Friday, July 30, 2010

Musical cards!

Kevin got this musical card for his birthday. When it starts singing, he starts shaking his head like he's dancing. I tried to capture it, but didn't get a great shot of it. Oh well, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I have a coffee name!

I heard a rather interesting story on NPR today. You can listen here. It's about coffee names. After a quick google search, I found the original blog entry here.

I have a coffee name. I admit it. My name isn't exactly the most common, and no one ever spells it right, that's for sure. So I usually give an alias. When we're in a big group of people going to eat at a restaurant, I will give the easiest person's name. This usually is my husband, Mike. Easy, extraordinarily common, and quick.

At Starbucks I don't even give a name anymore. They just know me as "iced coffee with sweetener". I don't even ask for it anymore. They have it ready by the time I get to the front of the line.

So do you have a coffee name?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Journey

This came up when I posted that I had made it a year nursing Kevin on Facebook, so I thought I'd do a blog entry on my nursing journey and what I went through while breastfeeding both kids. I hope it inspires or helps any new (or experienced) moms that may be going through something similar!

Amanda was born after an induction. I went in at 6am and had her at 1:20am the next morning. Mike called her "movie baby" because she came out pink, crying and ready to take on the world! She latched on immediately and had no problem learning the ways of breastfeeding. Apparently I did though, because the hospital's lactation consultant came to see me the next day and told me my nipples were small and I was holding her in all the wrong positions. She pinched me and told me to wear nipple shields to help pull my nipples out. Then she proceeded to tell me I should get the most expensive pump available and exclusively pump because I most likely wouldn't be able to breastfeed. I cried after she left. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was me, but she crushed me and made me think I was a bad mother.

But, if anyone knows me, you know I saw that as a challenge. I was going to show her! I could breastfeed just fine! And I did. Amanda lost only a few oz. in the hospital, and by our 2 week appointment she had gained back and surpassed her birth weight of 6 lbs, 8 oz. And she continued to thrive. At each appointment the doctor would look at me incredulously and ask if I was really ONLY breastfeeding her?

This did not come without a price. I was a new mom getting used to something completely out of my usual realm of comfortable-ness. My nipples were *so* sore those first 3 weeks, I thought they were going to fall off! It helped that I had a sister & 2 sister-in-laws that told me the same had happened to them. And after those initial 3 weeks, it became much easier. I also have a very modest husband who convinced me I should breastfeed no where else but in my own home. And if we had guests over, I could NOT breastfeed in front of them. No exceptions. This stressed me out big-time. Amanda was ravenous and often ate every 1-2 hours (on the plus side she was sleeping through the night by 6 weeks). I would rush out of the house to get an errand done and rush home so as to not be caught out of the house with a screaming, hungry baby. I became isolated. I longed to go back to work. So I did. I took a 10 week maternity leave and came back to work.

Only going back to work wasn't much easier because then you deal with the guilt of leaving your child in someone else's hands for most of the day. Bygones. Meanwhile, I had increased Amanda's bottle nipple sizes based on the package recommendations. So at 1 month she started on a size 2 and at 3 months a size 3 and at 5 months a size 4. This lead to her having bottle preference and she refused to nurse. I would get home and fruitlessly try to get her to latch on to my engorged boob to no avail. I would end up feeding her a pumped bottle and pumping at the same time. This got old. fast. I also found that I wasn't pumping enough for her at work and ended up supplementing several times with formula, which she took no problem.

So by 6 months when we started rice cereal and baby food, I had had enough. I was done with the stress, done with the exclusive pumping all the time, done. So I weaned. Everyone I knew with babies at the time weaned at 6 months or less as well, so I felt like I had accomplished my goal. Amanda smoothly transitioned over to formula and then again to whole milk at 1 year, no problem.

2 years later I was pregnant with Kevin. During my pregnancy I trolled the baby boards and learned of my mistake in increasing Amanda's nipple size. I decided I would try and breastfeed Kevin longer, though 6 months was still my short-term goal with a year being my long-term. I also decided to deliver at a different hospital so I wouldn't have to face the same mean lactation consultant!

