Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The worst thing about nursing a toddler

Milk Dud will be 16-months on Thursday! Yes, he is definitely a toddler and definitely still nursing. He is very gymnastic and drives me crazy sometimes.

Here is the worst thing about nursing a toddler:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Couch 2 5K

So, I decided that I was going to run in a 5K this coming year. It's an early new year's resolution along with getting my fat, lazy butt into better shape. I've been going to a gym since October, but I hadn't gotten on the treadmill to run until a couple of weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised that the introductory levels of the Couch 2 5K program felt way too easy. Yes, I know I'm running inside on a treadmill with zero incline, but my plan was to get the time and then add the speed and elevations.

Today, I did week 6 day 3. I was terrified. The training program for today was 5 minutes of walking, 25 minutes of running, then 5 minutes of walking. I don't think I have ever run 25 minutes straight in my entire life... at the very least, since I was on the track team in 8th grade. As the minutes ticked by, I plodded my way through and made it. I know it's not a big accomplishment for most people, but it is for me.

So, here is the 5K I plan on running: http://redshoeshuffle.org/ It's in April, so I have lots and lots of time. I'm sure I will get my butt kicked, but it is a goal and something to work toward. Besides, isn't the Baltimore Ronald McDonald house a great cause?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Little Food Thieves

As I am sitting here trying to finish my glass of lemonade, I can't help but try to remember the last time I was allowed to eat or drink something without being asked "Can I have some?" or screamed at until I shared. The little food thieves have consumed or chewed up and spit out a little part of every meal I have eaten in their presence since L was 8 months old. They don't care what it is or if they have the same thing in toddler/preschooler-sized pieces. They have to try MINE.

Do the little food thieves visit you at meal times?

Darn it! They drank all of my lemonade!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Adoption Month!

I know... I know... Bad Alyssa... She hasn't blogged in MONTHS. I've been busy, okay :P

November is National Adoption Month. I was adopted as an infant and I think adoption is absolutely wonderful. I think I will try and blog this month about the subject.

Do you know anyone who was adopted? Would you ever adopt a child?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Outcomes from pediatric strokes

According to CHASA, here are some of the outcomes from pediatric strokes

  • 85% of infants who have strokes live to adulthood
  • Between 50 and 80 percent of infants and children will have serious, long‐term challenges including: hemiplegia or hemiparesis (one‐sided paralysis); seizures; and speech, visual, behavioral and learning difficulties.
  • Many of these victims will require acute and/or long term rehabilitation

Monday, May 9, 2011

A walk for pediatric stroke

This weekend, some of my extended family members participated in an Orlando area walk to raise money for pediatric stroke. I don't know how much money they raised, but I'm proud of everyone who participated. I wish I could have walked with you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day to my 3 moms

I'm going to take a break from blogging about pediatric strokes today because I want to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mothers Day, especially my three moms. "How do you have three moms?" you may ask. Well, let me tell you.

First of all, Happy Mothers Day to the woman everyone knows as my mother. I was adopted as an infant by a wonderful, loving family who opened their hearts and homes to two babies when they were unable to have any of their own. Mom, you loved me and made sure I had every advantage in life. I appreciate everything you ever did for me. Thank you so much.

Secondly, Happy Mothers Day to the mother of my dear husband. Without you, the man I married would not exist at all. You molded him into a wonderful man who takes care of all of us. You accepted me into your family and treat me like your own daughter. You are a wonderful grandmother to my two sons.

My third mother is my biological mother. I was born shortly before you turned 16. I know that placing me for adoption was a hard choice for you. Thank you for giving me life.

To all the moms out there, I hope you have a wonderful day. To all those who have lost their mothers and have a hard time on this holiday, may you have some peace to day.

video

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why is diagnosis of an infant stroke difficult?

Diagnosing a stroke in an infant can be quite difficult. Their brains have not matured enough to observe the subtle signs of a stroke. Often, not using one hand is attributed to the other hand being the dominant one. Sometimes when a baby is late in crawling or walking, doctors just believe that the baby is going to do things late and doesn't look for an underlying reason.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Causes of Infant Stroke

According to CHASA, there are more than 100 causes of strokes in infants and children. These can be caused by things ranging from congenital heart disease, hematological disorders, vascular disorders, sickle cell disease, metabolic disease and an infection while the child has chicken pox. Unfortunately, more than 10% of children who have a stroke will never learn the cause of their stroke.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is Hemiplegia?

