Wednesday, August 17, 2011


So, I finally broke down and asked the question of what am I supposed to feed Chiron if I stop pumping.  Doesn't mean that I've stopped or have identified a time to stop, but does mean that I'm closer.

Here's a crazy graphic that shows a positive.  I am not pumping as much or as often.  I am not pumping during the night.  Each line is a day with the most recent at the top.  See the big gap on the left?  That's sleep!  It's updated through the morning of 7/29/2011.  I mainly put this graphic together because I knew it would help give me a push towards more pumping, and I think it has.

So, I did this a couple weeks ago and it has had two effects.  One, it has made me have a better attitude towards pumping and two, it has motivated me to pump during the night if I do happen to wake up.  I'm not seeking to wake up, but if I do, I'm sucking it up and taking a little time and pumping.  And it's had a DRAMATIC effect on supply.  The week of July 29 I was at a 1036.3 daily average and this week I'm at 1231.8 and still going up a little.

I really should write a post some day of my tips for pumping.  I wrote a word document with Trajan that I gave a couple friends, but I can't find it and I wasn't as much of a pro then.  But, for now, I will go with my short three most important tips.

1. Get hands-free.  Seriously.  Chiron was hours old and I sent someone to buy a hands-free strip of cloth (normally sticking them in a bra works)

2. USE your hands.  You don't have to the whole time (I find doing something else with them keeps me pumping longer), but for at least part of the pump, provide pressure to the breast and help express.  Also, particularly if you are establishing supply or worried about it, take a little time to hand express without the pump at the end as well.  Good motivating video for upping your production with a pump.

3. Hydrate.

And a bonus because I'm not sure this applies to most people, but is huge for me, document.  I use Trixie Tracker.  You can use a log book, google docs, or whatever, but keeping these stats has really helped me.  In particular, it has helped me get comfortable with pumping less often which is great for the sanity.  Trixie Tracker is nice because it is phone friendly, produces some useful graphics and also exports to excel great.

Speaking of which: here's the same visual but for the time since July 29:

See the four middle of the night pumps!

Oh yeah, for the sake of disclosure, Trixie Tracker does charge.  For me, it is well worth it for the pumping data.  We actually have stopped keeping stats on everything else in the last couple weeks, but our original six-month subscription after the free trial is about to expire and I'm definitely going to be renewing and I think probably even the six month version...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shellac, why didn't anyone tell me?!?

Being a consultant, I have to be presentable on the occasions that we interact with clients.  However, I tear fingernail polish up.  Like, I can't get through a one-day meeting typically, much less a multi-day conference wtih nails done.  So, traditionally I've just gotten a pedicure and then had my hands either just cleaned up or possibly buffed.

Enter Shellac.  Last weekend, we went to Dallas for my niece's birthday party and then Paul and the boys headed back to Dallas while I stayed in the metroplex for a conference.  Right after they left, I ran to a nail salon to get a pedicure and my fingernails cleaned up.  Part way through they asked if I wanted polish on my nails as well.  I explained that I tear them up too much and so I just wanted them cleaned.  So they offered Shellac. 

Here's immediately after:
I went and tried on jeans immediately after, unpacked into a hotel room and did eveything without trying to protect them at all and got only one little chip:

And you have to look to find that!

Now, ten days later, the only chip is still on that finger and I think it's still looking pretty good:

My full report will have to be after I get it removed.  Apparently you have to either get it off at a nail salon or buy pure acetone to remove it.  But, with it lasting this long, maybe I'll just replace it. 

But seriously, this stuff has been out for almost a year and a half, how come no one had told me?!?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I generally say my life is good and embrace what I have and accept what I don't. But there's the occasion when you just wake up and you're grumpy. No good specific reason why, just grumpy.

Today is one of those days. I really can't come up with a reason. It's possible it's a reaction to my realization early in the morning that I have to take Chiron to the ENT today, but I don't come off well with that, so we will go with no good reason :-).

But I am combating it. I ate breakfast (left over dinner that was awesome tastiness that Paul and Greenling united their powers to make), I'm indulging in a Dr. Pepper and I'm enjoying friends and life.

It's actually going well enough that I'm thinking maybe I should appreciate the occasional grumpiness as it forces me to go out and seek positive things and happiness.

And, in another positive, my big brother rocks. One of our cousins is getting married about an hour and a half south of where I live. It's a no kids wedding though and rather than try to coordinate babysitters in another town, Paul's parents are going to come into town to stay with the boys. Yeah!!!

