The Next F-ing Betty Crocker

Hello and greetings from frigid Santa Barbara! I don’t know how many times I’ll be able exclaim such a thing, so I best do it now. Winter is upon us, and it is CHILLY out there! hmm…well, it is to me. I was just about to post some stats from Weather Channel, but it says that yesterday’s low was 45 deg. Not quite as dramatic as I was hoping for, as I know much of the country experiences WAY harsher weather during winter months, but you know, for us here in SB it is a wild change. I Love it. I like to be shocked by the weather and experience new climates, even if it means being coooolllddd (which I typically dislike). It makes things interesting.

We’re not quite two weeks into the New Year, but it seems like Christmas was AGES ago! I’ve been working through my Incredible Year Planner, battled a cold, fending off the flu and caring for my bedridden partner who caught it, hanging out with the best BunnaRoo in the world, and back at the job full throttle. I’ve also made 2 of the 14 new recipes that are a major part of my Goals for 2013. One was a delicious Broccoli Cheddar Soup that I made from a recipe found on Pinterest, but I didn’t take any pictures of the process. I think my iPod died in the midst of the creation. But it was super yummy and nourishing. I can’t wait to try it again and add more veggies!

I also made a meatloaf with a recipe from AllRecipes.com. It was really basic and easy to make, I threw it together in maybe 10 minutes and then went on with my night while it baked for an hour. I did manage a photo:

Just out o' the oven!

Just out o’ the oven!


I know this doesn’t really make me the next F-ing Betty Crocker (well,you never know!), but it feels good to make yummy food that fills our tummies! I’m hopeful in the coming weeks as I get my grocery budget going I can afford to be a little more adventurous with the menu. I am REALLY excited, actually. I’ve been dreaming & pinning recipes for some time now. ūüôā

As mentioned, I’ve also been working through my 2013 Incredible Year Workbook: outlining my Vision, setting goals, writing Affirmations to Lift Me Up, and adding to my list of 100 things to do in 2013! I Love my List so far…. I think it’s the best way to set your “goals”, because it doesn’t have to be major things, like “write a bestselling novel” (although that is am AWESOME goal to set!); I have simple, everyday things on mine like “Clean out the car” and “go to the dentist”. I know that it will feel awesome to cross them off the list, and having this list in front of me REMINDS me to get them done this year! The real fun though, is dreaming up things to do that you really WANT to do, like create a garden or learning a martial art. Creating a garden is HUGE on my list; aside from the learning 14 new recipes it is the biggest, and I will be focusing a lot of attention on this area in the coming months planning the garden and prepping seeds and actually planting and tending to the garden! I am excited for all of it.

A Light of Love exclusive! I've Instagrammed other pages of the list, but you get to see this Special one. :)

A Light of Love exclusive! I’ve Instagrammed other pages of the list, but you get to see this Special One. ūüôā


So far on my list I have 58 “Things to Do”. Last year I think I only made it to 35, and I didn’t complete all of them. I was going to write a post discussing this but it’s too 2012. I’m moving onward.
Decidely not on the list this year is “Write Blog Posts” although I still obviously am going to be posting (hopefully) a lot! Last year my goal was 52 blog posts, one a week, and I think I did 30 or so in that year. Good enough. This year will be inifinitely better! I have quite a few plans for the blog and my internet presence in general, but it’s all still bouncing around in my head.

Next on the List is completing my Word of the Year project, currently in progress. I am excited to be making this piece bit by bit! I will share when it’s all Beautiful and finished.

If you want to join in on the FUN and order the 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Calendar & Workbook, please order it from ME!!! Right HERE! I am a proud affiliate for Leonie Dawson and her AMAZING Goddess Circle and all of her programs. We’re having a contest right now to sell as many Workbooks as possible and spread the Amazingness! If you feel called to take inventory of your Life and Dream a Gorgeous Future for yourself in 2013, this workbook is a Powerful tool to get you there.

That’s all from me for now. Have a Lovely day, My Friends.
xoxo
Cait


Birthday Baby!

Good morning and good day to you! It’s a Fashion Friday and I will *hopefully* have something to upload for you later on today.