Some victims of childhood stroke are classified has having hemiplegia. This means that they have a paralysis on one side of their body, generally due to disease or injury to the centers of the brain associated with motor control. This is a type of cerebral palsy. This condition is not progressive and cannot be cured. There are therapeutic ways of treating the condition, such as braces, orthotics,  and splints.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Signs of a stroke in an infant

Strokes in infants can be difficult to diagnose. A baby can't tell you what's wrong or if something feels weird or hurts. Most infants aren't diagnosed until they show developmental delays or an early hand preference. My niece was lucky. She was diagnosed quite early.

Here are a few of the signs of a pediatric stroke
  • Seizures on one side of the body
  • Apnea
  • Early hand preference (before 10months)
  • Poor feeding
  • Gross motor development delays
  • Restricted movement in arms and legs
  • Delays in language development
In older children, symptoms include seizures or sudden paralysis of one side of the body.

All of this information can be found on the CHASA Website and on Kids Have Strokes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Can you tie your shoe with one hand?

Survivors of strokes often have limited or no use of one hand. They have to learn to adapt to do things that most of us take for granted.

When I was in college, I had a brace on my left hand for several months. Although I am right-handed, I never realized how many things I could not do because of the brace. I can only imagine the things for which a stroke victim has to learn to compensate. A simple act of tying one's shoe is made much more difficult when you only have one hand.

Here is a video I found of a child tying a shoe with one hand and limited use of the other hand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CJxc5MKlVk

Why don't you try to do a few things with just one hand today?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kids have strokes, too

When I was 9 years old, my grandmother had a stroke. I thought strokes were something that only happened to older people. Unfortunately, I learned differently in 2009.

According to CHASA, 1 in 4000 babies will have a stroke before they are a month old and 11 out of 100,000 children will have a stroke before their 18th birthday. Somewhere between 20-40% of those strokes are fatal. Strokes are more common in boys than in girls. Those numbers are shocking to me.

Just my little tidbit about pediatric strokes today in honor of my niece and to help create awareness for the condition.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Streaking for Pediatric Strokes

For those of you who don't know me, my dear niece A, had 3 strokes in utero. The Children's Hemiplegia & Stroke Association (CHASA) is sponsoring an event called Streak for Pediatric Stroke for the month of May to help promote awareness of this issue. My streak is that I am going to do my very best to blog every day for the month. I will tell you a little about my niece and her condition over the next 31 days. She is a true blessing and I love her dearly.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holidays and nursing

Any set of holidays can make nursing difficult. If you're busy going from place to place and are in crowded settings, you may overwhelmed.

With Easter and Passover happening, there are lots of family gatherings between church, Easter egg hunts, seders (I know I'm a little behind on that), and other group meals. Your nursling may become distracted or disinterested in nursing. I experienced this a great deal and found the best way to deal with it was to take the baby to a quiet room and feed him there. Lots of people have no problems feeding their baby in public and that's fine, too. I'm totally jealous of that ability. It is especially useful if you have a child who reacts by being constantly "latched-on."

Remember Jesus was a breastfed baby boy. Moses probably had a wet nurse.





This was Squirty's first Easter in 2009.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm back...

We went on a trip to visit my family and have Milk Dud christened in Florida. It was nice to get away, eat too much food, and visit with my family. The christening was in the church where my husband and I were married, but they have a new pastor. He's a Gator! He asked if we knew about the "Holy Trinity" and then proceeded to show us a picture of the three Heisman trophy winners from my alma mater, The University of Florida! He proclaimed Milk Dud as the best behaved baby boy he'd ever baptized.

We also went to The Magic Kingdom. What convinced me to wear Milk Dud in the Ergo all day? My back was killing me by the end of it. He did have a nice nap, though. Squirty had a blast. He got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Buzz Lightyear and Peter Pan.

I'm glad to be home. Now, I'm trying to get the boys back on a schedule.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What it's like to have a preemie

Most people look at my 2.5-year old and don't think anything of the fact that he is running around, jumping and screaming colors at people. I have a cousin who totally laughed at me for calling Squirty a "special needs" child. Those people didn't have a child who was a preemie.

At 33-weeks, my OB called to tell me I had developed HELLP syndrome. The magnesium sulfate I was given prior to my c-section and for 24 hours after, made the birth experience a total blur. Unlike most new moms, I didn't really get to see my child. It was "here he is" and he was whisked off to the NICU in spite of an APGAR of 9. He was in the NICU for 13 days. In the time, he was transferred hospitals twice. We were blessed with a short stay, though.

Then, he came home... If I thought the NICU was scary, I had no idea that all the extra doctors' appointments for having a baby that weighed 4 pounds would be terrifying. Squirty had a heart murmur and brain hemorrhage. Those required several appointment with cardiologist and neurologists. Our insurance company denied him the RSV vaccination because he was born at 33-weeks, not 32-weeks. I was scared to go anywhere. I barely left the house that winter.

