Mom Therapy

The past week of being back to flying solo has been a good one I would say, and again, one with continued growth in the parenting know-how and experiences.  There have been a lot of things that we have successfully (successfully being a broad term these days) accomplished to make me/us feel more whole and like ourselves.  And she/we celebrated her one month birthday the best we know how.

We have successfully now dined out a total of three times; the first two at Eastlake Bar and Grill, taking advantage of the patio in the late summer/early fall weather and open air to drown out a crying baby, and  the last, indoors at Macrina Bakery in Belltown for brunch after church.  Every time we have been able to fully finish our meals, partake in some adult conversation, and not piss off other diners.  And every time has made me feel more like our old selves and every meal has been delicious.

We have successfully made it to church two weeks in a row.  Angel baby slept through the entire last service and we got to enjoy an adult table talk conversation at service this week with Pastor Bill and his wife Sue at our table, which was a fun treat for us (we relate to the two of them pretty well).

Reese was WAY more awake and alert at PEPS this week but still did pretty good.  As we talked about ways to encourage our baby’s development, Reese fed twice and stared around the room for the full two hours.  Needless to say, my arms were tired of holding her though after two hours in a hard dining chair.  I did get some good ideas for things to do with her now that she is awake more.  And probably the biggest takeaway for me this week was when another mom (with a 10 week old baby) said that she just started pushing herself to get out of the house more and do things she enjoys like getting lunch with a friend, going to her favorite coffee shop, just sitting in a park.  Her words were pretty much, “You only get this maternity leave once and you shouldn’t waste it sitting around the house.  Plus, the baby gets bored sitting at home looking at the same corner of the couch.  I think it is good that they get out and see new things, smell new things, and feel new things.”  I totally ate this up and want to start doing that for my remaining maternity leave.

We got a free coffee out and about at Top Pot on Friday

So, step one was to go out and do something for me I would have done anyways.  I went to an afternoon hour-long Yelp food tour of the Pike Place Market.  For a little over an hour, Reese tagged along with me hearing more about the history of the market and its vendors while tasting a variety of its products including:  Ellenos Greek yogurt with rhubarb compote, dried apple and okra chips, smoked salmon, Uli’s chicken and apple sausage with German-made mustards, Beechers cheeses, curds and notorious mac n’ cheese, and then the famous Pike Place chowder.  Reese slept the whole time and it was actually sunny and beautiful in the market and uniquely  quiet in terms of market-goers.  I had a good time getting out for something other than a walk.

Furthermore, we have made some great dinners to enjoy at home and continue to work on getting to eat at the same time together at night but that is still a work in progress.   Reese has really taken to her Wubbanubba pacifiers and her Rock n’ Play to allow me a little bit of freedom during the day and a better way of soothing her.  I picked up a book from the library, when we went to checkout the Wednesday afternoon Baby Story Time, and I found a new Netflix show that is now a guilty pleasure for me to watch about an episode a day (is really all I have time for).  I sent out an email requesting a Girls Night soon so that is going to happen, with Reese in tow.  And now I just need to figure out if it is at all a possibility of Bryan and I going solo to the Seattle Rep for next Friday’s Thousand Splendid Suns 20s/30s event (something I’d like to do for my birthday weekend) but have no clue how we might make that happen at this point.  

We are slowly working on getting back to the things we enjoyed before Reese.  The remaining week and weekend will include our first dinner back at FareStart (dining in, not volunteering) a walk around Seward Park for me with a fellow mom, and a little bit of hosting dinner with some friends on Saturday.

This mom is slowly starting to feel like herself again…and it feels good!



4 Weeks and Firsts

Reese turns four weeks today and I cannot even believe it.  Though I can, because she feels immensely heavier to me and has learned a lot of things the past few weeks.  This past week she got to meet and spend time with her Papa and Grandma Miller and I think she grew quite fond of them during their stay with us.  We were grateful to have them in for a visit and an extra set of hands from Thursday through our goodbyes to them this morning and they were able to witness a few of these firsts:

Four weeks today!
  • First social smile (and its adorable)
  • First time to acceptably take a pacifier to soothe her
  • First time she found her thumb
  • First dinner out to a restaurant
  • First time being watched by people other than mom and dad around
  • First Sunday at church

As Reese is growing, so are her parents who continue to learn her cues, wants, and needs and how to manage themselves as parents.  For me, I made major headway last week on being a sane mom at home by myself with her while her daddy is at work.  From Tuesday on, it was all about routine and sanity for me.  I read this hilarious post Tuesday night as I sat on the couch feeding her (my only downtime that day came in the form of feeding her) that literally made me weep tears of laughter because it was so relatable on that particular day.  So my mission was to find a way to survive the weeks at home with a baby by myself…and I did.

