Sunday, October 31, 2010


You were starting to fall asleep, so I put on some soft piano music and laid you in your crib.  You fussed a little, so I held you in my arms and rocked in the rocking chair, the puppies warm at my feet.  I drank a cup of tea, looking around your room and thinking of all the love that I felt in every part of it.  I watched your eyelids grow heavier and heavier, your breathing become even and deep, and the familiar warm heaviness in your sweet little body. 

I thought of just how much I love you.  Of how precious my little family is to me.

And I watched you smile and laugh in your dreams.

And I prayed that you will always know just how loved you are.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Plight of a Nursing Mama

Hello, my name is Mandy and I am a starving nursing mother.

I've always had sort of a "delicate" (read: picky) appetite.  Until I popped out my baby and started breastfeeding.

HOLY COW (no pun intended...hahaha!), I started eating like a pig.  Like every time I sat down to nurse (every 2 hours).  And no skimpy diet girl portions for me - no, thank you!  I wanted MEALS!  With MEAT (which, as being a longtime vegetarian, was a huge surprise!)!

Cut to five months later...still nursing, and still eating like a pig.  Once a couple of weeks ago I even ate more than my husband (I am embarrassed to admit...).  I am hungry all.the.time. 

The only problem?  For once in my life I can eat what I want (with a great excuse and no weight gain!), but have NO TIME to make anything to eat!

Oh, the cruel irony.

So, be warned.  Lock up any food if I'm coming to your house.  I'm a starving nursing mother and it's all fair game.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Parenting Lesson 101

Part of being a good parent, I think, is knowing when to help your child and when to let them struggle in order to help them learn.

Take rolling over, for example.  It was THE HARDEST THING EVER to watch my poor baby struggle and work and fuss when he was first learning to roll over.  He would cry with frustration when his body just wouldn't do what he wanted it to do! It was so tempting to just reach over and help him every single time, save him all that frustration - but I knew I couldn't swoop in and do the work for him, that he needed that frustration to do the learning he needed to do.  And now look at him - rolling over both directions faster than I can keep up with him!

Last night, Cole was sitting in my lap when his pacifier fell out.  I didn't pop it back in right away, so I could see what he did with it.  He deliberately picked it up and put it back in his own mouth.  (I know, he's a genius, right?!)  Let me tell you, I was one proud mama! 

But at the same time, it's just a wee bit sad.  Just one more way my baby is growing independent from me!  But I rejoice in every new thing he learns, every tiny step as he grows...there is nothing as amazing as watching my child learn - even if it kills me to watch him struggle as he does it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Working mamas

I don't know how working mamas do it.  I guess when you don't have a choice, you do whatever you have to do.  But me - I loathe having to work and leave my baby at home.

It's not that I don't love my job.  I truly do - I'm one of those lucky people that adores what they do.  It's not that I don't love my coworkers, because I work with some of the most fabulous people who are fantastic teachers.   And it's not that I don't love my students, because I love my kids with my whole heart.  I just love my son more than all that.

And it's that I HATE missing out on parts of my baby's life.  I HATE spending more time with someone else's children than my own.  I HATE feeling torn all the time - thinking of Cole at work, wishing I were home with him - and thinking of work stuff when I'm at home with my family.

Yes, the money is nice.  But every single one of my baby's smiles is priceless.  His laugh, his rolling over, every new thing he learns - it's too precious to miss. 

I am so fortunate that my husband supports me staying home with Cole.  And I'm counting down the minutes until my job is over and I can cuddle my baby all day long!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


We (and by "we" I of course mean Chris...I am a working mama, I barely have time to shower!) set up Cole's crib a couple weeks ago.  And just in time - he barely fits into his bassinet anymore! 

I was sooo excited to set up his bumpers that Gram made...and look how adorable it all turned out!

I LOVE it!!!  And more importantly, Cole loves it! When he's trying to fall asleep, he runs his fingers along his crib bumper - it's the cutest thing ever, how gently and lovingly he strokes the bumper!

Thanks, Gram, for all your hard work!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Daddy and Cole, dancing together before bedtime:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Baby,

Dear Cole,

As I was rushing frantically around this morning, desperately searching for an outfit to wear to work, my mind on the day's lesson plans and problem started to wake up in your bassinet next to the bed.  The sound of your sweet coos as your eyes struggled to open this morning; your tiny fingers clutching at my chest as you turned your head toward my warmth, your sleepy eyes opening and finding mine...these moments will stay with me all through the day, when feeling frustration with a difficult student or inadequate at my job, or when the exhaustion tries to overtake me.

My darling son, you are with me every moment of every day.  I love you with all my heart.

Love, Mama


I love Fridays.

