Sunday, July 31, 2011


Our sweet boy was baptized today.  Jesse and I both strongly support infant baptism and recognize it as an act of God's love and grace.  I believe we are claimed by God's love before we ever have an understanding or opportunity to respond in faith.  
Jesse and I deliberated over Jackson's outfit.  We ended up purchasing a white tuxedo that came with a bonnet.  Jackson continued to pull the bonnet off, so we elected not to include that with his outfit.

Jackson's MiMi & PaPa, Aunt Chrissy, MeMe & Uncle Scott, and cousins Levi, Christopher, and Emily attended the service.  (The Apple family were unable to come, but they visited Jackson later in the afternoon.)  The sacrament was beautiful and both Jesse and I became teary-eyed.  Jackson cried very briefly when Pastor Brad poured the water over his head, but he was back to grinning and cooing while being escorted up and down the aisle and during the children's sermon.  By our request, the congregation sang one of my favorite hymns, I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry.  Here are the lyrics:

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell."

"When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
to whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk 'till rising sun."

In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise."

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold."

Jesse and I met Brad for lunch this past Friday to discuss the service.  Brad explained that the earliest depictions of Jesus' baptism are found in the catacombs and show images of water being poured over Jesus with a shell.  Today Brad baptized Jackson using a shell, and gave it to us as a reminder to celebrate Jackson's baptism and honor our commitment to nurture Jackson in faith.  Jesse wanted to display the shell, so we made quick stops to A.C. Moore and Wal Mart to print a picture and purchase a shadowbox frame.  I am so happy with our keepsake that will be displayed in Jackson's nursery.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fainting and Frantic

I'm not feeling well tonight so I'll keep it brief.  I am exhausted and my head is splitting. 

Here are the three main things that happened today:

1. I had another personal training session scheduled this morning.  My trainer challenged me quite a bit but I was keeping up and doing well.  Next thing I know, three personal trainers were surrounding me.  One was taking my pulse.  Another was asking me to sit up and drink a protein shake.  Another was putting a wet rag on my forehead.  Due to this fainting incident, I am no longer allowed to workout until I have written permission from a doctor. 

2. Jackson and I went to a good friend's baby shower.  It was nice to see former colleagues.  There were no cheesy games.  Everyone commented on what a good baby Jackson is.  I wanted to crawl in a spare bedroom and take a nap with Jackson.

3. Jesse and I are convinced Jackson is teething.  The incessant drooling, biting, pulling away at the breast, and fussiness has been indicators of teething.  Today we noticed two spots of his gums were raised.  He cried like nothing Jesse or I have ever heard.  Gut wrenching, hyproventilating cries.  It was so startling, I was leaking profusely and became nearly frantic trying to console him. 

At least I have a cute son, and enough rompers for him to wear a different outfit every day for a month.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Newsworthy Updates

1. I've already hit my summer goal of 300 oz of frozen milk. 
Assuming Jackson takes 3 5-oz botttles a day, five days a week, I already have enough for an entire month. (Frozen milk is off limits until August 18!)  Obviously I will continue to pump at work, but this means I a) don't have to stress over potential supply issues and b) will be able to feed him for an entire month after I decide to begin weaning.  If I have an abundance of milk I would love to donate excess to moms through Eats on Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies. 

2. Jackson slept 5 consecutive hours last night.
We double swaddled him.  That's right...we swaddled him with the smaller SwaddleMe, then again with the larger SwaddleMe.  Our little Houdini couldn't escape.  Jesse put the box fan on a card table so it was cool enough.  It was the best sleep all of us have had in a LONG time!

3. I've lost eight pounds and my milk supply has once again regulated itself.
I have tracked everything I've eaten through SparkPeople and met all of my calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein goals each day the past three weeks.  It took almost two weeks for my milk supply to bounce back, but all is going smoothly.  I'm not working out very much, but I'm proud of myself for eating better.

4. Jackson's skin issues are inconsistently flaring back up.
I am so sick of even discussing this topic.  His knees are yellow and crusty one day, then soft and pink a few days later.  His diaper rash is varying shades of red on any given day.  (Though no where near the intense red from the BumGenius.)  His long awaited pediatric dermatologist appointment is on Tuesday.

5. Jesse is now searching for part time jobs as well as non-teaching jobs.
After various teaching positions have fallen through, Jesse is now seeking part time jobs that include insurance.  He is still considering full time positions in Rowan County so his dad can watch Jackson.  There is still three weeks left before school starts but each day of uncertainty is beginning to increase our anxiety level.