Wednesday and Thursday meant that I was going to be patient at our times of feeding so that she was well fed but not needing to constantly feed all day long.  Good feedings led to good naps that I rely mostly on naps in the wrap.  Naps out of the wrap still are short little cat naps that don’t provide this mama a break.  And post napping we did a lot of tummy time, walks around the house taking things in and playing on her activity mat.  I was feeling like Super Mom by the time that Lon and Trish arrived Thursday morning but was still glad to have loving family members to hand her off to in the morning to shower and let nap on them for hours on end during the day and cook us delicious dinners.

In the past week with the grandparents Bryan and I were glad to enjoy a few dinners at the dining room table (cue pacifier to the rescue for dinners these days).  We also enjoyed a pizza and movie night and our first dinner out of the house with Reese at our favorite Eastlake Bar and Grill.  Thanks to the chilly and empty patio we were able to walk her briefly in the Ergobaby before she fell sound asleep for the rest of the dinner and I was able to enjoy a great schnitzel from their Oktoberfest menu.  We also successfully took this little girl to church on Sunday to meet some people, be announced in front of the church audience, and only fuss a little just to check out the nursing room in the basement.  And the grandparents watched the little girl long enough for me to get out of the house and get a mani-pedi on Tuesday afternoon.  This mama is getting her groove back and it felt so good!

Bryan and I have continued our bedtime routine with Reese and will continue to do so for the indeterminate future.  Reese loves her bath time and no matter how fussy she seems to be becoming at night she quiets down instantly in the bath.  Although we have started said bath time anywhere from 7 pm to 9 pm, our little girl seems to fall asleep around 9 pm every night.  And this girl is a great sleeper!  She has slept for six hours straight the past two nights and I’m learning that is not the norm from my PEPS group mothers.  Our PEPS meeting this past Monday was actually discussing sleep, and while my little girl slept the whole two hours through (again), I was really feeling lucky as I was hearing stories from the other moms, many who have yet to string together three hours of sleep at night.  Baby girl really has yet to have trouble falling asleep at night, its the daytime hours that sometimes require a little finesse to get her lights out.

Reese continues to be a beautiful bundle of joy and we still feel like very lucky parents (and grandparents) as the weeks continue.  




This past week has been a week of growth…weight and length for Reese, in knowledge, experience and know how for taking care of this girl, and in a few firsts like having friends over for a meal and enjoying a meal at a friend’s.  There have been highs and lows but still mostly highs and most things are still going quite well for all of us and every day seems to be improving for the better.

So we had a rough stretch of fussiness at the end of last week.  Bryan had gone back to work and Thursday and Friday afternoon brought me a pretty fussy baby requiring my full attention and energy.  Come Saturday, after what was a rather usual Saturday morning with banana pancakes, football, and a walk in the neighborhood, we entered into a multi-hour cry fest with baby girl.  Everything Bryan and I tried to do to soothe the girl brought hardly any relief to any of us.  From about 4:30 pm until 9 pm we used all of our resources with little success.  It was tiring and frustrating and by the time Reese was down and out for the count, so was I.  Pure exhaustion.  I also spent the entire night Googling what could possibly be wrong and how to fix it.  I think both Bryan and I went to bed thinking we had a colicky baby on our hands and both of us were a little frazzled.  

Sunday morning we were greeted by renewed hope in the form of our friends.  Philipp, Sara, Stephan, Ewelina, Marion and Thibaut came over, bringing brunch of quiche, fruit, pastries and coffee and we all sat down at the table to enjoy it all.  Since we host frequently, it actually felt like old times.  It was a very enjoyable morning.  I fed Reese all afternoon, after our guests had left, to keep her content.  And on Sunday night we actually made our way over to Polly and Ryuhei’s brand new house for a casual dinner.  This was another good first for us and although I was struggling nursing outside of our home, the dinner was an enjoyable one.

