Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking the bull by the horns

DH is traveling this week so I decided it was the perfect time to start the cry it out process with Cameron. Yes, I thought it would be best if DH isn't around for the initial painfulness. What prompted this apparent show of altruism? DH is a complete wimp when it comes to Cameron crying. I knew it would require firm resolve to be successful. But my husband is a wet noodle when it comes to his baby crying. So really we were all better off with me starting the process on my own.

For the past couple of weeks Cameron has woken anywhere from 3-4 times a night and required one of us to get up and do a pacifier insertion. That's our technical term for it. Pacifier insertion almost sounds a little dirty, doesn't it? At six months old, it was time to un-swaddle Cameron and give her the tools to sooth herself. That little bit of wisdom actually came from A. So thanks, A!

Last night the great experiment went pretty well. I put Cameron down per usual and went downstairs to pour myself a honking big glass of wine and watch some TV. Those are MY coping mechanisms. I kept the monitor down to the lowest setting. I didn't want to turn it off completely because I told myself that if she cried for more than 30 minutes I would go up and give her a pacifier. I couldn't bring myself to commit to a complete extinction process. For those who aren't as familiar with Weissbluth that basically means you don't go in for any reason and let your child be alone for the entire night without comforting. Cameron has never been more riled up by us going in and re-swaddling or pacify-ing her so I ruled out a complete extinction.

About 30 minutes after she went down Cameron started crying. It's interesting because when she was swaddled she wouldn't start fussing until after midnight at the earliest. But not having her limbs contained appears to to have woken her up. And so the crying began. I followed Weissbluth's advice and actually looked at the clock and made a note of the time. Twelve minutes or so of crying and she was quite. 30 minutes later she started again. This time it only lasted for 10 minutes. I clung to this little bit of progress as a sign that CIO would work.

I went to bed around 10 PM. I left the monitor off and kept my door cracked. I knew that if she cried my mommy ears would pick up on it, even through her closed door. Probably 5-6 times during the night I heard her cry. It was usually for less than a minute and more of a whimper than a cry. I resolutely put the pillow over my head and went back to sleep. And so did Cameron. The hardest part was when I went in to wake her up at 6:30 AM. She was snoring away on her stomach (never done that before!) and her face was covered in dried snot. Poor thing. I think Cameron has a bit of a cold coupled with more crying than she's ever done before. I woke her up and she started crying a little bit. Now that was depressing. Normally Cameron greets us with lots of smiles. But I cleaned off her face and she sucked down her morning bottle and she was back to normal.

Night One was pretty successful but I hear Night Two is worse. We'll see. In the meantime I would love to hear about others' experiences with CIO. Did it work for you? How long did it take? How about naps? Part of the reason I am not doing CIO over a weekend is because I'm not sure I can deal with naps yet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Fall TV show recommendations

You would probably be disgusted at the number of TV shows I have on season pass in my DVR. I wouldn't be lying if I said it was close to 40. In my defense there are quite a few shows that have 1/2 seasons (Stargate (yes, I am a dork), Psych, etc.) Quite a few shows also don't start until after the first of the year (Lost, 24, American Idol). So really I'm closer to 20 or so shows that are on my DVR for the Fall. Surprisingly, most of those shows are not new. DH has laid claim to the TV for basically the entire month of October. Why? Well, let's just say that the Yankees swept the Sox (booo!) and picked up the division title. My favorite was when a sports reporter said, "It's the first time since 2006. It's been a long time coming." Um, long time coming? Why don't you check in with the Cubs on that first?

Baseball bitterness aside, I have leveraged Hulu as my go to place to check out new shows. It gave me a chance to sample, make a decision and move on. Here are the shows I watched and my opinions:

The good:
Flash forward. Yes, I am a sucker for all things Lost-like. I wasn't planning on watching this show. I was going to ignore it and hope that that didn't come back and bite me in the ass. But when I was on Hulu it was the first show that popped up and it just begged me "Watch Now." So I did. And I really, really liked it. I also like what I've read about the show which includes getting to the flash forward point by the end of the season. No mysterious hatches that can't be opened here! Plus I've heard that the writers have already mapped out story arcs for 5 seasons. I'm hopeful that means a lot of thought went into it and it will be consistently good, story-wise. Great actors too.

