Monday, August 29, 2011

Jackson's Favorite Things to Eat

1. His feet
 2. Stuffed animals--tonight it was his puppy.

3. Rice cereal--I forgot to take a picture, but our second attempt at rice cereal was pretty successful tonight.  I added more rice cereal to make it slightly thicker.  Jackson opened his mouth each time I brought the spoon near.  He kept his tongue down and swallowed almost all of it.  (This is a good thing considering he has gone on a nursing strike since I began my cycle.  I was able to pump 12 oz at work today, though, so I know I still have some milk.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week in Pictures

I obviously provided all the commentary in the previous post, but neglected to upload any photographs or highlight some of the things Jesse and Jackson have done the last few days. 

Jackson is now capable of fully rotating himself around and entertaining himself in the exersaucer.
Gorgeous as ever...
Two best friends
Both exhausted at the end of the day.
Jackson is Jesse's supervisor during dinner.
The most unflattering but still adorable picture of my boys
Jesse wanted to show Jackson his city's skyline.
We still can't figure out how this sling is supposed to work.
One of my students was sweet enough to do a read-a-loud while younger students waited for their late bus.

Clearly the blog is not my top priority at night, but I hope to keep up with photos and the usual ramblings as best I can.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ABC's of the First Week of School

A is for Aunt flow--After a 14 month hiatus, she has made her appearance once again.

B is Batman Birthday Cake--Jesse's leftover cake has been my breakfast of champions the past two mornings.  Jackson has been sleeping when I left each morning.  Can we say emotional eating?

C is for copy paper--I was thrilled to discover that we do not have copy numbers at my new school.  We can make "unlimited copies".  Except that there is NEVER copy paper in the copier.  It is locked up in the supply closet that only a handful of people have a key to open.  I went to four different copiers and all of them were out of paper.

D is for Diverse--After working with 98% African American students for the past three years, it doesn't take much to have a more diverse classroom.  The student body is 40% ESL with half of that population being refugees.  I have students from Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, Nigeria, El Salvador, and Cuba.  I love it, though parent communication is certainly more challenging.

E is for Exhausted--I spent many months laying on the couch with Jackson napping on my chest.  I am completely drained after operating on very little sleep, wearing heels, and staying on my feet for 7 hours a day.

F is for Forgetfulness--I left my pump at school but took the horns and other parts home to sterilize on Wednesday, then completely forgot to bring them back on Thursday.  Jesse had to bring them to me before lunch.  I also wasn't paying attention and missed the interstate exit on the way to work yesterday morning.

G is for Great staff--I really enjoy my teammates.  We get along really well and I am impressed with their work ethic.  They don't take shortcuts or do things half-ass, which I really respect.  I'm also excited to have one of my favorite former Irwin teacher across the hall from me.  There is a lot of familiarity and comfort.

H is for Hallway--I feel like I spend the majority of my school day standing in the hallway, waiting for the other 5th grade teachers to change classes.  Of course this is an exaggeration, but seriously, what the hell is the point of making a schedule for when to switch classes if you aren't going to bother looking at a clock?

I is for Independent--Since I have a smaller room I moved my teacher desk to the front of the room and actually sat down while students took a math pre-test on Thursday.  I had them bring me their completed test so I could grade it right away and they read quietly at their desks.  I still plan to walk around and monitor most of the day, but it's nice to be able to actually sit down while they take a test.  I'm trying to teach the kids to be more independent and I do not want to stay so late doing paperwork.

J is for the J-Men--As tired as I am when I come home, my energy suddenly spikes when I get to hold my smiling boy, see pictures from the day, and hear Jesse recount events over dinner.

K is for Karma--Jesse and I went to Denny's for dinner tonight.  Strangers always stop to talk to Jackson every time we go out.  Tonight a middle-aged couple was sitting in the booth behind Jesse.  As they were leaving they talked to Jackson and us.  Suddenly the husband tossed a $20 bill on our table and said, "Well, please have dinner on us."  They walked away before I even processed what happened.  What an amazing random act of kindness!

L is for Late buses--Last year the school where I now work was an early start school.  The school hours changed and there is no procedure in place for students whose buses haven't arrived.  Somehow my classroom because the impromptu late bus room.  I had over 20 students ages pre-K through 5th grade in my room for over an hour past dismissal!

M is for Milk supply--Between going back to work, not staying hydrated, having my cycle return, and not getting in enough pumping sessions my milk supply has nearly diminished.  I had to give Jackson a 2 oz bottle after he nursed because I knew he wasn't getting enough.  Nothing like failing at your child's most basic needs.