Monday morning continued with positives all around.  I got Reese and myself out the door in time to walk to our PEPS meeting.  Reese, again, slept the majority of the 2 hour session but also offered me more chances to nurse in public; successfully.  After our group meeting we had our pediatrician appointment for her “two week” well baby visit shortly there after nearby.  We met Bryan at the nearby park to enjoy Subway subs before the appointment.  The appointment was stressful, what with the heel prick on baby girl and being poked and prodded by the doctor, but the results were good; baby girl has gained over a pound and 1.75″ since being born.  After such a busy morning for her she napped most the whole afternoon and evening allowing her parents to pick up BOGO poke bowls at the newly opened FOB Poke Bar to enjoy with a miserable Seahawk’s loss.

And Tuesday and Wednesday were continued improvement days for me in motherhood.  While Tuesday I managed by the seat of my pants, without a schedule or routine in mind other than feed on demand, try to nap, go for a walk, etc., Wednesday began with a goal in mind.  I successfully was able to go for about 1.5 to 2 hour time frames between feeding.  We were able to have some solid nap times to prevent an overly fussy and tired baby girl and we got in some activity and tummy time on her floor mat.  I was pretty happy with the success of Wednesday and we ended the night walking back to the poke place for one more BOGO poke bowls.  Bryan and I have also begun a bedtime routine for baby girl which I think has really helped prevent evening fussiness.  This routine includes:

  • Bath time (which she seems to love)
  • Reading a book
  • Bryan giving her a small amount of milk from the bottle
  • Then me feeding her
  • Down for the count

So for two nights now baby girl has taken some milk from the bottle…FREEDOM!  This also means that I have broken out the pump and have been doing one pumping session in the wee hours of the night.  The extra 10 minutes or so are going to be worth it if it means that I can be apart from baby girl for more than 2 hours during the day.

So as you can see there has been a lot of gains in the past week alone.  We can’t believe how fast baby girl is growing, mentally and physically.  And in even just a week I have gone from nervous and flustered new mom to one with somewhat of her sh*t together.  I count that as a pretty big success!



Two Weeks Old

Little miss Reese is two weeks old today and has had already quite the life.  It was the 30th that we brought our little girl home and spent the first week with Grandma and Grandaddy Snodgrass.  It was a sweet homecoming for her and we spent that first week adjusting to all of our new life.  This meant that we spent a large part of the day feeding, staring at her for hours, watching the US Open and college football, and trying to get some sleep.  Her grandparents were of great help during that first week; grocery shopping for us and making sure we were enjoying some amazing dinners at home and giving our arms a break by holding and entertaining the little girl.

On our very first full day at home we had an appointment with the Pediatrician’s office, where Reese was poked and proded again and didn’t like it.  But her check up went smoothly and only an hour later we were back home.  We enjoyed a few walks with her.  We made the short walk to the farmers market down the street on Friday and we walked around Seward Park and packed a picnic lunch on Sunday.  We picked up a quick lunch at Pikes Market and to purchase scallops from the fishmongers; however, Reese was kept out of the hubbub of the market while her immune system is gearing up.  We also enjoyed an outdoor movie at home under the space heater and with a pizza from Pagliacci’s.  Other than that we spent much of the time at home.  My parents were able to get out for some nice walks in the good weather and Bryan was able to get in a run and row, so I’m happy that all of them could stretch their legs a bit.

Since my parents left, it has been another transition for us three.  It was an emotional goodbye when my parents left but we have managed pretty well on our own.  We had a box of meals delivered that was easy to prep and prepare for three nights in a row before enjoying the Tutta Bella fig pizza one more time and then starting to dive into the dinners our friends have graciously brought over for us.  The three of us have enjoyed visits from Marika, Billy, Val and Ainsley, Polly and Ryuhei, Luis and Carina, Andrew, and David and Tina.  We have a stocked freezer and three bouquets of flowers decorating our house and filling it with florally goodness.  We have been able to get out for a few more walks in the Arboretum and around our neighborhood.

