Friday, October 29, 2010

You caught me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scarlett, 14 weeks

Chaos and Cocooning

Scarlett's had a couple of rough nights in the last week, most likely due to a stuffy nose (that oddly only appears at night) and her room getting cold. She goes right back to sleep after I give her her pacifier, but it still interrupts both of our nights. We can't seem to keep her room warm at night, no matter how high we crank the heat. Our room gets roasting, and hers is chilly. It's weird. So I think tonight we're going to try to leave her door open after we go to bed, to see if the heat from the rest of the house will trickle in there. Otherwise, she continues to be a good sleeper, going to bed easily every night and taking three or four 40-min naps during the day. Can't complain about that, right?

This Saturday we went down to Jeremy's parents' house in the Springs to visit Jeremy's family. Most of Jeremy's mother's side of the family was there at some point during the day. There were lots of other kids there, including 9-month-old Eli and both sets of twins, so the activity level was pretty high. Scarlett handled it all very well, even sleeping on my lap amidst the chaos in the early afternoon. But around 4:30 she started to have a meltdown. And knowing both of his girls well, Jeremy made the suggestion that I take Scarlett upstairs and nap with her for a little while. Scarlett was screaming bloody murder, and it took about 10 minutes to wind her down. Then we slept for about an hour, and when she woke up she was her normal happy self again. I think she's a lot like me in that she can handle a lot of activity for a while, but she needs a "sanity break" every so often.

Sunday we met my family at Chili's for lunch, and then took a trip to Costco. That was the longest the baby had been in the front pack, and she did great! In fact, she fell asleep in it about halfway through our shopping trip. We found this pony-sized anamatronic horse at Costco, and Jeremy said, "Now THAT'S the horse we can buy Scarlett." Little does he know that I would totally buy that if we had the money and the room. Hahaha!

I've been kinda down the last couple of weeks. I guess that's why I'm not posting a ton on my blog. I know it's just my hormones settling back to normal after having the baby, but it's frustrating. I'm frustrated at some of the changes my body has gone through. I'm frustrated at my low energy level. And I've been getting frustrated that my weight isn't budging -- and I know it's because I need to do more cardio, but I just can't squeeze it in to my days anymore. Not with work and the baby and my yoga/pilates workouts and writing and wanting to spend time with my husband and the million other things that used to be easier to squeeze into my life. Funny thing is I don't get frustrated about the addition of the baby to my life. My frustration is all directed at myself. I have this constant feeling of not being up to par anymore. I know none of it is my fault, but the Virgo in me thinks I should still be able to push through all of this.

So I've decided to let myself cocoon a little this week. No workout classes, no forcing myself to write if I'm not in the mood, nothing but being at home, taking it easy and playing with the baby. It takes a lot of effort not to feel guilty about it, but deep down I know this is good for me. Hopefully next week I can get back to my usual energetic self with ease.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good Nights and Scary Kids

I feel so incredibly lucky to have a 3-month-old daughter that not only goes to bed easily, but sleeps through the night. Granted, we worked hard to get her to that routine, but she cooperated like a champ. At 7pm every night, no matter how awake Scarlett is acting, we can put her in her crib, sing her a lullaby (okay, I sing to her) and she'll go out like a light. Then she wakes up at about 7am, all smiles. Occasionally I'll hear her stir around 5 or 6, but a quick trip to her room to give her her pacifier keeps her down until her normal wake-up time. I can't tell you how much better life is now that we have a few hours of adult time every night and we can both get a full 8 hours of sleep. I count my blessings every day.

I took the baby to Mommy & Me Yoga today during my lunch hour. There were two other women there with three kids between them -- two of the kids were 4 years old and one was 8 months. The age range is supposed to be 6 weeks to when the child is walking, but Michelle is a softy and said the older kids could join. Holy cow they were terrors. They literally ran around the room screaming at the top of their lungs while we tried to do yoga. They got ahold of the practice dummies from the Body Combat class, and the little boy started removing weight plates from the rack. During the final meditation, they ran circles around us -- too close to Scarlett for comfort, by the way -- and the two mothers did nothing to corral them. It was pretty horrifying. But a good lesson in what NOT to do as a mother.

