Eliza at 5 months

Whew, a little late on this one – it was a busy month!  Lots of working for me and Kevin, capped off with a business trip for me and a visit from the paternal grandparents.  Miss Eliza continues to be a delightful little thing, giggling more and more every day.  Just about everything we do is hilarious in the evenings now, except for when it’s not.  She loves it when we pretend to eat her tummy, opens her mouth up big in a gleeful smile and grabs on to our faces.  She reaches out for us now, reaches out for lots of things.  Both hands means she’s excited, and one hand means it’s going into the mouth. Eliza rolls from her back to her belly with wild abandon, but forgets she can go the other way.  She does impressive push ups, sometimes holding herself up with hands and toes alone.  She is starting to move around a bit, but hasn’t learned to do so with intent.  It’s more that she happens to wiggle or roll a bit, or “crawl” half a foot, but not necessarily where she wanted to.  She can sit unassisted for many seconds in a row before pitching off headfirst towards the floor, and if you give her something to hold on to, she can brace herself quite impressively.  She still goes nuts for her bouncy chair, and sometimes is obviously tired of her lame parents and would prefer jumping for a bit now, thanks.  Favorite toys are Phillip the spider, Frank the duck, Earl the butterfly, and Darryl the dinosaur.  Reading to her has become harder, as she wants to suck on the board books – so Grandma Sherry got her a soft taggie book to hold while we read.  Genius!

She’s been waking up in the night a few times a week this month, and once again her bed time seems to be a little after mine (about 10).  We just decided to stop swaddling her last night, since she can turn over so well now, and I can’t actually swaddle her anymore because she is too big.  She cried and cried when we tried to put her to sleep (and by we I mean Kevin, since her crying makes me irrational) – he tried a few times over the course of a couple hours, to no avail.  The AAP recommends against letting babies under one have anything with them in their cribs, so she was just in footie pajamas, wailing.  I eventually suggested letting her have her blanket that she usually naps with, and the second she got her hands on it, she passed out hard.  We did some research about the risks, and feel pretty good about letting her sleep with the blanket.  I really hate the way risks are communicated to parents, but that’s a can of worms for another day…
Also on the parenting choices front (and another can of worms), I had to wean Eliza at the beginning of March so I could take some medicine.  Weaning made me very sad for about a week, and then the hormones started to clear and I can see that it was the right decision (though I still wish it had worked out differently).  Eliza seems not to care a whit one way or the other, as long as there is milk to be had.  We’ve begun giving her solid food off our plates to play with, but so far she hasn’t been that interested in eating anything.  I let her suck on some pizza crust and some banana, and she mostly looked confused.  More of that in the weeks to come… 
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Eliza at 4 months

Miss Bear’s repertoire of tricks now includes blowing raspberries, grabbing toys and getting them into her mouth, and playing with her feet.  This month Eliza has started giggling, though goodness knows what she thinks is funny.  We spend a lot of time making asses of ourselves trying to get her to giggle, usually to no avail, and then she’ll bust out laughing at something unexpected (like the snot sucker, hoo boy!).  She can prop-sit unassisted for a while, leaning forward with her hands on the ground, but she’ll fall over if she tries to grab anything.  She wants to stand up all the time still, and loves to be in her bouncer.  Her hand-eye coordination and motor skills improve visibly every day, which is really cool to watch.  She is still remarkably laid back – if she is crying, 99% of the time it’s because she is hungry or tired, and it only lasts a moment.  We’ve had a minor sleep regression the last week or so (right on cue – 4 months is a big growth and developmental spurt!), so she’s been waking once in the night for a snack.  Funny how painful that’s been for me and Kevin – the newborn days are apparently a distant memory!  

E has gone snowshoeing twice, hiked Badger Mountain once, and has gone to frisbee many times this month. She has been pretty agreeable for most of our adventures, tolerating long car rides fairly well (sleeping mostly, and occasionally requiring a buddy in the backseat) and kind of hit or miss with hiking/snowshoeing.  Sometimes she just doesn’t want to be in the carrier, other times she passes out or quietly looks around.   We are still resisting putting her on any sort of schedule – she sleeps and eats whenever and wherever the mood strikes her – so that we can continue going on adventures.  This is working well for us for now, probably just because she is so laid back, but we’ll take it!  

