18 posts categorized "Anna"


Anna's New Socks

I mentioned that we helped my sister move her stuff from Amarillo back to North Texas and knowing that it wouldn't be a good thing to drag Anna along to do, she got to spend the day with my parents.

I called to check-in on her and my Mom mentioned that I had forgotten to pack socks and that her feet were cold. She reassured me that she was fine as she just borrowed a pair of my Dad's socks for her.


My Dad is a full-grown man and wears (I think) size nine shoes. Anna is four months old and has mini-feet, since she still wears newborn (0-6 week) shoes.

So, naturally, I started laughing since this whole idea was pretty hilarious to me. My Mom, who hears me laughing, says (in a completely serious tone), "Oh no, Jackie. They're not tube socks. They're your Dad's ankle socks."


Ohhhhhhh. Okay Mom. That doesn't make it any less funny!


How Quickly I Forget

I came across this picture when looking through Cody's phone the other day and can't believe that this was a short five months ago.


And it just cracks me up.

How quickly I've forgotten what it was like to weigh 28 pounds more. Have Anna inside me, moving and grooving all the time. Not know what Anna looks like. Not know her personality. Get a full night's sleep every night. To not love her for the little person she is.


Anna And Her Bumbo Chair


Anna is 14 weeks old today. She made it about 20 seconds sitting in her Bumbo chair yesterday morning before we left for the babysitter. Last time she freaked out immediately.

Hey, it's progress!


No Visit From The Easter Bunny This Year

It was our first year to celebrate Easter with Anna and although she's a bit young to have the Easter Bunny come visit, we made our way Friday afternoon to the mall (ugh) to get our picture taken.

Luckily it was a shorter line than I feared and only took about 30 minutes.

I had been trying to figure out what I was going to do about an Easter dress, since anyone that's been a little girl knows how important an Easter dress is! I really didn't want to spend $20-$30 dollars on a one-time dress (how much they were running even at Wal-Mart and Target) so I was verypleasantly surprised when Caressa (my doula from Anna's birth) left the cutest dress on my front porch a few weeks ago.


(Anna would start crying REALLY quickly after I'd put her down so I kept walking over, calming her down, and the woman wasn't very good at hitting the shutter button in the few seconds she was calm.)

I found matching shoes at a local second-hand store for only $2.99, and they were never worn, with the original tags on and everything! Although, it's pretty funny that Anna fits shoe size "0-6 weeks" even though she is almost 14 weeks old. She has some mini-feet!


So, I got her all dressed up for the mall trip and ended up being really happy I could capture her first Easter.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to church. Anna got dropped off at the church nursery and Cody and I headed to one of the "overflow" rooms so the first-time guests could sit in the sanctuary. We did our usual volunteer thing the second service (our church has three services) and picked Anna Banana up afterwards.


A quick lunch with our friends Dace and Jacque (and Hudson) and we headed home for the rest of the day to take it easy.


No Easter Bunny this year, but a good first Easter none-less!


Going Back to Work After Anna's Birth

It's been a little over a week since I went back to work. I was fortunate enough to get 12 weeks off paid from my company ("paid" since I had six years of sick time saved up!) and it feels like I've never left work but also that I've been away forever.

The First Eight Weeks

The first eight weeks were hands down the hardest. I had no idea what I was doing and it seemed like every second I needed to be doing something with Anna. Finding time to put her down and take a shower sometimes was my biggest challenge of the day and it could be overwhelming.


(Anna becomes Baby Rambo when her bow starts to come off. Hanging out with Aunt Steph.)

I had a mini-breakdown around the eight week mark. I mentioned that I was breastfeeding her exclusively and on-demand, so I'd feed her whenever she was hungry. I kept waiting and waiting for my milk to be enough where I could still feed her AND pump enough to get a supply saved up in the freezer for when I went back to work, but that day never happened. I'd only be able to pump an ounce or less at a time and it was starting to stress me out.

I realized that I couldn't keep up what I was doing and so with Anna getting her first round of shots, and with a lot of encouragement from Cody and friends that switched to formula after breast milk, I gave her a formula/breastmilk bottle for the first time.