I've always loved Fridays...but since I've started working again, I've gained a whole new appreciation for the beauty of Fridays. 

Fridays are the beginning of the weekend.  Friday evenings are spent blissfully holding and playing with my little man, without the lesson planning and lunch-packing that the rest of the weekdays involve.

And the best part of Fridays?  The next day is Saturday.  Saturday-the-day-of-no-work day!

Saturdays are the days I snuggle my son in bed with me in the dim early morning light, dreaming of the day in the not-so-distant-future where I can snuggle him all morning long.  Saturdays are the days I put off taking a shower and putting on makeup, because that would mean having to put my beautiful boy down.  Saturdays are the days I tickle my baby to hear him laugh, and give him a bath even if he doesn't need it just because he loves it so much.  Saturdays are the days I put off thinking about work and chores and housecleaning and errands...and just enjoy every moment with my little family. 

Right now, I live for Saturdays.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

This afternoon we went to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin. 

Cole was a little sleepy, but loved checking out all the bright orange pumpkins:


Because we haven't had enough pictures on here lately:

A mother's instincts

Motherhood is a constant learning curve.  I learn something new every single day.

Number one most important thing I've learned? (Other than to always bring extra diapers?)  To trust my instincts.

I haven't always been a "trust your instincts" kind of gal.  I research, back my opinions up with academic studies, and always ask the experts.

But I have discovered that the experts don't know my baby.  They can't research his cries or tell me what makes him smile. They can't mother my son the way I can.

So I've learned to listen to my mothering instincts and I've never regretted it.  Cole may not always have mainstream opinion guiding his little life, but he'll have my instincts which are based on they are automatically best!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Becoming a mama has turned me into a total sap.

A blubbering, wussy, sap.

I was always pretty sensitive.  But things that maybe made me a little sad before I had Cole, now I need Kleenex.

Take yesterday, for example.  I read "Stellaluna", to my students.  It's about a bat that loses its mama and is raised by birds.  Now, it's a children's story, so of course it has a happy ending (mama and baby bat are reunited)...but it didn't matter.  I've read the story before, but it didn't matter.  I had to actually STOP READING to my class to go get a tissue to wipe the tears that were streaming down my face from this children's story!!

The students all had these confused looks on their faces - "Um, why are you crying, Mrs. Figueroa?  It's just a book, it's pretend!"

Guess I better not read any Nicholas Sparks books... we're almost out of tissues!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Yesterday, Cole and I spent a half hour straight laughing together.  Over nothing.

Best. 30 minutes. Ever.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

oh sleep, how I miss thee

oh sleep, how I miss thee. 

There are only a few things I miss about my pre-baby life: reading, yard sales, and SLEEP.

I was always one of those people that needed A LOT of sleep.  We're talking seven hours as an absolute MINIMUM.  Ten was ideal.  If I didn't get my seven hours...well, let's just say I wasn't going to win any Miss Congeniality awards (just ask my husband). 

Enter Baby Boy.

Yeah, they SAY newborns sleep 20 hours a day.  Obviously, whoever says that has never actually HAD a newborn for 24 hours straight. 

Cole would wake up every 2 hours to nurse.  And nurse for 45 minutes to an hour each time.  And then I'd get him back down to sleep, fall asleep for 15 minutes, and awake to his hungry cries, to blearily start all over again.

Even though it's a lot better now, I am ALWAYS TIRED.  24/7, tired.  And you know what really kills me?  When I say good morning and someone proceeds to tell me how tired they are.  Oh, you're tired, huh?  Oh, I'm SO SORRY you only got 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night because you stayed up late to finish a movie.  YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TIRED MEANS!!

Now, if I get four or five hours of sleep per night, I am one happy camper.  Still tired, but at least able to function with some semblence of humanity. I never thought I would be saying that four hours of sleep makes me happy - oh how babies change us!

The moral of this story?  If you don't have kids, STOP READING RIGHT NOW AND GO SLEEP WHILE YOU CAN!  If you do have kids, WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?  STOP READING AND GO SLEEP!

And don't worry: my baby is totally worth not ever having a good night's sleep again.  Just don't ask me that at 3 am when I've had no sleep.

A letter to myself

I was writing in Cole's baby book the other day when I came across this question:

"What would you like to tell yourself if you could go back to just before your baby was born?"

So I thought I'd write a letter to myself pre-baby. 

Dear Myself,

      In just a few short weeks, your life will change drastically. 
       You'll learn just how possible it is to function on almost no sleep.

       You'll learn a whole new level of patience for this tiny little baby.  But remember to give yourself a break - you're still learning, and that's ok.  Cole's going to love you no matter what, even if you accidentally bump his head on the table and make him cry.

