Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Nearly exactly one year to the day from when I started pumping, I brought my pump home from work.  I haven't used it--at work or at home--for about two weeks now.  We're down to just two feedings--one in the morning when she wakes up, and one at night before she goes to sleep.

I seem to be maintaining enough of a supply so far, though I can tell that it is indeed dwindling--as it should.  My plan is to cut out the morning feeding over Thanksgiving when my husband can wake up with her each day and offer her a sippy-cup of milk in place of the breast (he has agreed, but I know that he'd rather sleep in).  Assuming that I can keep my supply on just one feeding, I would then nurse her through the holidays in Montana, and then try to eliminate that bedtime feeding once we're home and back into a routine. 

I confess that I did very little to work out during this year while I have been nursing, but I know that this "nursing diet"--in which Ella sucks everything right out of me--is going to have to change soon.  I've started doing my push-ups and crunches each morning again, and I plan to start my yoga in the mornings when we eliminate the morning feeding.  Until then, I'll continue to enjoy the holiday treats and let Ella "help" me keep my figure.  That all being said, I firmly believe that my healthy diet and exercise played a big part in helping me conceive and carry her to term, and once I get a cycle back, I'll "be good" again.  But until then, I feel that not having a cycle (due to nursing) gives me a free pass for now.

I'm sorry that I haven't posted much lately.  I've been busy busy busy at work and at home with Ella.  I've also been battling a little cold for the last week, so I've been trying to get as much sleep as possible.  But we're doing well, and I think of you all often.

Today's blessing was the chance to take an early lunch break and hang out with Ella.  It's been a change to only visit her once a week at daycare after spending nearly every lunch break with her.  I definitely look forward to these lunch dates with her, and I recognize that I'm blessed to have a job that is flexible enough to allow me to have this time with her.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shifting and Transitioning

Last week, I expressed my concerns about how Ella was held back from transitioning to the one-year-old room at her daycare because she wasn't quite walking.  The next morning during my morning nursing/breakfast/prayer journal multi-tasking, I shifted my prayer from:

Dear God, please help Ella walk soon.


Lord, help her as she tries to walk.  Make her courageous, so that she can confidently set out and walk.  Make her adventurous, so that she can desire to explore new things.  Make her coordinated, so she can put all the moves together.  Make her trusting, so that she can come to those who offer assistance.  Give her persistence, so she can continue to try. 

And wouldn't you know it--God is amazing, and sometimes so quick to answer our prayers!  Not even an hour later, she stood right up at daycare and took a couple good steps to the daycare worker while I was getting ready to walk out the door.  All of those things I had prayed for--courage, adventure, coordination, trust, persistence--they all came together so beautifully that morning.

And they continue to emerge as Ella becomes more and more comfortable with walking.  That was Friday, October 7th, and she started transitioning to the one-year-old room on Monday, October 10th, and spent the last three days exclusively in her new room.  She seems to really like her new room and new teachers, and seems to be transitioning to eating at the table and sleeping on the cots just fine.  Her preferred mode of transportation is still crawling if she wants to get somewhere quickly, but she's standing up and walking on her own accord more and more.

I'm struggling to put together the right words, but shifting the focus of my prayer for her walking was one of those "ah ha" kind of moments for me.  I had to look at myself and think:  "why exactly do I want her to walk?"  I think my urgency had more to do with my own timelines and competitive nature, rather than a genuine desire to see my daughter truly grow and develop on her own, the way God designed for her.  When I reexamined myself and put my pettiness aside, I realize that I truly wanted those things--courage, adventure, coordinator, trust, and persistence--for her, not for me.  Sure enough--God delivered.

Yesterday's blessing came in the form of two guys who flagged me down when I drove away with my wallet on my car.  Not only did they honk to get my attention, but they picked up everything that had fallen out of my wallet when it did indeed fall off my car into the middle of the street.  I'm so appreciative that God sent them to help me.  I wish that there was more that I could do for them, other than just saying a heartfelt "Thank you".  I pray that God bless them for how they blessed me. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I love birthdays.  I always have, and hopefully always will.  My family--especially my grandma--always made me feel special on my birthday, without going overboard.  I want the same for Ella.  I want her embrace growing up, and I want her to know that she is so loved--not just on her birthday, but on every day of the year.

I wouldn't say we went overboard by any means, but we definitely celebrated this first year of Ella's life.

It started a couple of weeks ago with her baptism, and since my parents and my mother-in-law were in town, we had her party that day as well.

One of my students made the cupcakes for the party...

...and my mother-in-law made Ella's cake.
Modeling the new tutu that her dance-teaching aunt sent her.
Sampling her cake.
As you can see from the cake picture...she liked it, but wasn't very enthusiastic about it.  I had to show her that it was okay to eat it.  She ate a few bites and got just messy enough to give us a couple of the requisite pictures.

The next weekend, we helped celebrating the birthday of the little girl at Ella's daycare who is three days older than Ella. This time, it was the other birthday girl's turn to play with the big cake, and Ella got a cupcake...and she definitely knew what to do with it!
Remnants of Ella's cupcake at Madelyn's party.

Since Ella and Madelyn are just days apart (and are favorites of the main daycare provider), they brought in a cake with their picture on it to daycare on one of the days between the two birthdays.
Ella and Madelyn checking out their cake while we sing.

Trying a bit of the frosting...and not quite knowing what to think.

My husband was traveling on Ella's actual birthday, so I left work a few minutes early, and brought her out to a special dinner, just her and me.  We then picked up a cupcake from a special cupcake place near campus and headed home.
Cupcake before...

 Cupcake during...
Cupcake after!
Each celebration was wonderful in their own way, but there was something just so special about spending the evening alone with Ella on her actual birthday.  I pray that I'm always able to spend some quality time--just me and her--on or around her birthday each year to come.  She is so amazing, and I praise God for her every day.

Today's blessing is the chance to go to the zoo with Madelyn and her mom--who is quickly becoming a good friend.  This will be Ella's first trip to the zoo, so I'm excited for all that she will get to see today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Held Back

Ella turned one on Friday (I promise pictures are coming soon), and--in theory--she should have moved over from the infant room to the one-year-old room at her daycare on Monday. But the policy is that the kids can't start in the one-year-old room until they are walking...which Ella is not.

I know that babies walk on their own schedule. I know there is nothing wring. I know that it's not a reflection of me. But yet I can't help but feel that I'm somehow to blame for her being held back.

Ella has great balance, and will stand unassisted for long stretches. She will also cruise along the couch and from one piece of furniture to the next. She'll even take a few little steps on her own if she feels like it. But she is definitely not a consistent walker. Her pediatrician assured me that her legs and feet look fine, and that it will just be a matter of time before Ella truly walks for herself.

I get it--I really do. I know babies develop differently, and Ella is really shining in other areas (like signing).  I'm really trying hard to find the right balance between encouraging her without pushing her.  I just want her to develop the balance, coordination, and confidence that she needs to truly take these next steps, but I need to let her do it at her own pace.

My husband thinks that maybe she's stubborn like him, or a perfectionist like me.  When it came time for me to get my license,  I was disappointed that my parents hadn't brought me out on the country roads to let me practice driving when I was 14 so that I would have known what I was doing by the time I turned 16.  Maybe Ella is feeling the same way.  I'm trying to follow her lead, but I also feel like maybe I should be doing more to encourage walking.  It's a delicate line to walk...figuratively.

Last night's blessing was coming home to an empty dishwasher.  I had to work late, but I was thrilled to come home and see that my husband had unloaded the dishwasher for me.  Sometimes it's the littlest things in life that make my day, and having him step up to help with the chores is so big for me.