Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Friday! It's Friday!

I made it through my first full week at home with Eleanor!  We not only survived, we thrived.  I made it my goal to get out of the house each day this week, one way or another.  Some days Alex had the car so Eleanor and I ventured out on long walks in the neighborhood.
Other days we met up with friends for lunch or playdates. 

Wednesday we had a lunch date with my friend Vanessa and her three-month old Garrett.  Our 12:30 meeting time turned into a 2pm lunch, but we made it happen.  Many times I thought about cancelling.  Eleanor just wasn't having a great day.  She fussed while I got ready, she fussed while in the car, in her stroller, in the sling, etc.  But once we sat down to lunch she was a happy little baby and I was so glad we made it work.  I kept telling myself that if I don't just do it, it will be that much harder the next time when I'm trying to get out of the house with her because I will fear the meltdowns. 

We also had many visitors this week including my friend Brandy and another friend Kristen who has a daughter just days older than Eleanor.  With all of our visitors and outings our week flew by. 

And now it's Friday!  Friday!  And that means we will be picking up Alex from work in just about an hour and have the whole weekend together.

In other great news: my mom and sister and nephew will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to spend the week with us!  Which is perfect since I technically go back to work next week.  The extra hands will certainly be helpful.  

So happy to be a mom.  So happy to be home with Eleanor.  So, so happy! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Newborn Photos

Just two days after Eleanor was born my dear friend and talented photographer Crystal Genes came by the house to snap a few photos of our sweet baby girl.  I cannot express how thankful I am to have such talented friends!  Check out just a few of her photos and check out our Facebook Album for even more. 
Crystal took the photos in our home and we started out in the nursery.  I absolutely love this room and since Eleanor has been here we have not spent near enough time in it.
Even at two days old, Eleanor remained very alert for most of the photos.  To date, her biggest complaint about this new world is that she is fussed with way too much.  She hates to be changed or have her positions changed.  So she wasn't really enjoying our photo shoot.  Crystal managed to get plenty of great photos anyhow.
Love her so much!
Our happy little family.  Eleanor is the perfect little missing piece.
My favorite photos are definitely the ones of Eleanor and her daddy!
We had a great time capturing these photos.  Thank you so much Crystal!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Lately I have been feeling a little anxious.  Not all the time, but just surrounding some of my mom tasks.  I get anxious before bedtime.  She sleeps so well and only wakes up twice in the night, but I worry about the unknown.  Maybe we won't have a good night.  Maybe we will be up every hour, or worse, all night.

I get anxious about leaving the house with Eleanor.  Again, despite all of our many successful outings, I still worry about things going wrong.  What if I have to feed her in a very uncomfortable location?  What if she fusses?  What if I can't soothe her?

Breastfeeding makes me anxious too.  Mainly the pain associated with breastfeeding.  Am I doing something wrong?  When will it go away?

And of course I worry about her in general.  Is she ok?  Is she breathing?  Will she cry if I jump in the shower?  My worrying is a bit out of control.  Twice Three times this week I woke up and turned to Alex and asked him, "Where is the baby?!"  Both times she was fast asleep next to me in the bassinet.  I think I'm having dreams where she isn't in her bassinet and it startles me awake causing me to ask Alex where she is.

Of course, these moments only take up a short amount of time in the grand scheme of our days.  I am lucky that I haven't experienced any depression and for the majority of our days I am filled with joy and truly happy about my new role as mom.  Even though I am anxious about leaving the house, it doesn't stop us from going out.  We have enjoyed many breakfasts out, church, several trips to the mall and Target, a trip to Lowe's and many grocery shopping trips.  I sleep very well at night even though I worry and am anxious at bedtime.  And despite the pain, we are still breastfeeding very well.  The pain is even subsiding some.  So I don't mean this post as a complaint or rant.  I love being a mom, but experiencing this anxiety has brought to light something that has been truly missing in my relationship with Eleanor and my role as mom.


Of course my prayer life has suffered in the last 3 weeks.  I have been busy.  Of course I have let go of reading the bible.  I am a new mom.  Of course I am not turning to God with all of my concerns and anxiety...

But wait.  Why shouldn't I?  These things should be pulling me toward God, not away from Him.  Why am I not leaning on Him through these struggles?  Why do I not turn to him for strength and energy?  When things become tough it should be natural to look to God, right?