Stats at 4 months:
Weight: 13.94 lbs (58%)
Length:  24.5” (60%)
Head Circumference: 16.5” (75%)
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Playin’ with Squish, a.k.a. starting to pull her weight.

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Continued from Part One – breastfeeding hurts, and maybe I have Reynaud’s – and Part Two – is that a light at the end of the tunnel?

TL;DR version: ouch that hurts real bad, vasoconstriction is for lamers, drugs are good and so is sleep and books and growing babies with bigger mouths.

Around the middle of January, I seemed to reach a place that seems fairly sustainable.  I pump four to six times a day, while reading books on my shiny new bribe kindle.  I nurse the baby when it’s convenient – when she is hungry and I don’t feel like going upstairs, when we are somewhere where I can’t pump easily (like a frisbee tournament, or on a long car ride).  We are both a lot better at the mechanics, but she still doesn’t stay full for very long – usually no more than a couple hours on the outside.  We always give her a bottle before bed because she’ll sleep all night that way, and I usually have to pump before she wakes up in the morning due to discomfort.  In terms of pain, we have reached a much better place.  75% of the time, pumping doesn’t hurt at all.  It doesn’t feel good at all either, but it doesn’t hurt.  I’m not sure why it hurts the other 25% of the time, but it’s usually no more than a 4 on the pain scale.  Nursing is pain free but unpleasant about 50-75% of the time.  I do not enjoy the sensation, I don’t experience warm fuzzy bonding feelings.  I spend the time thinking about when we should get a bottle ready for when she is still hungry, or wishing I’d remembered to grab some ice water before I sat down.  

I have a host of issues relating to breastfeeding – I hate pumping at work, I feel some degree of shame when I have my door closed, thinking about how everyone can hear the pump working as they walk by.  This was compounded after a janitor walked in on me (my door doesn’t lock, he knocked and entered in one single motion).  I was incredibly anxious about breastfeeding in front of people, which I did for the first time at a frisbee tournament in January, out of necessity (the baby was hungry, and full boobs meant I was very uncomfortable).  It ended up being no big deal, but I still get stressed about breastfeeding in public – I won’t do it in front of people if I can help it, even with a cover.  I hate how I have to plan every little thing around my breasts – pump right before leaving the house, which means I have to factor in an extra 30 minutes to everything I do.  If I forget anything for work (cooler, flanges, valves, bottles), I have to go home.  I get a three hour window to accomplish anything, unless it’s exercise – then I get an hour and half before I get uncomfortable.  between pumping, breastfeeding, and my full time job, I have maybe 1 or 2 hours not accounted for, in which I play with the baby, do chores (dinner, house cleaning), and have me time.  As I try to get back into shape (previously I played a good bit of sports, frisbee and soccer), I find that I don’t have time.  Breastfeeding (or, having to empty my boobs) makes planning adventures – out of town trips, day trips to snow shoe or ski, etc. – much more challenging.  

I’m also absolutely terrified of what will happen to my body when I stop.  I lost the baby weight easily, without trying, I assume because that’s just how my body reacted to nursing.  I’m about five pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, or at about what I weighed when I started college.  I like my body more than I ever have – it’s not perfect, but I’ve always liked its lumps and bumps best when it is doing something for me.  That used to mean when I was doing best at sports, but apparently extends to carrying, birthing, and nursing a baby.  I have friends who gained significant weight as soon as they stopped nursing, and I’m scared of that happening to me.  I’ve always had a pretty tenuous relationship with my body image, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a win, trading in the fretting I do over hating breastfeeding for fretting about my body. 

