Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

weekly wisdom

It's been awhile since I've posted any wisdom, but I'd like to devote today's wisdom to an ever-important topic: personal hygeine.

Raising a baby requires energy, effort, and sleep deprivation. As parents, we don't have a lot of extra time, so we started the habit of showering every other day. When I went back to work, I felt like washing, drying, and flat-ironing my hair ate up precious time that I use sleeping, so I tried to minimize my hairwashing to every 2-3 days.

Tonight, while we were bathing the boy, I was talking about showering and realized I couldn't remember the last time I showered. Neither could Joe.

Moral of the story: If you can't remember the last time you showered, you're overdue.

**Stay tuned. I think I'm going to start a new regular column with the Sandman Chronicles: our sleep training plan in progress.

Monday, September 29, 2008

things that go bump in the night

Last night, Joe, Schatzi and I went back upstairs to bed, but Doc was sound asleep on the futon in the guest room, so we left him behind.

When I got up to feed Sam at 3am, I drowsily settled back in my nursing chair, trying to catch some sleep and get him back to sleep as soon as possible. Suddenly, I heard...

BUMP, scratch, scratch
BUMP, scratch, scratch


I went to investigate and found Doc, who had locked himself in the guest room and was frantic to get out. (This wouldn't be the first time this has happened). If you've met Doc, you know he doesn't deal well with anxiety. So, to cope with all his frantic energy, he began to run through the house, dancing and play-bowing around.

All of this activity woke up Schatzi, who is, of course, always ready to party and responded to Doc's dancing in kind. Now, I'm fine with my two dogs playing and wrestling...just NOT at 3 AM! And not when they could wake up Sam.

So, I tried to calm Doc down and ended up sitting down with Doc and just petting him until he relaxed...then, I ended up taking him into our bed and holding him until he fell alseep.

I was stroking his head so he would fall asleep, I thought:

Some days, it's like I have three kids.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Sam is one hungry kid, so when he turned 4 months old, we introduced rice cereal. I thought we'd start slow, feeding him some pretty liquid cereal for a few weeks until he got used to it. But the kid wolfed it down! The cogs are sure he is eating something good and hover longingly, hoping to catch a bite.
And here is a piece of the action!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

for Rae

This is for Rae, who's having a hard week and needed a little something to make her smile. Sam's coordination is quite comical, but this is what happens when your myelin isn't yet mature.


Pink spoon, pink chair...I know he's a boy, but he's got cheap parents and all the consignment store stuff is for girls apparently.

Friday, September 26, 2008

i got the giggles!

Sam's got a new skill: giggling.

Unfortunately, he only does it for his dad. He kind of coos and smiles at his mom when she tries to get him to giggle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

death march: the sequel

Perhaps because I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before, or perhaps because I simply lack good judgment, I allowed my husband to talk me in to repeating the death march.

So, we set off on our hike. Same hike as before...only this time:

1. We knew where we were going.

2. Joe packed the boy.

3. It was about 60 degrees and windy.

It was Sam's first time in the backpack. I thought he would be cold, start to fuss and want to be held. You can tell by the picture...I was wrong. He cooed and babbled...maybe narrating the sights we saw on our journey?...until eventually, as happens to all babies, he fell asleep.

We missed the voice of our little tour guide, but kept on hiking. Schatzi and Doc had a great time.

Ok, well, Doc had just a good time. Doc really, really wanted to swim, so he was really, really good. But, who wants to ride for 30 minutes back home with a wet dog in the car? So, no swimming for Doc. He just laid down and waited patiently for Joe to scout out his duck hunting spot.

Schatzi had a great time. She ran around, sniffing the ground, pointed, and chased random scents, pretending to be a bird dog. We used to have high hopes for her hunting prowess. Now, she points bugs and barks at horses...really, it's a good thing we're already attached to her.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

take that, fat pants!

Mark it on the calendar. Today, I am wearing pre-pregnancy clothes. I still have about 7 pounds to lose and don't look all that great naked, but...whatever.