Of course, there is the reflux... Yes, I know full-term babies get it, too. When your 6-lb 2 month old is throwing up on you after every feeding, you panic... This required constant doctors' appointments to get the dosage of medicine right and my baby to sleep in a car seat. Unfortunately, I think it cause some of his gross motor delays.

At 9-months, he wasn't crawling or sitting up on his own, so we we had a physical therapist come to our house. He did walk basically on-time at 14-months. He was classified as normal at 15-months as he was doing everything he should and was on all 3 growth charts.

He is 2.5, now. We are dealing with the terrible twos just like any other mom of a 2-year old. I will always see him as that tiny baby in the NICU attached to monitors with tubes everywhere. He may not currently have any special needs, but the ones we had in the beginning were very draining on me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Milk Dud eats a noodle

Okay, so this post is mostly so my mom can see him in all his cuteness, eating noodles. He is the cutest chubby little man, ever. I love him :)
video

Trying to run in a 5K

When I was in middle school, I was on the track team. I loved to run. Unfortunately, I stopped doing it in high school. When I've lost weight previously, I did aerobics and walked a lot. This time, I want to do The Shred, Couch 2 5K and some push-up, sit-up and squat challenges.

Last year when a family friend lost her long battle to breast cancer, I decided I wanted to do the Komen Race for the Cure. I was unable to participate this past year. I was only a few weeks post-partum. A few weeks ago, I started doing the Couch 2 5K program that I downloaded in the fall. I started week 3 yesterday. I feel great. I made it further than I did the last time I tried. I'm hoping to get through it all this time. A fellow Baltimore Mommy is running in the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K at the end of June. I'd like to attempt to run in this one. It raises money for gynecological cancers and is only women. Apparently, you can do it with a jogging stroller, so maybe I will run with one of the boys. If I keep it up, I should be through with C 2 5K by the end of May, so I could work on improving my time by then. If not, I have all summer and part of the fall to train for the Race for the Cure.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Milk Dud goes to the park

It was about 80 here today, so I loaded up the boys and took them to the park. It was Milk Dud's first trip. We watched his big brother go down the slides and then we went to the swings. I was a bit leery of putting my 7.5-month old in a swing. He had a blast. Here are a few pictures.






video

Breastfeeding tip of the week 4/4

My breastfeeding tip of the week is to seek help if you need it. If you are having trouble nursing, contact a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League leaders.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Breastfeeding tip of the week 3/28

My breastfeeding tip of the week is to find a sling or baby carrier in which you are able to feed your child. I have several carriers, but have only been able to successfully nurse Milk Dud in my Mei tai style carrier. I'm not feeding him in this picture, but I can quite easily :)

Why do I watch this crap?

I hate it... I got sucked into "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Why do I watch this crap? I did the first season, but when she didn't give the baby up for adoption, I decided I was done with it. I felt so bad for the gay couple who wanted to adopt her baby. Now, some other girl is pregnant on the show. Things certainly have changed since I was a teenager. Maybe I should watch the news instead.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My breastfeeding journey

Okay, so with a blog entitled "Trapped Under a Milk Dud", I probably should blog a little more about breastfeeding.... So here goes my experience...

Breastfeeding did not come naturally to me. I am adopted and was not breastfed. I don't remember seeing anyone breastfeed until I was 28 years old and my friend Jen was nursing her daughter at a table when we went out to lunch one day. I never even really thought about it until I was pregnant with Squirty.

I have a degree in food science and human nutrition and another in biology. I know that breast milk is full of all kinds of immune boosting factors and that breastfeeding can help keep your baby from getting sick or having allergies. A large chunk of your immune system is based in the intestinal tract. When I was working, my last job actually involved studying the immune response when formula had probiotics in it.

When I got pregnant with Squirty, I decided that I would at least try to breastfeed. My friend Julie is a dietitian and I knew she would want me to at least try. I took a breastfeeding class that I found to be a complete waste of time and money. The instructor was this creepy old lady and it kind of was weird to try and breastfeed a doll that didn't wiggle and move.

Unfortunately, I got very sick with HELLP syndrome and ended up having Squirty at 33-weeks 5-days. He went straight to the NICU and I don't remember really seeing him for 36 hours. I was under the influence of magnesium sulfate and in a total daze for 24 hours. I do remember that I insisted on seeing a lactation consultant to teach me how to pump. I couldn't do it much the first day... healing from the c-section and being loopy. I did start doing it every 3 hours as soon as I was able to get out of the bed. You'd think without having a baby in my room that I'd want to sleep, but I didn't. I wanted to do EVERYTHING I could to help my little 4-lb guy's immune system.