(Passing time with Mommy while the floors are getting redone downstairs.)

It probably makes total sense to some women, and seems silly to other women, but it was really emotional for me. I had envisioned that I'd be the kind of Mom that would breastfeed until she was at least six months old and I even talked about wanting to follow the AAP recommendations and continue with at least one feeding a day of breast milk until she was a year old. Coming to the realization that I couldn't do that was heartbreaking. It's hard to not feel like you're a bad mom for not giving her the best source of nuitrience that you can.

The Last Four Weeks

But then, it seemed like all the stress of being able to continue to breastfeed her after going back to work was preventing me from really enjoying motherhood. As soon as I started supplementing her with formula it's like my whole world changed. I ENJOYED every moment with her and the fogginess of day-to-day life with a newborn went away. My last four weeks of maternity leave was amazing. Cody was probably relieved as I was much more pleasant to be around. Anna started sleeping longer at night (which gave us some much needed sleep too) and I didn't have to worry about pumping in the middle of the night either.


(Asleep on Daddy, complete with drool!)

I have friends who can feed their baby AND pump an entire bottle of milk and coming to the realization that I couldn't do that, but that it was okay, was huge.

The First Day Back

I thought last Monday was going to be full of tears and guilt, but surprisingly, it went really well. I think it 100% had to do with finding a babysitter who I trust completely and who I see eye-to-eye with on how to raise kids. I picked Anna up that afternoon and I was so excited to see her. She was awake from pick-up to bed time and I loved every minute I had with her.

I hate only having 30-60 minutes with her in the morning and really hate putting her in her carrier when she's in such a good mood, but I'm happy that she's at a place with two older children (2 and 3, and the three-year-old girl LOVES "Baby Anna" and LOVES to help do everything for her--it's adorable).


(Cody is the king of making Anna giggle! Photos by Aunt Dianne!)

I wish she didn't have to be gone all day and I'm hoping that we can pick her up early a few days a week (when Cody gets off work early or if my sister wants to hang out with her in the afternoon's, etc.). I know that it will be hard again when she gets to the age where she realizes that Mom is leaving, and even harder when she can talk and she tells me that she wants to stay at her house, but for right now it's working and I feel so blessed that we found her babysitter.


Finally, Some Mommy/Anna Pictures

I'm usually the one behind the camera. I love taking pictures and really love capturing all of the people that love Anna and choose to spend their time with her.

But, sometimes that means that the everyday moments of me and her go by with nothing to document it.


Before we left for the awards dinner the Saturday before last Cody snapped a few pictures of me and Anna.


I love them.


They are perfect in their imperfection.


And, something I'm going to make sure to do more often.


Rasing Her Up Right

My friend Jacque came over with her own bundle of joy, Hudson, who is now almost 20 weeks old.


The size difference between Anna and Hudson is pretty laughable. It makes sense since they are 10 weeks apart. Anna now weighs just a little over what Hudson did when he was born. So, to humor Jacque and myself we laid them side by side in Anna's pack-and-play and got a kick out of how different they are from each other.


But then Hudson made a move.


"Hey Anna. I like the rolls on your thigh."


"Your skin is pretty soft. Does your Mom use Johnson and Johnson's too?"


"You know, the kind in the yellow bottle?"

I don't think Anna was having any of it.


"Um, excuse me Hudson."

"But my Daddy said I can't touch boys until I'm at least 35."

Yep. Her Daddy is raising her up right!


The Sushi Love Continues

I knew it . . . I knew my discovery of sushi that occurred when I was pregnant wasn't a pregnancy-only craving. So when Steph offered to try a sushi restuarant in Fort Worth that she had a Groupon for, I jumped at the chance.

(I think when my family members act like they want to see me, they are really wanting to see Anna. Steph knows that bribing me with a free lunch is the best way to get some Anna time.)

The only problem was this was going to be my first time without Cody at a restaurant with Anna. And anyone that has had a newborn knows how unpredictable they are. She could be really good; or, it could end up bad.


