Monday, September 22, 2014

Microblog Mondays

Finally made it to playgroup this week. Just as we are getting into a routine here at the hotel in less than 10 days we move into our new house. I'm happy and sad at the same time: happy to be in our new place and have our stuff back after a 2 month vacation. But sad because our hotel is in such a central location. And lets be honest, eating out daily was fun for the first week or two, but now I am over it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

postpartum yucks

So, I don't know if I mentioned this because suddenly I have more time for blogging (yay!) but I got my cycle back a few days before Ladybug turned seven months. According to my period tracking app it had been 70 weeks since my last period - haha. So it finally kicked me in the the butt to start my birth control. One of my new mom friends had mentioned that when she started her birth control she got her period so I was maybe a smidge concerned that starting BC would bring on Aunt Flo. I had been telling myself that once we got to Germany I needed to get started anyway.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it - this cycle has been a little weird. Maybe I lucked out with the postpartum bleeding and this is cosmic payback because I am STILL spotting weeks later. It wasn't a particularly heavy flow and I am thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have cramping. But I did bloat up like crazy and my face was insanely broken out. The sad thing is that I'm almost to the end of my first pack of pills so that would mean my cycle should be starting up again and I am dreading it.

I do feel fortunate that it took so long to come back though and that it did actually come back. I know other moms who were exclusively breastfeeding that started sooner. Also, with the PCOS of course I figured there was a good chance my period could be AWOL for a long time. So. Yeah. That's where things are right now.

Fun times.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mommy wars?

Leah is writing about Mommy Wars and she asked me some interesting questions about being a SAHM. Call me naive, but are we moms fighting about staying at home versus working? As if this somehow makes one mom better than another?

Some of you may recall that I was supposed to go back to work for the new school year, but then R got that job offer for Germany and everything changed. I'm going to be honest: I miss teaching. I miss my work friends, I miss working with (older) kids. Now, this could be exacerbated by the fact that we picked up and moved to another continent, so I have yet to make new friends and fall into a new routine of playgroups and such. I am very lonely here. In many respects I am thankful to have Ladybug here by my side in Germany because I feel like it might be even more lonely without her. I don't know.

But in any event, one of the things I mentioned to Leah is who cares?! I feel like becoming a mom has made me less judgmental. I don't feel like I am a better mom because I had an unmedicated birth, breastfeed, stay at home, etc. The list goes on and on. Nearly everything we do could be a matter of debate to some people: do you use plastic toys? Do you use a stroller or a carrier? And if you use a carrier, is it a "crotch dangler"? Do you use a jumper or a walker? Do you use jar baby food? Make your own food? Do baby led weaning? Are you teaching your baby to sign? Do you nurse your baby to sleep? Do you co-sleep with your baby? Do you nurse in public? Are you breastfeeding past the age of 1?

For F#*k's sake - parenting is hard. How about we spend less time judging and more time supporting each other. I feel so fortunate that back in the states I had a great group of new mom friends that spanned all sorts of philosophies but nobody was trying to force anything on anyone. In fact, the only time you got a glimpse of our differences was when someone would ask a question about something. But even then the moms shared their experiences without being judgy. It was more of a "this is what I do because it works for us" kind of thing. Gosh I miss them!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seven months

Ladybug celebrated seven months outside the belly earlier this month. I worry sometimes that I am stunting her growth while we are stuck in the hotel because she doesn't have a whole lot space to play. The hotel gave her a pack and play to use, so she hangs out there with some books and toys but it's not a good space for trying to crawl. Not that I am in a rush for that to happen! 

Food: Since we arrived in Germany L has been eating all sorts of foods from our plates - and then got terribly constipated for about two weeks. After using a suppository on her twice (a week apart) we finally decided to scale WAY back on the table food and stick to baby food for the time being. We ran out of our US stash of food fairly quickly but found that there are some great options here of jars and pouches. From what I can tell from the shelves German mommies tend not to use baby snacks until a year so there aren't puffs or the kind of stuff you find on US shelves. All we have found are the zwieback cookies which L is not really into but we use for developing that pincer grasp. 
Play: we have not yet found ourselves a fun playgroup to join. Sadly we had to do some vaccinations this week and L got really sick so we missed some fun baby events. Many things are only once a month so missing it is a major bummer. In the meantime L plays in the pack and play or bounces in her jumper. Her favorite thing these days is trying to "pet" the dogs, which starts off nicely but usually becomes her grabbing their tail fur rather quickly. The poor dogs are very sweet about the whole thing but I know it will be quite a while before I can let them be in a room with her unsupervised - if ever!
Sleep: with a lack of activities, and since I've yet to join a gym L's sleep is actually quite fantastic. She gets two good naps during the day and goes down for about 10-12 hours at night, depending on when we put her to sleep. Since we are still in the hotel we go out each night to the store and/or to dinner so sometimes we get back a little later than I would hope. 
As for me - I haven't stepped on a scale since we left the states and to be honest I am not too keen to get on one any time soon. My only exercise these days is walking and since we don't drive much I am walking a lot more than normal but geez. I will say that I am doing pretty well in the eating department though - I had chips once, only to try paprika flavor since that is different. Otherwise things seem a lot more healthy here. Salad is a big part of our diet and it's the healthy kind, not the croutons/meat/heavy dressing kind. Thankfully my clothes still fit but my arms are losing the definition they had from all my body pump classes. :(

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ladybug's Guide to Flying at 6 months

By no means am I going to declare myself any sort of baby whisperer when it comes to flying across the Atlantic with a fidgety six month old, but we did arrive in one piece with most of our sanity in tact, so here is what we brought (Note: I am including links because they help me when I read posts like this but I don't get anything for posting links)

My number one favorite thing for the trip: GoGo Travelmate for Ladybug's car seat. This not only helped us haul her seat around the airport, but in the week following when we didn't have a car but were hitching rides from new friends.