He was so tiny and needed to gain weight to go home, so we bottle fed him expressed milk at the hospital. At 13 days, he was able to come home. I figured I'd work on nursing when it was just him and me. It sucked. I HATE the pump. I tried so many times to get him to latch and just nurse. I tried a nipple shield. I tried pumping a little to get the milk going. Nothing worked.

Then he was diagnosed with reflux. Poor little guy couldn't keep anything down. He would arch away from his bottles and throw up all over me. The put him on Zantac and later Prevacid. That worked in keeping him from throwing up all the time.

I went back to work for 4 weeks. During that time, I would pump in the morning before leaving and a few times at work. My mom came to stay with us during that time. She would hold him off until I got home and I would try and nurse him then. I honestly think that was the best thing for us. He wanted to snuggle up to me and nurse. He got to the point where he wouldn't take a bottle if I was around. It was a lot of work, but about 3-4 months after he came home, I was able to just breastfeed him. I nursed him until he was 17-months old and I was in my second trimester with Milk Dud.

Milk Dud was easy. He latched on right away and nursed like 8 times in his first day. He still likes to snuggle and nurse all the time. I went out a couple of weeks ago and he would only take one bottle for his dad before throwing a fit until I came home.

My breastfeeding journey is far from over. I'm not sure when I will stop with Milk Dud... I'm hoping for 18+ months. I hope everyone who reads this will be inspired by the adversity over which I was able to come.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why yes, he is really only 7-months old

When we were in VA this past weekend, my mom gave us some new clothes for the boys. This morning, I broke out a new outfit for Milk Dud. He needed clean clothes, I didn't want to wake his brother, and I had just done a load with the new stuff yesterday. The new outfit was 9-12 months. The shirt did not cover his gigantic tummy. It was fine for the house, but not for running out in the cool, rainy weather. My mom had given him some other stuff, too. I put him in an 18-month shirt... It's none to big... Actually, the sleeves border on being too tight. My 7-month old is wearing clothing meant for a much older child. It's scary.

Everywhere I go, people think he is significantly older than he is and wonder why he can't crawl or walk yet. First of all, he is ONLY 7-months. Second of all... How do you expect him to lift that gigantic belly off the ground? He weighs about 26lbs. I think he will outweigh his brother at the 9-month appointment.

I do love that the first question I get from some people is "You're breastfeeding, aren't you?" Why, yes, I am. I am very proud of the fact that I have made it 7-months. We have really started with the solids in the last week or so, but he is still only getting them at dinner. He is liking them better, too. He loves to feed himself peas and Cheerios.

Unfortunately, Milk Dud is not sleeping through the night. he will go down around 8pm, but wakes up at midnight and won't go back to sleep unless he is nursing. I'm tired and worn out. Squirty didn't sleep through the night until he was 10-months. I don't consider this to be a big deal, but I would like them to share a room.

This morning, Milk Dud noticed the dog and reached out to touch him. I wish I had my camera on me at that point, but I didn't. I do have this cute picture of him in his 18-month shirt :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A birthday, Lent and The Shred

Last weekend, we went to Va Beach for the second birthday of my miracle niece. It was the first time we had Milk Dud in the car for more than 90 minutes. He did great. We stopped outside of Richmond so I could feed him. He was remarkably pleasant in spite of the large group of people and crazy schedule. He ate when he needed to eat. I was able to get away from the craziness for a few minutes to feed him.

I gave up bread for Lent. No bread, biscuits, English muffins, bagels... It is going pretty well. My husband complains about it. I think he intentionally wants to go to burger places to see what I would do. Easter morning, I'm going to make French toast.

Before we left, I was doing The Shred. I could feel it working, but I am taking a break for a few weeks until we go to Florida. I'm going to do Leslie Sansone videos in the meantime. I want to lose 15lbs before I go to the beach this summer. I hope I can do it.

Oh, and happy 7-months to Milk Dud!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baltimore Mommies Goes to the Fire Station

So back in January when I was still an area-group moderator for Anne Arundel County, I decided it would be fun to set up a trip to the fire station. We had it yesterday. I opened it up area-wide so if people wanted to drive down from Towson and the like, they didn't feel excluded.

We had a great turn out. I got to meet some moms that I had yet to meet and put faces to names.