6. We've all spent entirely too much time staring at a computer screen today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shopping for Baptism Outfit

Jackson had a screaming fit and crazy need for food/comfort EVERY two hours last night.  It was so frustrating.  I brought Jackson back into bed with me around 7 a.m. and we finally got some sleep.  He didn't even budge until 9:30!

I attended my final guided reading session today.  While I was gone Jackson played with his daddy, chewed on another teether, and consumed a bottle.

Once I returned home I found him like this:

After consuming a healthy, tasty dinner (pecan crusted tilapia, vermicelli, and green beans), we went shopping.  I was on the lookout for a baby shower gift and a white outfit for Jack.  Jackson's baptism is on Sunday and Jesse and I have not seen eye to eye on what he should wear.  I want him to wear our family's traditional white christening gown.  Jesse refuses to see his boy in a gown.  It is important to me that Jackson wears white, and I refuse for him to wear a onesie.  After going to Carters, Belk's, J.C. Penny's, Wal Mart, Target, and Children's Place, we finally agreed on a solid white tuxedo at Sears.  It was $45, but considering we haven't spent a penny on any clothes/bibs/burp cloths for Jackson, I think $45 for our annual baby clothing budget is acceptable.  Now we just pray that it fits and Jackson doesn't immediately spit up all over it.

Look forward to pictures on Sunday!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gnawing and Clawing

Jackson is such a goober.  Once he learns a new sound that is ALL we hear.  Thankfully the grunting phase is over.  We've now moved on to lip smacking.  I know it's totally developmentally appropriate, but I find Jackson's obsession with putting things in his mouth completely fascinating.  It's like a magnet.  His latest discovery is that if he can correctly position himself on the playmat, he is able to gnaw on the dangling teether.
Jesse has had two job interviews in a row this week.  We are optimistic and prayerful that a job will be offered.  Both jobs are in locations where our families could provide childcare.  We aren't quite sure what our plans are if Jesse does not teach next year.  We are beginning to reconsider this stay-at-home-dad thing, but we are still not open to the idea of daycare either.

I've been learning the ends and outs of guided reading this week with professional development.  I'm getting increasingly excited (in a good way) about work.  I miss being in a classroom, teaching students, bonding with other teachers, and feeling accomplished.  The strategic staffing offer is finally official, which means I'll earn an additional $20,000 over the course of the next three years.  It will definitely be a challenging year.  A shocking 18% of the fourth grade class (i.e. my upcoming fifth graders) passed the Reading EOG in May.  Hence the need for the guided reading workshops!  I don't actually know how to teach kids how to read, so this should be a pretty eye opening experience. 

Jesse's dad watched Jackson while I was working and Jesse went on the interview.  When Jesse finally came home with Jackson, I was alarmed to see his face.

This is why we have to swaddle him at night.  The boy cannot stop clawing himself and his fingernails grow faster than I can keep up with.  Jesse refuses to cut his nails.  I feel my blood pressure rising and months coming off of my life every time I do it.  
The cause of an early death!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Small Purchases

Yesterday Jesse made two inexpensive, helpful purchases.  Normally I am against buying unnecessary items, but these really are simple problem solvers around the house.

1. Bottle Drying Rack
Jesse was tired of my pump supplies and bottles taking over the sink so he bought this.

2. Organizer for Pack-n-Play

Sure, it's a bit of an eye sore, but it keeps things organized without taking up any extra space.  Jackson's lotions, toys, nail clippers, etc were half-hazardly tossed about in the pack-n-play downstairs.  Jack could hardly lay down without knocking into something.  Now he has the whole space (which still isn't very large) to nap or play.

Other highlights from the day included receiving my most recent photo books in the mail, visiting both of my sisters, and eating a fried shrimp po boy for dinner.  All in all, it's been a good day. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Year Ago Today

What was I doing exactly one year ago today?

Oh, that's right....

I was taking my first pregnancy test, which happened to be positive after only two weeks of trying to conceive.  The morning sickness was just beginning to kick in.  I was feverishly praying that I would have a safe, healthy pregnancy.  There was no way to anticipate the sensation of baby kicks, the swelling of feet, the emotional reaction hearing his heartbeat, the excitement of ultrasounds, and more. 

Fast forward a year and we now have a happy, thriving 3.5 month old who is a source of constant entertainment.  After a busy day playing, going grocery shopping with his daddy, and eating, our sweet boy has passed out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


First, I should say that the large size swaddle was a major failure.  Jackson once again busted out of the swaddle in a matter of hours.  Around midnight Jesse and I were fed up and tried to let Jackson sleep without being swaddled again.  Within five minutes his arms were flailing, forehead was bleeding, and he was absolutely wailing.  After an hour of rocking, swaying, and re-swaddling Jackson finally fell back asleep. 