Only negative? They can't be here Friday. So, I am going down for the rehearsal and Paul will come down the next day. This means two cars though, so eww. Here's where the awesome big brother comes in. He and his family are going to pick me up on their way through!

Weddings plus my big brother:


Big brothers are the best and I've been thankful for him as long as I can remember. I swam almost two miles starting when I was six to see him at the boys summer camp on the other side of the lake, that is how awesome we are talking.

This one is a little brother, but he's pretty awesome too. And needs to watch The Incredibles to learn about the perils of turning a bib into a cape.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Random Tidbits III

Chiron, I love you very, very outerspace until it gets to infinity.  - Trajan

We are in some sort of honeymoon period where Trajan has the language skills and the memory to tell me about his day as well as the desire and willingness to do so.  And I like this.

Chiron's head is more than six centimeters more around now than all of Chiron was long when he was born.

Discussing cremation with an almost four-year-old definitely makes a drive more interesting.  Turns out I don't really know many of the details.  Cremation was the longest topic, but a lot of other questions as well.  Why didn't you help her or tell a doctor so they could heal her before she died in your tummy?  The doctor took her out so you could have more babies in your tummy?  Why can't we name another sister Aurelia? Plus one more reflection which really impressed me at how old Trajan is and how much his mind works:  when Chiron was playing with Aurelia in your tummy, he thought they would be grownups together.

Is it normal for a pretty-much-four-year-old to switch to referring to himself in the third person at this age?  Including both saying Trajan and he in reference to himself?

I was at a conference the last few days and I gained a new life experience and determined that I may be too competitive.  One of the things they had brought in for one of the dinner/receptions was a guy rolling cigars.  One of our clients asked if I'd ever smoked one and I explained that no, despite having gone to Cuba in college with a license from the Treasury Department, I'd never actually figured out how to smoke one.  Then he said something to the effect of he wasn't surprised that I couldn't.  So, I decided I could. 

It was an interesting experience.  I choked, coughed and sputtered on the first inhale, but then I pretty much figured it out.  It lead to a light-headed feeling and a bit of tingling in my face.  However, I don't understand the habit and don't anticipate I will be adopting it soon.  While a shower when I got up to my room took care of the smell on my body including my hair, I woke up at least three more times during the night to go brush my teeth again and rinse with mouthwash because the taste was just so disgusting.  It was still there part of the way through the next day!
I was an intense smoker.

Baby Planking!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Preemie Clothing

I had another thought from my exercise in rotating the clothing in Chiron's room from 0-6 to 6-12 months:

Preemie clothing is inconceivably small. 

Even having seen him wear them and having them swamp him, my brain just can not grasp the idea of him being that little.  Chiron was born on December 23 and a friend, who is a NICU nurse at a different hospital, came that day to help us go up for my first time.  She brought us a number of preemie sleepers including a Christmas one, because she knew that while he wasn't wearing clothes yet, we would appreciate having them when he could.  He couldn't wear it yet, but we went ahead and took his picture with it stretched out beside him Christmas night:

This same sleeper today with the same boy:

This was actually not one of the smallest preemie things, but since we had the early picture, I thought it was best for comparison purposes!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I think this is a phenomenal word and concept.

Bad things may happen.  It's what we do with them and how we manage ourselves that matters.  You can not judge or structure yourself by the things that happen to you, they mean nothing.  It's the conscious decisions and actions that you choose that matter.

I even remember reading an NPR story about how the trait of resiliency is one of the things most closely associated with a life expectancy.  Sadly, a quick search couldn't find it, but I found this and it was interesting.

Parenting Treatises

I stumbled across something in the notes section of my phone I wrote when Trajan was about 2.5 that I think is worthy of review:

Don't sweat the little things, know and stick to your big things, be willing to discuss and explain anything, including the big ones, even if it's the nth time.

To be completely honest, I've never really sat down and tried to think out or write out my parenting philosophy.  I know a lot of people who have and it seems like a really useful thing, but just never have and not getting there today.

I have however, identified a few basic elements that would compose my parenting treatises if I wrote them.  First is seek moderation.  In almost everything.  I really find that extremes just don't work for our family, so I really do consciously seek out the moderate path.

Second is own your choices.  It doesn't matter what they are, I think that as a parent I should be comfortable with them.  Even if they aren't something that I think most people will agree with or like.  While small children might force you to do this some since they present their reality honestly, I think it's important to make a conscious effort to be conscious of your decisions.  This also means you need to make decisions instead of just letting them happen by default.

