Archive for July 2011

We Survived   Leave a comment

We survived my first week back at work! It was tough at times (Monday was hard, but Tuesday was harder!) but other times were easier than I expected (my boss is FANTASTIC and very supportive of letting me ease back into my work load). Millie did great all week. She didn’t nap like she normally would on Monday, but by Wednesday she was back to napping 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. I think she had fun at the sitter’s house and I am convinced she is already learning from the other kids that are there (the sitter’s 2 daughters age 7 months and 7 years old plus 2 little boys); she came home Monday and was much more vocal than normal (as in, she was loud!) and on Tuesday she grasped a toy and put it in her mouth (way to go, hand-eye coordination!). Anyway, here is a breakdown of the good and the bad from my first week back at work.

 The Good:

  • I survived! Seriously, it feels like an accomplishment. And, shockingly enough, I didn’t even cry at work Wednesday-Friday.
  • Millie survived. Not only that, she did well. The sitter told Nate “she was really happy today” several times this week.
  • My co-workers had doughnuts for me on Monday and one even brought a homemade cheesecake later in the week. Food is such a wonderful way to welcome someone back from maternity leave.
  • Some friends brought dinner to us on Monday night; she said she wanted me to have one less thing to worry about— good friends!!
  • Several times this week I thought to myself “I can do this!” This is a far cry from the “I’ll never be able to do this!” thoughts I’d had before actually going back to work.
  • This was a “slow” week at work so I didn’t have to worry about putting in extra hours.

The Bad:

  • Millie was asleep when I got home on Monday. After speed walking home from the bus stop, I was heartbroken when I walked in the door and couldn’t just hold her in my arms! I contemplated waking her, but she looked so sweet in her crib. I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I cried (and I didn’t stop until Tuesday evening).
  • The busiest time of year starts next week (August 1) and for the next 6+ weeks, things are going to be crazy at work. It makes me nervous just thinking about it!
  • I am still breastfeeding Millie, so I am pumping at work— this takes about 1.5 hours out of my day! I worry about how I’ll find the time to pump during the busy weeks I have ahead of me.
  • I have not been able to pump the full amount that Millie needs for the next day. This is REALLY stressing me out since I really want to nurse her for a full year with no formula supplements (and my freezer stash is dwindling!). 
  • My house is a mess. I am having a hard time keeping up with the housework when I want to spend my precious time at home with Nate and Millie.
  • I AM TIRED. Really tired. I have to get up early enough to get myself ready for work PLUS have time to feed Millie and get her ready for the day all before getting out of the house in time to walk to the bus stop about 5 minutes from my house.

I hard a really hard time at the beginning of the week, and Nate was so sweet and supportive. He reminded me that me working is the best thing for our family right now and told me he was proud of me. It was just what I needed to hear. Now, if I feel miserable and heartbroken at work, I will just do my best to remember why I am working— Millie and Nate are worth it, and I can do it. I mean, I did survive week one!

 

 

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Posted July 30, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Uncategorized

Time Flies   1 comment

 

It’s hard for me to believe that Millie was born 12 weeks ago. It’s even harder for me to believe that my return to work is just around the corner (next Monday!!). The past 12 weeks have FLOWN by and I have enjoyed them so much. Being a stay-at-home mom for the past (almost) 3 months has been amazing— I love spending my day with Millie! Plus, I love having the time to do the dishes, laundry, cooking, and cleaning (plus find some time for myself!) between the hours of 7 am and 5 pm. It’s going to be a lot tougher to fit all of these things into my day when I head back to work and I have to get them done after 5 pm!. I know many people say being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but, for me, being an underwriter is much harder. So far, the mom “job” has gone quite smoothly. Millie is a great sleeper and eater and I don’t mind the diapers, the spit up, or any of the other things that come along with having a baby. A regular day at the office full of deadlines, meetings, and mountains of work (applications to review, lab results to interpret, medical records to read) is much more difficult to handle. In fact, I’m pretty nervous about returning to work and meeting all of its demands while attempting to fulfill all of my at-home responsibilities as well. After all, just because I will be returning to work does not mean I no longer have all of my “other” duties, too (I never refer to SAHM moms as “full-time” Moms because working Moms are full-time Moms too— they just happen to have an another full-time job on top of it)! My heart breaks at the thought of leaving Millie in the care of someone else for 5 days a week. The longest I have been away from Millie has been about 3.5 hours and, during that time, she was in the care of her father. However, starting Monday, Millie will be headed to the babysitter’s house for 9 hours a day. And, while I really like the sitter we chose and I feel confident that she will care for Millie in a loving way, I just dread the thought of missing out on Millie for 45 hours a week.