I have no clue how much Jackson weighs, but at his 2 month check up (1.5 months ago) he weighed 12 lbs 15 oz so he's surely 14+ pounds.  He was regularly sleeping 5-6 hours at a time but he has been back to nursing every 2-3 hours during the night for a few weeks now.  I really don't mind too much right now.  I keep telling myself that I should treasure this time while he needs me so much and we can love on each other and cuddle during the night.  With that said, I'm certain I'm going to have a totally different perspective in a few weeks when I go back to work full time.  Tomorrow I am picking up the 2005 edition of Mindell's Sleeping Through the Night from the library.  I would never expect 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but I don't see why five hours isn't a reasonable expectation.

Today was the first day as a mother that I have worn my pajamas all day.  I didn't even put a bra on-just stuffed a burp cloth on the opposite side of my tank top while nursing.  Jesse cleaned the house while Jackson and I played in the bumbo, exersaucer, hammock, pack-n-play, playmat, bouncer, read books, went for a walk, played with stuffed animals, nursed, changed diapers, and more.  As much as I love his sweet smiles and giggles, I find this routine to be so monotonous! 

Jesse, Jackson, and I all napped for at least an hour at different times throughout the day.  None of us had quite recovered from the lack of sleep last night.  Jackson's routine of eat, play, sleep was altered as he just kept falling asleep.  He took a solid 45 minute nap after our morning feeding.

We watched a lot of HGTV, wasted time looking up baptism outfits and pack-n-play organizers, and spent a good portion of the day cuddling.  (Notice every picture is taken on the couch!)

Maybe we'll get some sleep tonight.  Tomorrow begins my slow assimilation back to teaching with a two hour professional development each day. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Day Away from Baby Jack

Several weeks ago Jesse and I arranged for Jesse's parents to spend today with Jackson.  Jesse and I had originally discussed going to a movie and out to eat.  Unfortunately, God has other plans.  After seven long years battling cancer, my sister's mother-in-law, Ann, passed away last week.  Jesse's parents met us at our house this morning and Jesse and I drove an hour to attend the memorial service.  It was the most joyous service I've attended, filled with uplifting music and humorous stories from Ann's life.  A tasty lunch followed the service, then we were back on the road.

I asked my mother-in-law, Jan, to take pictures while we were away.  In the five hours they watched Jackson, the only photos taken were of Jackson and Jeff on the couch.  When Jesse tried to call to say we were on the way home they were all napping!

I thought I would been nervous leaving him but I was not at all.  I was more worried about becoming engorged and leaking milk than I was about Jackson.  I knew he was in good hands and didn't mind leaving him for several hours.  I fed him at 9 right before we left and soon after we got home around 2.  Jackson only consumed one 4 oz bottle while we were gone. 

After they left I played with Jackson on the floor.  I usually lay a blanket down that takes up the entire size of our rug.  Jackson might not be able to roll over, but the boy can grab, pull, and kick everything near him.  We don't even need toys.  Jackson begins by scrunching up the blanket in one hand, then the next hand in a matter of minutes.  He then kicks the blanket up.  This is why we must be near him at all times!

We broke down and bought a large SwaddleMe today.  This one goes up to 22 lbs.  We are having to re-swaddle Jackson multiple times a night but he still can't sleep without being swaddled.  My fingers are crossed that tonight proves to be more restful for all of us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Recap of the Day

Quick recap of the day's events:
  • Finished reading Catching Fire
  • Played with Jackson while Jesse jogged and picked up a few groceries
    • bumbo, bouncer, swing, exersaucer, playmat, floor, boppy pillow, and story time
  • Listened to Jackson grunt incessantly, became increasingly concerned
  • Prepared a lasagna and baked cookies to bring to our friends
  • Ate, tracked food on SparkPeople
  • Played with Jackson in the mirror (our newest "happy place")
  • Stuffed diaper inserts/prepared cloth wipes
  • Nursed/pumped multiple times
  • Visited/delivered meals to friends who just had their baby girl last week
  • Ordered Japanese take-out for dinner
  • Ate dinner while watching Jeopardy
  • Bathed Jackson
  • Got ready for bed

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reading and Relaxing

Today has been a happy-go-lucky, relaxed day with the family.

I generally read books to Jackson, but Jesse wanted to read today.  As always, Jackson was captivated by the bright colors and pictures.

Jesse and I literally spent an hour laughing hysterically at  A vulgar sense of humor is required to appreciate the website, which Jesse and I both possess.

