With a side of crickets.

Holy cow! HELLO! What a jam-packed, completely crazy couple of months we've had! I didn't completely forget about this blog, believe me, but it seemed like every waking moment (both mine AND Daniel) was spent playing, eating, crying, and (primarily for me) job hunting. Still no go on the last little tidbit, but I fear not and enjoy the fact that I've spent 8 MONTHS at home with my little monkey.

Thanks right, folks! Daniel is now 8 months young and gosh, the things he does. In the last few months, he's accomplished so much growth! Let's see...

1. At his 6 month appointment, he was still at 20 lbs. (his dad and I believe he probably gained several pounds between 4 and 6 months, but once he started moving around the weight dropped down to 20) but measured in at a whopping 29 inches! Still a big boy, that one!

2. He's been crawling for a little over a month now, pulling up on anything he can get his hands on (which he actually learned to do way before mastering how to crawl) and as of about 2 weeks ago, started balancing on his two feet completely unassisted! Look ma, no hands!

3. For the sake of updating, because I sucked at blogging over the last 3 months, his two bottom teeth have completely come through and now we look forward to his top two teeth to start poking through. So far, no sign of them though. Speaking of teeth, he's a voracious eater now too! His favorite foods are avocado, sweet potato, and his morning pureed apple or pears mixed with rice cereal (I plan on upgrading him to oatmeal or something with more substance once this box is gone, though). He also loves little baby crackers and cookies, but if he's anything like me, we have to keep those at a minimum.

4. Still babywearing, still co-sleeping, still nursing...

5. Daniel used his passport for the first time when we went to Japan earlier this month! He was fantastic both to and from our destination; he met both sides of his Japanese family and received many gifts. So many, in fact, that we had to pack an extra bag on the way home. His other grandparents enjoyed him greatly! While in Japan, he went to the beach for the first time. Lots of firsts during this trip!

6. Mama. That will be his first word. He's said it on numerous occasions, but not AT me. At least, I don't think he has... until today. When he was whining, all of the sudden I hear him saying "ma ma, ma ma", not his usual "ma ma ma ma". It was very obviously, and I think very deliberate too. WOW! My baby's first word... I'm honored <3

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sleepless in Southern California

One day last week, I was at my wit's end. I HAD it with Daniel not sleeping through the night coupled with his inability to get himself to sleep for naps during the day. Gary and I were upset at each other, yelling and basically taking our frustrations/lack of sleep out on one another and I even contemplated letting Daniel cry it out... fortunately for me, Gary had the wherewithall to say "I'm not going to let my son just cry", at which point he had been crying for less than 5 minutes but was have a complete and total nuclear meltdown. I was dreading bed time the next night when the most miraculous thing happened...

Daniel got himself to sleep. The next damn night! When "they" say that kids do milestones on their time, not a minute before and not for anyone else, no joke! I couldn't believe it. Gary had baby bed duty that night, which never happens, and he just put Daniel in his crib while he was still awake. In my previous entry, I raved about his success in learning how to roll over; now, rolling is one of his primary modes of transportation as he masters frog-jumping and learning how to crawl. This rolling, scooting, and generally talking to himself and his mobile was how he finally found himself mighty tired... and fell asleep. It was a miracle! Of course, every day is like one step forward/two steps back so some nights are like this, while some nights he'll nurse himself to sleep.

I definitely feel myself getting more sleep through the night despite persistent nocturnal feedings. I feel that sleep at night will be a come-and-go thing for us for many years to come; toddlers and preschoolers often come to their parents bed at night, sometimes through adolescents (I didn't, but my brother did for years). By the time Daniel is 3 or so, he will probably have a sibling, either brand new or on the way, so as it stands now, I am looking at a potential of not getting much sleep for the next 6 years or more.

And people wondering I say "I don't know" when they ask me when we're going to have number 2...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Daniel vs. Mama

Once upon a time, I was the same age as Daniel and while I was significantly premature at birth (6 weeks early!), therefore significantly smaller than he is now (as are 90% of kids his age, though), I was hitting my milestones and growing right before my mother's eyes. Just as Daniel is doing now.