For me, all too often, I turn inward.  I rely on myself and forget that there is a higher power that can provide support.  It feels natural to experience anxiety and worry.  I justify these feelings because I am a new mom.  This is how all new moms feel.  I forgot that as a child of the Living God I am free.  There are no chains that hold me down.  I don't have to feel this way.

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved

We are promised such wonderful things in the bible.  One of which promises that God will lift our worries and take our burdens.  Through God we can find joy even when things feel heavy and dark.  This week, especially while Alex is at work, my goal is to act my part as a child of God and not be weighed down by worry and anxiousness.  I will cast my cares to the Lord, for He is good.  He loves me enough, and His love will carry us.

Psalm 121:1-2  I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

It's not always easy.  But it is always better.  I want to truly enjoy being a mom.  I want to truly feel the blessings God has for me.  I can't do this on my own.  Even with Alex, we cannot do this by ourselves.  To be successful parents we need God.  We need the love and sacrifice of our Savior.  It isn't just about teaching Eleanor these things, it is about living it out in our own lives.  Not just when she can notice, but starting right now.  The first three weeks were a whirlwind.  But today I am slowing down, taking a moment to reflect, notice what is missing, and making a change.  Today I seek strength from God.

Psalm 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Three Weeks

My baby girl is 3 weeks old today!  And boy has she grown!
We had a pediatrician appointment this morning where she weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  For the last few days I kept commenting on how big she has gotten, and now there is proof.  She is certainly filling out.  Look at those cheeks!   
At three weeks old she is still very much the same baby she was when she was born.  There aren't many new tricks to speak of.  Basically longer stretches of sleep (hooray!) and more alertness.  She loves to make funny faces, but that has always been true of Eleanor. 
I definitely think she is growing into her features a little bit more now.  Although, I still can't tell who she looks like.  Even individual features are hard to classify as either Alex or Tanya.  She came into this world as her very own person.
Clearly I can't get enough of this little girl, and I spend way too much time editing photos and making collages.  She is just so cute, I can't help myself.  While she is still gracing us with the occasional smile, in general, she is quite the serious baby.
I am hoping that won't stick around too much longer.  I am ready for giggles and coos. 
As I mentioned above, she has become quite the sleeper.  We almost have a routine, but I wouldn't bet on it yet.  She takes plenty of catnaps in the evening but usually I nurse her and she is out for the night around 9pm.  Alex and I also tend to go to bed with her.   Our first stretch of sleep is typically our longest, lasting four hours most nights.  Last night we got 4 1/2 hours!  We are usually up again around 1am to nurse and then she is right back to sleep.  I have to hand it to her, she really knows when it is nighttime.  Her eyes are always shut and she is fast asleep right after she eats.  No playtime, no cries.  She also is sleeping in her bassinet these days and I couldn't be happier. 

After her 1am feeding, she sleeps for about three more hours and we are up at 4:30 nursing again.  Her last stretch is typically her shortest, lasting anywhere from one to three hours.  By 6:30 or 7am we are up for the day. 

Of course Eleanor takes plenty of naps during the day as well.  She usually gets a good long one in the morning which allows me to shower and eat breakfast and catch up on blogs and emails.  After that we may have a few catnaps before a long afternoon nap.  By 4pm she is pretty much up with just 10 or 20 minute naps here and there until bedtime.  So far it is working really well for us.  But you know how routines go with newborns...well they are never quite routine!
We've started tummy time and while she is so strong and able to move her body quite a bit, she just really doesn't love it.  Evidence:
But we're working on it. 

Week Three was so much fun because of the holiday.  With it being Thanksgiving week, we had Alex home with us every day.  Then we had visitors all weekend long.  It just flew right by and now it is already Tuesday again.  This week might drag a little as it is just me and Eleanor at home together.  Soon enough we will have more fun visitors and another weekend with Alex!  While I am looking forward to that, I am trying not to wish the days away too quickly.  I need to cherish every bit of time with my baby girl!  Before you know it 3 weeks will be 3 years!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Sadly it was time for my dad and brother to return home.  But happily we had more guests on the way!
Sunday afternoon my grandma and Aunt Linda drove up along with my Uncle Keith and cousin Josie.  My grandma lives in Florida but was visiting Aunt Linda in South Carolina, so it was just another 2 hour drive to be able to visit her 12th great grand baby!  At least we think it is 12.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