The three of us headed to the library as our daily outing.  Jesse drove up to the mailbox as we were leaving and I was pleasantly surprised by this package:

My favorite friend mailed me the sequel to the Hunger Games.  Now I don't have to wait until December to read the next book!  I was so excited and Jackson had fallen asleep in the car anyway so I just stayed in the car with him and began reading while Jesse went inside the library.  I am number 78 for holds on the final book of the trilogy.

Once returning home I played with the slime I had made with the siblings at Ronald McDonald house.  I wanted to see Jackson's reaction since he is so observant with new things.   His eyes widened and his arms flailed about but I prevented him from touching it since he's always sucking on his hands.

The rest of the day was intertwined with nursing, playing, eating, and mostly reading. 

Jackson's diaper area is looking better than ever.  I love not dealing with a saturated, smelly diaper.  The stay-dry fabric seems to be helping.  We've also started using corn starch baby powder (poured on our hands first, then applied to his diaper area so there is no risk of Jackson inhaling it).  We still have no complaints with the Alvas.  I just can't believe they were so cheap!!

After dinner Jesse and I were dancing around with Jackson.  Jesse attempted to get a family photo.  This was the best of the bunch:

 We're about to put Jackson to bed.  I envision reading while eating a fudgesicle in my immediate future. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Balancing Act

Last night I discovered a Snapfish deal I couldn't pass up-buy one photo book, get two free.  The only problem was that it expired at midnight (pacific time) last night.  I wanted to make a Mommy & Me book, Daddy & Me book, and a Grandparents & Me book.  Since I use Shutterfly instead of Snapfish I had to upload 100 photos and familiarize myself with their software.  I was exhausted by 1 a.m. and ended up only making a Mommy & Me book and a Daddy & Me book that also included pictures of Jan and Jeff.  

After not falling asleep until 2 a.m., I slept in until 10:30!  I missed Zumba again and elected not to work out today.  I need to be more cautious about eating enough because I have noticed an increase in headaches and grouchiness and a decrease in energy and milk supply.  (I was freezing 10 oz of milk a day but am now down to 5 oz every other day!)  I can't seem to figure out how to eat healthy and breastfeed at the same time.

Our pest control guy, Jose, came to spray the perimeters today.  (This is done quarterly.)  He was telling Jesse and I that his ten year old son asked him not to kiss him in public anymore.  He said that from the minute a child is born, he is learning how to be independent from his parents.  It's bittersweet to think that every day Jackson is learning so that he won't have to rely on us. 

Jackson was not acting like himself today.  I'm not sure if he was constipated or learning a new sound but he grunted for hours.  (Yes, hours!)  He used the bathroom plenty but he seemed to still be straining.  Jackson was also easily tired and fussy more than usual. 

We did have some nice family time playing upstairs.  Cowbell and Jackson did a duet on the piano.

Then Jesse and I took turns laying down with Jackson sitting up on our stomachs.  Jack is so easily amused he makes me feel like I'm a comedian.  We entertained him with silly sounds, kisses, and tickling.

I feel like I'm in a bit of a funk.  Jesse and I have spent nearly every hour together for the past month.  I didn't realize how much I missed going out alone until this week.  I went to dinner with my former teammates on Monday, then volunteered at Ronald McDonald house with some ladies from my teacher sorority last night.  Today I've been irritable and bored.  I am just itching to get back to work now that all the stores' shelves are stocked with back-to-school items and my inbox is being flooded with pacing guides and schedules.  As much as I love my family, it's time to start preparing for my upcoming balancing act as a working mom.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alva Diapers!

I was pleasantly surprised to see this package had arrived at our doorstep yesterday afternoon:

We ordered 20 Alva one-size pocket diapers from China less than two weeks ago for a mere $84 (with free S&H).  The diapers were shipped from Hong Kong and arrived wrapped up in tape.  Jesse slit the package open to find 20 individually wrapped diapers.

Because of Jackson's skin sensitivity, we opened and inspected one diaper to make sure it wasn't suedecloth.  It is a polyester blend and feels different from the BumGenius.  Jesse washed and rinsed the diapers three times and I snapped to the correct size and stuffed inserts once they were dry. 

They appear to be good quality and are very similar to the BG 4.0.  The inserts are thinner, but can still be doubled up for overnight use.  The inserts are all slightly different widths, lengths, and materials, but I guess that's part of the cheap mass production!  Personally, I like that they are less bulky.  The Alvas definitely run larger because Jackson needs the smallest size setting in these, though he already needed the medium setting in the BumGenius a few weeks ago.  I am happy about this because we should be able to use the Alvas longer since it will take a while for Jack to grow out of them. 