Almost as soon as the paramedic took us into the room where they get their dispatches, the printer started printing out a call. Someone had fallen 20 feet through a roof. The paramedic told us we could wait for the fire truck to come back if we wanted, so we did. About 20-30 minutes later, the fire truck did come back. The poor firemen on it were on loan from a different station and weren't expecting to give a tour. That's okay. They did a decent job. All you really have to do to entertain 2-5 year olds is to turn on the siren and show them the ladders and stuff. Of course, they finished the truck and were about to show us the rest of the station, when they were called out again. I know my son had fun. I hope the other kids did, too. I might try to do another one later in the year.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Green Beans or Pears? No Thanks, I'd Rather Nurse

For a little over a month, I've been trying to introduce solids to Milk Dud. I was going to do baby-led weaning, but I figured I'd do some purees, too. He will eat these things called Baby Mum Mums. They are basically rice cakes that dissolve. He can feed them to himself, so they are great for a distraction before dinner.


So, I started doing purees. Peas, Squirty's first food and still a favorite... I was covered in green spit. Carrots... orange spit. Green beans were a little better. Pears, he actually ate a teaspoon it. Every time I feed him, he wants to immediately nurse afterward, no matter if he nursed right before he was fed. It's a good thing he is gigantic, because he would probably start losing weight... Oh, I forgot... he's basically permanently latched on... That's how you get an almost-25-pound 6-month old. It's a good thing I'm not planning to wean any time soon.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy IBCLC Day!

Happy International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Day!

With my Squirty, I had a rough breastfeeding journey. He was born at 33-weeks and spent 13 days in the NICU. I was determined to breastfeed, so I pumped. I actually did this almost exclusively for the first 3 months. Somehow, with lots of work, I was able to transition him to the breast. I nursed him until he was 17-months old, when I was pregnant again.

Milk Dud was much easier. He wanted to nurse very soon after he was born. The lactation consultant came to see me the first day and when she found out I nursed a preemie who came home on bottles, I think I met all of the LC's at the hospital. Obviously, an almost 25-lb breastfed baby is a good nurser, but I know many people who have had issues.

Poor latch, slow weight gain, tongue tie, etc. An IBCLC can help you try and work through your problems. I'm glad we have a day to celebrate them. Maybe one day, I will go back to school and become one myself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Uncaffeinated

Poor Milk Dud... Last night, I woke up when he was fussy at 4am. He was boiling hot. I took him downstairs. He had a fever of 103.5F. I gave him a dose of Motrin. Then I stripped him to the diaper and cuddled him up to my chest to go back to sleep. He slept. I didn't. By 9am, he was back to normal, but he is still fussing. On top of that, Squirty is getting yet another cold. Needless to say, I'm tired.

I don't have a lot to say. Milk Dud had his 6-month check-up yesterday. He was 24lbs 11oz, 28.25 inches long, with a 47cm head. Why do they measure that using the metric system?

I would like to congratulate my friend Jaime on the birth of her 3rd son. I hope he is able to come home soon. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as he is in the NICU. I've done that... It isn't fun.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

He will huff and he will puff and he will cough your house down

Poor Milk Dud. He must be feeling really badly. Tonight, I went on a Baltimore Mommies Moms' Night Out that I set up earlier this month. I had fun. Ate Mexican food. Had a Cuba Libre. When I got home, my husband told me that Milk Dud had been screaming for an hour and that nothing he would do would stop the screaming. Mommy has the magic touch, of course. Nursing = sleep for him.

He was coughing again, so now I'm waiting for his neb treatment to finish so we can go to bed. I feel so badly for him. He huffs and puffs so hard trying to breathe. The darn thing sounds like a helicopter. He is still coughing. I hate hearing it. I want to just snuggle him and give him kisses, but I can't make him feel better that way. I hope this goes away soon. He is looking at me with tears from behind the mask. After 3 days, he has stopped fussing with it, though. This is a hard mom moment.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tales of Lysol, Jofish and Baltimore Mommies

Yes, yes... I know... It's been a couple of weeks. I have a couple of good excuses. First of all, the boys have both been sick. They caught colds right around Valentine's Day. After my great deal on Lysol at Safeway (I think I paid $1.50 a bottle for the antibacterial cleaners), I scrubbed the entire house that was scrubbable. I thought they were getting better. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Squirty is better... Milk Dud is not.

Poor Milk Dud. He was just hanging onto this cough forever. I figured he was just being like Mommy. Thursday morning, he was wheezing so badly that we took our first emergency visit to the doctor. She says he has reactive airway disease. He had a nebulizer treatment in the office and they sent us home with our very own machine. Just what every 6-month old needs, right? Of course, he hates the thing. He's better about tolerating it after 2 days, but he fusses so much when the mask is on him. It's supposed to look like a fish. Well, Squirty picked up on that and started calling him Jofish... I decided to let it stick since every kid needs an alter-ego for their stupid fish mask. Squirty was the most helpful 2-year old ever, though. He makes his brother laugh and totally forget he has on the mask. For that, I'm rather thankful.






