Wednesday, July 1, 2015

6 Months as Mommy


WORK
I finally feel like I'm starting to get caught up (which has only taken me MONTHS!). Summertime is my busy season so I'm definitely looking forward to September/October when things die down a little bit. I'm tired, my commute is still annoying, but I have the most supportive supervisor in the world, so I'm genuinely happy where I'm at. This month, I started contemplating doing some freelance stuff on the side to supplement our income, but we'll see how that goes.

BREASTFEEDING
I definitely noticed my supply decreasing this month. Perhaps, because my work schedule has gotten a little more regular so I'm pumping more? I've been working really hard to try and keep it up, by drinking water whenever I think about it, and keeping a box of cereal bars in my desk drawer so I have something to snack on when I don't have time to eat. Honestly, if I wasn't breastfeeding, I think I would legit forget to eat 50% of the time.

BABY FAT
We did get a new gym membership this month, though admittedly, we haven't used it as much as we should have. I have such a love/hate relationship with the gym. I love that it gets me out of the house and into an environment where I actually feel motivated to exercise, but I hate that all of the machines are so intimidating and all the crazy, bodybuilding guys are always taking over everything. I'm pretty boring when it comes to working out at the gym. I get on the treadmill and walk/jog for about two miles and then do some crunches and stretches. See, I told you- BORING. Our gym offers a few classes here and there, but the effort it takes to figure out what to do with Charlie so I can go, is far more than the effort it takes to sit on my couch with a book while Charlie snoozes in his crib.

As for Charlie...

Channeling his namesake


MILESTONES
I can barely keep up with this kid! Although he's not mobile yet, he's pretty darn good at rolling all over the place. When I get him out of this crib in the morning, he's usually 90-180 degrees from where he started the night before.

His biggest achievement, however, has been starting solid foods!!! Our pediatrician suggested starting him on rice cereal, but after doing a little bit of reading, I decided to forego the grains and cereals for some good ol' fashioned fruits and veggies. So far we've had success with sweet potatoes and avocado. I'm looking forward to introducing a bunch more foods in the weeks to come!

Another huge milestone? Talking! I am proud to say that Baby Peps's first word was...MAMA! Since then we've struggled to try and get him to say anything other than "Bah, bah, bah, bah, bah...," but we know he can also make "M" and "D" noises, so we're working on that every day.

FAMILY
Charlie has loved spending his days with his aunt and cousin, and we can now officially say that he got his first kiss from his cousin Lucie! The two of these babies are so stinkin' adorable. I'm just so blessed that they get to grow up together. Charlie also helped his Daddy and Papaw celebrate Father's Day! Father's Day morning was pretty lazy and relaxed, just the way Daddy wanted it. Then we went over to his Papaw's house for a family dinner and some quality time with his paternal grandpa.


STATS
At Charlie's 6-month appointment, he weighed in at 13 lbs 8 oz, 26 inches, with a 43cm head circumference. This puts him at the 1st, 25th, and 25th percentiles, respectively. Although, he's still super tiny, his pediatrician was actually really happy to see that he's put on 1.5 lbs since his last appointment and he's still following the growth curve. Grow Charlie, grow!

And just for fun, lots of outtakes from our little Charlie Brown's 6-month photoshoot:










Summer 2015 Book Challenge: June Check-In


To say I was pleased with my May progress of a whopping two books, was an understatement. The fact that I read even more than that in June has me ecstatic! At this rate, I might actually finish one of these for a change!




(June 27, 2015) 10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. | Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (464 pages, )
I had a good friend recommend this book to me several years ago (right before I met Chuck, actually), but I never got around to it. I kept seeing it pop up in the blog world and always as one of those books that leaves you changed after you read it. I don't think it was exactly that for me, for some reason, but I can see now what all the fuss is about. It is a love story, but more than that it is also a story of faith and as the title suggests, redemption. I would definitely suggest it. 
(June 14, 2015) 15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you. | The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (256 pages, ) 
Originally, this was my pick for a book with an animal on the cover, but as you'll notice I went with another book that only fit that category, so I switched my choices around a little bit. I was expecting this to be a five-star read after all the rave reviews I've seen, and it wasn't for me. Not because I didn't think it was incredibly creative and well-written, but because it required more brainpower than I was anticipating! The whole book is one long string of logic and wordplay, in fact, it reminded me a great deal of Alice in Wonderland, but I am just not a person who can easily grapple with logic. (That makes me sound like a dummy, but I swear, it has always been my weakest point on standardized tests!). I definitely wouldn't withhold a recommendation, but this one just wasn't it for me. 
(June 26, 2015) 20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover. | The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (352 pages, ) 
This wasn't a sequel, but kind of a follow-up book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, told from another character's perspective. Let me tell you, Rachel Joyce has quickly become one of my all-time favorite authors. The way she can tug on your heartstrings is just amazing. She provides so much humanity to her characters and weaves the most extraordinary tales using the most ordinary people. Seriously, her writing is just magic. 
(June 28, 2015) 10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. | We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (227 pages, )
As you may have surmised, I was not a fan of this book. Perhaps, it was because it was a lot darker than I was anticipating, but I just did not enjoy the plot at all. Not trying to give away the ending , but it kind of reminded me of the movie, The Sixth Sense. I really don't understand what all the fuss was about with this one. 