Kevin arrived 10 days early, rather quickly. He was also born in the middle of the night at 1:40am, though you couldn't call him "movie baby". He came out purple and silent and there was that initial "Oh my God" moment, which was quickly followed by a shrill cry and excited happiness. Kevin was almost the complete opposite of Amanda the first day. He was sleepy, lethargic and not at all interested in breastfeeding. I got him to latch a total of 3 times I think, and every time he would almost immediately fall asleep. The nurses at the hospital kept squeezing me to make sure I was making colostrum, and telling me not to worry, that some babies are so traumatized by birth they need a day or two to perk up and figure it out. By day 2 Kevin was doing much better, but still wasn't ravenous like Amanda was. And I avoided the lactation consultant like the plague. Every time they asked if I wanted one, I would vehemently answer "no!"

My milk came in by the time we left the hospital, and I thought for sure Kevin would start eating like Amanda did. But no. He is a very laid back baby and he will only eat when he's ready to! Since this was baby #2 I started a bedtime routine the day he came home, and implemented other things I knew worked with Amanda. This resulted in having to wake him every 3 hours those first 2 weeks until we went to the doctor. He also grew well, surpassing his birth weight of 6 lbs, 2 oz. by his first appt. The doc gave the 'ok' to let him sleep, and that night he slept 5 straight hours! I was in heaven! And to make matters better, my nipples weren't nearly as sore.

But, I still struggled with some of the same issues. Kevin also liked to eat every 2-3 hours and I found myself rushing out and rushing back from errands to make sure I was home in time for the next feeding. After a couple of weeks of this and gaining confidence in myself, I began to seek out nursing rooms, often known as family rooms. I discovered every Babies/Toys 'R Us has them. As well as most malls. I also found myself in several situations where there was none of this, and I had to nurse in public. I even had a situation with Mike yelling at me in front of total strangers for 'showing too much boob'. But I took it all in stride this time and decided f-you all, I am giving Kevin what is best for him!

I also knew my supply would take a dip when I went back to work, so I pumped. I pumped like a madwoman. I built up such a supply in the freezer that I decided to donate a good portion of it. I can now say I helped another infant thrive on my breastmilk! I took a full 17 weeks of maternity leave, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was actually a little sad when I went back to work this time.

At 5 months Kevin started picking up how much he ate. He went from 3-4 oz. per feeding to 5. I was only pumping 4 oz. per session because that's what he had been eating. I nearly panicked. Good thing I had freezer supply to back it up! I also started taking Fenugreek supplements and mother's milk tea. It gave just the little amount of boost I needed to continue to exclusively breastfeed him.

At 6 months we started solids. Again, complete opposite of Amanda. Kevin was not interested at all. Especially from me. I struggled to get him to open his mouth for any food. I purchased the book "Baby Led Weaning" and attempted to give him finger foods. He would have none of it. He would play with it, but nothing went in his mouth. At 7-8 months I was starting to get desperate. He started waking up at night and crying until he was fed. I attempted formula before bed, thinking maybe breastmilk was digesting too fast in his growing body and formula would help him sleep longer. Nope. He wouldn't take it. I mixed the two, but that didn't work either.

Finally at 10 months he suddenly "got" it. He started picking up food and putting it in his mouth. He started eating full meals. Whatever I put in front of him, he ate. He stopped taking any baby food from me at all (he will eat it at daycare though), and I stopped giving it to him. My supply also took a dip around this time (most likely due to lack of sleep & stress about producing enough), AND we had our freezer fail, so I lost the freezer stash I had left. I almost gave up. I almost threw in the towel and said oh well, I made it this far. But for some reason I didn't. I figured we had come this far, why not finish it out!?

So I added another pumping session on my way home from work. This, and the increased solid foods actually allowed me to re-add to my freezer stash. I was able to drop it about 3 weeks later when Kevin finally started sleeping through the night and my supply increased during the day.

I really feel like we cruised through the last 2 months, and it finally got "easy". I still had guilt about taking breaks at work to pump, but I have been very lucky with an understanding boss who never pressured me or made me feel bad for it.

And now I feel like I accomplished a lot, and it was so worth it. We're now at 12 months and I have officially dropped the pumping at work. Kevin still nurses in the morning and when we get home from daycare. I also pump once more before bed, which he gets before bed the next night. I'm still deciding if I want to keep this up for a little bit longer. Kevin seems to really enjoy nursing and sometimes claws at my shirt when we get home until I let him have some, even if he just ate an hour earlier. He took to cow's milk just fine (thank GOD), and our new problem is just getting him to take a sippy cup. The boy refuses any sippy and will only drink from a bottle! But that's another story for another day...