     Things will change.  Your thoughts and opinions will change.  What makes you happy will change.  What you believe is important will change.

      You think you know just what you're in for, but really you have no idea.  People tell you how much you will love that little squirming ball of sweetness, how you've never known the capacity of love you will have until you hold your child in your arms, and you smile and nod but you think you're pretty awesome at loving things already, thankyouverymuch...and then Chris places that slippery, sweet baby in your arms and all of a sudden you'll realize just how much you love that little baby.

And you'll realize they were all right, absolutely've had no idea.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

78 Days till Christmas!

I love Christmas more than any other holiday.  I love everything about it.  Right after Halloween, I always start to get excited.  And since this year we have our new little addition to spoil, I figure I'm allowed to start getting excited a little earlier than usual.

Even though Cole will be a mere six months old this Christmas, I'm SOOOOO excited to buy him presents!  Um, but Mandy?, you say.  You know he's not even going to KNOW it's Christmas, right?  I know, I know, but I will, and I can't wait to make his first Christmas uber special.  So I've been planning on some things I'd love to look for:

I'm loving this wooden rainbow rattle:

 And Cole would just adore chewing on these fabric rings:
 I read that blocks are one of the best infant toys - I like the soft ones for right now, my wee one's muscle control is still developing:

 These soft rattles are a.dorable:

And since Cole is starting to teethe, these colorful wooden teethers are just what the doctor ordered:
Now if I only had this many ideas for Chris' presents, I'd be all set!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I woke up crying this morning.

Last night I was blog surfing and found this heartbreaking blog about a family who had lost their newborn son to a heart defect.

To be honest, I can't tell you much more than that, because I simply could not stand to read it. 

I could not stand the heartbreak these parents must have felt, will feel, every single day for the rest of their lives.

I cannot imagine the pain.

My heart hurts for every parent who has ever lost a child.

Having been a mama now for four months, I have an understanding of the immense love that parents have for their children.  To have that taken away... words cannot describe.

Today, I will hold Cole a little closer than usual.  I will tickle him more, laugh with him more, kiss him more, and not think a single time about the laundry or dishes or unpacking I should be doing. 

I will stare at my perfect, handsome, healthy son and thank God a million times for him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Boob Juice

Can I just brag about me for just one teeny tiny second here?

Ok thanks.

I am so proud of me.

Why, you ask?

Here's why:

Yup, that's a freezer full of breast milk.  Boob juice.  And that's not even all of it.  That's probably not even HALF of it.  I have so much I have to store over half in Chris' parents' freezer because we would have no room for food in our freezer if I didn't.   You know, important stuff like ice cream.

Oh big woop, you are probably thinking.  What's the big deal about a freezer (TWO freezers!) full of milk? 

Well let me tell you.

As you know, the whole breastfeeding thing didn't work out for us.  I was heartbroken, but still wanted the best nutrition for my baby.  So I pump, which is incredibly hard work and a huge time commitment.  And then I had to work even harder to build up my supply enough, and to make sure I had some stored up for when I had to go back to work.  That meant pumping ALL THE TIME, getting up several times per night.  It meant planning my days around pumping every 2 hours.  It meant worrying over my supply constantly. And now that I'm working, it means spending time pumping alone in my classroom instead of socializing with my friends. It would have been so much easier to give up and switch to formula.

But I haven't given up.  And I won't give up.  And I am so proud that I can give my son the most perfect nutrition even when the going gets tough.

And just think of the guilt trips I can put on him later on - "I suffered through hours of painful pumping to give you the healthiest food, the least you can do is to clean your room!"

Parenting is not easy.  Doing the best I can as a parent is not always easy.  But I have so much confidence in myself as a parent by doing this for my son.  It's all worth it, a million times over!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Autumn has Arrived

After a week of record high temperatures - nearly 90 degrees! - we are finally getting some lovely cooler fall temperatures. Cole is all ready:

We plan on spending the day ignoring my ridiculously long to-do list by listening to Paul Simon and Eva Cassidy, drinking hot chocolate, and being snuggled up warm together on the couch with the puppies. I love weekends!

A visit from Gram

 Gram came to visit the past couple of weeks.  Cole is, of course, in love:

We can't wait to see you again, Gram!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dear Baby,

Dear Cole,

Today is your four-month birthday. 

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about time passing.  It sounds strange, but I loved you so much from the very beginning.  I loved the snuggly brand-new newborn stage - your little mewing sounds, the jerky limbs.  I loved the wide-eyed older newborn stage - your new awareness and curiosity of the world around you, your strength and personality starting to show.  How could I possibly love you any more?

It turns out, it is possible.  And each stage of your little life just keeps getting better and better. 

I can't wait to see what's next!

Love, Mama
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...