Adjusting Expectations

During the later half of pregnancy when it was apparent that this was really happening, I began dreaming about what life would be like with a new child. What kind of parents would we be? Would our baby be a good sleeper? Would she be a good eater? How long until tennis and running resumed? Olivia’s recent 2-month checkup and endless inquiries about how things are going have prompted some reflection on the first couple months of motherhood. The many thoughts floating through my head all share one commonality: the need for adjusted expectations.

Feeding:

Olivia only lost 5% of her weight upon discharge, so we thought breastfeeding must be going great aside from the normal soreness and latching battles of a newborn. Phew, one bullet dodged. However, two days later at her first visit to the pediatrician Olivia’s weight was down 12%. We were immediately pushed into formula supplementation. After a roller coaster of weight checks, visits with lactation consultants, herbal supplements and various feeding regimens, Olivia has now climbed to the 5th percentile for her weight. As such, the pediatrician advised us to continue with her current feeding regimen, which still includes a small amount of formula supplementation.

In today’s high tech world, why hasn’t someone invented a baby fuel gauge to alert parents as to their level of fullness? There are so many other gadgets and gizmos to monitor health and heart rate you’d think someone would have found a way to measure the amount of milk in a baby’s tummy. Envision a gas gauge on their forehead. This would certainly take the guesswork out of whether or not baby has received enough milk or if they need a supplemental bottle-feeding.

Dessert

Dessert

Adjusting my original expectation of being able to nurse 100% has been tough and would be even worse if it weren’t for the wonderful support and encouragement from friends. I will always wonder if our continued battles with low milk supply are a result of quickly being pushed into (and staying with) formula supplementation. We’ll just do what we can for as long as we can to keep our baby happy.

Hair Loss:

Oodles of friends warned me of post-natal hair loss. I thought I had escaped that lovely side effect since hair loss didn’t seem much worse than the normal girl-shedding phenomena. Think again. Almost exactly 8 weeks post-partum gobs of hair greeted my hand after a shower. Joy.

Co-Sleeping:

Pre-baby, the closest we thought we’d get to co-sleeping was having the baby at the foot of our bed in her beautiful bassinet. In reality she’s probably slept on us more than she’s slept in her bassinet :-/ Despite the warnings and admonishment from the pediatrician about baby getting used to her parents’ bed, when push comes to shove silencing a crying baby and getting her (and us) to sleep is all that matters. We’re doing our best to encourage her to sleep more in her bassinet both for naps and at night, but relinquishing a cuddly snuggle-bug to her lonely bassinet is tough.  That said, we certainly don’t want to end up with a toddler in our bed …

Favorite spot to sleep
Favorite spot to sleep

Schedules:

We always joked about those parents who let baby run the show and never knew what their schedule would be like. Shame on us! Someday (soon?) we’ll get back to being our prompt old selves but in the meantime it’s safe to assume we’ll be 15 minutes late and/or won’t know what time is good for a visit until that morning (even then it’s a bit of guesswork).

Returning to Tennis & Running:

By staying healthy and fit during pregnancy, I thought it would be a piece of cake to return to running and tennis in time for spring season. Ha! What was I thinking? Even if I were in shape, the logistics of running a race or playing a 2-hour tennis match some distance away from home is just too much to fathom while breastfeeding (plus there’s the fact that my tennis team is too competitive and politely refused my participation until I’ve spruced up a bit – fine by me!) For now Ben and I will enjoy tennis together (with no judgment at those errant shots) and my new personal trainer will keep me going in the jogging stroller and beyond (sit ups to baby giggles on your legs aren’t nearly so bad).

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

Returning to Work:

Pre-baby, I envisioned wanting to return to work as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on anything. I even went so far as to investigate part-time leave versus full-time maternity leave. How quickly things change. Amid a blurry haze of sleep deprivation, feeding cycles, and the holidays, somehow January 2 snuck upon us in the blink of an eye.  The European family-leave policy sounds quite appealing right now. Priorities certainly do change after a baby, even for us Type A workaholics. Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with this little munchkin?

 

Accepting Help:

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all is learning to accept help. We no longer believe that we can do it all on our own and are so very lucky to have the support of friends and family, especially on weeks that this working momma is home alone.

We’ll do our best to keep updated photos posted for your enjoyment.

Time flies!

It dawned on us that on Tuesday I will be 24 weeks pregnant, which when phrased as “6 months” sounds that much farther along. Time certainly seems to move at warp speed when you are in denial, or simply ignoring certain life changing events in favor of trying to keep up with daily life events: work, travel, exercise, yard and other chores, friends & family… this weekend we’re continuing our denial a while longer since thinking about the “to-do” list causes significant stress. Instead our attention will be focused on the Ft Worth Major Zone tennis tournament, with some water aerobics and family pool time in between matches to hide from the 106 degree temps.