This is poor Milk Dud AKA "Jofish" doing his nebulizer.

My fun for the week will be tomorrow. I'm going to a Mom's Night Out for the first time since I had kids. In November 2008, when I was on maternity leave, I found this online group called Baltimore Mommies. They have different activities and stuff throughout the greater Baltimore area. They have an awesome forum with lots of different boards. There are actually groups all throughout the country that are from the same group. In the early days of being a stay-at-home-mom, they were a life saver to me. It was a way to interact with moms, but without having to take my tiny preemie out of the house. I could talk to moms in my specific area. I could talk to moms who were breastfeeding. I could talk to moms with special needs children, like my preemie. I didn't get on the site a lot, but I did get on sometimes. Last spring, I finally got up the guts to go to a play date where I didn't know anyone. I only did two before going anywhere with Squirty and my huge belly was too much work. This fall, I got more involved online. In November, my area was looking for a new moderator, so I applied. On my application, I actually said that I was applying to force myself to get out of the house and do things. Man, they must have thought I was nuts, but I got the position. Last week, I applied to be a co-manager of the user groups... and I got it. I'm enjoying seeing what happens in other subgroups of our area. It's actually helping me learn about things in Westminster, Towson, Dundalk, etc. I am proud to be a member of the group and excited to continue on in my new position. I hope I can encourage other "lurkers" to take a more active role in the community.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random thought generator

Squirty is taking an extra-long nap and Milk Dud is also sleeping. That means I have 5 minutes to my thoughts...

Do gyro bowls actually work?

What on earth did Lorelai see in Luke? On a similar train of thought, why did Rory like Logan? At least Matt Czuchry is good-looking... No, my son is NOT named after his character. Why aren't the actors who played Lorelai's parents more famous?

Why does my husband think that leaving the house before 9:30 is early? I'm usually up 2-3 hours before that.

Why does Joanna Garcia always play pregnant people?

Why does Squirty scream "a boo boo!" when the dog touches him with his nose?

Why do face wash people only clean their cheeks?

How did they make the Ghiradelli triple chocolate brownies even more chocolatey?

My last random thought is "Hooray for the IRS letting women deduct breast pumps! Why couldn't they do that in 2008 when I bought mine? Although, maybe I need a new hand pump."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Look Ma! One Hand!

Since I call this blog "Trapped under a Milk Dud", I probably should say something about breastfeeding, right? After a rough start with the NICU and all, I nursed Squirty until he was 17-months. I only weaned him because I was pregnant again. My supply really dropped and nursing made me even sicker to my stomach than I was when I wasn't nursing. I missed that relationship.

I was excited when my pregnancy with Milk Dud was normal and he didn't go to the NICU. He nursed instantly and constantly. The hospital lactation consultants loved me. I was easy and they were impressed by what I went through the first time.

I feed on demand and Milk Dud has packed on the pounds. He was 8-11 at birth. He is 5.5-months old and I suspect he is around 23-24lbs now. He is off the charts for weight, height and head circumference. I see linebacking in his future. He screams for solids and I've given in a little. Last night, I had to endure his screaming for hot sausage, peppers, onions and tomato sauce.... anything but the Cheerios on his tray.

He loves his mommy and to be held. I wear him a lot. Thank goodness for my Ergo and Mei tai style carriers, although I have yet to be able to nurse in one. He still needs to be held a lot. I've learned how to do a million things with one hand. I'm actually typing this on an iPad with one hand while nursing Milk Dud and watching "Cars" with Squirty. The problem is that as he gets heavier, it is harder for me to do stuff. I'm increasingly "trapped under a Milk Dud." I will miss this relationship when it ends in a year or so, but I am looking forward to a little more freedom with it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Planning to Coupon at Safeway

I've become a couponing nerd. I got so excited when my paper came Wednesday and had the Safeway and Giant ads for this week... Especially Safeway. They had a bunch of store coupons and I was really excited for the ones that overlap manufacturers' coupons I have.

Today, we are going to Safeway. I'm going to stock up on sausage, yogurt, ground beef and soda. I need a green pepper and some hot dog rolls, but those will be the only non-coupon items I buy. Oh, I also have a mail-in rebate for Perdue Short Cuts. That will be a separate transaction, though. I pay cash for mail-in rebate stuff and do them in individual transactions so they are the only item on the receipt.

