Friday, January 28, 2011

Nursing Student (hehe)

My university recently established a Lactation Center in its
newly built Campus Center. 
It was a huge step forward for all the moms on campus! 
Here's what they have to say about it...

"The Wellness Hub supports a mother’s choice to breastfeed her baby while pursuing her graduate or professional degree. Any nursing mother who is a university affiliate (faculty, staff, student, or their breastfeeding spouse/domestic partner) can register to use the Wellness Hub Lactation Station in room 339 in the Campus Center."

Equipped with a hospital grade pump, you can bring your own accessories,
or your own personal pump.
While I have a closet in my building to use
(don't even get me started on how COLD it is in there),
this center was extremely helpful the day the power was out in my building!

I received an email today from KaraS, a wellness fellow at the center, inviting me to speak as a "peer expert" as part of a class that focuses on having a good start with breastfeeding, basic breastfeeding techniques, and how to work breastfeeding into your work or school life. 
Little ole me?  Really? 
I'm so excited to help a fellow student!  I remember when I first returned to work and how difficult it was to shut out the world and focus on providing nourishment for Miss T.  The awkward absences from lab, the jarring knocks on my closet door (hello! I'm busy!), the freely flowing tears as I poured over picture after picture of Miss T, missing her dearly
every.single.day. 

Before accepting this offer, I quickly jotted down some of my tricks and experiences.  For example
-not wearing a dress to work unless it had buttons down the front (my fellow momma's understand!)
-trying to schedule and coordinate pumping with T's feeding times
-giving up the idea that I could be productive during this time and instead just relaxed
-dealing with the ever dreaded bottle strike!
So, I'll be sending a recap after the class, it's scheduled for February 9th at noon. 
I'm so excited to meet some new or soon to be mommas and share my experiences! 
Wish me luck!

-Melissa

p.s. If any of you have tips, tricks or insights to share on how you were able to fit pumping into your work/school routine, I'd love to hear about it!

p.p.s My own title made me laugh, that's why the "hehe"!  Yep, I'm corny like that!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One of those days...

I was having one of those days today. 
You know, the ones where the littlest thing is the biggest deal in the world and you either need to scream or cry
Today it was my birthday cake. 
Yes, my birthday was 11 days ago.
 It's been a crazy month and this is the first chance I had to make it.  I baked it last night and let it cool over night.  For once, I was actually going to let it cool completely before trying to frost!  Try as I might, baking is not my thing.  For all the other crafty, homemaker type things I can pick up with relative ease, baking is not one of them, my cookies are hard, my brownies are burnt and my cakes, well...
As I was trying to remove the cake from the pan, of course it falls apart into pieces. 
OK, I can deal with this. 
I pieced it together and placed the second half on top.  Luckily, that came out in one piece.  As I tried to frost the thing, the frosting wouldn't stick to the cake and instead, just picked up layers and layers of crumbs.  What should have been a white frosted red velvet cake looked more like a
red massacre cake
 So much for making one of these for valentines day! 
The massacre was the last straw for me and I started crying.  I know it's stupid, but I was so frustrated.  I served B and I two pieces anyways
(I was determined to enjoy it if it killed me!)
and sat at the table with Miss T.  She was done with lunch and had had 100's of puffs by then.  Then this happened...


What can I say?  She lights up my life and makes me laugh so hard I was crying and my cheeks hurt!  I'm going to have to keep that video on speed dial or something just in case one of those moods hits again. 
Who can resist that smile and that laugh?!

Here's part two of that drumming episode.  She was really getting into it by now:




Friday, January 21, 2011

Threat to my neighborhood...

I learned yesterday that there is a new threat to my neighborhood. 

I live in a very busy, high crime city.  We live right down town.  Despite that, our neighborhood is safe, quiet and clean.  We have our neighbors to thank for that.  We are caring, hard working families and students that are heavily invested in the future of our neighborhood.  But all this stands to be destroyed by a new nightclub venue that is applying for a liquor license just a hundred yards from my front door.  This club is applying to be able to serve and sell carry-out alcohol 20 hours a day, 7 days a week!  It seems that every Monday, the news is telling us about another shooting, stabbing, rape, etc. that happens in one of these downtown clubs and now its coming to my front step! 


