Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pumping queen

This has become a very breast-centric blog of late, but not exactly the titillating kind. Hee hee.

I am going on my worst work trip since little Lena was born, and I have been furiously preparing for it. I will only be gone two nights and two and a half days, so I figured I could get by leaving T and her nanny 10 bottles of milk. The problem was I had exactly zero in my stash, and Lena is a hungry thing who doesn't generally miss a meal. So I got to work squeezing in pumping sessions here and there till I had a nice little stash of frozen milk.

This week I was still a few short, so I had to up the ante. I set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. the last two nights, sleepily affixed the pumping parts, and filled two more bottles. Despite a little extra exhaustion this week, and the smoke that will probably soon be coming out of my Medela Pump-in-Style, I have reached my goal of ten. I am ridiculously proud of myself.

Granted it wouldn't hurt to give her a few bottles of formula, and I honestly don't fault others who do that. We all have to do what works for us, and working mothers don't need another source of guilt from other women. But for me, I feel satisfied and fulfilled if I am doing all I can to give me children the best chance. Some would say I should feed them all organic food, give up working, and home school them. That just wouldn't work for me. If I tried to fit into that mold, it would make all of us crazy. But for me, this is what works. It is a challenge and a sacrifice, but one if feel good about doing for my daughter. Her two older brothers got a full year of mother's milk, and Lena will too.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The breast chance at life

I recently learned the term lactivist. I love it! I am such a firm believer in breastfeeding and think it is one of the very best things you can do for your baby. That's why I found this article so fascinating.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father of three?! When did this happen?

This is T's first Father's Day as a father of three (six if you count the four-legged children). I think Father's Day celebrations are inversely proportionate to the number of children you have. When we just had Q, Father's Day was a big occasion. T was treated to a special breakfast and showered with gifts. This year Father's Day really snuck up on me. Unfortunately for T, it was not the most festive of occasions. We did have a nice breakfast and dinner, and Q proudly gifted T with a handmade keychain. I was not the best wife though. Not even a card, I hate to admit. But he does deserve a lot for being the father that he is.

T is the modern dad to my modern mama. He has a stressful, successful job and is constantly fielding calls and emails from work. He takes his kids to soccer and swimming and wrangles Lena into the frilly outfits I lay out for her (the Packers sweatsuit above notwithstanding).

He cooks dinner for the boys when I am at class and defrosts breastmilk to feed Lena. I write the grocery list and he does the grocery shopping. He cleans the cars and mows the lawn and shleps poop from three species out to the curb. He takes the boys to the Home Depot Kids' Workshops and soothes Lena to sleep balanced over his forearm.

Being a dad makes him laugh and beam with pride. Sometimes it makes him yell or grit his teeth. It brings him great love, moments of frustration, long nights, and fun days. It is his biggest challenge and his greatest success.

Happy Father's Day T!

(Hopefully this makes up for the less-than-stellar Father's Day celebration.)


Monday, June 13, 2011

Mini masterpieces

Q is a prolific artist and craftsman. His works are mostly abstract of course, but he churns them out by the dozens in preschool and at his caregiver's house. I am hoping that someday he will be on of those kids who can sell their pieces of art for $20,000, but in the meantime his masterpieces are either packed away in a Tupperware container surreptitiously stashed in the recycling bin.

I was looking for a way to display his talents, and remembered seeing a clothesline idea in a magazine somewhere. T and I found some twine and clothespins and came up with this set up in our basement:

The basement includes the kids' playroom and a TV room, so it is a nice fit and it adds a bright touch. We will have to be a bit more selective in our choices as our line fills up, and as R begins to lend his artistic genius to the mix. Q is extremely proud of his handiwork. He helps us decipher the inspiration behind some of the images. 'Oh that's a moon! Of course! I see it now." 


Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Favorites

1. Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe emails

Every weekend I plan my meals for the week and write a grocery list. I'd like to say I am just totally organized and in control, but it is mostly out of necessity. Otherwise we'd be eating peanut butter and jelly every night and the kids wouldn't have any milk.

It's not always easy figuring out a week's worth of good, quick, mostly healthy meals, and I try to limit myself to one night of takeout at the most. Lately, Martha Stewart recipes have been a big help. I get an email each day with Everyday Food recipes. The ones that sound good, I pop into a Gmail folder called "Recipes." Then when meal-planning time comes around on Sundays, I open that email folder and print out whatever sounds enticing. Easy. Thanks Martha.

You can sign up here.

2. The trashiness that is the Real Housewives

I like them all, but New Jersey and the OC are especially scandalous. T rolls his eyes every time I turn on an episode. I think I just like how it is mindless fluff, like cotton candy for the brain. Or maybe just because it makes me feel good about myself for not being such a train wreck.

3. Revlon ColorStay makeup

I used to wear MAC makeup every day for work. That was when I needed a good spackling to look good under TV lights, and when I had a monthly hair and makeup budget. Those days are gone. Now I would look like a prostitute if I walked around with the same amount of makeup on as I did then, and my hair and makeup budget consists of what's left over after buying groceries and paying the mortgage.

It felt a little overly extravagant to still spend $30 on MAC foundation, so I went looking for an alternative. Revlon's ColorStay is good stuff. It stays on and covers well. I now use just about all Revlon products from their eye shadow to their lip gloss and am quite pleased. And you don't even have to deal with the annoying makeup counter people.

4. Pineapple

This has to be my favorite fruit, and it is very sweet and cheap right now. I could eat a whole pineapple by myself. We had it mixed with blueberries this month and broiled with salmon. (Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe!) And we still have a pineapple sitting on the counter. Yum! I should have been Hawaiian.

5. Craft scissors

I have a love-hate relationship with scrapbooking. I love to look at the completed product, but I don't generally like the act of actually scrapbooking. It hangs over my head and stresses me out! I just want it to be done! I wish I could hire someone to do it for me! But I am determined that all the kids have nice scrapbooks to commemorate their first tooth and graduation from sixth grade and all that.

Lena's was stressing me out as I had not even started it, so this weekend I promised myself I would get it up to date. I hit up Michael's for the requisite pink patterned paper and baby-themed flair. I also grabbed a three pack of craft scissors to give cool edges to my background paper and labels. It didn't make scrapbooking totally enjoyable, but it was definitely more fun as I admired the crinkly edges of my work.

This show on TLC about the extravagant and bizarre world of European gypsy weddings is baffling and fascinating. They dress like whores, yet disallow any sex before marriage. The wedding dress in the picture above was complete with twinkly lights and moving butterflies! It's definitely an intriguing watch. After I finish catch up on The Real Housewives, of course.

(By the way, I do listen to NPR in the morning on the way to work. I am not a complete pop culture moron.)