Similar to owning your choices, I think it's important to consciously choose your battles rather than let them happen by default or through frustration.

Take these three ideas and roll them up with a conscious effort to not sweat the little stuff and choose to breathe rather than react and you've got my basic ideas.

I probably will never get around to writing a parenting treatise, but I think I'm on the right path to identifying what the key parts of it would be.  Probably plus some thoughts about how I recognize that my actions probably teach my children more than my words.  It may not be formal, but it works for us and I own it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breastfeeding doesn't follow the Laws of Thermodynamics

Something has bothered me since the NICU and I'm wondering if someone has an answer.  In the NICU, they said the typical breastmilk contained 2/3s of a calorie per milliliter or 20 calories per ounce.  They also said the average woman makes around 30 ounces a day.  All seems reasonable, right?  Add in a third factoid that it is important to get an extra caloric load of 200 to 500 calories. 

This would seem to say that the average woman produces about 600 calories of breastmilk a day.  And that is 600 calories contained within the milk without accounting for any calories used in the creation of the milk.  This is HIGHER than the 500 calories they give as the high end of the caloric load.

I recognize they were just trying to get some basic facts in with a pumping log, but this seems to clearly violate the laws of thermodynamics.  Breastfeeding mothers as perpetual motion machines? 

My guess is that these amounts are due to an assumption that lactating mothers will also draw upon their maternal stores.

Other interesting trivia fact: based on this, I've produced 190,000 calories worth of breastmilk just counting the amounts that have been pumped and logged, excluding direct breastfeeding and the first two weeks that I don't have my pump log for.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I clothed my boys for $120 for four years of clothes

I'm not typically a talented bargainer buyer or frugal type.  However, I believe my own Craigslist purchase in my whole life was sufficiently awesome to give me some thrift credit for all time.  Over 48 months of clothing a kid for $120. 

When I was pregnant with Trajan, I for some reason decided to post a listing on Craigslist saying I was looking to buy a kid's entire wardrobe from birth through whenever they had.  I got a response of a woman who had five large rubbermaid tubs of clothes and wanted $105 for them, with the tubs.  We went out to pick them up and it turned out they were fantastic (clean, many new items, variety of sizes and weight of materials).  We however got to her house with only twenties.  The woman was willing to take $100, but having seen the stuff, we went ahead and paid $120.

We did not buy Trajan any clothes until he was two other than one outfit one day when we were out and he needed warmer clothes than he was wearing.  With Chiron, we had to get some preemie and newborn things, but most of these were given to us, so I would say we have still spent less than $50 total on top of that original $120.

Why am I bringing this up now? This weekend, I decided to rotate Chiron's clothes.  We originally set up the stuff from zero to six months for him and he's now outgrown all of the sub-three month stuff and some of the smaller three to six month stuff.  While he is still fitting in some 3-6 month, I am going to be out of town a significant amount of time in the next two months, so I decided to take advantage of my last free weekend for awhile and rotate his clothes.

This is about 60% of the stuff from 6 to 12 months:
I brought everything in from the garage where it was stored in plastic bins, washed it and sorted it downstairs before taking it upstairs.  I wish I'd taken an intentional picture of it all.  This was just something I sent to a friend who asked what I was doing.

I waxed nostalgically about a future time when he will  be big enough that I will just gradually change out his clothes rather than all in one fell swoop while I emptied his drawers of 0-6 month stuff, organized them and stored them.

I took the 6-12 month stuff and I divided it between 6-9 warm weather, 9-12 warm weather, 6-12 cool weather and then put stuff for actual cold into plastic bins in his room to be considered if and when we need it.  I made a strategic change this round and decided to put everything up as outfits rather than organize by type (short-sleeve onesies, t-shirts, shorts, etc.).  I'm pretty sure this is what we did with Trajan and I remember it working really well.

I even sucked it up and organized socks.  As children's socks are my archnemesis, this was pretty hard core.  I sorted shoes as well and determined that he is still not big enough to wear a size 2 shoe yet!

You would think I wouldn't be able to dress a kid born 4 months later in the year than his brother with his brother's clothes (the kid we bought them from was a July baby), but there is so much clothing that it is absolutely not going to be a problem. 

Perhaps the most disturbing thing is despite the original kid wearing these, Trajan, a friend's kid, my nephew and Chiron, there are still things in there that have never been worn.

I wonder if I've never gone back to Craigslist because I know there's no way to ever beat my original transaction.