The Good Wife. I am as shocked as you. This show will probably end up as a case of the week type show but frankly that's been missing since Boston Legal and Eli Stone (curses!) went off the air. I heart Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. And if you look at Tuesday's line up, there isn't much that conflicts. Score! The worst decision for CBS? That they didn't let Hulu host the download. I had to watch it through CBS and the picture never synched up with the audio.

The OK:
Community. I think Joel McHale is a hoot on the Soup and he is appropriately smarmy on this sitcom. But something isn't quite clicking for me. Given the huge number of conflicts I have on Thursday nights I'm passing on this one. Damn Fox for putting Fringe in the Thursday slot!

The awful.
The Forgotten. Oh, Christian Slater. Can't you and your agent find good shows for you to be on? Let me save you all some trouble and tell you this show is DOA. I give it 3 episodes, max.

Mercy. Another show about nurses? Thanks NBC! Just what we needed. Too bad most of the people on it can't act their way out of paper bags. I give it 1/2 a season, tops.

Shows I haven't checked out and am not sure I will:
Three Rivers. As an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon I am happy to see a show featuring Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh always gets a bad rap and it's really a nice city. Seriously, it is! But another hospital drama? Meh.

Trauma. What is it about nurses, paramedics and doctor's this season? Does this mean next year it will be all lawyer shows? Or is the cops turn? I guess Law & Order has that sewn up.

If you are interested in the other shows I watch (except for those who have been cancelled. Fair well Pushing Daisies, Boston Legal, and Dirty, Sexy, Money), you can read it here, here and here. So my fellow TV addicts, what am I missing for new shows? Or even existing ones? And don't tell me the Amazing Race. That show gives me a heart attack every time I watch it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Six month stats

As of 9/28/09 Cameron is:

26 inches long (50%)
16 pounds, 2 ounces (50%)
42 1/2 cms head (50%)

She is perfectly average all around! So everyone who stops me and tells me how little she is can suck it :-) Yes, not nice but it's a little insulting to hear, "She's so little" all the time.

Cameron was a real trooper with the shots. She didn't cry at all for the first shot and only for 30 seconds after the other two. The doctor's office didn't have the combo shot on hand so we did the Rotavirus oral followed by the first dose of the regular flu shot, Hib and DTaP. In a month we'll go back for the second flu shot, Prevnar and Polio vaccines. I decided to give Cameron the regular flu shot because she is in daycare and has already had two colds. There is no guarantee that this year's flu shot is the right "kind" of flu but if there is a chance to avoid illness, I'll take it. I plan on getting my own flu shot this year for the first time in 10 years. The last thing I want is to be sick while taking care of a baby!

I spoke with the doctor about two issues: Cameron's fluid intake and the H1N1 virus. On the feeding front it has been a struggle to get Cameron to eat even 24 ounces a day. It is usually more like 20-21 ounces. But the doctor wasn't concerned so I'm trying to be less worried on my end. It's hard though...

On the H1N1 front I simply asked whether we should be concerned about having the vaccine rushed into production. Her philosophy is that it's the same delivery system as the regular flu shot. I've been leaning towards getting the H1N1 for Cameron (and myself) simply because it really has been making the rounds and I hear it hits a lot harder, symptom-wise, than the regular flu. I'm still not 100% positive but I have some time to noodle on it and come to a final decision. The vaccine won't be out until October and I'm hearing November is more likely.

I'm working from home this week as DH leave on a business trip tomorrow. Cameron is taking what is sure to be a very long nap right now in her crib. Then DH will bring her to daycare. It's nice that we have that flexibility in our working lives to do that. And I know that she will really nap, as opposed to the 20-30 minute stretches she does at school!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Loving playtime

Cameron is in the midst of a marathon nap letting me edit some photos and update the blog. She has been wearing herself out with constant playing. And she is so happy doing it! Put her on a blanket and she'll roll to her heart's content. Stick her in the exersaucer and she'll happily play for up to 45 minutes. And she especially loves playing with her Daddy! I've been negligent in posting photos so here are some to brighten up your weekend.

