Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Momma is Back!

Written February 20th
It’s coming back, slowly but surely.  That feeling when I run, the whole reason why I love it so much.  The turning over of my legs, the feeling that I can go forever and do anything.  It’s all coming back.  A little at a time, it’s coming back.  Nine weeks postpartum and I’m starting to feel like a runner again.  I’m starting to get out and decide to run farther than planned just because it feels so good.  Totally different from going out and slugging through a mile and turning around to go home because 2 miles was all I could force my body to do. 

Yesterday I went out for what I figured would be a 2 mile run.  I had gone 3.5 miles the day before which was the farthest I’d gone since 35 weeks pregnant.  I wanted to play it safe and run easy.  My average pace these days has been about 9:15-9:30 per mile.  

I took off running, pushing Carter along in front of me and I felt awesome!  I looked down and my first mile was 9:05.  I thought, whoa I’m gonna rock this run!  I didn’t feel like stopping, so I just kept going.  I got to 1.5 miles (where I’d turn around to run 3 miles) and I still didn’t feel like turning around.  

So 4 miles it was and boy was it a good one.  For the first time in I don’t know how long I ran my last mile the fastest (in 8:45 which is awesome for me right now).  Lately I’ve been sore and worn out by the last mile and just trudge on in to the finish, on pace or a little over.  Man did it feel good to have a finishing “kick”!  

As I sped up the small incline toward the park where my car was parked an older gentleman was walking by with headphones in.  He looked at me and shouted, “Way to go mama!”  I couldn’t help but smile.  It was the perfect ending to a great run.  The best part was the volume with which he yelled.  With the headphones in he had no idea how loud he was!  I was filled with joy.  I could have my baby and hey, I could run pretty decent too!  I felt like I conquered something.  I finished 4 miles with an average pace of under 9 minute miles, pushing a stroller, and still carrying some extra “baby weight”.  

My fastest times may all be behind me, but I’m tougher now than I ever was before.  I pushed through a half-marathon 32 weeks pregnant.  I have run with 25 extra pounds weighing me down and a baby using my bladder as a pillow.  I ran a 5k the weekend before Carter was born, trudging uphill and then having gravity pull my belly on the down hills.  I have pushed a stroller uphill with the wind blowing me backward and sideways (and let me tell you running up hill, into wind, pushing a stroller is the most difficult running challenge I have ever faced).   My running life has changed.  It’s no longer about speed, it’s about the challenges.  And honestly, I’m loving it more than ever before.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Going Back to Work

It’s becoming real now.  From the moment I started my maternity leave I knew it was just that, leave from my job.  This week is my last full week and I go back on Thursday of next week.  It has finally hit me, Carter and I don’t get to live in this amazing little bubble we have created over the past 10 weeks.  I know I’m really lucky, most people don’t get that much time at home with their babies, but my heart is heavy.  I love every moment I get to spend with my precious boy.

I also love my job.  Really love my job.  I always said if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t quit unless it was to stay at home with my children.  I love it that much.  I would never quit my job just because I didn’t need the money.  Obviously money isn’t exactly why I got into the teaching profession.  But now I’m in a different place.  My heart is torn.  I yearn to be at home all day with Carter changing his diapers and kissing his chubby thighs as I do.  Nursing him when he’s hungry.  Reading to him and playing with him when he’s awake.  It’s just not an option for our family.  We need my salary.  I want to be able to save money to put in a college fund for Carter.  We have a mortgage to pay.  Our monthly budget can only be met with both of our salaries.  
How am I going to leave this precious face?!!?

I thought about quitting my job and finding a night job to supplement my salary (it wouldn’t have to be the full amount when you consider not paying daycare costs).  I just knew I wouldn’t be fully happy with that situation either.  I would have so much less time to spend with my husband and I wouldn’t be able to work in my career path.  I would probably end up waitressing.  Instead of having all summer at home to spend with Carter and the evenings with Ty (my current arrangement).  I would still have to work evenings in the summer.  Is there a perfect answer?  No.  No matter what I do, I’m going to miss something.  Whether it’s Carter when I go back to work, Ty if I were to work nights, and my job/co-workers if I were to quit.  Being a working mom is already harder than I ever thought it would be!

I can’t imagine what it will be like when I return to work.  I have one vision (the nightmare scenario) where I sit in my classroom during my plan time with the lights out crying.  I have another vision (the perfect dream) where the day goes by so fast I barely have time to miss Carter and before I know it, I’m picking him up from daycare.  I know they are both extremes, I hope we end up somewhere in the middle.

I go back to work on a Thursday, so I’ll work Thursday and Friday and then I’ll have the weekend with Carter.  I have a full week after that and then I’m off for spring break, so I think that will also help me with the transition.  I keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time.

My lunch/recess time is from 12:00-12:45.  Once I drop the students off in the cafeteria and walk to my car it will be closer to 12:05 or 12:10.  Carter’s daycare is only about 7 minutes away.  My plan is to go visit him over my lunch.  I think it will help me make it through the day, getting to see him half-way through.  It may only be for 20 minutes with the driving, but 20 minutes holding Carter is 20 minutes well spent.

I’ve read different ideas for making the transition back to work easier: putting on baby lotion so you can “smell your baby” throughout the day, putting up pictures of your baby (you better believe I’ll be doing this), looking at pictures on your phone.  