And yeah, I still spend a lot of time wanting to throw in the towel.  But I feel very guilty about it – like, it doesn’t hurt that much anymore, sometimes not at all, so it would be entirely selfish if I stopped.  There are bright spots, or advantages – sometimes I relish the luxury of reading (13 novels since Eliza was born!!), and sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something else I have used pumping or breastfeeding as an excuse to zone out.  Both of these bright spots actually make me feel worse – the only good things I can come up with are actually bad!  They are selfish too!  And then the sillier ones: maybe it hurts and I hate it, but if I do it, I can eat cookies without gaining weight!  And, maybe it hurts and I hate it, but if I do it, I don’t have to make formula and clean as many bottles and I hate formula!  

It’s like my brain is kind of warped, at this point. I think I am motivated to continue by this guilt over feeling selfish, worry over what other people think, and some degree of wanting what is best for my child.  That last part – only some degree – that’s because, as a scientist, studying what I study (toxicology, physiology, and development), I know that the effects of breastfeeding are quite subtle even at the population level.  That is, if I switched to formula, or had only ever fed formula, there would be no measurable effect in Eliza herself, because the sample size is just too small.  I know this – I understand it, and I could probably convince most people of it.  But on some irrational level, I still feel like I have to keep doing this if at all possible because it’s so much healthier for my baby.  Like the reasons that make me want to stop are all about me, and now I need to be all about her.  

But lately, I’m feeling like even if it is a ton of tiny little reasons, nothing so huge all by itself (like the initial pain was), it still adds up to something big.  And that over time, if I keep it up, it’s akin to putting her oxygen mask on while ignoring my own. 

I just wish there were an obvious line, a clear point at which I could say “enough is enough,” quit doing it, or at least quit worrying about it, and get on with the rest of this parenting business.  
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Breastfeeding: Part Two

Continued from Part One – breastfeeding hurts, and maybe I have Reynaud’s. 

I didn’t have maternity leave – I only had about two weeks fully off from work, at which point I returned part time, and ramped up to full time by five weeks (mid november).  So Eliza and I only got to try nursing in the evenings, between 5:00pm and 9:00pm – which was also the time of day when she was crankiest.  At the time, I thought it was possible she had some nipple confusion, but in retrospect, I think it was more the time of day and her mood.  We were both pretty clumsy with the positioning – I had a boppy pillow but didn’t find it very helpful.  I’d usually get Kevin’s help getting her into position, stuffing pillows and blankets everywhere, holding her arms down.  She would inevitably get angry and start to holler, and then I’d get upset and have to hand her off to Kevin.  Milk would get everywhere.  This would all take at least half an hour, longer if we were remotely successful, and by the end, I’d need a shower and a change of clothes (and a hard drink).  And then I’d need to pump.  

I went back to the LC several times to work on positioning and latching, the latter of which is still impeded by Eliza’s tiny tiny mouth.  The pain is very intense still, radiating back from the nipple, and it didn’t go away completely when I wasn’t nursing or pumping.  It didn’t get better over time, despite the medicine (nifedipine for Reynaud’s, and an anti-fungal for thrush).  The LC is more and more convinced the problem is Reynaud’s, because my nipples never stop being purple even when I don’t nurse for days.  She was totally geeking out over my boobs – calling in her LC friends to look at them, and even taking a picture to show some folks in Seattle (with my consent, of course).

After a few weeks with no improvement, when Eliza was about six weeks old, my doctor upped my dosage of nifedipine, the vasodilator.  The pharmacy screwed up the prescription, so that instead of doubling the dose, I was suddenly taking SIX TIMES the dose.  For two days until I figured that out, I could barely stand up without passing out, and had a raging headache, but I could nurse 90% pain free.  So I was finally convinced the main problem is Reynaud’s. 