What a difference a year makes!

Happy 1st Birthday to my little man Kevin today!

Last year I had him at 1:40am (Birth story here). After getting cleaned up and everything they do, it was nearly 4am. Mike went home to get some sleep, and I was too geared up to sleep. I think I took a quick nap from 5-7am, but was up soon after. The adrenaline and excitement were too much! The hospital had wifi, so I pulled out my laptop and started posting pictures of my newborn. He was perfect in every way! I am still in awe that he decided to come so early (10 days before his due date of August 6)

Since then he has grown so much and is becoming such a little person. Here's some stats:
Born: 6 lbs, 2 oz.
12 months: 19 lbs, 3 oz.

Born: 19 inches
12 months: 28 inches

One year ago I had no idea what I was in for with two kids. Double the trouble, but double the love as well. I can't even imagine what we thought was hard about only having one, but I also can't imagine our life without 2 anymore! Every day brings a new blessing, a new adventure.

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things that make you go hmmmmm....

Do you have tiny little things that really shouldn't irritate you but they do anyway?
I do. Here's one of them. Yesterday I used some of my tape at work. When I was finished, the tape dispenser looked like this:

By this morning, it looked like this:

WHY does it collapse like that, and stick to the bottom of the dispenser?? This irritates me. None of my dispensers at home do this. Why only my work one?
Things to ponder...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I went to HS with a bunch of animals!

This post is inspired by my friend Lyda who posted a bunch of HS pictures on facebook. My title is also the title of her photo album.

No. Really. I attended the North Hollywood High School Biological Sciences/Animal Studies Zoo Magnet. A mouthful right? Apparently they've changed the name to just "Zoo Magnet". Know why it's called that? That's right, it resides in the parking lot of the LA Zoo. Like most people, I have fond and not-so-fond memories of high school. But unlike others, a lot of mine include the animals.

My favorite memory is from a class I took on animal behavior. We actually spent an entire semester studying one animal. We were divided up into groups and each group chose an animal to observe. My group chose the siamang monkeys. In order to get as much class time as possible in one day, our classes were actually double as long, and only met 3 days a week. So Monday, we had all classes. Then we had some of our classes only Tues/Thurs and the other Wed/Fri (or something like that. It may have been Friday we had all classes, I don't remember all the details. This is what happens when you have kids, your memory goes...what was I talking about? Oh ya, siamangs). This gave us time to walk up to the zoo, study, and get back. So we had a good 2 hours we would sit and observe these monkeys and their behavior. We got to know them quite well. So well in fact that the guys in our group figured out how to imitate their distinctive territorial call. It sounds similar to a really LOUD whoop that starts in their throat and comes out like a long "Boo!"

So anyway, on our appointed days we'd head up to the zoo with our writing pads, observe for a while, and when we were getting bored, the guys would start up their calls. You should have seen those monkeys get all riled up! They'd start swinging around, screaming at the top of their lungs, convinced there was another monkey trying to invade their territory! We thought it was hilarious!

Ahhhhhh, the memories :)

By the way, the picture posted at the top is my graduating class of 1996. I am in the bottom row, third from the right. I apparently was not happy to be taking this picture!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


My laptop crashed. I don't mean "oh well, run an antivirus and it'll be back to normal tomorrow" kind of crash either. We're talking major loud sounds coming from the hard drive followed by "No hard drive detected" kind of crash.

I am devastated.

All my digital pictures were on that laptop. ALL of them. Last time I backed up? April 2007. So Amanda was 3 months old. I have nothing, NOTHING of Kevin. Save what I uploaded to flickr to post on this blog (thank you blog!).

A friend is taking a look at it for me, but I have pretty much given up hope at this point. I drag my sorry butt up to the extraordinarily hot attic (what is up with this weather, one day it's 60, the next it's 90!) every night to check facebook on Mike's computer, and think about all that I have lost.

I feel disconnected.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And what weekend isn't complete without...

help changing the sheets!

Well, not so much "helping" as much as "playing". But it's worth it to hear the giggles and laughter from such a simple thing :)

Birthday BBQ - July 4

July 4 is my dad's birthday so every year we have a BBQ for him. This year was Kevin's first time in the pool!

Notice his poor little face. On Friday he scratched himself at daycare. Then Sunday before we went to the bbq, he was standing at the front security gate when Amanda opened the door. He came tumbling out and fell down the front step onto his nose. Got a nosebleed and scratched up his upper lip and his forehead as well. Nice.