Speaking of time flying by, it’s been about 5 weeks since the first post with belly shots. I figured it’s time to provide the next round of activity and photo highlights. Enjoy!

June 22, 2012: Walking the beach on Nantucket after some brisk swimming in the Atlantic. At 19 weeks, 3 days our baby girl got to enjoy the taste of freshly picked strawberries to start out the morning, then feel a drastic temperature change as we floated about the ocean to cool off in the afternoon.

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June 24, 2012: Annual dock photo our last day on the Cape, sporting my new Cowgirl-like hat from Nantucket, 19 weeks, 5 days:

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July 5, 2012: Today’s anatomy sonogram was recorded for us to enjoy over the years and share with our daughter as she gets older. Our little wiggler is already weighing in at exactly 1 pound today and measuring right on track at 21 weeks, 2 days with a strong, steady heartbeat of 155. The top photo has a nice image of her hands above her head in a relaxed pose, while the bottom picture shows her little foot that is already waging a war with my ribs.

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July 15, 2012: Baby was quite active after a pint of Phish food frozen yogurt, enough so for her daddy to feel her wiggling around that night for the first time. Perhaps she was saying thank you for finally beginning to make progress on her new bedroom, agreeing on the color after trying out our chosen paint samples and loving them … too bad that’s just the first step of many to actually finish the nursery.

July 16, 2012: Taking advantage of a black stretchy dress for work to hide the growing belly, 22 weeks, 6 days. Each day this week the “baby belly shelf” has become more and more prevalent, especially from my bird’s eye view, and apparently from my co-workers’ view as well as they constantly point to my belly before and after meetings and smirk. Not to mention the comment Thursday night from a new friend in the water aerobics class I have recently discovered: “wow, your belly is really starting to show now!” Gee, thanks?

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July 21, 2012: Purchased the majority of the paint for the nursery … each little step counts!

 

 

Spring Skiing in Montana, March 2012

Though this post will not do justice to the fabulous trip we had to Big Sky, Montana a couple weeks ago, I will attempt to highlight a few key memories using a handful of the many wonderful photos taken that week [click here to be brought to the slimmed down “full” album]. First of all, thank you to Mom and Dad for scheduling the trip and pushing your children to agree to a spring skiing vacation, even if we hadn’t yet reached Christmas. The weather couldn’t have been better as we drove up to Big Sky Sunday morning after spending the night in Bozeman (with one Bison burger already under my belt).

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While some of us worked to get our ski legs back after a couple years, others worked their arms to dig out a stuck rental car with no snow tires that just happened to end up perpendicular to the road, wedged in each snowbank. Luckily the property manager of Cascade Ridge had a sturdy SUV that was able to pull him out without a problem. We missed Ben at lunch, but were happy to hear that his afternoon wasn’t a complete shambles after some exploration and much needed food in the belly.

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Later in the week, the legs had sufficiently adapted to allow for more active photo opps, though none from the crazy windy and steep tram run where it took all we had to focus on one turn after the next.

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Tuesday’s snowstorm afforded the opportunity to work a few more hours and avoid the whiteout on the mountain, but more importantly, provided the chance for family bonding on a different type of ski slope: Lone Mountain Ranch Nordic Ski Center.

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Despite initial trepidation by some, we all survived (and enjoyed!) the 5.39 mile trail up and down a 504 ft elevation gain.

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What kind of ski trip exists without some relaxation? Hot tubbing, rooting for IU basketball, sampling (and re-sampling) a variety of Montana brewed beers, shuffleboard and pool were some of the notable activities, each having their own preferred activity (bet you can’t guess the match ups).

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Last to note, but certainly not least, was Thursday’s expedition to Yellowstone National Park. Off to a bit of a chilly start with -17 degree temps on the drive down, the massive snowmobile suits combined with the warmth of the sun helped keep us toasty. Snowmobiles turned out to be a fantastic way to tour the park, especially as they afforded an up close and personal experience with the bison. Luckily they chose not to attack us by Old Faithful as Dane brought us closer and closer for that perfect shot.

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Despite all the good times, we were missing one element to make it a perfect family vacation: Claire, hopefully you can join us next time!

Almost, but not quite

After a long weekend of tennis in the Fall 2011 Southlake tennis tournament, mild disappointment lingers.  Taking a break from both singles and doubles for a change, I was able to watch all of Ben’s singles matches (first freezing Saturday morning, then roasting Sunday morning … I think Texas is confused and forgot it’s November).  I sure did miss the singles play, but my body is probably grateful.

What a difference a year makes. Though we still haven’t been playing much, it was more than last year and that was visible. Ben put up a great fight each of the matches, but was ultimately defeated in a grueling 3-set consolation finals match. Click here for complete results.