I was relieved to know what is wrong, but still not sure what to do – I couldn’t keep taking that dosage of medicine, and even when I did, I had to nurse Eliza literally every hour because she couldn’t get enough milk to stay full longer than that.  Also, to even try nursing exclusively while I was at home, I had to break my regular pumping schedule.  This was a huge mental leap, as I was so terrified of what would happen to my already inadequate supply.  So basically, I was ready to throw in the towel, and that was what made me able to nurse her even somewhat effectively – so that she was hungry at the same time my breasts were full.  In order to let myself try, I did a lot of data analysis… we have this phone app, baby connect, where we had been keeping track of everything – diaper changes, bottles and amounts, and I had been using it to time my pumping sessions (and record the volumes).  So I analyzed my pumping.  The effects of duration of and interval between sessions on the volume.  And I found that they had little effect – I basically always produced half a mL per minute of breastmilk, about 700 mL per day, whether I pumped ten times or six, it was about the same.  
Once I cut back to the correct dose of medicine, the pain came back – varying between a 2 and a 6 on the pain scale during nursing or pumping, which was a huge improvement …. but still pretty bad, considering what percentage of my day I spent feeling like that (two to three hours a day actually pumping, and another hour or so washing pump parts, getting set up, etc.).  I’d also get clogged ducts every few days, which would ramp the pain back up.  I spent every day vacillating wildly between wanting to stop, hating it, and thinking I could manage to keep doing it for a long time, another week, another month, maybe this is going to work out just fine.  
Around this time, when Eliza was six to seven weeks old, a number of things happened.  First, Eliza starting sleeping in longer chunks – first four hours, then five, then one night – nine.  I still woke up every three hours, whether by an alarm or from engorgement.  Resentment was building towards my husband, who was getting to sleep as long as the baby, and towards the baby, for…  sleeping?  for having a tiny mouth?  I don’t know.  But it reached some boiling point and I decided I didn’t care – I wasn’t setting an alarm any more, and I would cut back to pumping less.  So I started getting more sleep, and was pumping four to six times a day, with only maybe a 10% decrease in my supply.  Also in this time period, I realized the baby was far better at unclogging my ducts than the pump was, even though the pump was better at fully draining my breasts.  Then, the headaches I’d had as a side effect of the nifedipine started getting less severe. Finally, I had been downloading books to read on my kindle app on my iPhone, and found that I could ignore the pain much better, and actually almost looked forward to pumping, if I were in the middle of a good book.  So that’s: sleeping baby, sleeping Susie, hoover baby, improved headaches, and good books.  
That winning combination, along with Eliza’s increasingly large mouth, has seen me through a slow decrease in pain over the last two months.  At some point I stopped taking the nifedipine – I kept forgetting doses, and then didn’t take it on a trip.  That basically brings us to now, which I’ll write about in a final installment.

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Breastfeeding: the first two weeks

I’ve decided to write up my thoughts on breastfeeding, so that I might be able to remember what happened and know what to expect if I end up trying it again with future babies.  So here we go, in several installments.  

My daughter, Eliza, was born in October.  Prior to her birth, I was much, MUCH more worried about breastfeeding than I was about labor, or really anything birth/child related – I have had non-cyclic breast pain as far back as I can remember, not bad, but bad enough: my boobs have always been off limits in intimate situations, I never ever stand facing a shower.  Exercising has always been a tricky business – how many sports bras can I wear at once without making it impossible to breathe?  (Answer: two, sometimes three.).  I own probably 20 sports bras in a variety of colors because I wear them almost exclusively, to minimize movement and friction.  So, going in, I am terrified, and have been voraciously consuming breastfeeding information on the web.  And frankly I thought the majority of it was crap guess work (relevant: I’m a research scientist, and very little of the breastfeeding info out there is remotely evidence based). 

In the hospital shortly after she was born, I latch Eliza on and commence squirming in pain, but I expected it to hurt, so I just deal with it.  There is blood, there is crying (me and Eliza), I can’t really hear the baby swallow, but I know she does because later she pukes up blood.  BLOOD from my BOOBS.  I keep trying for the first 24 hours.  The lactation consultant is called in on her day off, takes one look at my nipples, and tells me to not even try for four days because they are so purple and unhappy.  We start giving Eliza formula when she is hungry, and I commence worrying about nipple confusion and the fact that if we were nursing, she’d only be getting a few milliliters at a time, versus the two ounce portions she is now wolfing down.  The LC helps me get started with my pump, which hurts just as badly as the baby – I remember yelping in pain when I turned it on the first time, at the lowest setting.  I pump every three hours, getting only a single milliliter or two of colostrum.  I remember feeling proud and excited when I realized I could use a 1cc syringe to  feed it to the baby – antibodies!  My milk finally came in on day 5 – I figured that out after my mom accidentally elbowed me in the breast and my my milk let down hard and painfully.  

