Of Mice and Pen

Aloha! Hope everyone is having a great week so far! Ours has been really busy, pretty stressful, but overall still good. Guess those good weekend vibes have kept going into the week, because I’ve been able to mostly maintain a sense of calmness despite the fact that this week is going by suuuper quickly, and I still have lots to get done. (And in spite of the fact that my car maintenance appointment ended up turning into a $700 brake pad replacement. Wheeeeee…)

It does help that I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with the most adorable people in my life, of course!

 

Tuesday was a crazy busy day — work, personal training, and therapy! — but my parents and my sister-in-law came over for dinner, so I got to cuddle up with baby Marnie which was a very nice way to end the day! She’s getting so big and alert! I mean, “big” being a relative term next to our giant toddler, of course, but it’s still really fun to see her growing up. Especially now that we know firsthand how fun she’s going to become!

I had a work event last night (Wednesday), so I had planned on taking the morning off to take Penny to Cox Farms for a mommy meetup at the Fall Festival, but, alas, she had other plans…

Lol. And since she doesn’t nap when she’s at daycare, I try my best to let her catch up when she’s at home. But I still wanted to take advantage of having her with me for the day, so after she woke up (and after a snack that she shared with Daxter, of course), we packed up and headed out!

Our first stop was to Caboose Commons, the new brewery/coffee house next to Mosaic where my friend works — it’s an awesome spot that I definitely can see myself working from often in the future!

 

They have a super cute little seating lounge with a kid’s rocking chair that Penny was super into. Notice how much happier she is sitting in the chair than sitting in her own mother’s lap. -_-

 

And after our stop there, we headed to our favorite play place, nook! They have an awesome little dress up nook set up now with various costumes, and I had a lot of fun dressing Penny up like a little mouse (and a raccoon, but she didn’t like that costume as much, lol.) She loved the slide this time too, and was going down all by herself (backwards, on her stomach)!

 

Our fun adventures totally wiped her out, too, she was snoring in the car within minutes of me strapping her in to go home. Unfortunately, I have not in any way mastered transferring her from her carseat to her crib without waking her up, so it was a short lived nap… which made me feel justified about her long morning nap, at least.

 

We came home, she played for a bit on her own while I got things ready for the evening, and I got to watch her DESTROY some spaghetti & meatballs before I had to skidaddle off to my event (leaving her daddy with bath duty, gahaha.)

 

Today she’s back at daycare and I’m off to work at my coworker’s big party in DC for most of the day. The sad news is that means I only got about 40 minutes with her in total today, since she’ll have long been in bed by the time I get home late tonight. The good news is, according to my daycare app, she’s actually taking a nap right now! So hopefully she should be in a really good mood for her daddy when he picks her up. And, of course, I feel extremely blessed that the days when I don’t get to see much of Penny are so few and far between.

Anyway, all that being said, it’s time to get cracking with the rest of my to-do list, since I’ll be heading into DC shortly. See you guys on the flipside!

Just Read a Flippin’ Book, Gretchen!

Well, turns out I may just have a touch of the gift of foresight after all, because two of the things I predicted in my last post have indeed come true. First off, I am just as sore as I thought I would be after my mega workout on Monday. Yesterday, my legs felt like they weigh 100 pounds each, and my obliques were quick to remind me that they do, in fact, exist. Y’know. Because they hurt.

Ba-doom ching!

So I took yesterday off from the gym, and did a stretching routine at home instead. It actually worked out that I was too sore to work out, since Penny and I did not exactly have a night conducive to expending lots of energy at the gym. She slept terribly Monday night: tossing, turning, waking up, and crying out a lot more than usual. And then she just casually popped up and was SUPER AWAKE from 4 – 5:30 AM — chatting, playing, crying, and just generally keeping me (and only me -_-) up.

She did eventually fall back asleep (after several failed interventions of my own), and then proceeded to sleep in until 8:30! And on a daycare day no less (I usually try to drop her off around 8 so she can eat breakfast there.) After the night we had, though, I wasn’t about to dare try and wake the Kraken before she was ready. So I texted daycare that we’d be a little late, and after a hastily-fed, super healthy breakfast that consisted of two cherry tomatos and half of a tortilla, I finally got her there and hastened off to get some work done.

I met up with two of my coworkers, Mike & Kimberly, at Rare Bird Coffee Roasters in Falls Church, and between sips of my honey lavender latte and bites of proscuitto-gruyere quiche (sooooo good), I managed to put my nose to the grindstone and bang out quite a bit of work! Though it really shouldn’t, it still surprises me how productive and focused I can be when I get out of the house and work with intention. Even when Penny’s not there, it’s just so easy to get pulled away by different things at home — the dogs, laundry, dishes, etc. Another good reminder as to why I’m continuing to work towards figuring out a routine and carving out specific time (and apparently, space) for work.