On top of all his singles matches, Ben helped pull the team along for our 3 mixed doubles matches (though he might not be able to walk tomorrow).  Sadly, we lost in the finals Sunday afternoon.  Considering it’s the first time playing 4.0 Mixed Doubles, I guess we shouldn’t be too disappointed with the results. We even got trophies (and sunburns).

Maybe next year. Until then, ice cream heals all wounds.

San Diego Exploration

Here are the other pictures from San Diego (June 24-29). We went through them Saturday to try and narrow them down but there were just too many good ones to be frugal. They go in the following order:

1. Hiking on Saturday up to a reservoir before the rehearsal dinner (Dane, we thought of you as the crazy mountain bikers went up the steep rocks!),

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2. Exploring one of the famous California sites of the Spanish American War,

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3.  The animals at Safari Park Zoo on Sunday morning with Stacy and Laurie (you’ll notice that Laurie and I bought matching hats, and we got to see a newborn gorilla!),

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4. Monday we went downtown to San Diego, first to Old Town Historic State Park,

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5. Then to Coronado Island (the first few pics of the foggy beach are super close to Mexico),

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6. Coronado Island –  the more famous part along the beach and marina with Hotel Del Coronado – the sun came out and it was gorgeous!,

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7. Tuesday morning sea kayaking adventure in caves and with kelp are in a separate photo album.  It was hard paddling out to begin with because we had to paddle through the waves. On the return we “surfed” on the kayaks back to shore.  Unfortunately Ben got stuck behind another couple that had flipped and he couldn’t avoid them soon enough so he flipped too. 🙂

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8. Tuesday afternoon hiking at Torrey del Paines (near our hotel, which was right on the Torrey Pines golf course in La Jolla – first pic of golf course is from our private hotel patio)

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9. Wednesday morning on the last day we went into La Jolla again for breakfast and we walked around watching the seals,

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10. Last we drove into downtown San Diego again and walked around the harbor and USS Midway (but we didn’t pay to go on it, not enough time … or desire).

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Full photos of the San Diego excursion can be found in the Photo Gallery at http://jacob-family.us/v/SanDiego

The sea kayaking album is smaller, and from a disposable camera we purchased for the adventure: http://jacob-family.us/v/SanDiegoKayak

Cape Escape 2011

Returning to reality after a much needed vacation is always difficult, but a necessary evil in order to make vacation something special. Despite the original weather forecast of rain every day, we were pleasantly surprised with gorgeous blue skies on Friday, and periodic sunshine for the rest of the trip.

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As per usual, it’s difficult to jump into vacation and leave work entirely behind, especially when trying to juggle too many tasks. A Friday afternoon jog provided the necessary leg stretching and fresh sea air to shove work to the back of the brain and replace it with a vacation mentality (4.34 miles per Garmin, amazing what a difference the view makes to make the time fly).

Just for good measure, it was time to tack on a seashore stroll and photo shoot to fully capture the beautiful Friday.

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We were able to get one step further into the vacation embrace with the arrival of Kate, Stu and Abby Friday evening. Who can resist those sweet eyes and baby embrace?I miss them already!

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Abby enjoyed the wrapping paper on her present a bit more than the soft pillow itself, but what can you do?

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We braved the threat of rain for Ben’s first trip to the islands … Martha’s Vineyard that is. The Caribbean will have to be another trip. Temperatures reached 70 and we all got some pink cheeks. It’s not just Texas where the weather can change on a dime. Note the sky changing as we make our way around the island. Starting out with sunshine on the ferry out of Woods hole passing through clouds, arriving at more sunshine in Vineyard Haven to see lighthouses.

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Shopping and lunch in Oak Bluffs where the weather then turns back to clouds and even some rain.

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We escape the drizzle in Edgartown to watch fudge being made, then proceed to the South Shore where the wind whips along the water.

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We toured around the tip of Gay Head through trees reminiscent of curvy Irish roads opening to cliffs and another lighthouse.

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Then back on to Vineyard Haven (with only a few dead ends) for some final shopping and to catch the ferry home.

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Looking forward to the next escape!

For more pictures click on any of the above thumbnails or visit the Photo Gallery. Additional pictures including the few group photos and Yahtzee with Grandma are available via Dad’s photo gallery: http://gallery.me.com/djcronin/100321

P.S. We won’t hold back on the tennis court next time.

Warrior Dash

Go Warriors! Great job, Lisa. Glad we could share the fun!

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For full photos go to: http://jacob-family.us/v/WarriorDash

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To get to the finish you had to go through the fire

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And into the mud

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Some people really got into it …

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Will there be a next time? Dylan would probably prefer not. * WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *

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