Five days later at my post-partum check up, I meet with the LC again.  She said the baby’s mouth is too small, and informed me that I have enormous nipples (who knew?).  She said it could be six weeks before the baby will be able to latch well.  She said I should try to nurse the baby once a day if I can stand it, and pump 8 – 10 times per day to keep my supply up.  She was surprised that the bruising hadn’t abated more – my nipples are still aggressively purple.  I wonder if they weren’t always that color, as I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to them before.  My breasts hurt all the time – though much worse when I was pumping or trying to nurse.  I’d say it was about a 1 – 3 on the pain scale most of the time, 3 – 5 during let downs (which happen every hour and half or so), and 6 – 8 when pumping or nursing. 

At the beginning of week two, I went back to the LC.  She remained surprised about the bruising and the pain that wasn’t getting better.  It’s a deep, radiating pain.  She mentioned thrush, and I mentioned Reynaud’s disease, which is a vasospastic disorder that has previously affected my fingers.  Basically, when I am cold, the circulation to my fingers occaisionally shuts off.  My fingers blanch white and go numb – like a limb that falls asleep – and when they warm up, I get some pins and needles, but it doesn’t hurt.  I had read that this can happen to nipples and breast tissue, and though I have trouble associating the painless phenomenon I have observed in my fingers with the incredibly painful issues I was having with my breasts, I felt it worth mentioning.  As soon as I said it, the LC’s eyes lit up.  She was convinced that is the problem, and sent me immediately to my doctor for a prescription for a vasodilator, nifedipine.  He also put me on an aggressive two week course of anti-fungals for possible thrush, as the two issues have overlapping symptoms (deep, radiating, intense pain).  I also started taking fenugreek and blessed thistle to attempt to increase my supply, as well as doing power pumping sessions in the evenings – 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for an hour, instead of the normal 15 minute sessions I did the rest of the day. 

I did not get any immediate relief from the nifedipine, but I did get a wicked headache as a side effect.  I continued to pump every three hours, and attempted to nurse the baby once a day for fear of her developing nipple confusion.  She seemed thankfully content to suck on anything near her mouth hole.  I reeked of maple syrup from the supplements.  I randomly burst into tears at least once every day. 

I was determined not to let breastfeeding make me crazy – early on I read the whole “step one, feed the baby.  step two, enjoy feeding the baby.” credo and at least the first step stuck with me.  Eliza got about 25% formula and 75% expressed breast milk from the day my milk came in.  I remember wanting to delete all the photos where you could see her drinking formula, or out of a bottle, in the first few days because I felt judged (by WHOM??).  I was very glad that my husband could (and would) help feed the baby – I would pump every three hours, and he would feed the baby on approximately the same schedule (determined by her).  I was so glad that he could do it, enjoyed it, but I was also PISSED because he got to hang out and bond with the cute little baby, and I got to hook my tits up to a machine that HURT.  Even after the initial trauma to my nipples healed, it hurt.  It hurt so much that I would cry the entire time I pumped, and eventually I would start crying before I pumped because I knew how much it was going to hurt, every three hours, every day.  I thought about stopping constantly, how much longer could I handle this, but I wanted very much to make it work.  If it had been a matter of flipping a switch, if there were an off button instead of the necessity of ramping down the milk production, I would have stopped.  But I really wanted the bonding experience I’d heard so much about, I wanted the immune system boost for my daughter.  I was worried about the impact on her future – obesity risks, intelligence, things I knew were absurd except at the population level.  