Anyway, all the activity actually kept Scarlett interested. She stayed happy and alert for 40 entire minutes! At that point she started to fuss, though, and I had to cuddle her until she was wound down enough and then put her in her carrier to take a nap. But really I only ended up missing about 10 minutes of the workout where I couldn't do the exercises with her snuggled up on me. Ten minutes is not bad in the grand scheme.

Tonight was pilates (yes, I work out twice on Tuesdays -- I gotta take advantage of the little time I have!), then I came home and made soft tacos for dinner. Scarlett was having an off day. She was fighting her naps and wanting to sit up a lot (which at her age requires you to hold her or prop her up -- not an easy feat when you're trying to work), but we still got her in bed close to 7 so we were able to sit down and eat together.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jumping Bean

We had some coupons for Babies 'R Us, so we got Scarlett a new jumper. We've been talking about getting her one for a while, since she's so active (and quite a kicker!), so really the only thing we were waiting on was for her to be able to hold her head up, and for a good deal to come along. We are THRILLED with the Baby Einstein jumper we got her. It's got all kinds of toys, educational stuff, music, teething toys, plus a swiveling seat and two arches to attach more toys to. Right now we have to put a phonebook under her feet for her to actually jump in it, and a blanket bunched up behind her for a bit more back support, but she loves it! It's just the cutest thing.

Ready for Bed

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baby Patterns and Fitness Woes

I'm starting to notice patterns in behavior throughout the day with Scarlett. The late afternoon is the most marked difference in her mood. After her afternoon nap, she starts to wind down. By 4pm, she's acting tired -- but good luck trying to get her to nap again! You're in for a fight! What she wants to do, what actually makes her happy, is just to zone out. In the swing or the bouncer, or even just sitting in the boppy pillow next to me on the couch, she sucks on her pacifier and stares off into space (or at the TV if it's on). She may slip in and out of sleep a little, but she won't nap and she won't interact a whole lot. After her evening meal, she plays a little bit, but it's not long before she's ready for bed. We usually get her into bed around 7pm, and there is usually no struggle.

Life is definitely easier when I can identify patterns with the baby, and work with them. Unfortunately that meant I had to miss Mommy & Me Yoga this week, because she's going through a growth spurt and sleeping like the dead. She didn't wake up in time to even go to class, much less eat before class -- and if I can help it, I won't wake her. I really hope we can go next week!

My family came up for a barbecue on Sunday. As I've said a million times before, I LOVE it when people visit! And it certainly makes things easier with the baby when people come here. Not that I don't take Scarlett places all the time, but it's nice for people to see her in her "natural habitat". LOL

Monday night at yoga class was a reminder of how out of shape I am. Wah! I hate not being able to do things I could do a year ago! But I'm on the right track. My muscles are coming back, and the weight is coming off. I just have to make sure I don't get too down on myself about my limitations. I'm not keen on limitations. In my Tuesday night yogalates class, I had to close my eyes when we were doing pilates sit-ups, just to force myself not to compare my abilities with those around me.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Scarlett -- Pastel

Della babysat Scarlett for us for a few hours today, so Jeremy and I went to lunch and hit a few more studios on the Open Studios tour. Lunch was at Aji, a new Latin American (different than Mexican by far) restaurant in downtown Boulder that took the place of the now-deceased Sunflower. The food was AMAZING. We both stuffed ourselves silly. Then we went up into the Sugarloaf area and saw a couple of open studios. The first one was a photographer who did a lot of work with ptarmigans. I had no idea there were ptarmigans in Colorado, but apparently they are up in the Alpine area. We had a hard time breaking away from him to see the next studio, a pastel and oil painter, because he was having way too much fun telling us about photographing the birds. Anyway, the painter, Cheryl Whitehall spent the time to walk me through her pastel painting process from beginning to end -- which was a really cool experience for me. It certainly inspired me, because I spent the last 2 hours painting this...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Scarlett Update -- 11 weeks

Scarlett is still struggling in the Mommy & Me Yoga class, unfortunately. She just doesn't like to be moved when she's happy, so when I take her out of the carrier she immediately starts to fuss. She's just happier left in her carrier with her blanket and pacifier, watching me do Sun Salutations. I'm going to keep trying to take her to the class, but man I wish she would be more cooperative! I suppose I shouldn't expect too much from an 11-week-old, though.