Daddy let Kevin play with his root beer can. Kevin kept trying to get a taste.

Randomly a HUGE military plane flew really low over the house. Moments before a helicopter had circled and run a siren (like you would hear if the cops were pulling you over). We surmised they must have been clearing the area for the plane. Something we had never seen before!

Amanda helped Grandpa blow out his candles.

Kids were getting pretty tired as the night wore on. Kevin was falling asleep on Grandma's shoulder.
Amanda helped Grandpa open his gifts.

And then we headed home. No fireworks for us this year. The kids were just exhausted after 2 full days of exciting, new things. We decided it was better they get plenty of sleep than to keep them up for fireworks.

Camping - July 3

So we sucked it up and finally took the kids camping (overnight) over July 4 weekend. We only went for one night in case we had a *really* bad night. It ended up being a rousing success. Both kids slept like babies (no pun intended), and we will hopefully do it again soon!

We went to Wheeler Gorge, near Ojai so the boys (and Ilene) could do some motorcycle riding. The campsite was beautiful, lots of trees overhanging the area for some shade, and the weather was gorgeous. Here are some pics in no particular order.

Grandpa counting Kevin's toes.

Grandma & Kevin

Daddy teasing Kevin that he won't be able to have beer until 2030

Sitting around the campsite just before lunch.

Kevin hanging out in the pack-n-play

Amanda was fascinated by the rocks, and climbed climbed climbed them all while we were there. Her legs are covered in bruises from all the climbing and falling she did! That's our motorhome in the background.

Gathering rocks to give everyone as "gifts"

Eventually she got the courage to climb the "big" rock in the center of the campsite. She was SO proud of herself for making it to the top on her own!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've always been a Payless Shoe Source/99 Cent store/Wal-mart/Ross-type-of-shopper. Growing up my mom stayed home with my 2 sisters & I while my dad worked, so we had to make those dollars stretch. I never had the Guess jeans, Cross-colors, or any other "stylish" brand of clothing. We got $100 to spend on clothes at the beginning of the school year and no way was I going to get one half of a pair of jeans. I was going to get as many outfits as I could at Ross! My parents never gave us money for no reason either. We had chores. I got $1 a month for doing the dishes, emptying the dishwasher, feeding/walking the dog and keeping my room clean. I worked HARD for that $1! When I was old enough, I started babysitting. I got (on average) $20 for watching 1-2 kids for around 4-5 hours. I was RICH! I used to hoard my money and even kept a little journal where I kept track of my spending so I knew exactly how much I had at all times. Eventually my mom opened me a savings account. That was so much easier.

You know how they say you marry someone like your dad. I did. Mike is just like my dad. Doesn't like to spend money. Except for his little indulgences. I remember my dad always clucking and shaking his head when we got new shoes before the old ones wore out. But he'd spend $1,000 in a heartbeat on a custom-sewn cover for his boat. Mike is the same way. He clucks and tsks if I spend money on something he deems unneeded, but he'll drop $300 on comic books in a heartbeat.

But I digress.

So my point is, I don't buy things like Prada shoes and Gucci handbags because I don't think dropping a ton of money so I can advertise a designer's name is worth it. Especially when I can go to Payless and get BOGO free for a fraction of the price! Ha!

But in the last year I somehow ended up with a Coach purse. Now don't get all excited just yet. I bought it at the Camarillo Outlets when they were having a huge sale. I think I spent $80 on it. And even that they had to pry out of my clenched hands while I hyperventilated. But my dear, sweet, loving sister convinced me I was paying for quality and the purse would last. So I took the designer plunge. So far, I love my Coach purse.

So then a few weeks ago a friend mentioned she bought some real Ray-ban sunglasses, and I scoffed. $300 on a pair of sunglasses? Puh-lease. What do they do that other sunglasses don't?
She laughed.
I sighed.
She put them on me.
And low and behold, I saw a polarized world as I had never seen a polarized world before!

I couldn't believe the difference!

So this week, I went out and bought myself a pair of real Ray-bans. Now, don't think I spent $300 on them though! I had gift certificates, and I think I only had to spend $80 of my own money. But still. My world is changing. I'm stylish. I've never been stylish before. I think I might like it. Watch out Mike, I'm about to drain our bank account! HA HA HA HA!