I'm sure he's been teething for a while now, with the constant chewing (on anything, even his father's knuckles), little by little his back muscles are getting stronger and he manages to sit unassisted by us (hunched over with his hands on his legs or on the floor) and now he successfully turns from back to tummy like a pro. He finally perfected the tummy to back roll earlier last week - it took him a while to get that down, it seems. But the opposite direction, he seems to have mastered it in days. His first time doing it fully was on his 5th month birthday, this past Sunday. He had been working up to it for probably a month or so, grabbing a hold of his feet and rolling to his side - but he never attempted it, until about Friday. I could tell he wanted to, that he was trying, had his body all the way over... except for his head. Or he would make the motion, but straightening out his body to actually roll over would roll him right onto his back again. While I was getting a few more hours of sleep on Sunday morning, his father told me that he had rolled onto his tummy not once, but TWICE! I was so happy to hear it but honestly forgot about it until the afternoon when he was on skype with his parents. At that time, I remembered and mentioned showing his parents, too. "Prove it!", I said to Daniel.

And boy, did he.

I have yet to feel that kind of pride in something Daniel has done yet, at least not that I can remember. The first couple of months of his life were a total blur and I honestly don't even remember when it was he first rolled over and now that he does it so easily, I am happy and encourage him but it isn't this wondrous thing. After he rolled onto his tummy for me, I clapped and raved at him; the smile on his face showed he knew he made us happy with that, and he hasn't stopped since. He has spent very little time in his bouncer today, as every time he wakes up, I put him on his back on his blanket. Surrounded by toys to encourage him, he rolls over and scoots his little self around to explore his home from a new vantage point. All this new play is taking a toll on him, though - he was already on his second nap around 2, a mere 2 hours since waking up from his first nap that he started a little after 9 and ended at noon.

I can't help but feel how much he is growing as a little person while I'm just so... stuck. Don't get me wrong, I love being at home with him and allowing him as much mama time as he can possibly handle, but there is a part of me that misses going to work. I miss adult interaction, being a nurse, taking care of people, and making money. I miss that most of all. Money isn't everything, not by a long shot... but NOT having it all of the sudden shows me just how much even the little cash I did bring in before helped. A lot. So I've been applying to various jobs, hoping and praying (and NOT hoping and praying, just in case indifference works in the big karmic cycle...) that I at least get a call for a job interview. So far, nothing. So now I feel nothing. Nothing but a lack of personal growth. That irks me.

So now, I'm just enjoying and living vicariously through my little boy's HUGE steps towards mobile independence and laugh as my friends and family comment "and so it begins!" on his pictures of exploration on my Facebook. Something will happen for me soon, but like always, I'm just not sure what.

After-thought: if you have Instagram, feel free to follow me! My username is juriaguria and as you can expect, lots of pictures of Daniel are on there ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How I turn little things into mother's guilt

My man is *ahem* slightly hungover and is napping with Daniel (at my request) so I am putting my feet up (really!) between some straightening up and getting ready for dinner. I know my sanity requires this but I can't help but feel extremely guilty over how I'm leaving the sugar container on the dining table from my coffee consumed hours ago, or how I should move the baby bouncer to the wall instead of where I dragged it to be near the couch... or how my toenail polish is so old, my pink toes aren't even varnished anymore.

But what really has me feeling the extreme pressures of guilt, besides everything else in my life, is the fact that my son has a gnarly little rash going on down south, that is entirely out of my control and not my fault but still is my fault completely. Darn my inability to predict his poops and that he may potentially sit in them for a little while! I started using cloth diapers during the day, which claims to help eliminate diaper rash completely. The one disposable diaper we use at night rarely encounters poop anymore (he's a daytime pooper) so I don't think that's the culprit, and we're not supposed to use barrier cream or ointments with cloth. So what am I supposed to do?! I heard a tip and did some research on use of coconut oil as a ointment for cloth diapered babies, so I've been using that... with very little success so far except to make my wallet sad over the $7 per 6 ounce jar at Whole Foods. Why.