We have a very large family.  My grandma had 11 children and many of them had at least 3 kids of their own.  Now that we are all growing up, the family just keeps growing.  My little sister's daughter will be lucky number 13 on the great grand baby list!
It was a quick visit.  They brought us a delicious lunch and we chatted for a couple hours before they were off again.  Not before we managed to snap a few photos.  I'm getting better!
I'm so happy Eleanor got to meet her Great Grandma!  It is just very lucky that we were able to do this.  It will be at least several more months before she will get to meet her other Great Grandma Margaret (her namesake), maybe even summer, and that makes us very sad.  So we were very excited for this visit.
Other than having Eleanor around every single day, my favorite thing these last few weeks has been all of our visitors.  I wish our house was always bustling as much!  These past few weeks have been so full of joy and I feel so happy!

The rest of our weekend was full of Thanksgiving leftovers and football.  We rooted for the Bears and they came through with a big win.  Go Bears!
We also spent time this weekend putting up a few Christmas decorations.  My dad helped Alex hang lights on the house and set up the tree and my brother helped decorate with ornaments.
Eleanor's first Christmas tree!

With Thanksgiving over, we have 3 full weeks before Christmas vacation.  This means 3 full weeks of Stay-At-Home-Mom duties.  Every week until now has been a short one for Alex, so I am a bit nervous without his help.  We are very lucky that Eleanor came when she did so we have all these breaks and Alex gets to spend lots of quality time with his baby girl.  Even with him at work, I will have my mom back next week with my big sister so I will have tons of help then.  I am so lucky I don't have to do this all on my own.  I know I could, but it takes so much of the pressure off knowing I have plenty of support.  And Alex is always a quick phone call away if I need him.  But wish me luck on my first full week by myself!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day

We did not take nearly enough photos of Eleanor's first Thanksgiving.  Somehow the afternoon just slipped by and it was dusk before the thought of family photos entered my mind.  I am disappointed.  I may choose to recreate our Thanksgiving in outfits later this weekend and snap some photos so we are sure not to forget all the fun and joy on this special holiday.  I can imagine Thanksgiving will become one of our favorite holidays as Eleanor grows older.  I am just so happy that she was here for the festivities this year.

Mid-morning we swung into Charlotte to pick up our special guests.  My dad and brother William flew in to meet Miss Eleanor. 
They wasted no time jumping in the backseat and checking her out!

At home I finished some last minute preparations on my Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash while my brother rested.  He was up super early for his flight!
We grabbed the food, including the Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Bread Pudding I made and then headed up to Winston-Salem to celebrate the holiday with Alex's mom.  Dinner was absolutely delightful and included turkey as well as our vegetarian option: Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute.  We also had a delicious vegetable dish including carrots, parsnips and Brussels Sprouts, a butternut squash mash, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.  I think I was the only one to touch the beets dish that I brought.  Apparently we aren't a beet-loving family.  Of course, no photos were taken to document this delicious meal.  Once upon a time I used to take only food photos and neglect the people in the room.  Nowadays I either neglect the camera altogether, or only take people photos.  Someday I will remember food and people!
Opa and Uncle Will both got to spend some precious time with Eleanor.  I am so thankful they are here to celebrate the holiday with us!
Now we are enjoying a lazy Friday.  Alex is home from work and the boys are working on some projects around the house.  New smoke detectors are going up and the ceiling fan is fixed.  I have a baby snoozing on my chest and later we will hang lights on the house and decorate the Christmas Tree while drinking spiked eggnog and listening to Christmas music.  It's my perfect little evening, even if the boys will laugh at me!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


There is so much to be thankful for this year!
My little family just warms my heart.  I am so thankful for Eleanor, for my healthy, happy baby.  Eleanor is the sweetest little girl I have ever laid my eyes on (clearly I'm not biased).  She is such a good baby and I just love her so much!
But I must say, above Eleanor I am so thankful for Alex!  He is the rock that holds me together.  He is always asking what he can do to help me and at the end of the day I anxiously await his homecoming from work.  I miss him so much when he is gone.  Our family is just not complete without him around.  We seriously need to find a way for him to stay home with us too!
I am also eternally thankful for my loving Father in heaven.  For a savior that forgives.  For grace and mercy.  I have never needed it more before.

This year I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

'Tis the Season

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am just so thankful I am no longer pregnant.  I really thought I would still be pregnant on Thanksgiving, but now there is nothing in the world that I am more thankful for than being Eleanor's mom.  I am so happy to have her here with us, healthy and happy.