The solid colored diapers were on sale, so we received 20 different colors (including white, neon, and various shades of pink and purple).  I have no issues with the colors because, as Jesse says, "He's going to poop in them.  Who cares what they look like?"  We could have specified certain colors or ordered cute prints for slightly more cost if that mattered to us.

We have noticed slight redness on Jackson's skin, but it's not all over like it was with the BumGenius or any more irritated than it has been.  Jesse and I are watching closely at each diaper change to make sure Jackson's skin doesn't increase in irritability. 

So far, so good!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy 100 Days

Koreans have a tradition of preparing a large feast for family and friends to celebrate a child's 100th day of life.  Historically, there were high infant mortality rates during the first one hundred days, so a child that reached this milestone in health and safety was celebrated and expected to grow and prosper.

Jackson is officially 100 days old today.  There was no celebration or feast. In fact, the three of us didn't even spend our evening together as I had already made plans to eat out with my former fifth grade team.  Tonight was the first time I have ever left Jackson while I did something strictly for pleasure.  (I have only left Jackson to go on interviews or to workout.  I take him with me to go on lunch dates, baby showers, family events, etc.)  I think Jesse was happy to have a boys night.  I asked him to take a picture of what he did while I was gone.  This is what he took:

Apparently Jesse drove to Kannapolis for a cheeseburger while Jackson napped in the carseat.  The boys also went to the local thrift store to browse around.  Jackson was sound asleep in his crib by the time I got home.
Though I didn't spend quite as much time with my baby boy as usual, he still napped on my chest, held my fingers as he nursed, and smiled sweetly while we played.  I am filled with more love for this boy each day.

Happy 100 Days, Jackson Lee! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Outdoor Worship

Today's church service was held at a local park.  There was a great turn out and the weather was gorgeous.  After several weeks of 95+ degree heat, the past few days have been amazing!  The sermon topic was a very simple message reminding us to find worship opportunities everywhere and to know that God surrounds you where ever you go. 

The service was followed by a delicious cookout and a family friendly softball game.  I've met every fat/protein/carbohydrate/calorie goal this week on SparkPeople, but I seriously doubt I will today.  After eating chips, a hot dog with chili and slaw, baked beans, and two brownies, I felt a bit guilty tracking my nearly 1,000 calorie lunch when I got home.  Oh well.  Honestly, I was proud of myself for refraining from eating a second hot dog, potato salad, and pie. 

I absolutely love our small church.  Lately I've been worrying about our church not offering small group Bible studies, childcare at more events, and mission trips.  There are very few children in our church and I worry about youth group opportunities for Jackson as he grows older.  Then we have choir or church picnics with such great fellowship that I know Jackson is in the right place for now and will always be surrounded by love in this congregation.  We finally set his baptism day for July 31- two weeks from today. 

Those that know me well know how obsessive I get over pictures and scrapbooks, so naturally I brought our Shutterfly photo book with us today.  Numerous people oohed and ahhed at the book and cuddled with Jackson.  I was disappointed with our photography for the day.  Taking pictures was an afterthought for me and Jesse became increasingly annoyed.

I was thankful that we decided to use the stroller my oldest sister gave us instead of carrying him in the Ergo.  Though there was plenty of shade, we didn't stay for the softball game as Jackson was getting cranky and fighting sleep. 

Later in the afternoon Jesse's mom came to visit.  Jackson's irritability quickly turned to amusement once we brought out Ducky and Big Mama and played on the floor.

We'll conclude our Sunday with traditional popcorn.  I know Jesse has happily adjusted to fatherhood.  His beer mug is used to chill root beer; he looks forward to watching Cops after Jackson goes to bed; and he has issued a no-pants rule after hours.  Hahaha...what a life!

  Cheers to a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Personal Trainer

The morning began with my first personal training session.  (I had a personal trainer seven years ago so it wasn't my first ever.)  I was all kinds of nervous about the intensity level and feeling nauseous.  When I arrived my trainer wasn't even there and I was beginning to question if my appointment had been canceled after the gym putting a hold on my account yesterday.  (I still hope to cancel the 12 month contract but purchase the 5 sessions for $99.)  I went ahead and began my work out on the elliptical. 

Fifteen minutes later the trainer showed up and escorted me to the trainer's gym.  He told me before we began that I shouldn't be too sore afterwards because he didn't want me to build too much lactic acid or chest muscle due to nursing.  I certainly wouldn't say the workout was easy, but it was definitely doable.  There was never a point where I thought, "I can't do this."  With that said, I would have never done the exercises on my own.  Some of the things we did were wall squats while holding a medicine ball, plank, superman, sit ups while throwing a medicine ball back and forth, lunges with a barbell, and lots of other things that I don't know what you call.  The trainer said he was impressed with our first session and he would have to step it up a notch since I didn't seem challenged enough.  (I think he was too intimidated with me breastfeeding and history of fainting to really push me at first.)  The only thing that made me nauseous was the StepMill because I kept looking down while stepping on the next stair.  I am really curious what to expect next session, but am pleased with the first one.