After the three of us had put in a few hours of work, we headed to nearby Yayla Bistro for some lunch. We split a few appetizers, their mixed grill platter, and some salmon. It was all super delicious, and the portions were very generous (as were my coworkers for giving me the leftovers to take home, hehe.)

Mike had to hit the road after lunch, but Kimberly and I decided to get just a smidgen more done before daycare pickup called both of us away. We took a quick pitstop to pop into the independent bookstore across the street, and it was like a total breath of fresh air. I’d forgotten how much I love bookstores, love browsing, and, hello, love BOOKS!

It’s pretty shameful for me to admit, but aside from The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Guide to Your Child’s First Year, I haven’t read an entire book in almost two years. Words are my lifeblood, so taking a step back to realize that’s the case is seriously sad. So I did my due diligence in supporting a local business and picked up a couple novels that I’ve been meaning to read since long before the movies came out (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians), a parenting book that I’ve had bookmarked for a little while (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk — though a follower actually pointed out there’s a Little Kids version of this book that I think I’ll want to read first), and another one that caught my eye in the store (How to be a Happier Parent). And I’ve decided that the next item on the evidently unending list pertaining to Gretchen’s Total Life Renovation™ (lol) is to just start flipping reading again.

It sounds really simple, right? I mean, really it should be. I just need to unplug a little earlier each night. Instead of whittling my final moments before bed browsing the internet, scrolling through Instagram, or rewatching The Office YET AGAIN, I can read a chapter or two. But, of course, I think we all know that while something may sound easy in theory, it doesn’t always work out so smoothly in practice. Maybe the baby’s having trouble sleeping, or there are chores to finish, or maybe we just really, really want to finish writing a blog post (cough cough) instead. But hey, the point is to try, no? Hence why it’s called practice.

To help me with my goal of getting to the titles that I’ve long been piling onto my “To-Read” pile, a friend also suggested I dip my toe into audiobooks. I’ve never been a voracious consume of audiobooks (I used to feel like it was kind of pointless since I can read faster than they can speak, haha), but now that my life is basically just one constant frenzy of multitasking, the concept is very appealing. After all, I am now commuting into the city once a week(ish), and listening to an audiobook does allow me to do things like fold laundry or put away dishes while still allowing me to consume all those wonderful, beautiful words! So I’m taking Audible for a spin with a couple of free audiobooks I’m able to try out. I’m starting with Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, as well as Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. (I feel like I really relate to both of these based on title alone.

So I’d say that yesterday was quite a productive day, all things considered. Let’s see if I’ll be able to successfully add another positive habit into the mix — I gotta admit, while I’m still going surprisingly strong with working out and taking my vitamins, my attempts to start my days with mindfulness and calm via guided meditation have been less successful. Ah well, tomorrow’s just another opportunity to practice again, right?

Emotional Mama: Milk Supply + Daycare

Wellps, the high of celebrating my big 3-0 has definitely faded, as the past week has been a bit of a tough one for me. Emotionally speaking, that is. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some of my posts about my milk supply plummeting in recent weeks. I’m not sure if it’s because as work has gotten busier I’ve been less able to breastfeed Penny during the day anymore, if it’s because I started my weight loss efforts back up, if it’s because I’ve been sick lately, or if it’s because I’m just not responding to my breastpump the way I used to — probably a combination of all of the above, actually — but my milk supply has been slowly decreasing since shortly after I returned from my Atlanta visit last month.

Penny hasn’t acted fussy or like she’s still hungry after nursing or anything, so I wasn’t really that concerned about it… until a couple weeks ago when it hit me that Penny is going to be starting daycare a couple of days a week (her first day is today! Wah!), and I need to have enough milk to send with her every day. And of course, along with my milk production slowing down, Penny’s appetite’s also been ramping up! She used to drink 3 – 4 ounces of milk at a time from the bottle, but now she’ll easily down 5 – 6.

Even her increased intake wouldn’t really have been an issue before, since pumping sessions used to net me 5 – 6 ounces of milk. But lately? It’s been a struggle to get more than 2 to 2.5 ounces. Cue me suddenly freaking out about not being able to keep up with her anymore and scrambling to get my milk supply back up.

And it’s just, you know, nursing… pumping… feeding your baby… it’s all so very emotional. I fully recognize how fortunate I’ve been to have had almost 8 strong months of breastfeeding already — not having it hurt, not having latch issues, no big production issues until now. But even with it having been on the easier side for me, I’ve still had many moments of self-doubt and mental anguish — the slightest dip in supply, the slightest amount of fussiness at the breast, and suddenly I found myself second-guessing everything. Why wouldn’t she nurse? Was she getting enough to eat? Was my milk of high-enough fat content and quality? Was she gaining enough weight? I mean, when it comes to your child’s sustenance, over-analyzation is simply second-nature.

