A Winnie the Pooh Birthday

This post is long overdue. Evan turned one over a month ago. But I didn’t have all of my pictures yet, so I waited. And then I got the pictures and life happened. You know how this blog works.

Anyway, Evan had a Winnie-the-Pooh themed party and it was fabulous. Ben and I spent a long time planning it and it went by way too fast, but everything was perfect, right down to the smash cake.

First, the invites:

I had a photographer take photos at the party so I wouldn’t have to worry about it (best decision ever) and before the party started, we did a quick family portrait session.

This last picture inludes Ben’s parents, grandma, and sister who came from Michigan and Pennsylvania for the weekend.

The other photos are a mix of the photographer’s and mine.

We had a few different decorations up. The “ONE” and “1” that I’ve shown before:

Frames with Pooh quotes and artwork:

Hunny pots:

A timeline of Evan’s first year:

Signs around the house (guess where I put that first one):

A beehive:

And some books, of course (I also had books as party favors):

We set the food up in the kitchen (just realized this photo doesn’t actually have any food in it):

We named each dish something Pooh-ish:

My favorite:

And, finally, the cake:

And the smashing:

I have a ton more photos, but I’ve tried to keep this as concise as possible. A lot of people came. There were kids running all over the place (the weather actually cooperated). It was a great day. Now I need to start planning for next year…

Evan’s First Year

My little baby is turning one today. I can hardly believe that it has already been a year, yet it’s been quite the journey at the same time. I couldn’t love this little boy more, even when he’s waking me up at 4am (we’re working on this, I swear).

I am a little emotional today and very busy getting ready for E’s party, so I am going to keep this post short. Instead, here is Evan’s First Year in pictures:

A Trip to the Zoo and Evan’s First Easter

I am enjoying these photo posts and I hope you are as well. Having visitors around all month means that I am taking many more pictures than usual and this weekend was no exception.

On Saturday, we took Evan to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

The penguins are his favorite.

Evan got some quality time with his grandpa.

The zoo was a success!

On Easter, Evan found a basket full of bath toys, some plush animals, and a book (I am still figuring out how to take decent photos indoors…).

And he looked dashing in the suit my mom sent him.

Hope you all had a great Easter weekend!

A Day at the Beach

So, the usual story. I don’t have a review for you today, but I do have some pictures.  All the visitors this month are cramping my review-writing style, but they’re giving me a great opportunity to play with my camera. Maybe someday I’ll get to add “photographer” to my list of titles.

Anyway, we took Evan to the beach (Honeymoon Island) for the first time yesterday while Ben’s mom was in town. He’s seen the water before, but he’s never played in it or the sand. It was a WINDY day and since it’s been cold, the water was also cold. And there was a riptide warning. And it was naptime. So we just stayed in the sand today and left after about a half an hour. But Evan had fun exploring the sand and trying to eat nature.

 

The ironic thing is that I totally could have written a review in the time it took me to put this post together.

A Confession

Ben reading to a days-old Evan

You guys, I have a confession.

I don’t read to my son.

*hides*

*peeks out*

I have every intention of reading with him and of cultivating another book lover for our family, but other than the occasional chapter of  a book read by Ben while E’s nursing and one bedtime story, I really don’t. The reasons:

(1) The kid can’t sit still. At 9 months, he is a constantly moving target and trying to read a book to him results in said book being pried from my hand, placed in his mouth, and usually carried across the room.

(2) Weekdays are so busy. We spend our morning getting ready and head to daycare/work around 8am. By the time I pick him up and get home in the evening, it is 6pm. And with a 7pm bedtime, that barely leaves enough time for dinner and maybe an evening stroll. Not much leisure time for reading.

(3) I keep thinking I’ll get to it when he’s just a little bit older. The he gets a little bit older and I put it off some more.

If a tendency to pull all of the books off the shelves is an indication of a future reader, then I’m all set. But I fear more is required.

So I need your advice. How do I introduce Evan to books? What did/do you do with your kids? Do I just need to be patient and let him eat the books for now and just be glad he’s showing some form of interest in them? Do I need to try harder to get him to sit still and listen to a story?

Evan is Nine Months Old

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Cross-posting from Evan’s tumblr.

Nine Months

  • 20 lbs 15 ounces
  • 30 3/4 inches

Likes:

  • Eating puffs
  • Crawling
  • Pulling books off the shelf
  • Toys that make a lot of noise

Dislikes:

  • Ear infections
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Sleeping through the night
  • Diaper time

New Firsts

  • Standing for a few seconds on his own
  • Clapping

Toys:

  • Mardi Gras beads
  • Rattles
  • Our phones

Teeth: Still eight.

The Sunday Salon [12.9.12]

I really don’t have anything bookish to share (except that I am racing through the last Fallen audiobook to find out what happens), and I got a new camera, so here are some pictures of Evan and one of “snow:”

The last three were taken at the Christmas Parade in Dunedin yesterday. It was 81 degrees when we got there, but they make it snow and have a place to go sledding and Santa is there. The three of us had a lot of fun.

How are you getting into the holiday spirit?

