Sunday, March 29, 2009

Welcome Back!

Nearly 3 months ago, I decided to stop blogging. (See previous post for reasons why.) I changed my mind. I enjoy reading my friend's blogs, and I thought, maybe there is someone who would enjoy reading mine again. When I wrote my final blog on January 1st, Nathan wasn't even 3 months he's almost 6 months old! Ella is now 2 and a half. I was going through a rough patch, both physically and mentally. I was completely overwhelmed, trying to take care of 2 children while running on very little sleep. Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband, supportive family, and understanding friends to keep me going. Our days run much more smoothly now, and I actually have some free time in the evenings. 3 months is a long time, and I can't possibly remember everything that has happened, but I will try to give a brief summary.

ME: I went back to work at St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee. I work Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30-4:00. I've been working on 11LM, the same floor I've been working on for 2 years. The population is mostly geriatrics and the floor is considered an ACE unit. ACE stands for "Acute Care for the Elderly." The physical therapist up on 11LM has been up there for about 2 years as well, so we have become friends and work really well together. I have also gotten to know the other staff on the floor, from the nurses and aides, to the social worker and housekeepers. I feel comfortable on "my floor" and do enjoy getting out of the house 2 days a week. It's a perfect schedule for me, for right now.

I am continuing to breast feed, so I have to find time during my day at work to pump. I have to take the elevator from the 11th floor to the basement, weave my way through a maze of hallways with low ceilings, until I finally reach the "Nursing Nook," which is located right in between the cafeteria and the morgue. Lovely.

My most recent adventure is making homemade baby food. Today I made squash and sweet potatoes. I really hope Nate likes it because one large butternut squash and 4 medium sweet potatoes makes A TON of food! I don't know how long I will make baby food, but I thought it might be neat to try it. It was kinda fun actually!

I just finished up my "Zumba" exercise class, which is a mix of Latin dance and aerobics. Now my new class begins on Tuesday. Are you ready to hear what kind of exercise class I will be taking next? Get ready...pole dancing and lap dancing at a studio called, "Miss Pole." A few of my co-workers convinced me to join them. What was I thinking? Joe is very supportive and encouraging.

JOE: Joe's job is going very well. He's taking on a lot of responsibilities and is really good at what he does. He is currently anticipating the start of th Brewer's season. Joe wants to take Ella to a game, but thinks maybe next year would be more appropriate (and fun.) He is a super dad, always horsing around with Ella and making us all pancakes on Sunday mornings. We are a team.

ELLA: Ella is one smart cookie. I have to thank Ms. Linda, our daycare provider, and Dora the Explorer for teaching Ella many new things. She can recite the days of the week and the months of the year, all in song form, of course. She can also count to five in Spanish. Ella rides her big-wheel like a bat out of Hell and does somersaults off the couch. She's my blonde beauty. She challenges me daily and tests my patience every minute. Because of this, I am currently reading the following books: "Screemfree Parenting," Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood," and "Soft-spoken Parenting: 50 Ways to Not Lose Your Temper With Your Kids." Basically, I just need to breathe and realize that it's called the "terrible twos" for a reason. She'll be 3 in 6 months...I have a feeling it's only going to get worse before it gets better. And then she'll be a teenager. Oh boy. Ella has her first dentist appointment scheduled for this Wednesday. We're concerned because one of her front teeth is discolored, following a nasty fall where she hit her teeth on the floor. The dentist...she's growing up so fast.

NATHAN: Nate is now 16 pounds and is quickly growing out of 6-9 month clothing. He recently began teething and has 2 cute little teeth popping up on the bottom. There were a few days where it seemed like the teeth were bothering him, but otherwise, he's been a trooper. Nathan seems to get sick a lot, usually with a runny nose and a cough. He finished up a course of antibiotics a few weeks ago after his cough had lingered for over a month. His pediatrician thought it might have been a sinus infection. Who knows. Nate was also on an anti-reflux medication called Prilosec for about 10 days. His pediatrician thought he might have had "silent reflux" since he was getting the hiccups so frequently and sleeping so poorly. He also said we would notice a huge difference if it really was reflux. We didn't. We stopped the medication and tried to accept the fact that our son was just a horrible sleeper. I think I read every book on the market on the topic of sleep, or "sleep training." Joe and I decided to follow a method described in a book called, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. His philosophy does involve some crying and it is considered a "cry-it-out" method, or "CIO." Nathan was used to Joe or I rocking, bouncing, walking, feeding/nursing, etc. to sleep and then being put down in his crib asleep. He didn't know how to self-soothe, so when he woke up, he couldn't get back to sleep on his own. We have made HUGE progress! Nate now goes into his crib awake, following our routine of books, bottle, rocking, and singing. He still cries, but the amount has decreased considerably each night, and he falls asleep on his own! He only wakes up once or twice during the night to eat, which I can handle. Joe and I have some time to relax in the evenings now since once Nathan falls asleep, he's generally asleep for a good 4-6 or more hours for his first stretch. We still need to work on lengthening his naps, but he does fall asleep on his own for his naps as well. Nathan can roll from his tummy to his back and today Joe found him on his tummy in his crib, after I had put him on his back. He LOVES his Rainforest Jumperoo and can really get going! He also enjoys his Baby Einstein Playmat. Nate is trying lots of new foods and is doing really well with it. After a few trials, there isn't anything he absolutely wont eat. Yet.

I hope I've kept your attention. I felt like I had to provide an update and summarize the past 3 months. The past 5 months have been the hardest months of my life. They have been challenging and trying, difficult and emotional, stressful and frustrating. But, they have also been amazing and rewarding, beautiful and exciting, fun and memorable. Our family is complete and it's finally starting to feel like we know what we're doing. For now.

Enjoy the video of my funny kids!