Cameron is happy all the time.

Mommy snapped this picture just before a roll. Mixing playtime with Charlie and Daddy is pure heaven.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cameron: six months old

Dear Cameron,

Six months! You are halfway to one and your daddy and I have no idea where the time went. This past month has been a big development month for you.

First there was the rolling. I love it when I put you in the crib to run your bath and when I come back you are flipped on your stomach playing with your mirror. You are much better at rolling from your back to your front. Sometimes you get so mad when you can't flip back over. So Daddy is usually there with a helping hand.

You are now eating solid foods 3x a day and loving it! Sometimes it's hard for us to squeeze in all those meals on the weekend but it's so much fun to watch you open your mouth really wide for the next bite. Your current favorites are peaches and prunes.

You are currently fascinated by your buddy, Charlie. Everywhere he goes, you watch him closely. Your biggest smiles are for him. He isn't as interested in you yet but I know you will be best friends soon enough. He likes to have dinner at the same time you are. So cute!

This past month also saw your first ear infection. Surprisingly Mommy and Daddy didn't even know you had one! I can only hope you are equally sanguine when it comes to teething. You also did a great job by being a perfect angel for Daddy while Mommy went away for a business trip.

You are really close to being too big for your 3-6 month clothes. Mommy loves the idea of all the new cute outfits you get to wear. Daddy just wants you to stay little forever. It's amazing how much you have grown and we can't wait to see what you do next.

All our love,

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome to Fall, where exactly did Summer go?

I can't believe that today is the first official day of Fall. It feels like just yesterday I was pregnant and eagerly counting the days down until Spring and Cameron would arrive. Of course Fall in North Carolina isn't exactly like it was in New England. For starters it's supposed to hit 80 degrees today. Surprisingly we have started to lose leaves off the trees, mostly because it has been dipping down into the 50s at night. Perfect sleeping weather.

Speaking of sleeping, Cameron is basically sleeping through the night. She still requires swaddling and the occassional pacifier insertion but she's good for 11-12 hours. Woo hoo! Of course that's probably because she doesn't nap at daycare but that's a whole other post. We had a brief blip when she came down with a cold. Normally I'm not a worrying but her weezing was troubling so I decided to hit up the pediatrician. I took her to the doctor's (yay for Sunday hours!) and found out that her weezing would go away on its own and she didn't have RSV but she had an ear infection. Uh oh. Is this the start of recurring ear infections? I hope not although I suffered from them extensively as a child. Nice to see that my months of breastfeeding helped her to avoid illness [eye roll]. It was odd because she displayed no signs of an ear infection. No rubbing. No ear tugging. Nothing. I can only hope that she reacts that well once she finally starts teething.

In other news, Cameron is slowly adjusting to formula. She definitely still prefers the defrosted breastmilk but I got her to suck down 6 oz of formula this morning. We also switched to Level 2 nipples. We only have 4 so I have to pick up more. One of the reasons I wanted to switch nipple flows is because Cameron has been reducing the amount of liquids she takes and I'm hopeful she will take more if it's less work. True, she eats 3 pretty big meals a day (usually 2 jars or one jar + equal amount of rice cereal per feeding) but she's down to 24 ounces a day. Has anyone else experienced this? Should I be concerned? More importantly does less liquid mean she may stop sleeping through the night? Yes, that last one is really the most important.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5 months, three weeks, 3 days

On Thursday I stopped breastfeeding. As the title indicates I made it almost 6 months. It was the pumping that did it. I came back from my trip and decided I had had it. Enough worrying about my supply, finding the time and energy to pump. And now? I feel like a new woman. My body was obviously ready for it as I've already gone more than 24 hours without having to pump. I have enough breast milk to get Cameron through the week or so, supplementing with some formula to get her used to it. It's absolutely wonderful to mix a bottle and not stress about her finishing it because I can't bear to waste the precious milk I worked so hard to produce.

