Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Day in the Life

I have always enjoyed reading these types of posts. Perhaps that means I'm nosy? I hope not...I've just always liked learning and understanding other people's experiences. It's interesting to step outside of what's familiar to me, and look through a different lens.

I wanted to write "A Day in the Life" post of my own for couple reasons...mostly personal. I'm 8 months in to being a working mama of two kids (when is that going to stop feeling weird to say that?). Admittedly, our days feel crazy more often than not...and yet it feels like I never manage to get anything "done." Hopefully that juxtaposition makes sense...lots of day to day activity...but nothing that feels productive. I know I do more in a day than I give myself credit for, and that most days working full-time, being a mama, wife, and managing to keep the house somewhat put together is probably "enough."

Additionally, I know that I will look back on these days some time in the not so distant future, and the craziness will be a distant memory. I want to be able to remember what these days are like - the good, the bad, and everything in between.

When choosing a day to "track," I wanted to pick the most "typical" day I could. That meant weekends were out, as well as Wednesdays (I work a later shift those days). It also meant Thursdays were out, since we currently have swimming lessons for Linnea after work. Fridays are always a little easier in the evenings, since we don't have to prep for another work day. Mondays are always a little rough as we get back into the swing of the week. Which left us with....Tuesday (yesterday).

So without further ado, here's my day...

4:22 AM
My day technically started at 4:22 AM when Britta woke up crying. Yes, I know my clock says 4:36. I set my clock ahead, to make it seem later than it really is. The intent is to help motivate me to get my butt out of bed...but now I just adjust the time in my head, and figure I have more time, so it's kind of pointless.

Anyways...I wake up and am actually pleased. Britta was up about the time I was headed to bed last night, but slept soundly through the night until now (which is good for her). I count it as a win.

I lay in bed for a while, seeing if she'll quiet down and settle back to sleep...

4:34 AM
After waiting her out for 10 minutes, Britta's still crying, so I figure it's legit. I make my way downstairs (we live in a story and a half - our bedroom is the 1/2 story and the girls are on the main level) and into her room, hoping not to wake Linnea (she sleeps pretty soundly, thankfully).

4:53 AM
I'm done feeding Britta, and she's settled back into bed. I wander into the kitchen to check quick on the dishwasher. It's ancient, and has started to not drain after the rinse cycle. We end up running it several times in a row to get it to drain (which is does eventually), while the dirty dishes pile up on the counter. Super annoying. I curse under my breath when I see it hasn't drained. I start it again.

At this point I wonder if this is when I "should be" running. I've been a runner since high school, but just haven't been able to make it part of my schedule since Britta was born. But right now sleep wins out. So back to bed I go, in hopes of getting a few more minutes of shut eye before the day really gets going.

6:00 AM
After laying awake for a bit listening to my snoring dog and snoring husband, I did manage to fall asleep for a bit...but then I slept through my alarm, and kept hitting snooze! Doh! Jeromy woke me up, asking if I was okay. Yup, I'm okay. Just tired. I head down to the bathroom to get into the shower. I'm not really a morning person. I don't like to be up early, and I don't like having to be rushed in the morning...I have to do both right now. So this is my "fake it 'til you make it" smile...

6:13 AM
I'm out of the shower. Jeromy has gotten Britta up, and is working on waking up Linnea. Linnea is not a morning person either, so we have to proceed cautiously. We joke that Britta is our "therapy baby" - if we bring her into Linnea's room to wake her up, it goes much better. Here was the scene I came in to...

Luther (our chocolate lab) is underfoot, as it's Linnea's job to feed him. He's ready for her to get up too!
6:19 AM
After some sister snuggles, I tell Linnea to get up and get dressed, and take Britta back in her room to get dressed. It's nice that she was up in the 4:00 hour because then I don't need to worry about feeding her again. It buys us a bit more time.

6:22 AM
Linnea's up and dressed, and much more bright-eyed and bushy tailed. She comes in to greet Britta again before heading to the kitchen to feed Luther.