Take that, fat pants!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

an evening out

We haven't had a night out in forever. I have, as Joe calls them, "the new-mom crazies". I worry endlessly: will it mess up his bedtime? will he be safe with a sitter? what if he doesn't sleep? etc., etc. But we needed a night out and, suddenly, we had the perfect excuse: Joe's boss was getting married.
So, we called in some trusty baby-sitters: my mom-friend, LeAnne, and her dad, Jimmy. I was leaving Sam with a nurse practitioner and an experienced parent, so it helped with my new-mom crazies...a little. And Joe and I went out for a romantic evening out for "dinner and dancing" as the invitation promised. We sat with two couples who also have young children and enjoyed our time out. We danced a few dances, but the party broke up around 8:30p, so we headed back home to relieve our crew. And, I missed my baby.
Before we'd left, I'd gone over the bedtime routine with LeAnne and felt sure that they wouldn't have any problems. Sam, apparently, had other plans.
  • He fell asleep well before bedtime and had to be woken up.
  • He cried during his entire bath.
  • He didn't want to put on his pajamas.
  • He didn't want to read any books.
  • The bottle dribbled all over his pajamas...and, as before, he didn't want to put on a new set.
Finally, they got him to sleep...and Schatzi, our fierce guard dog, barked and woke him up.

But, by the time we got home, he was sound asleep. LeAnne said one of two things would happen:
a. Either he'd cried so hard, he'd sleep the whole night...or...
b. He'd cried so hard, he'd used up every single calorie and would want to eat the whole night.
I hoped for option A, but instead got option B. He woke up four times before 2 am and finally I took him to bed with me so I could get two hours of sleep.

It was nice to go on a date with my husband.

I'm sure we'll do it again...

...when Sam goes to college.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

four months old

The bear is getting smaller! Sam's four months old and has a bunch of new tricks, like:
sitting with support
drooling, drooling, drooling!
eating rice cereal
engaging in long monologues of baby babble
starting to nap more than 30 minutes at a time
bouncing in his exersaucer
not hating tummy time
putting EVERYTHING in his mouth (although sometimes he misses...and pokes himself in the eye)
This has been a month of transition for us:
Jen's gone back to work
Joe's helping out with night duty
Sam's started day care (and loves it!)
still working on sleep training, but we've got the bedtime routine down pat and he goes down fairly easily for his dad

Friday, September 19, 2008

the joys of GI

We all have had our share of off-the-wall patients. Yesterday, I met a new patient who came to us because she has blood in her stool. As I sit down and introduce myself, she says, "Oh, I'm so glad I finally got to see you. I've been saving this..."

She turns around and digs in a plastic bag. Eventually, she pulls out a gladware container.

I immediately start silently praying, "Please don't let it be poop. Please don't let it be poop."

Fortunately, it's not poop. But, she opens the container and pulls out sheets of bloody toliet paper, but that's not what she wants to show me. She digs and digs through the toliet paper until she finds a blood clot the size of a plum. "There! I wanted to show you so you'd know I'd been bleeding a lot."

Trust me...I'll just take your word for it.

hi ho, hi ho, its back to work we go!

So, I've been back at work for two weeks and we are all starting to adjust. Sam is doing great at daycare. He loves all the kids and even naps there! What can I say? The kid is a social butterfly.

Sam stopped sleeping through the night, but has been a little better about sleep over the last week. Joe has truly stepped up to being a dad and is pitching in on night shift duty as well, which helps a lot. Joe puts him to bed at 7:30p and is on duty until 10:30p. Then, I feed him and am on duty until 5am. Then, Joe takes Sam from 5-7am. So..we're all getting some sleep as we adjust, but things are still a little fuzzy.

Joe: How did Sam sleep last night?
Jen: Pretty well. I would have put him back to bed at 4am, but it was so cold in his room and the space heater wouldn't work. I kept fiddling with the thermostat, but finally gave up and brought him to bed with us.
Joe (looking at the heater): Um, did you try plugging it in?

Yep, we're stupider now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

shake it up, baby

A care package for Sam arrived last week from one of my nursing mentors. Sam loved the rattle she sent him. (Sorry about the orientation; I keep forgetting to turn the camera). video video

Five years

We've made it five years! Last year, I'd hoped we'd celebrate with a big vacation somewhere, but Deanna hoped we'd have a big belly with a baby instead. And, we do!

In past years, to celebrate, we've:
1. stayed at a bed and breakfast
2. gone out to a romantic dinner
3. traveled to a cousin's wedding
4. went to Europe.

This year, we watched TV together while Sam napped. When he woke up, we took him with us out to lunch. Not most elaborate celebration ever, but one that truly reflects our current state of being.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Yesterday, Joe came home with this yellow note from his secretary pinned to his chest:

Please bring money for wedding gift to Wendy.