And that kind of thinking happened before I ever even had a true supply dip that lasted longer than, like, a day, and with my 80th percentile, very healthy, little chunkster of a baby. So if it was like that before, you can imagine what it’s been like in my head the past couple of weeks.

There’s just so much emotion tied up in feeding your baby (no matter how you choose to do it!) and for me, this idea that my body is suddenly not doing what I want it to anymore has been tough. I, of course, have absolutely nothing against formula, and we have already started supplementing, but it’s important to me to try and get my supply back up if I can. Tbh, I really appreciate the convenience and ease that formula offers (just don’t appreciate the cost, lol), but my fear is that my supply will continue to decrease to the point of going away completely if I start to rely on formula too heavily. And I cherish my nursing relationship with Penny so much, I’m definitely not ready to let that go yet. So life lately for me has looked a whoooole lot like this:

Adding extra pumping sessions, trying to nurse in distraction-free environments, lots of Mother’s Milk tea, staying hydrated, taking supplements, power pumping, replacing parts on my pump, examining my flange sizes, comparing my yield from my home pump (Spectra S2) to the pump we have at the office (Medela Symphony)… phew. I mean, you name it, I’m trying it.

And hey, for what it’s worth, it seems to be paying off! I’m seeing a small increase to closer to 3 oz and even have gotten 4 ounces a couple of times now. But I’m having to pump for a much longer amount of time to get it, and it’s still not quite enough for my hungry girl… plus, as you can probably imagine, it’s been very draining both physically and emotionally. So that’s played a big part in me doing a bit of doldrum-dwelling lately. Well, that, plus the fact that I’m still fighting this furshlugginer cold… and then there’s the whole Penny-starting-daycare thing, which I’m obviously being crazy about, lol.

I know that it’s probably silly to make such a big deal out of her starting daycare. I mean, she’s almost eight months old, and she’s only going a couple of days a week (my parents and MIL each still have their day with her, and we also still have our nanny one day a week right now as we transition). Moreover, most working parents that I know have had their kids in daycare — full-time — since they were like, 12 weeks old. I know. But I can’t help it. This is still a big change for me, and you can’t deny that there is a very real difference between having your baby taken care of in your own home versus dropping her off somewhere.

 
But, that being said, I realize this is just my own baggage, and that Penny’s probably going to love it there. I was able to spend some time with her at the daycare a couple of times over the past week to help her get acclimated, and she did so great. She really loves watching the other kids and I think it’ll be really wonderful for her to have even more varied social interaction than she does now. So I try to remind myself of that, along with the fact that we looked at many daycares and chose this one for a reason. And also that I’m an insane person who literally still cries when I watch The Greatest Showman even though last night was my 706th viewing sooooo I should probably take everything I feel with a grain of salt.

ANYWAY. So that this post isn’t all me complaining (just, you know, mostly complaining), I’ll give a quick update on how my healthy living stuff (I’m hesitant to refer to it as my weight loss efforts, since that’s not really what it’s supposed to be about, but I digress) has been going. In betterish news, kind of, I’ve been making good on my endeavors to move more and clean my eating back up. I actually am back down a few pounds, although I’m officially moving weight loss back to the backburner, as even though I didn’t set out to specifically count and cut my calories, I definitely was doing so and feel that probably has been another contributing factor to my supply dip.

 
I’ve been trying to take advantage of the nice weather we’ve been having lately (as well as fight against my innate laziness) and get Penny outside and moving around more often. On Sunday I went for an awesome walk around Burke Lake with some of the wonderful mommy friends I’ve made since Penny was born. There really is nothing like being with other mamas who truly understand firsthand being obsessed with your baby, hehe.

Sadly, today is supposed to be overcast, rainy, and dreary… just like my mood (ha!) so it’s looking like I’ll be a bit of a hermit today. The good news on that front is that hopefully that just means I will be RIDONKULOUSLY CRAZY PRODUCTIVE since Penny’s going to be at daycare anyway, and I have ugh soooooo much to do. At least that should hopefully keep me nice and distracted instead of staring with baited breath at my phone for photo updates from the daycare? Hahaha, here’s to hoping, at any rate!

And just in case all of my whining throughout this post has turned you off of reading this blog ever again, here’s my argument for you to keep sticking around: just look at this picture of Penny eating eggs.

You’re welcome. TTFN, ta-ta for now!