I have tracked all caloric intake honestly on every day this week.  I've been eating oatmeal every morning with some kind of fresh fruit.  Lunch includes leftovers or chicken salad (canned chicken breast with low fat mayo, celery, and grapes).  The weekly dinner menu was thoughtfully planned out on Sunday and has included chicken and black bean burrito, chili with ground turkey, turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes, roasted chicken and asparagus, and spaghetti.  Dessert has included watermelon or a fudgesicle.  The greatest change in my diet has been a switch from snacking on cookies, chips, and cake to...

Fresh Veggies!

Jesse joined his family (and the rest of the Harry Potter cult) to go see the final Harry Potter movie.  Jackson and I had a very leisurely afternoon at home.  We followed our EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your time) routine by nursing, playing in the exersaucer, playmat, and bouncer, and napping.  One of the highlights of the day included a Shutterfly package on the doorstep with Jackson's photobook inside. 

When Jesse got home he prepared dinner.  After eating and playing with Jackson, we got Jackson ready for bed.  The poor thing is clawing himself constantly and I can't keep up with his growing fingernails.  Jesse filed Jackson's nails after I read one of my favorite children's book before bed.  This was the longest book we've read together and Jackson more or less kept interest the entire time.  He loves books, which works out perfectly since I love to read to him.

Have I mentioned how much I love my family?  : D

A Really Good, Really Bad Friday

The day was full of some really amazing and really disappointing moments.
  • An old friend of mine had her baby this morning.  We went to the hospital to visit the happy family.  Their daughter is absolutely precious and the mother is doing great!
  • I stayed awake until 2 a.m. finishing The Hunger Games.  It was so good.  Then I slept until nearly 10.  Hooray for summer and a great husband.
  • While we were in Gastonia, we visited my sister, brother-in-law, and their two children.  I more or less lived with them throughout high school, so it always feels like home.
  • After trying to cancel my 12 month contract with the personal trainer, he offered to extend a promotion for 5 sessions for $99.
  • My best friend from out of town was here for the day and able to spend a few hours with us. 
  • We found out a loving extended family member is in her final hours/days battling breast cancer.
  • Jesse and I awoke in the middle of the night to an alarming sound of Jackson choking and severely vomiting.  After we both propelled ourselves out of bed, we discovered it was just Mr. Nibbles puking over the monitor.
  • After pumping 4 oz of milk this morning, Cowbell knocked the bottle off the counter while I was cleaning the breast shield.  The lid cracked on impact and my milk ended up all over the floor.
  • I spent most of the day on the phone leaving voicemails for various people trying to cancel my personal trainer contract.  (As a standard contract, I had 3 days to cancel and it was the third day.)  I never was able to talk to the right person so I'm still not sure if I have to pay all the money or not.
  • I cut up an entire cantaloupe and accidentally dropped the pyrex bowl of fresh fruit, sending cantaloupe flying and the bowl breaking into at least 50 pieces.  I then proceeded to step on a tiny shard of pyrex.
  • I was so excited to finish The Hunger Games that Jesse reserved the next novel in the trilogy.  There are 132 holds before me, so I might enjoy reading it during Christmas break!
  • After cutting calories and eating leftovers all week, I had been looking forward to our one meal out all week.  Since we were already in Gastonia, we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant.  I ordered the exact meal I had the last meal of pregnancy.  They apparently changed the recipes and the I couldn't even eat the sesame chicken it was nothing but breaded fat.  So my dinner consisted of a cup of fried rice.
  • Jackson broke out in another random rash all over his chest. 
Despite having some wonderful company and celebrations, I am tired, grumpy, and ready for bed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Funny, Sweet Videos

Jackson is so easily amused it's ridiculous!  We finally have proof of his silly sounds and more sweet laughter.  I tried for hours to upload the videos directly to the blog, but it never worked.  Each video is under one minute, and can be viewed at the links below:

Here is a clip of Jesse blowing on Jackson's belly. 

Jesse also loves making Chewbacca sounds.  In this video Jackson now mimics him.
(Forgive my yelling in the background before it cuts off.)

Finally, we have Jackson receiving hugs and kisses from his newest friend, Big Mama Blue.