6 Months: My Breastfeeding Story…So Far.

I did it. 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Evan hasn’t had a drop of formula. I am so proud of myself for sticking to it because it wasn’t always easy. And it still isn’t easy.

First, a note: While I am proud, I would never think to judge anyone for their own personal decisions about feeding their babies. There were many times I wanted to give up, and I totally understand why people do. I also know that some people cannot physically breastfeed or do not have lifestyles that are conducive to nursing and pumping (I was adopted and formula fed myself). I am extremely happy with my decisions so far, but they are my choices. You all can make your own. We’ve got enough to deal with as moms without all of this competing.

I do want to share my breastfeeding story, though. For myself and for anyone out there who wants or needs to see that we all have our own struggles.

The Painful Beginning – The First Six Weeks

E had this breastfeeding thing down from the beginning and in that way I was very lucky and had it much easier than some other moms I know. My hungry little boy had no problems latching on. And boy did he eat. 45 minute feedings every hour and a half (so basically 45 minutes on, 45 minutes off).

I, on the other hand, was having some major issues. It HURT. Like, REALLY HURT. Worse than child birth. I dreaded feeding time because I really wasn’t sure how much more of the 60-seconds of intense latch on pain and the soreness that continued throughout the feeding I could take. And I couldn’t do anything to stop it. His latch was fine. Every position was painful. It seemed to be me that was just built wrong. I read that it would stop hurting at 2 weeks. It took 5 1/2.

Mentally, I was a wreck. I was, at best, uncomfortable. I still had those crazy hormones running through me, and I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life sitting on the couch, watching Friday Night Lights, and nursing this baby while crying.

While I was so happy to have Evan, I did a lot of complaining during this period. Thank you to all of you who listened and offered advice and shared similar stories. It helped me more than you probably realize.

The Honeymoon Period – Weeks Six through Twelve

Once the pain went away, everything else started to fall into place. Evan started eating faster, and, eventually, started going longer than 90 minutes between feedings. I was able to leave the house without experiencing massive anxiety. I got comfortable nursing in public. I began to enjoy the time I was spending nursing Evan. I was also able to pump after each morning feeding and start building a freezer stash.

Back to Work – Month Four

And just as we hit our stride, everything changed (I suspect this will always be the case with parenting). After twelve weeks of maternity leave, I went back to work full-time. This meant that Evan needed to have two or three or four bottles each day and that I needed to pump.

Many days, this isn’t really a problem. I have an office with a door that locks. I can pump and sit at my computer and continue to do my work. But there are days that I am away from the office at court, in deposition, attending mediations. These are the challenging days for me. I spent one whole week sneaking out of arbitration to pump in my car in a parking garage. The things we do for our children.

I am very lucky. My employer completely supports my decision to breastfeed. And I even have the opportunity to go to Evan’s daycare to nurse him at lunch most days. This has made it so much easier.

Struggling with Supply – Months Five and Six

Once again, as soon as I hit my stride as a pumping mom, things changed. In those first few weeks, I was pumping more than enough and banking at least a few ounces for the freezer stash each week. Then my supply suddenly dropped. And Evan started eating more. Simultaneously.  I was pumping 2 ounces when Evan was eating 4. I started taking fenugreek, drinking that awful Mother’s Milk tea, and eating lactation cookies. I had to start pumping before I went to bed to make up for what I didn’t pump during the work day. I am just barely keeping up at this point, but I am keeping up and that’s all that matters. It might be extra work, but it’s for Evan so I can do it.

Going Forward

We are going to start solids now. I don’t anticipate that this will reduce Evan’s milk intake at all to start with so I am going to keep nursing and pumping. My original goal was this first six months, but my new goal is to keep breastfeeding until Evan is a year old. It is nice to know that I made it this far, and if I do have to supplement with formula at this point, it’s less of an issue.

My Advice to Future Breastfeeding Moms

  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Find a lactation consultant, a breastfeeding group, and/or friends who have been through it (I found twitter to be full of encouragement).
  • Do your research before you have the baby. I did not really do this and I wish I had. Instead, I spent HOURS googling “_____ and breastfeeding” during those first few weeks. Find a resource you like and can use as a reference (I like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and kellymom.com).
  • Don’t let the breastfeeding nazis scare you. If you have to supplement, your child will be fine. I was formula fed and I turned out to be a healthy, intelligent adult.
  • Talk to your daycare provider about your wishes. Or, if you’re obsessive like me, write a two page document about how to feed your child (you should see my pumping spreadsheet).
  • Talk to your employer about pumping. If your employer is large enough, federal law requires that they provide you with non-bathroom space to pump (although they generally don’t have pay you for pumping breaks). Explain how breastfeeding will actually benefit them, since your child is less likely to get sick, requiring you to take fewer sick days. 
  • Pump while driving. I promise this is a lot safer than it sounds. And it saves so much time on days that you have to spend a lot of time in the car. I set it all up under my nursing cover with my hands-free pumping bra, turn it on, put on my seatbelt, and drive. After 20 minutes, I pull over and take it all off. Voila.
My breastfeeding story isn’t over. I plan on continuing until one of us (hopefully Evan) is ready to start the weening process. Thanks again to everyone who has supported me in this adventure so far.