We had our first mom’s-only PEPs group Monday morning, which fortunately Bryan was still at home to help me to get out of the house in time.  I was sweating it a bit, knowing that Reese would certainly be the youngest in the bunch and also worried about how she would handle the two-hour long get together.  Fortunately, after a brief cranky session before the group even got started (including a quick feeding to get her happy again), Reese slept the full two hours through.  I was shocked.  She would fuss in her sleep when she heard the other babies cry but still didn’t wake.  She didn’t even wake when we laid them all down for their group photo.  Of the seven women in the group, I was the only mom to not have a C-section and the only mom who did not deliver at Swedish Hospitals.  I was also very surprised by this fact.  Reese has three other girls and three boys in her group (so far) and it will be interesting how the 12 week session goes.

Reese and her new friends

Reese had her newborn photo session with the talented and amazing Polly on Saturday afternoon.  She was well behaved despite not liking to be unclothed.  I spent my first day at home with Reese on Tuesday and that went much better than I even thought.  Reese was excellent for me and was sleeping a lot during the day, which allowed me to actually put her down for stretches of time to do laundry, tidy up and make myself food.  We went for a short walk in the early afternoon and went for another walk when Bryan got back home.

And today we had our two week check in at the midwives clinic which ended up being mostly a conversation about how things are going.  It won’t be until our six-week appointment when they give me a physical exam.  And for the next few weeks I imagine that we will continue to enjoy more snuggles and walks as she continues to amaze and impress us with her cuteness.



Ending The Waiting Game

The long waiting period for us finally ended and we couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome.  We were patient and let the labor come on naturally and it was certainly worth the wait.  Although it seems like forever ago now, the waiting period lent itself to a very predictable pattern.  Feeling normal during the day and then getting contractions beginning around 8 or 9 pm every single night that continued through the night until I would wake up.  Thus, my mood had been up and down simultaneously; excited and anxious at night thinking that this could be it and we could be going into labor later that night or the next morning and then that feeling would melt away in the morning…several mornings in a row.  Frustrating!  Not to mention that there was more discomfort on top of the fleeting levels of patience.  And I was certain that this baby was going to come late in the night.

But we persisted.  We made the best use of the weekend prior that we could.  Bryan was able to get his project for work more or less completed from home while I worked away at my cross stitch project, which I am shockingly nearly finished with.  We enjoyed a night out on Friday; getting delicious burgers at 8 Oz Burger before walking from there downtown to watch Crazy Rich Asians, which we loved!  Bryan made me banana pancakes one more time on Saturday morning and we had a home cooked dinner with movies Saturday night.  We went out to McMenamins on Sunday night for a great dinner before coming home and having a romantic candle-lit evening as the power had gone out in several neighborhoods around us.  And we got out for walks in the cool, refreshing air both Saturday and Sunday with walks in the Arboretum and Seward Park.

Bryan spent Monday at work, with plans of taking the rest of the week off as he was already in overtime hours from the previous week and weekend.  We enjoyed our fig pizza, dining al fresco, at Tutta Bella the Monday night before.  We had one more doctor’s appointment Tuesday afternoon, where we probably looked a little dejected from the waiting.  It was only a few hours of being at home after the appointment, around 4 pm, that I started to feel contractions that felt quite different than ones I was having previously.  We decided to walk and get Fat’s Chicken and Waffles for their 3 year anniversary and 30% off, earlier rather than later, and enjoyed some fantastic and comforting Southern food (fried catfish, collards and fried green tomatoes) while letting the contractions roll on.

After demolishing the meal we walked home and I got to relaxing in the bath while Bryan put the chocolate chip cookies he had prepped into the oven (bribes for the nurses).  When the contractions were at just under 5 minutes apart we called the midwives and packed up the car to drive SLOWLY to the hospital.  We checked in around 8 pm and had the most luxurious room in the Childbirth Center.  They started taking my vitals and said I was still at 2 cm.  We were suggested to walk around and did so, stopping to sit by the fountain that we had many dinners at before childbirth classes.  Contractions were getting more intense so we headed back to the room where we were checked again at 11 pm, finding that I was still at 2 cm.  We were given the option to go back home or stay the night with the option to take some pain killers to try to sleep through the night since it was looking to be a long night and needing as much rest as I could get.  We opted to stay and around midnight asked for the pain killers.

…but our plan was quickly about to change.