Originally I had planned to breastfeed for a year. It was that magical mark that the World Health Organization and other bodies cite as the best time frame for breastfeeding. But once I returned to work and started pumping I quickly realized that going a year was not feasible. I am extremely impressed with mothers who can go that long. I am not one of them. Cameron was only nursing off of me in the mornings so I haven't felt the lack of closeness. I do wish I had some nice, discrete nursing photos but considering I'm usually the one behind the camera it never happened.

Some of the other benefits of not breastfeeding? DH can shoulder the morning routines. And you know what that means! More sleep for me. I can also have a couple of drinks without worrying I'm poisoning my child. I'm going to try and not be defensive about my choice to stop breastfeeding. But I've already found myself justifying it to my husband (not that he judges) and other family members. I do wonder if I hadn't struggled so much with supply issues if I could have gone longer. But the decision has been made and I am happy with it. Of course if my readers want to shower me with support, who am I to turn it down?

A happy, health baby, even on formula...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things I learned while in NYC

Cabbies love talking on cell phones. Now, this isn’t exactly a surprise for anyone, including me. But I am shocked that every cabbie apparently has a plethora of friends and family who will let him talk and talk and talk through his entire shift. I swear that I didn’t take a single cab ride with a driver who wasn’t talking on his phone (usually not in English) the entire time. On the plus side, every taxi has a user friendly credit card reader and automatic receipt print out which makes my expense reports so much easier.

I could never live in NYC. The excitement and hubbub of the city is great for a visit but the thought of living there isn’t for me. First I think it would be hard to downsize from a house to an apartment. And the commute and lack of car would also be a challenge. Lugging an infant around the subway to get to daycare is about as far from appealing as you can get. Perhaps if I started in the city right out of school it would be fine but now that I’m settled in a small city I’m not sure I could do it. Well, if I get paid a ton of money I might!

I’m ready to stop pumping. The biggest drain on my enjoyment of the trip was having to think about pumping all the time. I was lucky that a private office (with a lock!) was available along with a fridge in the break room. But then I had to worry about keeping the milk cold throughout dinner. And lugging my pumping bag around on top of my laptop and purse while traipsing along the streets of Manhattan was not fun. Not to mention wanting to fall into bed each night after long dinners (and drinks!) but having to pump first. I told DH I was done after this month. He doesn’t believe me (not sure I do either) but I am definitely creeping closer to that end point.

10 years isn’t a long time with good friends. As much shit as social network sites get, Facebook allowed me to find and connect with a lot of old college friends. I took advantage of that and had dinner with two friends the first night I was in the city. We had an awesome time catching up, splitting a couple of bottles of wine and lying to each other about how we haven’t changed a bit. Well, I wasn’t lying about them but I’m sure they were about me!

I missed Cameron but I enjoyed my trip. I did dream about her each night and actually got out of bed at one point because I thought she was crying. No Carl Jung necessary to analyze that one! I knew Cameron would be in excellent hands with DH and she was. They had some quality father/daughter time and DH got lots of practice handling her routine all by himself. Now I know I can leave any time and they will be just fine. I foresee many more business trips in my future so that’s a good thing.

I can't wait to head home tonight and see my little munchkin first thing in the morning! Fingers crossed that my flight is on time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Momfessions: Part 1

Being more than 5 months into motherhood, I think it's fair to say that I've settled in. Sure, I still have twitches and twinges of "OMG, I have no idea what I'm doing" but those flashes are getting rarer. In honor of this and the fact that Cameron will be six months in a couple of weeks I thought I would share some of my motherhood confessions:

1. We still swaddle Cameron. Yup, it's my crutch and I just can't let it go. I've gotten so good at swaddling her (with the super swaddle) that she can't break out of it for the entire night. I once attempted to put her down for a nap sans swaddle and it was an unmitigated disaster. It's looking like we really will be swaddling Cameron until she heads off to college. I hope she gets an understanding roommate!

2. Sometimes I feed her at 4 AM, not because she needs it, but because it means she will sleep later in the morning. Enough said.