Speaking of carseats - we never used that infant car seat bucket thing and opted instead for the Britax Marathon in Pink Giraffe. I knew I was taking a gamble that her seat might get a little yucky with all this traveling BUT we learned the hard way on our road trip in June that less familiar car seat (R's) = not fun experience. R actually has a different car seat, since we were torn between the Britax and the Recaro Pro Ride. He loves his car seat, I love mine. Ladybug tends to prefer the one she is in at least 90% of the time.

Since she is now beyond debate food-ready, we also packed some of those Gerber puffs, which are like baby crack. Seriously. I gave her a tiny bit in the week leading up to the big flight just to ensure she wouldn't choke or whatever on the plane eating the first puff. No worries there, she took to them like she's been eating them her whole life.

My husband is not a fan of toys that make music, so he was not thrilled when he saw this toy at our gender reveal party but I saw it as an opportunity as we started packing up the house. To be honest, when the packers came in July Ladybug was still pretty ambivalent about toys. So I knew this could work well because it's small(ish). As we moved out of our house and into a hotel in the states for 11 days the toys I packed for her became even more important. Her tummy time gym was gone, jumperoo gone, all she had was the tiny toys I packed. This one was such a huge hit that one of the legs no longer works because she has chewed on it so much.

I also packed her all time favorite book Fuzzy Bee. I had to choose her books carefully in general for what goes in a suitcase and what went with the movers. But when it came time for what went into her diaper bag for on the plane Fuzzy Bee was a no brainer. It actually has a good deal of text to read (compared to many board books) and Ladybug loves touching the various pages.

Last, but certainly not least in the toy department we went on a last minute trip to Target to pick out a brand new toy for the plane. I wanted her to have some dependable favorites, but then something new to spark her interest. This pink elephant was perfect because it wasn't too big (I almost bought a giraffe that was much larger), it has those taggie things, a wooden part, AND it vibrates. I loved that it had the stroller/car seat clip too. We keep it clipped to her stroller right now and she plays with it on our daily walks.

Speaking of strollers, we picked up a Maclaren used from Craigslist and it has been a great airport/travel stroller. It is not the best for Germany's cobblestone but it's easy to fold up and we figured even if we never use it again once we find a house and get our household goods it was worth it.

But my all time favorite purchase has to be this. I'm already on my second pack, alas, because they are kind of small and in the hectic craziness of moving I think one of the first pair got packed and then the second I swear is somewhere in this hotel room because I used it on the plane, remember taking it off a toy when we arrived in the hotel but I haven't seen it since. That was two weeks ago. Sigh. But at 3.99 R said it's easier to just order more than tear our hair out looking for lost ones. The ONLY toy I have a hard time with is Sophie, but I just use a pacifier clip for that since L still resists the paci.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The big move

Last I left off, we were gearing up to leave the US and L had just chomped on her first piece of real food - zucchini. 
I'm not going to lie - flying from Virginia to Germany was not fun. We had a seat purchased for her and all sorts of goodies loaded in the bag. New toys, snacks, food pouches, etc. We had a new umbrella stroller and a car seat cart (life savers!) - hmmm. Sounds like a great picture post of things we loved for the trip. Anyway, we had planned on doing TSA precheck but when we checked in with British Airways they told us we couldn't. Sigh. Thankfully I prepared for just such a catastrophe by saving some links to my phone - one of which being TSA guidelines. As I expected, the scanner asked to open my baby food, which I declined since I had four pouches and she wanted to open two. That stuff is expensive and has to be used within 24 hours. So I got a fun pat down instead. Whatever. 
Our flight left at 10:30 and British Airways won't let you a. Put your seat rear facing b. Have baby in seat during take off and landing. I figured hey, no big deal on part b since nursing can help with ear popping, right? Wellllllllllll...L decided she wanted no part of sitting forward facing cause she couldn't see anything so R and I alternated holding her the whole flight. I got maybe 30 minutes of sleep. 
We landed at Heathrow and between security and lunch our layover flew by thank goodness. Fortunately on the next leg L was exhausted and snoozed in her seat the whole time. 
The car seat cart came in handy in the first week here because we didn't have a car yet and we could use the cart as we moved her seat from taxi to rental, etc. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Six months

Ladybug turns seven months tomorrow so it's about time I wrote about being six, right? It's certainly been quite a month!
At the end of July the movers came and took away all our stuff, leaving us with our suitcases and furniture we did not want to take to Germany. We hung out like that for about two and a half weeks. Aside from our stuff being gone, it still felt the same. L and I went to the gym, to play groups, etc. But then the second week of August we moved into the hotel. That's when it really got crazy. Some days it was so busy I didn't have time to give her baby food, poor thing. Thankfully with breastfeeding it's so easy and convenient. Right before we left for Germany I had a final lunch with my favorite new mom friends and one helped me get over the anxiety of giving L "real" food. She ate a piece of zucchini and loved it!