So I've been casually job searching and I think I may have found something worthwhile (emphasis on may, as communication regarding said job is painstakingly slow), it would be a per diem job as a registered nurse but I am terrified, TERRIFIED of the idea of taking Daniel to a baby sitter or daycare. Like somehow, the one or two day/few hours a week he'd spend with someone other than me or his father will ruin him forever? Yeah... I just sit here and wonder how moms or dads who have no choice but to daycare their kids almost from birth do it. I know the majority of childcare providers are NOT the scum of the earth unworthy of even being under my shoe, I just can't help but think the terrible things that have happened to children in the past will ALL happen to my precious son.

Becoming a mother has turned me into the best and worst person I could possibly be - the ultimate in motherly love and the fatalist drama queen. I need help. Or just to get over myself. A little household disarray, tiny rash on his bum, and a scrap here and there with fellow daycare kidlets will not ruin my son... I just need to remember that.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Either Side of the Dividing Line

Since my dear Daniel was born going on 5 months ago, it has been increasingly difficult for me to even remember (or want to, for that matter) what my life was like without him. He seems so much a part of me every day that life without him is truly inconceivable. With that said, as he gets older, there are things I miss about the days before he was born. The biggest of that (very) small list being: sleep.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Growing like a weed.

It's 11:30 at night and I am importing photos from my iPhone to my computer in hopes to clear up some much needed space on my portable lifeline. I haven't imported photos since the little guy was about a month old and well, he's 4 months+2 days now and yeah, I'm looking at over 1000 photos! I'm sure the actual damage could be much, much worse. It's fun though, as each photo pops up on the screen as it's saved to my hard drive; reliving each photo and seeing how much he's grown in the last few months is such a treat. Did I mention that a couple weeks ago, I had him weighed at the WIC office and he clocked in at a smooth 17 pounds (he wasn't even 4 months old yet!). It's hard to believe considering how I feel like he's been this way forever but yes, he really did gain 10 pounds since his birth and yes, he has changed tremendously!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Greetings from Irvine!

Well, my little family and I have officially landed in our new home in Irvine, an hour and some change from San Diego so it's not too terribly far... but as of this moment, I am severely missing home. My parents. My brother. Sigh... I'm at a Starbucks right now, attempting to grab a few moments for myself. It's weird that I spent every single day of the first 2 months of Daniel's life with him and how quickly I got used to going to work 5 days a week for 2 months after that. Last week was my first week as an unemployed woman so I have spent almost 10 whole days spending every waking moment with him and OH MY GOSH I'm spent. But I digress...

Our apartment here is perfect. We decided to go with a one-bedroom instead of a two-bedroom to save money since the baby is still small, rooming/bed sharing and waking up at least once a night to nurse. Having an extra room would be nice, but a waste of both space and money. Irvine is definitely on par with some of the more expensive locations in San Diego as far as rent and cost of living goes so I'm glad we came to the realization that we needed to scale down our living situation to be able to survive out here. I can't wait to start job hunting, but going on day 2 of Gary's new job and my SAHM-status and I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

I will try and update soon. We are due to get internet in the next day or so but I'm hoping to get everything unpacked and situated before I get elbows-deep in my normal routine again. Pictures soon!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On hindsight and looking forward.

I have a good friend who I've known most of my life. We first met when we were toddlers, our Military fathers introduced through our Japanese mothers. Their second child, a girl, is my brother's age while my friend is just a few months younger than me, and both of our families relocated to Japan in 1998 after being about 20 minutes from each other in southern California. Needless to say, our lives have run very paralleled to one another and we cross each others paths all the time. A few years ago though, our lives took a dramatic turn from the mirrored paths we lived for so long - she got married the same year I left my ex-husband. I was so negative and dejected about love and marriage that year and while I was so happy for her, I was so scared for her. While I am happy with the way my life is in every way, I would never wish divorce on anyone, especially such a close friend.