6:27 AM
Both girls are dressed and happy (woot!). They hang out in the kitchen while I get stuff ready for the day. Linnea is hungry (she always has a "snack" before heading to daycare - where she'll have breakfast), so I make her a waffle (read: heat up a frozen waffle in the toaster).

Linnea didn't want her picture taken at first, but was willing to do silly faces with me...

6:30 AM
Jeromy's out of the shower, dressed, and getting his stuff together. The girls keep each other entertained while I pack everything up - fresh milk (pumped yesterday at work) and clean bottles to send to daycare for Britta, and my pump to bring to work (so she has fresh milk the next day!)
6:42 AM
The girls and all their stuff are packed into Jeromy's car, ready to go. Since we have a detached garage I always help Jeromy get everything into the car so he doesn't have try to carry it all. This is still one of the saddest parts of my day. I know the girls are happy and thriving at daycare/preschool, and that this arrangement is what works best for my family, but I still miss them all a lot during the day. I give last kisses, and I love yous, and they are off. I stand by the back gate and wave goodbye (I do this even in the dead of winter) until the car drives away. I head back to the house - now it's time to get me ready!
6:51 AM
I'm back in the house, and after packing up the rest of my stuff for the day it's time to make myself presentable. I'm thankful in this moment that I'm not a makeup wearer. I would never be ready on time! It's a quick dry and go, and throw on clothes routine for me!

(This is super picture heavy already...I had a lot of fun taking pictures. I love pictures!)

7:20 AM
And I'm off! Hair dry, dressed, and I have all my stuff (purse, lunch, pump, and a book). This post was a good excuse to try out my new selfie stick! I don't know why people dog on them so much. It's like a tripod/timer for your cell phone. Awesome! (The look on my face tells you I'm still sort of getting the hang of using it.)
7:25 AM
I commute to work via light rail train, which I love. We live really close to the light rail, but not quite close enough to walk. It's a short drive to the station. On the way my current guilty pleasure song (Flo Rida's "Welcome to My House") comes on. I do a quick dance party at the stoplight (This is meant to document real life, after all, right? This is total real life for me. I'm a major car dancer.)
7:31 AM
I'm parked at walking to the station (a few blocks). I'm happy to have three possible trains to catch - one gets me to work early, one gets me there right on time, and one gets me there just a little late. I'm on track to catch the one that gets me there right on time - works for me!

7:33 AM
I know exactly when I need leave my house to catch each train. I hate having to wait too long, because it just feels like wasted time. I get to the platform just in time - the train is just pulling up!
7:34 AM
Settled on the train. I love commuting this way because it's low stress. I listen to the radio, check social media, or just take a few moments to relax.
7:52 AM
I'm off the train, and walking in to my building downtown. Isn't it pretty?
8:00 AM
Tada! Right on time! It took me 8 minutes to get into the building, ride up to 10th floor, and get to my desk and logged on for the day. I enjoyed chatting with a few colleagues as I came in. I'm really thankful to work with awesome people. I love my co-workers, and it's fun to catch up as I make my way in.

I open my e-mail, and do a little triage for my day. I'm an Academic Coach, working to advise students in the first year of their Psychology or Criminal Justice undergraduate degree. I've been at my job for 6 years as of last week, and I genuinely love it.

8:28 AM
Now that I've done a bit of settling in, e-mailing, etc. it's time for breakfast. This is one of my go-to's - waffles with peanut butter. I'm sure I could be healthier, but it's easy in a pinch, and I suppose I could do a lot worse. I'm not a coffee person, but I do have a similar vice. The drink pictured is Strawberry Crystal Light. It's delicious and caffeinated, and my version of my morning coffee.
8:43 AM
I'm full and caffeinated, so it's time to make some calls! Because I work at an online university, most of my work is done over the phone and via e-mail. At full capacity, I support around 400-500 students at any given time. I'm working back up to capacity after being on maternity leave, so I'm probably around 250-300 currently. Either way, lots of people to check in on and support! Better get calling!