I'm predicting a shopping bill under $30 and it will be mostly meat that I can freeze. I guess this is my new hobby :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My most recent expertise

I have learned a great deal since having kids. I've learned that I can go without sleep. I learned how to make baby food. I've learned a little bit about being patient, but there is one thing at which I thought I'd never have to become an expert. I know too much about Monster Jam.

Squirty loves anything with wheels. For Christmas, he got 12 monster trucks... He has since accumulated 30 of them. He is also into watching them on tv. I didn't get it at first. Watching every night at 5pm has turned me into a fan. I know a lot about Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger and the Cretens and Bounty Hunter. It's kind of sad and silly. The part of my brain that used to identify birds has recently been replace with knowing things like Captain's Curse is a 1941 Willys. I'd never heard of a Willys until watching Monster Jam.

I'm not complaining. I just find it amusing the things I've learned since I had Squirty.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to pick a preschool?

Today, I signed my 2-year old up for preschool in the fall. Yes, it's February 1st and I'm already planning my September. I've been planning it for several weeks. Squirty turns three in September, which means he will miss the normal cut off date for public schools around here. Technically, I could wait another year or two to enroll him. I mean, they don't require kids go to preschool until they're four and starting kindergarten the next fall. Squirty just needs more interaction with other kids and some outside adult instruction without my presence, so I started the selection process...

Now, I live in a pretty high-rent area between DC and Baltimore. Lots of well-paid people who want only the best for their little princes and princesses. That means there are lots of different types of schools and availability... but not necessarily openings.

First, you have to pick your type of school. There is a public option in our school district, but you have to be 4 by September 1st... so that was out for us. On to private preschools...

Now, the decision is religious or secular. There are so many different things from which to choose in our area. I'm Methodist and my husband is Catholic. I have no problem with religious schools. I would consider any of the many Christian or Jewish preschools in the area. I say those two, because I didn't come across any other religious-based schools within a decent driving distance for me. The Catholic schools required 3 by September 1st IF they had a 3s program. Most only had a 4s. The one Jewish school was very nice, but a little cost-prohibitive for us. Luckily, there are tons of Protestant preschools that have either a 2s program or an "early 3s" one. It's just a matter of picking the one that "fits" the best.

As for secular preschools, you have even more choices there sometimes. You could go co-op, where the parents have to be involved with the school both in the classroom and outside of it. You could go Montessori, with self-directed learning. You could go traditional academic. It's almost overwhelming. I knew Montessori wasn't for me. I teach my son in that method at home, so I wanted him to have a more directed method of teaching. With the traditional academic, I felt like I was sending my 2-year old to prep school, with uniforms and everything. I'm not ready for that. He's not ready for that. I liked the idea of a co-op. I have a strong science background and could help bring that to the classroom. I do like the fact that the parents run the school to a major extent. That could also have issues, though. What if you butt heads with the head of the board of directors? What if you have another child like I do? What are you supposed to do on your day to help? The cost of a co-op tends to be significantly lower than most other preschools.

There is the option of a home-based preschool. My sister runs one. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone in my area who does. I have trust issues when it comes to my kids, so I'd have to know the person pretty well to enroll a child in a home preschool. They are great for personal attention, though. I totally see the appeal.

Then, when you make your decision, sometimes you have to go wait in line to register your child. I did pick a school and enrolled my child for the fall. Open registration was at 10:30am this morning. Moms lined up at 6am. Seriously... 6am... I've heard of places where they go even earlier. I got there at 10:30 and got a spot in their 2-day 2.5s class. That wasn't anywhere near full, but the 4s were. I hope we made the right choice, but I won't know until Squirty has been in a few weeks or even months. I don't know how people make it through these things without beating themselves up that they chose correctly. I guess I can say to myself, "It's only a year... He has 2 more after it." I'm not looking forward to repeating this in 2 years with Milk Dud.

My patience took a vacation and forgot to take me

Last night was rough. For some reason, neither kid wanted to sleep. Around 4am, we all ended up in the bed and THEN we got some sleep... Not much, but some.

I was very thankful for the ice delaying the schools. Today was preschool registration. So, I had to pack up both kids and get down to Laurel to sign Squirty up for the fall. They didn't salt their parking lot and I had to slide down a hill to get to the entrance. Then, I had to carry my stroller up a flight of stairs to get to the registration. Thank goodness I didn't use the double and just made Squirty walk. Once inside, I found out that moms had been there since 6am for a 10:30 start time. I ran into a mom I met last week at the other preschool I toured. She came to the same decision I did. We waited an hour, but got into the 2.5s class. I'm wondering if the fact that the older classes filled so quickly means that it is a great school. I'm hoping the decision to driventhat far 2 days a week was worth it.