I've since healed my heart and mind from that kind of thinking; a few years later and they're going strong, living in the Midwest where her Military husband is stationed. They just welcome the birth of their first child this past weekend, a healthy baby girl who was bigger than my own big boy was when he was born! So while the sexes of our children are different and I'm not married to the father of my son (yet), we seem to be finding that parallel path we followed for so long again...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A breather.

The last month has been a whirlwind for our Trio, I have sat down numerous times to blog but something always pulls me away... OH YEAH, it's motherhood!

Truly though, we have all been so busy but I honestly can't think of anything to start with. I guess I'll just start with me going back to work at the beginning of February. Though, that may end again for a little while as our family has a huge blessing in the works: Gary found a fantastic job, finally. He's been working a dead-end (literally, $15/hour with no opportunity for job growth) job as a contractor for the Navy for about 6 months, job searching and application day and night since he got here to California in June of last year, being such a trooper despite hating everything about this job except for the fact that it was something that paid until he found something he could be proud of. I am so, so proud of his effort to further himself professionally and to provide for our family... but it doesn't come without a price. We'll be moving to Orange County in a few weeks, a little under 2 hours from my parents but still very close to many other extended family member... but still. I've been out of the house for years now but have always been just a stone's throw from my parents, until now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mama Moments #1

I have so many random thoughts in my head that I want to share with people but in my blog, an entire entry seems really overkill. So I thought to myself, self, why don't you just dedicate a blog entry every once in a while to those blurbs that need no explanation?

Introducing the Mama-Chan Mama Moments series! I'm not sure how long I will go in between posts, maybe a week or two... maybe a few days if there are enough typed out. So without further ado, Mama Moments #1:

Just a little pinch! and other lies we tell our kids.

Daniel had his 2 month check-up today along with his vaccines. I can hear all the anti-vaccine moms out there cringe at this and I too was on the fence about it throughout my pregnancy and right after his birth. I even opted out of getting his Hep B shot in the hospital, using the excuse of not wanting him to be exposed to too much during his first few days of life (he had a mild case of jaundice that they took blood 3 times for, such was my reasoning).

I decided, however, as a healthcare provider and a recipient of vaccines myself, that I couldn't justify not getting him vaccinated. I couldn't come up with a single reason. So today, along with his check-up, I authorized his first round of vaccines. It was heartbreaking to see him get poked by those dumb needles that I just barely got over myself less than a decade ago (I've always had a fear of needles... now I think I know why most people do), and the look on his face after each poke (3, and the nurse was great about giving them) brought out mama bear instinctively with every red-faced, breathless cry he let out. I saw my newborn baby all over again every time his little forehead and eyes scrunched up, "THIS HURTS!!!". I  know, baby... I know. Fortunately, he let me calm him down fairly quickly and while occasionally letting out a small whimper during the walk to the car, he fell right to sleep when I strapped him into the car seat and got into the car. He woke up briefly when I called Gary and fussed, so I fed him and now he's asleep peacefully. He's even smiling in his sleep, so I don't think he feels that bad...

In other news, he's in the 90th percentile for weight (14 lbs 1 oz) and 75th percentile for height (24 inches). My little heffer! I am so happy for his weight, I know that he is a thriving little boy and that I am producing enough for him. Proud mama moment right there! He's was totally adorable to the nurse practitioner, smiling and talking to her during her exam and crying only when she looked into his ears with the scope. I have been dreading this day since I made the appointment so I'm glad it's over, but his 4 month check up will be here before I know it and I'll be in the same anxious mama mode all over again. Haha...

Daniel has this amazing ability to know, in his early age, just how and when to be good and be difficult. He's getting better at the crying thing, doing it less at home and letting us console him faster than when he was a newborn. I was amazed by him last Wednesday when we drove to and from Yuma for my job interview (which I didn't get, fortunately) and he was such a good boy all day, and then today when he cried for only a short time for a reason none of us can blame him for (I STILL hate needles, and I'm a nurse!). We went out to dinner last night with friends of Gary who flew in from Japan for a work conference this week, he was bright-eyed and attentive all throughout dinner. Nobody really believes that he cries as much as he does at home (except for those who know, like my family). I look at these events and as I look back at how much he used to cry when he was a newbie, I am amazed at the growth I'm witnessing. I love being his mother, so very much.

