Friday, December 30, 2011

IT'S BEEN ONE AMAZING YEAR!


HOW IT ALL BEGAN.

Not too long ago, I had stopped dead in my tracks with a deer-in-headlights stare in the middle of my workday.  Waves of an uncontrollable dizziness pummeled my brain and I remember thinking something was really, really not right.  I had to hold onto the desks at work to even maintain my balance, and kept counting down the hours until my lunch break.  Finally, it hit 4PM and I ran over to Corner Bakery to grab a sandwich- but not before I took a leisurely stroll down the "family planning" section of Walgreens.

Yep.

Something was not right.

I parked my car as fast as I could, ran in and ordered my sandwich, then beelined straight for the ladies room.  I unzipped my pants, ripped open the pregnancy test and there I sat.  In the bathroom.  Of Corner Bakery.  On my lunch break.

Hmm, these things are supposed to mess up every once and a while, right?  That can't possibly be TWO blue lines.  Wait.  Two means not pregnant.  Surely I've misread the directions.  Tears start streaming down my face and my hands shake like a teenage girl before her first movie date.  At this point I feel like I'm smarter than that damn test, so I go back into Walgreens and buy three more.  Yes, three.  I drive myself home and immediately take another test in our bathroom at home.  And, again.

Is it me or do these lines keep getting darker?

Erick comes home from work and I complain all night about how crazy I felt at work and how I'm such a wreck.  I whimper and moan like I'm PMSing and searching for a sympathy parade when he asks me, "Are you okay?  Is it that time of the month or something?"  To which I reply, "No.  Actually, I'm late."

Erick: "Are you pregnant?"
Me: "..... (long pause)  Yes."

*tears*
*party*
*OMG*

And that, friends is why this whole journey started back in October of last year.  I knew that I was in for the ride of my life and I didn't want to miss a thing.  I had no idea that many of you would come along with me!  I have a lot to reflect on and plan to share a few more words before we ring in the new year, but for now, I hope you've enjoyed a year's worth of blog posts and pictures from my family to yours.  You readers are what keep me inspired to continue to share our story.  We love you all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A NIGHT OUT WITH FRIENDS











BREASTFEEDING | SIX MONTHS LATER

For Sof and I, this breastfeeding journey has been such an amazing experience.

I can't believe it's been half a year already!

I figured I could check in and give you all a peek into the way we've been doing things, especially since I've been reflecting on it lately.  It hasn't all been perfect, and it's definitely a learning experience. I hope sharing my story will help other moms and future moms that come across the same issues.



Looking back at what's positive:
Sofia was breastfed exclusively her first 3 months of life.  Besides her short bout with jaundice when the hospital ordered us to supplement, she remained formula free until I went back to work.  Half a year later, we're still breastfeeding 3-4 times a day.  We'll continue on with this schedule until she's older and starts getting teeth-  but the best part has to be that Sofia still prefers the breast to any other method of eating, and I know she's getting the nutrients she needs daily.  

When things don't work out:
When I started working full-time again in retail, there was no easy accomodations to pump on a regular basis.  And let me tell you, I fought!  I fought so hard for my baby, for our bond, for her health.  I would try to sneak away every couple of hours and store her milk in the freezer at work.  Three, (count them- THREE) broken breast pumps later, I was left engorged and no way bring home my milk to feed my child.  There were times I just felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do except go to the bathroom, try and relieve some of the pressure from the milk into the sink with my hands, and I would just sit in the stall and cry.  I had to give up the dream of having my daughter only have breast milk from me.  Introducing any amount of formula made me feel like a failure.  


Continuing to fight for what's best:
Believe it or not, even friends and family that KNOW you're breastfeeding will still try to have you succumb to bottle-feeding for the sake of convenience.  It's annoying, but it's an honest mistake for people.  We as mothers work so hard toward establishing a milk-supply-- and for me now, it's maintaining that milk supply-- so whenever I choose or am forced to bottle-feed, it tells my body I don't need that milk.  You have to stand up for what you know is best for your baby, regardless of the conditions and stick with your routine.  I'll have people offer to help me, or want the opportunity to feed Sofia themselves, but sometimes they don't realize that we need to still breastfeed certain times of the day.