But, she did great! Aunt Stephanie did most of the baby-holding and the bottle I pumped ahead of time kept her full and content. (I just ask the waitress for a glass half-full of hot water and I can easily heat her bottle up.)

The love of (cooked) sushi continues . . .


Finding Balance Between The Cry-It-Out and Attatchment-Style Methods

I’m not a childcare expert. I didn’t even really master the ability to change a diaper until eight weeks ago. Cody and I have no idea what we’re doing in raising Anna and we are just making it up as we go along.

Because I was a baby blank slate, I didn’t realize how much time I’d spend feeding Anna. Since I’m breastfeeding her exclusively, we spend a lot of time on the couch. I’ll pass this time with my iPhone in hand, sometimes Googling different information like: “Is ______ normal for a _____ week old baby?”

(I love the Internet when it’s 3am and I’m being reassured that it’s completely normal to feel like you’re losing your mind during the ten-day-old growth spurt. Moms of newborns unite!)

One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time reading about is the “right” way to respond to Anna’s demands. Cody and I definitely do not want to raise a spoiled child and I’ve learned that there are two distinct camps when it comes to getting your baby to sleep through the night: the cry-it-out/Ferber method and the no-tears/Sears method.

Cody and I really haven’t done either of these so-called methods, but our own way that seems to be working out best for our family. And the more I read, the more confidence I have that what we’re doing makes sense for us.

I nurse Anna on-demand.

In most non-developed countries babies are carried and nursed constantly. They are with their mom 24/7, even at night. Proponents of this style point to these cultures as “how it was meant to be” and recommend co-sleeping with your baby and carrying him/her in a sling during the day, nursing whenever the baby wants to.


(I do carry Anna in a Moby Wrap whenever we go to church, to the grocery store, etc. She loves it and it's a good way to keep her calm!)

Honestly, this sounds great in theory to me, but I don’t follow this approach all the time. I can’t hold Anna all day—I need a mental and a physical break sometimes. I also don’t think I’m comfortable popping a boob out in the middle of Wal-Mart just because she starts to whine (although when I do nurse in public, I cover up with a swaddling blanket). But, with that said, I do nurse on-demand. Right now (8 weeks old) she is still eating every 2-2.5 hours during the day (she’ll have a 3-3.5 hour stretch in the afternoons). I don’t prevent her from eating if she’s hungry just because it’s not time yet. Some days she'll end up eating literally every hour for a few hours, and I've become okay with that.

Last night I was feeding her and stopped her to switch sides. She was still hungry so she automatically started sucking on my exposed shoulder. I LOVE when she does this because I think it’s adorable, but I also think it shows that she has absolutely no idea where milk comes from. I'm still just some "thing" that smells and feels comfortable. She cries when she's hungry and will suck on anything and expects milk start flowing. If she doesn’t know where it’s coming from, how can she “manipulate” me into feeding her? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

She’s hungry. I feed her.

Anna sleeps in her crib in her own bedroom.

We do no co-sleep. Cody is a really light sleeper and Anna is well, really noisy! We tried having her sleep in her pack-and-play in our room the first two nights we were home and it was probably the worst two nights of sleep we’ve gotten. The third night my Mom stayed up with Anna, only waking me up to feed her, and she had her sleep in her crib in her bedroom. That night we realized how much better sleep we got with her upstairs in her own room, and from that night forward, she’s always slept in her crib.

(We have a video monitor that I L-O-V-E. I highly recommend one and they are worth the extra money. The first month we had the video portion on all night long but we've graduated to having the video off by default, although I usually check on her a few times a night. The sound is on the lowest setting and I have it upside down to muffle it even more. It's right next to my pillow, so I can hear as soon she wakes up and starts to get fussy.)


She started sleeping four hours straight since she was two weeks old (we started swaddling her then) and has continued with a four hour sleep, eat, two to three hour sleep, eat pattern since. (She has bad nights, where she'll cry an hour after being put down and good nights, where she’ll sleep up to six hours at a time.)