PREVIOUS POINTS: 25
TOTAL POINTS: 80

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Being White and Grieving for Charleston


Last Thursday morning, I awoke to the news that 9 people lost their lives to a terrorist attack within the walls of their own church in Charleston. I was sad to learn that yet again, a mass shooting had destroyed the lives of at least 9 families. America the beautiful. My first reaction, was one of sadness. But my second reaction was something along the lines of, "Here we go again." It was stunning that a public shooting barely garnered a response from me because it has become so commonplace in our country. Something is wrong with that scenario.

I went to bed that night, not feeling wholly affected and awoke the next day conducting business as usual. It wasn't until around 8:30am Friday morning that the reality sunk in. I locked myself within the confines of our small, lactation room at work and clicked on a viral video of Jon Stewart's monologue addressing the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. As I listened to his words, I began to cry. The crying turned to weeping, and the weeping turned to sobbing. I cried as I pumped. I cried as I placed my bottle in the refrigerator and walked out to my car. I cried as I got into the driver's seat. And I cried as I drove to my 9am meeting.



I felt overwhelming sadness at the thought of raising my son in a country that is killing its own people. I felt anger that I shared the same label of "American" as the people who are claiming their lives are worth more than their neighbor's because of something as superficial as skin color. I felt despair that every time it seems like our country might be making progress toward love, kindness and equality, some mass tragedy occurs that drives us two steps back. I felt sick, as a mother, thinking about what it must be like to be raising black daughters and sons in this day and age. Having to teach your beautiful, pure-hearted children to be cautious of law enforcement, to prepare themselves to be hurt, teased, and/or ostracized, not because of who they are, but because of how they look. How do you prepare a beautiful, loving, innocent child for this cruel world?

I felt all these things: sadness, anger, despair. And then I felt something else. I felt guilt. I didn't feel that these thoughts of sadness, anger, despair were justified. Because I have no idea what it's like to be a black person in this country. I felt guilt, because for whatever heartbreak I was experiencing, my black brothers and sisters must have felt that tenfold. And when I thought about feeling guilty, I felt guiltier. Why did I feel guilty? If my brothers and sisters in Christ are being targeted, within their house of worship, nay- within THE BODY OF CHRIST, how was I not justified in feeling sadness? I should be outraged. I should be shocked. I should be heartwrenchingly devastated.

And therein lies the problem. I am white, and I have no idea how to respond to racial conflict. In my heart of hearts, I know that every person on this world, was lovingly and intentionally created by a benevolent God. Every person is equal in the eyes of their Creator. Every person is worthy of love, and life, and kindness. Yet, I have been raised in a generation that blindly proclaims equality and acceptance. We are so focused on these two tenets, that we fail to identify the institutionalized racism that is all around us. We are living in an era in which discrimination is no longer tolerated, and so rather than having segregated schools and drinking fountains and instances of identifiable racism, we have racism that lurks within the deep, dark, depths of people's hearts and is invisible to the naked eye. We have racism that targets people who "fit the description." We have racism in hiring practices. We have racism in school funding. We have racism all around us, yet even the most well-intentioned of us, don't see it. Or if we do see it, we fail to speak up for lack of the right terminology, or political correctness.

Which leaves me here today, in an emotional cocktail of heartbreak, a fear to speak up, a frustration that racist behaviors are not always easy for me to spot, and a complete and utter melancholy for the friends and families of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Reverend Daniel Simmons, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, and Ethel Lance.

I have debated whether or not to publish this post, because the truth is, I don't have the right words. But ultimately, I decided that the harm from not posting it was worse than the harm that comes from posting it. I don't want to continue to sweep the sickening plague that is racial injustice under our nation's collective rug. I don't want to be yet another white "ally" that remains silent, rather than speaking up when I witness the ugly sin of racism. I pray that in writing this, I am conveying a message of humility. I have much to learn, and much to take responsibility for as I acknowledge that I am a part of the problem. I ask for your prayers and I pray that together, we might all join in love to work toward equality, once and for all.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10 Things I Would Tell My Pre-Pregnant Self


We all know that my transition into a full-bellied pregnant lady was not exactly seamless. I kicked, screamed and resisted the process every step of the way. It was scary, unexpected and as someone who does not do well with change, I was grappling with it the best way I knew how. However, one of my deepest regrets is that I didn't stop to smell the roses, so to speak. It wasn't until after I had Charlie that I realized the crazy, amazing gift that pregnancy is and I wished I hadn't taken it for granted as much as I did. Should I be lucky enough to get a second chance, I fully intend to soak up every swollen, morning sick moment. So although, Round 2 won't be for a good long while (knock on wood!), here are some things I wish I could tell my pre-pregnant self:


10. Breastfeed with both boobs. So you know how Charlie has had trouble gaining weight? (Well, maybe you don't, so to catch you up to speed- my baby is in like the 3rd percentile for weight). I think the biggest reason is because I legit wasn't breastfeeding him correctly. One of the nurses instructed me on what to do shortly after he was born and I must have misunderstood because for the first month of his life I only fed him with one boob for each nursing session. The poor kid must have been starving his whole first month! His pediatrician was the one who finally told me to nurse on one side, burp him, then nurse on the other. Totally had no idea up until she told me that. Derp.