Random photo of the day:
Jackson should really stick to wearing onesies.  He simply could not keep his shirt down.  It was in his mouth most of the day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shutterfly Photo Book

For the past week Jesse and I have been working on a custom photo book for Jackson.  I formatted all the pictures and Jesse wrote all of the captions.  As much as I love scrapbooking I have never made an electronic book.  I wanted to take advantage of a $20 Shutterfly gift card I received that expires at the end of the month.

We of course ordered a copy to keep in Jackson's nursery.  If Jack is anything like his Mommy, he will absolutely love looking at pictures of himself one day and hearing stories about his childhood.  I can't wait to read it to him as he grows older!

The only way I could share the book with y'all was to create a webpage on Shutterfly.  I hope the link works.  It takes several seconds to load.  You should be able to click on Full Screen at the top right corner and then press the play icon.  Yay!!

Click here to view photo book.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nervous Breakdown

I'm pretty sure every insecurity, doubt, and fear I've had over the past few months stared me in the face within a two hour time frame today.  To backtrack, Jesse and I have finally decided to get our health back in the right direction.  I never addressed my 30 Day Challenge because I clearly failed and would prefer not to highlight such failures.  I went too hard, too fast; then ran out of steam.  So I wanted to go about this healthy living with a bit more guidance since I am providing nourishment for myself, my son, and hopefully another developing baby within a year. 

I'd been debating what to buy using my birthday money.  I knew I wanted to use it towards something related to helping me get back on track with a healthy lifestyle.  I considered Weight Watchers but didn't want to make the ongoing financial commitment.  I decided to buy a couple of sessions with a personal trainer.  I had scheduled an appointment for this morning at the gym.

Today's appointment included a free "demo session", taking measurements, and setting goals.  I felt like I was on the Biggest Loser.  They measured my BMI and body fat percentage, along with my neck, arm, thigh, chest, waist, hip, and calf.  Everything was in the "obese" category.  They even gave me my internal age, which is 34.  (I still have no clue what that means?)  Then they created a virtual me and spun it around.  I guess I really look like what the screen showed, but thankfully I don't view myself like that. 

The 20 minute demo session kicked my ass.  I felt nauseous, completely weak, and embarrassed.  Among doing push ups, using a medicine ball, and working with some contraption that resembled a sex swing, I also had to use those giant, heavy ropes like the contestants on the Biggest Loser use.  Most of the exercises and equipment were foreign to me, since I only use free weights or the isolated weight machines. 

I knew I would have to endure a sales pitch from the manager after my workout.  I was prepared to purchase a few sessions, but somehow ended up signing a 12 month contract.  Apparently you can't purchase single sessions.  I totally freaked out and kept saying, "But what if I can't afford it? Will I be able to cancel?"  I was informed that you can cancel through a buyout plan where you still have to pay 25% of the remaining cost.  The manager made me feel SO guilty and said "Why don't you just eat out less if you're worried about finances?  Is your health a priority or not?  Don't you want to be around to raise Jackson?"  (He knew both of my parents were deceased from the family history paperwork and he knew my son's name.)  The thought of not being a healthy role model for my son, or better yet, dying while he is in middle school, was simply too much.  I didn't know how to say no at that point so I just started crying, which made me feel even more foolish. 

As soon as I got home I walked upstairs and Jesse was excited to tell me that Jackson did well in the exersaucer for the first time and he rolled over on his own for the first time.  I totally lost it.  I was gone for two hours and missed major events in my child's development.  How am I supposed to go to work in August???

So in two hours I managed to feel:
  • unhealthy
  • fat
  • out of shape
  • a bad mother
  • emotionally unstable
  • financially insecure
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Now that I've had time to calm down, I am excited about working out.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate personal trainers and I try to defuse the discomfort from my physical weakness with jokes and small talk.  There's a good chance I'll end each session with a lower self esteem than when I begin.  The trainer said I need to lose 57 lbs of fat.  He made it clear that this is not 57 lbs on the scale because I need to gain muscle to replace the fat.  He also explained that I've been able to gain and lose weight so much in the past because I can easily lose fat and lean muscle.  Even when I trained for the half marathon I still didn't do any strength training.  So I'm excited at the potential of getting stronger and healthier.  (I could care less about sculpted abs and arms.  I'm afraid those simply aren't in my genes.)

Even though I'm not sure how we're going to afford it, I appreciate the idea of someone calling to check on me and coming up with individualized workouts for 12 months.  I have never maintained a healthy lifestyle for more than 9 months.  If I get pregnant within the year, I still have additional support and staff that will adjust the workouts for me to continue making healthy choices. The trainer is also very knowledgeable about breastfeeding.  He said that exercise shouldn't affect nursing as long as I don't drastically cut calories with food.  I learned that high intensity workouts increase lactic acid, which can make your milk taste bitter.  Also, the sweat on your chest makes your skin taste salty.  For those reasons, babies might not like to nurse right after you workout. 