More than any of that, though, I wanted simply not to fail.  

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Eliza at Three Months

Oh y’all, she is just the best.  This month has been filled with more smiles by the day.  Eliza gets so busy smiling and sticking her tongue out that she forgets to sleep.  She is looking around at everything, no longer content to stare back at us when we hold her on our laps.  She is so strong – she will stand up on your lap if you hold her hands, do squats, up and down and wiggle.    We busted out the bouncy swing this month, and now sometimes when she is fussy, it’s because she wants to be upright, bouncing, standing.  She also sits in her knock off bumbo chair while we eat dinner, just watching us and looking around.  She’s babbling up a storm, coos and goos and sometimes multi-syllabic nonsense.  She is still sleeping great, occasionally waking at night but usually sleeping from 9 pm to 7 am or later.  She wakes up just like Kevin – slowly, lots of stretching, resisting the day, making adorable squished up faces against the light.  But as soon as her eyes open and she sees us, it’s all smiles.  And she smiles with her whole body – it starts on her face, big round cheeks and lit up eyes, and then wiggles all the way down to her kicky feet.  Kills me, every time.  

She is reaching for toys, holding on to things – when we put Sophie the Giraffe (favored toy of babies everywhere), you can see her concentrating intensely on grabbing her, and the surprise when she gets Sophie and elicits a squeak is pretty awesome.  She loves other people and especially other babies – she grins ear to ear when we are with Lucy (8 months) or Paige (~2 yrs), but didn’t know what to make of Vaughn (1 week).  She is also just starting to blow raspberries, and it is CUTE.
Eliza slept through Christmas, but has been enjoying her gifts – Sophie, books, toys, and some adorable clothes.  Other exciting highlights were the trip to L.A. for a frisbee tournament last weekend.  Eliza did great on the trip – barely any fussing on the plane, she mostly slept and smiled through the flight.  Once we arrived at our friends’ house, she was so excited she wouldn’t sleep at all.  No naps during the afternoon, and she was up every hour the first night we were there, either grinning or fussing from being over tired, or both.  The next day at the beach, she conked out a good bit and was much more laid back (and sleepy!) for the rest of the trip.  We were able to spend all day Saturday and Sunday at the beach playing frisbee, taking turns holding her, and go out to dinner both nights.  We didn’t end the weekend very well rested, but we had a blast and were really impressed with how flexible E was about the weekend.  Hopefully she stays flexible, because we have lots of fun and traveling coming up this year!
Stats at 3 months (on our home scale, with our own measuring tape):
Weight: 12.6 lbs (57%)
Length:  yeah nevermind.
Head Circumference:  wait for the doc next month, y’all.
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Yearly wrap up, 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Pregnancy, baby, parenthood.  Went to an all-inclusive resort (Mexico, January 2011).  Planned and hosted a baby shower.  Had kidney stones (ouchie!).  Used real power tools to build out a closet.  Went on an overnight rafting/camping trip.  Ran my first 5k since high school. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year’s: some yes, some no.  The monthly food resolutions went off the rails almost immediately when I got pregnant, as I had to eat whatever sounded good at that precise moment, or risk irritating and long-lived bouts of unproductive nausea.  The “self-improvement” resolutions went ok for about half the year – particularly fun were no-iphone-in-social-situations month and recycled bag month.  I also read a fair number of the books I set out to, and cooked many new recipes, and went on many adventures, although I’d guess that none of these were as evenly spaced as intended (nor as well documented).  Thus, since the point, generally, was about intention and attention, I would give myself a C overall (with recognition of a solid excuse). 

This year:  yep! I love resolutions.  I am not sure what all I’m going to do, yet, but I’m sticking with the monthly themes as I think they are much more approachable and attainable.  For January, I’m doing no candy for my food resolution, and 2+ chores per day for self-improvement.  I’ll also be doing a monthly book, recipe, and adventure.  Kevin is going to play along a bit, I think – he’s doing meal planning and exercise this month.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me!  And the Cramers!  It was a big baby year over here in WA, and that will continue in 2012 with at least three more babies in the first three months. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness, again. 