9. Start saving, you goon! Everyone talks about how expensive babies are, but I was thinking more about the physical stuff- diapers, formula, etc. Chuck and I were not nearly prepared enough for the financial aspect and blew through what little savings we had so quickly. If you're going on maternity leave, you need to expect to save the income you would normally be making to pay bills, etc. You should also prepare to pay double the amount of insurance when you return to work, to make up for the weeks when you weren't making any income. Not to mention, all of the medical bills and co-pays. I had a normal vaginal birth with no complications, and we wound up owing probably about $2,500 for our hospital stay. We pay a $30 co-pay each doctor visit and let me tell you- babies go to the doctor A LOT. All of these things, I wish I had been better informed about so I would have saved up rather than blowing all our funds on cute baby things!

8. You do not need toys. Or clothes. There are probably at least 10 mamas in your life who have the ability to bless you with hand-me-downs. Don't bother buying toys or clothes. People will give you that stuff fo' free.

7. You'll get more sleep than you think. Dear Pre-Pregnant Kaity, your baby is going to be an awesome sleeper. You can relax now. Love, Post-Pregnant Kaity

6. You're not going to get your period again for a long time. And. It's. Awesome. Fun fact: breastfeeding is nature's birth control. Six months postpartum and no menstrual cycle in sight. #winning

5. Make more freezer meals. I know you've stocked your freezer full of delicious Pinterest-inspired meals, but you're going to blow through those in the first couple weeks. Make more!

4. Take the full 12 weeks. I know you are concerned about looking like a "bad employee" if you take the full amount of maternity leave allowed to you under law. Don't be a dope. Twelve weeks is shorter than virtually every other Mama in the world and your baby is only going to be a baby once. Savor those full 12 weeks- they go quick!

3. Don't go to Target! Two days before my due date, I made an impulsive decision after one of my midwife appointments to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Right before I reached my destination, I ran straight into the back of the car in front of me and totalled my car. We still haven't bought a second car. Pre-pregnant Kaity, turn around! Don't go to Target! Drive your ass home!!!

2. Have sex. Often. I hate to say it, but both quantity and quality will decrease significantly after baby. I know you feel like a beached whale, but do yourself a favor and enjoy some more adult time with your Hubby before your poor, sweet lady bits are traumatized for life. Post-baby sex hurts. Sorry, but it's true.

1. You're going to be an amazing Mom. I know you have spent every waking second of your pregnancy freaking out about being a huge, fat failure of a parent, but let me let you in on a little secret- You don't have to be good with kids to be a damn good Mama to your own kid.

I asked Chuck what he would tell his pre-Daddy self. His response? "Prepare for your heart to be melted." I think I'll keep him around ♥

> > >

What would you tell your pre-pregnant self?




Monday, June 22, 2015

Because Two Book Challenges Isn't Enough...


If you follow me with any type of regularity, you may remember that I signed up to participate for my 3rd round of Megan's Semi-Charmed Summer 2015 Book Challenge. (Go here to see my last progress update!)

LITERARY LADIES

  
Well, obviously, committing myself to one book challenge just wasn't enough, so I decided to give Erin's Book Challenge a second go. This is my preliminary list for her challenge:

5 points // Any book that is at least 200 pages long | TBD

10 points // A book with one of the following words in the title: "girl(s)," "boy(s)," "wo(man)," "wo(men)" | Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

10 points // A book with a three word title | Looking for Alaska by John Green 

15 points // A book with a number in the title | 11/22/63 by Stephen King

20 points // A book that begins with the first letter of your last name | Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

20 points // A book set in Latin America | Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

25 points // A book by any of the female authors featured in this Time magazine articleHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

30 points // A book of short stories | When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

30 points // A book that was a Newberry Award winner | The Giver by Lois Lowry



However, because I'm a batshit crazy and woefully unrealistic bookworm, when Kristen at See You in a Porridge announced she would be co-hosting her own book challenge, I clearly had no choice but to sign on for a third book challenge. These were the books I chose for Kristen's challenge:


(June 28, 2015) A YA book | We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (227 pages, )

(July 1, 2015) Non-US Author | The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (235 pages, )

A book that was recommended by a blogger (or Instagrammer / YouTuber / Goodreads-er) | Little Bee by Chris Cleave (Amber @ Mr. Thomas and Me)

A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more | The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

A book with a kickass female character | Legend by Marie Lu

A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam | Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

A book with a one word title | Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge! | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge! | Summer Sisters by Judy Blume


Clearly, I have issues.

Please send help.