3. Shhh. Don't tell Cameron but I'm looking forward to my business trip this week. Two whole nights of not jerking awake because I think I hear her. Well, at least I assume I'll be able to internalize the fact that she is 500 miles away. But we'll see. With my luck I'll end up waking up more often not less.

4. I'm getting really, really tired of pumping. I think I might cut all of it out except for an evening pump when Cameron reaches 6 months old. I still have about 150 ounces in the freezer and once that is done, I'm totally done pumping. DH is convinced that my Type A personality will keep me going for a few more months but I'm mentally trying to prepare myself to stop.

I'm sure I have many more "momfessions" to come. How about the rest of you? What confessions do you have?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Photo Friday: The faux-hawk

Apologies for the fuzziness/lines in the picture. I'm still using my old camera. But the quality of the photos has encouraged me to buy a new one very, very quickly! Because Cameron has so much more hair now I can really stand it up in a faux-hawk. This hairstyle lasted all day and is an awesome contrast to her cute outfit. What are some other fun hairstyles I can try out?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

She'll certainly be less crazy

I found out yesterday that Ellen DeGeneres will be serving as the fourth judge on American Idol. Ellen is often known as the "every woman" and plans to bring that viewpoint to the competition. My problem? I think that having a fourth judge at all is not the best idea. Last season it resulted in only two judges giving feedback per contestant and we lost valuable Simon critiques. While I will still miss Paula Abdul's kookiness I do like Ellen. But I'm reserving judgement of my own until after the first few episodes. What do the rest of you think about Ellen as the newest judge? Too much change with adding in Kara, removing Paula and now adding Ellen?

Aside from the fourth judge here are the guest judges currently on tap for auditions: Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry, and Joe Jonas. Any favorites? Any you think will be terrible?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adventures in babysitting

We did it. We had a babysitter watch Cameron for the first time so we could go out to dinner with some friends who were in town for the night. I was a little nervous because Cameron has had a slight cold and woke up several times the night before. We planned dinner to fall right after Cameron was put into bed. The timing worked out perfectly and when we left she was sleeping peacefully. Needless to say, this did not keep me from worrying about her although the glass of wine helped!

We ended up having the daughter of some friends come in to basically watch TV and listen to the monitor. Because of course my hope was that Cameron would sleep the whole time. And she did! The babysitter was on the younger side (15) but with her parents just up the street and the fact that Cameron would be sleeping I was fairly sure everything would be OK.

Cameron did end up sleeping the whole time and I walked the babysitter home. Am I completely naive in how much it now costs to hire a babysitter? We ended up paying $10 an hour after talking with a few people. I thought I was making good money at $5 an hour when I was in high school and college. Of course that was 15 (jeesh, 15!) years ago...

How about the rest of you? When was the first time you used a babysitter? Do you pay more or less than we did?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finally! My loathing of exercise is (somewhat) justified

I have mentioned previously that I am not someone who finds exercise to be even remotely enjoyable. There are a hundred other things I would rather be doing which is why I just don't exercise. Then I saw this front page article on CNN with the headline, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin." Awesome. Yes, I realize there are other benefits to exercising. But right now I'm taking this as justification to continued exercise abstinence.

Speaking of health concerns...what's up with this swine flu vaccine? I'm hearing that the federal government might mandate it? Is anyone else concerned about the fact that this vaccine was rushed into existence and now production? I'm not sure I want Cameron to get it if there isn't sufficient evidence that it really works and there are no side effects. Thoughts from my readers?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Solid food, rolling, growth, oh my!

I swear that we returned with a completely different baby than the one we left with for vacation. Aside from Cameron's sweet disposition and ongoing refusal to nap at daycare, that is. Even her daycare commented on how much she changed in two weeks. In the past three days we have moved her car seat straps up, seen her rotate around in her exersaucer on her own, roll over (both directions!), and be really introduced solid food. Phew! It's been a whirlwind. And she is very close to sitting up on her own.

Apparently Cameron had a really big growth spurt while on vacation. I didn't notice because I was doing a lot more breastfeeding and started taking Reglan (woo hoo for drugs!) to increase my milk supply. Now Cameron looks absolutely chubby and has probably doubled the amount of hair on her head. As DH commented, "It's like she is a real person!"