She can now hold her head up without any help. I no longer have to support her head at all. This makes life much easier, believe it or not! I can hold her one-handed now, as long as she's not squiggling too much. And she's finally started to relax when she's held against my shoulder. She used to squiggle, arch her back, and try to look at the ceiling (or the fairies dancing around her head -- whatever she sees that's so interesting!). Now she relaxes into me, and even cuddles from time to time. I love it! Even when she tries to eat my shirt.

Scarlett slept through the night for the first time last night. It was heaven! She went down at about 7pm and didn't wake up to eat until 6am. Then she immediately went right back to sleep and woke up at her usual time, about 7:30. I want to throw a party.

She is also getting very dexterous. She is able to grab her blanket and pull it to her mouth and over her head, and for the first time today she started really grabbing her toys. Seeing as how she wants to lick everything that comes into contact with her face, this could get interesting very quickly.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Mommy & Me Yoga and the First Weekend of Open Studios 2010

I forgot to blog about Mommy & Me Yoga last week, so let me start there. My friend/prenatal yoga teacher Michelle started a Mommy & Me Yoga class at the Berger Rec Center a few weeks ago, in an effort to give us new mommies an opportunity to transition from prenatal to postnatal in a familiar environment. Admittedly it was difficult to know I couldn't attend her awesome prenatal class anymore after the baby was born, so I was extremely excited about her new class.

Last week Scarlett was finally old enough and out of her fussy stage enough that I could attempt to take her to Michelle's class. Unfortunately I didn't time the baby's feedings well enough, so she was getting close to mealtime when we arrived. Plus, Scarlett always falls asleep in the car, and has a tendency to get a little cranky if she hasn't slept long. So she only lasted about 10 minutes in the class before she was hollering. Luckily Michelle was very patient, and reassured me that she planned the class around the moods of the children, so we would just do what Scarlett wanted us to do. That ended up being me soothing her to sleep in her carrier and doing a yoga routine alone. Oh well! I'll keep trying. Scarlett can't be a fussy-pants forever, right?

Drew came up late Saturday morning and babysat Scarlett for us. That was the first time we had ever left her with anyone. I felt pretty good about it, actually. Drew has the patience of a saint, so I knew that if Scarlett was having a hard time, Drew wouldn't freak out about it. But as always, the baby did great. Drew said the only time she got fussy was when it was time to eat. So Jeremy and I went around to see some of the artists on the Open Studios tour. The first stop was Doug Goodin, an amazing nature photographer. He was so friendly, and even let us play with his (EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE) cameras a little bit. If we had had any extra money, I would have scooped up one of his signed, matted prints in a heartbeat. That's the hardest thing about Open Studios -- seeing all this drool-worthy art that we can't afford right now. Anyway, we also saw an amazing watercolor artist, Catharine Woods, who I talked to about taking some classes from. She paints reflective surfaces so well, it blows my mind. We also saw photographer/digital artist Karen Divine, ceramic mosaic artist Paul Barchilon, potter Cris Conklin, and fiber artist Judith Trager.

Jeremy and I returned home at about 3pm, and Jeremy stayed with the baby while I took Drew to see some studios. Our first stop was the oil painter Mike Brouse. I just adore his work, and he and I are Facebook friends, so it was nice to chat with him in person for the first time in a year. We also saw fabric artist Wendy Bialek, who was just the nicest person! She's teaching a felting class at the end of October, and I'm seriously considering attending. We didn't get much of a chance to talk with acrylic painter Lael Har while we were at her studio because there were so many other people there when we arrived, which was a bummer because I was salivating over her brushstrokes. But the most memorable artist we saw that day was definitely Dan Frazier. He was a riot! We must have spent 40 minutes in his home studio talking to him. He does both realist and fantasy art, mainly in oil, and also does these amazing "faux fossils" made from gatorboard. He's done a lot of commissioned work for card games like Magic the Gathering. As a thank-you to Drew for babysitting, I bought him one of Frazier's original fantasy doodles. I'm now jealous that Drew has such a cool piece of art in his home!