9:24 AM
Pump break #1. I'm thankful there are clean, private rooms available for me to pump in, but it's frustrating to have to stop working to do it -especially when I'm in a good flow. I try to make the most of it by watching Netflix (although now I'm all done with Parks and Rec, Parenthood, and Fuller House), catch up on social media, or just relax.

I'm in therapy right now for PTSD/anxiety issues stemming from my sister's illness and death (a post for another day, I suppose). My therapist and I have talked about working on mindfulness, so I've actually started using a daily app to work on mindfulness/meditation. I listen to a session while I pump. How's THAT for multi-tasking?
10:19 AM
I'm back to my desk (have been for awhile), and am enjoying a unusually quiet day. I work a lot by phone appointment, and I don't have any today! I was scheduled to have a meeting during this time, but it got rescheduled last minute, so I'm using the time to think through a couple of projects I'm taking on. I'm really happy to have the time to process through everything. It feels so good to have my ducks in a row.

11:30 AM
I have a 1:1 meeting with my supervisor. We spend most of the time talking about submitting an application to start working from home. This hasn't ever been an option in my position before, but they started offering it while I was on maternity leave. I've been working towards it for the last few months. It was a really encouraging meeting - for the first time it feels like it's not a matter of if, but when. I'm so excited about this possibility. Again, probably a post for another day...

12:43 PM 
Back to my desk after my 1:1 and heating up lunch. I'm having leftovers from the previous night - a steak penne dish that is one of my favorite meals that Jeromy makes. It's not as good reheated, but still tasty. I eat my pasta - and apple - while I catch up on e-mails from when I was away from my desk, and do a few other things I can do while I eat.

Is anyone still reading? Gold star if you are! I'm realizing how long winded I'm being...

1:09 PM
I'm flying downstairs to another floor to find a "wellness room" available for pumping session #2 of the day. I'm late and tried to reschedule, but there weren't any rooms available for a while. I don't know what my face was doing...this is my frazzled look. Again, it feels hard to pull myself away from my work flow (even though I love being able to provide for Britta in this way!)

1:55 PM
I've been back to my desk for a while getting back into my groove. I enjoy some dark chocolate M&Ms I have stashed in my desk. Mmmm....chocolate. I have such a weakness.

3:25 PM
Yup, I'm still here! There's nothing exciting to take pictures of, I've been making calls, helping students, scheduling appointments, and sending e-mails. This is a hard time of day for me...I start feeling tired, and my motivation dips a bit...but I'm pushing through!

4:09 PM
One last pumping session for the day...thinking about my ready to head home!

4:45 PM
After finishing my last pumping session, and wrapping up my work for the day it's time to head HOME! I log out, noting that I'll be back in the office tomorrow at 11:00 AM (I work late on Wednesdays and don't start until 11:00. I'm looking forward to a slightly more laid back morning tomorrow.)
4:52 PM
I'm two for two in terms of catching trains today. I arrive to the platform just in time to catch my train home!

4:53 PM
I'm settled in, and starting a new book. I feel cool by association because I know the author personally. One of my best friends used to be her nanny, so I've been to her house, and have hung out with her and her family. I read the first chapter while reminiscing about fun times with my friends. (I like that I caught City Hall in the background. It's one my favorite buildings downtown. It reminds me of Hogwarts.)

5:15 PM
Off the train, back to my car, and needing to stop for gas for my car, Large Marge, so I can do my crazy Minneapolis - Eden Prairie - Minneapolis commute tomorrow. I suppose that means nothing to anyone who's not local. Long story short - I drive all over the place on Wednesdays in order to take advantage of time with my girls, and to be able to get to be the one who drops them off at daycare/preschool, since I don't get to do it otherwise.

5:28 PM
I get home, and my family isn't home yet (usually they are, or we're coming home at the same time). Jeromy calls as I'm walking in to the house. They are running a little late, and he needs me to start dinner. We joke that at our house it's either soup season or BBQ season. It's nice today, and snow is coming tomorrow, so we're grilling! He needs me to take out brats and get them soaking in beer. I steal a sip of beer and laugh taking the next two pictures...