N is for Nervous--Words can't even begin to describe my anxiety level the night before school.

O is for Ovulation--It is crazy to think that my body is once again preparing to ovulate and able to conceive again.  As much as Jesse and I want another child, I'm not sure now is the right time to try considering we are unable to function on one income and I am already exhausted and overwhelmed.   

Pumping privacy--Yesterday I had random students knocking at my door trying to come in since their bus wasn't there yet.  I had to stop pumping after just a few minutes because two other teachers were sending them to my back door and the students could see me through the window.  This afternoon the janitor unlocked my door and began vacuuming while I was getting ready to pump after school.  I do not take these repeated interruptions lightly.

Q is for Questions--There was so much miscommunication the past two days!  I'm not sure why procedures aren't set in place for such scenarios.  It seemed like none of my questions were answered.  There is so much to learn with a new school (i.e late bus procedures, two different lunch lines, dismissal during specials, watching announcements on TV, technology failing, etc).

R is for Routine--My new routine consists of waking up at 5:30, nursing Jackson, leaving by 6, and getting to school at 6:30.  This gives me an hour to do preparations before I pump again at 7:30 and the kids arrive at 7:45.  The past two days I've been unable to leave until 5 pm.  I hope this is NOT my routine as I have a much longer commute during rush hour and only get to spend two hours with Jackson.

S is for Specials--Our kids pack up and dismiss from specials (art, music, PE, media, guidance), leaving us the afternoon for our team to plan.  I like having my day end earlier, but it's hard to be productive rather than vent about the day.  (And yes, we already have plenty to vent about these first two days of school.)

T is for Transitions--That word pretty much sums up our life right now, as we are in a constant state of transition.  Specifically, I am having a hard time with the transitions during the school day.  I am so used to having my class of 24 students all to myself.  This constant switching and rotating at random times is difficult to get used to. 

U is for Unemployed--The job search for Jesse is becoming increasingly frustrating and discouraging as each day passes.

V is for Valuables--I do not have any place that locks in my classroom.  There is nowhere secure to put my purse, laptop, or pump.  My classroom was broken into the other night, though nothing was stolen.  We've found used condoms and bullets on the playground, so I'm not too keen on the idea that I have nothing that locks!

W is for Water (or lack thereof)--I do not have a break between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  I don't want to drink much because I will have to use the bathroom.  I feed dehydrated and I know that is not helping my milk supply.

X is for Xylophone--The music teacher's office is directly beside me.  She even has a two-way mirror to see into my room.  She told me she has several orff instruments, xylophones, and keyboards that she needs students to carry for her since she doesn't have a music room and must rotate to each grade level.

Y is for Young money--I let the students at each table come up with their own team name.  I give table points throughout the day and the winning table gets to go to the treasure box each Friday.  Team Young Money won the first week.  My tables last year were so competitive, but the students this year our so sweet.  They want every table to get the same number of points. 

Z is for Zzzzs--I've been asleep by 9 p.m. every night this week.  SO TIRED!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Open House and Hanging the Laundry

All along I've said that I will be okay so long as I am able to see Jackson when he wakes up and when he goes to bed.  I knew it was going to be a rough day when Jackson was still sleeping peacefully this morning when I left for work at 6:45 a.m.  I desperately needed his first morning smile to carry me through the day since I knew I would not be home until at least 6:30 pm.

Overall, it was an okay day.  There was one meeting after another and I was only able to pump twice during an eleven hour workday.  (I know, I know...NOT good for my supply.) 

After feeling on top of my teaching game the past few years, it was both humbling and discouraging to realize that I am a total wild card to my students and parents.  They neither trust nor know me.  It's so strange because I wanted to say, "I was hired because I know what I'm doing!"  The staff has a high turn-over rate and there are many inexperienced teachers.  I know it will take some time for me to earn everyone's trust in a new setting. 

Language proved to be a barrier.  I felt inadequate because my teammate is Puerto Rican so I kept having to redirect my Spanish speaking parents to her.  I also have a few refugees from Burma that do not know any English and we definitely don't have any Burmese translators available.  Regardless, I'm extremely impressed that so many parents attended.

Once home I knew I had a mere hour to interact with Jackson.  It was the best!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him.

Jesse did a great job taking pictures today.  He even e-mailed me one of them at work.  Jackson enjoyed his time outside and even helped Jesse with the laundry. 