It does make me cringe when I read parents post questions such as, “Little Sally has slept with us for the past nine months and now she won’t sleep in her crib. What do I do?” I just feel fortunate that Anna only knows sleep in her crib so we don’t have to deal with that problem!

Sometimes, I rock or nurse Anna to sleep; sometimes, I don’t.

As Anna gets older I’ll get up, feed her, and either let her fall asleep in my arms or put her down awake. If she’s completely awake I know she’ll probably start crying in 10 minutes or so, need a little bit more to eat, and then finally go back to sleep. If she’s half-asleep sometimes she’ll whine before falling asleep and sometimes she’ll need to be picked up again. Really, every time is different.


This is the one area where I’m gaining the most confidence. I’ve learned to ignore “advice” by other people and just respond to my baby in a way that works best for her, Cody and me. I do know that as she gets older she will become more and more aware of us and our response, so we’ll need to constantly modify our approach to fit her maturity.

I have no idea how this will go when I’m back to work.

We’ve been fortunate enough to find a home-based baby sitter for Anna. Although I am not looking forward to not having her with me when I go back to work, it’s also reality and something that is always in the back of my mind. I know her caregiver will have her own way of dealing with Anna’s needs and I don’t know at this point how Anna will respond. But, that is okay. We’ll deal with it as it comes and continue to modify what we do as we need to.

Spoiling is different from being affectionate.

Cody said this yesterday to me, after the shoulder-sucking during her evening feeding, and I think it sums up how I want to be towards Anna. She needs to know she is loved and that Mommy and Daddy will do whatever it takes to make sure her needs are taken care of. That does not mean that she gets to eat chocolate cake an hour before dinner, or that she can run around like a crazy person and throw a temper-tantrum because she doesn't get what she wants. She needs to know she is loved and cuddling, hugs and kisses are a huge part of that--especially until she understands the concept of love, which is years away.

Right now, she needs affection. She needs to feel safe and that she can trust us to feed her, change her and be there for her when she needs us. 


If another parents see that as carrying around their baby 24/7 or by letting them cry for 45 minutes until they fall asleep, I'll give them a big high-five as I'm happy they found something that works for them and their family. But, this is where we are right now and what works for us and our little family. And I'm loving every minute of it.

Well, except getting out of bed in the middle of the night. :)


Lessons With Diaper Changing

If you're offended by baby poop, stop reading this post now. You have been warned!

Anna is very lucky that she has five Aunts. (You can feel sorry for Cody . . . two sisters, three sister-in-laws, a wife and now a daughter.) Her Aunt Stephanie is particularly enamored with Anna and has no trouble making time for her, even if it means that she has to change a couple of diapers.

Last Saturday Steph came over as we made plans to head to the mall. (Gap was having a spend $50, get $25 off sale and I can't miss a deal like that!) It's always a process to go anywhere with Anna, since I have to make sure that she's clean and fed . . . and then I only have a two hour period to go do anything since the process has to start over again! Before we left we realize that the long sleeve/pants outfit she was wearing may be too hot for her (it's already in the 80's here in North Texas). Steph volunteers to change Anna, and I wasn't going to stop her.

She heads upstairs to Anna's room, puts her in her crib, strips off her clothes and diaper and turns around to get a clean outfit out of her dresser. Spangler had snuck upstairs and was eating the cat food, so Steph leaves the room to yell at him. She comes back to this:


Anna, left without a diaper on, decided to let it all out. It was over everything . . .

Stephanie then takes her--bare bottom and all--and puts her on the couch in our loft and finishes with the diaper and clothes change.

It was pretty amusing, and Anna was perfectly content through the whole thing.


There are a couple lessons here . . .

  1. Never take a dirty diaper off unless you are putting a clean one immediately on.
  2. Pick out clothes before stripping a baby down to nakedness.
  3. Don't change a diaper in a crib when a changing table is literally six feet away. (Yes, we're all shaking our heads on this one.)
  4. Spangler will always cause trouble.
  5. A bare bottom on anything, especially a cloth couch, is just asking for trouble!


Lessons learned.