I decided to let daycare do a lot of the heavy lifting with teaching Cameron how to eat. She gets rice cereal for breakfast and rice cereal plus some other food (sweet potatoes and pears for now) for lunch. I just introduced dinner (also rice plus other) with the hope of cutting out one of her bottles (she's still eating off me or bottles 7x a day). I can hardly believe that after only two days of solid food at daycare she already can scarf down the dinner I'm feeding her. Amazing! She cutely sticks out her tongue when preparing for another bite of food.

What do you think? Does she look chubbier and/or bigger to you?And look at that full head of hair! Cameron still has a small bald spot on the back of her head but I'm sure that will disappear once she starts sitting up on her own.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adventures in home improvement: the raised bed

My friend, Amanda showed me her raised bed a few months ago and I immediately came home and mentioned how awesome it was to my husband. We have about an acre of land with the majority of it in the backyard. Unfortunately the backyard is a hodgepodge of sun, shade, clay soil, sandy soil and to top it off, it slopes. So we have slowly been making improvements over the past two years. This year we decided to focus on creating more definition to the space. I decided that a big, raised bed was the way to go. The best spot for it was in a shady corner of the yard on top of clay-like soil. This would give us the benefit of filling an otherwise dead space and amending the soil so that it becomes more fertile.

My parents came to visit in July and my dad is the type of person who always needs a project. With landscaping logs on sale at $.97 each a plan was created to load up the SUV and start the raised bed. First DH and my dad mapped out the space assuming the logs were 8 feet each.

Doesn't all that digging look like fun? At least DH didn't get as dirty as he did with his last project.
This was one of two loads of landscaping logs that ended up being used. I think about 50 went into the building of the bed.
DH doesn't do things by half. So he dug down to place the first layer of logs and made sure that the structure was level all around.
The cinder blocks and using rebar was a suggestion of my dad's to reinforce the structure. This thing isn't going anywhere! Plus using cinder blocks meant less digging and fussing with the logs in the inner section to get them level. The rebar was placed by drilling holes through the layers. DH even put in metal joins when more than one log was required on each side.
DH was inspired to create a two level structure. Doesn't it look great?
We used the remainder of our compost pile and many, many bags of soil to fill in the raised bed. The edges are lined with landscaping fabric to help with weed control and any erosion issues.

Our next step is to figure out what additional hardscape to put in (stones or fountain, etc.) and identify perennials to be planted in the fall. I've already tried to get a few plants but the middle of the summer isn't the best time for purchasing or planting. If anyone has recommendations for bulbs or perennials to be planted (mostly shade, Zone 7), please let me know! Also, if anyone knows where the HGTV show "Yard Crashers" films, tell me so I can stalk them and have them come over and do more work for us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why don't you pick the lint from my pocket while you are at it?

Thanks for all the kind thoughts about my grandfather's death. I won't be able to make it back for the funereal so it really helps. Mommy, Esq. also has some great photos of him on her blog so check it out if you haven't already.

While on vacation for two weeks I have been out of the loop. Not just with work related matters but also with the news, both local and national. As I've written before I am a bit of a news junky. I love my NPR! I was listening to the news on Sunday and found out that our sales tax is increasing from 7.25% to 8.25% today. Um, hello?!? A 13% increase on our sales tax?!? I already think it is ridiculous how much we pay in sales tax because I'm more used to the 5.5% from Massachusetts. Not to mention that our school system is still pretty terrible so where the heck is the money going? Plus, aren't we in a recession? Is raising taxes really the right thing to do...why am I being punished because the state can't balance the budget? Grrrr.

So let's take the increase in sales tax, add to it state income tax, federal income tax and county tax. Yes, I'm looking at almost 50% of my paycheck running off to taxes. At least state and federal income tax comes out of my paycheck before I see it so it's not as painful. But the sales tax hits the bottom line, post income tax. Remind me again why I voted for the Democratic ticket? How about the rest of you? Have you seen any similar increases?