His boss is getting married and apparently, Joe has repeatedly forgotten to chip in. I wanted to pin the money to his shirt and send him back to his secretary, but she took today off. We laughed about this together...ah, sleep deprived parents. Joe said, "I feel like I'm in kindergarten again...except I have a wife...and a kid."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

flock of geese

My husband has goose-hunting on the brain.
He keeps wanting to take Doc out, since he is our only dog who will swim. I won't let him because we all know Doc likes to run away.

And, last week, he drove all the way to Pingree to get some old goose decoys.

Now he is fixing them up....and this is what my bathroom looks like.

He even made some out of plastic sign-board...and put them in our front yard...and our living room. Doc's not so smart; he thought they were real geese.
I keep teasing him about his new obsession...except I keep calling them "duck decoys". Joe thinks it is because I just don't care. I think it's because I don't get enough sleep.

27 years

Last Sunday, Amy and I celebrated our 27th birthdays. When I got married, we made a pact that we would ALWAYS celebrate our birthday together and whoever had the youngest child didn't have to travel to the celebration. Well, this year, we decided to move up the celebration to early August and celebrate with our trip to California, so we spent our actual birthday apart.

I only wanted one thing for my birthday: a morning of sleeping in. So, Joe promised to get up with Sam and feed him some pumped milk and let me sleep as long as I wanted. Fortunately for both of us, Sam slept in until 7:30am, so we all awoke refreshed and ready for the day.
We headed off to the Eastern Idaho State Fair with some friends and toured the exhibits. The day before, we'd found an awesome little stroller at a consignment shop, so we put it to good use at the fair.

My favorite part of the fair? FAIR FOOD! As a breastfeeding mom who only has 9lbs of pregnancy weight to lose, I took it upon myself to sample on the delicious, greasy, fat-filled treats offered at the fair. Got to make milk somehow, right?

After the fair, we went down to Pocatello for a brief visit with some old family friends and then we were back home in time for bedtime. Sam gave me another birthday present and went to bed easily so Joe and I could hang out a little ourselves.

A few years ago, I never thought a day like this would be such a great way to celebrate a birthday...but that was when I took sleep for granted.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Thankfully, we found a great daycare just a few blocks away from Joe's office. The two owners have bachelor's degrees in early childhood education and have been doing childcare for over twenty years together. They just opened this new facility, so Sam is the only far. This week, there are only 4 kids total there, but they have all this staff, so really, it's almost a 1:1 ratio. Overall, I'm pleased. They even got him to take an hour and a half nap today!

It's so nice to go back to a job that I love while knowing my boy is in good hands. It's about a 15 minute drive from my office, so I go over at lunch and nurse him and spend some time with him. It's a good balance for this mom who had such a hard time leaving her kiddo, but still wanted to go back to work.

I'll post more this weekend with some pictures of our recent adventures...but, for now, we're just glad our childcare dilemma is solved and we can settle into our new routine a little more easily.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Never say never

You might remember this post.

Well, our nanny decided she couldn't stay until we found an alternate plan.

So, guess who's been watching Sam for the last two days?

That's right...Joe.

He's been doing a great job. Glad I have to eat my words.

so tired

Sam started sleeping through the night at two months, so I thought, "Hey, I'll definitely be ready to go back to work when he hits 3 1/2 months."

This is what our night looked like last night:

7:00p bedtime routine
7:30p out like a light
8:30p I'm in bed.
11:35p Sam's awake, crying. I feed him.
12:01a I'm back in bed and so is the boy.
2:07a Sam's awake, crying again. I feed him.
2:20a Won't go to sleep. I bring him to my bed to nurse.
2:36a Sam finally goes to sleep. Unfortunately, the reason I don't bed-share with this kid is that I can't sleep with him in the bed.
3:00a I put him back in his crib.
3:47a He's awake and wants to play. I try to rock him back to sleep. No luck.
4:07a I go back to bed and lie awake as he coos over the monitor.
4:15a I wake up Joe, tell him he's on boy duty, and head downstairs to sleep.
4:30a I hear Sam crying his head off.
Finally, all is quiet. I finally get some sleep.
6:02a Sam is crying again. I go back upstairs and nurse him. The three of us fall asleep in our bed.
6:30a Alarm goes off. I hate life.
7:00a Second alarm goes off. I still hate life.
7:08a I get out bed, leaving my two sleeping boys to snuggle.

I guess that's what I get for thinking Sam was on the same page as me. I hope he gets over this night-waking soon.