However, being a mom has made me realize other things that I could really use, and I would be super thankful to have.  This is a silly little self-indulgent list, and take it with a grain of salt.  While yes, this is my Christmas Wish List, I could bet that any other new mom would be happy to have these items as well.  Husbands, parents, friends, use this as a buying guide for the new mom in your life:

Amazon Kindle (or similar device)
I spend a lot of time nursing these days.  With just one free hand it would be very difficult to read a book.  However, I would love to do something productive with these hours other than stalking people on Facebook.  I have been told an iPad is a better option so I can read any book, not just Kindle specific books.  Either way, an eReader would be an amazing gift for a new mom.

Old Navy or Loft Gift Card
I have a whole new body, and this new body isn't loving those old jeans and sweaters.  Buying clothes for a post-partum woman isn't a great idea.  Even she doesn't know what her size is.  But a gift card, and possibly the offer of babysitting while she takes her sweet time in the dressing room would be an excellent gift.  Of course my personal favorites are listed above, but buy a gift card from the stores she likes.

This would be an amazing gift since a new mom really only has one hand anymore.  Making a pot of coffee can sometimes require too much patience and attention.  A Keurig will produce a fast cup of coffee when she needs it (decaf of course).  She only needs one hand to operate.

Take-Out Restaurant Gift Card
Feeding Eleanor comes easily these days, but feeding myself is still a struggle  As much as I'd like to pretend I have it all pulled together and it is easy to prepare meals, I am seriously at a loss for how to cook while being a mom.  At two weeks in, it is time for the Baby Meals to end and for me to figure out how to feed myself.  Eating at home provides healthier and cheaper alternatives to eating out, however, it is nice to take a break from thinking and cooking and just eat a mindless meal of take out once in a while (or a couple of times a week). 

Laundry Detergent in bulk
Ok, so most new moms probably wouldn't appreciate this as much as I would.  So this is my shameless plug just for me.  I just know someone out there wants to buy me $100 worth of Charlie's Soap.  Then I don't have to think about it again for year

New Panties
Yes I said it.  If you are in an appropriate relationship for you to gift panties to a new mother, it's not a bad idea.  It is so nice to have some semblance of my old body back, but the old, stretched out pregnancy panties aren't doing it any favors.  A Victoria's Secret gift card or some new panties would be perfect.  Please and Thank You!

And what about for baby?  Is there anything she needs this holiday season?  We have spent the last six months collecting everything we need for Eleanor.  I would guess that most new babies are in the same predicament this time of year.  There just isn't much she needs.  Gifts are always loved and appreciated, but give yourself a break this Christmas, there will be many more holidays to spoil her when she'll remember it. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eleanor turns 2 (weeks)!

Two weeks ago today I delivered Eleanor Margaret at 10:20pm.  So technically this post is a little early, since she's only 13 1/2 days old, but we're close.

At two weeks old, Eleanor has insane head and neck control.  She has actually had it from day one.  When laying on my chest she can hold her head straight up and stare into my eyes.  Not just for a moment, for long periods of time. 
Eleanor has decided this week that our bed is her bed too.  While we had always planned to try co-sleeping, we ruled it out after the first couple nights because Alex and I weren't getting much shut-eye.  However, she is on strike from her bassinet so our only way to get any sleep is to bring her in bed with us.  Her favorite spot to sleep is right on Alex's chest.  Thankfully he is getting used to this and is able to sleep a little better too.  She does nap in her bassinet (with the exception of yesterday).  But nighttime, no way!
Speaking of yesterday, my perfect little newborn turned into a monster on Monday.  Of course we have still been struggling with a stuffy nose, but something else seemed to be bothering her.  I think we determined it was gas.  It made for a really difficult day and all I accomplished was snuggling my little one while she fussed.  Magically in the evening she turned back into herself and then last night gave us three solid stretches of three hours a piece!
At two weeks old:
  • Eleanor can already recognize her mommy and daddy's voices.  
  • She is awake more often during the day and for longer stretches of time.  
  • Breastfeeding is going very well, she latches immediately and eats for about 45 minutes at a time, eight to ten times a day (that's a full-time job folks!)  
  • She is in cloth diapers full time now, but she hates having her diaper changed.  
  • She also hates having her clothes taken off or put on.  Generally speaking, she hates to be fussed with at all. 
  • Eleanor smiles but doesn't really know she's doing it yet. 
  • Is still snorting and squeaking.  We love her sound effects.  
  • No real nicknames yet.  Sometimes I call her Pip, short for Pipsqueak.  We'll see if it sticks though.
Despite a very difficult day on Monday, I still love being Eleanor's mommy.  I know I will say it every week, but I just can't believe she is already two weeks old!  I can't believe I am her mom!  I can't believe our little family of two is now three!