I am so thankful for pictures that make me laugh out loud, a huge turnout at Open House, a home cooked dinner waiting for me, a smiling baby, and a husband who takes great care of our house, our son, and me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Five Facts

1. I absolutely love having family and friends who have babies so close in age!  Thanks, Elizabeth, for providing childcare/playdate this afternoon.
2. Jackson must be swaddled at night.  The boy simply won't fall asleep otherwise.
3. I worked ten hours today and played with my child for two hours.  It definitely sucks, but I take comfort in the fact that I am the first and last thing he sees each day.
4. I am getting really nervous about actually teaching now that the countdown is down to a mere 3 days.  Open house is tomorrow night.
5. It seems as though Jesse and I are never actually going to see one another and our budget is going to be even tighter than we thought.  More details on that tomorrow...

I would post pictures, but Jesse refuses to take them!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesse!

Today was Jesse's 25th birthday.  All week he's been telling me he wants a Batman cake, which I have laughed off.  Unbeknownst to him, I ordered a Batman cake the other day and was actually able to surprise him with it at his party.

Our family gathered to celebrate.  Domino's had a special where 2-topping medium size pizza were significantly cheaper than a 1-topping large or medium.  I ordered 7 pizzas, including extra cheese, green peppers, and pepperoni and ground beef.  Every last slice was devoured.  Only one bowl of salad remained. 

The highlight was dessert.  Jesse loves banana splits, so we had an ice cream party, in addition to the rainbow chip frosted cupcakes, and of course, the Batman cake.  Yum!

Jackson was rocked to sleep by Aunt Meme (Christina) numerous times, only to be awaken by his crazy cousins.  Once all had left and I cleaned up, Jackson crashed on Jesse's lap.

Jesse is a man of few words, but he assured me that he is having a good birthday.  I sure hope so!

We rented The King's Speech and will likely watch that this evening with our usual popcorn.  (Actually we received 3 free months of Blockbuster when Jesse switched us to Dish Network.)  Then it's back to another week at work.  As good as Friday night feels, Sunday night feels equally bad.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finished Classroom!

Jesse did yardwork this morning while Jackson and I went to school for a few hours.  (If it's open, I'll be there!)  I work really well and stay focused for a few hours before I get totally overwhelmed and piddle around.  It was nice to be able to go in to school knowing I only had two hours to make my work count.  I put Jesse in the Ergo while I worked.  Once he fell asleep, I laid him on a mat on the floor and finished my bulletin boards.  I now have a functional, organized classroom library, filing cabinet, layout of furniture, math closet, and place for students to turn in work.  Here are the highlights of my classroom:

Our final stop this morning was Wal Mart.  I needed to make a few purchases for Jesse's birthday party tomorrow.  Our theme at school is that we're all shooting stars.  They gave out these ridiculous sunglasses to the staff members.  Jackson liked them more than I did.

Once home, Jackson and I ate.  Jesse reminded me that Walgreens offered a free 8x10 collage today.  I've been wanting to put some pictures of Jackson on my desk at work, so that worked out perfectly.  We went to Value Village and bought some shirts before picking up the collage.

Dinner consisted of Carolina burgers (chili and slaw).  We both cleaned the house and played with Jackson before getting him ready for bed.  Jesse is going to sleep while I finish Jesse's birthday cake.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Friday, Friday

Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend!  (Happy birthday weekend, Jesse!)

Yes, the ridiculous song does stay in your head.  I forgot how satisfying Friday's are after working all week.  Today consisted of more team planning and a professional development on the new national standards.  Right as I was about to pump the fire alarm went off and a voice came over the intercom saying, "This is not a drill.  Please evacuate the building."  No firetrucks arrived and no further explanation was given.  Once back in the building I locked my door and pumped away.  An administrator unlocked my door and walked right in!  So much for privacy.  (She apologized and said she was taking inventory on furniture.)

I gave Jesse a hard time for not taking any photos today.  This was the only photo he took today. 
Not sure what the grimace is for, but Jesse said he cleaned toilets all day.  He downplayed the fact that he slept until 9, ate an artery-clogging breakfast, and watched a lot of TV.  I have to give him a hard time, but we all know he does everything around the house!
I nursed Jackson and played with him before he curled against me for a nap.  We both were hot from the body heat.  I think it's adorable that one of the first places we sweat is on our nose.

Jesse wanted to go to the Mayflower tonight.   We had a less than mediocre experience due to a very negligent waitress.  I'm certain Jesse has never stiffed a waitress before until today, but she really was terrible.  At least Jackson had a good time.  He struggled to sit up in his carseat so much so that I just propped his seat up so he could look around.  He stared at every single person that walked past our table and gave away the biggest grins anytime someone stopped to talk to him.