So, you may be asking, why am I going back to work? Because, at this moment in time, me working is the best thing for my family. I have heard people say “Sacrifice whatever you must so that you can stay home with your child.” I have thought about this quite a bit. Nate and I do not live extravagantly. We do not drive new cars. We do not go on expensive vacations. We do not wear name brand clothing. We live in a modest home. We don’t have cable TV. We have no debt except for our mortgage. Having 2 incomes does not afford us a luxurious life. If it did, Nate and I would gladly sacrifice those luxury items in order to allow me to stay home with Millie. Instead, the 2nd income allows us some comfort. We are able to tithe, set aside some money for savings, and even eat out on occasion. The 2nd income prevents Nate and I from fighting about money. I grew up in a home where my parents did argue and have considerable stress due to finances, and Nate and I have decided to do what we can to prevent Millie from being raised in such an environment. Also, I have heard some people say “I could never send my child to daycare— I don’t want someone else raising my child!”. Well, I don’t want someone else raising my child either! However, I don’t think that taking Millie to a babysitter is equivalent to signing away my parental rights. I will do my best to make the most of the time we do have together— mornings before work, evenings after work, weekends, holidays, vacations, ect. Millie will know that Nate and I are her parents! Paula (Millie’s sitter) will, of course, be a huge part of Millie’s life and an important partner in her care, but she will not be Millie’s mother. I am convinced that we are not harming Millie by sending her to a babysitter’s home for the hours when we are at work. During the time we are away, Millie will learn to show respect to an adult other than her parents. She will learn to share toys and share the attention of an adult. She will learn to socialize with other children. She will learn that her father and I love her VERY much by seeing how we sincerely look forward to the time when the work day is over and we can come together as a family. I hope that I learn things by taking her to a sitter as well. I hope that I learn to cherish my role as mother and to never think of it as a burden. I hope to learn better time management. I hope to learn to ask for help when I need it. Perhaps most importantly, I hope I learn to enjoy all of the different roles in my life— wife, mother, friend AND employee. It’s difficult to think about enjoying work now when I cannot imagine enjoying being away from Millie, but I hope that in time I find a way. 

Do I wish I could be a stay-at-home mom? Yes. Would I jump at the opportunity to stay home if I had the choice? Most likely, yes and a HUGE part of me hopes that this will be an opportunity in the future. However, at the present time, it is not an option, and I refuse to allow myself to focus on what cannot be. 

To the working-moms reading this, please give me tips! How do you do it all?!? Did you continue to breastfeed once you returned to work? When do you find time to clean? Is your employer supportive and understanding of your parenting demands?  How did your child adjust to going to a sitter?  When do you sleep? 🙂 

I return to work on Monday. To those friends and family who are believers, please pray for our family as we begin this transition. Please pray that Millie adjusts well to her new routine. Please pray that Nate would find the change to his mornings and afternoons (he will be dropping off/picking up Millie) stress free. Please pray that I would be strong and not completely miserable during the transition from stay at home Mom to working Mom! I have been so lucky to have these few months to spend at home with Millie. She has brought me unspeakable joy and I pray that she does the same for Paula (Millie’s sitter).

Before Millie was born, I felt like time was nearly standing still. I remember wishing for time to speed up! Now, I understand all too clearly the phrase “time flies.” I just hope time flies while I am at work so that I can rush home to my sweet family.