For those of you working moms out there, what was something that helped you?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Everybody Loves Carter!

This weekend we traveled to Topeka so Carter could meet lots of family on his daddy’s side for the first time.  Ty had taken Thursday and Friday off work and we planned to leave Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, while we received only about an inch of snow that was mostly melted the next day, Topeka got over a foot of snow and some highways in Kansas were even closed.  So our trip was postponed by a day and we left Friday morning instead.

Carter got to meet both sets of great grandparents, 2nd cousins, great aunts, a great uncle, and some good friends!  My brother Thomas also made the 2 hour trip to visit with his nephew for the weekend.  It is such an awesome thing to see how much Carter is loved by so many people!  I love sitting and watching the joy he brings to their hearts.
Four Generations: Ty, his dad, Carter, Ty's grandpa.

Carter is smiling and cooing quite a bit now.  This past week he’d smile here and there during the day, but not a whole lot.  This weekend he really hammed it up for all his new pals, smiling all the time and talking.  I love how much he is growing up!  
Grandma and Grandpa
 I also love how much more he is sleeping.  We had gotten to the 4 hour mark with overnight sleep a few weeks ago.  Last night he slept for 5!  We have been sleep training.  It is hard to set the timer and listen to him cry, but we can tell it is working.  Each night he has cried less.  

Granparents, Parents, Great Grandparents
 We had been dealing with a midnight bedtime.  I would rock him to sleep and put him down, he’d sleep 15-30 minutes, he’d cry, I’d get him, rock him again and it would cycle back around.  We’d start at 9:00 and go until 12:00.  One night this process continued until 2 am and I was losing it!  I decided it was time to stop rocking him.  When he would start crying I’d set a timer for 5 minutes.  At the end of 5 minutes I would go in give him his pacifier (he only takes it at nap and nighttime), sing to him a bit, and leave.  I couldn’t believe it the first night when he was asleep at 11:30!  We slowly worked from 11:30 to 11:00 to 10:30 to 10:00 last night.  Tonight I’m hoping for 9:30.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carter's First Snow

This winter has been really mild and we’ve had spring-like weather.  Yesterday it was 50 degrees and on Sunday it was 60!  It has been so nice to take Carter out without worrying about him getting too cold.  Today it is snowing for the second time all winter!  The first time it snowed it melted right as it hit the ground.  Today it is actually sticking to the ground!
When Ty was bustling around this morning searching for his coat (it’s been so long since he’s worn it, he didn’t even know where it was) I knew I had to take Carter outside for some pictures.  Luckily we have a 0-3 month snowsuit my friend, Erin, loaned me.  When Carter woke up, I bundled him up in a snowsuit and took him out for some pictures of his first snow.  
He was a bit confused by the snow.  When it started falling on his face he squinted his eyes and blinked and then decided to keep them closed all together.  He then opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue and started smacking his lips.  I think he was confused by the moisture.  It was quite cute and comical at the same time! 
It's almost as if he's beckoning the snow to fall on him.
I remember how much fun it was to watch our dog, Halle’s, first time in the snow.  She ran around frightened of what was falling until she realized our other dog, Harper, wasn’t afraid and then she tried to play with the snow.  Watching someone whether it’s an animal or a child experience something for the first time is so magical.  
Snow angels anyone?
The snowsuit is 0-3 month size, but it is way too big.  Just so you don't think he's grown like crazy all the sudden!  His arms and legs don't go to the end of the sleeves/pants.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Future

I’ve always been the type of person who plans ahead.  I usually have at least a vague idea of what my future holds.  When I was in first grade I decided I wanted to be a teacher and I’ve never looked back.  I also knew I wanted children and that I would love being a mom, but I had no idea how much.  I didn’t understand the warmth I would feel in my heart every time I look at my precious son.  I had no idea how my chest would ache listening to him cry.  I couldn’t fathom the joy one tiny smile could bring or the laughter that would come from the quietest of coos.  My life has changed and will never be the same. 

Now I look into my son’s eyes and I see my future.  It’s a totally different experience.  I’m not sure what my future holds, but as I look into my son’s deep blue eyes I know I will love it.  Just like I always have, I think of my future all the time, but now in a totally different way.

One evening Carter was really tired and wouldn’t go down for a nap.  I picked him up and started slow dancing to the radio with him, holding his hand in mine and everything.  I began to picture dancing with him during a mother/son dance at his wedding.  As I put lotion on his chubby legs with fat rolls I wonder, will these legs someday propel him toward the finish line of a cross country race?  I watch his eyes light up when one of our dogs comes into view.  I imagine one day sitting with him as he chooses a dog of his very own or maybe walking aisles in a pet store choosing the perfect fish.  Watching his arms and legs flail at night while he’s sleeping I worry he will sleep walk like his daddy.

Now I get it.  I get the parents of my first graders who still want to walk their child to class every day.  I get why Ty’s mom cried at our wedding.  I can’t imagine a day I won’t want to give Carter eskimo kisses and snuggle his cheek.  He will always be my baby.  No matter how old he is I will be able to look at his face and remember the first time I ever saw it.  I will remember the warmth of his skin as he was placed on my chest just minutes after he was born.  I will always remember that newborn baby, my baby, my precious son.