One for me...

And one for my homies...
I am super productive for a few minutes while I wait for Jeromy and the girls to get home. I run around like crazy, trying to take full advantage of the time alone. I start the dishwasher again (arg!), wash some dishes by hand, pick up a bit, and watch out the window until Jeromy pulls up front (he's dropping the girls off because he needs to stop at the grocery store of a few things for dinner).

5:34 PM
My family's home! Yay! I run outside and am greeted by a very bewildered Britta, who fell asleep on the way home and I unintentionally startled awake.
5:37 PM
Jeromy's at the store, and I'm playing with the girls. On my way home I had hoped to get outside for a walk, but with dinner on the stove, I can't venture too far. Instead, the girls do their favorite activities - Britta plays her toy piano, Linnea reads a Star Wars book (Daddy is so proud).

5:46 PM
We've had a new box of Usborne books in our closet for a super long time, and hadn't given them to Linnea yet. Jeromy and I finally had time to go through them the night before to decide which ones were for her Easter basket, which ones we wanted to save for our trip this summer, etc., so I decided it was a great time to give her some of the others. She LOVES books, so she was super excited to check them all out.

 5:47 PM
Britta is still happy at her piano. Gah! This girl. Such a sweetie.

5:55 PM
Linnea's delighting in reading her new books, and since Britta is getting a little squirmy I pull her over to check them out too. I read one, and then Linnea "reads" one to Britta. So sweet.

6:03 PM
Jeromy's home and working on dinner. Britta starts to get fussy. This is not her best time - a little hungry, a little tired. Not anything a little snack can't fix...I nurse Britta for a bit while I read Linnea one of her new books.

6:29 PM 
Dinner is served! Grilled brats, pears, and some pasta salad...yum! Dinner together as a family is something we do every night. It's always a little crazy, but it's so important for us. Look! We got all of us in the picture (Selfie stick win! Jeromy is the one who suggested using it! Double win!).

6:32 PM
Jeromy and I take turns trying to get Britta to eat her green beans in between eating our dinner. She's getting better at solids, but she is still pretty finicky.

6:42 PM
We've given up on getting Britta to eat her beans, so she's moved to her jumper. She LOVES it, and even when she's getting cranky, she'll happily bounce for a few minutes. This also allows me to finish my dinner before I have to get her down for the night.

6:55 PM 
Linnea's done with her dinner, and plays with Britta for a couple minutes while Jeromy and I finish up. I love hearing the two of them giggle together.

6:58 PM
Now the jumper isn't even keeping Britta happy, so I know it's time for bed. I take her into her room to change her for the night. She still has some sweet smiles for me. She is such a grabber - she reaches for anything she can. One of her favorites on the changing table is the wipes container. Ooo, crinkly, says Britta!
I get Britta into her pajamas and sleep sack, and take her out to the living room to say goodnight.

7:14 PM
Britta is sleepily nursing, and I'm listening to the sounds of Jeromy and Linnea reading Star Wars coming from the living room. Jeromy is loving passing on his love of Star Wars to Linnea. They practice pronouncing the characters names.

7:25 PM
Britta's switched to the other side, and is slowing down tremendously. I have a bad habit of putzing on my phone during this time. I put down my phone, and just spend time soaking her in. I love how she runs her hands across my chest and face, watching her fall asleep, and feeling the weight of her falling asleep in my arms. I want to remember every bit of this - it's going to be over too soon (both tonight and overall).

7:33 PM
Britta's totally out. I hate that I feel guilty lingering in her room. I want to spend time with Linnea too, and there's not much time before her bedtime - I hear Jeromy telling her to put her pajamas on. I kiss Britta, lay her down in her crib, and sneak out quietly.

7:47 PM
Linnea's ready for bed. Jeromy has read her stories and brushed her teeth, and now I get some great one on one, snuggle time. We sing songs together, and my cheeks start to hurt because I'm smiling so much. I love this girl so much. We talk about our "peaks and pits" (best and worst parts of our days), giggle, and talk about the next day. I try and soak up every minute.