5. What countries did you visit?
Mexico in January, and now my passport is expired, so I can only go to Canada unless I deal with it.  And considering how terrible I am about such things, I’m betting 2012 will be slow, travel wise. 

U.S. places I visited were: Baltimore and D.C (March, SOT and friend-visiting), Versailles OH (June, Pdays!), Atlanta/Savannah/Amicalola (August, family visits and a wedding!).  I feel as though I might be forgetting some others…

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Job security, again, though that likely won’t be confirmed until 2013 at least. 

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 14th, Eliza’s birthday, because a human came out of my brewster.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Utterly cliched, but delivery of the baby.  That was hard, and one of the coolest things I’ve ever done for sure. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
Getting an epidural!  Just kidding, that was a good decision.  Hmm… giving in to my irrational brain on subjects relating to pregnancy.  Such as being too scared to play frisbee while I still could.  That’s not much of a failure though, so instead let’s say: not exercising adequately while pregnant (or since…).

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I haven’t had any significant communicable illness since fall of 2010, which is AWESOME and also a bit like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I did have some exciting medical adventures, such as kidney stones!  And a baby!  And that whole Raynaud’s thing I got diagnosed with in 2010 came back to bite me in the ass boobs as it has made breastfeeding excruciatingly painful.  Hooray! 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Hyundai.  

12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage/car, food, AMAZON.  Amazon Mom is evil and wonderful (free Prime).  Childcare in the last two months has also been a new money drain, hoo boy.   

13. What did you get really excited about?
Eliza.  Watching Keivn play with Eliza.  My parents coming to visit when Eliza was born.  Seeing all my buddies in June for Pdays. 

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
This is terrible, but You’s a Ho (Ludacris), because we replace all the Hos with Bear.  There are a lot of songs we do this to, but this is my favorite. 

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? Happier, though a year ago was pretty solid as well.
thinner or fatter? Interestingly, I am thinner.  Well, I weigh less.  My hips are still a fair amount wider than before.
richer or poorer? Richer, as we both got raises and promotions, but poorer, as we now have an expensive little bear.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Always more adventures.  More sleeping, for the last half of the year.  More frisbee, for the first half.  

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

TV. Procrastinating. Worrying. 

18. How did you spend Christmas?
With my little family!  With a hilarious multi-family video chat on Google+, and dinner at the Cramers’ (complete with Carolyn’s extended family).  Then, the week after, I worked my butt off, so frankly it wasn’t the most relaxing holiday season.  The day itself, though, was fantastic.  Best present: dinosaur marionette from the Crowells.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
I think it was Terra Nova, even though it’s really not very good.  The New Girl is also a new favorite.  I have basically ditched Glee.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I read two books by Zadie Smith that were really fantastic and made me think – White Teeth, and On Beauty.  Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman was hilarious.  I can’t remember what all else I read – I’d like to do better at keeping track.   

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, poppy crap on the radio, my Baroque pandora station.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
“Films,” hah.  Um, Friends with Benefits was hilarious.  Blue Valentine was really good but terribly depressing (sidebar: me and Carolyn ditched work to go see it, on the day I found out I was pregnant). 

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 27.  I remember we were going to go camping on the coast but instead we played in a frisbee tournament in Wenatchee – the last time I got to play before I was deemed too pregnant by my peers.  It was great, as I didn’t anticipate getting to play.  Also, our old roommate Kelly threw me a low country boil at our house, which was really fun and tasty. 

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a magical part time/full pay job.  Or at least having had more leave to spend with little bear.  Also – breastfeeding not sucking so much. 

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Jeans and girly shirts.  Spandex for most of the year.  Since Eliza arrived – jeans, sweater, long underwear (it hurts when I’m cold!  And I lost my personal heater!)

26. What kept you sane?
Kevin, Rebecca, Carolyn. 

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

One I learned many years ago – it’s gonna be fine, so quit worrying about it.

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