Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lashy Luck

Boys have it all.

Pumping, Permission & Parenting

It's my first Theme Thursday participation. Breastfeeding. Every woman seems to have their story to tell: it was hard, it was easy, it didn't work, not appealing, painful, wonderful--on and on. I've never shared my thoughts or experiences in written form. Likely because it can be kind of controversial and because so incredibly personal. It's time.

Breastfeeding 101: it hurt. Like toe-curling, draw in a deep breath, and work through the pain for the first minute or two of each nursing session for the first three-ish weeks. I'm pretty sure that having anyone sucking on any part of your body for hours--hours--a day is going to hurt. THAT'S natural, not that whole "it comes easy and feels great"--that stuff is a myth that likely stops lots of people from nursing.

So I nursed. Two kids who had major difficulty gaining weight (the 3rd fits that category, too, in case you were wondering). And the first pediatrician we saw left me feeling guilty, like I failed. That my breastfeeding had caused a problem. And like many first-time nursing mothers, this crippled me, wounded my faith in my ability to feed my child. I gathered my courage (armed with knowledge & encouragement from a knowledgeable Lactation Consultant) and I left that doctor. Empowering and freeing. You can read about why that might work for you here.

This LC helped me perfect my pumping regimen (can you say hands-free?) and off to work I went. Faithfully closing my doors and eee-err, eee-err, away I went. Three or four times a day. Here's the thing: three or four pumping sessions led to maybe one bottle for my baby for the following day.

At six-ish months with Monkey, I was done. I gave up the pump. Freedom. Rinse and repeat with my sweet baby girl. I hoped and prayed that my boobs would suddenly learn the pump was friend, not foe. Nope. Dismal pumping results with a baby who gained weight slowly. Depressing.

Enter Bonus Baby. I did something empowering. I divorced the pump. I gave myself permission to leave that evil contraption behind. AND I continued to nurse my baby at home. I know that there are plenty of people who say that I'm probaby just not doing it right, but let me tell you I gave it a good college try with the first two and I was done hooking myself up to the milking machine. I AM SO GLAD I DID. I found a way to make formula-feeding during the day and breast feeding at home work.  My boobs adjusted because our bodies are amazing.  Win.

I had a friend tell me, after sharing her own experience with the breast pump (read: bloody milk) and she said the most profound statement to me, one I have shared with every new mother in the years since.

She said, "My worth as a mom is not soley defined by how I feed my child, but that I feed them when they are hungry and nurture them with love."
I try to keep this in mind, as the weight of not doing the 'best thing' weighs on me. I did breastfeed and I like it, but I did it on my terms. Breastfeeding at home in the evenings, the wee hours, first thing upon waking and then letting the natural formula do it's magic during the day. I wish I was like my sister, super milk-producer, but that's just not me. And that's okay. I'm no less a mom. I share of of this in hopes maybe, just maybe, another mom is freed from the weight of the pump when the cost isn't worth the return.

If you would like to see what others have written about breast feeding, please click the Theme Thursday link below.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

If Looks Could Kill

Our big kids have the flu and in a desperate attempt to keep Special K flu-free, he and I evacuated to the safe confines of my parents' house. Why yes, that does make my husband a Super-Dad; just another reason I love him so.

Today he attempted to feed Brook-Brook some lunch. Unfortunately, her appetite has yet to return. Super-Dad attempted to take the uneaten plate of food. I got this picture, along with the title, "I think she's mad at me."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Catchlight. That Girl. She has My Heart.

I'm still working on this 'catchlight' thing.  Otherwise known as making eyes sparkle.  So this afternoon when Brookie was demanding "Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit" (hint: doesn't sound like 'sit'), I whipped out the camera and snapped away.  Most of the images ended up in the trash.  For some reason, I couldn't make a lower ISO work for me, but I did pay attention to the catchlight-thing.  I'm liking the results.  I know it's bragging, I know it's my job as a parent, but this little girl is beautiful to me.  I'm a lover of black and white images, but can hardly make myself put her photos in that format because then you lose the vibrancy that are her eyes.  I have problems--like allowing my child to entertain herself with my "moan" (read: phone) in order to get pics. No doubt these poses will be repeated in her teen years.  I mean, unless her dad and I go all hard-ass and say,  "No cell phone ever because you might take nude pictures or boys might call you and that could lead to kissing and stuff and you are our baby girl."  That's a real possibility, people.  

So serious.  I like this one, but wish I had taken time to clean her face (parenting fail) and change her shirt. 

I lurve this.

Clearly too blown out, even if I do love how her eyes look.

I think the white balance is off in this one?  But yeah, her eyes really are that blue.

Obvi, I couldn't decide if color or B&W was the way to go. . .

A look and pose destined to be repeated in her teen years. 

Let's Play

My girl and I had some sweet one-on-one time while Daddy and Ell-man were at the grocery and Special K was napping. Chris and I are trying to be intentional about everyone getting time alone with one of us, so this satisfied that and my need to stay in pajamas and not leave the house today. I forget how much I love this age. I want to stop time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ending with a . . .Whimper

I love to read.  Forever and always.  There is secret joy in enveloping myself in the cloak of a good story, immersing myself in the characters, the anticipation of turning a page to find the next twist, the reflection of self in the words on the page.  Or wisdom, simply stated but so elegant that I wonder how it is a new revelation.   The skill in a well-crafted sentence, ahhhh--my first escape.  My first best friends.  Books.  The feeling of sadness and withdrawal when the friends made in several hundred pages meet the end of their story.

But I've noticed a flaw of late.  The endings.  The author seeming to tire of the story, rapidly wrapping up hundreds of pages of story in a chapter, maybe two.  The let-down that results from loose ends that leaves me frustrated, disappointed.  I don't understand this being overlooked by editors, accepted by other readers.  Is the pressure of the publishing world so intense that there are page limits, a rush to publication that leaves wrapping up a story to a natural conclusion an after-thought?  I don't know, but I do know that reading so many poor endings lends appreciation for those well-crafted.  AND that I now judge a book not just by the premise, character development, but the ability to see the story to conclusion.  Conclusions.  Seeing something through all the way to the end--this quality is difficult to find in society today--in life and print.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I've been tweaking my photo editing skills again.  By again, I mean always, only this time I actually added a new skill to my tool bag.  Mostly I just try to teach myself by playing with the sliders in Lightroom and then being dissatisfied when they don't look like I envision.  So yeah, some motivation.  And I actually learned something:  how to make eyes pop a bit.  

This girl and her eyes are going to be trouble.