For more photos, check out this wonderful slideshow my friend Crystal made for us with Eleanor's newborn pics.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Check out my Sweet Baby Girl! She is the most precious person I have ever met.  I am so lucky to have her.  It is hard to remember that during 3am feedings, but just one look into those gorgeous eyes, and the scent from the top of her head reminds me of just how wonderful she is.

Despite a rough night on Saturday, we had a really excellent weekend.

Oma came to visit:
My mom drove straight through all the way from Missouri because she couldn't wait another second to cuddle Eleanor.  She was here just Saturday and Sunday before she had to dash off this morning, but she will be back in two weeks with my older sister.

With the extra help this weekend, we made sure to get plenty of time out of the house.  It is amazing what a trip to the mall and a walk in the fresh air will do for one's sanity!
We broke out the stroller and my tennis shoes for a family walk.  We made it all the way around the neighborhood and it felt wonderful to stretch my legs.  It also felt wonderful to no longer be pregnant.

As far as recovery goes, I am feeling about 85% at the moment.  I am hoping by week's end to be nearly 100%, although I am not too anxious to get back to the gym or out running yet.  Simply because I am not anxious to leave Eleanor.

This weekend we also enjoyed a visit from Betty, and our last Baby Meal.  Again, I cannot say enough for all our friends who have provided for us over the last two weeks.  We are truly blessed.
We got lots of smiles out of Eleanor this weekend.  She may not yet know she is smiling, but they certainly warm my heart.
Other highlights include Eleanor's first piece of mail:
 And her first trip to the Daily Grind for breakfast:
I felt like such a pro while at breakfast.  We were lucky to snag a corner booth with tons of privacy.  She became hungry as soon as we sat down and I was able to nurse her right there in the booth.  She proceeded to nurse the entire time we were there, making it pretty difficult for me to eat.  But it was really fun to practice nursing out of the house when I had so much help around.
My favorite part of the entire weekend was simply having Alex home.  After 4 days on our own, it was such a relief to have the help, and also the company.  It makes me happy that we only have two workdays this week and then a five day weekend!  This week I am thankful for Thanksgiving Break.

Friday, November 16, 2012

40 Weeks

Ahem...I mean 10 days!
Wow! How do I have a 10 day old baby already?  And it's only November 16th! Today is my due date, and I am so (SO) thankful I didn't have to wait til today...or any longer to meet my sweet baby girl. 

Today, we will play the high/low game to sum up our day.


Oma (my mom) is coming to visit to meet Eleanor! She is on the road as we speak with an ETA of 8pm.  Can't wait for her to be here to cuddle Miss Eleanor.

Eleanor does not feel well today.  She has a stuffy nose and a case of the sneezes.  Poor thing.  I can't help but think that if she would have made it to her due date, she wouldn't be sick right now.  I can't protect her as well now that she is out in the world. 

Those are pre-pregnancy jeans!  Yup, on my due date, I'm wearing my old jeans.  Don't hate, remember those 5 days I spent in labor?  Yes, this is God's way of blessing me for a terrible pregnancy and rough delivery.  I tease.  But seriously, so happy to be in normal clothes.  And that's my sick baby asleep on my chest.  I love my Moby wrap!

Did I mention sick baby?  Well our low might have been that we had two doctor's appointments today.  One for her hearing screen, but that came back completely normal!  So that would actually fall in the HIGH category.  And the second was at our peds to check up on her stuffy nose.  She had no fever and her lungs sounded alright, so all it is a bit of stuffiness.  Again, it stinks that she's not feeling well, but I am so thankful it isn't worse. 


Dinner provided by the Worsham's.  No cooking for us tonight!  I haven't made much mention of it here, since my "How can you help me" post, but we have been so blessed by our church family and friends.  Almost every meal has been completely provided for and it has given Alex and me such a nice break so we can spend every single moment with Eleanor.  "Thank you" does not begin to describe our sincere appreciation for all everyone has done to help us out over the last 10 days.  We are so blessed.