It’s a big weekend in my household. Little Bunn is turning One! We’re having a Barbeque party, because that’s what we do. However we’ve never had one this big or with so many of my family members coming up to celebrate. It should be interesting.

Little Bunn herself is growing, growing, growing! She has 5 teeth showing, and two more just about to punch through. She is standing on her own¬†for more than three seconds¬†, and cruising like a pro around¬†every piece of¬†furniture she can access. She’s saying words like “Dada” and making other noises to communicate what she wants. She is pretty much the most amazing creature I have ever laid eyes on. ūüôā

Alas, Our breastfeeding story came to an end sometime between 10 and 11 months. For a long time, she had only been nursing on the left side, and would refuse the right. We¬†didn’t do a lot of nursing during the day, usually just at bedtime. Even then, I would have to also give her a bottle because I wasn’t producing much milk. It¬†became less and less and less.¬†Then I realized it was¬†just more of a novelty for her I think, and¬†I’ve been ready to have my body back, and maybe not have lopsided boobs¬† anymore. Maybe have a cup of coffee in the *gasp* afternoon, or a Coke. Nuturing is part of my astrological makeup. Autonomy feels good too.

Part of me is still a little heartbroken, but¬†she didn’t seem to mind the switch at all. My little baby is getting bigger and¬†there is no¬†pause button.¬†I’m so thankful to have had that time with her, and¬†every night when I give her her bedtime bottle, I rock her and kiss her and just hold her close. I¬†Love her so. Even though she is no longer¬†dependent on my physical body¬†for nourishment,¬†I still feel very close to her. I know breastfeeding was so worth it, and I still think it is one of THE most amazing systems of the human body. There were¬†many ups and downs throughout my experience breastfeeding, and I know I had it pretty easy! Throughout all of the downs, the big “up” that kept me going was just knowing that I could be there for my daughter in a way that no one else could. I had to sacrafice somethings, YES; but I was sacraficing for her. I guess that’s what being a parent is all about. You Love them, you sacrafice to¬†nourish and nuture them, and they break your heart while filling it with joy. It’s crazy. It’s really good!

Anyway, Happy Birthday Little Bunn. Thank You for turning my Life upside down, and always having a smiley face and squishy cheeks to kiss. I Love you so! xoxo

 


Greetings!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written or posted anything from Polyvore, but trust that I have been super busy! My Love bought me some really nice paint brushes, paints, and canvases for my birthday in June, so I’ve been enjoying creating in the real world and taking a break from the virtual.
Coming up in August I am taking the last of my maternity leave and will be hanging out with C all month long!
I am hoping to paint more, travel to San Diego, reorganize and beautify the house, and spend time with my Baby Bear!
C is so amazing. It’s such a blessing to watch her grow and learn. She’s ten months old now: crawling, cruising, and “talking” up a storm! She has this new laugh that is seriously the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.
My guilty pleasures lately have been Gossip Girl and Pinot Noir. Both are juicy and good in small doses, something just for me.
You’ll be hearing from me again soon as I have lots more news to share.

Love & Hugs,

c


Frustration

The breastfeeding struggle continues. Maybe I should say the breast pumping struggle continues. Or the breast milk supply struggle continues. Geez…I have no idea what’s going on.

I’ve been at this for almost 5 months now, and it’s not getting easier. I feel like I am failing at something over which I have no control. Which I NEED to have control over…It matters, and I’m doing everything I can, and it makes no difference.

I’ve been pumping breast milk since Cleo was just a few days old. First, I started with a manual pump, and that exhausted me. It was handy in the sense that I could extract enough milk for my partner to take on a feeding here or there (usually in the morning when I wanted to sleep in), but I never was really able to build up the glorious freezer¬†supply that I’ve heard some women talk about. As I got closer to my back to work date at 6 weeks, I was acutely aware of the need to buy a better breast pump.

I did a lot of research, and eventually decided on the Medela Pump in Style, because of its quality and effectiveness. The concept of the project triangle is true: you may want something to work quickly and well, but it will come at a cost. This is true for the Medela Pump in Style. I am always on the hunt for the best prices on items, but I found that for this product, the prices from any legit-seeming vendor remained relatively constant, around 300 bucks when all was said and done.