Posted July 22, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Uncategorized

Vegas Baby   2 comments

Millie Louise is a GREAT traveller! How do I know? Because we spent the past few days in Las Vegas, Nevada! We were not there just for the sunshine (there was plenty of that!) or the slot machines (I have never seen so many in my life!). We were there to visit Millie’s Great Great Grandmother.

 Marceda Keyse is my father-in-law’s grandmother, and, at the age of 102, she was very excited to meet her first Great Great Granddaughter. So, we (Nate, Millie, and myself) joined Nate’s parents, sister and brother-in-law for a long weekend in Sin City. I was VERY nervous about how Millie would do on the plane. Judging by the looks we got while boarding our 9 pm flight from Cincinnati to Vegas, the other passengers were worried about how she would do, too. No need to worry, though! Millie did great. She fussed for a few minutes at the very beginning of the flight (you could barely hear her over the sound of the engine) and then, about 20 minutes into the flight, she fell fast asleep. She slept well in the hotel, too, and quickly adjusted to the 3 hour time difference. I think Millie really enjoyed visiting with her grandparents, aunt, and uncle. And she had a great time meeting her Great Aunt Karen, Great Uncle Paul, Cousin Michael and— OF COURSE— her Great Great Grandmother. Here’s a quick summary of our trip:

  • Wednesday— We arrived in Vegas around 10 pm. Paul and Karen met us at the airport and Karen took Nate, Millie and myself to the hotel so we could get Millie into a crib as quickly as possible.

 

  • Thursday— Nate, Millie and I sat by the pool for an hour in the morning. Then, we went to visit Great Great Grandma! Later, we had a fantastic dinner with Paul, Karen, and Michael (I’m pretty sure Michael thinks I only eat meat and cheese, but that’s ok).

    (these are Ross' legs--- not mine)

 

  • Friday— After breakfast at the buffet, we went to Red Rock park to see the gorgeous mountains. Back at the hotel, Millie got to spend some quality time with her grandparents while her parents, aunt and uncle spent some time by the pool. We got In N Out Burger for lunch before heading over to visit with Great Great Grandma again. Later, we went to Paul and Karen’s beautiful house for more pool time and tacos!

 

 

  • Saturday— Our last day in Vegas. While Sarah, Ross and Michael went on a hike, Nate, Millie, Mark, Leslie and myself met Karen for breakfast at Mary’s Hash House. Back at the hotel, we enjoyed more pool time while Millie enjoyed more grandparent time. We ate Ben & Jerry’s for lunch (yes, it is acceptable to eat ice cream for lunch in Vegas) and then went to visit with Great Great Grandma once more. Nate wanted sushi for dinner, so Karen, Paul and Michael met us at a Japanese restaurant in our hotel. Later, we packed up and headed to the airport for our flight (we left at midnight!).
  • Sunday— We arrived in Cincinnati at about 7 am local time. Millie did really well on the flight home. She fell asleep at 9 pm at the hotel and stayed asleep during takeoff, woke just briefly during the flight (when I was trying to hand her off to her grandma so I could get some sleep!), and then promptly fell back asleep until we got on the shuttle to the long-term parking lot. 

 We had such a great trip. Before leaving, I had worried about how Millie would do, but it turns out traveling with a 2.5 month old is not so bad. We had a wonderful time visiting with the Fields family and Great Great Grandma. We hope to see them all again sometime soon!

Posted July 17, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Uncategorized

I Was Wrong   6 comments

I was wrong. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I can admit it. Like when I thought that a crib mobile was just a waste of money— WRONG.

Millie is 10 weeks old today and her new favorite activity is to stare at her toys. Her current favorite is one we call “Chirp Bird”.