Jackson is sleeping peacefully in his crib and Jesse and I are about to watch American Pickers.  Ah...Friday night!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Official Workday

Even though I've been back to work for a few weeks now, today was our official first workday.  That means I woke up shortly afer 6 a.m., nursed Jackson at 6:30, and was in the car before 7.  I got to work by 7:30, left at 4, and was home at 4:30.  Hello, new routine. 

I asked Jesse what he and Jackson did while I was working.  His only response was they "chillaxed".  After further inquiry, I still don't know what Jackson did.  Jesse worked on our budget and switched cable from Time Warner to Dish Network and internet to AT&T.

Here are the highlights of my day:
  • We had a staff retreat at our very wealthy and involved church partner.  They provided breakfast and lunch for us.  Yum!
  • We finally got our schedule.  Teacher's must be at work from 7:40-3:30 each day, with the exception of Wednesday where we must attend staff meetings at 6:40!  The good news is that 5th grade has specials (art, PE, music, guidance, and media) every day from 2:20-3:15.  This means my teaching day is over at 2:10 when the kids will pack up and go to specials while I have planning.
  • I left work promptly at 4 p.m. and didn't hit stressful traffic.  If I leave any later my commute becomes 45 minutes to an hour.
  • My classroom is FINISHED with the exception of hanging a few posters.  (Pictures are to come.)
  • I was finally able to sit down and actually work on plans with my team.  We were able to create a science pacing guide for 1st and 2nd quarter and create an outline for the first two days of school.
  • Jackson drank three 4-oz bottles.  I only pumped three times and was able to pump 16 oz!!! 

It feels so good to be back at work, but even better to come home to my gorgeous, smiling son and forever helpful husband!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Attempt at "Solids"

After talking with my friend's mother and some other moms in my birth club, I was reassured that Jackson is not malnourished or dying.  Everyone (doctor, lactation consulant, and other moms) suggested we introduce solids.  Jesse picked up some rice cereal and I manually expressed 2 ounces of breastmilk.

We followed the directions of mixing 1 tbsp of cereal with 4 tbsp of milk.  There was absolutely nothing solid about it!  Regardless, Jackson seemed excited.

At first he seemed very intrigued as he crossed his eyes focusing on the spoon and opening his mouth wide.

Then he let it dribble out of his mouth.

  And then he just wanted to bite the spoon and make wretched faces.
He ended up actually swallowing about a third of what we prepared. 

I tried again an hour later after we went for a walk.  (I didn't want to waste my precious milk.)  He ate a good bit more but got off track once he realized he could grab the bowl and spoon from my hand!

Oh well...we'll try again another day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4 Month Well Check

Today was Jackson's 4 month well check.  Here are his measurements from every appointment:

8 lb, 15 oz
21.75 in
14 in
1 Month
11 lb, 1 oz
23.25 in
15.25 in
2 Month
12 lbs, 15 oz
25 in
15.75 in
4 Month
14 lbs, 4 oz
25.75 in
16.5 in

That means he has gone from the 80th% to 50th% to 30th% in weight.  That also means that in two months, he has only gained 1 lb, 5 oz.  I don't see how this can be good.  Our doctor is not worried but I sure am!

The doctor gave us the go ahead to start sleep training and introducing solids whenever we are ready.  Personally, I think cutting out night feedings is the absolute last thing I need to do for a child that isn't gaining much weight.  Jesse and I are both okay with introducing solids though.  We will probably start with rice cereal very soon.  Jackson has already shown a lot of interest in our food and he is always licking, sucking, and smacking his lips and tongue.
Jackson received another round of shots today (the same from his 2 month check-Rotavirus, Hep B, Polio, DTP, Hib, and PCV13).  I went to work shortly after his appointment, but Jesse said he napped most of the time.  He didn't have any projectile vomit this time, but he had yet another explosive diaper.  He was his usual happy-go-lucky self when I got home, just a bit lethargic.  
I am happy to report that Jack drank 8 ounces while I was gone, and I was able to pump ten ounces.  This is why I am so confused about his weight gain.  I would understand if he had slow weight gain and I had lost my supply.  With the exception of two weeks when I was extreme dieting/exercising, my supply has been fine.  We still have over 300 ounces in the freezer and he eats plenty.  I e-mailed my best friend's mother who is the lactation consultant/ pediatric nurse practitioner.  I am anxious to see what her thoughts are on the matter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Belly Button

Our day began with another free breakfast from Ikea.  I wasn't in too much of a rush to get to work today since it wasn't a required day and I wasn't getting paid.  Jesse put Jackson in the Ergo and we browsed the store.  We left with a mirror and two frozen yogurts.