http://www.youtube.com/user/WVDAChannel#p/a/u/1/BrM4aM74emU

I have written the following personal letter to include with my formal opposition letter to the zoning and liquor board.  We need your prayers that those involved will take the concerns of me and my neighbors seriously and will not allow this club to open.  Here is my letter:

Baltimore Municipal Zoning Appeals
417 E. Fayette Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this personal letter in addition to the attached formal opposition letter. I have been a resident of Barre Circle (part of Pigtown) for almost five years now. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, in safe, quiet towns and was a little uneasy about moving to Baltimore and living in the city. In time, I have grown to love this city, mostly because of the wonderful neighborhood I am blessed to live in. Thanks in large part to the snow last year, I have gotten to know my neighbors well and I can see that they are hardworking families that care about their homes and neighbors. On Saturdays, they spend their time outside, whether hot or cold, cleaning up the sidewalks, raking leaves, trimming back plants, and planting flowers. We maintain our parks and provide our own funds for landscaping. We organize community clean-up projects and get-togethers year round. This community, nicknamed Little Georgetown 30 years ago when it was rehabilitated, takes a lot of pride in our appearance and in our welcome attitude.
What we are not welcoming however, is the possibility of a nightclub/entertainment venue that has the potential to erode and destroy all that my neighbors and I have worked hard for. The Ambrosia Music Lounge (“club” hereafter) is applying for a liquor license that would allow it to serve and sell carry-out alcohol 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. This would bring in a type of activity that would render our neighborhood very family-unfriendly and would force many of us to leave. These hours would have very loud, intoxicated people in our neighborhood at all hours of the day and night, disturbing our quiet, little community. The “club” has not made proper provisions for parking that would result in overflow parking into our neighborhood, forcing our residents to park far away from their homes and walk in an unsafe environment. The “club” has not made proper provisions for trash accumulation and would result in our once clean sidewalks being used as trash cans, where litter, spoiled food, and broken glass would make it unsafe for our children to walk, never mind play.

When my husband and I started our family last year, we contemplated leaving the city, being fearful of how safe the environment would be for our children. Seeing other families in our neighborhood reassured us that we were in a safe place and that this was an appropriate place to raise children. We felt so secure, in fact, that we purchased the house we had been renting. Our decision would be drastically different if the proposed “club” were to open right around the corner from us. We currently enjoy being able to walk our child and our dog around our neighborhood without fear of crime or harassment. We enjoy being able to walk to the University where I am a full time graduate student and my husband is employed at the hospital. We enjoy being able to contribute to a caring neighborhood and build relationships with other families around us. We will no longer be able to enjoy these things if this club opens up at 756 Washington Blvd. and we will immediately begin making plans to sell our house and leave, before the “club” can have a negative effect on our property value.

I hope you will take these concerns into consideration as you investigate and review the application for a liquor license for the proposed “club”. The residents of Barre Circle and Pigtown are greatly concerned about their neighborhood and are very invested in its future. Please work with us to ensure that our neighborhood can continue to be the family-friendly oasis in the city that it has been for many years. You may contact me directly if you would like to speak further regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Melissa

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Can I get a hand please?

Yes, it's halfway through January and I'm just getting around to my resolutions.
(I'm famous for procrastinating!) 
Here's the thing, I have a very big year planned for me regarding school, Miss T, a new business, among other things.  I've spent the last couple of days making plans for the year. And I've found myself sinking into a downward spiral of panic.  Here's what I've got planned:
Graduate by the end of December,
launch my Etsy shop,
find new daycare place/provider for Miss T by June. 
Any one of these things would be a huge undertaking, put them all together and it's a perfect storm for
"Everything has to be perfect"-Me
However, none of these things is my actual resolution.  My resolution is
(I'm being really brave here because it's hard for me to share this stuff sometimes, all the time)
to grow my relationship with God.
Ok, deep breath, it's out there. 
Growing up as Holiday Catholics (you know, Christmas and Easter, baptized but not confirmed), we didn't talk about God, He wasn't an every day presence in our lives, and we certainly didn't turn to Him for help. 
My husband will tell you that I am
Miss Independent-I-can-do-it-ALL-BY-MYSELF
(thank-you-very-much).
Well, I can't.  Just admitting that I can't is hard enough for me, but now I really need to turn to God,
because,
well,
I just can't do all of this without Him.  I know that He can see me through, and that by growing closer to Him, I will be a better wife, Mom, and student/scientist.  He is the center of all of this and so I'm making Him the center of my resolution. 