I could gush about Open Studios all day. And you'll get another dose of this excitement after next weekend, because we're going for round 2 next Saturday.

So, to recuperate from a series of busy weekends, Jeremy and I relaxed all day yesterday. He played video games and watched the baby in the living room while I kicked back in bed with a pile of books. It was heaven!

Another Great Writing Comic

From the ever-awesome Debbie Ridpath Ohi:

Sadly I suffer from this affliction, and am in desperate need of a support group. Though I have kept my disorder from affecting my day-job work, miraculously enough. I can send out newsletter copy with only 5 or 6 rounds of editing.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Running, Yoga, and Baby Leg Warmers

I love reading autobiographical writing books. You know, books about writing, written by highly successful authors like Stephen King and Terry Brooks. Part writing instruction, part life story, I feel like those types of books are more honest and realistic than some other writing how-to manuals.

A lot of those authors talk about walking and running as part of their method. They claim that it clears the mind and allows for ideas to flow more freely. Those that walk insist running doesn't do the same thing, and vice versa. It blows my mind how many successful writers swear that walking or running is absolutely dire to the writing process.

It so doesn't work for me.

First off, I'm not a runner. I've tried and tried, but I just can't make myself get there. If anything, I'm a walker. I try to walk at least once a week -- but I certainly don't do it every day. And when I do walk, my mind goes crazy! Walking does anything but clear my mind. In fact, it seems to signal my brain to work overtime. I don't even notice the scenery around me half the time. It's a miracle I even watch where I'm going, I'm so inside my head. I think about conversations I've recently had (obsess and analyze them, to be precise), simmer over relationship and household irritations, stress about work, ogle the baby if she's with me -- anything but think about writing.

So when I'm a famous author and I write a book about my writing process, I'm distinctly going to say DO YOGA INSTEAD. Yoga is the only thing that gets me to focus on the here and now, and to clear my mind completely. And it's a hell of a workout.

Speaking of runners and yoga, I notice a ton of runners and bikers in my yoga and pilates classes up here in Boulder. I'd say a good percentage of the folks in all of the classes I've taken are one or the other (it certainly makes for a very different mix of people in my classes than I saw in the Springs!). I overhear a lot of them say they are doing yoga or pilates to help loosen them up because their chosen sport has made them taught. Others I hear say they want to prevent injuries, and even others say they want to try to heal an injury. But everything I do overhear makes me wonder why someone would do a sport that would, over time, hurt their bodies. I wonder if I discovered that yoga would eventually wear my body out, would I still continue with it? I don't know. But I'm happy that I'll never have to find that out. I can do yoga, in some form or other, forever.

I'm happy to report I am now back in a workout routine. Wahoo! As long as Jeremy can continue to watch the baby in the evenings, I'm going to yoga on Monday, yogalates on Tuesday and pilates on Thursday. I'm also trying to get a walk around the lake in once or twice a week. My goal is to be back in pre-pregnancy shape by Christmas.

In baby news, Scarlett has decided her favorite toy is a blanket right now. All I do is take one of those big thin burp cloths and put it on her lap, and the kid goes nuts for an hour. She pulls on it, chews on it, licks it, wipes her face on it, pulls it over her head and back down again -- it's quite amusing to watch. And it's good practice for her to learn to grab things. She actually grabbed the ear of her giraffe toy today and pulled it to her mouth. She did it twice, but when I grabbed the video camera to catch her in action, she stopped doing it of course.

I went to Target tonight and got some cold weather clothing for Scarlett. A couple of bodysuits to serve as jackets and outdoor-wear, some long-sleeved onesies and sleepers, hats, and leg warmers. Yes, leg warmers. We like to dress her in nightgowns at night because it makes middle-of-the-night diaper changes easier, but we've noticed lately her legs and feet are getting cold. So she now has leg warmers. :)

Her favorite toy -- a blanket!