Chirp Bird was a gift from my mom and Millie LOVES it. She smiles when we bring it into her line of sight and, when we squeeze it, she laughs at the adorable chirping noise that it makes. This toy can be clipped onto the handle of her car seat, but I decided to clip it onto the rail of her crib when I put her in her crib while sorting her laundry. It was a hit! I left the toy in her crib and last night Millie  was cooing and laughing and “talking” to Chirp Bird for almost an hour! It was adorable. Nate even took video of it (I told him we had to record this so I could watch it one day when I’m old and she’s grown and I’m missing my baby). It was then that I realized that crib mobiles are not decoration; they actually do serve a purpose. Whoops. In all my cynicism, I had assumed that mobiles were just another way for Babies R Us and BuyBuyBaby to get my money and decided early on that I didn’t want one in her nursery (that’s right, I wasn’t going to let those money-hungry baby store associates talk me into spending money on useless items!). Alas, it turns out babies love to look at bright colors and listen to the gentle chime of a music box (who knew?). So, I decided to pick one up for my favorite 10 week old and, after attaching the mobile to the crib, Millie tried it out.

Millie is one happy camper! Her smile is well worth the $22 I spent on the mobile (I was going to make one myself, but this one was inexpensive enough for me to buy guilt-free) PLUS the mobile goes perfectly with the butterfly crib sheet that Mammaw gave us.

 Millie is what I like to call an independent baby, meaning she doesn’t like to be held ALL the time. In fact, if I hold her “too much” she starts to fuss and squirm until I put her down. She likes to look all around while sitting in her swing, bouncy seat or pack ‘n play. Now I have another place for her to safely play (where the dog can’t annoy her— Major loves to lick and sniff her) when she’s tired of being held.

So, there you have it. I was wrong in assuming the worthlessness of the crib mobile. It’s a good thing Millie is quick to forgive.

Posted July 8, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Julie, Millie

The Bathroom Project- Phase 2   Leave a comment

How did we spend the 4th of July holiday weekend? With food, family and several trips to Home Depot! It all started on Saturday. Nate’s parents Mark and Leslie travelled to Cincinnati to help us work on The Bathroom Project and to spend time with Millie (one of those activities was significantly more fun than the other). 

I’d rather hang out with her than work on a bathroom!

Nate had pretty much cleared out the bathroom of the old fixtures by the time his parents arrived. They arrived and assisted Nate in removing the old sink and vanity (the last of the “old” items).

after the sink was removed

 After we made a shopping list, Nate, Mark and I headed out to Home Depot. There, we picked out our pedestal sink, a new bath faucet, a matching faucet for the pedestal sink, a new bathroom mirror, white subway tiles, backerboard, and additional other supplies we would need for The Project. Back at home, we enjoyed a visit from the Louisville Perkinses (Chris, Melissa and two of the cutest kids in the world).  Together we played with the kids, had lunch and got to catch up. It was great seeing them! Once they left, it was back to work. The goal for the weekend was to prepare the walls for painting and tiling. Backerboard was measured, cut, and put up. Holes were patched. Men were sweating (did I mention the guys were doing the cutting outside in the nearly 90 degree weather?).

hard workers!!

After a lot of work, we nearly met our goal. The one big snag along the way had to do with the “old” bath fixtures. We were hoping it would be easy to upgrade to the shiny new fixtures we  picked up at Home Depot, but, alas, our old house is fighting to keep the old ones. So, we have to call a plumber this week to have the bath faucet upgraded professionally. And, while we wait for the professional, we have to wait to put up the backerboard along that part of the tub wall. 

almost all of the backerboard is up!

No biggie. We’ll get there. And once that’s done, we can tile. Then all we’ll have left to do is grout and seal the wall tiles, paint (we picked out a great light blue shade), put down new floor tiles (they’re gray with blue flecks that will look great with the paint color), grout and seal the floor tiles, install the sink, hang the mirror and wall cabinet… and several other things. We’re trending to be a bit behind schedule (maybe we’ll be able to catch back up) and a bit over budget (I doubt we’ll be able to cut costs as we move forward). Oh well— I’d rather go slow and do things right and spend a bit more and make this room something we love. It’s the smallest room in the house, but it sure is a big project. Can’t wait to get it finished!!

Posted July 4, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Home Improvement