P.S. He's sleeping right now, in his crib like a good boy :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yes, we co-sleep.

In the beginning, it wasn't by choice; Daniel simply wouldn't sleep in his bassinet and I thought he was still a little too small for his crib. Then, it became a choice. I pushed to have him sleep in his crib, I suspect it came from the guilt of not having him sleep in something my parents bought (and my mom so looked forward to buying). The transition was easy enough and he falls asleep nicely... in the beginning. Then the 2 am feeding rolls around, I just spent the last few hours sleeping like a rock so getting up to lift my screaming son from his crib feels like I'm lifting a starfish out of the ocean from the top of a cliff with chopsticks. I have. NO. ENERGY. Then comes time to actually feed him, all I want to do is nurse him laying down. It's God's gift to women to be able to do that only until I wake up an hour or so later and we're both fast asleep and my boob is cold. So after his first feeding, he never actually makes it back to his crib. Oh the plight of breastfeeding mamas...

In the beginning, a cosleeper bassinet...
A little over a month later, getting used to his crib.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baby Adventure: Yuma, Arizona

Yesterday was my 27th (gasp!) birthday and the family and I spent it on a mini road trip to Yuma, Arizona. It's a little over 2 hours of driving east on interstate 8 (4 hours if you have a breastfeeding munchkin on board like us, which we did not anticipate...) and not to mention the current time zone difference (Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings)... so after some considerable driving through a whole lot of nothing, we finally arrived at our destination at 4 pm local time. Did I forget to mention the reason for going to this land of nothingness was for a job interview? At 3 pm local time? Yeah...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Webcam Wednesday

Daniel woke up from his nap super fussy, only to fall asleep on me. Note the super sweet hand placement. I love it.

Cut to scene 2. I guess my underarm is also a nose warmer?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What life was like before, and a celebration of now!

On the second day of our 3-day hospital stay (birth day plus two days to monitor Daniel's jaundice), Gary and I were taking a walk around our floor with the bassinet when I came upon a realization that I could no longer remember what it was like not to have Daniel physically in my life. I guess that makes sense considering I spent the previous 9 months anticipating his arrival, the previous 24 hours LIVING his arrival only to lay my eyes on the most beautiful, helpless human being I had ever met. Not only could I not remember it, I didn't want to imagine my life without him. Now 2 months later, I am watching this rapidly growing boy bloom before my very eyes and despite my exhaustion, I cherish every waking (and sleeping, for me) moment.

With that said, Saturday night Gary and I got to live a little bit of our previous, pre-baby life. We went out with friends to a karaoke bar and I even enjoyed some drink. It was to celebrate my friend and I's January birthdays and well, you know what you do on your birthday... I paid for it when we got home, when baby was sleepy and all I NEEDED him to do was nurse for like, 2 hours straight. I guess it's true what they say about alcohol for letdown... ANYWAY. It suffices to say that I had a great time with my great friends.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Daniel's Story

On November 22nd, 2011 (11/22/11) at 2:45 pm, my son Daniel was born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. I arrived at the hospital at 2 am at 3 centimeters; my triage nurse instructed me to walk around the hospital for an hour or so to see if I would dilate a little bit more. I was admitted around 4 am and labored 4 to 10 centimeters over 10 hours and once I was fully dilated, I pushed for less than an hour. I planned on an unmedicated labor from early on in my pregnancy; sometime between my water breaking and Daniel's head putting increasing pressure on my cervix, I begged his father for an epidural. Fortunately it really wasn't up to him and he knew what my true desire was. I powered through transition with the support of my boyfriend, mom, and nurse when I was finally allowed to push and be one step closer to meeting Daniel.

False labor on Sunday pm/Monday am.

Real labor Tuesday am.
Suit up!