Hopefully I will be able to stick with this for the long haul and make a real change.  I want to be the best mother I can be, and that includes setting positive examples for my son.  Maybe I'll learn how to turn to exercise when I am stressed rather than food. 

All I can do is take it one day at a time-while trying not to feel like an obese, poor, lunatic who misses out on her son growing up...

The Latest on Our Growing, Happy Boy

I've done so many topical posts that it's been a while since I've just written about what our family has been doing the past few days.  Here are the highlights:

  • Lunch w/ Jason & Chrissy and MawMaw at the K&W.  (Shout out to Chrissy, who received a better, higher paying job!  Now if we can just get Jesse a job!)
  • Baby Shower for Coworker-Jackson was once again passed around and admired by my former staff.  The only time he wasn't held by someone else was while I was nursing.  As my friend opened up all of her baby gifts, Jackson just stared at her with big eyes.  His face lit up when she pulled out any of the toys.  It was really fun to watch him absorb it all, especially since I wasn't the one holding him and could see his face`. 
  • 1st time in the nursery-Now that Jackson is 3 months old, Jesse and I thought we should try out the church nursery.  Since it's such a small church, we know and trust all of the nursery workers.  I was told that Jackson played a bit before consuming a 4 oz bottle.  He then slept the remainder of the service.  This was the first time anyone has watched Jackson for us while Jesse and I were away.  It felt strange, but it was nice to actually be able to worship instead of focusing on my child.  In the last three months, the sermon has become background noise while I've invested all of my energy on Jackson.  That's no way to worship.
  • Healthy Living-Jesse and I decided we would make a conscious effort to eat better and exercise during the week.  This of course meant we needed to purge our house of all unhealthy food by eating it over the weekend.  While finishing off the cookies Slightly contradicting ; D
  • Pregnancy Test-Everyone I know (including myself) makes fun of the show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.  I saw a portion of it over the weekend about a mother who was breastfeeding and didn't know she was pregnant because she had already gained weight, didn't have a period, had heavy boobs and back pain from nursing, was tired from her infant, etc.  I irrationally freaked out thinking, "OMG!  What if I'm pregnant and don't know?"  I had no reason to assume I could be, but neither did the lady on the show.  Anyway, one Dollar Tree negative pregnancy test later and all is well.  I'll admit I was slightly disappointed not seeing another pink line, but Jesse and I aren't exactly wanting/planning for two children under the age of one! 
  • Research study-I signed Jackson and I up to participate in a research study through UNC about DHA levels in breastmilk.  I had specific directions on how to pump and store my breastmilk sample.  Jackson and I headed to the research campus in Kannapolis to deliver the milk sample, fill out some paperwork, and give a DNA saliva sample.  The researcher had to take five swabs of Jackson's mouth and it took ten minutes.  She told me beforehand that she would stop at any time if he was uncomfortable or irritated.  I told her to make silly sounds and do lots of baby talk.  She did and sure enough, the child was genuinely laughing and cooing the entire time.  She even said, "After working with hundreds of infants, this is the happiest baby I've ever seen!"  
  • Exercise-I was proud of myself for "jogging" 4 miles on the elliptical in 46 minutes.  Jesse also jogged 4 miles, but he chose to do so in the heat of the day around the neighborhood.  I enjoyed my air conditioning and TV.  It's irritating that Jesse and I can't just go to the gym together, but I don't think I'll ever trust the Child Watch at the gym.
  • Aldi trip-Jackson and I normally stay home while Jesse does the grocery shopping every week.  I wanted to go with him this time since we're planning out all new menus and making healthier purchases.  I forgot the Ergo so we had to cram all the groceries and Jackson in his carseat in the buggy.  
  • Bubble bath-Neither Jesse nor I could remember the last time we gave Jackson a bath, so we thought it best to bathe him after dinner.  He was having the best time.  He kept grabbing the washcloth from me and putting it in his mouth.  While he was highly entertaining and adorable, he made me nervous wiggling around so much. 

Exersaucer-Jesse put Jackson in our exersaucer while I was gone and Jackson had a blast.  He isn't quite able to push the keys hard enough with his hand, but he's so tall that he can tap the keys on the floormat.  He doesn't really smile but he shows serious concentration watching the keys light up and listening to the sounds.

  • Rolling over-Jesse said it was a fluke, but Jackson definitely rolled over on his own from back to tummy while I was gone.  Jackson was trying to eat his toy links.  He hasn't rolled any since.  
That should bring us up to speed.