Fine with me. I was already apprehensive about having to pump multiple times throughout the workday, and wanted the whole ordeal to go over as smoothly as possible. Now I am a pro at setting up the contraption pretty quickly, and it takes me about a half hour to do both sides (it is a double pump, but I prefer to do one side at a time because it is more comfortable, and gives me a free hand). Having a quality machine is essential to my peace of mind, especially when my supply issues are driving me crazy.

The first week back to work was rough. Part of me was glad to be back at work, while another part of me was screaming, “What am I doing here?” Getting in to the groove of pumping every few hours was tough. My body was not used to going so long between feedings, and within 2 days I had a clogged duct and a 102¬į fever. It came on very suddenly. At first I thought it was the flu, and then realized I had been given a flu shot. As the night wore on I got weaker and weaker as the fever worked me. I knew I had to nurse but could barely lift the Bunn, who was just about 10 lbs at the time. It took a full day of¬†hot compresses and painful nursing but the fever broke sometime the next night. I learned an important lesson then and there: never feel guilty about pumping when you need to. I shouldn’t have been so self conscious about it in the first place, but sometimes it is hard not to worry when you are on a different¬†schedule than everyone else on the job. Thankfully my body has acclimated to the pumping routine now, and I haven’t experienced any more duct problems.

So, on to the big ugly monster of a problem that fills me with guilt and failure and yes, frustration. I can never pump as much as she needs. When I was pumping 2 oz she was drinking 3.¬†For a while I would have to leave the office during the workday to bring her next bottle to her.¬†Now that I can pump 3 to 5 oz., she is drinking 5+. Sometimes by the last feeding of the night, she is screaming at my breast, begging them to nourish her. And nothing has worked. We’re pretty much doing half formula and half breast milk and I feel so guilty. Like I am unable to provide for her. I’ve had plenty of women tell me my milk would come in again around three months but it never did. In fact, it feels like it’s only getting worse.

I feed her in the middle of the night, and in the morning¬†before work. I pump midmorning at work, and go home at lunch to nurse. I pump again in the afternoon, and feed when I get home from work. Then there is a final feeding right before bed. I’ve tried pumping late at night but usually only get an ounce or so, making it unworth staying up for. Sometimes I pump in the mornings after feeding her, just to have a bit extra to supplement. After doing all this, it feels like a slap in the face every time I have to give her formula, which I have had to do often lately. Now I am just trying to let go of the guilt, and accept that I just have to do what is best for her and continue to have formula on hand (and thank god it exists, who knows how I would have gotten through some nights without).

I find myself apologizing to her and holding back tears because¬† I feel¬† like I am¬† just failing over and over. I fear that she and I will be less bonded and she could become sick more easily (but as I write that, I know that these are simply fears, and not necessarily¬†true). It just seems unfair that although I am doing everything that I can, I am still unable to give her the best. Not only do I leave her in the care of others for 36 hours a week, but she is left¬†without breast milk¬†too. I want to be the one that she trusts and counts on, but I feel like I am failing. I am so jealous of other mothers who are able to stay at home with their babies. I am jealous of my friends who have been breastfeeding their babies for over a year. I’ve prayed for my milk to come in, for an ample supply to nourish my child, and yet I am still doing this juggling act. This is where I am today, and this is where I’ve been for over two months.

I’m thankful for being able to breastfeed at all, and for¬†getting this far;¬†for my lunchtimes with her, and¬†for her caretakers. I am¬†grateful for her beautiful little face, and her cheeks, and sweet baby smile. Oh, I am just thankful for everything. Everything about her. But this is my very real frustration. I’m trying to let go, but it’s hard when letting go means being ok with giving your baby second best. It should be impossible.

Anyway, this is the last of my breastfeeding posts for now. I may¬†update if there is any change in the situation. She’ll be starting solids soon, so that will be a fun new variable.