After nursing Jackson in the parking lot I headed off to work.  It was more or less a wasted day as I was only there for two hours and basically shuffled things around.  My only accomplishment was finishing my classroom library.  I made a detailed list of what I need to do tomorrow so I can be more productive. 

I was sad that I only pumped 2 ounces, and Jackson drank a 4 ounce bottle while I was gone.  Jesse and Jackson took advantage of a few super double coupons at Harris Teeter while I was away. 

Jesse and I played with Jackson.  He enjoys pressing the piano keys of the exersaucer.  Today was the first day he showed interest in the other toys on the exersaucer.  It was like he just now noticed there are a ton of other things to play with.

Currently, the things that make Jackson laugh the most are petting the cats, talking to himself in the mirror, when Jesse or I make animal noises (esp. owls), and when we blow on his belly and tickle his sides/armpits.  We spend a good portion of the day doing these things.
On a total random note, I've noticed that Jackson's belly button has changed quite a good bit.  Since I bathe him every night now, I guess pay more attention.  Up until a few weeks ago, it always looked like he had two tiny belly buttons or one that was separated down the middle.
It has now stretched out a lot.  It is much deeper and looks like an innie and and outie.  Strange...

After dinner we went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Jesse fixed the jogging stroller (again) and he wanted to test it out.  After several days of 100 degree heat, this evening was quite pleasant.  Along the way we found this giant, scary spider.  It was the size of our hand.  Eeek!
After a relaxing walk and bath, Jackson was ready for bed.  I pray that he actually sleeps well tonight.  The past three nights, Jackson woke up at 3 a.m. and cried hysterically.  It's taken at least 30 minutes of walking around and rocking to get him back to sleep. 

Tomorrow is the dreaded 4 month check up.  I've been anxious about this appointment because I am worried Jackson isn't gaining weight very well.  I also hate shots of the crankiness that follows them.  Let's hope it goes better than expected!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Funny Faces and Various Ramblings

Warning: There is absolutely no flow or transition to anything in this post, so I apologize if it's difficult to follow.

Jesse and I said some ugly words to one another last night.  I am ashamed to admit that we both let our frustration get the better of us in front of Jackson.  While he is too young to process or recall anything, we both agreed that we will avoid any confrontation in front of him.  Our dispute allowed much needed discussion to take place and I think we both have a better understanding of what one another is feeling.

I have no clue why, but Jackson has been giving the stink eye to the swing every time he sits in the high chair.  We used to put him in the swing several times a day.  It was our most frequently used piece of baby furniture during the first three months.  Now he just screams if we put him in the swing.  His evil stare down cracks me up.
Jackson's personality is shining through more and more each day. He has always been very expressive and verbal.  Here is another one of his expressions that I love.  He is changing so quickly!

We found out last week that Jackson's culture from the dermatologist came back showing bacteria.  He has to take antibiotics twice a day for ten days.  Unfortunately, we neglected to put the medicine in the refrigerator per the directions.  Poor Jackson was spitting up pink medicine for hours.  We'll have to call the pharmacy tomorrow to get a refill.

Jackson's MiMi and PaPa came to visit.  This has become a usual Sunday afternoon routine.  They love his interactions and I am so happy he has such involved, loving grandparents.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Hard-Working, Exhausting Day for Jackson Lee

I made up for yesterday's lack of pictures today.

This handsome guy has been working awfully hard today towards reaching his milestones!

Thanks, Chrissy, for the adorable outfit!

Jackson's day began with Jesse cooking his favorite heart attack-inducing breakfast while I had the luxury of sleeping in until 8:15.  Jesse was very proud of his breakfast and insisted I include a picture on the blog.

Jackson had great interactions with Cowbell.  I can't wait until he starts crawling and chases her.  The two are quite an amusing pair.  (Mr. Nibbles is rarely in close enough proximity for Jackson to touch.) 

We used to be able to put Jackson on the floor or pack-n-play for a while, but lately he hates laying flat.  He tries so hard to sit up.  He'll curl around his whole body and eventually thump his head on the floor when he can no longer hold it up.  I imagine this constant abdominal work is exhausting!

Jackson can sit assisted with a boppy pillow and is also beginning to prefer the upright position on the high chair. 

Tummy time today was by far the most successful Jack's ever had.  He rolled over SIX times all the way across the blanket.  He has also been lifting his upper body up higher and for longer periods of time.

After all of this work, sweet Jackson especially needed to be held and loved.  We cuddled in the Moby.  It didn't take long before he settled in for a long nap.