Just as the pain killers were coming my water broke around 1 am.  At this point, and with meconium in the water, we were told that we couldn’t take the pain killers and that this labor was progressing now rather than later.  Here we go!  From the point of my water breaking on, the contractions were coming fast and furious.  I was getting very little time to catch my breath between contractions and they persisted for hours.  At 4:30 am, I asked to be checked again because I knew that my energy was starting to fade.  I was told that we were at 6-7 cm.  Although I was happy to have progressed I was worried that if my labor lasted more than about an hour or two I could be in some serious fatigue trouble.  At this point, I asked for the epidural and Bryan fully supported me on that decision.  I then wanted the drugs NOW as pain was much more intense.  I had to fight through several contractions while getting the needle in my back and for the first 30 minutes I was still feeling a good majority of the contractions so they gave me another dosage.  Now feeling numb from the waist down we were advised to get some rest, and so we did, shockingly.

After a little under two hours of sleep we were waken at 7 am to check the progress.  I was told that I was complete and that we would start pushing at 8 am (I’m guessing for the change in midwives).  Right at 8 am we started the pushing.  I still couldn’t really feel a thing below the waist but tried my best to push regardless.  I was told we were progressing nicely but through the pushing and contractions the baby’s heartbeat would lower quite a bit.  We had multiple people introduced to our room for various reasons; the neonatal specialist to check on the baby because of the meconium in the water and OBs just in case they would need to vacuum the baby out because of the lowering heart rate risk.  Fortunately, we seemed to push past the most narrow point and the baby’s heart rate stopped dropping and we looked to be in the clear.  It was only a bit more pushing left and at 9:02 am we delivered our sweet baby girl, wailing away.

We were both shocked that we had a baby girl, and both elated.  It was a very emotional feeling when they placed her on my chest for the cord to stop pulsing and then Bryan cut the cord.  The neonatal doctor checked her over and cleared her and then she was back on my chest for her first feeding.  After 1.5 hours of feeding, the nurses took her back for measurements and to clean her.  I was then able to take a shower which I definitely needed after a night of sweating and the delivery.  My legs were slow to get feeling back in them but I was able to stand by myself in the shower.  Feeling refreshed, we spent the rest of the day holding and taking in our new baby girl, Reese Elizabeth.  It was indeed the most joyful day and exhaustion and any physical pain was forgotten for the time being.  My parents had taken the earliest flight they could from Detroit and got to the hospital around 6 pm for a short visit with their new granddaughter.  It was good to see them and share our story.  Visiting hours ended at 8:30 pm and so we said goodbye to them and they left to go back to our place.  Bryan and I had our celebratory dinner to enjoy at the hospital, which was a nice three-course dinner that we enjoyed with our best Reserve wine that we brought to the hospital.

That night we slept like logs, despite getting checked every few hours for vitals.  Reese slept great through her first night, after having such a traumatic day too.  We were up early the next morning and spent several hours with more physical checks on Reese and finally getting the necessary info we needed to leave the hospital.  Reese also received her first bath by one of the nurses.  Finally, at 3:30 pm, we were walked out of the hospital by one of the nurses and packed into the car for our first ride with her and to take our baby girl home.  We were stepping foot into whole new territory now as a family of three…



The Waiting Game

Well, anyone who was listening to me should have known that there was no way I was coming before my due date.  I knew it in my head but the due date has come and passed and now we are moving right into our 42nd (and last) week.  I’m not the least bit uncomfortable but I just feel at this point I have literally run out of things to do.  I have a very small amount of work items to finish as people stopped giving me items after last week.  The house was cleaned for me last week and I have just been trying to keep it clean since.  Nursery is done, workout room is done for the time being, laundry is done, meal prep is done.  I’m done.

It also doesn’t help that this week we have had horrible air quality in Seattle, preventing me from getting out for my once-a-day walk.  Instead, I am more or less confined to the house and have tried doing laps in the house listening to podcasts or walking up and down the stairs several times in a row.  Nothing has worked so far.  Last weekend was a relaxing weekend spent just the two of us because we haven’t been keen on making big plans since the due date.  We had a nice date night out via mystery shopping dinner at PF Changs on Friday night to end the week.  Saturday we went for a long walk to Capitol Hill, picked up Chipotle’s (they were having a BOGO) and enjoyed that at a park (air quality was better on Saturday) and then picked up ice cream at the Central District Ice Cream Shop on our way home.  Sunday we went to church and that was pretty much it.  We washed the car and it looks brand new again.  We made a good dinner and watched Dirty Dancing, which almost sent me into labor.  I was having very regular Braxton Hicks contractions for several hours so Bryan actually called the midwives number to see if we should go in but we were advised to stay home.  So Bryan prepped chocolate chip cookie dough to make for the nurses and we taste tested a batch before concluding the weekend.