When we got home, I fed Squirty lunch and realized my patience took a vacation and forgot me. Luckily, the boys napped at the same time, so I got to sleep, too. Then, they also let me make dinner. My patience is back, but I think the weather will be bad again, forcing us to be trapped in the house :( I'm looking forward to school Thursday and the gym play date on Friday.

I hope tomorrow will be better. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ugh... The worst thing about having a 5-month old

Okay, so the title is deceiving. I love having a 5-month old. He is cute and cuddly. I don't like one thing about the fact that I had a baby in August... My hair falling out.

When I'm pregnant, I barely lose any hair. It is awesome. About 4-months after I have the baby, my hair starts to fall out... by the handful. It totally sucks. I really want to shave my head and be done with it, but then I would probably lose the stubble all over the place... I wish I remembered when the hair loss stopped.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fun With Coupons

I've never been a real planner when it comes to grocery shopping. I always figured out what I wanted for the week and then bought it. Since we're trying to save to move and put Squirty into preschool next year, I have been starting to coupon. I'm not just using the ones in the paper to buy my weekly groceries, but I'm watching the sales. I'm not an "Extreme Couponer" like my friend JB (http://centslessdeals.blogspot.com/) who bought her Thanksgiving dinner for like $10. I am starting to pay attention to sales and stuff.

I mostly shop at Giant Food. They seem to have decent prices and produce. They double coupons under $1. They also give you a nickel bag for your personal bags. I got some good deals, too. This week they had dried fruit at 2/$4. I had a 75 cent off coupon, so I got a bag of dried cranberries for 50 cents. Ragu was 3/$5 and a coupon for $1.25 off of 3. Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta was 2/$3 with a $1 off coupon. So, with my ground beef I got at Costco for $2.99/lb (88/12), I can make dinner for about $5. Oh, and let's not forget my 2 16oz containers of Breakstone's sour cream for $1.29 ($2.29 each normally, BOGO and a $1 off coupon). My best deal won't pay off for a few weeks. I had a mail-in rebate for Pediasure. That's $10 in nutritional milkshakes for Squirty that will only cost me the stamp and envelope. All in all, I spent $56.31 and saved $38. That is a new record for me. My goal is to beat it. Lest you think I'm just buying junk, I bought vegetables, fruit, whole wheat bread, etc.

My amusement of the day is that my receipt is longer than my 2-year old son is tall.







Oh, I forgot... Giant also pays you gas rewards. Yesterday, we got 50 cents off each gallon at Shell.

My goal for the year is in one trip to the store, I'm going to save more than I spent :) I hope I can do it.

The Thing I Dislike the Most

Good morning. It is not that early here, but I wish I was still sleeping. I'm watching Milk Dud roll around on the floor blowing bubbles and Squirty is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I just did my least favorite thing about being a nursing mom... I pumped a bottle to leave when we go out tonight.

I DESPISE pumping. Squirty was almost 7 weeks early and I pumped for 3 months almost exclusively with him. It was one of the most tedious things ever. I hated having to hook myself up to a machine every 3 hours. It was painful in the beginning and boring... I give definite props to those who either exclusively pumped or managed to make it to a year or more pumping while at work.

Some people set nursing goals. "I'm going to nurse a year." When you are pumping, your goals are shorter. "I'm going to make it through this week." I always say it is 5 times harder to pump than it is to breastfeed traditionally. You have to set up your pumping equipment, pump (which takes longer and is less productive than nursing), store your milk and clean up all of the equipment. THEN, you have to feed the baby and clean those supplies. It SUCKS.

As I pumped the one bottle I will probably have to do this week, I realized how thankful I am that I don't have to do it all the time. I was blessed with a healthy full-term baby this time. I'm also blessed with a husband who works hard and is able to make enough to allow me to stay home. All of you who have to pump or did in the past, give yourselves a round of applause. It is SO much work to give your child the perfect food that way. You are awesome for doing it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Greetings

So, I've started a blogspot blog. I don't know what possessed me, but I figured I would. My name is Alyssa. I'm not anyone special. I'm the mom of a 2-year old and a 5-month old.

I often joke that I am "Trapped Under a Milk Dud" because I'm a breastfeeding mom. I am very proud of this fact. I worked very hard with my first son to get anywhere with it. He was born at 33-weeks and spent 13 days in the NICU. I almost exclusively pumped until he was 3-months old. Then he was able to nurse and did so until he was 17-months old. I only weaned him because I was pregnant again and it made me very nauseous.

I'm not sure what I will blog about. Probably whatever interests me from day-to-day. I'm big on couponing, finding a preschool for my sons and Baltimore Mommies.

I hope you enjoy my lame ramblings.