If you are have breastfeeding questions or problems, you can go to kellymom.com or contact La Leche League


Formula First

I’ve been breastfeeding Cleo every day since the day she was born. As I said in the previous post, she took to it rather quickly. We had a small snafu in the first few days at home, when I couldn’t wake up the sleepyhead¬†enough to get her to complete a feeding. A simple call to the advice nurse at our pediatricians office turned into a “we’re going to have to take her to urgent care” panic, saved only by another gracious nurse from the Welcome Every Baby program who was willing to make an impromptu house call. She was amazing. She calmed my nerves and assured us everything was going to be alright. We probably wouldn’t have to go to urgent care. But we did need to make sure le bebe was hydrated and nourished. We needed to give her formula.

“Formula!”¬†I thought, recoiling at the notion. But wanting so badly¬†to make sure Cleo would be ok.¬†Up until this point I was sure– adamant that we would be exclusively breastfeeding like any mother who gives a damn about her child would do. I had hardly entertained the idea, and had been just as judgy¬†about¬†formula as a new mom who has no idea what she is really talking about could be. I’ve looked upon formula as poison. Or maybe junk food. Who would possibly feed that disgusting shit to their baby?

But now, my baby was five days old and had skipped a feeding, and my angel nurse was telling me how I could help her, what we needed to do to make sure she was ok. So with some hesitation and a half heavy heart we gave her 2 oz. of ready-made formula. And all was well. She perked right up, and Angel stayed with us a while to talk about how everything was going, and to make sure she tolerated the formula (She did. Very well).  Angel gave the doctor a call, and he said no trip to the urgent care was needed. My blood pressure relaxed, and I breathed a bit. Angel left us with a few more bottles for baby, just in case, and a breast pump for me, to begin to build my supply.

I cannot find the words to describe the exhaustion taken on when agreeing to feed every two hours, for 15-30 minutes (which usually ended up being 45 for my little bunn) and then manually breast pumping for 10-15 minutes on each side after that. Using a manual breast pump is like a workout for a new mama.¬†It is insane. And it didn’t really work for me. I think I put up with about 2 weeks of that madness and then said no thank you. My supply remained the same, and I was about to rip out my eyeballs from fatigue.

After the home nurse visit, Cleo’s feedings were great. I had no major problems waking her up and she was generally easy to feed from then on. She’s never had any sort of nipple confusion between breast, bottle, or pacifier. We ended up throwing away the rest of the formula Angel gave us as it expired.

After all was said and done, I felt good about giving Cleo the formula, because it was what was best for her at the time. I felt like I was breaking some Mommy Code, and there was that lingering guilt that I’m sure many moms have if things don’t work out and they aren’t able to breastfeed. But in truth, I was really just so grateful and relieved that she was ok,¬†that none of my broken rigidity mattered. Life isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. What DOES have to be is what’s best for CleoBunn. Having Angel call at just the right time, and her willingness to come help us, and having Cleo be well in such a short time led me and¬†SHOWED me that I made the right choice.

All was well.

If only I could be a stay at home mom. Maybe then, the next chapter of this story would be less frustrating. But that is another tale for another time.


Oh, It Was Just The Beginning…

My breastfeeding tale began like that of¬†most other moms. I had heard all about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby and couldn‚Äôt wait to try it out. ¬†I was so excited; I had read tons of material on the subject, my most favorite of all being So That’s What They’re For by Janet Tamaro. I was excited to give my baby this gift and to see what it was all about… what it would feel like, and could it really be that difficult?

When Cleo was born, we got right down to it. She was nursing within the first hour. I will never forget that feeling of pride and, “Look, we’re doing it!” as I stared at this little person I had just met. The colostrum awed and¬†amused me because it was so bright, and I knew it was full of amazing nutrients for my little one.¬† I just knew she was so smart, to be working in step with me already. The smartest baby in the world!

That was pretty much the end of the easiness for quite some time. What they don’t tell you is that when you are feeding a brand new baby for a half hour (or more) every two hours nonstop for days upon days, your nipples get very sore. I don’t care if you have 100 pillows supporting you in all the right places and a perfectly placed hand cupped breast to guide the baby in… Nipples are sensitive and nursing takes some getting used to! Cleo never had a bad latch and I still had to deal with sore, cracked nipples. Even now, four months later after a long day of pumping and nursing, my nips are tired and ready for a break. A break does not come when you’ve got a brand new bebe (but eventually, thankfully, it does come).