PF Changs dinner date

We had our 41 week visit at the doctor’s office which ran longer than the others as they performed some tests to check on how things were progressing.  The outcome is things still look good so we have selected to continue to wait for one more week.  They did a fetal non-stress test to check baby’s heartbeat.  They used the ultrasound to check my placenta and amniotic fluids.  They did a cervical exam to check on progress.  All three tests still say all things are a go for now but we did have to sign paperwork for our induction if we still haven’t had the little one come out yet.

And in other exciting news, my favorite pizza is back at Tutta Bella for a limited time; the Calabrese, with figs, goat cheese, balsamic glaze and pancetta.  Bryan picked one up for us one night this week.

This pizza…swoon.

This waiting game also did allow me to attend Marika’s bridal/bachelorette dinner this week.  We enjoyed some games, gifts and great food at Via Tribunali in Georgetown.  I was really happy that I was able to be there to celebrate my longest standing girlfriend in Seattle who weds next month in Italy.

Will we have another weekend or won’t we?…



A Waiting Game

After getting through last week, the last week spent at work and with things on the calendar, I was more or less ready to go at any time.  But this week has offered me another week to be able to work from home while simultaneously continuing to check off my to-do list before baby’s arrival.  Bryan has also been making a lot of headway and preparations at work for his time away and for big projects in the future.  I am honestly more than okay getting one more week under our belt before we meet baby.  I don’t think it will be until the end of next week that I start to get anxious for the day to come.  For now, I am still content…albeit more uncomfortable.

So what are some of the things that preoccupied our time this week aside form work:

  1. I picked up a shelving unit to organize more of our equipment in the workout room.  For $20, I was able to get a very solid and already assembled unit and started organizing said equipment.

    Workout room progress
  2. I prepped a few more freezer meals while doing double duty for dinners this week; chicken enchiladas, callilloo soup and pulled pork sandwiches, all of which were made in the crockpot so as not to heat up the house too much.
  3. I caught up with Polly over the enchiladas on Monday night.  She came over for a visit and we caught up each other; me on the last month of pregnancy and her on her trip to the East Coast and her and Ryuhei buying a house in which they are moving into THIS weekend!
  4. I started working on my baby book with the details that I can fill out so far.
  5. I was able to get rid of a few things taking of space in the backyard, that we no longer need, on the Facebook Buy Nothing Group.
  6. I had a person come clean our house on Thursday and have them scheduled to come back every few weeks for the unforeseeable future so that it is one less thing that I have to worry about.  She did a fantastic job!
  7. I continued to work on the second of the three cross stitch projects and am halfway finished with this one (I’d be done but I need to buy more string).  This one was way more simple than the first…but the last is just as hard as the first.
  8. I spectated the outdoor house painting project that our landlord scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.  It didn’t make for the most serene work environment but they seemed to be nice enough guys too.
  9. We took Mark and Kati with us to FareStart on Thursday night to dine in for once.  It was a great menu from a new local chef who owns an Indian food truck and recently was on TLC’s Chopped show and won (I watched the show the night before dinner and got pretty psyched for the meal)!  I was hoping that the spicy food would get things going like I’ve heard rumors of it doing but no such luck.
  10. This past weekend Bryan and I enjoyed what could be our last church service and brunch just the two of us.  There was a guest speaker who we like for the service and then we went to the Carlile Room for brunch where I had the avocado toast and Bryan had the burger.
  11. We had two more movie nights outside at our house.  We watched two European classics; first Trainspotting and second Waking Ned Devine.

    Every night if I could!
  12. And we had another doctor’s appointment that was scheduled the morning of my due date.  Again, everything is normal and progressing.  Blood pressure still low but higher than it has been.  Total weight gain to date is 24 lbs and baby was measuring 38 cm with a steady 120s heartbeat.  Was still told that baby is on the smaller side; she guessed between 6.5 and 7 lbs.

We will just have to see how much longer this waiting game continues for.