So with that, I'm leaving you with my favorite verse of all time. 
This verse saw me through my recovery (physical and emotional) after our miscarriage. 
If it could carry me then, it can certainly carry me now.

Jeremiah 29:11
""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Embrace the Camera Day!

Like many others, I stumble upon interesting blogs through other blogs in my reader. 
Today, I found one that I really connected with.


This mom astutely pointed out
how much we like to look back at pictures of our parents
when we were kids,
but as parents,
we aren't as interested in being in the pictures as our adorable subjects

So with some encouragement,
I am resolving to change my attitude
and try to capture
how much I love Miss T
so that she can look back some day and see it!

With that, here are some pictures of her and I - enjoy!

The 1st of millions of pictures of our baby girl!

My little snuggle bunny...

I shall call her my squishy
and she shall by mine...

...and she shall be my squishy!

Who knew a picture in a rest stop could be so cute!

And, staaaannddd uuuuppp!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Birthday present ever!

Since turning 30, birthdays really aren't a big deal to me anymore. 
(They really weren't before either.) 
See, I'm blessed with having a birthday that falls immediately after the Christmas season when everyone needs a break from
shopping,
wrapping,
gifts,
bills
and family. 
My darling husband has always made it a point to treat me very well on my birthday and has given me amazing gifts - Tiffany jewelry, snowboard, etc. 
This year, the big 33, was no exception. 
True to our form, I received my birthday gift early. 
Neither one of us can stand to wait to give each other gifts on the correct day. 
This applies to birthdays,
Christmas,
Valentine's Day,
and anniversaries. 
This year, my wonderful husband got me this awesome watch -


I absolutely love it and have worn it every day since!  However, this wasn't the gift I was thinking of in my blog title.  Nope, it's a close second to the other gift I received, this one from my beautiful baby girl
Apparently, Daddy let her know how we do gifts in our family and I received this present one day early.  Daddy was right on par in getting the whole deal on video too.  Check it out...


Yep. 
You heard it too, right? 
And it wasn't in the middle of
screaming.
crying,
whining. 
My baby girl finally said a version of mama! 
Sure it was more like mumumumum, but I'm from New England, and there we say Mum (we like to stay true to our redcoat roots over there even if we were mostly to thank for kicking them out of our country!). 
I'm not lying here, the first 20 times I watched this, I choked back the tears (ok, I let a few fall!). 
Thanks baby girl!  I love you! 
(I love you too B! Thanks for capturing this!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's all fun and games

Miss T had her 9 month check up yesterday. 
Even though she is a lazy little butt, and is perfectly content not to:
crawl,
roll,
pull herself up,
or cruise
she is a wonderfully healthy little girl. :^)

Since I like to brag about her, here are her stats:

Head 43.5 cm = ~50th percentile
Weight 17 lbs, 1 oz. = ~20th percentile
Height 28 in. = ~60th percentile

Anyways, in the monthly motor skills evaluation, there were several questions that I simply couldn't answer about her development.
Not because I don't spend every available waking moment with her
Not because I couldn't understand the question
But, because the question was about a nursery game that I had no idea
I was supposed to be playing with her.

Now, I've never been the kind of woman who oohs and ahhs over every single baby I see, and I certainly didn't dream about becoming a mom until just a couple of years before Miss T's arrival.  So, I was horribly unprepared for the enormity of nursery  protocols that I'm just supposed to know about!

Well, wouldn't you know, my free American Baby Magazine has a nice little article in this months issue about the essential nursery games
On their website, they have a list of those you need to know.
I know 6 out of 10.  I'm so sorry Miss T!  Oy.
I have a lot of catching up to do.
Wouldn't you know, the one that was on the sheet at the doctor's office 
is also on this list.
Guess I should have known that one.  Bad mommy, bad mommy.
 
I'll admit which one, I don't know the "Soooo big" game. 
There. 
I said it. 
Phew, that feels better.
 
If there are any others out there, who also have just about no clue, the Just Mommies websites and a quick little description about this one and a few others.
 
I guess, instead of reading all those pregnancy books, I should have been reading nursery rhyme books to prepare for this phase of motherhood. 
How big of a silly mommy am I? 
Soooo big!