The days in the hospital are tough because of all the visitors. I’m not even talking about family members, I mean the nurses, the doctors,¬†the social workers, the lactation specialist. I guess¬†at first I was excited to have her come in and help me, but by the time she showed up, I heard practically nothing she told me. I¬†thought with frustration, “I will never be able to set up this amount of pillows around me on my own at home.”¬†And I never did. Eventually Cleo and I found our own posture that was comfortable for the both of us, and we have never really looked back. Sometimes I‚Äôll grab a pillow and sort of lean on to it for a bit of relief, but mostly she just finds a way to snuggle in to me. It‚Äôs a perfect fit.

I guess my point is, it’s never quite what you expect. You can read all the information and instruction you want, but only YOU and your babe can truly find what works for the two of you. Next time I shall tell you the story of The Great Mommy¬†Panic and the home nurse who saved our sanity.

If you are a new or expecting mama, with questions¬†about breastfeeding,¬†I encourage you to¬†check out kellymom.com. It’s¬† a great online resource for all things breastfeeding. The ultimate.

Have a lovely weekend. Goodnight!


Rough Night

It’s verrry interesting…how different these words meant to me just a few years ago. What once meant an actually somewhat exciting, social and probably somewhat deviant occasion, now means sleep deprivation, complete monopolization of time and personal space, and lots of crying.
Hmm…
On second thought, maybe it’s still pretty much the same.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am a Mom now! And it’s CRAZY! But all in all still really good fun. My daughter has just turned 3 months old last Friday, and she is just as cute as can be. I know everyone says and thinks this about their kid, but EVERYONE says it about my baby girl too!

Monday night however, did not run as smoothly as I would’ve liked. I’ve been back at work for a while now, and have been pumping breastmilk throughout the day while I am here. It has been going ok, not great (I will write all about it in another post soon). I usually try to pump at least once in the morning, and once in the afternoon, and sometimes, if I am lucky, I get to go home to feed her on my lunch break. I’ve been having some issues with keeping a good supply at the ready (again, a whole other post is needed), so I decided to try and get ahead since I had some downtime on the job. I made the big mistake of pumping just an hour before I was to go home. Sheesh. Will NOT be doing that again.
I came home to a very hungry baby, and there was nothing for her to eat. We tried for a while, and she must’ve gotten something, because she was able to be distracted for a while, but it just set off a whole night of fussiness and shitty feedings. Each time we tried she would cry and fuss because there was very little happening, and she was working very hard! I even went out to Whole Foods to buy organic baby formula, just in case the night continued to be as disastrous.
We didn’t get home ’til after 8, and she slept for a while, but woke up at 9, right on schedule to feed. I still had nothing to give her. I felt terrible. It is the worst feeling to have your baby crying and counting on you to nourish her and to be unable to give her what she wants! Finally, after some time, I couldn’t stand it any more, and asked my partner to make a bottle for her. Luckily I had the milk that I had pumped from earlier in the day, and although it was only 3 oz. it was enough to sate her and put her to bed.
It felt so weird to give her a bottle. I know her dad does it, and her grandmas, but it was weird for me to give her one for the first time.
…sigh…
By the time we were done it was 10 something, I was soooo frustrated and hungry and tired. Discouraged.
And even the next day felt out of sorts about it. Lou had to explain to me that by the time I get home from work, she is cranky, and done for the day. It’s hard to put all of your energy into another person, even when you’re not around (working and pumping milk just for them…) and only get to spend time with them when they’re thisclose to a meltdown. Sometimes it feels like she loves everyone but me.

But I know that’s not true. I am her Momma!
And I sure Love that little girl.

Anyway, I got some goooood sleep last night, and had a wonderful morning with her today, so I am feeling better and at least a little more Zen. These holidays are a little nuts, but we’ll get through. ūüôā Cheers to you and yours this week!