8:17 PM
I tucked Linnea in a little while ago, and am working on cleaning up the kitchen. In our house Jeromy cooks, and I do the dishes. A good arrangement, if you ask me! I love listening to Linnea read in bed while I clean.

8:20 PM
I do some more dishes by hand, and then finally outsmart the dishwasher and just stop it before it does the rinse cycle, so it's drained properly. I set it to dry, wishing I would have done that several cycles ago.

8:38 PM 
After doing a bit more pick up in the kitchen, I wander down to the basement and suggest that Jeromy and I watch Modern Family, which is on the DVR from last week. We have very few shows we like to watch together, but this is one we both really enjoy. I make him take a picture with me, and he's willing to cooperate.

9:19 PM
Modern Family is done. Both girls are quietly sleeping. And the dishes are dry! Rejoice. I empty the dishwasher, and then fill it with the dishes that I haven't washed by hand yet.

9:31 PM 
I suddenly remember that there's a form we're supposed to fill out for Linnea's preschool conference tomorrow. Kindergarten readiness...say WHAT??! I bring the form downstairs to fill out with Jeromy.

9:48 PM
I'm prepping milk for Britta's daycare bottles - 5 oz. in each so it's ready for our daycare provider to prepare tomorrow. I bag and freeze the extra. I'm really happy to have had extra - we have really good friends who adopted around the same time that Britta was born, so all the extra goes to them for their little guy.

9:57 PM
Time to wash pump parts. Ugh. Such a pain, but's all part of the process.

I'll be home for breakfast tomorrow, and lunch is provided by work tomorrow, so I don't have to prepare any meals for the next day. Usually I pack my breakfast and lunch the night before so it's ready to go in the morning. Small win to not have to do that tonight.

9:59 PM 
Old Man Luther says it's time for bed by standing at the door upstairs, waiting for us to let him up.
10:01 PM
I brush my teeth and use the bathroom, then head up for bed.

10:10 PM
I take a few minutes to write in my journal (I'm starting my third year of a five year daily journal. It's perfect for me because you just write a couple sentences per day, so it's manageable to do every day). Friends, one of my all-time favorite shows, is on in the background. I know every episode, but I still never get sick of it.

10:34 PM
The episode of Friends I was watching is over. I lay awake for a bit longer to see if Britta is going to wake up (this tends to be a time she's up fairly regularly), but she remains quiet, so it's time for bed! I gotta get some sleep before Britta gets me up!

10:35 PM 
One more peek at the monitor. Yup, she's out. Goodnight!

So there you have it! Anyone still reading? This post turned out to be WAY longer than I thought it would be, so thanks for hanging in there if you did. Leave a comment if you enjoyed it! I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Seven Months!

Once again, I'm behind. Britta turned 7 months on February 17th. Better late than never, right?

7 months! I'm certain I sound like a broken record, but I just can't believe how fast the time is going. Each month seems to go faster than the last. Each month you become more "alive" - more active, responsive, and become more of your own little person. It's so fun to watch!

We've had another great month!

You got your first tooth...
At the very end of January those days and weeks of drooling, chomping, and a little bit of crankiness paid off. You got your first tooth - the bottom right. Although we will miss your gummy little smile, Your little snaggle tooth is pretty darn cute too.

At least one more tooth is coming in - we'll see how and when the others come in. Thankfully, teething hasn't been too rough for you yet (knock on wood).

You MASTERED sitting up...
Man, I forgot how quickly you babies master some tasks. Although you just started sitting up last month, you very quickly mastered it this month! You very easily sit unassisted now - for longer and longer amounts of time. You still have a tiny little bit of bobble, but not much and you continue to get better by the day.

Because you are getting so much better at sitting, you have new world of toys available to you. Your favorite is your little piano (a hand me down from Linnea). You are happy to sit at that piano for a long time. We've also taken out some large floor toys (a big block with some spinning toys) that you enjoy as well.