I want anyone that's been struggling with some of the same issues to just keep moving forward, it gets better and if you stay strong, you can continue to have the feeding relationship you want with your child.  I still hope for my next baby I can try to work in an environment where I'm able to exclusively breastfeed and not have to introduce formula at all.  Especially... especially after reading stories like these.  But at least I know how hard I've worked and how happy I am that Sofia and I were able to breastfeed at all.  I still think that any amount of breast milk is better than none at all.

I'd love to hear your stories!  Have you struggled with any of the same issues or are you worried about anything with breastfeeding in the future?

KANELA BREAKFAST CLUB

This is the second time we've visited this spot up on the north side for brunch, and even though the wait for food was a little longer than usual this time, Kanela did not disappoint.  Our server was awesome and even gave us our french-pressed coffees for free because of our wait.  I'm sold.  (And we'll definitely be back).  If you go, so far we've tried the Lorraine Scramble, Red Velvet Pancakes, Stuffed French Toast, and the Portobello Benedict.  My favorite would have to be the Lorraine and the Red Velvet.  Naturally.

Oh, and did I already mention how nice it was to have Hector and Illiana still in town?  It's been amazing.  We don't see these two nearly enough since the distance between Chicago and Boston, but I'm hoping we can take Sof on a road trip out east when she's a little bigger.  I've never been out that way and I'm always up for a new adventure!



Monday, December 26, 2011

CHRISTMAS MORNING AT GRANDMA'S HOUSE


My dearest Sofia, yesterday was your very first Christmas!  We spent the night at your Grandma's house with your littlest aunts and had so much fun opening presents.  Mommy couldn't believe how well you could rip that paper up and grab for your gifts out of bags!  You were able to see your aunties and all of your cousins that you don't see that often, and you even cheered on D-Rose as the Bulls won their Christmas game in the last quarter!  I can't get over just how good of a girl you are and how happy, aware, and sweet you are.  You are the most perfect daughter and I couldn't be more overjoyed watching you experience the magic of giving this season.

HECTOR & ILLIANA



Ihad the pleasure of being able to snap three lovely photos at my brother and sister in law's wedding this Christmas Eve.  (People at the courthouse are incredibly strict with the whole "camera" thing).  I am so SO happy for these two.  What a wonderful memory to have of such a special time of year. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A LITTLE ON THE LATELY


Playtime on the floor has been on the agenda while Mommy wraps presents!
We're on a time crunch now, only 3 more days!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HAVING A GREAT WEDNESDAY


There's something about these gray December days that I don't even mind staying inside.  It's been a challenging few months trying to find new ways to take the same pictures of our tiny apartment, but I think being creative day after day about how I can strive to make things look different has helped me grow as a photographer.  (More than anything else I've preciously tried, anyway...)

I'm getting really sentimental lately- I've almost had this blog for an entire year.  I feel like so many things have changed, so many things have pushed me forward, and ultimately this was just the biggest, brightest year we've had so far.  I owe a lot of it to all you readers out there.  All twenty something of you.  You're what makes this more of an incredible endeavor, and I only hope to bring even more exciting stories for you in 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BROWN PAPER PACKAGES TIED UP WITH STRING





We're getting so close to Christmas and I've been super super busy on these days off!  Wrapping with simple kraft paper and black ribbon/twine this year.  Erick always makes fun of me because apparently he was the FIRST ONE to use kraft paper (last Christmas).  Whatever.  Haha. We're so competitive in that friendly married friends type of way.

I'm going to be updating the blog with an even more informative sidebar soon, I'll make sure to give you the complete update after I get this baby down for a nap.  Did I mention how incredibly hard it is to get your six month old daughter on a "schedule" when she spends nearly every other day with a different person at a different house?  Yeah.  Not gonna happen.

PS- do you like my socks? ;)