You showed zero interest  in solid food...
As I said last month, we started you on solid foods. We were so certain this would be a big hit for you. For the last few months you showed all the signs - you grabbed at our food, you followed our food with your eyes, you chewed on everything.

When we started with rice cereal, it seemed to go okay. But since then you have completely lost interest. We've tried rice cereal, peas, and bananas. I mean, not even bananas?! How do you not like bananas?

We try to get you to give the food a try. But when we get close to your mouth, you just turn your head away. You like smacking the spoon if it gets close to you. If any food does manage to get into your mouth, you make a yucky face and sometimes even gag too! So dramatic.

I'm trying to be patient with you. I know it will just take time. I'm just really surprised... I was sure you would love trying all new kinds of food. You'll get there, I'm sure. Until then, we'll keep trying!

You switched into a big girl carseat...
We had been talking about getting you into a big girl carseat for a couple weeks. You were getting so uncomfortable in your infant seat...especially since we had a cover over top of it for winter. You were also getting too heavy to lug around in that seat! Although you still technically had quite a bit of room to grow (it technically goes up to 30 pounds), we knew it was time to get you into something bigger.

Once Linnea got a new booster seat, you switched into her old seat. It's crazy how little you look in it! You went from looking HUGE in the infant carseat to looking little in the new seat.

You seem to enjoy your new seat - you seem to like the extra space. Riding in style now, girlie!

You've grown and changed a lot too...
We're in between well baby visits (your last one was in January for your 6 month check, and the next one won't be until April for your 9 month check). I know you're over 20 pounds, since you were last somewhere in the low 20s is I'm sure where you are weight-wise. It seems like your growth is slowing down a little bit - which is normal at about this age.

You are in a mix of 9 month and 12 month clothes. There are a few 6 month items still in your drawers (mostly shirts), but you don't really fit in them as well. I'm sure I'll be packing them away soon. We've had to buy a few new long-sleeve onsies, since Linnea's 12 month clothes are summer clothes.

You are in size 3 diapers, and they seem to be fitting you pretty well (and probably will for a bit yet).

You continue to be SUCH a happy baby. Some of your favorite things: your sister, baths - and generally being naked, putting things in your mouth, grabbing anything in reach, grabbing your toes/happy baby pose, sitting up, playing with mama's hair.

Your eating continues to be the same. 5 oz. each bottle. 3 bottles during the day (9:00, noon, 4:00). The only weird thing this month is that you had a few days in there that you were not as interested in eating. On those days you'd skip a feeding and/or eat less at one or more of your meals. I think that was due to have a bit of a cold and teething. Even on the days you didn't eat typically you were jolly as usual. You are up at night once or twice to eat, nurse before daycare in the morning (if you weren't up in the 4 or 5:00 hour), and then again before bed.

Your bedtime schedule is the same as well - ready for bed around 6:30 or 7:00, down for the night by 7:00 or 7:30 unless we're out and about (like I said last month, we are thankful for your flexibility!).

Per Dr. Khan's suggestion, we started using gas drops at your last feeding. It seems to have helped quite a bit! You get up a lot less at 9:30/10:00. You still get up later, but it seems to be because you are hungry rather than gassy. Nighttime sleep continues to not be great. Usually up twice, and there isn't really any rhyme or reason to it. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, knowing that it won't be like this forever. I enjoy our snuggles at least!

You still nap like a champ at Magna's - super consistent. Yay! We continue to take the weekends as they come. Sometimes you don't nap in the morning on the weekends - or you'll snooze in the car. Have I mentioned we're thankful for your flexibility?!

My sweet Britta Alice, you are 7 months old! We love you so much - you bring all of us so much joy. You are jolly, happy, content, observant, sweet, silly, snugly, charming, determined, and curious and we love you to bits. We can't wait to continue to watch you grow and learn.

We love you to the moon and back, Britta Boo!
Mama (and Daddy & Linnea too)